Your Days Are Numbered…

No big reveal here. I mean we all know we are dealing with a finite amount of time. We know it, but I am not sure we actually think about it that often. I am often caught off guard when something or someone brings it to my attention that an earthly forever is not an option. Not gonna happen. I know this. You know this. We are all walking around KNOWing this. And yet, clearly the way I live doesn’t always reflect that knowing. The

A couple of things come to mind when I consider the FACT that my (and yours too Pally O’Mally) life on this crazy, amazing earth is going to end. I don’t know when or how and it freaks me out more than a bit to think about it but that doesn’t mean I can live in denial that every day is bringing me that much closer. Don’t you love the morbid bent of this post? I am sure you are thinking “This blog is supposed to encourage and lift me up–not make me sad, depressed and considering the details of my departure”. Hang in there sweet friends, I AM heading somewhere.

The realization of just how much finality is involved in life on earth really is a call to action. If we get that we are not always going to be here, what are we waiting for to take the bull by the horns and LIVE LIFE? I am not even saying live it well–I think that’s a practice, a goal, something to work toward but you can’t begin to work on it if you are just letting Life happen to you. I am pretty sure you can’t stand on the sidelines waiting for Life to walk up and ask you to dance. You need to take your dance card, unceremoniously shove it in Life’s face and demand he fills every open spot. And then my friend…you need to dance.

I never know how I end up finding the websites I do (keep it clean peeps)–I have some weird investigative instincts that kick in when I am looking for something and before I know it, I am way beyond six degrees of separation (I heart you Kevin Bacon) and trying to figure out how I ended up where I did. Leads me to some fun stuff, although the majority of time, I forget how I made the connection and can’t get back there two days later. However, this time when I “stumbled” upon this website, I knew I wanted to share it with you so I made an extra special mental note to remember it and even though extra special mental notes make absolutely no difference in my ability (or lack thereof) to recall information, I actually wrote this one down. You’re welcome.

It’s called the 100 days project. You can read about it here but the concept is really simple–pick something (a creativity project) and commit to doing it for 100 days. You can register your name and project on the website (the start date for 2015 is July) and then document your progress on their website. You are setting a goal and the website is providing some built in walls of accountability. They aren’t necessarily the strongest of walls because of course, you still have to choose to do the work every single day, but walls nonetheless. Would you be motivated by the potentiality of someone logging in to check your progress once in awhile? Probably. I think I would. So, regarding The 100 days Project, here’s my thought process on any given day, might want to buckle up…

Received suggestion to follow this person on twitter via email (thanks twitter), should I follow this gal, who is this person, do I know her, should I know her, my friend knows her, wonder how my friend knows her, who else does she know, what does she do, why would I want to follow her (selfishness alert–how would it benefit me to follow her), who is she following that sounds interesting, don’t know any of the people she follows, how can that be, we live in the same city and everyone knows everyone in this place, wait–hold up, go back, what is this 100 days project and why is she following them, and why is she talking about writing goals, maybe we can connect through writing, I should see what this is, link twitter to 100 days project, link to website, read, read some more, interesting idea, who are these people, what are the projects, are they all artists, I’m not an artist, wait–is a writer an artist, could I be an artist, am I even a writer, a blogger, a wannabe, what am I exactly, I am overwhelmed by all the red boxes, look at all the red boxes, too many red boxes, sorry folks, I can’t open all the red boxes, I can’t do this, I have to get off this site, wait, look again, do something for a hundred days, hey, not a bad idea, should I do this, could I do this, what if I fail, will I be a failure for life, will I ever be a writer, and more importantly, should I follow this gal on twitter.

That is how my brain works…get out while you can folks. I won’t hold it against you.

After I had a chance to slow down and think clearly, I considered joining up and becoming a part of the 100 days project. I started writing down ideas for what I would want to work on but not necessarily for a hundred days. My perspective was more of what do I want to do better, change, add into my life permanently? The list is long and distinguished (to quote a totally inappropriate line from Top Gun). I crossed off, added, edited down the list to six things. So, now what? How will I choose just one? AND, what is the likelihood that if I wait to start until July, that I will even do it. I mean you just saw how my mind works–can you imagine how many thoughts and new ideas will pop up between now and July and let’s be honest, there is a limited amount of space in this “purdy” little head–I am guessing the 100 days project would eventually get crowded out or completely crushed by the barrage of ideas and thoughts fighting for space in there. I am a realist people. Not true. I am actually an optimist and that doesn’t always match pace with a realist. Just saying’. What I am, is excited about making some changes in my life…right now. I can’t predict what July will look like. I mean, I might be tired in July. All of it–the whole month. You just never know. Or to revisit my opening paragraphs, who even knows if I will be here in July. I’m planning on it but I didn’t write that story so not sure of the ending.

Gut-check…contrary to what I just said, I am not truthfully excited about making these changes in my life. Excitement is NOT what it feels like at all. What it feels like is these things are important to me, so very important, and the clock is ticking. At church, they have a timer on the big screens counting down the amount of time you have until the service starts. Really helpful if you need to make one last stop to use the facilities before the worship team starts up and you will be shaking your groove thing (with a certain level of decorum because this is church by the way). The clock is also helpful if you are trying to gauge if you have enough time to say hello to a friend, and Lord knows, that guy talks a lot so two minutes and twenty-six seconds just won’t cut it. Thanks clock for the heads up. Not that I have this problem, church of 5,000 and my anti-social tendencies have allowed me to meet exactly three other people. I digress beyond all levels of acceptability. I am sorry. Here’s the thing, the other day as I watched that clock counting down, panic started bubbling below the surface. No joke. Watching that clock was unsettling. With complete clarity in the midst of the panic (not an easy feat), I realized those seconds are ticking away every, single moment of our lives. Literally. Pause. LITERALLY she screams. By the way, you just lost three seconds with that pause.

So, my question is, “what exactly are we waiting for?” Future Me says the time is now because she knows if Present Me waits, she is going to have a multitude of regrets to contend with and the very thought of it completely hacks her off. And no one wants to deal with a completely hacked off Future Me–she’ll be bitter, rude, angry, sad, depressed, and it won’t be just because of the forty three turtle-necks and thirty-seven scarves hanging in her closet necessary to cover up the inevitable mass of neck wrinkles.

Interestingly enough, my engraved invitation to change has not gotten lost somewhere in the mail. It is sitting right in front of me and it’s pretty. Flowers and smiley faces. All I need to bring to the party is a little self-evaluation. A little awareness. A little time. A little planning. And “a little” elbow grease. You have to show up and be willing to DO the work. I think the desire to change is in all of us. I mean if you are reading this and thinking that there is absolutely nothing you would like to do better in your life, I urge you to reconsider. Not to be too rough on you but the term for that is complacency. And I don’t think we were put here to be complacent or to dip just our toes in the water.  Where is the purpose in that? Any age, any circumstance, any stage you find yourself–there is always something to work towards. Not in the–I can’t find contentment kind of way but in the–I want to to live life fully kind of way. Not in the–I am not grateful for what I have kind of way but in the–I want to show how grateful I am for this life by giving it all I have kind of way.

So–let’s go back to the clock. I could sit and wait for July to roll around which is only 7,044,180 seconds from right now but if I panicked watching 146 seconds tick away, what will happen to me as I watch more than seven million go by? Let’s not go there. My imparting “wisdom” to you is don’t wait. There is never a perfect moment to start implementing change, there is always going to be something going on or happening that could potentially interfere or make it more difficult for you. There are people, places and things (I think those are called nouns) who will get in your way, make it more difficult, or try to stop you (intentionally or not). I am pretty sure we still just have to go for it.

Me? Well, I decided to not wait AND to not take anything off my list. Momma din’t raise no underachiever that’s for certain. She did raise me to speak properly though so I think she might take umbrage with my poor attempts of using my humor (in the form of bad grammar and maybe bad humor) to appear more relatable to my readers? Actually, I already blew relatability when I let you in on the inner workings of my brain. “Big mistake…Huge!”. Why am I quoting 80’s movies? Do I really want my younger groupies to walk away in frustration when they don’t get the references (fyi–I don’t have any younger, or any age for that matter, groupies but a girl can dream).

Anyway–I decided to go for it and created my own 100 days project. I can’t call it that, of course for legal reasons, but I do have a fantastic lawyer on speed dial and she loves me so I am not too worried. However, just to be safe, my project is called–The six things I want to change or do better for the next 100 days until it has become a lifestyle change and I no longer have cause to write about it Project. What do you think? Catchy huh?

I did not plan. I did not prepare. I did not think it through. I did not wait for someone to tell me to go ahead, it’s okay. I did not wait for someone to tell me don’t go ahead, it’s not okay. I did not do all the things you are probably supposed to do to promote success. I just did it. I started. I committed. I went for it. And I failed. No kidding. Day 2 I blew one of the big ones and considering I didn’t think I could take any of these things off the list, to me they are all big ones. I failed. And I cried. Then, I cried a little bit more. And when I was done crying (sort-of), I picked myself up and got back at it.

I will let you in on my list sometime down the road but for now, I just encourage you to consider starting your own 100 day project but please don’t use my title, that would be stealing. Just jump in and go for it. You are welcome to share or not and if you need someone to cheer you on, I am more than willing to do that for you. MORE than willing. As I have gotten started, I have found journaling helps. It makes me think–about the overall goals, what steps I am taking, if I am missing the mark, and about tomorrow. It creates an environment of intention. Living with intention means you are thinking about it and not just allowing it to happen to you. It’s saying that even though the seconds are ticking by, they are filled with purpose and that’s a good way to live. That makes Future Me happy–or happier at least, she still has to deal with all those scarves and turtle-necks–boo, hiss. I mean couldn’t God have used the big toe on our left foot to show our age, I have no problem with socks. Why-oh-why did he have to display our age right there for all to see on our necks. The only advantage I have to that is I am short so no one but small children are actually at eye-level when it comes to my neck. Ha!! For years, I envied my best friend from high school because of the seven inches she had on me–who’s laughing now at the one and only advantage to being short. That would be me–I’m laughing now but it sounds a little maniacal so no worries, I will be done soon.

Two final points–I think it’s important to design your project around quality changes. You know the term–we call them lifestyle changes. Those are the kind that are worth the effort. Example–eating better to lose weight, while good, gets edged out by eating better for your overall health and well-being and why would you want to stop that after a hundred days? So, consider your motives in the process of choosing something you want to work on.

Lastly, successes or failures aside, going for it is a sweet way to live. You gain a new found appreciation for what has or hasn’t worked in the past–you can look back and be thankful for your experiences and what you learned from them. You gain a new found appreciation for the future because that’s where your potential is waiting patiently for you to catch up and I would just bet Future You isn’t really too bent out of shape about turtle-necks and scarves–she is just thankful you didn’t wait and decided to try and do it better. But, the true beauty of this project is found in the realization you have to live in the present to carry it out. You have to consider where you have been and where you are headed of course, but you won’t see your goals/dreams come to fruition if you don’t center yourself around what is happening now. No matter how much our lives are directed by schedules and calendars, we have to find a way to live in the present. To be fully conscious and aware is the most effective way to take an active role in your own life.

Our days are numbered. There’s no getting around that so what do we do to make the absolute most of those days? How about we jump all in, right now, as a glorious expression of gratitude for the moments we have been given. We look hard at changes we want to make and then make a move. There will be successes and “failures” but don’t worry so much about that. Just show up and go for it. It’s a way to say I recognize and am thankful for what I have been given. Gratitude through action. I like it. So, think about it. What’s your 100 day project (by a different name of course)? I would love to hear about it and to encourage you–leave a comment or message me anytime. Or talk to a friend you know wants to make some changes too and join forces. To walk this journey with a loving, caring friend can make all the difference.  I can be that friend for you or feel free to pick your own, I am a little scary.

As always, thank you for reading. You are awesome!  With love, Kelly

Not music this time but a quick video I ran across the other day–thought you might enjoy it.  A little piece of inspiration (courtesy of tedtalks.com).

p.s. I haven’t forgotten about the give-away. I had more than two people share the post and I don’t know exactly how to figure out who shared it (ha!) so I am working on that and will let you know soon.


I Thought This Would Be Easier

Did you too? This whole living life thing. Parenting. Marriage. Work. Relationships. Health. Family. Faith. All of it. I just expected the waters would be easier to navigate–less murky, less choppy, a prettier blue. More breaking out in song and dance, not so much breaking down behind the locked bathroom door. But here’s the thing…it’s not really is it?

Spoiler ALert–Life is NOT easy.

And–I am tired.

It’s tough to write about this and keep my head on straight lest I sound whiny or ungrateful. If you are “hearing” whiny and ungrateful in my words then please, just move on–come back another day–because truth be told, that’s a judgement and I can’t take that today. In fact, it is my profound belief, we just need to stop judging each other from here on out. I give you that gift. A judgement-free zone. Not living life perfectly? Give me a call. Not so we can feed off of one another’s imperfections but so you can be you and I can be me…the real stuff. Not who you think I should be (or the other way around) and not who I often pretend I am to stave off potential misconceptions. Authenticity. It is golden. And rare.

My thought–we should start there. Let’s just be real with each other. An honest conversation in a “check your judgement at the door” kind of place. I think we are doing a real disservice to each other to 1) assume the other person has it all together simply because that’s how it appears on the outside or 2) to pretend you have it all together because that’s how you want it to appear from the outside. I am NOT saying we should be falling apart at every turn but I do believe it’s okay to be honest about our struggles once in a while. We can’t necessarily live in that state or it is unlikely we would get anything done but authenticity’s origins need to be rooted in truth. Living in a state of denial, under false pretenses, or based on assumptions really isn’t living. Awareness and honesty regarding some of the difficulties we are facing gives us depth and gives us a fighting chance.

So, first step, we promise to be real with each other. Transparent if need be. Then what? No idea. Nothing definitive anyway. But I do wonder, is it possible gratitude could be a key player in battling some of the hefty wrenches life chucks at your head? Oh, it’s possible alright. If I really stop and think about it…when I make a conscious choice to look for the good stuff even as the wrench is being hurled in my direction, I am able to consistently find the good stuff.

I see it in the little things. The goodness is there. The gifts are there. In the last couple of days I found a few– another mother, a lovely, kind caring person sat with me in quiet acceptance and offered support exactly when I needed it. I walked into “MY” cafe (I am convinced Queen City is here for me and me alone) and ran into a new friend, spoke with her for about 3 minutes and she inadvertently said exactly what I needed to hear. I got an unexpected text from a dear friend a couple of minutes later that reminded me of the immeasurable gift of friendships–she and I practice authenticity every time we are together and no question, that is a gift. Another sweet friend took the opportunity to speak loving, kind, faith-centered truth to both Mike and I. My daughter’s track coaches showed her true compassion and kindness. Another mom reached out to me today unexpectedly regarding my middle daughter. Had a fun, full of laughter conversation with a fellow “soccer mom” and friend last night. Kind, encouraging texts and dinner plans with my lovely, let’s-be-real girlfriends. Spoke honestly with my dear, sweet, too-far-away friends about what I could and could not handle during our weekly conversation and they accepted me right where I was. Loving text from my mom. Successful surgery for my m-in-l. Uplifting, encouraging emails from a friend living her dream and wanting to help others do the same. Great phone call from my sister. A wonderful friend taking the time and making the call to check on me about a tough situation. Honest and open conversation with my sweet friend of thirty years. Update and checking in with my been-through-it sister friend. Truth and encouragement from my s-in-law. I mean, I could literally just keep going. And I am so very grateful for all of it–believe it or not, there is stuff I haven’t even mentioned. The evidence is irrefutable. There is goodness, kindness, and compassion all around me. And here’s the thing–we can (and do) offer the goodness to each other. We just have to be willing to look for the gifts perpetually being handed to us, be courageous and willing enough to dole out some of those same gifts, AND to be equally grateful in both situations. Thankful for the gifts given to me and thankful for the opportunity to give to others.

No question, the tough is real. Living life is a bit like attending the quintessential school of hard knocks. There is pain–real, kick you in the gut kind of pain. Divorce, cancer, infidelity, death, illness, injury, financial difficulties, parenting struggles you never in a million years anticipated…the list goes on and on. As I said to you once before, live long enough, and you are going to get sucker punched. It doesn’t really matter how well you try to prepare yourself for what’s coming, chances are it will be a south paw who comes out of nowhere to knock you down–nothing against south paws (my sweet sister is one), just saying the punch often comes from a direction you never in a million years thought it would, hence, the knock down.

Knocked down, but not out. We are never truly out. It’s a fight sometimes and I do get tired of the fight. But from gratitude flows the undercurrent of hope. Hope. An out-of-the-blue text, the kindness of a friend, someone caring enough to reach out, a chance encounter with a new friend, a well-timed song, an almond-milk latte at just the right temperature, eye contact with a stranger across the room and the kind smile she offers, a hug from my son, a laugh with my daughter, a text from the other one…keep looking, it’s there. Hope. I found it yesterday in my husband’s voice–the fatigue and strain I heard in it after a particularly tough case. It instantly reminded me that one of the most effective ways to step out of my own struggles is to reach out to someone else. And all I really wanted to do in that moment was reach out to him–for him to know I see him, I know how hard he works, I care, I believe he’s doing amazing things, I appreciate him, I love him. So in the interest of being completely honest…and authentic–that’s not exactly what I did. Ohhhh snap.

I didn’t reach out to him. I didn’t. I thought it, but I didn’t do it. I can’t really say why mainly because I don’t know why. Do I regret it? Completely. Actually, as I am writing–I realize maybe I do know why. To reach out to him or anyone else requires me to be vulnerable. And when I am worn down, it’s difficult to muster up the courage to be vulnerable. We have been married a lot of years but I don’t think that necessarily eliminates those feelings of vulnerability that sometimes rise up when we reach out–even when it is someone close to us, maybe even more so sometimes. Not sure why I share that. I think mainly to revisit that whole spoiler alert thing–life is not easy and I definitely don’t always get it right. A lot of times it can get the best of you. It can beat you down and make you just plain weary. And weary is the exact point at which it is hardest and probably most necessary to reach out to others, no matter what you think it might cost you. Look hard to see the goodness in your life. Gratitude for each gift that comes will serve to refill and to refuel you. Be aware. Be open to it. Be ready. Take it in and then, as quickly as possible, look for ways to pour it back out. Expressed gratitude is demonstrated by you pouring it back out. And more often than not, that’s a win-win scenario.

Yes, I thought life would be easier. I am guessing you did too. But here’s the thing–we are not doing this in complete isolation. First of all, we now have our revolutionary, no-judgment zone. Could there be a better way to start? Secondly, we have an unbelievable number of things to be grateful for every single day. I mean even under the most difficult of circumstances, everyday we have our breath and we have the sunrise and sunset–undeniable gifts. At a bare minimum–we count just those three and quite honestly, without them, where would we be? And, finally, we have each other. We never have to go it alone. I am grateful for you. Because of how you fill my life, I am going to have the strength, desire, ability, and energy to be a filler for you and/or someone else. I won’t always get it right but, I will sure try.

Gratitude gives way to hope. Hope propels us forward to keep fighting the good fight, to hang onto the white towel at all costs. It is the never-ending, reward cycle of gratitude. Awareness yields goodness, goodness yields gratitude, and gratitude yields hope. That, my friends, is one hamster wheel worth jumping on and running for dear life don’t you think?

As always, you are really and truly enough. Thank you so much for reading.

With love and gratitude,

Stumbled across this song recently and thought it might be a good one for you today.
One Day You Will by Lady Antebellum (courtesy of youtube.com)


Nowhere and Robert Downey Jr.

Wait, what?  Nowhere and RDJ?  The two things don’t have much to do with each other.  Not much at all because that guy has gone absolutely somewhere.  But when has “nothing to do with each other” ever stopped me?

And I don’t really have much to say today.  Again, I ask, when has that ever stopped me?  The thing is, I am still stuck on this thought that I want you to know how much you matter (you can read about it here Just Checking On You).  I want you to know that so many of us care about you.  That you are doing a great job today even if all you had in you was to show up…it means something to the rest of us.  So, while today’s post isn’t exactly well planned out, please be aware that the purpose and motivation behind my writing hasn’t altered.  I just really want you to know that whatever you are going through, you are loved and cared about.  You matter.  That others want to know how you are doing and what is going on in your life.  Don’t be afraid to reach out.  Don’t convince yourself that you have nothing to share or give.  You do just by being this amazing you.  I kinda need you to know that.

This is a poem I “discovered” the other day I wanted to share with you.


Brown hair,

A blank stare.

And nowhere to go.

The endless pain

reaches through the rain,

and tears at my fragile heart.

Nowhere to hide,

with nothing inside.

I wonder.

How could God create

so much hate

inside of me?

What happened here?

We’ve come so near

to the end of it all.

All I want

is to go somewhere,

but all I’ve ever known

is nowhere.

I don’t know what you might think about the poem.  It’s hard for me to put it in here because it makes me feel a little vulnerable.  I read the poem and thought, I like it…interesting…good finish.  I get it–feeling like I just want to soar, to move beyond where I feel stuck but, so often end up right where I started–never really having left.  Whether I’m holding myself back or allowing someone else to do it for me…either way feels like I have lost.

Here’s the thing–it’s the backstory that got to me.  The poem was written after observing a girl sitting in class.  The girl was staring off into space.  Sadness and hurt etched on her face.  The author–upset for classroom girl–wanting it to be different, hating that it wasn’t, and understanding that the girl sitting right in front of her  would rather be anywhere else but where she was in that moment.  The author saw something in classroom girl that maybe nobody else did.  And that matters.  The only way to see the hurt and pain, the need, the longing in someone else is to stop and look.  Stop long enough to meet someone’s eyes.  Take your eyes off the phone, television, book, or computer and see the girl sitting in the classroom.  She just needs someone to see her.

I’m a slow-as-frozen-molasses learner but I’m working on it.  I started right about the day my son said to me, “You know, you don’t really ever look at me”.  Okay–I’m in a puddle on the floor right now just thinking about it.  And, I’m ashamed.  And then I feel badly that I am ashamed because yes, I read Brene Brown( I Thought It Was Just Me and everything else she has written), and know I am not supposed to be shaming myself.  As a side note, I was reading Brene wayyyy before she was Oprah’s Brene so I’d like it to go on record that I knew her when.  However, I didn’t actually KNOW her know her so that seems a little weird I am trying to make that distinction.  Yikes, now I am ashamed for needing to make sure everyone doesn’t think I just jumped on the Brene & Oprah bandwagon.  Nope, I was a fan/follower/borderline stalker long before.  Great–now I not only shamed myself twice, I let everyone else (all 5 of you) in on my shame.  Ugh.  I can’t get off this stinking merry-go-round and I am pretty sure I am about to lose my lunch if I don’t.

I digress.

Friend, so often we are that girl sitting in a classroom, hurting and deeply desiring to be anywhere else.  We are the main subject in a poem desperate for an author who sees us.  Who knows our backstory.  Who believes each of us matter and that we are enough just as we are.  I am so very grateful because I believe I have that author through my faith.  But, I also think it is our “job” to be that for each other as well.  To really see each other as our paths cross.  To understand that each one of us is going through something.  And to not only believe that the person in front of us matters but to help them see it as well.  To help them see they are enough.

I’m all in.  How about you?  And just to kick things off–let it be said to each and everyone one of you…you are enough.

Author of Nowhere: Avery ~age 13.

With love, Kelly

p.s. no song this time but I have to leave you with something don’t I?

I rented this movie over the weekend and I just want to pass along some gentle persuasion.  YOU MUST SEE IT.  I loved it.  Truly.  Entire cast was absolutely amazing.  I cried…hard and I laughed…hard. The crying part isn’t that big of a thing because I seem to break down about a lot of things these days but have you considered when was the last time you really belly-laughed?  It’s been awhile.  I am over the moon about the movie.  The trailer doesn’t even do it justice (isn’t it usually the other way around?)…there’s much more depth to it.  So, in the interest of making this worth your while and making sure you actually read this post all the way to the end, I am going to give away two copies of the movie.  If you could please comment and/or share any post from theselfishbone.com on Facebook, I will put your name in a drawing and randomly select two winners.  This movie is rated R so not sure if that makes a difference to anyone.  I’ll announce the winners in a week (I hope).    Okay–here it is.

The Judge (trailer courtesy of youtube.com)


Just Checking On You…

How are you? I mean how are you really? Just checking.

We “pass” each other in the hall, at the game, on Facebook, at the store and we ask the standard question, “How are you?”

Good. Fine. Doing well.

But, how are you really? Are you having some trouble? Are you struggling? Is there a darkness there you are trying to fight through? Are you getting up everyday and just trying to make it? Are you hurting? Angry? Worried? Sad? Lonely? Afraid? Aching?

The aching or any part of it, I know friend, can take you under. So, right now–I am reaching out to you. I am checking on YOU. I am extending my hand down deep into the water for you. Grab it. Hang on tight. I am pulling you up. I am not sure I can fix it but I can walk through it with you. Side-by-side. Step-by-step. I can sit silently next to you, hold your hand, hug you tight, pray for you, or offer up as much encouragement as possible. I’m sorry because I know I won’t always get it right. Forgive me. Regardless, just believe…

I see you. I am sorry. I am here. I get it.

I know how hard you are working. I know how much you want this to be different. I know you need something more.

Gratitude. Lost in the darkness is a frightening place to be. I am not sure we always know we are in the thick of it but when we do, I think we have a couple of healthy “escape” options. One way out–look for the good. No matter how tough things are…LOOK. There is always good. I swear. Don’t beat yourself up in the process. How can I possibly be struggling or sad with all these blessings in my life? Don’t do that to yourself. Just find and acknowledge the blessings and the rest will come.

Accept help. Let me (or anyone else who knows and cares about you) be there for you. Too often, we try to go it alone. It’s too hard to explain, they won’t get it. You don’t want to “burden” someone else. You are afraid they won’t understand or will think less of you because of it. There are all kinds of reasons we hold back and don’t ask for help or even accept it when it’s offered. I am here to tell you, allowing me to be there for you is a gift to me. I recognize the courage and level of vulnerability required to share your wants/needs with me–to share your story. I see that and I am humbled by it. I also caution you to choose wisely. Do your best to choose wise counsel rather than a yes-man/woman. Someone who knows you, is caring, kind, compassionate, honest, and also willing to go right into the dark to meet you. Whether you realize it or not, authenticity and pure motives are much more important than simply choosing someone who will tell you exactly what you want to hear–that person is feeding him/herself, not you. I know it’s hard, scary and sometimes a risk but God didn’t intend for you to go it alone. We just weren’t made that way so reach out, don’t hide out.

Reach out. Extend your own hand to pull someone else up out of the water. I know it feels like you have nothing to give but rest in the knowledge that you can be a relief for someone else simply by being there. Sometimes that is all you need to shift your focus/perspective just enough to lighten your own darkness. There have been many times that I have pulled in and away from everything (and consequently, everyone) thinking I just don’t have it in me right now. Only to find out as I finally came out of my shell, someone needed me. My unique thoughts, words, perspective. We all have that uniqueness. I am not an expert on anything really, but I have lived enough life to draw from my own experiences to support and comfort you. And in that moment I look to comfort you, I inevitably take one or two steps away from my own situation. Far enough to breathe. To clear my head. To gain perspective. To see that other people struggle and I can give to them in the midst of their struggle. To realize my capacity for loving and caring for another is as much of an antidote for me as it is for him/her. Far enough to understand we weren’t made to go through life alone. As much as I think pulling away and pulling in will be the answer, reaching out may just be the better answer.

In the midst of worries, concerns, pain, darkness, struggles, I have a plan.

My plan …
Take stock of my multitude of blessings–literally too numerous to count once I really start looking. To courageously accept offers of help and/or of a listening ear. I really do not have to go it alone. And lastly, extend a hand to someone else. I say to you–I am here for you. I know if I just take that one little step and share my concerns/troubles/sorrows, you will listen and be there for me but I also know I can be there for you or someone else in need. I am fairly certain if we wait for all of our own tough stuff to pass before we reach out to help someone else, it will not happen. And I want it to happen.

So, as we exchange our standard pleasantries in passing, I want you to know, believe, and understand, I really see you. I know you are good, worthy, kind, caring, and you are doing the absolute best job you can. Sweet friend, you are enough and if you can’t see that right this minute, give me a call–I’ll set you straight.

With love, Kelly

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5 (NIV)

As always…a song for you. “I’ll be my brother’s keeper…” I like that idea.
Hold Us Together by Matt Maher (courtesy of youtube)

And…a little pick-me-up. I love this video. I watch it any time I need a little boost

“A little lump of coal that turns into a diamond”, Paul Potts. (courtesy of youtube)


Sticks and Stones…What a Joke

There are a lot of odd, what-the-heck-does-that-mean kind of sayings out there.  There are some good ones too.  I love it when my mom says, they were “hit with the same stick” in reference to similar behavior on the part of two (often related) parties–similar meaning as the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree maybe, but the visual of that stick walking up on it’s own accord and just whacking first one poor sap and then the other cracks me up for some reason.  “How do you like dem apples?” was a favorite of my grandpa’s and while I loved him, that was not one of my favorites (did not even make my favorites list–he did but the saying did not).  What are all those old sayings really though?  Break it down.  Words.  Just words strung together to make an impact.  Words….

The one saying that bothers me the most is that good (NOT) ol’ one “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”. Hate it.  No joke.  Where does it even come from?  Wellllll…as I was writing this, I decided to go back and see if I could trace it.  And what I discovered just makes me sad–really, really sad.  This saying dates all the way back to the 1860’s.  It was a phrase used by slaves to boost each other up.  They used it to assure each other that if their master yelled, called them names and/or said awful things to them, at least that would be better than being physically beaten.  Ugh.  Now I am just so very sorry that phrase ever come into being. And if you use the phrase from time to time, while I would first like to apologize for taking a stand on this one because stands scare me (they can be so alienating can’t they?), I would then ask you to reconsider, because that phrase my friends, is bogus.  It’s just SO not true.  I mean, I don’t think there is any way around the fact, that while words are not a physical beating, they cause pain.  Words…

In any form, they are POWERFUL.  Words can strike you down, build you up, take the edge off, fill you, mark you, maim you, boost you, break you, heal you, stick with you, stick to you, soothe you and just so you know…they can, and often do, hurt you.

Here is a bit of truth–risky, I know.  I recently celebrated a birthday, let’s say one that is somewhere “near” my early 30’s because my plan is to camp out there indefinitely.  You’re welcome mom–I mean if I just plant myself in the 32-33 region (no problem as long as no one sees me inside of 30 feet), that means you get to hang out in your 50’s and I am guessing you are okay with that.  (actually, she does look about 10-15 years younger than she is–if you ask me and you did, I heard you).  It will only get a bit awkward when my kids start passing me up in age.  Not sure how I will explain that but I’ll worry about it later.  I digress…a surprise I know.  Here’s the thing–I wasn’t having THE most fabulous day ever for whatever reason–doesn’t matter.  I did have the perfect surprise though which I am choosing to keep to myself for a bit to cherish it but other than that, I struggled.  I hesitate to reveal that fact without it looking like I am putting the cause directly on someone or without sounding like “oh, poor me” because that’s not what this is about.  It’s more of a longer-than-I-would-prefer rut…I think.  I mean I am not sure but I think that’s what it might be as the general feeling hasn’t completely dissipated.  So, what do you do when faced with a “rut” or a few tough days?  My advice, keep your eyes peeled for the life preserver some kind soul is inevitably going to chuck at you just when you need it most.  When you see it, snatch it up and don’t let go.

That’s exactly what happened on that birthday Sunday.  The life preservers just kept on coming.  Over and over until, instead of drowning, I was so buoyed, I was practically walking on water except I wasn’t because that joke isn’t really funny and I don’t do Jesus jokes.  I love him too much and I really do have my limits.  I mean I don’t want to risk walking out of here, mysteriously face planting on the ice and end up searching for my two front teeth in the snowbank just outside the door (I would assume that’s a little like a needle in a haystack kind of search) just for the sake of a joke.  Wait, what?  Did she just make a Jesus joke in the context of not making Jesus jokes.  I don’t know–she’s confusing and not really a point A to point B kind of girl so it’s tough to follow her thought process AND I think she’s had some caffeine today.

Where were we?  Oh yes.  Life preservers.

As I said, they just kept coming.  In the form of texts, emails, Facebook messages, cards…words.  And every one of those words held me together, filled me, moved me, made me smile, laugh and bawl like a 32-year old  (give or take) baby.  And after all the hoopla died down from celebrating that special, dare I say, 32 one more time, I have been going back to the words again and again.  There’s something there.  I can feel it.  I am sure of it. Something big.  Something good.  Something powerful.

Power in this instance comes in the form of choice.  You have a decision to make every time you use (or don’t use) words–in whatever form you convey them.  You are going to choose to use your words to either build someone up or take them down?  In truth, words can be easy.  They aren’t always, but they can be.  When sincere, they don’t cost you a single thing.  Insincere?  Well, I think insincere costs you a bit of your integrity and undermines the other person’s trust in you, but that’s just my take on it.

To use your words most effectively, you need to pay attention.  You can’t just offer up any ol’ thing and expect it to hit it’s mark if you aren’t aware of what’s going on in the other person’s life.  Well, you can but I am not sure it will carry as much weight if you do.  A well-timed, “hey, how are you” or “what happened there” or ” I am sorry”, may make all the difference.  It says to the other person, I see you.  And we all just want to be seen don’t we?  Not necessarily in the center-stage kind of way but just in the “You Matter” and “You Are Enough” kind of way.

I am so thankful for all the words poured out on me the other day and the many, many times family, friends, acquaintances and strangers have lifted and loved on me with their words.  Reaching out to someone else is such a selfless thing to do and since this blog is about working on my selflessness, maybe it’s time to redouble my efforts to encourage and lift others up.  Anyone else want to join me?  I am pretty sure we just need to pay attention.  Look closely at those we come into contact with today at the gas station or at the dinner table and see if just maybe, we might be able to offer up something to fill him/her?  Something simple that says I see you and you matter.

My mom and I text frequently.  She never seems to mind that I prefer to write a novella just about every time I text her.  She always writes me back and sometimes has her own little novella going on which makes me happy.  The other day she wrote the simplest thing though that filled me and hurt my heart (in a good way) so deeply.  We always write “love you” but this time she wrote, “love you forever”.  One little bonus word that I will literally carry with me from here on out.  I felt more whole with that one word.  Who can you offer that up to today?  It’s likely you have been sold some swamp land in North Dakota too (I mean there’s only drilling land there now right?) if some well-meaning person anted up the “sticks and stones”  bit and you BOUGHT that.  Don’t worry though, because I am pretty sure I was sold the land right next to you in some other “weapons of mass destruction” kind of way.  I’m an easy target–I think I was born with gills so just throw out your line, it’s likely I will bite.  My point is, that saying is baloney.  Words do make a difference.  Even in the context from which the phrase was created. I would never assume to know what it might be like to have to pick awful, hurtful, disgusting words over being beaten with a stick—not sure there’s a an actual choice there but either one is going to wound you deeply don’t you think?

Sometimes withholding a kind or comforting word speaks volumes more than actual words would.  Question your motives before you speak and question your motives if you think it but don’t express it.  Don’t question your motives if you don’t think it because that wouldn’t make sense and I like to make sense (contrary to popular belief).  Motives–they may be spot on but not always.  Also, keep in mind, sometimes, you have to be willing to make yourself vulnerable in order to reach out with words and that is risky…but so worth it.  It takes courage but that one act of courage could change someone’s life “forever”.  I say, let’s go for it.

Be aware.

Be courageous.

Be that life-preserver chucker–just don’t hit someone in the head with it, might not go over well.

Be that “I see you and you matter” kind of person.

Be that “I love you forever” kind of person.

I promise you will not regret it.  And for all those acts of kindnesses I experienced on my magical thirty-second birthday (because to be thirty-two again really would be magical), thank you so much.  You have no idea how greatly I appreciate it.  My heart thanks you.

And just a reminder lest you forget…you are enough!  Thank you, as always, for reading.  Now, go forward and multiply.  Yikes, no–that’s wrong.  Go forward and use your words to lift and encourage someone.  There we go. That’s it.

With love, Kel

p.s.  I can’t really leave you without a song can I?  Yes, I could but I’m not going to.  I love, love, love this song because I am a huge fan of John Legend, I am moved by the words, and it reminds me we need to keep fighting the good fight.  No matter how much we try to convince ourselves, we aren’t there yet. But, we can use our words to make a positive difference.

Glory by Common and John Legend (courtesy of youtube)


Addendum to A Confession (and Brian Williams)

An addendum…

It pretty much goes that way.  Every single time I post something, I will go back and reread it approximately seventy-three times looking for things to fix or change, which when added to the one hundred and twelve times I read the thing BEFORE I posted it, makes it crystal clear why nothing else is getting done in my life.

Not true, not true.  I wouldn’t want to be labeled as an embellisher of my own personal war stories.  Mainly because I don’t think embellisher is a word and also because I did get eight loads of laundry done the other day so that’s not nothing (but that is a double negative).  And while eight is not exactly twenty-eight (no discrepancy there), eight is still a pat-yourself-on-the back type of number if you ask me.  And could I just say, before I go any further, speaking of embellished war stories, I feel a little sorry for Brian Williams.  All the political, ethical, journalistic integrity, military “stuff” aside because it’s not really my style to weigh in on those kind of things–I really do feel a little sorry for him.  I started writing a post about him/the situation (in my head) and the title (in my head) was going to be…wait for it…

Liar, Liar Pants On Fire.  I have to say, that is a catchy title isn’t it?  Way, way better than Addendum to A Confession.  Yawn-city.  I would have skyrocketed way up to 14 readers with that title.  I am sure of it.  Well, pretty sure.  Instead of a separate post, I will just include my thoughts on Mr.  Williams here before I expound on the confession thing.

Here is the thing about Brian–I really think there is a little bit of Brian in most of us.  It’s the classic sunfish turned 15-pound walleye story we have all told on occasion.  Sunfish, while lovely to look at as you gut them and cut their heads off (great childhood memories), don’t really make anyone sit up and take notice in quite the same way as landing the “I could feed a family of eight with this baby” does.  Why in the world am I trying to use a fish analogy here?  How about the ever popular birthing story?  You know the twelve hours of epidural-hazed labor turned into twenty-three (I am loving these random numbers) hours of back-breaking, hard, physical labor and by hard physical labor I mean, the whole process culminated in a delivery on the dirt-floor of a lean-to I built sometime within that twenty-three hours…that kind of hard, labor.  There might be a touch of embellishing going on there.  Really?  Yes, really.  Truthfully, I am not even exactly sure of what a lean-to is but no matter.  While not even feasible, it would freak my kids out and provide just the right amount of guilt necessary to motivate (i.e. coerce) them into tackling their chore list.  If they started to complain about chores, I could just jump in with a–you want to know what a CHORE is, let me tell you about the day you were born…then watch them scatter like mice who just heard the clock strike one.

I realize Mr. Williams did what he did on a much larger scale but the gist of it is (the way I see it), on any level, embellishing your story undermines trust.  Anytime we embellish, fib, stretch the truth, LIE, whether it’s to the general public, your office staff, your followers on Facebook or instagram, your best friend, or the person you love most in the world, you run the risk of putting a significant dent in the very core of what keeps the relationship alive.  What do we really have if we don’t have trust.  Uhm…the answer to that was “Nothing, Kel.  We have nothing”.  You got that right.  Most of us realize that already so why do we do it?  Why risk it?

Do you guys remember my post from a really long time ago about believing you are enough?  (like two weeks ago) You can revisit it if you would like to ( Here ) and it’s a good one so why wouldn’t you read it again AND share it with others…a lot of others.  Seriously, why wouldn’t you?

The main point of that whole post that took me two days and 8,500, give or take, words to write was to start you thinking about the idea You Are Enough.  You really are.  No matter what’s going on in your life or where you have already been, it’s okay.  You are okay.  You are more than okay.  You are enough.  It’s such a great thought.  If only we would believe it.  I mean you can look at his “downfall” and think at some point, Mr. Williams bought into his own celebrity but, did he really?  I don’t believe that is the case.  If he was actually buying the product he was selling (himself), why would there be any need at all for beefing himself or his experiences up?  It sounds so very elementary but I think at the heart of it, he did it because somewhere along the way, he stopped thinking enough of himself (even though it looks like the complete opposite of that).  We could make a lot of arguments for why that reasoning is just too simplistic but I think if you take a hard look at every one of those arguments, and walk each one all the way back to its beginning, I think you would find at the center sits the  nagging sentiment “I am NOT enough.”  It’s the same reason any one of us would do or have done the same thing.

As much as you would like to shake your head at him (and believe me, I did…at first) or think that there is just this vast (almost insurmountable) difference between Brian Williams and us, maybe we need to ask ourselves if that is really true.  Betray the trust of millions or of one–does it really matter?  Our lives are built on relationships with others and no matter if we live on a grand or smaller scale (14 readers or 1,400), there is an irrefutable ripple effect when we damage the foundational trust in any relationship.

When we embellish, aren’t we really saying–this story is not good enough on it’s own and because I am a main character in this story, I guess that means I am not good enough either.  Anytime we lie to someone about who we are, it’s not for their sake is it?  It is because we don’t truly believe who we are will pass muster.  Take a close look at me and you might not like who you see so why don’t I throw in some smoke and mirrors–get you lost in the awesomeness of the story so you will forget to run a detailed inspection of me.  Twenty-three hours of lean-to building labor with a dirt floor delivery OR a passenger in a completely different helicopter–what’s the difference?  Sitting on Letterman in front of millions telling tall tales changes your legacy.  Sitting in front of my child telling tall tales changes my legacy.  And for what reason?

Brain Williams didn’t believe just being there was enough.  He didn’t believe he was enough exactly as it played out.  I mean he was on Letterman for goodness sake telling his story.  While that might happen in my imaginary life, that will never happen in my real life so why wasn’t that okay for him?  Why wasn’t just being himself on David Letterman enough?  I am sorry about that.  I really am.  As for me…I know that twelve hours of labor–epidural assisted or not (too personal-yikes) was enough.  I was there.  I lived it.  Believe me, it was enough all three times.  Helloooo?  The very logistics of the whole thing make me very secure in the knowledge that in that instance, “I Am Enough” exactly as it played out.  I really don’t need to pull out the whole lean-to building scenario to pad the story.  I get that.  But that doesn’t mean I am off the hook.  I know in the past, in some form, I have used the 15-pound walleye-like embellishment to help me out.  And maybe in the moment, I even got away with it but what did I really get away with?

You have to wonder, what was he thinking, how was he feeling every time he told the new and improved version of his story (and fyi, I think there are going to be more stories coming out down the road because why wouldn’t we, as a general rule, want to kick a guy when he’s down so as a public service let’s investigate every single report he ever gave and be sure to, ad nauseam, update the world on all the “discrepancies”).  Every time you sell yourself short (no matter how you disguise or package it), I believe you give a little piece of your true self away or at the very least, you blur the lines a bit.  You chip away at your own integrity and with that, begins a vicious cycle.  You need the souped-up version of you to get through the next Letterman appearance because if you weren’t enough before you reworked your own personal “war” story, you certainly aren’t going to be even close to enough the second time around.  Bummer.  Now I am going to have to add a bathroom in the lean-to for my next retelling complete with a whirlpool tub because I am sure at the time I was vacillating back and forth between a dirt-floor and a water delivery.  Water deliveries were all the rage at the time on that baby show on TLC and what else do you watch when you are pregnant?  Is that still on?  No idea.

So, here is the thing–I feel a little sorry for Brian Williams in a completely non-condescending “I have been there at some point in my life” kind of way.  The whole scenario begs the question–What if we were to make a concerted effort to speak  “You Are Enough” into the lives of those closest to us?  What a difference we could make.  What if we collectively stopped shaking our heads at Mr. Williams and instead started looking for opportunities to say no matter what helicopter you are in or no matter how big your walleye is or how much it happens to look like a SUNFISH, I will take you just the way you are.  I really will.  I said it before and I will say it again–You Are Enough–exactly at this moment.  Believe it about yourself (I insist) and then SHARE it with someone else (I don’t insist but I do beg because I am not above that).  Who can you build up today?  Start with yourself and watch that ripple effect unfold.  We live in a world that delights and works really hard at the tearing down.  What do you say we do it differently…together.

Which brings me to the title of this blog post.  In a nutshell, I have some really awesome people in my life.  Due to their kind words, I feel like I got a shot of “You Are Enough” right where I needed it (insert a Forest Gump-like accent as you say the words, in the buttock).  I am so grateful for that and for them.  With that said, I would like to clarify a little regarding my last post (A Confession And A Clean Kitchen).  As I was writing it, I had this recurring thought that I was pretty much talking out of both sides of my mouth.  I realized I was saying to you “You Are Enough” at the same time I was intimating (not so subtly) that I am not necessarily thinking the same about myself.  Or at least that’s the way it came across and it was confirmed in the loving emails that followed.  Here is where I am at with that–while it is true, historically speaking, I have not always been my own biggest fan, that isn’t really what I was thinking about as I wrote that post.  I am a work-in-progress on the whole idea of believing in myself but note in that description, there is the word progress.  I see things that are good, great even (I mean I do crack myself up sometimes so I’d say that is worth something), but  I also see things that, while good, can be worked and/or improved on.  I think you can believe You Are Enough and still feel motivated to step-up your game.  That is where I think I am at these days.  Feeling more than a little inclined to step-up my game.  I have never been afraid of taking a good, hard look at myself and deciding where I need to put a little more time and effort.  I won’t LIE and say I have always been kind to myself in those self-evaluations but I am getting better at it.  I often wonder if self-actualization can ever really be achieved (in a life-time) or if it is something we just need to keep working towards.  I kind of hope that I will get to keep working on it (as opposed to just giving up or not caring in the first place) at the same time I find a way to be at peace with the right now.  I ran across an article that I thought was good (and short) on the steps to take toward self-actualization ( 4 Steps to Self-Actualization ) and step four is “don’t stop growing”.  I like that.  I am good with that.  I am going to go with that.

To my dear friends (and my lovely mother who wasn’t buying the bill of goods I was trying to sell her in our post-blog/mortem discussion-kisses to you mama) who took a risk and asked the “hard” questions, thank you so much.  I have never questioned God’s goodness in so many things but one of the biggest is the loving friends He has gifted me with over the years.  I appreciate any and all feedback (or what I have gotten so far) but especially when it comes from a place of loving kindness.  You are awesome.  Seriously.

I ran across this Maya Angelou quote and it hit me a little hard (in a good way). I realized my last post was a bit like I was the naked person offering you my shirt (don’t go for any visuals there).  I wanted to share it with you and let you know that I clearly understand that I can’t very well say or believe one thing about you and something different about myself.  That doesn’t ring true.  The same should be said for you–believe you are enough and then you can give that same gift to others.

Maya Angelou

(Courtesy of meetville.com via Pinterest)

Just to make sure there is no confusion from this point forward and so I don’t need to write an addendum to the addendum…in case you are wondering–I Am Enough.  Have a wonderful weekend.  Be kind to yourself and then go one step further, look for the Mr. Williams in your life and make sure regardless of what happened to him on the ride or what condition he is in upon arrival, exactly as “he” is, IS enough.  With love, Kelly


A Confession and A Clean Kitchen…

The title of the blog is Breaking the Selfish Bone is it not? I mean isn’t that really what I have been after since the get-go? A less selfish life? On a mission towards selflessness. So, why am I not posting about that? How is it that things have shifted a bit to posts about gratitude and I am enough? If I stop to evaluate the whole thing–I can come up with a few good reasons. Reasons I want to share with you? Not really…not all of them. I will give you what I can–you decide if they hold any weight.

One reason is that I really do think we have to be completely immersed in grateful-living in order to do any and all parts of living justice. For it to be real, authentic, the best living must be centered around gratitude. It’s really the only way you can be sure your motives are pure and that we are doing what we are doing for the right reasons. Secondly and no less important, I really want you to know, believe, understand, and function from a place of “You are Enough” because you ARE. I see all that you are and celebrate it. You don’t have to be chasing and/or in possession of an ideal you in order to be considered worthy or of value. Was not the ultimate sacrifice given for you already a heck of a long time ago, how in the world could you not be of value? I like those two reasons–it’s important for you to know you are enough and to keep working on having a grateful heart. From gratitude, comes compassion and from compassion, comes kindness. We will keep talking about that “stuff”. Those reasons…I can share fairly easily. Well,those I can share.

To be completely forthcoming, on the why’s or why-not’s selflessness has been temporarily shelved, is going to require something I am more than a little afraid to let out. I mean that’s a cat that might claw a few eyes out once the tie is cut and she comes a’flying out of the bag. How do I share without losing all respectability? How do I be open and not look like a world class chump? Simply put, I don’t. So–while it may be in my best interest to be totally honest on this topic, I am not strong enough. In some weird way, I am a people pleaser to the nth degree and I just can’t risk being less than pleasing in your eyes. Because of that, I will hold back the actual evidence and simply lay it out as this regarding my journey towards selflessness…

I am failing.

Dang. I am failing and I am so very sad about that fact. I can’t write to you about being less selfish because to do so would be fraudulent. And that’s one thing I am not good at. I just don’t do it well. I can fool myself for a little while but then something pulls my head back out of the clouds and I clearly see the forest for the trees laid out in front of me. I guess I am lucky that way although it doesn’t feel so lucky all the time. My ultimate goals were/are to be a better wife and mother. Please do NOT go to the targeted subjects for a progress check–just don’t alright? Do that and I am guessing the next step will consist of you throwing fake blood all over my coveted fur coat from Burlington (any Office superfans?)–I’d do my best to convince you it’s faux fur but by that time, we will both know the truth and it will be too late. Talking the talk has to eventually become walking the walk doesn’t it–otherwise what good is it?

This sounds a bit silly but I firmly believe one of the steps necessary in living a more selfless life involves taking care of your physical being. I think (and not all will agree) to give your most-effective self to others, it’s in your best interests to eat “right” and exercise routinely. The better you feel, the better you are. My junior-high sweetheart and I crossed paths not too long ago. It happened to be in our kitchen because at some point, we decided it might be a good idea to just keep on keeping on with the whole romance thing. I would have to say it is working out pretty well for us so far twenty plus years into it–a gamble that paid off much better than the decade of perms I kept trying–perms on a gal with naturally curly hair in the 80’s bore a strong resemblance to a jacked up poodle with a mullet (a.k.a…big mistake). Anyway, the outcome of that clandestine kitchen meeting wasn’t just the usual “you take this kid here” and “I will get that one there” but on a whim we threw in a “hey, let’s go gluten, dairy and soy free and see if we survive”. We like to live dangerously that way. Other than the fact we seem to be starving most of the time, it’s actually going fairly well. The reasoning behind it was basically we have both been feeling physically yucky (had to dig deep into my extensive vocabulary for that descriptive adjective) for quite some time. And straight up, we are sick of feeling sick. So, why not try something different? A complete 180-degree difference. We are easy like that.

Eating counter-culture requires a bit of planning and a LOT of time. I was hoping this was because it was new for us but five months into it and the time thing is still a factor. It is tricky to figure out “on-the-go” foods for a family who is not only on-the-go but pretty much has already gone most of the time. We are feeling better though, slowly but surely, so we will keep working on it. I don’t really think lifestyle changes are meant to be quick and easy–undoing years of anything is more of a process consisting of forward and back again progress. What’s my point? I think I have to ask that in every post I write just so you don’t get nervous and assume I have totally forgotten where I started or where I am heading. I can always get back to it, I just prefer to take the long way around.

I found a really good cookbook I have been doing most of my cooking from. It’s Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain Meals Made Simple ( Against All Grain). LOOOOOVE it. Everything I have made from this book has tasted great (honest) and has been well received by my family. Maybe in another post I will let you know what I have made and critique the process but for now, I think it’s time to reveal the truth. The truth about my kitchen and about selflessness.

The truth is, I am a mess. I am trying a new way of life and some days it goes really well but a whole lot of days it doesn’t. One day I plan ahead. I make my list, I go to the three different grocery stores (where are you Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, curse you and your prejudices against small cities lacking adequate centrally located land for building a new facility, curse you), spend hours in my kitchen, cooking and cooking and cooking and twice that many hours cleaning up the resultant mess. The very next day I chuck a box of Frosted Flakes (narrowly missing someone’s head because I have really bad aim) in their general direction and call us even. I mean, look at all this effort I put forth for YOU today–that should give me a pass for at least the next three days shouldn’t it? I am tired, give me a pass. Where is my pass?

I am pretty sure as I venture down this path towards selflessness, the only way to find a pass is to turn around and head in exactly the opposite direction. In other words, I don’t think walking the walk along the selflessness path is going to yield too many passes. At some point, if selfless is who you want to be (or get as close to it as possible) when you finally arrive at your destination, maybe it’s time to quit looking for the pass and just do the dang work. And by YOU, I mean ME she shouted with rising panic and despair in her voice (not really, just being dramatic plus my kids are still in bed so, no way I am risking waking those sleeping giants on a vacation day).

Back in the day, when I was a charge nurse on a super-busy unit (aren’t they all?), I did quite a bit of delegating, you had to in order to get the work done. But my nurse manager was such a great example, she was a “delegating do-er” and I tried to follow that lead. She was telling you what to do at the same time she was pitching in and running her scrubs right off helping whoever needed it. Where is she now? I need to search Facebook for her and try to let her know she was a wonderful example to many of us–I’ll let you know if I find her. I have to be honest and say, you could spot the work-averse (hate to say the l-a-z-y word) nurse from a mile away–or at least from the end of the hallway to the nurse’s station. There weren’t many but once in a while one would pop up. He/she was the one you delegated a task to and they would then expend more time and energy looking for someone else to do the job for them (most likely candidate was the nurse’s aide–I was one of those once too so I speak from experience) than if they just did it themselves. Now, before anyone thinks any differently of me, I totally get there are times when finding help is very necessary, when you just can’t get to all that needs to be done, when if you can’t find that aide–the task is going to set you back way longer than you can allow, when someone else needs something of a higher priority–it’s all there and I get it. I lived it.

Just as I am living this whole wife and mom thing–not to mention daughter, sister, friend, cousin, niece, aunt thingy as well. And maybe, just maybe, I am on to something with this whole example deal. When you really think about it, any time you are doing something that affects others (uhm…I think that would be always), you are setting an example–good or not-so-good. I have had many, many really good–great in fact–examples given to me: my grandmother, my parents, my in-laws, my husband, my dearest friend of thirty plus years. JUST to name a few so don’t get all riled up thinking I don’t see what a great example of selflessness, of working hard, of giving it your best you are–I see you. I appreciate you. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I really do. Bottom line, I think it means I am not and don’t have to walk this selflessness path alone. I can take all those great examples right along with me for inspiration and motivation. Much less lonely that way.

My parents gave me some great advice along the way and some not so good stuff too–although that was mostly from my dad and went something along the lines of “go play in the street but wait for some traffic”. Nice. The greatest advice though I took from them really boiled down to “a job worth doing is worth doing right…the first time” and here’s the thing–they LIVED it (and still do). They don’t just do it right, they give their best effort as well. There was no doing it half-way, doing just enough, or taking a pass for them and while that might have driven me a little batty as a kid, I fully appreciate the example now.

So…here is what I want you to see when you think of me…




This is my kitchen. I love it here, their are views from all three sides. I can stand at the sink washing dishes (not at the time these were taken because it was VERY late and thus…dark) looking out in every direction except behind me which makes sense considering I am not an owl and cannot turn my head 360 degrees. Technically, neither can owls. Only 270 degrees but apparently, it’s in both directions so I guess I will give the 360-thing to them. Anyway, I love the views. In the spring when all the trees have budded, it feels like I am living in a tree house designed by Treehouse Masters from the Discovery Channel. But here, it was night–no views and I was still in a state of bliss because it was all so clean. Ahhhhh. Perfect. This is the kitchen I want you to see. And this is what my kitchen looks like exactly three percent of the time.



Here is what it looked liked three hours before the above photos and what it looks like after spending ALL day cooking these new recipes and what it looks like a WHOLE lot of days…












A mess on every inch of counter space. A mess ninety-seven percent of the time.

A mess, but real.  Or a real mess.  However you want to say it.  What it really is I guess, is it’s just me. Messy ninety-seven percent of the time. I have had my head in the clouds for a while but something recently pulled me back and I can now see the counter for the dishes. I don’t think that sentence really works but decided to try it anyway as I don’t really get the whole forest for the trees saying.  Sometimes I use cliches and phrases I am not too certain of and silently hope no one on the other end is thinking “what in the world is she talking about?”  So, to lay it all out–this post isn’t officially about our gluten-dairy-soy free lifestyle change (I refuse to call it a diet) and it’s not really about my kitchen either although I would say it was a spot-on analogy of my selflessness journey.  Clean kitchen = the me I want people to think I am.  Mess of kitchen = the me I really am.  I guess if I am having to explain the analogy again, maybe it wasn’t spot on…just sayin’.

The real reason you haven’t been hearing much about the actual breaking of the selfish part of me is I am not really doing it. Maybe I am afraid I am going to hurt myself? Or maybe-gasp-I have been so busy looking in every nook and cranny for the aide to get Mr. So-and-So out of bed for a walk, I completely missed the fact I could do it myself. Way to tie in the whole nursing thing Kelly. I know right? I am not who I want to be and to get there is going to take hard work and maybe some time with a bedpan or two (second nursing reference-wow).   I had and HAVE great, great examples of what it means to not only work hard but of what selfless looks like.  I would really like to get to the place where I can share some of my progress or maybe that’s not really what this is supposed to be about–I don’t know.  We’ll see how it feels when we get there.

I had a moment yesterday when this all came crashing in on me.  I was overwhelmed by the feeling that I want my kids to turn out a certain way but I am not modeling that for them.  I am thankful it went down the way it did even though I was crying in the middle of my favorite coffee shop (see previous post somethin’ or other about some music).  And I am thankful to my dear sweet friend who listened, understood and didn’t try to make it better for me in an inauthentic way.  She just made it better for me because she loves me.  It’s so great to have people like that in your life.  Who trust your gut in this and offer you support but not excuses–who love you even when you are choosing to show them the mess on your countertops instead of the magazine-ready version of you.

There you go…confessions and a clean kitchen (three percent of the time).  Thanks for sticking with it.  I will leave you with a song as I am prone to do.  I did google to see if the wedding crashing was legit and apparently it was–it is so fun to see how everyone responded and can I just say–not with every single resource known to man could I have looked even half as good as those brides on my wedding day–wow!  So much fun. Warning–one swear word–I think–but my hearing is not so great anymore maybe because I listen to Maroon 5 way too loud so there may be more. And on that note, crank it up!

Sugar by Maroon 5 (courtesy of youTube)

Have a wonderful week and know that whatever you are trying to do that means anything–lead a more selfless life, center yourself on gratitude, believe You Are Enough, make a lifestyle change–it won’t always be easy.  It WILL take hard work and perseverance but there are examples of success all around you to follow.   Look for them.  Research them.   Thank them.  Get to know them.  You don’t have to go it alone.  And, please let me know if I can help in anyway.  With love, Kelly

p.s. Thank you mom and dad (not for the instructions on how to get the most out of my playtime but for the other stuff).


It Always Comes Back to the Music Doesn’t It?

Music takes you back.  Lights you up.  Moves you forward.

I am not one of those who can recall all the lyrics, artists, what I was doing the year the song was written like some (cough, cough, dear sister-in-law).  But I can be stirred–overtaken by the beat, the rhythm, the voice, the emotion-evoked, the sheer talent of musicians/artists.  Music–such an unbelievable gift. I don’t know if I will be able to put adequate words to it. So, why even try?  Not sure.  A thought comes and sometimes I just go with it–to be clear, I make no promises as I do.

I am at my favorite writing place.  Best coffee (almond milk for my latte. Really?  Life is good isn’t it?), great atmosphere, old brick walls, wood floors, exposed beams, hipster kind-of-place which really is the closest I am going to get to hipster at this point in my life.  By-the-by when did “yuppie” become a complete dis and “hipster” a way of being worth chasing? And believe me, I am chasing it (looks a lot like a dog chasing it’s tail I am sure)

Queen City Bakery




Okay–not really the best pictures but I was trying to move quickly and discreetly (while taking shots with a not-exactly-tiny iPad) so as to not look like a total weirdo taking pictures of strangers. FYI–I love the Schoolhouse Electric looking lights (School House Electric) juxtaposed with the bling of the chandelier. Special place in my heart for Schoolhouse Electric. I have three of these babies in the mudroom School House Electric Newbury illuminating my path toward the eternal abyss we also refer to as the laundry. One is actually burnt out now and I am a little afraid I won’t be able to find my way back out of that black hole.

What’s your point commander…she has no point, she often has no point (what movie?). I would have to say sitting here with my coffee and computer–rubbing shoulders with hipsters and the wannabe’s (although I do think just being here gives those wannabe’s more than a little hipster creds). Something about here makes me feel a little bold and isn’t that what I am after? I am calling it the BBB mission–Bringing Back the Bold (in case you missed it, I posted about it here. Makes me want to hop up and go meet some of these people. Find out why they are here, what are they working on, what do they hope to do with their lives, what kind of difference are they making in the world, and do they need me to be their new best friend?

Now, I wouldn’t want to label myself or anything like that but sociophobe (which is definitely a notch above sociopath wouldn’t you say?) comes to mind when I am feeling less than generous about myself. And can I just tell you, as I was googling to see if sociophobe is a word, I ran across something called phone phobia. Holy Hannah–is there such a thing? It appears that yes, there is. Let me just add a great, big whoohoo to that! There is an actual TERM for what I have. I mean, being just a girl (relatively speaking) standing in her kitchen profusely sweating and deep-breathing through runs of tachycardia whenever the phone rings is not nearly as cool or reassuring as being able to give myself an actual label. I mean where would we be without our labels? Just a girl right? Who wants to be just a girl when she can be a phone-phobic girl. I should just stop here because this little discovery has literally made my day. To know there are enough people out there who have this “phone thing” makes me feel slightly less alone (i.e. odd) and more like I am now a part of this special club like Mathletes or The Debate Team. Did I mention life is so good. I said I should stop here, I didn’t say I was going to.

Here is the thing–this place (Queen City Bakery) boosts my boldness ever so slightly but then, I put my earbuds in, download some new music and lose myself even a little more in the sheer fabulousness of the whole scenario. More to the point, I believe it is gratitude packaged as fabulousness. Don’t miss that. I can’t overlook my surroundings (I didn’t even mention the amazing treats they serve) and thus, miss that gratitude sits at the heart of it all. Gratitude…and music. Grateful to be sitting here, in this place, at this time (of the day and in my life), metaphorically rubbing hipster shoulders (because any literal sense of the idea could lead to a restraining order), sipping my almond milk latte and losing myself in my playlist. Ah yes, we are now back where we started. The music. It’s all about the music. It’s all about hearing the music. It’s all about hearing the music and taking in every stage-setting detail you possibly can.

The thing about music is, it offers something for everyone. You don’t have to be pigeon-holed into one type, one genre, one-hit, one rhythm, one artist, or even one decibel level. I honestly had the thought the other day (not my only thought mind you just the only one I am going to share) I wonder if listening to my earphones at this volume is going to make me lose my hearing earlier than I originally predicted (it’s not a matter of if anymore, just when) and then I actually followed it up with–is it possible that it’s totally worth it? Yes, yes it is. Turn it up! I wish you could see my playlist right now. Well, I sort-of wish. Ok-no, I don’t wish it at all. Music is so very personal. Sharing your playlist requires a certain level of vulnerability (i.e. courage) and I am not sure we know each other well enough yet for me to risk it. Well, actually, the only people reading this, most likely do know me and I am not willing to be that open even with you people so…there you go. You are as apt to get details on my i-Tunes life as you are on my s-e-x-life (I can only spell that word now that my kids completely freak out if anyone actually says it)–although why you would want details on the second might be more than enough reason to end this, at-times, tenuous relationship. I mean I am “desperate” to increase readership of Breaking the Selfish Bone, but there are degrees even in desperation and I am just not THAT desperate to keep you. Good grief…I am off on some serious tangents today. Might as well add one more into the mix.

I really have to, one hundred percent, thank my parents for their huge contribution to my love of music…all kinds of music. I am indebted to them for this (along with a few other things). Radio, records, 8-tracks, cassette’s, CD’s, videos–whatever it was or is, we were allowed to meet it head-on. A full, rock-the-house/car, blast if you will. No one was telling my sister and I to turn that “junk” down. We got to explore, experiment with and fully enjoy the gift of music. They must have been rockers in their own right pre-kids (rumor has it all parents were young once–who knew?). Rocking to Johnny Mathis (I would ask if you can actually rock to Johnny but that might sound a bit judgmental) and whoever else might have been floating their boats back in the day. I would actually like to know that–I’ll ask them and get back to you. Focus Kelly, focus. So–again, music evokes gratitude…it allows me to immerse myself in my surroundings, tap my foot with gusto (much to the chagrin of my next-door table) and reminds me (like I need it) of how much I LOVE my parents. I believe music has kept them young (that and laughter). It also makes me curious as to how it is they were both gifted with such beautiful singing voices (memories of standing next to them in church as they belt out any ol’ hymn brings tears to my eyes) and my sister and I got zip. Nothing. Nada. I mean seriously, we can’t carry a tune in our own homes let alone out the front door (sorry stace but you know it’s true). That might be sad except for the fact, it doesn’t really matter with music. You can fool all kinds of people if you just turn it up loud enough. Not to mention, until they reach a certain age, your kids don’t know any better and they think your rendition of On Top of Old Smokey just couldn’t get any better…grammy worthy in fact (if they had any idea what a Grammy was–speaking of, was this year’s show deemed “the year of the slowest songs ever” intentionally or did it just turn out that way? Love the Grammys but whole lotta ballads going on there which makes it tough to shake your groove thing). And by the time your kids know the truth, your main objective should be to embarrass them as much as possible anyway so why not continue to belt it out whether you have the chops or not? I say, go for it.

What does this all have to do with boldness and believing you are enough? I don’t have the first ding-dang clue. I just know, when I allow myself to slow down, to take in my surroundings, to immerse myself in the song, I feel like conquering something. I feel like pushing forward, working harder, engaging, connecting with others, touching my husband gently on the back of the neck, dancing all loosey-goosy with my kids, telling my parents I love them, laughing at how many times my sister would say–you HAVE to listen to this song, you will love it and fyi, I did NOT just as she rarely loved my song choices either (history seems to be repeating itself with my oldest standing in for my sister). Through music, I feel connected–to other people, to myself, to my surroundings, to the vibrations coursing through life. Make no mistake, music is a gift. Because of it, my gratitude overflows and my foot taps.

I urge you to sit for a minute, allow yourself to slow down, find your own playlist, turn it all the way up, sway gently or go all out loosey-goosy. You won’t regret it.

So, here’s the connection. I am working on believing in myself, believing I am enough. And hoping to push you towards the same belief in yourself. Or if you already have it, just reinforcing it, boosting it up a little. Recapturing the boldest parts of you and giving them center stage again. But how do you even begin to do that? Where do you start? I truly believe that at the center of the boldness sits gratitude. Gratitude for this very moment, this very space, these exact circumstances. This moment, space and circumstances make up our own unique playlists and sometimes, we just need to move and groove regardless of which song is playing. I know the circumstances can be so, so, so tough sometimes but trust me when I say, they will only last for a song or two and eventually, a new song comes along. The only issue I have with that is if we spend the whole time wishing for the next song to come along, we completely miss the rhythm, the beat, the lyrics of the one that is currently playing. At the very least, if we fail to be thankful for what’s playing now (no matter how slow that Grammy song is), we won’t ever be able to experience the full capacity of gratitude. We’ll just be glad the next song came on but not over-the-moon, head-over-heels, gusto foot tapping, coo coo for cocoa puffs kind of gratitude. And that’s the kind of gratitude that emboldens you–makes you want to share it. I mean it is taking all I have right now to not jump up and exuberantly hug the next person that walks by just because. It’s heart filling, over-flowing, gratitude that helps get you through and to understand, this too shall pass. That no matter the length of the song, YOU ARE ENOUGH to not only see it through until the next one comes on, but to listen closely, to catch the rhythm, to be grateful the song is playing at all and maybe even to tap your toe once in a while.

It always comes back to the music doesn’t it?

I leave you with this gift I found today. If you tell me you don’t totally love it, we are over (not really, I have absolutely no control over that. Not that or over over my kids either. Oh-oh, I’m getting depressed…putting this song on continuous replay now). Here it is (listen all the way to the end to hear what Dave says). Enjoy.

Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear (video from the Letterman show courtesy of youTube)

Have a great day! Find someone to share some music and this post with and to let them know they are enough.
With love, Kelly

p.s. here is a really good article on this singing duo if you have time. Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear
LOVE reading/discovering things like this.

Minneapolis people, someone needs to get Madisen and his Mama to Hell’s Kitchen (Hell’s Kitchen) to play for Sunday brunch–to hear them and for the lemon-ricotta pancakes, I would most definitely make the drive.


Hey–Whatever Happened To That One Girl?

Do you know?  Do you remember her at all?

I certainly do.

She was in a word…Bold.

I am sure of it.

I don’t know if her parents and sister would agree or not on the bold part.  Actually, I think her sister would and then her sister would tell her to stop talking in the third person because in this instance, it comes off a tad highfalutin AND no one her age and with that wackadoodle of hair should ever dally in the realm of highfalutin.  That’s the great thing about siblings–they are most often the ones we unleash our true selves upon and let the chips–good, bad, or otherwise–fall where they may.  Luckily, my sister and I had a greater number of good chips than the bad or otherwise.  Truth be told, back in the day, I was more than a bit quirky (polite term for weird) and I think she was more than a bit tolerant.  Worked out well for me though, especially when I exceeded (and then some) the limit of minutes allowed disrupting her aloooonnneee time with her boyfriend.  I was doing stand-up for an audience of two and noone was throwing rotten tomatoes at me, not fresh ones either–go figure.  I would get on a roll and could NOT bring myself to break away.  Worked great for my parents too–I provided a built-in chaperone for the whole hormonally-charged scene and for whatever reason, neither my sister nor her beau ever made me feel like I was seriously cramping their style.  The boyfriend just chuckled–that’s how I remember it or remember him–no belly laugh, snort, guffaw or chortle from that guy–just understated subtly (is that redundant?).  Quiet little chuckles from him and outright laughter from her.  Oh yea, and no tomatoes.  Emboldening.

I miss that girl.

Bold, full of life, who-gives-a-rip, stand-up comic kind of girl.  She might not have shone like a beacon at all times, in all situations but–she was there.  I promise you.  Hanging out, ready to break into song and/or dance with minimal provocation (all it took was the first few bars of any song on the Grease soundtrack and look out, but don’t judge her, it also worked with Meatloaf and Foreigner).  I am sure she made her presence known to the outside world if not on a regular basis, at least enough to reassure herself it was okay to be seen, to be heard.  For jokes, stories, thoughts, opinions to be released from captivity and shared with someone other than her sister.  On occasion, she would hold back a few of those thoughts and put them in that internal hide-out migrating between her head and her heart–the same place she now stock-piles a truckload of jokes, stories, thoughts and opinions as they perpetually come into being.  The hide-out, a vast space created for the sole purpose of self-protection.  And just out of curiosity, when did it go from being just a handful of hidden thoughts to an entire semi-truck?  And WHEN did that boldness high-tail it across the border to Canada in search of some hot-looking, French-speaking dude to whisper sweet nothings to her.  And I mean sweet nothings–as long as he is speaking French, who cares what he is actually saying.  In case you didn’t catch it the first time.  I.  Miss. That.  Girl.

I have this great group of high school girls I have been “working” with over the last year and a half and without going into a ton of detail–basically, I am trying to increase their awareness of that bold, full-of-life, confident, amazing, young girl inside each of them.  My hope is that by increasing awareness of her, it will decrease the chance they will eventually just let her go (and by let her go I mean stop believing in her).  That instead, they will work to tighten their grip on her.  And that no matter how much negative self-talk and/or outside influences try to pry those fingers free, they will hang on.  They will fight for her.

Now, I can only speak to the young girl in each of us women, so would love to know if it is true of men as well.  But until then, here is what I can give you.  I see who we once were.  Who I once was.  Sweet girl.  A little thing, standing in the midst of the tall grass in a wide-open field.  Scraped knees, barefoot, stubbed toes, wild-hair, sun-kissed cheeks, arms splayed wide, face lifted to the sky, turning in circles with unfettered abandon.  Not only embracing the world but shouting out to the world, “Here I am. Embrace Me…because, well, why wouldn’t you?  I am Fabulous.  I am Amazing.  I am All That–simply because I am here and I am spinning!”  Do you see her?  She’s the same one that stands in front of the tomato-less audience of two saying “I am Clever.  And Funny.  And Confident.  And Unafraid.  I am All That–simply because I am here.”  She is the one that says…

I Am Enough.

I Am Enough.

I Am Enough.

Have you ever told yourself that?  Have you ever told yourself that and believed it?  Try it.  Literally.  I mean it.  Get up (after you finish reading this WHOLE thing of course).  Stand in front of the mirror (full length if you can).  Make direct eye contact and don’t let go–no shifty eyes here.  Hang on as you repeat those three words–I Am Enough–in your head, pushing away all others trying to crowd them out.  Then whisper it to yourself over and over.  Keep after it until it’s no longer a whisper, just a simple statement of fact.  A statement of fact that packs an enormous punch–powerful enough to take down the rather tenacious negative self-talk AND that from outsiders.  A statement of fact powerful enough to bring back the Bold.  I tried it.  Over and over again, I said the words to myself and even though I wasn’t standing in the middle of a field spinning in circles (hard to make eye contact in a mirror that way) with my arms splayed wide, something amazing happened.  My focus began to shift from my stick-a-finger-in-a light socket hairdo to the words I was whispering and well…my heart just sort-of broke open.  A crack.  So, I kept going and ta-dah (pronounced TA-dahhhhhh!!!!)…Wide Open.  Ouch.  Seriously, it hurt.  Wide open reveals wounds–some fresh, some long scarred over.  Wide open reveals falsehoods, misconceptions and layers of gunk (for lack of a better word) in what appear to be all the ways in which we tell ourselves we are not enough (did I mention the light socket thing?).   Wide open makes you realize you rarely hear from others the actual words “You Are Enough” and you certainly don’t say them to yourself.  Wide open makes you cry and maybe begin to heal.  So I say again…Try It.

I Am Enough.

Oh honey, Yes You Are.

I like to show the  high school girls youtube videos, great quotes, inspirational and motivating clips to add to whatever we are discussing that week.  And they allow me to do it.  Did I forget to mention they are awesome?  As I was researching videos to support this recurring thought of I Am Enough, something wonderful happened.  I “stumbled” in a there-are-no-coincidences kind of way across a song, which led me to a band, then a youtube video, a website, another youtube video and then, well what do you know…a talking mirror.   I am persistent like that.  I start with a nagging thought and I don’t quit until the end result is a talking mirror.  Check it out and then let’s discuss.

The Mrs. band courtesy of youtube

A couple of things about this video struck me.  One was that The Mrs., while they are all outwardly beautiful, are more importantly, focused on helping women see their own inner beauty and they are using what they are passionate about, their music, to do it .  A group of women lifting up other women, showing them that exactly who they see in the reflection is beautiful AND is enough.  And let’s be honest, we need MORE of that, women supporting, celebrating, and lifting up other women.  And two, did you catch the ages of the women standing in front of the mirror?  It’s not the teenage girl, although I am sure there were some of those along the way but it was adult women–of ALL ages in this video.  That’s what really hit me.  It isn’t just the teenage girl who struggles with believing in herself.  It isn’t just the teenage girl in need of hearing those three words.  Saying those words.  Believing those words.  We all do.

Just to clarify…for me personally, I am not saying “I Am Enough” apart from God or my faith and that I don’t need Him or anyone else for that matter.  That just wouldn’t make sense–especially considering the high school girls and I meet for a BIBLE study.  I understand and believe He isn’t waiting for me to become the perfect package first (thank goodness), but meets me right where I am and loves me beyond what I can even comprehend–light-socket hair and all.  Really, is there anything more emboldening than that?  But, I think what happens is I (I, meaning just about every single woman out there) lose site of that.  At times, I get it in my head but not always in my heart or vice-versa.  Somewhere along the way, that little girl who is standing in front of the world saying “Here I am and aren’t I amazing?!” eventually loses some or all of that belief.  It gets covered up, buried, or even worse, stripped away by life.  And the “Aren’t I all that” turns into the “I Am not even close to all that because”…

Cue the gamut of because’s..

too big, too little, too slow, not smart enough, too clumsy, not funny enough and are those tomatoes behind your back, hair is too curly or too straight or “worse” yet somewhere in between, jean size isn’t small enough, shoe size isn’t big enough, didn’t make the right team, not strong enough, tall enough, fast enough, eyes are wonky, voice is babyish, hair is too short (I still remember the hunky boy who broke up with me in 5th grade because of it), nose is too big, lips too small…you are all going to be checking out those things on me now aren’t you?  And that’s just some of the stuff that happens as you less than gracefully trip over your own feet in an attempt to saunter smoothly through the teenage years (notice I did NOT mention bra-size…ugh.  We will not go there.  You’re welcome).

Good news though–I have hope.  I really do.  Why couldn’t we just ban together to encourage these teenagers (girls and boys) to hang on tightly to the bold little thing they once were?  FIGHT for it.  We could introduce the concept of “I Am Enough” and help them see that no matter how they played in the game, or scored on that test, or who likes or doesn’t like them, or who put the chia pet on her head and called it hair, exactly who they are is enough.   Who knows, maybe in the process, we start hearing, believing and applying the words like a salve to our own wounded selves.  Did you hear me?  I said FIGHT for it.  (I am shouting now but it’s in a babyish voice so don’t get too offended).  Don’t let all those things that you not only tell yourself but so does society, and the well meaning friend, hot boy in 5th grade (you know who you are but you’re not reading this anyway so it’s all good), best-of-intentions (literally) parents, teachers or coaches, or jokey jokerson at the high school basketball banquet who gag gifts you with an ace bandage (don’t ask–years later and that wound is still fresh) take you down.  Don’t allow yourself to stock-pile who you are or once were into that internal hide-out.  Don’t do it.  If not for who you are now, for who you will be one day…

One day most of you will be a wife.  A mother.  (I am back to talking to the females here just so there’s no confusion).  And thus begins a part of your life that is fraught with self-doubt, second-guessing, a multitude of humbling experiences (e.g. full blown tantrum smack dab in the middle of the mall with no preconceived exit strategy), body morphing, role-shifting, character building, faith-challenging experiences.  The vast majority of which, chip away at the few remaining remnants of the “I Am Enough” campaign slogan running through your head until there is very little of that bold young girl left.  And man, she was a sight to behold.

Do you remember that girl?

I do.

And just so you know, I am going back for her.

If I had been thinking ahead when I left her on the side of the road, I  would have done so with the parting directive to “Stay alive no matter what occurs.  I will find you” but you know the whole hind-sight thingy, not to mention, Daniel hadn’t gifted me with that perfect scene (perfect except for the fact he had his shirt on) until AFTER I kicked my bold little self to the curb (albeit gently and with a stash of m & m’s and dr. pepper for sustenance).  I digress.

As I said, I am going back for her and I have a plan. But that is for another day.  For now, I leave you with this and the hope that you will pass the message on to someone you cross paths with this very day…

My dear friend, You Are Enough.

With love, Kelly

And just in case you missed the whole Daniel thing–I leave you with this gift

The Last of the Mohicans

p.s. I have not forgotten about the give-away…it’s coming

p.p.s. a big shout out to my sister (I said shout out, not shout at…important distinction) for the time we laughed our heads off because “we” drove away with the canister from the drive-through at the bank, it wasn’t easy running back to return it while laughing hysterically (FYI–it did not go unnoticed that somehow I was the one who had to return it) AND also for letting me entertain you and Christopher LEE without ever feeling like my title of “Quirky Little Sister” could have just as easily have been “Third Wheel Weirdo”.

p.p.p.s  Check out The Mrs Band on Facebook, @themrsband, #themrsband.  Also, check out another amazing lady, Teri Johnson.  I met her years ago through our lovely, dear, mutual friend Deanna.  Teri has such a great spirit and energy and she IS making an impact!  Keepingitpersonal.com, #TeriJohnson, @Teri_Johnson and listen to her on KIPRADIO.com.  Coincidently (as in there are none), Teri recently interviewed members of The Mrs. Band on her radio show.  You can listen here http://kipradio.com


Love This Quote…

Maya Angelou

image courtesy of https://twitter.com/Quotelmages

I saw this Maya Angelou quote (posted by Maria Shriver on fb) not too long ago and it immediately effected me. Well, actually, I am effected by just about every one of Maya Angelou’s quotes but this one is sticking with me a little longer than most things do…making me think…to wonder.

I wonder what if? What if we simply offered this understanding to each other? I don’t have to know the exact superstorm of the other person–but to know as I look directly and fully into the eyes of the person across from me, that he/she harbors the pain and hurt that comes simply from navigating life’s journey. What would that understanding look like?  Open.  Soft.  Gentle.  Giving.

At the heart of understanding stands awareness.  And awareness, wrapped in any packaging, is a gift.

Awareness yields compassion. Compassion yields kindness.

Maybe if we were to decide collectively to offer this up to each other, we could create a paradigm shift grand enough to infuse generations with a true understanding and example of the power of kindness and compassion.  The power is evident as judgment gets shoved aside, bested for bigger and better things.  There just isn’t space for judgement and compassion to hole up together.  Maybe initially they can co-habitate but, eventually, one or the other is going to dominate.

The beauty in that is I get to choose.  I can choose awareness.  I can choose understanding.  I can choose compassion.  I can choose kindness.  It is completely up to me and even though I realize it isn’t always an easy thing to do, there is a freedom in choosing.  It means I am not at the mercy of some emotion or outside influence when I just choose to believe the best in you; to see your superstorm no matter how it manifests or how deeply it may be buried.

So, to be clear…let me say to you directly, I choose understanding.  I choose you.  With love, Kelly

One last quote (a favorite) in honor of this man and his special day…

Martin Luther King Jr.

courtesy of lovethispic.com


I Got Dinged Today…

And bottom line, it stinks. So, now what?

Really…now what?

I think it’s safe to say, most of us are not getting up every morning and setting our intention at “I am going to seriously mess with someone today”. Are we? I think not. I know for me, if I can pull back long and far enough from the immediate to-do list that lights up in my head as soon as my eyes pop open, I do my best to make space for some really good (dare I say great) intentions. I am going to do my best today–whatever that might mean. As a mother, a wife, just a gal in the car lane at school or the somewhat harried one in the express checkout at the grocery story. I mean I never intend to have 18 items in the 12-item or less lane with only 5 minutes to spare. I aim to be better than that but as life goes, my aim falls short (or hits my neighbor’s house) at times. And I am guessing yours does too every so often. I want you to know that about me. I know it about you but truthfully, I forget sometimes and for that, I apologize.

I have been working on something that is quite honestly, based on those best of intentions I just mentioned. I found out recently that those intentions have been perceived a “bit” differently than I anticipated they would. That’s the dinged I am talking about. And it’s that dinged that smarts more than a little. So now what? What do I do with this?

I think I have a few options. I could crawl into the corner, curl up in a ball and lick my wounds for an extended period of time. Enticing? Yes. Effective? Not so sure–I mean who would order the pizza for supper? I could rail against the pure injustice of it all. Enticing? No–I don’t like confrontation. Effective? An even bigger No–what actual purpose would that serve? Or, I could take out a full page ad in the paper defending and explaining my best-of-intentions. Enticing? Uhm…not in the least bit–it’s already hard enough to put my words on this blog and that’s with only three people reading it. Effective? Who cares, not going to happen. I am thinking none of these are really great options. So what is?

Have you ever been asked to figure out what an image is that has been zoomed in on many times over? They (who’s they) then scale it back a little and ask you again to take a guess at what it is? I am always amazed at what the image actually turns out to be when you pull all the way back. More often than not, the image is nowhere close to what you thought it was but you don’t figure that out until you take into account the whole thing. The whole picture. We–and by we, I mean Mike–typically refer to this around here as Big Picture thinking. He’s seriously great at it. Over time, I have come to understand how incredibly important Big Picture thinking really is and that without it, we can spend the vast majority of our lives seeing only this tiny little portion of the whole image. A perspective on life that is truly skewed in it’s hyper-magnification of one small part of it. So…Big Picture thinking. That’s what I am opting for in this situation.

What does Big Picture do for you? Well, a whole lot of stuff. Great stuff if you ask me. I think it gives you the ability to see things from the other person’s perspective which is so important any time there is a difference of opinion or thought process. I mean if we are both zoning in on one small part of the big picture, chances are we aren’t zoning in on the same exact part. It also calls on you to give the other person the benefit of the doubt. If you are only focused on your hurt feelings, how you were dinged or what your intentions might have been, you then fail to realize the other person very likely had the best of intentions as well. Realize that and it will take you places. Big picture thinking is powerful stuff.

I recently listened to a wonderful talk by Andy Stanley about staying in love (same title) and one of the points he made that really resonated with me is that we make a decision in every interaction we have with another person–we choose to believe the best in him/her or we choose to assume the worst. Every time. I am of the mindset that Big Picture thinking lends itself to believing the best in others. The trick is to believe the best regardless of how the other person is looking at you. Regardless. Therein lies the rub. It cannot matter how the other person is looking at you. Yikes. No matter what, if you choose to give the other person the benefit of the doubt, believe the best in him/her and pull back to see the situation from all angles, it won’t be a walk in the park Kasanski. The really good, life-changing stuff rarely is easy. It’s work.

I have to be honest and say I didn’t just automatically land in this place. I first spent a little time railing (in my head) and truthfully, I am still taking a break now and then to curl up in a ball in the corner. However, I am pushing hard against those responses that come a little more naturally for me. I don’t quite have the hang of that whole regardless thing–but remember, I am on a journey toward selflessness–I didn’t say I had already arrived. And just in case you missed it–this is really hard work but, I have no doubt, it is completely worth it. So the next time you get your feelings hurt or find your great intentions misunderstood, I urge you to take a walk on the wild side if you haven’t already, fighting through the tangle of go-to responses you already use. Picture yourself building up some amazing calf muscles as you walk backwards, fighting to pull the camera with you, zooming out further and further. I mean who doesn’t want amazing calf muscles right? Big picture.

As always, thanks for listening/reading. I leave you with a song that lifted my spirits today and hopefully, will do the same for you. With love, Kelly


Building Muscle One Line at a Time…

Building muscle can be such a challenge. It takes time and great effort. It is a practice. A discipline. Bottom line…it is WORK.

It’s a New Year. Are you up for the challenge?

Considering I may or may not be in a swimsuit in less than thirty days, I have been thinking about starting a 30-day ab challenge…again. Thinking about it long enough that I now have less than thirty days to achieve what was sure to be ab perfection. I have no doubt you can sculpt magic out of what looks to have been a rather long history of sugar abuse and somewhat less-than-sporadic crunches but in less than thirty days? Did I say a rather long history?  Some of my best memories from my teenage years (newsflash–I wasn’t out there winning first place in the local Social Butterfly Contest at the time so “best” is a relative term here) were when I had enough money to walk the 5 miles (or maybe it was three blocks–felt like 5 miles) to the local Stop-n-Go for my twenty ounce bottle of Dr. Pepper and two bags of plain m & m’s. I would come home, sort them by color (in groups of four of course), giggle as I ate the green ones, watch a little Dallas, guzzle my ice cold Dr. P and drift off into my sugar-coma bliss. That was many moons ago and why I didn’t buy stock in every chocolate manufacturing company ever is beyond me. But truthfully, until just a few months ago, not much had changed regarding the whole love-affiar with m & m’s thing and even though I have upped my crunches game (I mean from zero to a few more than zero), I now have the added bonus of having had three children and unless you want this to be a post about the whole pregnancy/birthing story, let’s just leave it at those three munchkins left an indelible mark on more than just my heart. Maybe I will have to do a 15-day challenge instead.

Seriously though, life is slowly changing in the health department. I am eating differently now and exercise has been a part of my life for many years (I had the best model–but in the interest of foreshadowing, I will save that story for another day).  Exercise has been a bit of a roller coaster ride for me but honestly, way more peaks than valleys and that’s why this recent somewhat-sustained valley has me a little worried. Regardless, I remain hopeful as I start to climb (rather slowly) out of the valley. I hope to share some of that here with you. Recipes, websites, books, the challenges that have surfaced as my boo (or as he prefers to be called, The King of the Castle) and I attempt to eat counter-culture, the community of support that is alive and kicking out there in cyber world and even right in our own back yard. Well, not literally in our backyard–I don’t actually know those people, but some of my supporters don’t live very far away and I like that I can and do call on them often. I just exchanged emails with someone in the UK about her cookbook and experienced a moment of feeling rather special when she immediately replied.  That moment was quickly overtaken by the thought of “I bet she thinks I am a loon” but hey–feeling special for even a moment is still pretty great.

As you can see from the subheadings on my home page, I am working on the whole package. The whole enchilada if you will–minus the gluten, soy and dairy so maybe I should have said the whole lettuce wrap instead. Side note–I don’t actually know how to get posts on those other pages and have them show up for others to read so feel free to email me with very explicit, pretend-you-are-teaching-a-five-year-old instructions you might be willing to pass along. I will figure it out eventually. And now back to the actual point of this post. The question could be asked–when you are trying a body, mind and spirit make-over, a complete selflessness overhaul, where do you actually start? Food? Diet? The couch? Luckily for me, I don’t think it begins with a 30-day ab challenge. Big picture. It starts with something at least as, if not more so, challenging–your thoughts.  In particular, the direction you allow those thoughts to travel. In a word, it starts with…


Case in point–right now, you should be really thankful I finally got to the meat and bones (I must be hungry) of this post. Living a purposeful, selfless life boils right down to the simplest of concepts. Gratitude will change your life. I am sure of it. And for that reason, I am working on it. That is exactly what is involved–WORK. Some days, it is a lot of work and many times, I fail. Well, let’s be honest–every hour of every day, if you consider missed opportunities a failure, yep, then I fail…every hour of every day. My default resembles that m & m-Dr. Pepper sugar-coma bliss. If I am just going through life allowing my thoughts to roam freely–well, they can be nasty little buggars–full of all that stuff I would rather not cop to–judgement, jealousy, anger, denial, lying, victimized, unvalidated, insecure, self-righteous, oh yes, and SELFISH. Yikes. I just talked myself right into a pile of shame and am now in an unceremonious puddle of sorrow and regret under my desk (still able to type with amazing precision though). What’s a girl to do??

Change. It. Up.

All that negative stuff can be overcome by the power of gratitude. Amazing power. But just like my squishy abs (now that’s a mental picture) give evidence to, a grateful heart won’t happen with a diet of m & m’s and Dr. Pepper and it won’t happen overnight. Instead, I need to feast on the abundance of goodness absolutely everywhere and I need to feast on a regular, consistent, constant basis. In order to feast on it, I need to see it.  Awareness is the first step in just about everything and gratitude is no different.  I need to be on the lookout for the plethora of opportunities to give thanks.

I think I may have mentioned it already but just in case you missed it–building your gratitude muscle can be such a challenge.  It takes time and great effort.  It is a practice.  A discipline.  Bottom line…it is WORK.

How about instead of the 30-day ab challenge, we start a 30-day gratitude challenge. You and me (or is it You and I??).  Just grab a notebook, and every day for the next thirty days (or thirty years), record your gratitude. As many things as you would like–2 or 200–give thanks. In the morning, mid-day, before you go to bed…anyplace, anytime. No rules. The sky’s the limit. The only recommendation I have is that you carry the notebook or journal with you whenever you can. It serves as a reminder to write things down and also helps redirect your thoughts towards looking for the good. And hey, if this is something you already do…that is awesome! Maybe you can up the ante a bit then. Gratitude in all circumstances becomes more challenging when those circumstances go bad. Maintaing a grateful posture during really difficult times isn’t easy, especially when it takes so much of your focus and energy just to keep going. Challenge yourself to really step it up when life gets messy and tough as it is guaranteed to do. You won’t regret that decision or the effort. And, if you are one of those big-time overachievers (I would insert a smiley face here if I knew how), and you are already swimming in an infinity pool of gratitude–walking around with a grateful heart, stepping up your game during the difficult times, leading by example, and looking for ways to share the power of gratitude with others, well then, I got nothing for you and this has been a complete waste of your time. No worries though, I bet right this minute you are tapping into your overflowing vat of gratitude and deciding you are thankful just because you had the time to waste. I like you.

It’s a New Year! Are you up for the Gratitude Challenge?  Leave a comment or message me if you would like to help keep each other accountable.  And check back this week for a possible Gratitude give-away.  Oh and by the way…I am grateful for you.   With love, Kelly

image courtesy of joyofmom.com

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thessalonians 5:18


I Have Missed You Since You Went Away…

Oh wait. I think I might be a little “confused” (cough cough, in denial) about who left whom in this relationship. I don’t think you could actually go away from my “profound” musings when I left you nothing to go toward for months on end. Nothing. Nada. Zip.

And yet, here I am once again. Older, not necessarily wiser, more jaded harmoniously coexisting with more open, hopeful, fear-filled, different and exactly the same, jittery, ready, trepidatious…hungry. There is a stirring that won’t be ignored any longer. I think that’s how it is with a passion. A calling? I don’t know if I dare refer to the stirrings as such–too much riding on failing then right? I mean how do you know if something is truly your calling and even more concerning, what if I referred to it as such and then failed at it? Do you fully recover from that? Not sure if I am willing to risk it. So for now, I will choose to think of writing as my passion. A passion that is no longer content to be set aside or swept unceremoniously into the mounting dust pile in the corner that I refer to as the “I will get to it when I have time” pile. Hence, a merging of sorts… a merging of my passion for what I want to do with who I want to be.

So welcome back friends. Welcome. You are so very welcome here.

And where exactly is here? Well, the truth is, I am not exactly picking up where we left off. Breaking the Selfish Bone, while a catchy title (she says with what I promise is a humble tone), isn’t exactly where I find myself anymore. Am I no longer selfish? No longer thinking only of myself, putting me first, full of pride, put-out, put-off? Weeeellllll, not exactly (she says with head hung low and face crimson). Just ask my kids. But, truth-be-told, I don’t think the title sets the right tone for us and since it is the first thing you see when you log on here, I think it deserves a little clarification.

The fact of the matter is, I haven’t lost sight of my desire to live a selfless life. Instead, I am just redirecting my focus. Rather than looking at how I am missing the mark, I would like to zone in on not only ways to succeed, but ways you and I are already succeeding. Does that make sense? You all are doing some amazingly selfless things in your life, so let’s acknowledge those things, share them, inspire and encourage others with them.

As I shared in my About Me page, my grandmother was truly the most unselfish person I have known. She worked harder than anyone I can recall. She took in people…literally, into her home and cared for them as if they were a part of her family. My grandmother loved the “unloveable”–she says a bit (over) dramatically I know, but it’s how I remember it. Grace was her name. Isn’t that perfect? And even though I am sure Grace struggled and she suffered, I remember she danced, she giggled and she loved large. So many of us have a “Grace” in our lives. Your “Grace” is already part of who you are…your legacy. I see so much of my grandmother’s selfless, hardworking, caring ways in my own mother and it is those things I will look to for guidance in this next chapter of my “profound” musings. My hope is that my kids will see those things in me someday as well and yes, in order for that to happen, I will need to make a few (give or take hundreds) changes. However, I no longer see this as a daunting undertaking but rather purposeful living. And purposeful living is a little bit exciting don’t you think? Or is that just me? I think not, but some would say I am not necessarily wading in the “normal” pond so my thinking may be a bit “off”. My hope is that purposeful living is something you are already partaking in or are at least are a little curious about. And under that umbrella of hope, I wholeheartedly welcome you back at the same time I ask you to join me in identifying and encouraging each other in everyday ways to live a more purposeful (i.e. selfless) life.

Who’s coming with me? Anyone? Anyone???
To all the Dorothy Boyd’s out there…thank you.

We’ll see you all again. Sleep tight.
With love, Kelly


My Lighthouse

She stood alone in the small, white bathroom.  Still.  Head bowed.  Rivulets from her wet hair trickled down her shoulders.  She lifted her head to the fogged mirror, searching for her face.  Vision blurred.  Unable to see the youth running softly across her forehead.  The aliveness.  Unable to see through the misted air, the tears, the ache within her chest.  The ache took up as much of the room as she did.  It had strength enough to steal her breath…to break her.  This was no fork in the road.  No second chance to step back and rethink.  No litany of maybe’s or tomorrow’s.  The ache had brought her to this point.  She stood alone.  Still.  Knowing.

Knowing the mistakes of the past were too great to overcome and accept.  Knowing the uncertainty of the future was too open to chance and outside influence.  And knowing the abject loneliness of the present was like standing in a deep pit–a pit that required greater strength than she possessed to claw her way out of it.  Knowing.

My Lighthouse

I don’t write about my faith very much here on The Selfish Bone mainly because I want how I live my life to speak for me.  The problem with that is, I am such a work-in-progress, I am not exactly sure if how I live my life is the best testimony at this point.  Hence, The Selfish Bone.  But as far as writing about my faith, I feel like maybe this is a time to do so.  I can tell you so definitively that without it, my life would have been very different from that day forward.  I was twenty-three.  I really didn’t face a crossroads in that moment because it wasn’t a place where I had much of a choice to make.  It was make-it or break-it time.  I just inherently knew that in order to live with my imperfect, lonely, scared self, I had only one way out of the pit.  One way through the darkness.  So, I sought that way.

Don’t get me wrong…I would have kept on living but it would have been a different kind of life for me, I am sure of that.  I know for certain it would have been a life that had no soul, no meaning. I have struggled with purpose over the last few (on top of a few) years but since that day, I have not struggled with soul or meaning.  My faith has given that to me.

I would like to tell you I have gotten kinder and gentler with myself over the years–more accepting of past mistakes, at peace with the loneliness that at times still pervades, and less trepidation about the uncertain future, but I’m not sure that would be the truth.  I still struggle with those things but that moment so many years ago of being completely broken open, has brought about slow, gradual, incremental changes to my life I am forever grateful to have.  It altered my course and it gave me Hope as a constant companion on my journey.

Here I am many years later and it’s interesting how life can repeat itself.  I currently find myself embarking on a new journey and in the process I am being called to change again in big ways. The call can look like it’s coming from someplace or someone else but I am not so sure about that.  I think someOne else has the megaphone in His hands.  Quite honestly, the call to change has brought on some dark days.  It’s opened my eyes to things about myself that I thought I had either kept in check or didn’t really know existed at all and after a certain age, it’s tough to have to face things you really hoped you would have figured out long ago.  Can’t really chalk it up to youth or lack of experience anymore.  Denial, poor judgement or head buried in the sand–maybe so.  Regardless, it has felt a bit pit-like.

You can bring yourself to the point of change.  You see something you just know you need to do differently and you’re off and running. Not that easy I know, but being able to see it is the catalyst.  But what about when you can’t see it?  What if you live in a state of “everything’s fine” without ever really taking a closer look to make sure that is actually the case.  Well, I think if allowed to continue, that’s when the darkness will seep in.  The darkness will affect how you feel about yourself and how you feel and interact with the world around you.  It will impact your internal and external dialogue.  You may not know exactly what’s causing the darkness, only that’s it’s there.  Or at least that’s what it has done for me. It has brought me back to standing all alone in that small, white bathroom.  Still.  Head bowed.

Except this time…it’s different. This time I know I have something more.  This verse keeps going through my head.

The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:5)

The light illuminates it all–it reveals where I am standing, where I need to go, and all those areas in my life where I am allowing the shadows to keep me stationary.  The light brings awareness. The problem with that is, it can be painful.  Chances are I am being called to change because I am not who I think am, I am not where I need to be, or I am not doing what I need to be doing. The call may be disguised as coming from outside forces, challenges, or circumstances but regardless, I am being made aware that I need to do something different.

Thanks to that awareness, I don’t get to stay in the same place anymore–I just don’t.  The knowledge and the discomfort of awareness yield change.  Step-by-painstaking-step.  Through change comes growth and the ability/will to do better. To try and stand alone in the shadows but with eyes opened wide causes me to lose my foothold on the way things were.  It is not or cannot be acceptable to stay in the same place.  I have no choice but to move forward in search of solid footing once again.  This is awareness.  This is change.

The painful part sits there in my chest as I grapple with my imperfections, as I duke it out with the comfort of the shadows, as I struggle with the admissions and acceptance of this new perspective.  And then I fight.  I fight the urge to defend or deny.  I fight the inner voice telling me it’s too hard or not worth it.  I fight the shadows.  But I don’t do it alone.  Just as my faith saved me that day many years ago and allowed me to see a better path, my faith has stepped in these last few weeks in much the same way.  I am certain the light has been shining throughout my entire journey but it just seems to be a little more obvious to me this time.

This time–just like that one years ago, is life-altering.  As the ache in my chest begins to subside, I find myself full of gratitude and searching for ways to express that, build on it and share it with others.  The fallout from this recent experience is that I really cannot go back to the way things were before.  I think that means that The Selfish Bone will change a bit as well.  That is what I am predicting, planning and hoping for so let’s see where this journey takes us.

As always, thank you so much for letting me share.  I am including this song because I love it!  It is uplifting and speaks to just how I am feeling about my faith and the source of my light.  It’s worth the couple of extra minutes if you have them.

Thank you again.  xoxo  kelly


Whose Side Are You On…Part II

I have been thinking a little more about what I wrote the other day and it is reassuring to know my thoughts on the topic haven’t drastically changed (Whose Side Are You On Anyway). In the interest of being a compassionate, caring, kind being… giving it your best effort to see a situation from the other person’s perspective feels to me like the best direction to go.

With that said, I have had a couple of additional thoughts (not just in general but related to this topic as well-ha) I wanted to share. First one–well, let me put it to you as a question–does seeing the situation from the other person’s side mean you have to give up? Give in? Great question–oh wait, it is mine, so maybe I should just say it is a question worth asking. Is it giving up? Truthfully, it may come down to that at times. Giving up–it sounds a little weak doesn’t it? Ugh. I think that could be why we don’t really want to look at it from anyone else’s side but our own. Because, whether we are “right” or “wrong”, concession isn’t always the easiest pill to swallow. I mean who doesn’t want to win? Given the choice a hundred times over most of us (being honest) would choose winning over losing. And for some reason, we think it will take something away from us if there is even a hint of giving up, so instead, we dig in–or maybe we flex first and then dig in. I think there might be a word for that… ahem…cough, cough…

Pride (with a capital P baby).

Pride–it gets in the way of so, so, so many exchanges (direct and indirect) between human beings. We might as well put out an extra place setting at the table or hang a Christmas stocking with a big, fat P on it. I know there can be positive aspects to Pride but sorry to say, that’s not what I am talking about here. And if you are already thinking that’s not you…good chance that’s your Pride talking…just sayin’. Pride, in it’s entirety, is a subject for another day but I bring it up only as a gentle reminder. When you find yourself in a position of being “wronged” and you just can’t muster up enough oomph to see the other person’s side, maybe Pride is doing it’s best to hold you back. So what to do? No idea–ha. You didn’t actually think I had the answer to this did you? I don’t. I am such a work in progress–I am literally “working through” some of this as I write. But here’s a thought–maybe, just maybe, becoming more aware of when Pride is not only showing up for dinner but is stealing everyone’s dessert too, is enough to get on the selflessness track. “Awareness again?” you ask (in a somewhat whiny voice I might add). Yes, awareness again–we just can’t step too far away from it (not if we hope to grow).

But what about when I am truly right? I mean forget about the times when I just want to be right. What if I have worked so hard to look at all sides, the other person’s perspective, every angle? And lo‘ and behold, I am one hundred percent right? Right about being right. What then, are my options? I know what I instinctively want to do and it’s not pretty. I want to push and push until my opponent in the red corner (bearing a strong resemblance to Clubber Lang or Ivan Drago depending on my mood) launches the blood-stained, white towel (in slow motion of course) into the center of the ring where it comes to land sheepishly defeated at my feet (cue Rocky music). In other words, I want to win. Is there any other alternative? I am right, therefore, I should win. And if I can’t get Ivan to throw in the towel on his own, I will figure something else out. My good, ol’ pal, Pride, will find a way to slap that blue ribbon smack dab in the middle of my forehead and call it a day. But how?

Well, maybe I go on the offensive and give my opponent the cold shoulder, ice Ivan out, write him off, or hold tight to a grudge and Pride will tell me I am justified in doing so. Or maybe I take the flip-side of that and go all out to defend (by way of excuses) my position? If those don’t work, Pride gets crafty and starts vying for crowd support. How often do we tell our story, our “side” to anyone we think might offer the proper dose of validation? I don’t really want to look closely at that question–that kind of self-evaluation is a little too painful but in reality, it’s likely we tell the story however many times it takes to feed, soothe, or boost that Pride (a.k.a. Ego). In haste and in the moment, those less-than-ideal responses might be my first instinct (Pride is refusing to allow me to sell myself out by admitting whether or not I have acted on those instincts) but as far as instincts go, first ones aren’t always the best. (Unless your Ricky Bobby and then of course, in all things, if you ain’t first, you’re last). So again, I ask–what to do, what to do?

No idea. Nothin’. Nada. Zip. No clue.

Seriously–I don’t know. I have two recurring thoughts on the topic but I can’t tell you for sure they are the answers. For right now, they are just my answers. The two recurring thoughts–step back and let it go. There they are in all their brilliance (Pride made me say brilliance), playing over and over in my head until I am about ready to kick someone in the shins for the sake of my sanity. But in reality, it is nearly impossible to see anyone’s perspective beyond your own when you are right in the thick of things. Step back. Take yourself out of the picture. Don’t send that text or email right away. Think it through. Wait. It. Out. Give yourself time to think, pray, contemplate, review, relax, seek wise counsel (note I didn’t say co-counsel). Just step back. Keep in mind, it’s not only when you are faced with a situation that there is a need to consider the other person’s perspective. It just as often is your child, significant other, friend, or parent who is struggling with someone over an issue. When those protective instincts flare and it’s someone you love or care about being challenged, it can be a lot harder to step back. And maybe even more important to do so.

Once you have stepped back, have waited things out, looked at all potentials, gathered your thoughts, it’s almost as if you have rewarded yourself. You have given yourself a gift–the gift of opportunity. Opportunity to respond kindly instead of react harshly. Opportunity to be loving when it didn’t seem even remotely possible at the beginning. Opportunity to be free of the regrets Pride usually accumulates along the way. By giving pause and thought to the situation, you have created a space for one of the best rewards of all…the opportunity to let it go. That’s it. Just let it go. No matter who is right or wrong, if there is no loving, selfless purpose for seeing it through, then what could be better than the decision and follow-through to let it go? Oh my gosh, did everyone (all two of you) just take on the persona of “Adele Dazeem” and start doing your vocal warm-ups to get your Frozen on? I guess that means there is a greater purpose as to why I am slowing being driven insane by that song–I thought it was my kids’ secret mission titled “Operation Loop The Frozen Song So We Don’t Have to Clean Our Rooms Anymore After Mom Goes Off The Deep End”. They are clever like that so you never know–their little “Operation” could actually have a twenty-one word title.

Need I say more in regards to the “let it go” suggestion/directive? I don’t really think so and this is too long anyway so doubt you really want me to say more. I do want to close with a couple of words of encouragement though. I did not, at any point, say it would be easy to step back. Nor did I say it would be easy to let it go. Overriding my go-to reactions in favor of more selfless-like responses is no cake-walk. If it was, I wouldn’t be here spilling my guts on a semi-regular basis. Selfless acts are hard work. That’s why I go to bed most nights feeling like I blew a whole boatload of chances and wake-up the next morning ready to have a go at it again. I’m easy like that…easy like a Sunday morning. Regardless, do your best to have more “let it go” or “step back” responses than the other, count that as a good day, and move on.

The final thing I want to mention in this post (which has nothing to do with the topic but has been on my mind for some time) is this–The Selfish Bone is about my journey to selflessness. Mine. I share it for a few reasons. One being I feel as if the more I work things out here, the more accountability comes with it. Another is I am hopeful that maybe something I am gaining insight into will be felt by and possibly helpful for someone else. A third is, it keeps me from throwing in my own blood-stained, white towel sheepishly defeated. I have to keep thinking about selflessness and coming up with ideas for how to move forward on this journey, otherwise I end up stuck in the mud with my wheels endlessly spinning unless of course, the car runs out of gas and then I am really hosed as I am picturing this mud pit in some remote location with no phone service–No, I can’t hear you now. And lastly, because I just like upping my vulnerability factor x 100 every time I post something. It’s such a peaceful, easy feeling–yea, not so much. However, The Selfish Bone does give clear-cut evidence as to what it means to be a work in progress. Anyone who knows me, knows I am not there yet–hard to get “there” when you are from the two steps forward, three (or eight) steps back, School of Slow Learners, yet-to-graduate class. Is anyone even still with me? Anyone? If you are still here, that’s a bit worrisome in and of itself. But besides that, I just want anyone reading to understand, I hope someone (Rocky fans everywhere) will be able to relate to some of what I am writing but I am not directing my writing to or at you. No hidden agendas, no secret code, no nothing except a deep desire to live and to love the best I possibly can.

And on that note…

I leave you with a slightly different take of Let It Go.


Whose Side Are You On Anyway?

…just checking.

The question should be asked.  Again and again.  I’ve got two choices–two sides–it’s either them or me.  Or maybe the choice comes down to it’s either Him or me?  Darkness or Light?  Selfishness or Selflessness?  However you want to look at it is up to you but bottom line, there are two sides battling it out for first place.

Two sides.  To all situations.  All stories.

I am not speaking to the extremes–just the normal every day details of living.  We experience difficulties, strife, misunderstandings, arguments, annoyances, misrepresentations, over-analyzations, criticisms, critiques, and a whole host of other less-than-loving responses to our personhood.  So, what do we do with those?  My belief…there is no switzerland box to check.  No neutrality in my response.  I either choose a side outwardly or go inward and stuff my choice where it sits like a black pit waiting to merge with the other gunk I push down in there until the inside can’t hold it anymore.  So, we either react immediately or we stuff and react later.  Either way–we respond based on the side we land on.

That’s what we do isn’t it?  We pick a side.  And in the interest of continuing on this journey towards selflessness via the path of gratitude…I am thankful for the choice.  Extremely grateful for the choice.  The problem is, I am pretty sure I have been coming down on the wrong side of the line.

Selflessness–I am thinking that means I need to let go of self (can’t pull one over on me).  Because really, who’s sitting on my side?  I see a little bit of resentment hanging out here–maybe some pride, a tish of hurt, the desire to be right, and whoa–the need to control seems to be taking up about 90% of the space.  But what happens if I let “a little” bit of kindness in, “a little” forgiveness, “a little” compassion and a whole lot of perspective?  Perspective that graciously enables me to look at the whole picture–their side, my side and all things in between.  A perspective that requires me to let go of me and grab onto them.  A perspective that doesn’t often come immediately but requires I step back and work at seeing the other person’s side, the other person’s concerns, the other person’s being.  And what I can’t see by just looking must then be assumed.  I don’t always have to carry all the puzzle pieces in my hand to make sense of the whole picture.  I just have to understand there are hundreds of little pieces that make us who we are–individual, unique, special.  Perspective that gives me the courage to step over the line to the other side.

And if I am standing on their side now, well, what happens next?  Uhm…the way I see it, it’s the only way to go.  Otherwise, all those less-than-loving responses to my personhood I mentioned above are exactly what I will be reacting to and sending right back out into this world.  And where is the selflessness in that?  Where is the kindness?  Where is the love?

But to be sure…it is a battle.  My mistake has been in believing the battle was between me and them and that I get to choose a side.  The real, true battle lies between my basic human nature and the woman I aspire to be–and in that battle there really is only one option in living a more selfless life.  I must let go of the person I am and fight for the one I wish to be.

So there it is.  That is the side I am setting my sights on.  Care to join me?  I would gratefully accept your encouragement and be more than willing to offer up my support if you are fighting a similar battle.  A battle to not only see the other person’s side of things but to choose on their behalf rather than mine.  Game on.

As always, thanks so much for reading.  xo  Kelly

No reason for this video other than I am loving the song right now and thought you might like it too!


No Judgement Zone…

No judgment.  Just a question.  A question that seems to be hitting me upside the head multiple times.  Well, actually just one big smack and the rest have been a bit softer.  That first hit was rather painful.  Kind of like that time I stood up on the bed and stretched up just a little higher, hoping to catch a glimpse of my whoooole outfit in the mirror on the wall across from me and promptly got knocked in the head by the ceiling fan.  I am sure somewhere in the midst of his hysterical laughter, M. asked how I was but I can’t say that conclusively.  Anyway, THAT kind of painful.  The question or the thought continues to come–thankfully it’s now more of a nudge into my consciousness each time to not let this one go…to really think about it.  So, that’s what I have been doing.  Thinking about it.  The question is this…

Is it possible that the ability to give love is the one thing we take for granted most of all?  Could that be? I can’t speak for you but I can for me and as I do, I seem to be choking on the knowledge that, yes, this could actually be the case.  We (and by we, I mean we–ha–you thought I was going to say I) do take it for granted.  I am not speaking in absolutes as that would be a grave mistake but I do think it happens to most of us at some time or another whether we are conscious of it or not.  Maybe that’s the idea behind this post–I, suddenly (in ceiling fan style), became more aware and as the pain of that awareness subsides, I feel as if in sharing my thoughts with you, maybe I can help you avoid the whole hopping on the bed to get a better look thing.  I am giving you the whole picture from the safety of the ground floor.

So–the ability to give love.  What does taking that for granted look like?  I am not talking about actually loving someone.  Chances are high that we have all experienced or hopefully are experiencing it right this moment and that’s good right?  That’s great actually.  And if it’s not someone close to you, what about just a general feeling of love for humankind?  We share a finite amount of space with others for a finite amount of time.  If we are living a life of gratitude, love should flow from that don’t you think?  I mean, really, we are just so blessed to be here aren’t we.  So, where’s the glitch?  For a select few, there is no glitch.  But for the rest of us, there can be a serious disconnect between that feeling of love and what we choose to do with it.  Do means to act.  If we are not acting, what exactly are we doing with it then?  In a word…


If I am not actively giving it, I must be hanging on to it right?

Withholding–the kiss, the hug, the smile, the words, the gestures, the look, the touch, the kindness, the affirmations, the laughter, the thank you, the forgiveness, the compassion, the first move, the time, the focus, the hand, the shoulder, the ear, the prayer, the help, the compliment.  So often, rather than offer those things up to another person, we keep them bottled up inside of us.    We struggle to take that step.  Why?

I am not really sure it matters why we withhold.  Because, honestly, there are some truly good reasons as to why we struggle with giving our love.  It is not always easy.  It won’t always be reciprocated.  It doesn’t always solve the problem or make things better.  It requires you to be vulnerable and that takes so much courage.  It can take more energy than you actually have.  It can hurt…again…and a lot.  It can backfire.  It can be risky.  I get all that and in fact, those are some of my very own reasons.  There are also some not-so-good reasons but I won’t get into those.  It’s up to you to decide for yourself.

Why the title “no judgement zone”? Well, at some point over the last week or so, I had the thought that if we showed our love as freely as we pass our judgements–I am pretty sure love would trump the living daylights out of judgement.  Or maybe that is just my way of thinking?  I can’t speak for you as that might be a little judgmental and not so loving.  But maybe it’s a question to ask yourself.  Are you more likely to make a judgement about that person standing right in front of you rather than act lovingly?  What about the person that just walked away from you?  And if so, what can you (and by you, this time I do mean me) do to switch the odds more in love’s favor?

1)  Increase awareness.  As in everything, I can’t fix what I am not acknowledging.  Look for those times a little bit of withholding might be going on.  Drop the flimsy excuses as they just don’t stand up well.  And for those legitimate reasons, push through them little by little and eventually, they won’t be able to stand up well either.  It’s not easy but if you can recognize what’s going on, that’s the biggest and best first step.  Truthfully, if there are walls that you just can’t seem to push through, maybe reaching out for some help is a feasible option.

2)  Kick a little judgment booty.  The more you focus on and try to show love to another person, the more of a backseat judgment will take.  This is where awareness is important as well.  Be vigilant as to when you are throwing a clump of judgement in someone’s face.  It’s tough to be loving and judging at the same time.  So the “no judgement zone” title–in an act of love–let’s just give each other a well needed break.  I choose to pass none onto you and would love the same in return.

3)  Here’s the kicker–we CAN NOT take it for granted.  Ask yourself, what is more important–all the legitimate reasons you might have for holding back or the simple fact that you won’t always have the opportunity to give the exact thing you are holding onto?  The act of giving love to someone–whether it’s your significant other, your child, your parent, your friend, your sister or brother, your neighbor, or just a stranger in need–is a gift.  That person won’t always be in your life exactly as they are today.  And when that happens, wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to say–I loved him well.  To know I refused to hold back and instead, offered her the best of my love.  It won’t always be easy and I won’t always succeed, but I hope to give it my best effort.

Is the ability to give love the thing we take for granted most of all?  I don’t really know.  I suppose it depends on the person.  And really, maybe it doesn’t matter if it’s what we take for granted the most.  Maybe it just matters if we take it for granted at all.  I am so thankful that my journey towards selflessness has stalled out in a space dedicated to gratitude.  It is through gratitude my eyes are opening, hope is blossoming, possibility is building.  To give love is a gift I am so grateful for and would appreciate the help in staying committed to it.  Would love to hear your thoughts on giving love and if you struggle with withholding–we can support each other.

As always, thank you so much for showing up and taking the time to read my blog.  That is a gift I truly appreciate.  xo Kelly

Love is always bestowed as a gift – freely, willingly and without expectation. We don’t love to be loved; we love to love.

Leo Buscaglia



Do You See What I See?

Well, not likely as I tend to have my own, unique, (slightly) quirky view of this world.  I am okay with that…most of the time.  But am I really that different?  Are we really that different from each other?  Do you see what I see?  Maybe not exactly, but do you at least feel with the same depth that I do?  I sincerely hope so.

I am moved deeply…

by nature, by humor, by a newborn, by watching my youngest carry on an animated conversation with himself on the way out of school, by the light hitting the beautiful pale blue eyes of my oldest, by my middle (barely twelve) telling me with sincerity “thank you for the insight and the new way to look at this” after sharing my thoughts with on her on a situation, by the tug I still feel touching the hand of the same man for over twenty-five years, by the giggle of my mom as she cracks a joke, by the sincere belly-laugh of my dad as he gets and responds to that joke, by the loss of my Gert and other loves, by the gift of the friends in my life, by the sweet note left by the recycle guy, by the giving nature of others, by the triumph and tragedies we all face, by the pain, the joy, the laughter, the cries, the successes and the failures…

To be moved deeply…oh, the list is endless.  To feel is a gift isn’t it?  I didn’t say to feel only good but just to feel.  To be moved to the point of tears or for laughter to spontaneously erupt from you—here is a place where gratitude can hang out for a while.  Human emotion–we all share it but do we take just a brief second to be thankful for it?

Yes, sometimes it’s misdirected, sometimes it needs to be called into check, sometimes it needs to be evaluated and reevaluated, sometimes it needs to be set aside for the time being so order and function can call the shots but where we would be if we were completely void of emotion?  According to Webster, antonyms of emotion are–impassive, insensitive, insensible, unfeeling.  Uhm…I’ll take a hard pass on that.

To be moved deeply…

To be able to truly laugh with the person next to you is a gift but in order for that to be real–you need to see them, you need to pay attention, you need to listen, you need to really look right at them, you need to be willing to let go of yourself and just be in the moment with them.  And on the flip-side, to feel your heart breaking with the greatest of pain means to have really paid attention, to have seen, to have listened, to have let go of yourself, to have loved fully and therein, lies the gift.

To be moved deeply–

Requires passion.  Jimmy Valvano lived with a great passion for not just basketball, but for life.  I love, love, love the speech he gave at the 1993 ESPY awards shortly before he passed away from cancer (link below- I included it once before and will again just in case you missed it and because it moves me…deeply).  He said you need to do three things every day 1) to laugh, 2) to think and 3) to cry.  By cry, he meant allow yourself to be moved to the point of tears.  Whether it’s because of something good or something tough, allow yourself to feel, your emotions to be moved.  That’s living.

I think in order for that to happen, you have to pay attention.  Be aware (think).  Look at what’s going on around you.  Take it all in or as much as you possibly can.  Look, look, look–at the people in your life.  Do you see them? Look at all that surrounds you and be grateful–for what is, for what you have, for who you know, for what you’ve been through, for who was with you yesterday, for who stands right before you in this moment.

To be moved deeply…it is a gift.  Do you see what I see?  It’s okay if you don’t just as long as you look.  Look.  Feel.  And Be Grateful.

With love and gratitude, Kelly ~~Fighting the good fight towards selflessness. As Jimmy said–“Don’t give up, don’t ever give up!”


Just to Shake Things Up A Bit…

A slightly different look at gratitude.  Some of the things I am loving at the moment (clink on the links for a better look):

1.  I have what some might consider a different (a.k.a. strange) take as to what smells good–don’t go too far with that one or it could get ugly real fast.  Gasoline fumes, exhaust, diesel trucks, burnt rubber, ammonia (from a distance), candles–after you blow them out, scorched toast and I could go on from there but you get the point–not exactly in the same category as lilacs and roses.  Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t go seeking out those kinds of things (although we do end up with our fair share of charred bread), I just find myself breathing slightly deeper if one of these smells passes through on a gentle breeze.  Honestly, this would be slightly concerning to me if I didn’t know I enjoy just as much, if not more, a healthy spritz of this just about everyday which then causes me to walk around sniffing my sleeve (because I can’t smell my own neck) the remainder of the day…

Coco Chanel Mademoiselle

the real-deal is pricey but I get the eau de parfum and use it sparingly–lasts me about 2 years.  I love the name as much as the smell–seriously, I just walk around saying it aloud whenever possible for the pure joy of saying it.  Try it…go on.  It just feels right.

2.  My favorite t-shirts–or at least the 82 variations of them in my closet would indicate “favorite” status.  I am guessing on the 82 part as I didn’t actually count them and really, I do like to exaggerate so could possibly be closer to 10.

Gap Favorite Long-Sleeve T-shirt (on sale, soft, great for layering)

Super Soft Henley (also on sale and as the name gives it away…it’s SUPER soft, not just plain ol’ ordinary soft)

3.  One, if not THE most favorite TedTalk (remember my obsession) I watch (often).  I have been following Dr. Brene Brown for years (not literally because that’s actually called stalking but through her books and website ordinarycourage.com)–long before she gave this tedtalk and became a world sensation.  My ego bloats up just enough to have to loosen the ol’ belt when I consider that I “knew” Brene before the meteoric rise but then serious ego-deflation occurs every time I remind myself that 1) Brene doesn’t actually know me and 2) if she did, she would tell me to quit letting my ego drive this car.  Her writings on shame, vulnerability, and courage carry such depth and meaning.  She’s spent years researching and teaching–she’s the real deal and has been through the trenches.  Favorite Brene quote–“You are imperfect & you are wired for struggle; but you are worthy of love & belonging”.  So nice to hear you are worthy and imperfect in the same sentence.

Brene Brown

4.  One of my go-to’s when I am feeling unseen–very grateful for the perspective it brings me every time.  It’s okay if no one sees, He sees.

5.  Grateful for books–don’t get me started on my books!  So, so, soooo grateful for their presence in my life and that my kids have a love for reading as well.  I can’t list all my favorites so instead, here are a few I am reading at the moment…

The Most of Nora Ephron  It’s a compilation of her works and so much of what she did in her life.  She was funny…really funny and incredibly talented.  I enjoy learning more about her and what she did in her life.

The Round House I am not too far into this book but it has grabbed me from the very beginning.  I am just trying to eek out some time to curl up with it.  Won the National Book Award for fiction.  Setting is in North Dakota which of course meant I HAD to read it but so glad I am.  Louise Erdrich is amazingly talented and apparently she doesn’t need me saying so…she already got the award!

Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions  This one has had so many nuggets of wisdom for me, I can’t even tell you.  Doing it as a study with two dear friends and we are all getting so much from it.  Will start it over when I get to the end.  Too much in it to finish and just set down–need to go over and over it.

Still Writing: The Pleasures and Perils of a Creative Life  I am enjoying Dani Shapiro-she’s talented and this book is helpful to not just writers (or wannabe’s), but those with a creative bent as well.

and just finished The Signature of All Things won’t say anything about this in case someone is in the process of reading it.  Just finished for book club and if you want to look into it more, bookmovement.com has great discussion questions in their reading guide that really make you think–my go-to answer was “Mmmm…never really thought of that before”–ha.  And moss–who knew?

6. These puppies just make me happy.  I don’t have them but wish I did and I wish there wasn’t snow and cold that would prevent me from wearing them even if I DID have them.  Careful…that sounds almost ungrateful doesn’t it?


7.  A different kind of “booties” that I do have and I LOVE them.  Worth the splurge if possible.  I haven’t had numb toes at all this winter and that’s saying something–well of course it’s saying something but what I mean is that it is quite a big deal for me.  I am so grateful for toes that still have feeling in them, I could almost cry (I think I actually did cry on Monday when it was arctic cold here but then the tears froze on my face so that wasn’t really the best decision even if they were tears of gratitude).

Sorel boots

8.  This is my dear, sweet, talented cousin’s (Hey Sarah!) Etsy shop–grateful for things that make you feel good just to look at them.

Moonforest Studio

9.  I found this for the girls for Christmas and it’s really beautiful. They are spending hours coloring it–it’s therapeutic for them (and me but don’t tell them that–double dose of gratitude). Love seeing them sit together and focus on creating something so pretty.

Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book

10.  Lastly–a fun game we stumbled across at Marbles: The Brain Store at the Mall of America and are having fun playing.  Truthfully, it’s not so much about which game we choose, just grateful for time with my family.  Truly a gift.


Well, that’s it.  Just some fun links to things that bring me joy and fill me with gratitude.  Lighter in content but hey–I could have done an entire post on make-up favorites instead.  Because let me tell you, a girl with blonde eyelashes will bestow a completely disproportionate amount of gratitude, I mean HEAP it on, unto the gloriousness we call, mascara.  An entire post just on mascara because seriously, if you even try to negate the importance of that black wand of pure magic, we are going to have issues people.  Did you not just hear me say, blonde eyelashes.  Enough said.

Thank you for being right here and making it to the end of this…I am pretty sure the other 75% of them jumped ship at about number 3.  I think that means there are approximately two of you faithful readers left.  Maybe I shouldn’t do the math.

With a grateful heart for little treasures, Kelly

“You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.” — G. K. Chesterton


And So It Begins…

A word, a look, a tone…

A blink, a breath, a beat…

A thought…

It can happen just that quickly.  In an instant, a shift—the heart swells.  A bit of ugly gets pushed out, a little space opens up—inviting, beckoning to compassion and kindness standing just outside—come on in, pull up a chair dear ones, we have room for you.

A warmth, a smile, a peace settles over you, into you.

It begins with gratitude.  I am sure of this.

To my eighth grade-turned-forever crush for helping me through my tears last night which just happened to fall smack dab in the middle of said night.

Thank you.

To my sweet oldest for kindly offering to read to her younger brother tonight so I could get some work done.  I walked into his room to say goodnight and here she sits back braced against the wall reading with great inflection and animation while he is upside down on his bed with his head where his feet should be and his feet nowhere near where his head should be but somehow propped against a wall, listening intently, hair damp and smelling fresh from his shower. And for this book—a gift from one of the sweetest, kindest teachers… ever.

Thank you.

For my oldest offering up an unprovoked and rare “love you” so easily thrown over her shoulder as she exits the room and for the smile it brought to the face of my youngest.

Thank you.

To my middle for letting my oldest sleep in the other bed simply because they like to visit before going to sleep.  And for the words that pass between them–soft, quiet, sisterly words.

Thank you.

For that soon-to-be-over chance to hunker down next to my youngest as he slowly drifts off.  I love those nights.  One because I know they are passing quickly and it won’t be long before I am not even welcome in his room let alone able to be with him as he trusts, as he lets go of the day.  I love those nights because it’s a chance to just be—to be close to one of my kids just because we were given to each other.  It’s peace washing over me for a few minutes.  Nothing is more important in those moments than awareness of his breath deepening and his muscles twitching as he transitions into his own private dreamworld.  It never takes long.  I can usually pull my arm away in about five minutes—often just on the heels of his last words which usually take some form of  “But I’m not tired”.  It’s funny though—without fail, as I pull my arm away, he inevitably wakes up and turns just enough to find his most comfortable spot—but instead of asking me to stay longer, he simply just says—“love you mom”.  Me too buddy…me too.

Thank you.

Because tonight he did something he has never done before…he followed it up with a “…so, so much”  Me too buddy…me too.

Thank you.

Gratitude.  Are you watching for it?  Are you ready?

I promise you this, it won’t take long…an instant.  That’s all it takes to see life is overflowing with opportunities to say thank you.

And so it begins.

Blessings.  Kelly

If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.~Meister Eckhart


My Bottom Line…My Silver Lining

Wait, what?  What’s this?

First of all, hold on to your shorts and take a minute to catch your breath (not sure why you need to do both but just go with it).  It would seem your antithetical theory that the world is flat has just been disproved (for the millionth time) by my return.  You can no longer use me as your evidence that “Surely the earth’s surface must be flat.  I mean Kelly fell off of it didn’t she–what more do you need to know?”  (because in my mind, the world revolves around me which, by the very nature of the word revolve, would further disprove your theory).  So, just take a minute.  I have taken four months so I can graciously give you that minute…

Now let’s move on.

Yes.  Here I am.  Present, accounted for and guilt-ridden.  No excuses–none that you would care to hear so in the interest of time…shall we just get on with it?  I am going to do my best to do just that.  But just so you know, when I say guilt-ridden–that has as much to do with my lack of selflessness-progress as it does with skipping out on my writing.  Actually, I guess the two go hand-in-hand as selflessness is what I am supposed to be writing about so no progress = no writing.  Lucky for you (tongue-in-cheek), I am feeling inspired (a.k.a. desperate) to move on with this whole “thing” again.  Thus…

I thought I would kick things off with 1) another ridiculous title for my post,  2) a short (please get up off the floor, I know it’s contrary to prior musings, but I do actually possess the ability to showcase a little brevity–I’ve just chosen not to do so in the past–and in the words of the parachute-pants wearing, 80’s hip-hop, rap, R & B “icon”, Bobby Brown–My Prerogative) post on my bottom line (note, I said my bottom line, not my bottom although both have the capacity to reveal way more than you might want to know about me), and 3) a little video for emphasis and inspiration (or maybe it’s just because I have a small obsession with watching tedtalks and have decided to pass on a little of that obsession to you.  You’re welcome).

Here’s the straight scoop–I think I have been going about this selflessness-thing in not exactly the right (or as some would call it–the wrong) order.  I find myself trying to force something that doesn’t appear to be happening naturally.  So…I am looking to take a different approach.  What brought this on you ask?  I know you didn’t actually ask but this is my story and I am writing it in my head exactly how I choose (wow–that sounds a little selfish is what you actually just said but again, my story so I am going to pretend that exchange did not just happen).

About four months ago, my friend and I started meeting with a group of girls from our daughters’ freshman class (actually it’s all the girls from their class when they can make it.  There are only nineteen girls total in their grade–and twice as many boys–tell me that’s not going to make for some interesting options come prom-time.)  They are getting together for some fun, food, faith and fellowship (and maybe a few alliteration lessons) a couple of times a month.  The idea is to help them navigate the sometimes murky waters of friendship coupled with being a teen.  It’s been such a great experience thus far getting to spend time with these wonderful girls.  Our theme for the year is kindness.  Basically, we are just looking for ways to make them more aware of how their thoughts, words and actions can impact others and with that, how to avoid some of the common teen pitfalls and to, instead, reach out in loving kindness.

It’s great because it’s giving me a chance to really unpack kindness.  What it looks like or should look like.  It’s highlighting so many areas of my own life where I can, do, should, and want to make a difference.  One thing I have discovered is that a huge component of kindness is compassion.  Or really, maybe it is the other way around.  A huge component of compassion is kindness?  I don’t know.  Chicken or the egg.  Any thoughts?  Doesn’t matter does it?  They both are powerful, powerful ways to love on each other.  Powerful.

The way I see it, it is all connected.  Selflessness-Kindness-Compassion…Love.  How do you get there?  Better yet…how to stay there?  Amidst all the junk that gets piled on top of  you–that junk we call life–how do you grab onto, dig your heels into, take up residence in that place.  Could it all be summed up in one word…Gratitude.

That’s it.  Gratitude.

Thank you and good night.

Kidding–you’re not getting off that easy.

It just makes sense doesn’t it?  It’s that bottom line I so dorkishly (I love that I just made up my own word) refer to in the title.  To be filled with gratitude for all that is with you, around you, a part of you…all that is you…is the platform from which to jump when you are called to reach out in loving kindness–selflessly–to others.  It’s a shift.  A game changer.  Do it…right now.  I am not joking (can’t you catch my do-it-or-else tone?).  Think of ten things off the top of your head that you are grateful for in this moment.  Did you feel it?  It opens you up just a little.  Creates a space in your heart that can then be used for something else–makes room for compassion to sneak right in and rest comfortably there.

The thought that went through my head a few days ago (one of the few rational ones so I had to stop and take note of it) was “Gratitude must be my daily practice”.

It’s all there in that one sentence (with a healthy dose of my own personal inference thrown in).

Gratitude is…

~mine to embrace


~daily (continuous)


and in my eyes…life-altering.

As I began to gather my thoughts and ideas for how to teach or add to what the girls already know about the importance of kindness, much has been uncovered for me (don’t you love how when you think you are doing something for someone else, you end up the better for it as well–I am SO very grateful for that).  One of those things uncovered is that an inability to be kind to someone else (or for lack of a better word, being “mean”) often indicates an area of pain (insecurity, envy, loneliness etc.) in our own lives and it is that we must give attention to first before we can fully give to someone else.

You may not be able to change that area of pain but you may be able to shift the focus of your gaze off of it ever so slightly.  Take your eyes off the center of the pain, go a little to the left or right and zone in on those one or two amazing things sitting right there next to the pain.  Result = intensity of pain diminished just enough.  Then repeat it (as Nelly and Tim would say) “over and over again”–the rest of the lyrics to the song don’t apply at all here so don’t go there but the title is effective at least–a bit of a stretch, I know.  That’s it in a nutshell (and by nutshell I am referring to what typically swirls around between my ears).

Gratitude.  The new starting point on my journey towards selflessness.  What do you think? Are you even still here?  Just in case…I will summarize appropriately as we learned in junior-high english class (now referred to as middle school language arts) with a conclusion.  The way I see it is this:

Gratitude is…

~a shift in perspective.

~my bottom line–it starts and ends here.

~the foundation from which kindness and compassion arise.

~the silver lining in the cloud of selflessness I seek to envelop myself in daily.

~where I solidly plant my feet and watch momentum gather in its wake.  

~ultimately life-altering.


And just to get the ball rolling…I am grateful for your acceptance, your patience, your presence…you.

Have a fabulous day.  Kelly

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” ~Cicero

p.s. here is the “awesome” video I promised.  It really is just that.  Watch and enjoy “the 3 a’s of awesome”



I Am Fairly Certain I Have Control Over…Absolutely Nothing

I wonder, is this the best time to write to you?  Right now as I find myself in an enhanced emotional state (I prefer that description over borderline breakdown) is this really when I want to pour my heart out?  When it’s possible I haven’t taken enough time to back fully away from the ledge, or to talk myself into a state of acceptance, or better yet, to submerge all those feelings as I typically prefer to do.  Now?  When those feelings are boiling right at the surface?  Is this the best time?  I guess if you want real, maybe it is.

Here is the thought I was hit by today–I am in control of exactly nothing.  Nothing.   Did I say nothing?  Hear me people.  Nothing.  The problem with that is I am completely wrapped up in trying to control uhm…pretty much everything.  I think that might be a problem.  And the fact that I am just now getting that–well, I am amazed at how slow I can be to catch on to things but we’ve had that discussion haven’t we?  Also, I say really a lot–I really, really do.  I need to find more words to use for emphasis.  Help me out peeps before you start to get really bothered by my unnatural love and therefore overuse of the word really.  Sorry–off track there a bit.  Here we go…

Do you want to talk sports?  Do we dare go there?  Risky, I know, but let’s do it.  Like I said, right now I am raw and so very tired that this may be the only time my defenses are down enough to go there.  First, let me scream.  Done.  Now, I am going to take a deep breath and throw out my biggest vulnerability pitch to date–not a good sports reference but my point is I am about to put a lot of my truth out there for your viewing pleasure and I am “a little” nervous about it.

The first truth about sports is that since my kids were old enough to get involved in any type of sporting activity, I have struggled.  I have struggled with just being okay with exactly how it gets played out.  Struggled with playing time, bench time, what’s fair, what isn’t, when they play well, when they don’t, what the coach might say, what the coach doesn’t say, what teammates say and don’t say, perceptions of what is success and what isn’t, measurements of improvement and progress, level of commitment, discipline, aggressiveness, hard work, too serious, not serious enough and just keep going if you can think of more than those.  Am I alone in this?  Anyone else have that tightness in their chest when they think, for whatever reason, it should be going better or differently for their child out on that court, course or field?  I just can’t possibly believe I am the only one who feels this way.  Am I?

There is a part of me that is just plain competitive by nature so I know I am battling something intrinsic.  But today, I was hit solidly (I think it was a two by four that did it) with a potentially really good (I should let you decide if it’s really good but I tend to think so) reason as to why I struggle with this sports stuff.  It all boils down to control.  The frustration, the anger, the hurt, the shortness of breath and tightness in my chest, all stem from me wanting to control a hole host of things that are completely beyond my reach.  Would anyone mind if I screamed again?

It is true though isn’t it?  You can’t make the plays for your child, you can’t decide for the coach who, what, where or when, you have no say in whether the other team plays better, has more bench, plays dirty or has cuter uniforms.  Basically, you got nothin’.  And really, that’s it isn’t it?  I appear to be reacting to situations I can do absolutely nothing about.  Seriously, it’s depressing to even say that but this is a real struggle for me and worse than that, I “think” I project some of that struggle onto my kids.  Now I am depressed even more as I admit that part but I think I have to in order to move beyond this and hopefully, closer to selflessness.  I really can’t predict what the outcome will be for any sporting activity.  I can hope for the best and give them all the tools and resources I can possibly give but, I cannot hand them the exact outcome they (or I) want.  That is out of my control.  Booooo!

I would like to say to you that it’s just a game.  And I would say it to myself–over and over in my head…it’s just a game, just a game, just a game.  But, this time, the emotions were running so high as I drove away, a different mantra started flowing.  Instead, I began telling myself…let it go, let it go, let it go.  Is there a difference?  I don’t know if you think so but I do.  “It’s just a game” makes me feel like I am trying to convince myself to pretend it doesn’t matter.  But “let it go” says to me, it’s okay if it matters to you and that you want things to be different but it is out of your hands.  “Let it go” brings me a little peace and allows me to breathe more deeply.  I like that.  If we are all honest with each other and why shouldn’t we be, don’t we all want our kids to do well whatever the situation…academics, music, sports, relationships etc?  So to say the outcome doesn’t matter probably isn’t the truest statement ever made.   We do care but we don’t control.  Dang.  What then, are we left with?

Here it is friends–you knew it was coming.  The part of the show where I like to do a little song and dance number and then as I fight desperately to catch my breath, break out the practical application goodie bag.  And let me tell you, I am in serious need of some practical application.  I really cannot go on like this for the next ten years.  If I don’t make some changes here and I mean real soon, someone in this family (I think I already have one taker) is going to hand me a suitcase, chewing gum, beef jerky (for protein) and a one-way, nonrefundable ticket–destination: Crazy Town, USA.  But seriously, there is going to be fallout, of that I am sure, if I don’t do something different.

Let’s start off with this–I can’t fix what I don’t acknowledge.  Over the last couple of months, I have come to the realization that I am reacting (some might put an over before that last word but let’s not go there right now) to situations instead of responding.  The problem with that is reacting gives you no real say in the matter–responding makes it your call.  I cannot control the outcome but I can control my thoughts going into and out of a situation (let it go, let it go, let it go).  Maybe it is time to bring in some new thoughts because the current ones just aren’t working so well.  Here is what I have come up with so far…

1)  Awareness.  Rinse.  Repeat.  At all times (or as often as possible for this ol’ dog–you know, the one that is very difficult to teach new tricks) be aware that what you (and by you, I mean me) are experiencing watching from the sidelines is not within your power to control.  So, don’t take it on.  I am pretty sure that is what I have been doing.  So many times wanting it to be different.  I get so knotted up and frustrated by many of these situations but what exactly does that bring to the table.  Absolutely nothing.  Nada.  Or maybe it’s more accurate to say absolutely nothing positive.  And am I parenting as effectively if I am holding on to those frustrations?  Pretty sure that’s a no.  No matter how hard I try, what I am feeling has to seep out in some measure.  Let me now pause for a moment of painful reflection.  Ugh.

Okay, I am back to present point number two…

2) Focus on the positive.  What went right in that situation?  There has to be at least one thing doesn’t there?  If pushed to think of the positives, I bet the list would be surprisingly long.  However, if nothing comes immediately to mind, just be thankful for the chance to share space with your child.  It’s an opportunity to forget about a messy house, homework, laundry or what’s for supper (because of course it’s only right to have a hotdog, popcorn AND m & m’s at the game to support your school or organization) and to be totally focused on him/her.  Other than those events, when do you really get to do that?  As you continue to look for and acknowledge all the good things, hopefully it will shift your thoughts away from all that stuff getting to you–swapping out the negative for the positive.  The good is always there, it just gets overlooked at times.

3) Let it go…go…go…go…echo…echo…echo.  I think I covered this earlier (about four times but I am nothing if not persistent).  If you cannot do anything about the situation, why hang on to it?  It’s not giving up, it’s giving in.  Give in to welcome that sense of peace that is almost immediate as you acknowledge AND accept there are situations, people and things beyond your control.  Like pretty much everything with the exception of you.  You get you.  That’s it.  You are off the hook for the rest.  On the surface it looks like you get your kids.  I mean you do get to decide how you are going to raise them and it will have an impact I am sure but sorry to say (REALLY sorry to say) you still don’t control the outcome.  Like I said–you get you.

Those are the three big ones I plan to get started on–awareness , look for the positives, and let it go.  The trick will be to see how quickly I fall off the wagon.  I don’t think it will take much but my goal is to stay hypervigilant (there’s that awareness thing again) so that as I slip back into my old thoughts, I can get on track fairly quickly.  As I have been thinking and now writing about this, I did wonder, is this really a “selfishness” issue?  Everyone wants their child to do well and succeed and to me that’s not a bad thing.  But when it becomes an issue of control (or lack thereof) then I think it is worth questioning whether this is right or not and whether it’s time to change something up.

And you know, don’t you, that it’s not just about kids.  It’s not just sports, schoolwork, music, and whatever else THEY are involved in that can get to us.  The frustration, hurt, anger, annoyances, depression, anxiety and all those other ones eating at us could potentially be the result of all that WE are involved in–work, marriage, relationships, family, community, committees, organizations, book clubs, church, neighborhoods, fundraisers, and on and on and on.  Please don’t even try to tell me you haven’t struggled, even just a little, with at least one of those at some time or another.  I mean we are human aren’t we?  Aren’t we?

Maybe it’s time to look at the source of the struggle.  When you experience it–and you WILL experience it–probably even today at some point.  Hopefully your frustration isn’t coming as you read this post but if it is–you’re welcome.  I just helped you become aware that even though my run-on sentences, overuse of the word really, and incorrect use of punctuation (I like to use the dot, dot, dot and dash, dash A LOT–because one dash doesn’t do it for me) are driving you batty, you really cannot control how or what I write (I guess you could X out of me but where’s the fun in that?).  Seriously though, be aware of when the struggle is working on your insides.  Examine it closely and ask yourself, “Am I wanting, wishing, fighting to control something that is not within me to do so?”  Be honest. If the answer is yes, then give it your best effort to look for the good and to–yes, you guessed it…

Let. It. Go.

Check in with me.  I would greatly appreciate it.  I will have no less than 146 opportunities (give or take) this week alone to practice what I preach.  I am afraid.  Afraid to fail.  I have a lot on the line right now with this so if you see me at that game, match or wherever else, feel free to throw out a “Hey baby–you lettin’ it go?”  Or you could try hey friend too, that works.  Anything that softens that pesky two by four blow of awareness.

Have an amazing day.  The sun is shining.  What more could you ask for?  Thank you friends and family.  You welcomed me back so sweetly and I appreciate that.  xo Kelly



Back in the Selfless Saddle–What Are You Expecting?

Well, here I am again.  Did you miss me?  Did you even notice I was gone?  No worries if you didn’t.  I wouldn’t blame you…not one single bit.  Because the truth is, at some point during the three months of summer vacation, I made a conscious decision to bow my head, set my sights on the ground directly in front of me and simply put one foot in front of the other.  I think they call that survival mode.  In other words…it was not the easiest summer.

I hesitate to say this as I know there are friends out there dealing with some unbelievable difficulties.  So when I say summer wasn’t “easy”, I do so with the knowledge that my perspective is not quite the same as theirs and I do so also with the understanding that there are incredible blessings every single day in the midst of struggle.  I just need to make a conscious effort to look for and acknowledge these blessings.  I did this over the summer…often.  It is very likely that which kept me afloat for the duration.  However, if I am really honest with you (which I like to be), I did grow weary on many occasion.

Here is where I could spend some time on the things that tested me and threatened to pull me under over the last three months, but I don’t really think that’s the direction I want to go here.  Suffice it to say–in the midst of the running, the battles, the mess, the running, the battles, the mess and then the running, the battles and more mess–it appears that I lost myself.  Oh the drama…

I feel a little ridiculous saying that but I am not sure how else to put it.  I don’t know where I went but it wasn’t the real me handling life, that is for sure.  Not the me I picture in my head anyway.  With the kids back at school now, I am getting a chance to really look at what happened and have identified several plausible reasons as to how the real me got kicked to the curb only to be replaced some days by Bear Grylls (because it truly was man vs wild at times although I didn’t feel the need to drink my own urine) and other days by my evil twin, Bobbsey.  Anyway, putting my skills of over-analyzing to good use, I am going to talk to you about one of those reasons now and save the rest for a rainy day.  And that reason is…drumroll please…expectations (a.k.a. the bane of my existence).  It is at that exact place the source of many of my struggles can be found…with my kids, my husband, my family, friends, and with me personally.

“Life is so constructed, that the event does not, cannot, will not, match the expectation”  Charlotte Bronte

Question–Is it wrong to expect that my kids will do what they are supposed to (the FIRST time), will do it with a grateful and joyful heart, will rise up to meet my standards, will think on their own, will read my mind, will take the initiative, will look for opportunities to excel, opportunities to serve, opportunities to exercise kindness and compassion, oh yeah, and will put their shoes anywhere else but in the middle of the doorway?  Uhm…maybe.

At some point along the rocky road some like to call summer, it hit me (mind you it was mid-way through August, evidence that I am not the sharpest tool in the shed) that life with little kids was so much different from tweens and teens.  Notice please that I am not saying life was/is easier with little kids.  It is just more evident (or maybe that evidence presents itself to me now that my kids are not little) that you are teaching little ones things on a daily basis that they just don’t know–left/right, zippers, buttons, tying shoes, brushing teeth, chew with your mouth closed, please and thank you etc.  There are much bigger lessons as well, but most of those are in their simplest form (share, don’t hit, kindness, love etc) and as unbelievably taxing (believe me I remember) those daily challenges of little ones can be…I think the main expectation is that you EXPECT them to not know any better.

But what happens when in the blink of an eye, those same kids are taller than you, wear a bigger shoe size and want to borrow your clothes, earrings and make-up (not speaking about my youngest here–one, because he’s still smaller than me and two, because although he might tell me he likes my earrings, he has no interest in wearing them)?  What happens then?  What I mean by that is, it is very easy to get caught in this belief, this expectation, that they should know better.  They just really should.  Over and over again they were told where to put those shoes, to make their beds, pick up their dirty clothes, be kind, share, please and thank you, be honest, think of others before themselves, responsibility, integrity, discipline, hard work…on and on and on.   And at what point do they start to get it on their own?

I guess if I think about it, I must really believe they should have gotten it by now because I walk into almost every situation expecting it to be different.  I can’t remember if I told you all this before or not but I spent some time with a counselor a while back.  She and I didn’t exactly hit it off but she did teach me something very valuable so it couldn’t have been all bad.  I went to her because I was struggling with feeling–in a word–angry. I just felt frustrated and angry all the time…with my husband, with my family, with me.  She told me two things–one, she was adamant I was not to get pregnant again (I had two kids at that time) until I had worked through some of this anger (unbeknownst to her I was already pregnant with one of my greatest joys…#3) and two–she asked me what was I expecting (I didn’t tell her a baby because I couldn’t see us sharing a high-five and a chuckle over that one).  It is a great question though…what was I expecting?

What did I expect from my marriage, from my kids, from my family, from my life?  I didn’t really believe at that time that I had any expectations.  She broke it all the way down to the very day I got married.  From day one, what did I believe marriage was going to be like?  Honestly, I never really consciously thought about it.  It was what I wanted but I didn’t think beyond that.  Expectations?  Not me or at least they didn’t present as such in my head.  However, when pushed to answer the question, she helped me see they must be in there.  Why else would I be angry with what was if I wasn’t expecting what was to be different.  This tightly wound ball of anger sitting smack dab in the middle of my chest was coming from what quite possibly could be a laundry list of unmet expectations.  The goal was to figure out what those expectations were exactly and then begin the work of letting go of them–thus, enabling that ball of anger to start unraveling and give me room to breath again.

Isn’t that great!?  It really makes sense.  Begrudgingly, I admit that lesson has helped me many times over the years.  (On a side note–when you are pregnant with your third, the maternity clothes come out of the storage container much, much sooner and about the time I broke out the fashion forward panel pants, I bid a fond farewell to “safe-sex Sally” as I like to refer to said counselor).

Back on point…unmet expectations.

Kids-Here is where I think I have gotten myself in a little trouble not just over the last few months but more like the last few years.  As my kids have gotten bigger/older, somewhere along the way, I started expecting things to be different–for them to get it and for it to get easier.  While that is true, they do get some parts of “it” and some things are easier, there is a whole new part of life they need to tackle and figure out.  Scratch that…we need to tackle and figure out and to do so, I have to drop the expectations in order to get a clear view of their needs.  I need to stop assuming anything is solidified in their minds at this point and keep working towards that being my end goal.  My kids are not raised just because they are bigger.  We are still in the process of raising them.  I lost sight of that and if you can picture a graph of sorts, there is a line representing my unmet expectations steadily rising and a line representing my energy reserves steadily declining, they met at some point but then continued on their opposite trajectories.  Sorry, but as you know, it is exhausting repeating the same thing over and over again.  And it’s frustrating.  What I failed to notice until now is the fact that the more frustrated I get, the less they listen.  Something is getting lost in translation–or better said, the words are being overshadowed by the tone.  Basically, I now find myself with little-to-no energy reserve.  Really, at some point over the summer my reserve flatlined which is exactly when I bent my head and went into survival mode.

What about expectations in marriage?  My marriage is not a static relationship and I wouldn’t want it to be.  You don’t get to a certain point and say okay, that’s all I need to do here.  It’s a dynamic partnership that in my mind, requires frequent checks-ins and check-ups…looking for overt and covert agendas, expectations, defenses…what needs to be dropped, what needs to be added and what can I do to make this the best I can?  A few years back, a dear friend asked me to think about this–given everything I know about my husband at that moment, if taken exactly as he is with no chance that anything about him would change…would you still choose him?  That is a huge question isn’t it?  If you answer without thinking, you would of course say yes wouldn’t you?  But really look at that, as honestly as possible…it’s a much bigger question than you first realize because it requires something big of you.  By saying yes, are you 100% willing to let go of any expectation for change you might have and accept him exactly as he is at that moment, warts and all?  I really thought about what that could mean for me and for our future and my answer–in the very deepest part of me was unequivocally, yes.  With that yes came a significant amount of peace (some of that ball unraveled).  It enabled me to take my focus off of the imperfections and to see the man as a whole.  And without question, as a whole, he is a really, really, good man.  I revisit that question when I find myself losing sight of what’s important…the whole person.  It allows me to refocus, to humble myself, to be vulnerable.  It gets my sights off of what I must be expecting from him in that moment and on to what can I give or let go of in that moment. I am not always successful with that but the question has served me well.

Family–Surprisingly, my family (parents and sibling) is somewhat imperfect and lo-and-behold, so am I.  What’s that you say?!  Yes, it is true.  For a long time I expected them to 100% meet my unspoken needs/wants and held it against them when or if they didn’t (I don’t think they knew that part), at the exact same time I was expecting them to accept me for my imperfections.  Funny how that worked.  Do I detect a note of immaturity in that thought process?  Once a child, always a child.  But this is one area where I have not only made a conscious effort but have also met with some success in identifying and letting go of unspoken expectations.  Letting go of the expectations enables you to see with more clarity how great they really are.  I still stumble at times but progress is progress–big or small.

Blog–This blog is another area I am having to come to terms with.  Apparently, I expected a lot from this–fulfillment being one.  I also thought it would be easy, fun, rewarding and a few more positive adjectives.  Well…it’s not exactly that.  The truth is, it is really time-consuming to sit down and write–for me anyway.  The words don’t flow easily and blocking out a chunk of time to write was difficult last spring and an impossibility over the summer.  Fun and easy?  I have to tell you that it is neither of those.  To be honest, I am an extremely private person (as I sit here on a public blog) and putting any of this out there for others to read freaks me out.  I actually feel a little sick.  I mean really, did I just tell you that I used to see a counselor (and it would likely be quite beneficial to many for me to do so again) and that my husband may or may not be perfect, that my family may or may not be perfect (although I think the word I used was imperfect so that’s a dead giveaway–my parents are unbelievably funny though so that negates those imperfections that were ever so slight to begin with as to be almost imperceptible–they are reading this) and I think I may have hinted that my kids do not rank #1 on the “Perfection Incarnate” chart–did you even know there was such a chart?  Writing about my life and what feels like my own infinite list of imperfections is not easy.  Because of that, I have been dragging my feet coming back to this place.  But here I am and why is that?

The truth is that as much as I feel I failed this summer tackling even the slightest piece of the selfish bone, I have not lost sight of my goal and realize I need to be right here on theselfishbone.com to do it.  If nothing else, I appreciate the accountability writing the blog gives me.  If I am going to write about trying to break that bone of selfishness, then I better have something to write about don’t you think?  I couldn’t bring myself to do it this summer without feeling somewhat like a fraud.  I wasn’t exactly out there looking for opportunities to be unselfish.  I was more or less trying to have just one day where I didn’t have to worry if my windows were open because if they were, then it’s very likely my neighbors just got a taste of a what a banshee actually sounds like–thus, totally blowing the picture I have perfected with my gentle, princess like wave and soft smile I typically bestow on them as I slowly (ha) drive by on my way to one of the kids 230 activities.  Yes, that was a run-on, somewhat convoluted sentence but hang with me, I am wrapping things up.  Point is–I need this.  I need to be reminded that I am working towards something pretty awesome.  And I want you to know that if there are some days you need to just lower your head and Bear Grylls your way through, you aren’t the first.  That if you are sitting there with this big ball of frustration or anger on your chest and no clue where it is coming from in your amazing life, instead of beating yourself up, simply take a look–look to see if you might have some hidden expectations and consider the possibility of letting them go.  They are all over the place and often times, hidden so deeply, it may take a counselor–even one hyper-focused on the need to avoid procreating at this point in your life–to bring it to light.

There is so much more I want to say here about expectations, acceptance, control, vulnerability, humility.  But one thing I have realized is that these posts are too long.  Just as I don’t have a chunk of time to write, you don’t have a chunk of time to navigate the murky waters of my thoughts and ideas.  So, now that we have reconnected, I hate to scare you off with a novella.  Thank you for coming back.  I hope your summer was and start of your fall has been nothing short of fabulous.  Until we meet again…thank you for letting me share (like you could stop me although I think my AMAZING parents might try if I mention imperfection and them in the same sentence again!).  xo Kelly

“Continuous effort-not strength or intelligence-is the key to unlocking our potential.” Liane Cardes


What if…

These two words keep playing over and over in my mind.

What if…

What if…

What if…


Should I keep going?  I think not.  But it bears asking.  What if…

As I mentioned before (a time or two) I have wanted to write–to start this blog–for a long time now.  A looooong time.  I ran up against a few road blocks, the biggest one being me.  I couldn’t quite get the fact I had no idea how to start to mesh with the opposing fact–I wanted it to be perfect.  It’s hard to start at perfect when you have absolutely no idea what you are doing.  So you sit and wait (a.k.a. do nothing).  I still don’t know what I am doing.  But I am writing.  It’s not perfect.  And it’s not easy.  But what if…

That brings me to my next order of business–selflessness.  I am thinking.  I am struggling.  I am working.  I am doing.  I am failing.  I am trying.  Rinse.  Repeat. It’s not perfect.  And it’s not easy.  But what if…

Really–what if it were easy?  Would it be worth it?  Would one little success feel as good if it was thickly padded on both sides by long lists of other successes.  No struggles, no backwards steps, no stumbles or “failures” to illuminate the successes? I am not so sure.  No one really wants the stumbles (or in my case, occasional face plants) but I am beginning to see them as a necessary part of the process.  It’s all a process.  Some stages take longer.  Sometimes you do get stuck. Or side-tracked.  Or completely lost.  Or maybe even smacked upside the head with an errant shoe someone has inadvertently (or not) let fly.

Your stumbling block may not look exactly the same as mine–although I have quite a few so there’s a fairly good chance I’ve got at least one that would resemble yours.  Regardless, there is a need to move through it.  No chance of flying over or burrowing deep below it.  And the idea of sitting it out in the hopes the block will just disappear, isn’t likely to work well either (I may or may not have a bit of experience with that one).  No chance of turning your back on it, ignoring, or pummeling it away.  Children, significant other, home, time, fatigue, pain, sadness, health, finances, weight, work, life…whatever it may be.

I make light of none of it.  Not one single bit of it.  But really, truly–what else can you do with your struggle but face it head on?  You may come up with an alternate way around it but you still have to know what you are dealing with in order to do that.  Accept the stumbling block is there and move forward.  Nothing lasts forever.  Nothing.  Neither our struggles nor our successes.  Fleeting for some or longer lasting for others but inevitably, either will morph, evolve or dissipate.  Acceptance does not mean I am to do nothing, give up, or rail against.  I think so often I fight what is.  The struggle, the mistake, the failure, the stumble is already present.  Lamenting or resisting its existence does nothing to change the fact it is right in front of me (except maybe delay my ability to move through it).  It is all a part of the process (there’s that process thing again)…of living.  Eventually, you come out on the other side of struggle and take stock.

It’s all relative, but honestly, I have been dealt a couple of tough blows in my life. I am well on the other side of them now and able to take stock of those situations.  As I do, I ask myself, was there any value at all to what happened?  Any?  I am not saying would I choose to go through those things again.  That’s different.  I don’t have that option.  I would 100% change those things if I could.  My question is, am I able to look at those really painful situations and see something of value on the other side?  In a word, yes.

I mean really, I am me with those experiences.  Who would I be and how would I be different if they had not happened–I can’t answer that.  I have to know that right now, I am who I am supposed to be and I will continue to grow into the me I am supposed to be down the road.  So, to say there is no value in those struggles, could very well take away from the value of me today.  The other thought I have on the subject is those experiences in my life allow me to live a more engaged and empathic life with others.

I don’t do well making small talk or chit-chat…just spend five minutes with me (more like one) and you’ll catch on to that very quickly but sit down with a cup of coffee and a willingness to go beyond chit-chat…I will be there for you.  I will go to tough places and accept all of your wounds as well as reveal some of my own.  Am I a rare breed?  Well, not in this instance-ha.  I think that’s what the wounded can give to the wounded.  And my friend, we are all wounded.  That is the “gift” that comes out of the struggles we face.  If we choose to, we can lift each other up or sit right down on the ground next to each other.  But we can do it with authenticity because we have all struggled at one time or another.  So again, I ask myself, what if?

What if we could choose differently?  What if we didn’t have to struggle, fail, eat crow, mess-up, give hurt, get hurt, battle, stumble or fall?  What if we could choose the easy way.  Would I do it? Honestly, yes…I probably would sometimes.  I know I want it to be easy for my sister, my friends who are struggling, those with a hurting child, those who have lost a loved one, those who are sick, depressed, alone, tired, worn-out and worn-down.  Yes, in those instances and more, I would choose easy for them.  I just don’t get to choose.  Instead, I have to look at it from the side I know.  For what I have experienced, am experiencing and will experience…there is always the other side where you get to look back at what you have gone through.  And with that in mind, instead of saying what if, I say I wonder

I wonder–if the path were easy, would we intimately know hope?  Would we know perseverance, persistence, support, comfort, camaraderie, empathy, compassion, kindness, forgiveness, and love?  Would we know our own strength or see the strength in others?  Would we know God, or faith or friendship?  Would we know deep, heart-filled gratitude?

I wonder.

Thank you for being a blessing in my life.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you reading and sharing this experience and journey with me!

With love, Kelly

p.s. I will write more on this later but I just wanted to add a note–I have a lovely, dear friend–actually, I have quite a number of lovely, dear friends I am so thankful for–but this one in particular recently opened up her heart and home (literally), invited me in, and helped me get started on this blog.  Check her out at chickgoggles.com.  I like to practice my alliteration when I describe her as my beautiful, brunette, brainiac friend (of which she is all three)!  She is doing a really great series of posts right now on self-confidence tips.  If you have time to go back and read some of her earlier posts too, you will be better for it.  I know I am.


A Heavy Heart…

I don’t know how many of you are checking in but just in case you are, you may have noticed my absence over the last week and a half…maybe? Anyone?  Mom?  Goes without saying, it is a jam-packed time of year (guess I just said it).  Finishing up the school year.  All the last-minute field trips, activities, parties, gifts, celebrations…makes for a crazy ride.  For me, it is a little bittersweet.

My kids are all in the same school as it is K-12 but next year they will be in different wings–elementary, middle and high school.  They won’t see each other at all during the day and for some reason that makes me heartsore.  My youngest is especially saddened his sister won’t be passing him in the hall or be out on the playground at recess for them to hang out.  They are good together.  An article I ran across just yesterday…the timing was just as it should have been.  A meaningful message coming along right when my heart is aching for what was…

Katrina Kenison | Maria Shriver | Home for Architects of Change

I think I told you in another post about watching old videos of the kids and how sweet and painful it is for me to see the exponential changes in them over just a few short years.  How I long for those days when they were little.  Katrina’s article was a good wake-up call.  I spent the first half of my adult life continually looking to see what was coming down the pike, what was next, where was I going.  I went right from that to the second half of my adult life where I found myself looking back at what once was.  Forward and back but never just right here, never right now.  I am thinking this would be a good time to change that up a bit.

I haven’t written anything for a little while mainly because I feel like I am missing the mark ever so slightly by taking this in the direction I have been.  Honestly, I don’t think I am doing enough to keep me on the selfless path and to encourage others to do the same.  Actually, I can truthfully tell you, I have gotten a tad off course or maybe it’s more like I turned around and am basically headed back (at a brisk pace) in the exact same direction I came from.  Really?  Really.  Shoot.

Sometime over the last week it hit me that this blog needs to be a little more and a little less.  A little more organized, a little more inviting, a little more encouraging, a little more focused, a little more of a priority, a little more lightness, a little more seriousness, a little more kindness, a little more compassion, a little less lengthy, a little less response-driven, a little less of “I have failed”, a little more “I have learned”…

a little more and a little less.  I think so.  The ideas for revamping have been circulating , swimming and jumping around all over in my head.  I think if I can straighten some of this out and change things up a bit, it might be a good thing.  Maybe.  So, be prepared to see a few (a lot) of things change over the next few weeks (months).  How does all this tie in together?  It doesn’t.  Not really anyway.  Earlier in the day I had planned to sit down and just write a couple of sentences saying I was working on changing things up on my website and to be prepared for that.  And those changes tied in 100% to the preceding article by Katrina Kenison.  (Love her by the way.  She wrote one of my favorites “The Gift of an Ordinary Day”…The Gift of an Ordinary Day: A Mother’s Memoir)

Anyway–I guess my point in all of this is that after reading Katrina’s article, it reinforced what I have already been thinking and writing about (some).  If I don’t get busy becoming more aware of this very moment, I am simply going to miss it.  Miss the blessings of the present moment.  Miss the multitude of opportunities and situations placed right in front of me to make selfless choices.  Life is really one big ball of opportunity…to do better, to be better, to give better, and to love better.  I can look back at those videos and long for what was or look back at them and remember those times honestly–it was not all moonlight and roses, there were challenging times to say the least, just as there are today.  But there was so much good mixed in with the tough stuff.  Just like now–so much good mixed in–I just have to look for it, search for it…SEE it.  That was my plan for what I was going to write about today.  Things changed.

You see, as I prepared in my head what I would later sit down to write, I turned on the evening news.  That was six hours ago and here I sit at one in the morning.  Writing and watching.  Devastated.  Aching.  Fifty-one.  More to come.  I am so sorry little ones.  I am so sorry.  Nothing else I say at this point would do much for either of us and would fall so very short of filling anyone’s need or of relieving any suffering.

So I stand on the path to selflessness, unsure of my next step. Unsure of the most effective way to reach the destination but knowing I am on the journey I am meant to be on.  I started my first blog entries by saying you always have a choice in what you do or don’t do.  I may have been wrong about that.  Not so sure the pursuit of selflessness is a choice for me anymore–to do better, to be better, to give better, to love better.  To be right here, right now.  For them, for him, for you.  I stand on this path letting go of what once was, letting go of what will be, reaching for and embracing what is.

I am sorry Moore, Oklahoma.  So very, very sorry.

xo Kelly



The Space Between

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search For Meaning

Do you get it?  You need to get it.  I have spent my life unaware or completely ignoring that space.  There is real power in that space and every time you exercise the power for good, it opens you up and allows goodness to sink deeper into you.  The power to choose…to choose goodness.  It’s a heady thing.

This is my most treasured quote.  I think I may get a tattoo of it so I can refer back to it over and over again.  I can’t just tattoo it any ol’ place as there seem to be parts of me I just can’t quite or don’t want to see anymore and of course, I wouldn’t want to tattoo it to my back or forehead and have to look in the mirror to read it.  Might defeat the purpose of trying to actually live it out if I have to read it backwards all the time.  Maybe a tattoo isn’t the best way to go but regardless, it is a quote I need reminding of on daily basis.

The thing is, we get to choose how we are going to respond in or to any given situation.  Actually, we do choose our response, every single time–even no response is a response.  That is the freedom Mr. Frankl is talking about.  I don’t get to always choose my circumstances but the rest of it, I do get to take a shot at.  I am sure some of you know, Viktor Frankl was an Austrian neurologist and psychologist.  He was a Holocaust survivor who spent several years in concentration camps during which time he experienced unbelievable atrocities not the least of which was the loss of his mother, father, brother and pregnant wife.  Later he wrote of the experience in the world-famous book Man’s Search for Meaning.  I read it years ago and could benefit from doing so again.  One thing I learned from it is that obviously, Mr. Frankl was not able to choose the horrible circumstances he was forced to endure but he did choose to find meaning within the suffering. He chose. From his experience, he concluded there IS meaning in the suffering and that those who had meaning and purpose in their lives, were more likely to survive.  Maybe it is in that the significance of choice is understood.  Stick with me…

I would never begin to compare anything in my life to what he experienced but somehow I have to make the shift from talking about Mr Frankl to why his words are a part of my core…there is no smooth transition or segue for that or maybe there is and I apologize for not being able to come up with it.   A big reason I am on this quest is of course to make a positive difference, or should I say a hugely positive impact (nothing I want to do with this is small)–in my kids lives, my husband, friends, family and any other Tom, Dick or Harry that may come straggling in.  I don’t believe I can make the greatest difference for them unless I first change me–yes, I know we have had this discussion before but it bears repeating.  Enter in–Operation Selflessness.  The interesting part is that in a very short period of time, as I find myself barely past the first block of what will be a lengthy trip, I have already been given a sizable gift within the quest.

For the first time in a long time, I am finding a real sense of purpose in my life.  For those of you who know me well, you know this has been an ongoing struggle for years.  Did I say years?  Ugh–where does the time go.  It really has been years.  I think the moment I had my first child (she’s thirteen) and I realized I am not going to be receiving the Mother of the Century award any time soon (hey, not even a Mother of the Entire Day award), I started floundering.  Since then, I have been under this cloud of feeling less-than and lost.  Honestly, I just always assumed I would be pretty amazing at this or at the very least better (she says with a judgemental tone) than most.  Instead, I have been humbled almost to the point of breaking.  I have not done, am not, and will not do this perfectly.  To quote Ricky Bobby–“if you ain’t first, you’re last” (movie anyone?).  That’s how I felt…like I was losing ground…failing.  And as my position in the race kept dropping, my sense of meaning and purpose seemed to drop right along with it.

Parenting is such an interesting experience isn’t it?  You work at one aspect of it, think you have it figured out and then they completely change the direction of the play on you (or throw out the playbook).  You figure out one child, the other one is  totally different and the third…well, that one’s in a class all his own.  And it isn’t just parenting…you don’t have to be a parent to know we don’t have all the answers or even all the right tools necessary to make a seamless connection with another human being.  We are relational beings and I don’t believe we were ever created to go through the maze of life alone but there are struggles (hidden or overt, present or potential) in any/all of our relationships.  How do we navigate those murky, and often unchartered, waters successfully without losing sight of the true purpose of the relationship?  Maybe we need to choose to see things differently.

I had it wrong from the beginning.  My family was never supposed to see perfection when they looked at me or at my house.  Instead, maybe they are supposed to see someone who gives it her best, tries her hardest, loves them fully, lifts them up, laughs often, offers up kindness and compassion above all else, and in her human-ness, does none of that perfectly.  In my mind–that could be a selfless person.  In my reality–I have a way to go.

This would be the point of the trip where I would be in the backseat of the car asking my parents every thirty miles, “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”  It has always been my situation, my circumstances–someone or something else doing the driving.  But, this time, I’m not in the backseat.  I am the one in front pushing the pedals AND steering the wheel.  I am a little discouraged about the lengths I still need to go.  I am a little discouraged by the one step forward, two steps back kind of progress.  I am a little discouraged that I don’t know exactly how to go about this.  I am a little discouraged but not without hope.  Never without hope.

The thing that Viktor says in his book is that there is meaningfulness in everything, even the suffering.  I just lost sight of that for a while.  I don’t consider myself to be suffering at all.  There have been challenges and struggles in my life but suffering like he did?…of course not.  I just think that if there is meaning in the suffering, there has to be meaning in all situations doesn’t there?  This journey is helping me find that meaning and is giving that sense of purpose back to me.  I get that in order to find meaning and purpose in your life regardless of the circumstances, you must have your eyes open.  Honestly, I don’t think I ever really lost my purpose, I just chose to see it that way.  I am looking at it differently now.  In selflessness, there is purpose and I am choosing to actively look for it, seek it out, go after it, work towards it, embrace it…I choose.

Truth-telling time:

This was a difficult post.  I wrote it all and lost it all.  Tried to recreate it and got scared because I couldn’t remember any of what I had just written a few hours prior. (for those of you who have read Still Alice–this was my freaky Still Alice experience).  This post took me days to write which is partly why I am feeling a little discouraged.  I had no intention of writing only one post a week and yet here I am at midnight on Thursday.  The other thing is it’s really hard to write about space and choice, purpose and meaning and have it all tie in together.  I can’t say for sure I have done that here for you.  Let me know and I will expound if you would like.  I do hope to write a part two very soon but with a little more practical application (I am sure you have already figured out that I am big on p.a.)  I don’t want to just talk about stuff, I want to do–are you the same?  I needed the big take away though from this post which if you missed it (it’s a little hidden in there) is that it is all about choice.  We have the power to choose.  And along with that, my sense of purpose is being restored as I choose to look for and put into play more and more ways to be selfless.  Wow–I just said in three sentences what took me three days to say in the preceding paragraphs!!

Have a fabulous day!  xo  kel



Belly Up!

Okay–let’s just get this over with first thing…that is a ridiculous title for the post but because I can’t think of anything else right now, it will have to do won’t it?

It’s been a really long day.  Just got back from Ironman 3 with my family and one extra little guy tagging along.  We had a great time.  I have to say, not sure how it happened but I am a big, big fan of Tony Stark…well, all the Avengers but especially Tony because simply put, he cracks me up.  I realize the writing is a huge factor but someone has to deliver the lines?  Have you ever met a person who very likely has a good sense of humor but the delivery is not quite there?  If you say that’s me, we are through.  Robert Downey jr. just makes it happen.  I think I like him so much because first of all, he’s incredibly talented but also, I’ve grown up with him and watched what could have been a tragic Hollywood cliché turned into triumph.  Love that and love a guy with a sense of humor.  Case in point…

The title of this post.  It’s a phrase my dad uses when he is talking about getting your fill of something delicious…Belly Up (say it as a command)!  For some reason it makes me laugh just like when you ask him for a napkin and he hands you two saying, “here, take two–I’ve seen you eat”  or my ol’ favorite, “go play in the street…but wait for some traffic”.  You know he used those little gems for twenty plus years and every time, someone laughed (usually me).  I am fairly certain he’s still using those with the grandkids and even though kids these days are a tougher audience, I am pretty sure he gets a chuckle out of them.  In print, they don’t pack much of a punch–it’s all in the delivery.  You just have to hear what I hear in my head–his voice with just the right tone and timing.  My dad has an amazing wit and sense of humor.  He goes out of his way to make people laugh but also is a willing participant when someone else is delivering the lines.  I am pretty sure one of the greatest  contributors to my parents fifty-plus years of marriage is that they make each other laugh…a lot.  So, Tony Stark and my dad…

Need I mention the man I married?  I am guessing he would rather I didn’t and I won’t go into much detail but suffice it to say, he delivers.  He, too, is using jokes and one-liners that I first heard from him about twenty years ago but I still crack-up every time (or I should say almost every time).  And now, I hear him using those lines with the kids but for some reason, I think I laugh harder than they do.  Uhm…should I be worried that I am potentially an easy mark?  It’s not just recycled material either.  He is seriously funny…is that possible (to be seriously funny)?…and unless he’s got a few writers on his payroll, he appears to be coming up with this stuff all on his own.  So, Tony Stark, my dad, and my Boo…

I think it’s interesting that my husband and dad are two completely different personality types.  My dad is just out there for all the world to see.  He doesn’t withhold a lot of emotion (just watch a Vikings game with him and you’ll get it).  My husband, completely opposite.  That’s neither here nor there.  They are who and what they are.  I just find it worth noting that regardless of their differences, humor is one of the major binding forces behind my relationship with each of them (well, I guess I would have to include DNA as ranking right up there as a binding force as far as my dad goes).

I think humor is a gift–to have grown up with it, to live with it, to witness it in someone else, to even deliver it at times—a gift that can change the direction and thus, completely change the outcome of a situation.  Doesn’t matter what kind of situation it is–routine or difficult–humor can have a major impact.

My sweet friend and I were talking about this the other day.  Maybe we need to lighten up; to not take ourselves and our kids so seriously.  Is it possible?  Could infusing humor into a situation be considered a selfless act?  I mean really…could it?  I am asking you.  Hello?  Hello?  Anybody out there?  just checking

One thing I know for sure is that as I am telling you about my dad, I could just as easily be telling you about my mom.  My mom is also extremely quick-witted and has a wonderful sense of humor.  The thing is–I know that now but I am not sure I knew that growing up.  I mean she had to have been funny or had a good sense of humor even back then–there is no way she and my dad would be this compatible later in life if they didn’t have that humor to sustain them during tougher times.  I mean, you can’t tell me you can get through more than five decades of marriage and not have had a few rocky times.  Something has to pull you through right.  But why don’t I remember her that way?  If I think hard about it, I can start to pull out things in my teens where she and I really had some fun just being together.  Of course, in my ego-driven world that’s because I was entertaining her but for the sake of argument (and this post) let’s assume my ego is wrong (what? me? no way–says the ego).  Here’s the thing, I don’t think I remember her being that way because, for the most part, she had serious business to attend to–she was raising two girls who needed all the direction and guidance she could possibly muster.  And if she was anything like I am now–Fear (with a capital F) was a major player in all that she was doing.  Does that mean my dad wasn’t concerned with those same things.  I don’t really know because I am not a man and I don’t play one on tv.  I wouldn’t want to assume anything about how he may or may not have felt.  What I do know is that men and women think differently.  We just do.  So, if my dad was afraid for us (or of us-ha), he likely chose a different way to express it than my mom did.  Regardless…

For me, fear-based parenting seems to trump humor every time.  How can you be laughing and cracking jokes when you are worried about…everything.  I could go through a whole list of things we are afraid will happen to our little ones but that will take too much time.  What?  You’re dozing right now anyway.  Well, in that case…

(kidding)  I will just use my own child, AGAIN! (I promise, the focus of this blog will not forever be stuck on my kids) and where she is today as a teenager.  As my kids have gotten older, it’s gotten harder and harder to find my sense of humor (I think it skipped out and is currently residing somewhere in Canada).  I laugh with them less and I push them more.  Somewhere along the line, things started to become more about what they have done, need to do or are currently doing.  I am constantly surveying the area, looking for the next thing…the next music lesson, homework assignment, test grade, practice, game, social event.  I find myself so afraid of the future for them.  I am afraid if I am not constantly looking at those things then what does that mean for them down the road?  College, career, friendships, sports–all of it.  If I don’t keep my eye on all of that, there is a  chance they could fail.  They could fail in relationships, financially, professionally, spiritually.  So, in trying to prevent anything bad from ever happening in their entire lives…who has time to laugh? ha!

But is what I am doing sound parenting?  Is there any real benefit to living that way?  Any payoff?  I can be as vigilant as humanly possible and things may still go wrong.  I can provide them with the best example and the best opportunities and things may still go wrong.  I can’t say for sure that my mom worried about all of those things but I do think, in large part, it’s what women do.  It’s likely she was afraid for us and thus, didn’t have time to bust a gut.  Although I do remember so vividly the time she was trying to tell my dad a story about something that happened on a show and she was laughing so hard, she couldn’t get through it and before we knew it, we were all rolling on the floor which was no easy feat considering we were in the car.  I wonder if my kids will remember me as someone who laughed a lot or didn’t?  I wonder if my kids will remember me as someone who took life too seriously or didn’t?  I wonder if my kids will remember me as the one crazy enough to take off on a three-day road trip to Canada in search of her sense of humor?

So, what’s the plan Stan?  (Stan–Well, I don’t know, I guess I’ll hop off the bus Gus).  But seriously–what is the plan?  Just because I am coming to an understanding about things here doesn’t mean I have everything worked out, but there are a few steps I am considering.

1) Thank my parents for their gift of humor.  Without it, I would be lost.

2) Thank my husbands parents–he got his sense of humor from someone(s) and I know them well enough to know, it’s in the genes.

3) Thank the Academy–I mean this might be my only opportunity to do so.

4) Awareness (can’t change what you do not realize is happening)–be aware of situations where the mood is heavy, body is tense, spirits are low, attitudes are ugly, focus is negative and then…

5) To paraphrase my sweet friend once again–Lighten up!

I mean really, just the idea of lighten-ing up feels…lighter. Awareness is key.  From there, just realizing I have the power to make a change.  Just like we talked about before–you are either filling or emptying someone’s tank…same with humor.  You are either adding lightness to the situation or you are not.  And if not, why not?  I mean certain situations call for humor to take a backseat but judging by Tony, my dad and my husband, there are very few times where humor can’t or shouldn’t be used to lift someone up.  However, do I really need to point out that humor should never be used at the expense of someone else because that’s just not funny now is it?  Guard your tongue in those instances.  A laugh for the sake of a laugh is never the way to go…never…ever…ever.  And honestly, I think that happens way too often…another post, another day I guess.

Did not plan on a 2 1/2 day break from this post but such is life…

Okay–here I am first thing Monday morning trying to finish up what I started Friday night.  How does that happen?  Just finished the morning rush of trying to get out the door and believe me, there is nothing funny about that!  What I realize now is that I think I do laugh quite a bit with my kids but I also go completely in the other direction and take life way, way too seriously.  Honestly, it’s hard not to sometimes.  But, I don’t want to write about things and have no helpful ideas or suggestions on how to actually do something about it.

So, we get that awareness is important–in all things–this will be a recurring theme throughout Operation Selflessness.  Can’t fix what you don’t see or acknowledge.  But beyond that, is it enough to say Lighten Up! and then just move on?  I have a sneaking suspicion that no, it isn’t enough.  That isn’t going to fix anything really.  The question is how?  How do I move past some of this stuff that drives me nuts, irritates, frustrates, angers, saddens, confuses, wears on me or any other humor-sucking emotion you can think of?  There are people who do that, I like to call them joy suckers but I think there are also state-of-mind joy suckers.  Basically, when I have lost all sense of my humor and bigger than that, the goodness in my life, that’s when I need to fight to get my head out of its current state.

Bottom line is I need to pull back.  I tend to get focused on something that isn’t big picture.  Anytime you can pull back the camera and get a  bigger look at the situation, I think that can help tremendously.  I zone in on the mess, the attitude, the time, the agenda.  The tighter the shot, the harder it is to see beyond that.  Yesterday the kids and I were watching videos of when they were little.  If you do that, be prepared.  It’s like a dagger piercing your heart.  Or at least I am assuming that’s what it’s like having never actually experienced the dagger to the heart thing.  I can tell you, it literally took my breath away. I  wanted to cry (okay, yes I did cry) and squeeze them for two days straight but that might have gotten awkward.  I wanted to stop time.  Well, honestly, I wanted to go back in time, to those days when they were so, so sweet.  I wanted to take myself back to that place and tell myself, “Enjoy this! Enjoy this! Enjoy this!”.  Obviously, I can’t do that.  But, what I can do is tell myself that right now.  I mean really, what if in four or five years, I look back to videos of what is now?  What would I tell myself about these days?  I think there is a chance I might say to me–“You should have enjoyed that more.  You should have soaked it all up and found the joy and humor in those moments.  You should have pulled the camera back, looked beyond the clothes all over the floor and refocused on the important subjects in the scene”.  It really won’t be long and all of that stuff–the shoes, clothes, junk, papers, cups, bikes, toys, Legos and everything else in the mess–won’t be here.  And neither will the ones making the mess.  I know I am going to have a lot of regrets–if you are one of those that believe in living without any, well more power to you but my list will be a mile long, I just know that about me.  I already regret not realizing how great those times were when they were little.  I didn’t say they were easy, but they were really, really good.  I can be thankful for all of it now as I look back. Why not be thankful for all of it now when I am in it?

So, what’s the take away…where is the practical application part?  For me, I will continue with my previous goal of looking to be a filler.  I didn’t do it yesterday or this morning that’s for sure–I lost my focus–so I pick up the pieces (their hurt feelings and my shattered ego) and start again.  I feel good about that.  It really does feel good to be actively thinking about ways to make their lives better.  In the midst of doing that, I need to let go of this idea that the process of getting through life leaves no room for laughter or joy.  Truly living life with the people directly (and often indirectly) in your path is exactly where you need to be looking for those opportunities to find, and then share, joy and humor.  It’s my dad’s version of Belly Up!–come on up and get your fill of love and laughter.  The only way I can be actively searching for ways to make deposits in their tanks is to pull the camera back to see the whole picture and to refocus on what’s important.  So, that’s my plan…stay tuned.

I hope this finds you in such a good place this morning.  Have a fabulous day!  xo Kelly

Ending with a favorite song a dear friend sent to me a couple of years ago.  It has been so motivating to me since that day I listened for the first time. Then she upped and moved away…she’s got real nerve that one!  Love you Anila.


Matthew West: The Motions


Progress…at a Snail’s Pace

Okay–I actually started this last night at about 10:30 and woke up two hours later with imprints of squares on my face as I had fallen asleep on the keyboard!  Then I went back to it first chance I had today but ran out of time so here I find myself again at what now looks a lot like 11:00 pm (Tuesday) on the clock, although my eyesight isn’t what it once was.  Not sure it will be worth it but I’ll see if I can’t actually get it up on the blog tonight before I fall asleep on my keyboard… again.

Here is what I wrote last night…

Well, interestingly enough, I find myself here again–in front of the computer. However, it is much later than I had hoped it would be.  Later, in that it’s been too many days since I last wrote and later, in that it is again, going to be past midnight when I get this finished.

When I first started thinking (way back when) about going after selflessness, I had the idea that I would write everyday with a new thought or intention and just keeping banging out posts until we were all firmly entrenched in living THE selfless way of life.  Uhmmm yeah, not exactly going to work out that way…for a couple of reasons.  One being, I just don’t honestly think I am going to be able to eek out enough time to be writing every day.  I could do some posts ahead of time, and in fact have a few ideas half-completed (much like many of my thoughts, books and projects–a half of one here and part of another there).  However, I don’t want to start and then save up a bunch of posts for later as I am trying to write as I go to stay current with what I am working on.  Another reason–I don’t want to sacrifice the well-being of the very ones I am trying to bolster the well-being of. ( I don’t think you are supposed to end a sentence with a preposition are you?).  Meaning, I don’t want writing to become THE priority as that could become a problem considering selflessness is the objective.

But, an even bigger reason is that having a new idea everyday just isn’t going to work for me.  I realized about a half a day after my last post (about being a chipper or a filler) just figuring things out or coming up with a sort-of plan doesn’t make it all better.  Knowing doesn’t solve the problem, it’s the doing what I now know that will bring me closer to solving the problem.  I can’t just move on to the next idea without giving adequate time to the previous one.  It’s like when you want to lose a couple of pounds.  We all know how to do that (exercise and eating healthy in most cases) but it’s the doing that can be the obstacle and at the very least, requires a time commitment.  Bottom line is that this is going to take some work. Funny–I thought I was going to change over night simply because I want this to be different and because I have really good intentions.  Well–we all know where those babies will take you.  Bad, bad places.

After my last post, I cannot honestly say I stopped chipping away at my kids and immediately started looking for ways to fill them up.  I did, however, find myself thinking about it more as life was playing out.  I may still have been chipping away but I became more aware of when I was doing it.  It’s an important first step. I think it’s helpful in most situations when you are wanting to change a behavior, whatever that may be, to become very aware of that behavior as it is happening (emotional eating for me is another big one which I will share but–another time folks, another time).

And when I say that I have become more aware of what I am or am not doing…I think it is probably about 30 percent of the time.  The other 70, I remain wrapped up in my own thoughts and my old habits.  I am going to choose to look at that 30 as progress rather than a pretty small percentage.  I finally had a small break through tonight.  I won’t get into the specifics but I reacted to a situation with my oldest in the same way I normally would have before (boo) but as I was talking I had one of those out-of-body experiences where I was standing outside of me watching…well, me.  As I watched myself give her a hard time, I was thinking two things–uhm, this is doing absolutely nothing to fill her up AND what kind of mood was God in when He gave me that hair?  There is also the fact that after I got done talking, I caught a look from my husband that to me closely resembled a “what exactly was that?” kind of look or maybe it was a “what the heck is wrong with your hair?” kind of look.  They are similar.  So, after I gave myself a few minutes to clear my head and check my hair, I asked myself, “What is something right now, in this moment, I could do that would bring something positive to the situation?”  I mean really, she was just getting home at 9:15 after a long day of school and track, there’s a chance she might have needed a little filling up.  I thought of a couple of things, carried them out and immediately not only diffused the situation but basically changed the trajectory of the rest of evening.  There was a definite shift in energy when we stood next to each other.  I felt better but more importantly, she felt better and you could sense that in the room.  In addition, it made me want to be on the lookout for future opportunities to continue to lift her up even just a little bit.

So what’s the take away message here.  Well, I don’t know exactly know…mainly because I can’t think straight right now.  But if I really concentrate and avoid looking at the clock (because it is freaking me out) I arrive at a couple of thoughts on my recent foray into selflessness (you guys probably know all this already so just hang with me because otherwise, you have to go do some laundry and/or the dishes and where is the fun in that).

1) Project Selfless Me–not going to be fixed overnight.

2) Selflessness as a character trait–not going to be built overnight.  This isn’t a check off list and the first one to the end wins.  It’s going to be a slow, sometimes painstaking process.

OK…that’s as far as I got last night but in reading it over today (after correcting the 422 typos and erasing all the extra letters caused by my cheek resting on the keyboard–let’s not talk about drool damage, that’s just gross) I thought of a couple of things I would like to add at this time and really who’s going to stop me.

That person you are trying to be more giving to doesn’t need a lot.  I mean really. I had to walk up a flight of stairs, catch my breath at the top, give her a glass of ice water, a bowl of crackers, put away some laundry for her, clean up a few other things, speak kindly, give her a hug and kiss, hand her the science book she now needed to study from and walk back down the stairs with my arms full of the 8 water bottles, two bowls, and one package of crackers she had in her room and do it without picking at her again for having all that in there.  Not any one of those things I did saved a life or solved any of the world’s great mysteries.  But all of them together where my focus was no longer on me (and what was annoying to me) but was zoned in on her, well, it did shift the energy in the room.  So to me, that makes it worth something.  It also shifted something within me.  It made me realize, as I just said, they don’t need a lot.  Just someone to fill in what’s been chipped away throughout the day.

Another thing is you need to know your audience.  Sounds fairly simple when you are talking about your kids but I think too often, we (and by we, I mean I–I only said we so I wouldn’t feel like the only one who does this even though I am fairly certain I AM the only one who does this) do things with our kids that are more to our liking than theirs.  I do what comes naturally to me or what I prefer instead of really studying each child and understanding what he/she likes, will respond to and/or will feel better because of.  Example–so simple, my oldest loves a big glass of fresh ice water (which is why I brought her one).  I know this because I do too and every time I make MYSELF one, she takes it and drinks most of it.  Honestly, I get so annoyed by this when instead, you would think I would have it figured out and just go ahead and always make two glasses of ice water.  I sound like a real winner don’t I?  No wonder I am not my biggest fan.  What about rap music?  Is it music?  Just checking–ha.  We both love music and we both love it loud!  But, where we differ is she loves rap and I consider rap to be somewhere along the lines of cruel and unusual punishment.  I always make her turn the station when that kind of music comes on because I can.  She doesn’t get to do that to me when I switch it to some oldies but goodies.  In a way, I am chipping away at her when I do this by showing her she has no control in either situation.  Maybe I need to be more giving during those car rides (bring it Jay Z).  I need to know as much as I can about her likes, loves, preferences, boosters so I can target those things.  I would prefer not to figure out what my kids like simply because my attention is grabbed when some part of me gets annoyed by what they are doing (drinking MY ice water–the nerve–especially considering there isn’t a refill about ten steps away from me at the sink.  Oh wait, yes there is).  To know my audience means I need to study them and not through rose (i.e. self) colored glasses.  Really look at and listen to who they are and then brainstorm for as many different ways possible to act on those findings.

I am moving forward, I can feel it…even if it is at a snail’s pace.  FYI, I had thought of using sloth instead of snail but googled it and found out a sloth at .15 mph is actually faster than a snail at .03 mph.  Now you really learned something from me today.


1) Continue to shift focus–it’s not about me, it’s not about me, it’s not about me

2) Awareness–be on alert for when my focus lands on the wrong target–I am not the target–did I already mention this is not about me?  just checking

3) Know your audience–likes, loves, wants, needs, what boosts them up and what drags them down

4) Look for ways to fill your audience (avoid chipping) based on those observations

5) Learn to accept rap as music

The current fav of my oldest–she can literally do the entire rap part perfectly.  Disconcerting or impressive?  In the interest of selflessness, I am going to go with the latter…to be honest, I actually really like the video/song and find myself raising the roof on occasion–I mean lift your hands up cuz the ceiling can’t hold us right?  Take a listen.

Thank you for being here.  It means the world to me.  xo  Kelly

(p.s. it’s now 1:16 am and I am fairly certain I am no longer coherent.  good luck with that).

Knowing is not enough; we must apply.  

Willing is not enough; we must do.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe





Filler or Chipper?

I must say, I had no intention of writing today/tonight.  And yet, here I am and here we go.

I guess the main reason I begrudgingly opened up the laptop and pulled up a chair is that I want to be as honest as I possibly can with and about this whole “project”.  Is it okay to refer to a complete overhaul of a central part of my character as a “project”?  It will have to do for now because my brain does not appear to be revving up this evening and that’s all that is running through my head right now.  I am my own project…interesting.

I sat down on the couch tonight for the first time at 10:50, bone-tired.  You get that I know.  You have all been there, are there, will be there. As I sat there, waiting for the washing machine to stop spinning and for my oldest to stop working on her homework so that I wouldn’t have both sour clothes and guilt about going to bed before she did to mess with in the morning–the thought crossed my mind that I should write about being bone-tired but that I would wait until tomorrow when I was rested and could think about it a little more clearly.  Haha (is it not cool to write lol anymore?  I don’t know for sure so I will opt for my laugh to be noted with a hearty haha–you imagine the hearty part– and while we are on the subject, is it not cool to use the word cool?)–back to my haha–I was going to write about being bone tired AFTER I was well rested.  The problem with that is that is not real.  That is not authentic.  And that is not how I am going to play this game.  So here I am.  Feeling sick to my stomach in a bone-tired kind of way (okay, I am done now using the bone-tired thing, I’ve overplayed it and I can see that) desperately wanting to call it a day and tackle this tomorrow but I think I have a point to make it and this is the time to do it.

The main reasons I am on this quest toward selflessness are the four other beings I live with.  Sure I hope this will reach even further than that but bottom line, I want to be an example for my kids (uhm…that’s positive example in case anyone was curious) and even more than that, I want to be a filler for them and their dad.  I want to be what fills in all those little (and big) holes that daily life chips away.  There are times I do that and do it well but there are a lot, many, more than a few, a whole bunch (get the picture?) of times where I miss the mark, fill in the wrong hole, don’t even see the chip or worse yet, do “a little” of the chipping myself (in my head I hear this scene…Friend: “Girrrrl, what happened to your self-esteem?  It looks like a big ol’ chunk is missing!”  Daughter: “Oh that?  That’s nothing.  My mom’s just been out chippin’ again.  It’ll grow back!”  Me–silently–“after a decade of therapy maybe”).

This brings me back to the b-word tired.  I said I wasn’t going to use it again and now I need to for emphasis-sake.  That’s a pickle.  Let’s just assume that for the rest of this post any time I use the word tired I am referring to that nauseating, eyes burning, deep in my bones, would do just about anything for a pillow, blanket and corner to curl up in, kind of tired.

It is the pace of life we lead.  Working (in or out of the house), kids or not, family or not, sports, commitments, church, volunteering, and everything else that is a part of just plain living.  It all takes a toll as we keep going at a frantic pace, often with no end in site.  Some of this we do to ourselves and to our kids and some we don’t.  I am not here to discuss the busyness of our lives today (says the mom of over-scheduled kids).  I won’t lament what is because that wouldn’t be right AND it’s hard to differentiate anymore what is necessary and what isn’t, what is of our own choosing and what can’t be helped.  I am not even sure the lines are all that clear anymore.

Regardless of why we function at the pace we do, I think we all have gotten to that point (more than once) where you sit down on the couch at night and just cannot in your wildest imagination figure out how you are going to get back up again.  You then doze off, wake up again two and a half hours later, unsure of where you are, and in what appears to strongly resemble a drunken stupor, drag yourself off to bed where you tumble in and drift off again with a final thought of “I hope I set the alarm”.

So, my question is…how do you do selfless then; under those circumstances?  The challenge of being selfless doesn’t come when all is rosy–when I am well rested and having a good hair day.  The challenge of being a filler doesn’t come when I have an abundant supply to draw from does it?  The challenge to be selfless does not come when I have more than enough time, attention, energy, desire, and/or sunshine (sunshine just makes everything easier doesn’t it…except driving). And it doesn’t come when I have plenty of other people around to observe me does it?  The real challenge comes when I am alone and empty.  How do I do selfless then? What will it look like?

I don’t honestly know.  I don’t even know where to start or what will be effective.  I guess for me I will accept there are going to be a lot of days where tired has seeped into my bones and appears to be taking up residence.  And maybe I can’t change that at the moment but I can do my best to observe when it’s there and then let it go.  Recognize that I am not alone–so many of us will drag ourselves to bed at night and tumble in.  It helps to know we are not alone doesn’t it?  I am not special in the sense that my struggles or successes are any greater or less than anyone else.  To realize that can have a huge grounding effect.  And then what?

Here’s my plan:

1) acceptance–no sense fighting what is–I think I am tired.  Yep…I’m tired, now move on.

2) recognition of community (I’m not alone here–we’re all doing the drunken stupor shuffle)

3) shift the focus (off of me)–if I am this tired, how in the world do my over-scheduled kids feel and what can I do to provide them with a little respite?  if I am this tired, how in the world does my husband working 15 hour days feel and what small thing(s) can I do to make his life easier?

This last one is fairly important and for me, it all goes back to motive.  I already do things for my kids and husband that would cover number three, but what is my reason for doing them.  Do I fulfill that duty as simply that…it’s what you do as a wife and mom?  Do I fulfill that duty so I can tell others what I did?  Maybe so.  I think it will take conscious effort to not only be a filler but to be a filler for the right reasons.  I don’t know if this will turn out to be the case or not, but I have this feeling if I start to really pay attention and be aware of the motivation behind what I am doing for my family, that will serve as a compass pointing me in the right direction toward selflessness.  A good beginning I hope.  I will keep you posted as I predict I have a bone-tired kind of day in my near future!

Thanks for staying with me.  Feel free to offer up ideas or thoughts as to what works for you.  Or just stop by for some light reading…no pressure.

Hope you are having fabulous dreams or at the very least, peaceful.  xo Kelly






In Hot Pursuit…

In pursuit of a dream…

That was how I ended it yesterday–hopefully your internal voice (sounding vaguely like an inspirational Nike commercial) infused just the right amount of drama as you read that line.  I think there is a part of me that likes just a little bit of drama until…well, until it doesn’t.

I guess the question I should be addressing now is not where the name of the blog comes from (leaving you hanging a bit longer on that one Dawn) but rather, what exactly is the dream I am in hot (or after three and half years luke-warm) pursuit of?

The most obvious answer would be my dream to write…to write big.  But, as is often the case, the most obvious answer is NOT the one you choose on a test because, well, because it’s just too obvious and if you chose it, then you didn’t really pass the test did you?  If I was being completely honest though, I do think that was a large subconscious part of my initial plan (so you pass after all) and judging by how many times I checked my blog stats yesterday, I am not entirely sure I have completely let go of that initial dream.  And therein lies my problem…

The Selfish Bone isn’t supposed to be about the act or fact of my writing and the long-term (slightly over-the-top) goals I have attached to writing (who said Man Booker Prize? not me..or not out loud at least!), nor is it supposed to be about how many people actually read, comment, like, tweet, email or share what I write (but thank you for doing so).  However, that is exactly what I made it about yesterday with my very first post (of the 162 views on there yesterday, I think I was 150 of them checking to see if anyone was viewing it!).  This blog is supposed to be about something much “bigger” for me personally…A Journey to Selflessness.  Wow, on paper/screen, the dream exudes loftiness doesn’t it?

Speaking of lofty–as noted on www.thefreedictionary.com, the definitions of lofty are as follows: 1. Of imposing height. 2. Elevated in character; exalted. 3. Affecting grandness; pompous. 4. Arrogant; haughty.  I think that’s funny how it starts out so nicely (number two is my favorite) and ends on a totally sour note (boo for number four).

The purpose of this blog is completely tied up in the title of it, or the line below the title…what is that called?  Tag line?  Subtitle?  I have no idea but “A Journey to Selflessness”…now that’s what I’m talkin’ about.  Although, I am already thinking I should go back and change that subtitle thingy.  I think it should say “A Journey Toward Selflessness”.  These are things I deliberate and therefore, waste considerable chunks of time–sunk knee-deep in minutia is not necessarily the most effective way to get things done.  To or toward…what shall it be?

I digress.

Bottom line, MY blog is completely written by me, about me.  It is centered on my life, my family, my thoughts, my heart, my head, my hang-ups (I will warn you upfront about the hang-ups as those may just freak you out) and interestingly enough (I presume the interestingly enough part) is really supposed to be about me letting go of…ME.  As much as I would like to make this about how desperately I want to be a legitimate writer, that isn’t what I am in pursuit of right now.  Well, it is but it isn’t if that makes any sense at all?  I do have that dream and as much as I would really, really like it to be about that, in good conscience, I just can’t.

I believe I really can’t move forward with what I want until I let go of who I am.  (Again with the drama) About five years ago, I was very distinctly (nothing gentle about it) hit upside the head with the thought of “You need to change your ways” and again about six months later with the same thought.  It wasn’t long before those words started pursuing me and not in the nicest manner possible–more like a haunting (in my dreams) and lurking (behind doors and in the shadows) kind of chase.  However, as noted by the time lapse, I can be a bit slow on the uptake so it took me a while to stop running and consider what was going on.

What was going on is this…I am not and have not been the kind of person I believe I have been created to be…not really in any department.  I have been close at times and so far away at other times.  The biggest barrier I see (and by barrier I mean 10 foot cement wall with all the ladders on this earth having, of course, been destroyed) is my own ding dang dong self (please say that with a southern accent, emphasis on the ding, the dang and the dong–not that they say that in the south, it just sounds better with a drawl, fake or otherwise).  I believe a lot (and by a lot, I mean most, and by most, I mean all) of my struggles are directly related to what appears to be my basic human nature (unless I am not a basic human which is entirely possible) which calls me to think of myself first.  Ouch. That isn’t to say I act on that thought all the time but it is there and is wreaking havoc whether I answer that call or not.  Please pause for a moment while I freak out that I just shared that…please someone tell me I am not alone in that thought. Please?

Maybe I am and that is okay–that has to be okay.  As the thought of “You need to change your ways” chased me–tracked and hunted me down are more like it–I finally came to a place of painful acceptance…not of the situation mind you…just of the understanding that I am a selfish person by nature and that just isn’t going to fly anymore.  I hate, hate, hate admitting that.  But even more than that, I hate, hate, hate that there is any truth to it.  I eventually stopped running away from those thoughts and made a decision to turn around and look ’em straight in the eye–well, more like I could only bring myself to half turn, kind of a sideways thing and then called upon my peripheral vision to face those thoughts “head” on.  Apparently, you lose some of that peripheral vision as you age so that explains why it has taken me “a bit” longer than the average youngster to acknowledge what was right in front (to the side) of me.  I need to change my ways.

So I am on a mission, a journey, a quest.  Selfishness is to be replaced by selflessness or at least, a sincere attempt to get as close to it as possible.  As soon as I saw that thought for what it was and accepted it, selflessness took off like a bat out of our attic and thus explains the purpose behind this blog…

I am in hot pursuit of a dream…

Care to join me?  If this post is any indication of what the journey might entail…this could get interesting.  I give credit to anyone who can even follow my train of thought.  I can’t even follow my train of thought.  But I really believe there will be much I can learn along the way.  I honestly may never get to the final destination and I know without a doubt, this won’t be easy but is totally necessary if I ever hope to stand tall–as tall as on arthritic, osteoporotic (I don’t think that’s a word), blind as a bat, half deaf (I am already there with tone) spry (no sense being decrepit) old woman when all is said and done.


Until next time, have a fabulous day because…well, it just seems like that’s the right thing to do.  With love, Kel

p.s. this is a great song I just heard today (timing is everything)…I love what it says.  Listen if you have a couple of minutes.