Monday, June 29, 2015

Tonight Is Going To Be Interesting....

We all like to talk about ourselves, admit it.

That's why, when I meet someone, I like to find a subject that person and I may relate on to talk about.

A while ago (I will not disclose when), I met a DJ.

I love talking about music. I love dancing to music. DJ's typically love music and witness people dance along to it. Because of this, I thought this DJ and I had found a common ground and this was a safe topic to discuss.

Me: "I've recently discovered that there is a difference between the Bernie and the Wobble. It was pretty embarrassing to find out that I have been doing the Bernie during the Wobble, so I made sure to watch YouTube videos and practice doing the RIGHT moves to the RIGHT song.

DJ: (walking away) "Tonight is going to be interesting...."



Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Day The Music Died

Sometimes, a memory isn't enough.

I don't get to hear his voice. I don't get to feel his presence.

Then, there are rare moments when I feel him with me again.

For me, when I listen to "American Pie" by Don McLean, I get to feel my dad's presence again.

I hear him singing along. I see visions of his silly dancing. I see him tapping along on the steering wheel. I cry the whole time. but he's with me. And I'm so, so thankful for those moments.


Monday, June 15, 2015

A Girl and Her Shoes

I grew up in Aurora, Illinois. When I was in fifth grade, the coolest shoes to own were the Nike Air Force One's. (This was a year before the infamous song came out).

(Google tells me these are the prized Air Force One's we all longed to own---this was also the time before Nike Shox)


Seeing that I spent most of my elementary school life as the tall, skinny girl who refused to talk to anyone, I didn't have very many moments that I felt very "cool."


Then, one night, my parents took me shoe shopping. I found the much cheaper shoe called the Nike Ace '83. They fit all of my standards for shoes (that I still keep today)--cheap, plain, and comfy.


These are the shoes I picked---size 5.

And then, I went to school. I literally had a group of 5-6 guys around my feet talking about my shoes. "KELSEY, YOUR SHOES ARE AWESOME!" "KELSEY, ARE YOUR PARENTS RICH?" "KELSEY, WOWWWWW!"

I was so excited.

And then I was asked, "those ARE the new Air Force One's, right?"

To which I was like. "No! They are Ace 83's! Aren't they awesome?"

Collectively, they responded, "Oh, never mind."

Every time I buy a new pair of shoes, I find myself asking my husband what he thinks about them. I think  I still hope that one day I will redeem myself.


Sunday, June 14, 2015

You're In The Doghouse


Sometimes, my husband will say or do something that lands him in the proverbial doghouse. 

Focusing on my anger and frustration makes it very easy to create an imaginary "to do" list he must accomplish before he is able to come out. 

Some of this is conditioning from the thousands of times I have been grounded (yes, I was grounded a lot-my own fault).  Mostly, this is due to my lack of desire to show the same grace to my husband that I know was given to him (and me) in Christ.

Will he ever REALLY do enough to "earn" my love and forgiveness?
How do I expect (and hope for) him to respond when I mess up? (And I do...a lot)

Sometimes making mistakes is humbling and a cause to repent, but other times being on the other side-the one struggling to forgive- is just as humbling and reason enough to repent(x500). 

It's time to knock the doghouse down for good. 



Wednesday, June 10, 2015

LISTEN TO ME! (please?)

I tried to see if there was a phobia for people who are scared to not be able to voice their opinion to others, because if so, I probably have it.

I have a lot of opinions. I like to share them (for better or for worse).

We all have something to prove though, don't we? We are out to prove our "tolerance" or our "disgust." We are out to prove our "wisdom" or our "free spirit." We are out to prove our value and worth. We long for our opinions to be heard and respected. We long to have a voice that advocates and produces change.

But, we all want different things. The same strength lies within each of us, yet produces different outcomes. One's success is another's failure.

What are we measuring?
What are we proving?
What are we accomplishing?

I don't think it's a mistake that we have all be given a will and desire to see justice, change, and freedom in our culture. But, I often ask myself, is it often misguided? (Even WITH the best intentions?) Do we have so much of a microscopic and limited focus that we fail to see the bigger picture? As a Believer, I ask myself, do I focus too much on the "matters of this world?" Where is the line of "matters of this world" and "matters of heaven?"

And then I remember-- He has already overcome it all.

He is more powerful than any strength or power I may posses.
He is more loving and patient than I am ever capable of being.
He produces more change than any "progress" I can ever take credit for.

This morning, I prayed that He would teach me to pray and advocate for His will. (And no, that will not be followed by condemning everyone who disagrees with me or how I feel He is calling me.) I asked that He would teach me to love and forgive those who try to hurt me in the name of disagreeing. I asked for a mind that would seek Him above all other wisdom or knowledge presented to me. I asked for a voice that is okay with silence---an ability to listen and not have to share my opinion immediately afterwards. Lastly, I asked for a heart that can love others---regardless of my opinion about their life or choices. (I'm not going to deny that my own opinions will forever exist :))





Monday, June 8, 2015

A Shameless Post About Confidence


I can never remember where to place my hand on my hip so my arm doesn't look fat in pictures.

My hair has an easier time making decisions than I do. (Too bad that decision always involves frizz)

My muscles are not perfectly defined.

Some days I have no chin, and then there are other days that I have 2-3 chins. 

I hate spending more than 10 minutes on my makeup and more than 5 minutes on my hair. (Most days, I don't even wear make up). 

Some days, my stomach is content to lay subtle and is easily hidden by clothing, and other days it has secret competitions with my arms to see how far it can extend from my body.  

That list is nowhere near exhaustive, but because I am a normal female, I notice my flaws. Some days, I embrace my flaws and feel beautiful, and other days those same flaws distract me from what really matters and let me caught up in comparisons, jealousy, and frustration. 

Confidence in myself or in my body does not mean I love 100% about myself 100% of the time. True body confidence also does not look at my own body type and think it is better because of it's significant curves or lack-thereof. 

Confidence in my body is also not measured by the amount of men that pursue or compliment me. Because I am married, this looks a whole lot different than when I was single, but I understand the desire to be wanted or found beautiful whether it is just from your husband, or if you're not married, from other men.  (I do believe true confidence in a marriage context involves not desiring and seeking attention from other men, while at the same time not expecting your confidence and worth to come 100% from your husband. True confidence is found in ourselves.)

My confidence comes from multiple places. 

My confidence comes from making good choices for my health and well-being. When I eat a nutrient-dense diet and exercise (even minimally), I feel better about myself. My mind is clearer, my body heals faster, and there is a natural confidence that comes from that feeling of "I'm treating myself well."

My confidence comes from accepting myself for who I am. By making peace with myself, flaws and all, I am able to give a little grace to my body and all that it does every day to keep me going. 

My confidence comes from other women who support and encourage me-- women who struggle with some of the same things I do and find strength in the midst of it, women who have struggled with much harder obstacles and overcome them with grace and beauty, and women who lift me up and point me to Something greater.

My confidence comes from the freedom found in Christ---a freedom that shows me that there is so much more than outward beauty and a love that transforms all the ugliness inside and makes it beautiful. 

My confidence comes from my inability to always hold it together, because I fail, all of the time. My confidence comes from my ability to trust the One who holds me close through it all. 










Thursday, June 4, 2015

Let's Support Each Other

I don't write about being a military spouse very often, but this topic is something I feel very passionate about because, well, I hope to be what I want from others.

I was going to start by mentioning the longest amount of time I've had to spend away from my husband, and then I was going to follow it up by including the amount of days I've had to go with absolutely no contact, but then I realized that doesn't matter. And it doesn't add or take away from my "right" to write this post. 

Granted, each type of separation and situation has it's own stresses and worries, I don't think it distracts from the fact that as military spouses, we should support each other. 

I've had friends with husbands in civilian jobs vent about the frustration and sadness they feel when their husbands go on a business trip, but then follow it up with "I'm so sorry, I shouldn't complain, your husband is gone a lot." While it can be tempting to be like "Ummmm ONE NIGHT? That's NOTHING," the reality is, because I know what it feels like to have my husband gone, I of all people should be the most understanding and supportive, not critical or belittling to her experience. 

I've also learned a few things (through observation and/or experience)

1) Sometimes, Alex will leave for 2-3 weeks and I will think NOTHING of it. Sometimes, he will leave for 2 days and I cry way more than I care to admit. Why? I don't know. Every situation is different and comes at a very different places in our lives. You never really get 100% used to it no matter the duration of time. (Although I am grateful to have friends that are awesome examples of women who have been married to service members for a while and show their willingness and ability to continuously adapt and move forward---that's pretty important). 

2) It doesn't help anyone to belittle or look down on someone for their experience. You never know what else could be going on in someone's life to cause it to be so difficult to have their husband gone, regardless of the amount of time. Everyone responds to stress and change differently. Also, honestly, the more judgy you are, the more people come to disrespect you. I resent statements like "Oh honey, he's only going to be gone for 2 days? That's nothing, just wait, I've spent a total of 1056 days alone." Seriously, as if keeping a tally of all the days wins points towards being the best military spouse ever. I'm not discounting the fact that some spouses have spent a lot more time alone than others, but I'm sure it wasn't easy at the beginning for them, either. It's  also easy to forget that there are a lot of different factors that could cause your spouse to be away more often than others. 

3) Be respectful in your venting. Maaaaaaaybe it isn't the best time to vent about a short term field training to someone whose husband is currently deployed.  Or maybe they will ask you to talk about it for the sake of being able to miss your husbands together. Also, be careful with the words "I know what you're going through." You really, really don't. Every situation is so different and every life/marriage/family is so different. (Words I learned never to use after I lost my dad). 

4) It's okay to miss your husband, it's probably a good sign if you do. ;) Also, it's okay for other women to miss their husbands, regardless of the amount of time they will be gone. 

5) If you are a more "seasoned" military spouse, we need your example. We look to you to see that life does keep moving forward, and that we are capable of doing it on our own. We also need to be given grace when we don't handle it well. 

Strength is built during our struggles and I pray for a community of spouses that encourages and lifts each other up (something I'll admit-I'm not always the greatest at), offers support and understanding during the difficult times, and brings joy to each other and our community. 

Also, by positively contributing to the community, we can focus on  supporting, loving, and praying for the service members who spend so much time away doing very difficult, and most of the time, very dangerous stuff. Let's not forget that what's hard on us is typically 2-3 times harder on them. 



Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Whole30: A Reasoning Why and a Summary of Days 1-2

I (along with a couple of friends) started the Whole30 on June 1.

Why?

Because I wanted to, and that should be good enough reason for you. :)

No, but really, with a recent diagnosis with Celiac Disease, I've really struggled with what I can and cannot eat. I've cried once or twice because I can no longer eat donuts or normal pizza. I started obsessively eating ice cream and any other gluten free junk food I could get my hands on. I also developed a strange love for Coca-Cola-a soda I previously HATED. (I'm putting the full name because I don't want it mistaken for anything else ;)) I knew that instead of developing really bad habits in the name of "boo hoo I deserve this because I can't have ____" (Seriously, one time convinced Alex to take me to get frozen yogurt because he got to have pizza), I needed to develop a healthy relationship with food and to focus on all of the delicious and satisfying food I CAN eat. Also, sugar cravings are real and I wanted to be able to claim ownership over them.

I made an Instagram documenting random thoughts and what I'm eating during my Whole30. (You can check it out RIGHT HERE :))

So far, I'm having a lot of fun coming up with things to eat and trying to create variety in my diet. (If you follow my blog at all, you know I have numerous posts dedicated solely to meal planning)

Here's how days 1-2 went:

Day 1: The last time I attempted the Whole30, I was unhealthily OBSESSED with researching EVERYTHING. I was so scared to mess up that thinking about eating gave me anxiety. Because of this, Alex and I ultimately decided that I didn't have a very healthy mindset and that it would be better to revisit this after a little more time to CALM DOWN and come up with a healthy plan. This time around, I told myself that I would keep this Whole30 simple, especially on Day 1.

Honestly, day 1 is really easy. Anyone can change what they would normally eat for one day.

When I said I was keeping it simple on Day 1, I wasn't joking. I had scrambled eggs and coffee for breakfast (which is actually pretty normal for me).

I bought the new Whole30 book and have zero buyers remorse. Seriously. My whole lunch is brought to you by the recipes in that book-the Perfect Seared Chicken and the Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts. I made a bunch of the chicken and am using it for multiple meals (as you will see...).

 Dinner was a quick and easy salad with mixed greens, red onion, carrot, chicken, asparagus topped with Red Wine Vinegar and Olive Oil.

Probably the most depressing part of Day 1 was having a GF brownie offered to me and having to turn it down. Seriously, how often do other people bake GF Brownies? And I can't eat it? UGH.

Day 2: Frequently known as "the hangover," it went a whole lot better than expected. I did not have a headache or hangover feeling at all. Apparently, this is pretty exciting :)

I did notice one issue---every time I ate a meal, I would feel full fairly quickly only to be hungry again an hour later. Because I'm trying not to do a whole bunch of snacking, I tried to pinpoint why this may be. I get distracted fairly easily and will do random things while eating-  look at my phone, play with my dog, look up various things on my laptop. I'm going to try just focusing on eating and see if that helps me eat an adequate amount AND feel fuller longer. 

Breakfast was an "omelet" filled with mushroom, onion, and green pepper. I topped it off with salsa and salt and pepper. I say omelet in quotations because I was not born to be an omelet maker. Seriously.


Lunch was something I make a lot actually--potatoes, a sausage of some kind, green peppers, and onions cooked in olive oil on a skillet. 


For dinner, I had two different salads-the fruit salad included grapes, cantaloupe, honeydew, and strawberries. (I ended up having two bowls :)). The salad on the left was mixed greens, spinach, carrots, red onion, chicken, and salsa. I love salsa. 

I was able to go on a run that evening and feel alright during and after. That night, I also took an Epsom salt bath with baking soda and an essential oil blend added to it. I'm clearly trying to get rid of toxins any way that I can ;).  



All in all, days 1 and 2 (of 30!) went pretty well. It is so helpful to have multiple friends to talk to about our recipes, struggles, and successes. Also, Instagram provides a surprisingly supportive community of fellow Whole30ers. :)

 I'm excited (and scared!) to see what the rest of the month will bring. :)


Why I Like to Blog

I often make fun of myself for writing in a blog----because I'm one of those people who "writes in a blog." It's funny. I'm writing a blog post to share with the internet right now. I could stop myself at any moment, but I keep typing away, and I enjoy every minute of it.

So, I asked myself (and then decided to share with you), why do I blog? What motive do I have? (Certainly not monetary :)) What inspires me?

Why do I blog?

1) Writing is therapeutic for me. It always has been. I should actually be paying you for reading my blog posts because of the therapy you give me by allowing me to share my thoughts (and...feelings) with the world wide web.

2) I like to share my thoughts and experiences. Sometimes, I experience serious and life changing things. Sometimes, I find a new tv show I like. Sometimes, I feel very contemplative and insightful. Other times, I feel very sarcastic and goofy. (I hope it's obvious in my posts which one is which :-P)

3) I like to write about things I would be interested to read about in other blogs. I like reading about how others overcome trials. I like reading about the inner-struggle every person in the world deals with (and how they deal with it). I like vulnerability. I like honesty. I like sarcasm. I like it when people can poke fun at themselves. I like to be told about fun stuff to try.

4) I always have an idea developing in my mind about what I want to write about. Sometimes, it takes me 2-3 months to fully develop and write about that topic. Sometimes, conversations inspire a blog post. A lot of times, my quiet time (Bible reading/prayer) inspire a blog post. Sometimes, there are just days when I need to share something--serious or silly--- for the sake of sharing something.

5) I wish I could say I like to blog as a means to "watch and see" how I grow, but honestly, once I publish a post, more often than not, I do not read it again. Why? Some of the things that I write about are filled with so much vulnerability and honesty that it's hard for me to read (and to actually deal with what I just admitted out loud for anyone to read).

6) I hope to point others to Christ. I hope to be authentic. I hope to be vulnerable. I hope and pray for humility (in the midst of a whole lot of pride and selfishness). I hope to show, through my life and experiences, an imperfect person who has been given perfect love and grace.

7) It's FUN! Whether I have 15 or 400 views on a post, I love it.

8) Your encouragement changes my life. For real. The conversations I have with people about different things I've written about is so encouraging and awesome. It helps me to see I'm not alone. I've also been given insights and ideas I would never have thought of on my own.


So, there it is. That is why I'm one of those people who "writes in a blog."

Side note: I've never written a blog post in a coffee shop (yet).

Monday, June 1, 2015

Messy

Yesterday, I was hit with the hard reality that there are some things I have absolutely no control over. There is no "positive thought", diffused essential oil, or Bible verse that brings understanding, clarity, or even peace in the situation.

There is absolutely nothing I can say or do to change the situation. There is no amount of guilt or convincing arguments I can lay on another person to change how they feel or respond. There is no amount of prayer that stops the tears. Countless discussions don't change anything. My own power and attempts don't change anything.

I. Can't. Control. Everything. In. My. Life.

I can't fix every problem.
I can't perfectly love others in the midst of their problems.
I can't  understand why some allow certain problems to linger in their lives.
I can't understand  why I allow some problems to linger in my life.

Life is messy. Relationships are messy. Loving others is messy. Vulnerability is messy.

I am messy. (and sometimes, a complete mess)

Sometimes, my prayers look a little bit like this: "God, I don't understand. I feel angry and upset. I feel hurt and confused. I feel alone and helpless. I feel powerless and scared. I am incapable of always looking at others and saying "in the midst of this, I love you." I am incapable of perfectly forgiving and giving grace to others (and myself). More than anything, I need You right now. More than anything, I need peace and a quiet mind. More than anything, I need my heart to be transformed by You. Only in You can I truly love and forgive. Only in You can I find peace when the answers aren't present. Only in You can other hearts and minds be transformed. I need faith that You are in control. I need a mind and heart that seek You above all things."

I am thankful that God meets me exactly where I'm at. I'm thankful that He wants to walk side by side with me instead of look down on me. I'm thankful that my vulnerability is met with peace and an overwhelming sense of being loved and cherished.

I hope and pray that during your struggles and difficult times, you find that too.