Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What I’m Thankful For This Thanksgiving (A Partial List)

By Kelly

I’m thankful for the toys scattered around my living room, because it means I have little ones at play.

I am thankful for the headache that’s keeping me quiet today, because in the stillness, I am more conscious of the holy beauty of life.

I’m thankful for my tiny house, because it has no cracks that let in the winter chill and it has AC to fight off the heat and it has windows to let in the light and screens to keep out the bugs and even though it’s only a townhouse with no yard, it’s still like a mansion compared to the majority of the world.

I am thankful for my aching muscles, because they are strong and serve me well.

I am thankful for my the children we sponsor through Compassion International and World Vision, because they remind me daily of the heart of God.

I am thankful for “Baby Einstein” DVDs.

I am thankful for the men and women who will eat dry turkey on a military base in the Iraqi desert tomorrow and for their families who will have an empty seat at their table here in the States, because they are paying for my freedom.

I am thankful for men like Mark Driscoll and women like Beth Moore, who use their God-given gifts to point me to Jesus and to enlarge my view of God.

I am thankful for my family who will be in California on Thanksgiving Day, because even though I won’t be with them, the wonderful decent better-than-a-bus airline industry will bring them to me for Christmas.

I am thankful for the Internet, so I can shop on Black Friday at home in my pajamas.

I am thankful for the camaraderie of the blogging community – especially the sweetness of Stephanie, the intellect of Veronica, the poetry of Beck, the humor of Megan and the hundreds of other voices who keep me company every day.

I am thankful for pumpkin pie, because I love it and it is all things Thanksgiving to me.

I’m thankful for the scars on my heart, for they are a reminder of God's extravagant mercy and redemptive power.

I am thankful. My soul overflows with gratitude.

Lord, may it always be so.

Kelly blogs at Love Well and is thankful for that too.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Baby Food

By Kelly

Growing up, I was never the domestic type. My dream was multiple careers, not multiple kids. I brushed off attempts by my Mom to teach me how to cook and clean and iron. I showed no interest in decorating or design. Heck, I barely knew how to do laundry. In college, I changed my sheets at the end of every semester and called it good.

So it came as a complete shock to me, when, a few years before I had a baby, I started to feel a pull to watch cooking shows on HGTV. (This was before the Food Network. Do you remember a time before the Food Network?)

I worked an evening shift at the time, so I watched these mysteriously alluring programs while I ate lunch at home. And something inside me started to change. For the first time in my life, I found myself thinking things like, “Wouldn’t it be fun to make some artisan bread with fresh rosemary this weekend?” Or maybe, “I should just sear a steak for dinner and serve it with arugula and homemade vinaigrette.”

Never mind that dinner most nights was at Rubio’s or In-n-Out during my 30-minute break away from the newsroom. I was captivated by the sights and the sounds and even the simplicity of a life at home.

It seems silly now, but that softening in my spirit was my first baby step (pun intended) toward motherhood. Suddenly, the idea of domesticity was enticing to me. I felt a yearning in my soul to create a home and to fill it with love and laughter – and yes, maybe a seared steak or two.

I always smiled at the end of each cooking show, when the host would take a big bite of his or her completed dish. Inevitably, it was divine. Their eyes would roll back in their head, their speech would momentarily stop. Only groans and sighs could communicate the bliss that was going on in their mouths. Picture Rachel Ray sampling one of her 30-minute meals. “Yum-o.”

I often wondered if the food was really that good. I mean, once or twice I understand. I made some pumpkin bread yesterday that I can’t stop eating. “Oh my word, that’s good bread,” I enthused all afternoon to no one in particular. “Wow. Seriously good bread.”

But every day? Every recipe? Every time? Come on. I mean, what are the odds?

Earlier this week, I sat with Teyla, my ten-month-old, as she opened doors and pushed buttons on her tiny kitchen. I watched her eyes shine with curiosity and wonder. She picked up a plastic green triangle with her chubby little hand and stretched it out toward my face. I instinctively leaned down and pretended to take a big bite. “Oooommmmm. Yum, yum,” I cooed, my eyes widening with mock ecstasy.

And then I smiled.

Huh. What do you know.

It really is amazing. Every day. Every time.

Kelly also blogs at Love Well.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


By Kelly

I sat on my kitchen floor last night and played "let's fall all over Mom" with Teyla. She's ten months old now, which is both an indisputable fact and an incomprehensible mystery. She's starting to purposefully interact with us; she offers me bites of her food, for example, and she loves to shriek and watch us whip around in amazement. She's still a baby. But she's moving fast toward toddler territory, leaving the calm world of infancy behind.

The realization of all that growing up made me a little nostalgic -- which is how I found myself reading my post from exactly one year ago yesterday and marveling at how quickly life rushes by, like a stream heavy with the refreshment of spring rains. Here it is.


So I'm 30 weeks pregnant now. And really, all things considered, I'm doing great.

It's just that -- I think I've turned into an elephant.

I don't walk. I lumber.

I don't move fast. I plod.

I don't stop quickly. It's not easy to halt this girth.

(Insert elephant trumpet sound here.)

When I get out of bed in the morning -- or, let's be honest, in the middle of the night to heed the siren call of the wild -- I puff and pant. My ligaments stretch and strain. My back muscles scream at me I struggle to right myself. My heart rate shoots up instantly. (Can walking to the bathroom constitute a strenuous workout?) I'm so front heavy, I'm developing a permanent swayback.


I also have to contend with a female child in my abdomen who is training for "Dancing with the Stars." (I think she has a particular liking for the mambo.) She jabs and rolls, kicks and turns. She is in constant movement, making my stomach heave and roll like an ocean storm.

And then there are the special effects pregnancy performs on my face. About three weeks ago, I looked like a "before" picture from one of those old Clearsil commercials. Remember? The one where the announcer draws a constellation on the face of the unsuspecting teen, connecting the red acne dots with a black marker? "The Big Dipper!" "The North Star!"

Yeah. That was me. Only I think I was sporting a small galaxy on my visage. It was ... beyond words. I could only grimace and bear it and remind myself that this, too, shall pass. (And thank you, Lord, for Proactiv!)

I comforted myself with the thought that this only confirms the old wives' tale that says you're having a girl if you're uglier pregnant than you are normally. Because I certainly don't glow much when I'm with child.

Unless you count the shine from the oil, and I really think that's only attractive to Exxon executives.

But she's worth it right?

Pregnancy is such a strange, mysterious, amazing thing. I keep reminding myself, "It's not everyday that you get to be a part of a miracle, girl. Suck it up. Your energy and smaller self will return. Someday, you'll be able to walk across the room again without having to stop and catch your breath. Someday, you won't have to hike up your pants every time you get out of a chair. Someday, you'll get to meet this little girl and all the inconveniences and annoyances of pregnancy will fade like a Minnesota fall."

It's worth it. It's all worth it.

P.S. But could someone please invent some slip-on shoes that are suitable for winter in a northern climate? Because I almost passed out this morning when I had to tie my boot laces. Who can bend over for that long, people? I have a baby where my lungs used to be.

That's all I'm saying.

Kelly did eventually recover from her Heffalump-like condition. You can also find her blogging at Love Well.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Night Urgency

By Kelly

The electricity of election night is palpable.

During my years as a newspaper reporter and editor and then a TV news producer, I spent many election nights in cold, windowless newsrooms, which, on election night, fairly buzzed with adrenaline, bad coffee and jokes that remain, to this day, unprintable. (Why, yes, I was known as The Run-On Queen. Why do you ask?)

It was a little intoxicating, frankly, the long hours and the breathless pace and the access to power. Every third person was on the phone with a candidate or political pundit. The newsroom desk was usually occupied by someone doing an on-air piece. The bank of TVs behind the assignment desk was blaring and insistent. I stayed – heck, everyone stayed – until the bitter end. I usually drove home around 3:00 AM, every nerve in my body still tingling. It took me days to come off the adrenaline high.

Every once in a while, when someone finds out what I used to do with my life before kids, they’ll ask me if I miss it, if I miss the news business and the rush that goes with it.

On election nights, I miss it.

But then again….

Last night, instead of sitting in a control booth and whispering the latest election numbers into an anchor’s IFB, I sat in a dim nursery and cuddled a tired baby. Instead of talking on the phone to Mr. Important’s media spokesman, I watched Connor earn his gold belt at karate graduation.

Instead of feeling important because I took the pulse of the nation, I felt humbled because I am someone’s whole world.

Maybe I don’t miss it after all. After all, there’s urgent. And then there’s important.

I’m just starting to learn the difference.

Kelly also blogs at Love Well, which is both the name of her blog and her motto for living. Sometimes, it takes an election to make her remember that.