Last night as I lay listening to the thunder and thanking God for the rain we so desperately needed, I was reminded of a poem my friend Jenny sent to me. She is a NWalum-EnglishTeacherDearFriend. A year ago she decided to pursue a new degree in counseling. She struggled a lot with "giving up" teaching. This past year she decided taking classes just wasn't enough for her and she started working at Street School in her city in January and fell in love with teaching again, only to "give it up" again at the end of the year. Her fellow teachers had a poem engraved and framed for her and she passed it along to me with this note:

"I want to share this message with you because just as I'm not done bringing the lightning, neither are you...no matter what the Lord has you doing."  

For those of you who aren't teachers or poem people, it may seem odd, but it is the perfect combination of odd and wonderful, strange and beautiful, that makes poetry like this great. I'm posting it here as a reminder to myself to continue to be a lightning teacher, even if I no longer have a classroom at the high school. [I've italicized the lines that I really love]. 

To the Lightning Teachers by Derrick Brown

To the teacher that said 
"The world is your oyster...'
These poems are the pearls I spit upon your plate.  Thank you.

To the other teachers, prepare your flints.
Speak with the hum of Fahrenheit in your dazzled hearts.

Teach us to be artists.
Teach us that artists make people aware
of what they already know and forgot
and really know
what they themselves think they don't know.

Teach the champions the necessity of losing 
for the sake of personality.

If these kids are hard to reach
wearing flak-jackets made of knives,
maybe it's time that we 
dressed up like porcupines
to show there's a bit of them
still inside us.

Hey you prickly mothers!
The kid under your bed is dying every day.
Dying to play in the mud swamp lava, dying to snap all your friggin'
    pencils and end the war,
dying to understand fireflies in the treeline.

Go get them, teachers.
We should all be lighting kids on fire
unless you are a literalist,
or are from Salem.

You will always deserve more money.
Keep bringing them more than you are worth.  New tree babies!
Bring them an astral storm of ideas.

Lightning strikes the tree--
the tree is budding with pinecones--
the pinecones explode--
the seed spreads across the forest--
new trees are born.

Bring them the lightning.
Bring them the sauce.

I was a bag of dirt pennies from the year 73
and one teacher, Mrs. Shin, rolled me around in hot sauce until I was 
     clean. (try it)
She knew I wasn't the Ivy League type, but she still brought the ignition.

"Oh, you all went to the school of business--
I went to the school of none of your business.
I'm different."

She taught me that the word is the good-dangerous.
That it's good to look a dream in the eyeball and not look away.
It's good to have a voice that can speak the language of resuscitation.
It's good to be beat down daily, like the fighting sun
to prove you can rise.

The future is our youth dressed as roman candles
ready to burst open the gray evening sky.

12 pens in a bandolier!

A vending machine on campus full of envelopes 
addressed to the White House!

A red megaphone inside each lunch pail!

Tell kids everywhere--
The world is your underwear.
It's time you changed it.



Four years ago on a very windy and hot day, Brent became my husband at a little ceremony in my grandparents' backyard. It was exactly as I had dreamed it would be.

If you weren't around over the past 2 years on my blog, you may have missed the little story I wrote: Our Story. The story of how I became "BrentandKelsey". So on this fourth anniversary of mine, I'm going to sit back and sip some coffee, read my brand new Kindle Brent surprised me with for our day, listen to the other gift he gave me this year make her little sleepy snorts and link you up to OUR STORY if you haven't had a chance to read the way that the Lord brought our lives together for better or for worse.

Click HERE and scroll to PART I.
[And click HERE if you want to read any of my musings about marriage].

You are kind when I don't deserve it. You are funny when I need to laugh. You are patient when I'm being stubborn. You are a leader when I am wandering. You are humble when I need reminded of what that looks like. You are God-fearing when I've forgotten how to be. You are my husband, lover, partner, and friend. Thank you for deciding that I was worth taking along on this journey with you. 
I love you. 


dreams for my daughter

Yes, I dream that Blythe will know the Lord. Yes, I dream that she will get a job she loves, a husband she adores that treats her right, and lives a fulfilling life.


I also dream that she has an imagination like I had as a child. An imagination that knew the sky was bigger than I could see out my window.

I dream she sees beyond a grove of trees and pictures a living world of fairies in their branches.

I dream she understands the art and grace of make believe, using it to turn dolls into her best friends for hours in her bedroom.

I dream she can look at a blank piece of paper and see it as a canvas for the story in her head or the picture on her mind.

I dream she can travel through centuries and seasons and epic battles while wandering in her backyard.

I dream she favors the pages of a book more than the flashes of pictures on a television.

I dream she can play follow the leader by herself, completely oblivious to the stares of anyone watching this miraculous feat.

I dream she crawls through mud, and makes recipe soup from plants, and catches snakes in the garden.

I dream she plants a piece of charcoal she steals from the grill, thinking if she checks back in a week it will have turned into a diamond.

I dream she has a box under her bed of scraps of paper, fabric, glitter, and hot glue that she uses to create masterpieces.

I dream she lays in bed at night creating poems.

I dream that she knows the land keeps on going beyond the horizon.

I dream she plays dress up, letting a grandmother's old hat and gloves transform her into a queen.

I dream she believes that Narnia exists.

I dream that her little years will be filled with wonder, and sparkles, as she frolics through the endless possibilities of her imagination.



Brent and I have a lot of friends getting married this summer. I received invitations number 6 & 7 this past week. I enjoy watching our friends excitement in this time of preparation. I had just started blogging the fall of our engagement and remember writing THIS in a little coffee shop about my own thoughts about becoming Brent's bride. However, it is interesting now to look back on that time, five years ago now, and think about it from this side.

As I see my friends, hearts all aflutter and aglow, dreaming big dreams about what their lives are going to look like as Mr. and Mrs., I think about what my dreams were during that time. I had been away at college for four years, and the simple thought of getting to see Brent every single day made me unequivocally happy. I pictured the big stuff: buying a house of our own someday, raising a family together. But I also remember dreaming of little things too:  washing the dishes while he dried them and put them away, making a meal for us to share together.

Others also told me they were nervous or anxious on their wedding day. I was anything but. I had no doubts in walking down that aisle, joining hands with Brent, and vowing my life to serving and loving him.

People warned me that marriage would be tough work. At first I didn't believe them because after our I DO's it was blissful. We got to see each other every single day. We got to sit on the couch and talk and laugh and just be with one another. It was all so very uncomplicated. I had him. He had me. We thanked the Lord daily.

But life kept on a'coming. Jobs, and moves, and this, and that. We still held firmly to one another, but those pointless fights crept in: "You know that THIS is NOT where I keep the spatulas.." etc. I still adored the fact that I was his wife, I still enjoyed seeing him every day, but life proved it would put us through the ringer a time or two to see if we really meant 'forever.'

And then we decided it was time to bring a baby into our lives. She came and, proving others right, it was and has been the hardest thing we've ever done. We have had to learn how to communicate all over again. We have had to learn to make time for us. We have had to learn how selfish we really are. And she is only two months old.

And then I think of all of my friends who are going through their engagements and on the brink of marriage.

Engagement. That word does mean to make a promise or attachment to something. But to engage also means to hold fast to something or to occupy the attention of something [i.e. "The book engaged her from the beginning."] And isn't this what we should strive for our whole marriage? To engage the other person in our lives? To be engaged by our spouse at every turn? I think it's the ENGAGEMENT that keeps the marriage going.

 I look around and I see his empty cereal bowl, or his tennis shoes. I turn on the TV and it is on ESPN. I pick up my toothbrush which is right next to his in the holder. I accidentally use his razor in the shower instead of mine. These are the little things about marriage that I didn't think about looking forward to; these little daily reminders of his presence in my life. Sure things aren't perfect, but I get to share this life with him. THAT is what I was ultimately looking forward to when he slipped that ring on my finger.

And the BIG things? The truly EPIC things like holding my sleeping daughter and knowing that this is a gift that Brent gave me that no other man could have…these are the the icing on the cake.

Yes, the engagement period was wonderful, but I now realize that Brent engages me every day.

C.S. Lewis says it better [as always] from this excerpt in "Mere Christianity." We put a portion of this on our wedding programs:

"Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing. There are many things below it, but there are also many things above it. You cannot make it the basis of a whole life. It is a noble feeling, but it is still a feeling. Now no feeling can be relied on to last in its full intensity, or even to last at all. Knowledge can last, principles can last, habits can last; but feelings come and go. And in fact, whatever people say, the state called “being in love” usually does not last. If the old fairy-tale ending “They lived happily ever after” is taken to mean “They felt for the next fifty years exactly as they felt the day before they were married,” then it says what probably never was or ever could be true, and would be highly undesirable if it were. Who could bear to live in that excitement for even five years? What would become of your work, your appetite, your sleep, your friendships? But, of course, ceasing to be “in love” need not mean ceasing to love. ... It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself. They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be “in love” with someone else. “Being in love” first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it.


open letter number 4

Peruse my MUSINGS section to read my previous 3 open letters to laundry, student loans, and the drawer under my oven. 

Dear Hotels of America [and maybe other countries too, I just have never visited you]:

I have a weird infatuation with you, and I feel like now is the time for me to make it known. So here I am, hotels, coming clean-- I love you. I love you like the old Savage Garden's song [truly, madly, and deeply, in case that brilliant simile was lost on you].

I know some people are weirded out by you, thinking that your sheets are never really clean, or that one shouldn't walk around you barefoot lest they pick up some disease. I even know of some people that feel the need to bring lysol and spray you down before they will sleep at ease. I need you to know that I, though a sometimes self proclaimed 'germ-a-phob', am not one of those people.

I walk into your majestic halls and smile broadly when handed a key card. I swipe said card with a smile and push open the door into your room which has been cleaned and prepared just for me. I survey the space, the slight smell of chlorine floating down the hall from the warm pool, and flop on the bed, totally relaxed at at ease knowing that I don't have to make it in the morning.

Hotels of America, your cable television and mini fridge inspire me to kick my feet up. I have no obligations, no errands to attend to when I am at your place. I can turn the thermostat to 'ice' and not worry about the bill. I can take a 30 minute shower. I can get service at the push of a button.

Thank you for also being concerned about my safety. As someone who grew up with a father who was always imposing fictitious scenarios to see if I was aware of my surroundings, I now live a somewhat paranoid life. So thank you for your triple bolt doors and your emergency exit map.

I also appreciate that you leave me pen and paper. You don't assume that since it is 2012 no one writes anything down any more, you simply leave me two of my most treasured ammenities. Well four, if you count the coffee and the paper travel mug to pour it in. However, you do understand that these times call for different measures also, and provide me with free and unlimited wi-fi. My instagram and blog followers thank you for this convenience.

Oh, and hotels of America, I am seven paragraphs into this letter and I haven't even mentioned your breakfasts! Oh your glorious warm, prepared breakfasts served until ten…TEN! I love breakfast food but never get to eat it because I don't want to waste any time that could be sleeping preparing breakfast. But you solved this problem for me. You let me sleep in. You let me roll out of bed, not pressuring me to fold the covers back up neatly, and attend your breakfast just as I am. I don't ever have to worry about brushing my hair or my teeth or putting on my makeup before hand, as I know I will never see any of those people ever again. So I load up with sausage and make a waffle and grab an omelet and some cereal, a muffin, some fruit, and a yogurt for later. Sigh. Thank you for this heartwarming experience every morning.

You are truly rest for the weary, hotels of America. On that night that Brent and I just couldn't drive a mile further, you opened your doors to us. On that family vacation when my dad finally gave up at the primitive camp ground and we got to stay in your hallowed halls, you were a friend during troubled times. Yes, hotels of America, you are wonderful. [And lest there are any MOtels reading this letter, it is not addressed to YOU, you filthy, yet sometimes charming in your uniqueness, place. ]

Hotels of America, I raise my styrofoam cup and my ice bucket to you for a job well done.



PS This is the first "open letter" I have written that has been positive. You should consider yourself lucky. Please don't do anything to screw up this romance!


Two Months of Blythe

I FINALLY had enough time to upload and edit Blythe's two month "photo shoot" :). She is a happy, healthy little lady, and Brent and I are enamored with getting to know her little personality more and more every day. She gives smiles pretty freely now, and "talks" [especially to Brent]. I am on pins and needles for her first giggles! She is definitely a mover [you'll see by blurry arms and legs in pics below!], and is sleeping and eating like a champ. She was just shy of 12 pounds at her two month check up, and handled her shots wonderfully. We love our little "LaLa" and still look at one another and say things like, "We actually get to keep her!" 

Here she is in her "monthly picture outfit". Click HERE to compare to last month's photos. I'm hoping I can figure out how to upload some little video clips of her talking soon [if you have suggestions on the easiest way to do this, please let me know]. Enjoy her TWO MONTH photos…and I know the boy is a little overwhelming on her right now, but it is for size comparison later :) : 

"Thanks for getting that silly bow off my head, Mama!" 

Getting a few rolls! 

And here are some iphone photos of life with Miss Blythe in the past month: 

Lots of hair…even on her ears! This is now rubbing off and her three month photos will surely feature her bald spots!

Listening to Daddy play guitar

She loves her play mat

We took her to the local hardware store and weighed her on the nail scale to get an accurate measure. She was over 11 pounds here! Big girl. Cool Scale. 

helping me with laundry

We visited Aunt Linda when traveling for a wedding and silly Aunt Linda put her nighty on backwards [ha..A.L. I HAD to post this, it was just TOO good :)] 

Her first wedding. With my college roommate, Deb, the bride. 

First day at the pool. She didn't get in, too cold, but she looked darn adorable in her bathing suit. 

she was tuckered out though at the end of the day

two month shots :( 

Okay, this is actually Brent's sister, Beth…. it is the only baby picture we've found so far that we think really looks like Blythe. What do you think? 

Also Beth. 

Her first mini skirt. :) 
Aunt Linda also couldn't help herself…she had to bust out the dutch costume for Blythe. Blythe was not too excited about it, as the last picture shows :) Many babies have worn this sweet outfit.

I snapped some other pictures of B with my "real camera" that I just have to share and then I will be done posted all fifty thousand of these pictures. :) 
looking up at her beloved father…I LOVE this picture. 
this was after we stripped her down out of the dutch costume. she was relieved. :) 
High contrast beauty

I had to put her in some red, white, and blue for the local memorial day service. Patriotic looks cute on her