Browsing Category "Life"
11 Feb
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Today felt as if God just plopped the day into my lap and said, “Here, I made this one just for you. Hope you like it.”



9 Feb
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What is Right vs. What is Best

My husband and I were having a conversation the other day. It was in reference to a difference in opinion between he and a friend, and he kept saying, “I’m not sure that’s the right way to go about it.” I reminded him that in this circumstance neither he nor his friend were right or wrong – that they were both trying to make a good decision based on their values.  Both of their ideas were good ideas, and that what he was trying to figure out is which way was best, not right.

He sincerely asked, “well what’s the difference?”

I’ve been thinking about this ever since our conversation. My husband is more of a black and white thinker than I am. And while I absolutely believe that there are times when there is a right or wrong answer (I am not referencing issues of morality or justice here), most of the time our decisions are not between something good and bad, but something bad, good, better or best. The best car for our family with two young children and my needing to regularly transport a decent amount of photo equipment is not going to be the same as the kid down the road heading off to college who is trying to pay insurance with her part time job on the weekends. Or how you choose to spend your free time on a weekend is often a choice between a right or wrong activity, but how to best rest or recharge or tackle home projects or _______ (whatever it is you want/need to accomplish on your time off).

I find so many of our disagreements about what we think are right and wrong are really disagreements about better and best. And this distinction makes a huge difference in how we approach those who disagree with us. If we are using a right/wrong dichotomy than we are then saying that anyone who chooses differently than us is wrong. If we approach problems instead with a bad/good/best angle, we can see that our values are simply different from people choosing differently from us and that is ok. Someone who values freedom and flexibility will approach a situation differently than someone who values structure and stability.

Do you find yourself thinking of things from a right/wrong perspective when really what you’re working through is better looked at as a better/best situation? How does that change your approach to your problem? How does that change your views of someone choosing differently than you?

23 Sep
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I just kept running.

Back in high school, I was relatively athletic…for a geeky, somewhat clumsy girl. I cheered several years, took gymnastics all through junior and high school, and played tennis both for the school and a community league. I didn’t play team sports because I’m only competitive with myself and not the slightest bit aggressive. (“Go ahead, opposing team – you can have a turn. Good luck!”) In P.E., we had those national fitness tests you had to take annually – I always did fantastic on the sit and reach, passed sit ups and push ups with flying colors, and could usually eek out one chin up to pass.

Then there was the mile run.

I haaaaaa-ted running. I mean, I could run to start a round-off for a tumbling pass, or across the tennis court to return a serve, but running more than a couple dozen yards at a time sounded about as fun as doing extra algebra homework. Most years I managed to fail just slightly (I think passing was a 12-minute mile). But if my memory serves me correctly, once I finished around 17 minutes. I don’t even know how this is possible because you can walk a mile faster than that. Slowly.

Fast forward to my late twenties and I found myself wanting to be in better shape. I joined a gym and spent quite a bit of time walking on the treadmills (watching food network on the attached TV, of course). One day I thought I’d try running for about one minute, and made it about 90 seconds. The next day, two minutes. The next, four. I worked my way up to running an entire mile without walking, which at that point I had never done before. A few weeks later I found out I was pregnant, and had to slow back down.

After I had my son, I went back to the gym, only to find out within about a month of joining I was pregnant…again. And after my daughter was born, I joined the gym and got back on the treadmill. This time I worked my way up to running 2 miles – very slowly – but it was improvement. Then my gym membership expired and all of the sudden it had been about eight months since I’d set foot on a treadmill (although I had attended a few exercise classes). Oops.

Some friends were going to train for a 5K back in June and asked if I wanted to join them. I had wanted to do one for a while just to prove to myself I could, but I declined because running a race in the summer heat sounds about as fun as… well, doing extra algebra homework. I prefer not to be hot. So I decided I’d run in a 5K on September 22 to benefit the Scleroderma Foundation in memory of Ann Caldwell, a friend who passed away with the disease a few years ago.

I started training at the end of July on an old treadmill at my in-laws house. (It was still quite hot outside.) The first week of doing the Couch to 5K program, I was WAY more couch than I realized. You start by running 1 minute then walking 1.5 minutes. I truly thought I might not make it through that first workout. But I did. And I kept doing it until last week I went to the park (it was cooler) and ran the entire 5k course three times.

The race was this past Saturday. I planned to start at the back of the runners pack and crossed my fingers that no walkers would pass me. My goal was to run the entire race without walking, and to make it in under 40 minutes. I finished without walking at 39:06. I even passed a couple of elementary-aged kids and a few senior citizens while I was at it.

7 Aug
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For Bill

Several years ago, when I was first starting out in business, I got a call from a guy named Bill who was a lawyer and needed a really simple logo drawn for his firm. His mom had referred me. We never met in person, and did all the revisions over the phone. I was struck by how full of life and funny he was.

Fast forward to about two years ago when a random Facebook interaction led to a random conversation which led me to suggesting he check out a book, Blue Like Jazz. He bought the book and promised he would read it. A couple months later I get a phone call from Bill, who is literally in tears. He had read through half the book while on vacation, immediately gave it to his cousin who he know would love it. She read it in one sitting, and woke him up in the middle of the night to talk about what it had meant to her, so he was calling me first thing the next day to thank me for the recommendation.

It turns out this would not be an uncommon interaction.

That was the first of many tear-filled phone calls I would receive from Bill. Some, like this one, were tears of gratitude over something he saw God doing in his life and just wanted to share. Others were tears of grief for circumstances he didn’t understand, so he would call and ask for prayer. Each time he apologized for crying, and each time I told him I would think it strange if he didn’t cry at least once each phone call. To be fair, he didn’t cry every time he called, but because our conversations were not at all frequent, he typically only called when he had something important to talk about.

This past February I was in an airport on my way to a conference in Las Vegas when I heard the news that Bill had – quite unexpectedly – passed away. I felt like the air had been sucked right out of my lungs. I was angry, confused, and sad. And I found it strange that I should be so upset over someone who didn’t know (relatively) all that well.

Bill’s Facebook page is still active. And by active I mean, people post on it regularly, even after these several months. It is obvious I was not the only person affected by Bill’s big personality, big laugh, big love for God, big love of art, big love of friends and family, and his incessant, contagious encouragement. I think of him nearly every day for one reason or another.

The last phone call I got from Bill was about a week before he died. He was dreaming – he was always dreaming – but this time it was about work on his house that he wanted to talk with my husband about, and dreaming about a future with his amazing girlfriend Amy. While I only had the opportunity to meet Amy once or twice, I know without a doubt that she is a most incredible woman to warrant such high esteem and affection from a man that was so incredible himself.

A year before he passed away, Bill asked if I would design him a little business card with the number 41 on it. He wanted it as a reminder to live with a heart fully engaged with God, and fully alive. I’m not sure if it’s true that only the good die young. But I do know that Bill lived and loved so well, and so hard, and so fully that it is possible that he lived more in his 41 years than the rest of us do if we make it twice as long. And so for me, every time I think of Bill (which is often), his life reminds me to live and love with all my might.

1 Jul
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I have a meeting tomorrow with a client I’ve worked with for years. We haven’t met since early May, which is an unusually long amount of time. I was thinking about what had happened since then, and it looks something like this:

Evan had a bout of kidney stones that resulted in a hospital stay, and then three outpatient surgeries. He is on the mend now.

His paternal grandmother died over Memorial Day Weekend and his maternal grandfather died this past weekend, for which we traveled to Arkansas for the funeral.

The kids had a week and a half of swimming lessons and are practically fish.

I have photographed four weddings, and still need to finish editing two of those, and design an album. And of course had about a dozen sessions since then.

We had a gigantic windstorm that did (thankfully) minimal damage to our house and knocked out the electricity for about 24 hours.

Made a quick trip to Columbus for work and shopping. And Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream.

Here’s hoping for a less, um, exciting July! Or at least a different kind of exciting.

10 May
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Stream of (Semi) Consciousness

Things I have been wondering this week.

1) Is it possible to be in a bad mood while listening to Simon & Garfunkel’s Cecilia? (Please listen and respond.) Should I have named Sydney Cecilia because of this? (If video won’t load, you can listen here.)

2) If anyone ever saw my google search history I think I would die of embarrassment.

3) Why have I not yet learned to play my mandolin? If I sold it and bought a cello instead, would I learn to play that? Doubtful.

4) How is it that I can (or so it seems) be so quick and witty in writing, but in person I become a humorless, shy semi-geek? An excerpt from a description of my Myers-Briggs personality description. At least an estimated 4% of the population share this:

“INFPs are usually talented writers. They may be awkard and uncomfortable with expressing themselves verbally, but have a wonderful ability to define and express what they’re feeling on paper.”

5) Speaking of Myers-Briggs, were they some sort of sorcerers? How do they know so much about me?

6) Note to self: Take the Big Five Personality test (considered more accurate and reliable than my pet test, Myers-Briggs) for comparison. I predict I score high on conscientiousness. I wish more people scored high on conscientiousness.

7) Is anyone reading this even remotely interested in personality tests? Unlikely.

8 ) If I’m approximately 80% more productive when I work before 8:00 a.m., why can I not get out of bed earlier every day knowing the payoff is totally worth it.

9) Evan is going to have a sound wave treatment for kidney stones. He lays on a special pad that sends sound waves through is body, which will hopefully bust up two of the stones. I think this treatment HAS TO BE from the future. I imagine George Jetson will be administering the procedure.

10) On my front patio there is a peony bush in full bloom, along with wisteria climbing our pergola that is blooming. I am absolutely stunned that something we planted is not only not dead, but is thriving. Spring blessings.

19 Apr
Posted in: Abode, Life
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Stick it to me

When I first started this blog, I wrote a little piece called The Whittler, about my great-grandfather, and his propensity to whittle. Given our culture’s current fast pace (and I live in West Virginia where the pace is at least a few miles per hour slower than most places), I find it incomprehensible that someone would just sit around on their front porch whittling. So that little whittled stick was one of my prized possessions, not only because it was made at the hands of a man I so admired, but also because it reminded me to breath. Slow down. Rest.

Then last year one of my kids grabbed it off the shelf to play with. Then the dog chewed it to pieces. I cried.

Fast forward to this Christmas when somehow my grandmother got word of the destroyed whittle stick and wrapped up a new one. It was her father that was responsible for the works of whittled art, and I have to admit this one is even more beautiful than the first. As soon as I opened it, I cried again.

Who knew my favorite Christmas present would be a stick! I keep it on a higher shelf.

Slow down. Breathe. Relax.

Perhaps I should get familiar with a pocket knife.

13 Apr
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The Befuddled Blackberry

Hello, my name is Kelli, and I’m a thrift store addict.

It’s true. What started as an occasional stop-by has become an often-enough-the-cashier-knows-my-name. About a year ago, my friend Brittany and I kicked around the idea of opening an etsy shop for all the fun vintage finds from our local thrift stores. Thrifting is fun because it’s so easy to score great finds, but not so easy to score them in your size. That’s what’s great about the shop – I can buy all these totally fun vintage goods and sell them when they aren’t quite my size or style. There are a few things I keep to myself, of course.

Anyway, last May we opened the store and have sold about an item a week since then. We’re definitely not quitting our day jobs, but it’s a fun way to support our thrifting habit. We decided on the name by creating a list of about a dozen random words we each liked, then we  paired up a few of the words and narrowed it down to one that sounded fun. Check it out! 

13 Apr
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One Year.

It’s been a full year since I’ve blogged regularly.


Let’s see if I can change that, shall we?

25 Dec
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I’m Alive! (And in Need.)

Quick Update: Dad is still in the hospital, but the surgery was successful and he’s recovering well. It looks like he’ll be home within a couple days. He’s still weak and in pain, obviously, but I am so very thankful for the outcome so far. Thanks for your support.


I absolutely cannot believe the length of my absence. To say that I’ve had no free time since I last posted would not be far from the truth. We did manage a couple trips out of town since then, all of which the laptop had to tag along for a few work-related tasks. Anywho..

I do have a few things to tell you about.  A fun craft I’m finishing up, a couple recipes I’ve enjoyed, and some reflections from my life and work over the past few months. But in the immediate future I need to ask something of you, dearest remaining blog readers. My dad is having a major heart surgery next week at Cleveland Clinic. And without posting details for all the internet to see, just know that it’s pretty serious, will require a long recovery, and I would so very much appreciate your prayers. Provided all goes well (and I’m trusting it will) I will be traveling back along with my husband, brother, and his girlfriend on Christmas Eve to spend the holiday with family. The surgery is next Thursday. And I’m a little nervous. (Admittedly perhaps more nervous than he is. I have a bit of a hospital aversion.)

Thanks, friends.