Wednesday, May 28, 2014

So Maybe I'm Not the Best Role Model...

I love wine. That is all.

I had a fun and fabulous lunch with a fun and fabulous fellow PK (Pastor's Kid) over the weekend. (Side note: I need to start a PK Club.  We are truly a special bunch of special people). 

For three hours, over a bottle of wine, we laughed, we cried.  But mostly, we laughed—hysterically—much to the entertainment of other diners.  

What did we laugh about? Mostly this:

That we both tried so hard for many, many years to live up to being the Perfect Little Christian Girls we thought we should be.

Then we Let It Go. Maybe a bit too much, as PK’s often do. 

Now we’re back.  And we’re trying to figure it all out. 

I’m slightly concerned that some of my behavior may not be perceived as very Christian role model-y.

Because, you know...

I like to drink.
I’m divorced. 
I swear. 
I have a tattoo.

And the list goes on and on. 

I was telling my friend that lately, I’ve tried very hard to work on treating everyone with love and compassion.  

She agreed, but quickly added, “and Grace.  Don’t forget about Grace.” 

Grace- this soft, light, beautiful word- was a wonderful reminder to me.  

Now please don’t get me wrong: I don’t see Grace as a Free Pass to do whatever the heck I want.  

But the fact that it’s always there is such a relief.  And a gift. 

Because sometimes- just sometimes- I mess up.  

That's when I get to turn to God for his Grace.  Over and over and over.

I struggled with how to best end this post.  Because I struggle with what it means to be a fun, cool, normal Christian.  

Here's what I got:

I'm learning to be gentle on myself, because I'm doing the best I can.  

And that's enough.

Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:8-9

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The 10 Most Important Life Rules

I'm the Best Aunt Ever.  Not only do they know how to eat peanut
butter out of the jar, and lick cupcake batter from the spatula,
they now know how to take Selfies! Hooray!

I love celebrating my birthday, and this year was no exception.  Something magical (read: scary) happens and I turn into a wide-eyed, playful little kid.  

I seriously-no-joke-scout’s-honor threw myself a Pretty Pink Princess Party last weekend, which may have included wearing princess crowns while eating cookies and watching chick flicks.

Celebrating in one city wasn’t enough, so I then made my way down to San Diego to spend some time with my impossibly adorable nieces.  I LOVE my nieces, but my adoration kicked into overdrive after this conversation:

Alyssa, age 3: Kalei, how old are you gonna be?
Me: Guess.
Alyssa: (confused look) Like, 24?
Ella, age 5: or 29?

God bless these beautiful children. 

The truth is, I just turned 37. I share this because I feel pretty darn good about it, and oddly, 37 has always been a lucky number for me (it’s a long and stupid story).  

I just have this feeling that this year will be a Big Year for me in many ways.  So I’ve been thinking about how I want to live this year differently, and with intention.  

So I created a To Do list (I like lists).   

Here My 10 Most Important Life Rules:
  1. Be present.  God is giving you little lessons all the time.  Look for them.
  2. Be real.  But don’t confuse honesty with being an a-hole.
  3. Be kind.  Especially to yourself.  
  4. Be loving.  Especially the ones who are hard to love. 
  5. Don’t judge.  Especially the ones you think you know—you don’t. 
  6. Serve. This is the best way to get out of your head and use your heart.
  7. Take risks and make mistakes.  Learn from them. 
  8. Make good choices.  In your health, career, and love. 
  9. It’s all gonna be ok.  Trust.
  10. Seek God.  With all your heart, mind and soul.
There are so many sayings that in my wise old age, I can now honestly say, I get it.  Something I've always said but now fully believe: Everything happens for a reason.  It's not just a pat response to things I don’t understand.  God has a wonderful plan for me, and there may be times (many, many times) when I don't understand why something is happening, but I trust wholeheartedly that it's part of My Plan.  

These last few years have been quite a roller coaster- so many ups and downs.  Sometimes I was brave, and sometimes I wasn't. Sometimes I faced adversity with a smile, sometimes with tears.  But as I sit here, unsure of what the future holds, I have such a peace that it’ll be ok.  And that it's ok right now, too. 

Life is a crazy ride. And I’m all in. 

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.  Jeremiah 29:13

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

"Well, yeah, that's your biggest problem..."

I’ve been trying to write a book for, oh, 6 months now.  

After making a promise to a big group of people that I would finish this book in 2 months (word of advice: don’t do that, ever), I started off completely motivated.  In fact, I furiously typed 10 pages in 2 days.  Then I stopped to read it.  And promptly trashed it.   

While my book idea seemed genius (Write about Kenya! All that stuff you learned! Share pictures of adorable kids and giraffes!), I wasn’t feeling it.  I forced it, and as a result, my writing was truly horrifying (“And then we went to the slums.  It was sad.  So sad.” Barf). 

After booting Book #1, I had another great idea: Book #2!  This is The One, I told myself.  This is what I’m meant to write.  So I wrote with a vengeance.  And I’m not gonna lie, it’s good stuff.  And then I stopped.  Again.

I realized yesterday why I’m stuck.   

I’m missing the Happy Ending.  

I have the Once upon a time, but I don’t have the And then she lived happily ever after.  

I don’t have the guy, the kids, the house with the white picket fence, the career that makes me so giddy I can’t wait to jump out of bed.  And I tend to focus on this just a teensy bit (ok, a lot). 

I shared this revelation with my friend Amy “Tough Love” Contreras.  She responded with, 

Well, yeah Kalei, that’s your biggest problem. You’re not happy right now.  You think you’ll only be happy when you have all that stuff.


I recently finished The Gifts of Imperfection (love) by Brene Brown (double love), and was mesmerized by this passage:

The greatest challenge for most of us is believing that we are worthy now, right this minute.  Worthiness doesn’t have prerequisites.  So many of us have knowingly created/unknowingly allowed/been handed down a long list of prerequisites:
  • I’ll be worthy when I lose twenty pounds.
  • I’ll be worthy if I can get pregnant.
  • I’ll be worthy if I get/stay sober.
  • I’ll be worthy if everyone thinks I’m a good parent.
  • I’ll be worthy when I can make a living selling my art.
  • I’ll be worthy if I can hold my marriage together.
  • I’ll be worthy when I make partner. 
  • I’ll be worthy when my parents finally approve.
  • I’ll be worthy when he calls back and asks me out.
  • I’ll be worthy when I can do it all and look like I’m not even trying. 
Here’s what is truly at the heart of Wholeheartedness: Worthy now.  Not if. Not when.  We are worthy of love and belonging now.  Right this minute.  As is.

I don’t want to wait.

So I’m making an effort to feel worthy and happy right now.  

Which brings me back to Book #2. I’ve started to write again.  

This time, instead of wondering (ok, obsessing) about the ending, I’m focusing on the messy-painful-frustrating-joyful-hilarious-beauty of the journey. 

I wholeheartedly trust that God has a great plan for me, that everything I’ve been through is for a reason.  

Even if I can’t see the finish line quite yet.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

What the Heck Was I Thinking?!

Selfie time!  Yay for awesome friends!
(This is clearly the Before picture.  I did not look like this 13 miles later). 

Well that was dumb. 

This is was my first thought when I clicked REGISTER for my first ever Half Marathon.  But then I did something even dumber: I decided to share the wonderful news on Facebook.  And everyone knows, once it’s on Facebook, it’s official.  

So I started training.

I followed my workout schedule.  (But maybe I don’t need to follow it exactly because this is my first one!)

I traveled a lot but worked out diligently in the hotel gyms (But maybe I’m kinda cold and I can just run in place in my room!) 

I stopped drinking (But maybe I had a glass of wine here and there!  And maybe by a glass I mean a bottle!)

I ate healthy and when I craved sweets, ate carrot sticks (But maybe by carrot sticks I mean chocolate chip cookie dough!) 

So my training didn’t work out as perfectly as I had hoped.  And as the race loomed closer, I started getting a teensy bit nervous (by nervous I mean totally freaked out).  I kid-you-not thought it was possible that I might die. 

And then something miraculous happened. 

During one of the last week’s of my training, I had to run 10 miles.  Normally I would run with my gym’s running club.  However, our coach was out of town so I would have to do this on my own.

And I know me.  If left to my own devices, I’d end up walking, or worse, cheating. 

So I asked for help from my friend Becca, a 10-miles-is-my-warm-up kind of runner.  Becca not only ran with me, she smiled, laughed and encouraged me the entire time (all while texting.  Did I mention she has superpowers?)  

You’re doing so great! Look how relaxed you are! You’ve totally got this!

Until I saw 10 MILES logged on my little runner watch, I honestly wasn’t sure I could do it.  Something clicked at the end of that run.  All of a sudden, I realized that no, I would not die, and yes, I’ve got this.  I’ve totally freaking got this. 

I learned two valuable lessons:
  1. Surround yourself with awesome people—those that believe in you, especially when you don’t.
  2. Believe Believe Believe!  Here’s a shocker: telling myself I was going to die wasn’t helping.  Choosing positive, encouraging thoughts made me realize I could do it.  
Now that I’ve completed one, my runner friends are encouraging me to do more.  (Sidenote: I used to think all runners were crazy but now I kinda get it.  Kinda).  I don’t know if I'll run another one, but I do know this:  

I can do it.

I won't be alone. 

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:  If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Ecclesiastes 4:9-10