Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31

This is one of those passages that comes to my heart when I have one of "those" days - you know the ones. The unexpected news that can leave you nearly literally without speech.

I found myself today with a dear friend in my heart, just nearly completely without the words to even know where to start praying. I still am not entirely sure what to do, or how to help.

There is hope in the Lord. There is a place to renew our strength. Someone to walk with us who never gets tired, who never stumbles, who carries the load for us, and probably carries more of it for us than we'd care to admit, when we try to carry it all by ourselves.

And there is hope in friendship. In the old ones that seem to get taken for granted. The ones that feel as comfortable as your favorite old sweater. The new ones that are just tiny little bits of warmth, but that will grow into something familiar and loving and kind. 

There is always, always, always hope, even when it is hard to see and harder to feel. Even when we don't have the words to express it properly. 



What I'm learning, as I get a little older, is that we always have a choice. People like to tell themselves they don't have a choice in this or that matter, but the fact is, we always have a choice. There are difficult choices, painful choices, choices that involve no "good" outcome either way. However, it's our choices that make us.

Sometimes people won't understand the choices you make, and will assume you're allowing things to happen out of fear, or pressure, or even a bit of ignorance. It's okay. They don't live your life and they don't understand the logic behind your choices. Being able to explain is fine, just understand not everyone will get the why behind what you choose. 
But the most important thing I've found is that joy is something I have to choose as often as is possible. Not happiness. Happiness comes and goes. But joy is something deep down in your heart. Joy is what sustains me when I stop and think too long about certain losses, or situations, or start wondering why things have happened the way they have. 
That unshakeable joy that comes from faith and love and confidence in someone and something bigger than me, who holds me and the people I love in his hands, when I'm not always certain I can hold myself up. 

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:2-5


"Insert Alliterative Word Here" Tuesday

Nothing really "goes" with Tuesday, except tacos. I've decided to make blogging a priority, if nothing else to help me with a creative outlet and encourage me to keep writing, even when I'm not sure what to say.

To that end, a completely random list of non-related items, in no particular order:

  • So, Game of Thrones had Stannis do THAT. I will not even type/speak it here, because it still pains me. The book purist in me believes Book Stannis would never, ever, in a million years do THAT, and I kind of want to go find the showrunners and ask what they were smoking when the decision was made. On the other hand... Danaerys the Dragonrider? Yes, please and thank you!
  • My new nightly "treat" is a spoon of Biscoff spread after Sarah goes to sleep. John is still working two part-time jobs, so the treats have to be carefully considered from both a budgetary and caloric standpoint. But it's kind of nice to have that little scoop of sweetness all to myself. 
  • I'm in the progress of switching from coffee to tea, and cutting back on the amount of caffeine I'm consuming each day, in addition to generally working on cutting back on portion size and making better choices. I can't say for certain how much is the other part and how much is all the green tea, but I honestly feel physically better now than I have in a while. Further updates to come when I have more than just a "feeling.
  • We're finally drying out here in Houston. While the San Jacinto River flooded, we didn't really have any issues where we are in Kingwood. But it's been nice enough to go to the pool after work a few times, and I'm hopeful the greenbelt trails will be dried out soon. I'm just a bit anxious about snakes right now, so Sarah and I haven't been for too many walks. Sub-point - things Kelly hates? Snakes and spiders. 

Here's to improved content as time goes on, and better writing. But you have to start somewhere. Thanks for sticking with me while I get where I'm going. 


National Best Friends Day, aka I Still Haven't Found My Gulley Day

For those of you who may not have had the pleasure of reading the Big Mama blog, Melanie Shankle is a hilarious writer who I just love reading. (Now, if you are looking for high adventure, you may be disappointed, but I personally think trying to figure out dinner, and road trips can be pretty fun.)

Her latest book, Nobody's Cuter Than You, is a story of friendship, to put it simply. Real, honest, long-lasting friendships that endure longer than some marriages, longer than kids, longer and truer and more substantial than most any other relationship in your life.

Melanie's best friend is Gulley. She and Gulley became best friends in college, and it's lasted all these years. They are more like sisters than best friends, it seems, and have a bond that makes me envious.

I've had friends come and go throughout seasons and stages of my life. Some I regret allowing to slip away. Some I probably pushed away. Some are gone because of my own insecurity and fear of opening up to someone else.

I'm grateful for the friends I do have, and am working on strengthening those relationships. I may not have a Gulley, but I hope and pray one day I will. Until then, I'll work on being the best Kelly I can be, and looking for those true heart-sisters, and be open to the people God puts in my path.

Screwing it up

I've heard this one so many times, and I am fairly convinced it's true.

Sarah is a smart, engaging, funny little girl who makes lots of friends and is very sure of herself. She's four and a half and can read, count, add, subtract, knows a little Spanish and sign language, and just today in the car we talked about what kind of clouds were in the sky, and what different sorts of clouds mean, weather-wise.

But I feel so much like I'm screwing it up. I see the sassy attitude, the bossiness,the proclivity for back-talking, and my head knows that's just what kids that age do. They're testing boundaries, they're becoming their own individual selves, and I know it will get better. Every phase has passed and she's fairly well-adjusted.

I don't know if it's just because she's so verbal and tells me so much of what goes through that pretty blonde head of hers, but I worry that I'm messing up so badly. There are moments of clarity, don't get me wrong, like when she breaks into spontaneous prayer, or stops the usual "God is great" blessing to thank Jesus for her family and to just tell him how much she loves this or that. That's giving me a lot of hope for the future.

I know every other mom has fears and doubts. I know not every other family is doing Pinterest-worthy craft projects every weekend, and that sometimes other parents do just turn on Sprout and let the darlings watch some Caillou so they can have fifteen minutes of quiet.

It goes along with my personal hang-ups. Those I have to work on, so I can be the best Kelly I can be. For myself, but mostly for that little girl who calls me "Mommy."

Until then, please tell me she's not the only one who, in the words of Austin Powers, can't control THE VOLUME OF MY VOICE!!


When the nudge won't go away

I have this nudge, and it won't go away.

I keep coming back to the idea of creating a community for working moms, but I'm not entirely sure how that would work. Working moms are usually super-busy - daycare drop-offs, commutes, work schedules, all the stuff that has to happen to keep a home running... when would you find time to pause and spend a little time with others in a very similar boat?

But I know I get a little lonely sometimes. But I'm tired of defining my moments by what I can't do, or what I don't have time to do, and this is something that has been on my heart a long, long time. I don't know how it will work, or how to even start pursuing it, but it's here for a reason.

And I'm not sure why I, of all people, have this desire to create community. But Monday night, when the weather was so bad and I was up half the night, it kept creeping into my brain.

So I will pray about it, and see what doors are opened for me, because I know if it's what I'm supposed to be doing, the doors will open for an introverted, weird person to create a community group (even when I'm not entirely sure what that means.)


Imperfect people

So I have the fortune of being part of the launch team for Rachel Held Evans' new book, Searching for Sunday. It's about what so many people go through - questioning the hypocrisy of so many churches, wondering where the real Jesus is in all the "show" - the REAL Jesus, not the shiny, John Lennon without glasses Jesus who only drinks Welch's Concord Grape Juice.

I'm finding myself highlighting things nearly every other page, and being so incredibly grateful to not be the only one who had all these questions that seemed to have the "wrong" answers, or answers I couldn't even get my head around. I am planning on writing a longer post when I'm done with the book, but when I read this passage, I had to stop and really mull it over:

"At its best, the church functions much like a recovery group, a safe place where a bunch of struggling, imperfect people come together to speak difficult truths to one another."

This means so much to me right now. I think it's easy to go to church and plaster on a smile and pretend everything is okay, but when things get harder, that gets harder and harder to do.

Right now things are hard for us. I lost my job in November when my company closed. Less than two weeks after I started temping where I am now, John lost his job. He's still looking, and I know he will find something but we just don't know when. It's scary. It's ugly. It stresses us both emotionally and spiritually and financially.

Right now I have a hard time walking in church and not just going straight to the altar and pouring out my heart (I tried that at a prayer service earlier this year. Suffice to say it was so hard when a well-meaning person came up and started praying right in my ear. I don't even go to the service she goes to anymore, just so I can avoid her.Because I don't know how to say "that was a personal, deeply spiritual pouring out of my heart that you interrupted." Just seems rude. I don't even know her name.)

But that's where my heart is. I need to know that I'm not the only one broken, and that I'm not the only one struggling right now. That facade of perfection is what pushed me away from church for a while in my twenties. But like Rachel, I felt it pulling me back the whole time. I knew there was more than what I'd experienced.

I'm so grateful for the United Methodist Church. I'm grateful my daughter will never have limits on how she can serve God, just because she's female. I'm grateful to see men AND women, sons AND daughters, proclaiming God's Word and sharing with our community. I'm grateful because we are all broken. and there is something comforting about liturgy.

I can't wait to share more with you from this book, and more about how deeply it's affecting me. Suffice to say this is a must-have, and I'm so happy to be part of this launch team.