Monday, January 26, 2015

Ain't Got Time

In my recent quest to assess what it means to greet 40 with grace and gusto, in traditional "Kelly style," I've been asking anyone who's lived into this decade to share what's great about it.

Overwhelmingly, women have responded with (and I'm paraphrasing), "It's a thing of beauty to not give a fuck anymore."

One friend said, you've lived long enough to have experienced loss and to really hurt.  You know what it means to sacrifice and to lose but you still have energy, gumption and hope to try again and to know what really matters while you're doing it.

You know who your friends are and you're exhausted by the thought of trying to impress another, so you enjoy the tribe you've assembled.

You've seen death and dying and different than your 20's, you know that you're not immortal, so you fill your time with the people and experiences that you care about.

And you start to adopt the mantra, I ain't got time for that.

I ain't got time for regret.  So, if it's something that I want at the cellular level...I give it a shot...because like I always knew, what do I really have to lose?

I ain't got time to stew over whether or not someone is still wounded over my bad behavior.  I can apologize and let it go, trusting for the first time that the only reaction I can control is mine.

I ain't got time for show.  If you want to know me, come sit with me and talk.  I don't care about your clothes, your car, your house, your job title or mine.  But if you don't drink coffee, we may have to have a more intense chat...

I ain't got time for blame.  In the end, it was probably both of our faults.

I ain't got time for your God versus my God or your political armchair debates.  I used to care, but I just don't think I do anymore.  Most of the real shit doesn't get done by the people we elect.  It's the people in the classrooms and the after school programs and in the fields and the hospitals. 

I ain't got time for fear.  I've lived with it all of my life.  Most of the time, it's worthless and just holds me back.

Hopefully, I get more time.  Maybe 40 is the mid-way point.  Maybe I'll get to see the next 40 years and have a whole new list?  Maybe I won't.  If I do or if I don't, I hope to remember and really to embrace what I've garnered to be true up to this point.  Because for me, the goal is to not to grow jaded, bitter, apathetic or even resigned, but rather to tread deeper and deeper into acceptance and happiness chugging lots of cups of coffee and glasses of wine along the way.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

My Big Wish

The other night accompanied by brilliant women, I had the opportunity to dream. 

Not to create a mission statement or to strategize or to document goals or the initiatives and timelines associated with them.

Rather, to sit with a cup of tea in hand and to offer up an intention, a big one, to the divine.

The problem is that we're so good at the pragmatic and all of the second guessing that comes with being practical that we rarely, if ever, let ourselves dream...whimsically, boldly, enthusiastically greeting the universe with a...deep breath...and closing our eyes announce...this....this is what I really want.  I have no idea how to manifest it, but if I could wave a magic wand, in this moment, for this year, I choose ________.

And for most of us, we would fill our dream buckets full...probably include health, wealth, resources, maybe fame, forgiveness, possibly a sabbatical from the grind, maybe a release from a toxic partner, maybe a re-engagement with one we let go and shouldn't have, maybe a big, crazy, no way it could ever work business that's always in the back of our mind, and maybe it's all of these things.

Either way, it's good.

Dreaming is like checking your bags before you get on a plane.  Freeing you to buy a coffee, walk around the book store, listen to the conversations around you and think...if I could get on a plane going anywhere in the world...where would I go and why?

Dreaming is like leaving all of the weight of the details and the hypotheticals to someone else...that right hand person who has a knack for it because your only job is to dare to see what it could be.

Dreaming is like saying, I'm worth it.  My one life is worth seeing it through and asking who am I and what does my best self look like in this time and space.

Dreaming is believing, even if for a moment or two, that maybe, just maybe, it could happen and God, what that would feel like.

Dreaming is something that should be carved into everyday as the reward for being born with an imagination, a hopeful heart, a will that trusts that if you can think it, you can do it.

And so, what is my big wish?  What is my daring dream?

I want to know who I am outside of wife and mother.  I want to see a piece of me in the written form in a substantial way greet the world.  For today, I'm not worried about how I'm going to get there, I'm just going to throw it up and say, here's my dream.

Monday, January 19, 2015

A Lighter Load

In observation of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the kiddos were out of school and over the moon happy about it.

After a vicious knock down, drag out fight between the girls, Kate (7) and Claire (4) this morning, I decided impulsively that it was time to blow this pop stand and grab some fresh air, a peek at the animals and a new perspective.

So, with nothing other than a water bottle, a wing and a prayer, we all loaded rather lightly into the car and made a beeline for our zoo. 

We're sort of blessed in Omaha. We have hands down the best zoo/aquarium on the face of the earth and our kiddos can spend hours there mesmerized by all that they see.  Below are some of my favorite snap shots from our time today.

While we were driving home relishing our favorite moments and remarking on the funny faces of the monkeys and the size of the Blood Python, I started to get emotional.  That was my first trip without some form of a back pack or diaper bag, snacks or treats and no stroller.  It's happening.  We're all getting older.  In a few short weeks, my oldest will be 10...double digits. The dynamic is changing.

And so, when we got home, Sam and Claire scattered, but Kate stayed to get ready for ballet and let me snap some more pictures.  I said, show me love.  And she did.  A lighter load of material things for sure, but a heavier heart filled with memories and a little sadness as the baby parts are going away.


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Chutzpah and Humility

A few mornings ago I found myself at church leading a prayer for my women's circle.  It went something like this...

(big deep breath)

Dear God...thank you for today...the warmer temperatures, the sunshine and these women in this room right now.  Sometimes, there are not enough words to say thank you for all of the blessings, all of the beauty, all of the joy that fills our lives moment by moment...and sometimes, there are no words to describe the fear, the anxiety, the doubt that creeps in to steal those moments when we're afraid of where we've arrived or where we're going.  Help us to approach today and each day from a place of love, a place of grace, a place of openness.  Help us to confront the unknown and to leave fear at the door.

Later, I was in the kitchen cooking catching up on an episode of "On Being," a weekly radio show by Krista Tippett about what it means to be human and the kind of life that we want to live.  Its broadcast by American Public Media on five bajillion public radio stations across the country and is worth a listen over and over again ( 

Tippett interviewed panelists about what it means to rebel in these days and times.  One of her panelists said that it means to live one's life on purpose both with chutzpah and humility seeking to rise to your best self in service to others, even when...especially are afraid and your action is unpopular in the eyes of many. This is what it means to not only have courage, but to use it, to rebel against that which is status quo for the greater good of the community.

I was sold and convicted instantly.  While the onions and garlic sauteed, I sat catatonically mesmerized by his words.  He went on to say that choosing to step into your best self requires you to own and to recognize that we don't live binary lives.  We're not either/or people.  We live in both.  We are bold and timid.  We are walking contradictions.  And so while on some days, our chutzpah abounds and we are fearless and frantic for change.  Other times, we are cowards, fearful, afraid, unsure and want more than anything to just be comfortable and safe.  All of this is what it means to be human.  To wrestle with knowing when we're rising to the challenge of being our best selves and when we're choosing to stay put because it's easier.

At church giving that prayer, I felt both hopeful and fearful, excited and afraid.  Every morning brings a new opportunity, but change takes work and what if it doesn't work and what if I fail and what if I waste my resources and others' along the way?

Tippett's panelist says, it's okay.  You'll rebel against your inner fear and go for it on some days and others will bring humility and retreat and a sense of not now, not in this moment.  That is what it means to be human. 

Stirring the saute pan, I decided for now, it's enough.  It's enough to be aware, to be engaged in both parts of me....that which wants to rise greeting that which wants to stay seated.  It's sort of a beautifully messy dance.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Praise for the Sun & Abundance

Ahhh...thank you.

Gratitude. That's really the theme of my day.

With the sun shining upon my face, days like today remind me that the cold, dark stretches of winter take their toll.  Judging by the volume of supplements and essential oils that adorn my medicine cabinet, I either struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder or am the mastermind of a flourishing drug cartel. 

Either way, the sun and its' warmth make me hopeful and grateful.  Hopeful that spring will come early and that marathon training in February, March and April might be less grueling in warmer temps and minimal snow and ice.  Grateful that it's a new year, a new beginning, and a new opportunity for positive change.

Talking to a friend the other day, I shared that every time I approach my life from a place of abundance versus deficit, I always end up in a stronger spot ripe with joy instead of fear.  When I tell myself that I am enough, I have enough and it will be enough instead of assuming that it won't, my perspective, my energy output and my attitude shift and life is full and blessed, even if certain outcomes are unknown.

But I will say that it's easier to trust in the half full cup when the sun is shining upon it and the water is glistening.  The sun seems to make it all better.  There's nothing worse than when winter has chilled you to the bone and it's all you can do not to pull the covers over your head and hibernate the day away.

So, for now, in this small space where I find myself stealing a 54 degree day in the middle of January in the heartland, I'll stay perched in a corner basking in the warmth believing that abundance, like the sun abounds.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

I'm Just Super

Today was the kind of day where you have a million and one things to cross off your to-do list and a 4-year old companion who seemingly woke up on the wrong side of the bed with the all too familiar attitude of, "Fuck this noise...I do what I want."

Post a meeting at church and a drive through at the bank, I cajoled Claire into heading to the bookstore and hanging out while I grabbed a novel.

Standing in line to pay, she proceeded to grab the side of my shirt, tug as hard as she could and scream...."MAMAMAMAMAMAMAMAMAMAMA!" 

I literally thought my head would start spinning, my eyes would shoot fire and I would kill her with my bare hands. Animals eat their young, right?

Miraculously, just as I was moments away from losing my shit, the soft voiced, gentle hipster looking cashier said, "How's it going?  Are you having a super day?"

To which I immediately grimaced and said, "You're joking right?"

And he smiled and said, "I dunno...I'm just reading your hand."

Oh fuck...I forgot about the sticker from the bank teller.

I burst out laughing which prompted him to laugh and the girl next to him to start snorting and laughing.  We just kept looking at each other laughing and my 4-year old, well, she was befuddled and slightly amused.  She didn't quite understand what was so funny.

After he handed me the book and the receipt and wished me well, he said, "Never underestimate the power of a smelly sticker."

And so, today, I'm just super.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Living Your Life

Holy Cats...what happened?

I looked up at the calendar and it said January 12, 2015...

Which means it's almost the middle of the first month of the new year and damn it...wasn't it just Christmas?

The end of last year brought a whirl wind of to-do's at home and the ending of one career era with an involuntary pause to make some decisions about where to head next.

Thankfully, many hot cups of java and some healthy travel later, I landed in a good spot.

Meet my mantra for the new year...

Sounds simple, right?  Maybe for you, but definitely not for me.

The idea of owning me...all of me...the good, the bad, the beautiful, the neurotic, the beat of my own drum, well, it's been a struggle.  And so, while the 2014 mantra "Fuck Fear" allowed me to move mountains that I had no idea I could lift, I'm praying that this year will allow me to greet the universe and you (when we bump into each other) with a smile and a heart that says, here I am, all of me, in all of my glory and that's a good thing.

Most of you know, but in case we haven't connected, I was accepted as a merchandiser with chloe + isabel...a phenomenal jewelry company based out of New York City.  My not-so shameless plug for the beautiful and fun sparklies is to run (especially if it's cold where you are) to and treat yourself to something like new favorite earrings (Pearl + Crystal Floral Filigree earrings)...And to "pop-up" with me sometime soon to share these stunning Anthropologyish pieces with your friends over wine and crazy, fun banter.

Secondly, I had to get serious about my fitness again.

2014 was a really great running year for me.  A marathon, half marathon, and 78-mile relay were exactly what I needed...but I had to ask myself, do I ever want to do it again and in the end, I decided, I absolutely do and I want to do it faster.  So, I registered for a spring marathon and set out on my first long run of the winter training season this past weekend.  And, thankfully, wind aside, it wasn't as brutal as I expected it to be.  Eight miles was doable and felt decent against the cold.  So, I'm back to lacing up my shoes, checking the miles off the calendar and having on-going conversations with myself about how I can and will do this...and, in the end, I'll be better for it.

My ears and mind have been full of more and better podcast programming than ever before.  I discovered Death, Sex & Money ...a WNYC production about "the big questions and hard choices that are often left out of polite conversation."  And now, I officially have a girl crush on the host Anna Sale...her voice is mesmerizing, her guests are so fucking real and the stories are inspirational.

And of course, I'm dying for the next season of Serial , a spin-off WBEZ Chicago production of This American Life because Sarah Koenig is a fucking rock star and she made doing the laundry on Thursdays a fabulous day to look forward to.

There's so much to look forward to in this new year and new space...2015 is the year I turn 40, the year I dedicate to owning, loving and sharing all of me with the world...I think it's about time.  Here goes everything...