Thursday, March 31, 2011

^This will be someplace in my house one day. :)
We. Are. Planners. That is what I am realizing. We are planners, who love to be surprised, because that means someone else took the time and effort to plan how to surprise us... or rather, out-plan us. I had started to see this more clearly about myself last week. But, I just realized, the same is true of Kimberly and Kristin too. I'm recognizing this because I now have discovered that two of my girl friends do not like surprises. Why? They like to feel ready, prepared. I hate feeling unprepared, yet I love being surprised. :/ It is probably the ultimate form of showing you care as far as I'm concerned. Plus, it's just fun. As for the planning part, yes, I love waking up early and listing out all the things I want to get done that day- the more accomplished by 11a, the better I feel. I love to-do lists (as you now know). I love being able to plot out where things will be in 5 years (hopefully) -- perhaps more dreaming than planning. I love the details and the big picture. And I feel like both my sisters are pretty similar (in their own forms).

We all mark Kristin off as being more of the free-spirit, wild child ... but of all of us, she is the most driven in so many ways too. She knows where she wants to be, and she continues to fight to get there, no matter what. She too, is a planner. And she too, loves surprises. And, I don't really need to say anything of Kim for those of you who know her, but for those of you who don't... she's a planner extraordinaire.... be it packing, wedding planning, home remodels, trip itineraries... you name it. And yet, she loves a good surprise! So why is it that all three of us girls fall into this strange balance, of loving planning, and yet loving when things go beyond any of our plans?

Meet Loretta Joanne Kelly. Mother of the three. Early-childhood education major, who turned little projects into remarkable feats of creativity and daring.... built playhouses out of piping and fabric (before they were things you could just buy online), taught us how to make playdough, managed one of the largest Children's Worlds in the area, and who plots out her garden by color, season, and height in elaborate drafts. My mom- problem solver, do-it-your-selfer-RIGHT-NOW woman of the year! Got an idea? Let's get a pencil and some paper and give this concept some roots! She likes plans, she just prefers to make those plans reality within the next 48 hours. I love the pieces of me I get from my mom. I love creating. I love thinking up something I've never seen, and working with her to make it real (though I won't like, there is plenty of tension in the different methods and visions- but it always ends up incredible). I also love the pieces that show up in my sisters.

Now, note Thomas Edward. Engineer. Planner. Problem-solver. STRATEGIC, problem-solver. Deep thinker- slow(er) mover. He can create the most flawless plans I am sure. But typically, my mom has already done something and moved on to a new project by then. UNLESS, he is thinking up a surprise, then no one knows about it and no one can interrupt his planning mode. And let me tell you, NO ONE can do surprises like my dad can. Nor do I think anyone has ever done so many. LIFE with dad is a surprise. You ask for something, you get a no. We've always considered this to just be part of his "We'll start with no, and maybe work to maybe" philosophy, but I'm realizing it might be just as much his love for giving surprises. You see, once he says no, then he can decide if he wants to give it to you... and if he does, he figures you'll be surprised and all the more excited. My dad's love for surprises has trained us girls to always expect the unexpected. And this is what I come down to. Mom, the master of in-the-minute planning, who can go with the flow and create something remarkable out of whatever you give her... and dad who loves to make every possible thing into a surprise, created 3 girls, who live life, constantly planning and re-planning, ready for anyone to throw anything into the mix... and thrilled when someone does, because it just means more material to work with and something even better to create out of that day.

The somewhat down side to all this, I am always half-hoping that there is a surprise coming. You said I wasn't getting a party, but that doesn't mean anything. And it is not because I am not grateful, it is just because 55% of the time, there is some sort of a surprise behind the corner, it is just a matter of guessing the right way, and not leading on that you are on to it.... because once you figure it out, he (Dad) might decide it's not worthwhile, since it is no longer a surprise. So, you have to act blind to it... until after at least. But there are plenty of signs to give a surprise away, especially when you have 24 years of skilled-surprise-reading practice like myself, and when you are constantly seeking to read people. Dad? One sign, he tells you, you aren't going to get it. And he tries to see just how badly you want it. He might bring it back up, prompting to see your misery, just to make sure the sweet receiving of the desired thing/event/gift is all the sweeter. It kills him how good I've gotten at reading surprises. I'm trying to get better at not figuring out surprises... but when you are the daughter of Loretta Kelly, you are also always conducting impromptu creating and planning in your head... and the child of Thomas, you are theorizing and analyzing.... and the product, you scan the environment, conversation, etc and come up with a list of possibilities, quickly discarding as new information is presented, until you stumble upon the greatest likelihood based on the person.... and voila.... even if you don't want to... it happens.

But do not be disheartened, and please do not give up the surprises, because what I just described to you is accompanied by the most wonderful high of excitement and joy, knowing that someone cares enough to lead me into that adventure of discovery! Planning and Surprises-- oh how I love them both!! And how incredibly loved I feel when I find myself tumbling down that rabbit hole!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I am craving summer.... bad. And FYI, these photographers^ are awesome... check them out. ;)
I realized yesterday, I am obsessed with beauty. Finding it where it is hidden, where others do not see it, creating it where it is not, remembering it where it has been forgotten, and imagining it where no one has yet dared. Things don't have to be pretty, or perfect for me to love them, but I must find some beauty in them, because I do love them. I have to find some trace of what I know was intended, some mark of divine intention. And I always have, every time I've searched. Which only wets my appetite to find more beauty, and to show more beauty, and somehow, to become something beautiful out of the mess that's me.
One of my friends from UW has been accepted into the English grad programs at UCLA, Berkeley, NYU, Vanderbilt and is on a wait list at Penn State. Granted, the guy is brilliant, but having sat beside him for a large part of my last two years at UW, it makes me want to try applying. I was pretty disheartened when I didn't get in to Cambridge. Relieved, and yet crushed. I'd prayed all along that the Lord wouldn't let me get in if I wasn't supossed to go. And initially, I'd felt like applying and being open to going was my cross... there were things back home I wanted far more than a PhD. But when I felt like I lost the things at home too, I started to really hope that I'd get in...get swept away on some grand errand that required the next 3 years of my life and reminded me that I was not ordinary or overlookable. That somehow, I was investing in something big.

But even as it hurt, I was grateful to have an answer. I was even relieved partly, I still don't know if I want to go to school for another 3 years. But there is the truth that, I love being a student. I love learning. I miss being so mentally challenged and the genuine pain of learning, working and working until you finally grasp a new idea, concept, theory, or perspective. The sermon on Saturday night reminded me just how much I miss it. I know school might not be the answer, and probably isn't. I'd much rather my life look a different way then grad school, alone, for the next 3 years. But, I don't think I can just make my life look the way I want.

In particular, the one grad school I was really interested in in the states, was/ is UCLA. While researching for my undergrad thesis, I came across one author who was discussing the aspects of Romantic Literature that I was passionate about investigating... his name was Robert Maniquis, and I discovered he is a professor at UCLA. They accept 40 students to their English Graduate Program each year.

So, I guess, I'm just thinking... kind of considering... praying if this is a door I should be brave enough to knock on, even if it means that it might close on me. And Chris, if I do decide to, I will be taking you up on your offer... Congratulations on all that's opening to you, I've been convinced since our creative writing class though that you are brilliant, so I'm really not that surprised. ;)
Stealing this from Esther... it made me laugh and I had to (re)share it!

*DANGIT, my webpage cuts part (half!) of it off, click here to go watch it. :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I don't know if I really need to give my excuses and confessions (yet again). But, at times, I completely indulge in going through wedding photography. I love it. Brides always look soooo incredibly stunning (and happy), the venues are incredible, the photography (hopefully) is creative and top quality, and of course, the dresses! I am terrible at making decisions, most all of you know this. And it is not because I am a picky person. In fact, it really is the opposite. I love everything. I would be as happy spending a day on the couch reading a book as I would be spending it riding rollercoasters. I love to do most anything. And I'll try it once even if I think I might not like it. So, decisions, where you have to select either chicken and grilled mushrooms, or chicken and barbeque... well, can I have both? It should come as no surprise to you now that my wedding dress is something I fear (and can't wait for!). My sister Kim knew exactly what she wanted when she was 15 or something like that. Once she found it at a bridal shop, she put it on and was ready to buy it. My mom convinced her to try on a few others, not so much because she thought Kim would change her mind, but because she felt part of the experience might be missed looking back. Don't worry mom, I'm sure we'll all get more than enough of that experience when it comes to my turn! I almost wish I could bring my fiance with me when the day comes too... because I so look forward to hearing his opinion on things. Since I like both, I hope he'll be able to tell me his favorites. ;) But there are a few things I know I'll probably look for. I think it is called a sweetheart neckline? Perhaps strapless, because it looks good on my little frame. And I want lace. I was telling my mom a few days ago, after she commented on how daughters will want to buy their own dress, that both kristin and I would probably wear my mom's if we could fit into it. And I know this sounds somewhat terrible, but I'd love to at least find a way to use my mom's dress in mine somehow. We found an idea... and don't worry Kristin, we aren't cutting up mom's dress. This one is my favorite. The closest thing I have seen yet to what I want. And I am in love with this bride's style, and even her reception dress. I didn't really think I wanted one, until I saw this!! Awww, everything about this is perfect!

PS, love this dress too!! (see, it is going to be sooo hard to one day make a decision!!)

Monday, March 28, 2011

I have the greatest friend, who regularly sends me photos such as these, just because they make her think of me.

Megs, you brighten my days. So grateful for you. Love you!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Going through old pictures.... and found this little old one I love. (I'm sure you two hate it... but I just love the memory of driving to Julie's wedding with you.) Two of my favorite young women. Looking back, probably my favorite thing about my senior year was getting to know these girls (including their entire class!). I remember going to Jordyn's 13th birthday party, and thinking, eh... one day 5 years will seem a very small difference. And that is not to say I did not enjoy every minute of that slumber party (apples, oreos, peanut butter and The Little Rascals)... just that even then I knew that these women were wonderful and that I was going to enjoy being friends with them for many years to come. Last week, Jordyn turned 19... and MacKenna will follow shortly. ;) What incredible ladies, truly. I love watching all you ladies go through MCs this year and I am so excited to see the directions and turns coming in the next few years... I know the Lord has such wonderful things for you all and that your unity and strength to fight for one another is going to help you (each) follow where Father leads you... even if it is hard to suddenly be apart.

Ash, Rames, Jess, Kayla, Morgan, Jaelle, Jord and Kenna... (and all the rest, but I don't think the other girls read this), you are such remarkable women. I've loved watching you grow up, press through and press in, each going through a unique process and making hard choices. You are beautiful. And all carry such amazing skills- some which you might notice yourselves already, dance, writing, singing, sports, painting, etc.... and some which you'll come to recognize and value in the next 5 years. Such as, the way you have learned to fight for each other, to pray for each other, to seek after one another and others, to bring people in, to forgive an offense and let go of a hurt, to be real and to be honest, and to communicate with words, be true in action, and to keep your heart open. I love you all... what a delight God must take in creating such an array of beauties and then grouping you all together like a garden. As my dad would say "What a bevy of beauties." ;) Continue to trust Him and allow Him to move you to where He wills, He has great plans for you and what you've spent the past 13 years investing in together will continue to be a blessing and a strength, though it might look different and hurt at times. What you've built will last, so don't waste time trying to force it to be what it has always been, or fearing how it will change. His plan is so much bigger than what you've seen or experienced so far, and you've only just begun to taste the richness of friendship.

Love you girls. Love being your friend.

I need to get better at stopping what I am doing, pulling out a pen, and writing down what’s flittering around in my head. Because, no matter how convinced I am that, that thought is trapped and will wait for me to examine it, capture it on paper, and then open a window for it to fly… it always finds it’s own way out, and I rarely see the little creature again. I have purchased little black moleskines to keep in my bags and purses to encourage this needed behavior. My purse is always stocked with black pens. Still, I keep missing the chance to catch these pretty birds!
In short, nothing went as I expected. Yeah, that whole time-line I posted at 3:30am on Thursday, went out the window about 5 minutes later. But isn't that how so many of the greatest times go? Certainly the case here. After getting stopped at both passes and required to chain up (which we didn't have and had to go buy)... and some other minor adventures... we arrived at the Mahers' at a quarter to ten. So In n' Out was dinner instead of lunch, and dinner at the Mahers' was more like... dessert(?) or speed Scrabble and a movie. Breakfast the next morning was probably my favorite part. A.) because I love breakfast, and B.) because I love cooking/ baking with friends. While Morgan and Adam (and Braden?) slept, Joel drove over and picked up Meg and I from the Landies, then we drove to Petaluma to pick up Court (who was staying with Katherine), and to do some quick grocery shopping. Then, we returned and all relaxed together while we made French Toast (not bad to cook in a kitchen that looks out on one of the most amazing views!). San Fran got scrapped, as Morg and Adam ended up having a change in their plans and had to leave earlier than expected, plus, it was raining. So, San Fran will have to wait for this coming July, when hopefully I drive down with Meghan. Instead, we toured Novato. (Note our tour guide above.) And ate at the infamous "Italian Delight"-- delicious little stop that might frighten some away.

Such a short couple days, but I couldn't be more grateful. I got hours with the Carpenters, who I see less and less with their busy traveling schedule, and spent time in the hometown of two of my best friends. Something about getting to see your friends at their 'home' that helps you understand and truly know them better. I'd never been to the Landies' (or even met Hannah!), so it was especially nice to share a breakfast with them and start to understand my dear friend Megs all the better.

In short, so many lovely people and moments. I'd do it all again, maybe not tomorrow, but certainly next week if I could. ;)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

On my way to ...

With Morgan & Adam. Oh yes, road trip'n with the Carpenters. I might have to bust out a little "We've Only Just Begun.." somewhere around Ashland. :)

Today's lunch will be...

Dinner with the crew (minus Jordan :( !) at the Mahers.

Sleepover with Megs at the Landies!!!!! :)

San Fran (my beloved and missed city!) on Friday.

Short and sweet, I can handle that.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Copy of Stradivar,
Made in Germany
ca. 1920


PS You know what we should do some time? Canoeing in the Arboretum. ;)
I am so grateful for the quality of people in my life... for the friendships that I don't deserve. For the people I can call on in need, and not even just in my own need, but if I have another friend in need. That is a true friend, when you can count on their caring about others. What an undeserved comfort, what a blessing of the Lord to create us with such a capacity for community and love.

This is going to sound so shallow, but I must say, I am also blessed with some of the most beautiful friends I know.... guys and gals. I looked around the breakfast table on Saturday as we celebrated Brade's 22nd birthday (and Laurie's!), and granted the table was composed of mostly Ungers so this makes complete sense, but I just thought, what an amazingly attractive table of people, inside and out. How lucky am I to have had breakfast with these guys? And how blessed to count them some of my dearest friends.
A girl really can be spoiled, and indeed, I have been. Add to these handsome faces, Tyson, Robert, Jeff and others... I know some of the greatest young men (some now becoming fathers!). And I'm not even mentioning the ladies I get to count my close friends... the women who bring me to tears, one minute from the depth and beauty of their hearts, their trust, their faithful friendship, their wisdom... and the next from laughing dangerously hard. I am blessed, by all of you. Thank you. Friendship is the greatest gift you can give, and I know it costs you.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I just stumbled upon a great idea... and while I desperately want to tell it to you all, I think I probably shouldn't. But, I need to follow through on this. So, feel free to ask me when you see me Kati, have you been working on that brilliant idea?

It is an idea mommys and grandmas will like (I hope), and it was sparked after the third mom-friend responded to me the same way when I brought up writing.

Friday, March 18, 2011

I'm not much of a Jane Austen gal myself. Don't get me wrong, she is amazing, but she turns me into a big pile of emotions and angst. I've only ever read Persuasion, and I can't even explain my feelings when I came to the letter scene. I think Austen ruins girls- all of us- she makes us all hope that the man who seems completely uninterested and even a bit of a jerk, is really just striving with all his valor to control and hide his "ardent" and true deep love. Combine this with the culture of courtship, and there are a lot of confused, heart sick little girls wandering around.

That souded bitter or hard, but it really isn't. I can be one of those girls... and I am laughing at myself as I write this. I mean it, but only half.

I love Austen. I just think it is better if I don't sit at home and read it and knit. I'm far more of a Lewis, Tolkien, MacDonald, Shakespeare fan. They make me come alive, and not just sit and pine. In support of Austen, she creates beautiful heroines, I love their wit and selflessness. I also love when people can look past what appears to be true, and remain true themselves. So, all the above said, I both like and dislike. There is such a balance in life to learn to really walk in reality, knowing that what you see is not the ultimate reality, but neither is the contriving of your mind and emotions. Learning how to hear the voice of Truth, and live despite both swaying feelings and heart-rending circumstances... that is valor and courage. That is strength and beauty.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Last night I got home from work and started skipping around the house. Yes, skipping. And giggling, like a school girl. My mom just looked at me. Then asked, "What?"

I had just pulled out my beautiful soccer cleats (and less so beautiful shinguards). I had, had butterflies in my stomach for much of the day, looking forward to the evening. I'd been wondering if I'd be terrible, or get in touch with the ball easily. Would I be so out of shape I'd be sitting on the sideline trying to breathe? Would my back be a problem and I wouldn't be able to really play?

I was so incredibly excited at the thought of standing out on a full-sized green field with full-size nets on both ends and 21 other people on the field. A real match. Referee and all. It was lovely.

Granted, the game it self was anything but lovely. We lost by 5. Yes. 5. I don't mean to brag in this, but I think people fail to understand unless they get this: I used to play for a great team. We competed in Premier 2, which means we were in the second highest level. Premier 1 being girls getting full-ride scholarships to Pac 10 schools. Premier 2 girls typically receiving scholarships to smaller colleges. We were good. Passing was beautiful, games were thrilling, competition was fierce, chemistry was.. science. We weren't the best, but it was a fun team to play with... because soccer becomes more and more enjoyable as your team gets better and better. The game is not what you first think, it is a game as much about what everyone without the ball is doing as the one or two on the ball. What runs are being made far-side, what diagonal plays are being passed, who is making a burst past their defender, seeing a play ahead. The more a team can create, literally a group activity of seeing what isn't yet, the more exciting and beautiful to watch. First, you learn the rules of soccer, and the basic skills, then you learn how to create, together. And that is when you fall in love with the sport. (I know basketball is similar.) There is class in soccer (though there are those who don't know how to play with it).

All that I just described... is not what happened last night. At least not on our team, or even really on the other team. We made them look good. At one moment I laughed, thinking to myself, every single one of these plays would be a "nightmare" on my old team, resulting in people being benched for the remainder of the game, and some serious yelling from the coach... or worse, silence. There's nothing worse than when the coach pulls you out and doesn't talk with you- either he is too upset to speak, or he thinks talking to you won't do any good, or he just knows that you know you've just behaved like an idiot.

I miss that. I miss having a coach... and amazing coach, who would bench people who played liked idiots. Who'd yell at people to hold their positions and stop all turning into Strikers. I miss playing with a team who was looking for the far-side run, and knew that I was going to cross it back.... who knew that my fault was not shooting and they could always expect a last-second pass for an easy flick into the goal from the goalie's back. But moreover, I miss the game, and I miss playing. So if last night is what I'll get, with one or two nice combinations of plays strung together in the front, well, I'll take that... at least for now.

After saying how great my old team was, and how less-great the co-ed team I've just joined is... let me just say, I fall far short myself. I was so out of shape that after a break-a-way, I was nearly too tired to actually get a good shot off at the end. And at one point, sprinting down the sideline with the ball, I nearly fell. Why? Oh, just because my legs felt like jello... like I'd run a marathon. Only, I hadn't.

Lesson? Get in shape Kati.

I think with this new outdoor season, I just might. ;)

Soccer. It is beautiful and thrilling. If you think it is not, hold your tongue, for even a fool is thought wise if he keeps quiet. You just don't know what you are seeing, yet.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

MC girls, cover your ears.

One of the women in our office walked up to my desk this morning with a pretty green bag. She wished me an early St. Patrick's Day and set it on my desk. I knew immediately what it was. Whiskey. More acurately, Kentucky Bourbon. The smile spread wide across my face. Sorry if this confuses the image you've had of me thus far. But, I find whiskey delightful. And when one of the attorney's in our office invited Kristin and I to share a bit of his Kentucky Bourbon last week I was amazed by how smooth and sweet it was. The paralegal who had bought it for him as a gift is Karen, the woman who just hand-delivered a green gift to the little Irish girl at the front desk.

(okay girls, you can uncover your ears now.)

I decided I am going to try my hand at another Irish dish. Last night, after a bit of research, and a lot of grocery shopping, I started a traditional Irish Lamb Stew. Goodness. It should not be this hard. In fact, I know it wouldn't be this hard for a more experienced cook. After two hours of my hands in raw lamb (and my mom even doing half of it!), I started to feel sick. I don't dislike meat. But sometimes... I dislike meat. I've gone years of my life as an understated vegetarian. Don't get me wrong, I will crave a good burger and my mouth will water over a great steak. But sometimes, the thought of meat is less than appealing to me. It is more the texture of tough meat, and of fat. :(

Oh well, the smell that I swear had managed to work it's way all the way to the far bottom corner of the house by this morning was enough to make all of my work worthwhile. The stew cooked in the crockpot for 10 hours over night. Now, it's off to the fridge for the next day (all the reviews said it is far better after a couple days of sitting in the fridge), and the veggies will be added Thursday... just in time for a delicious St. Patrick's Day meal.

I then turned my hand to some Green Velvet Cupcakes ;)

And I found a traditional Irish Soda Bread recipe that I will try Thursday with the stew. I must say though, Irish food remains one of my lesser-favorites. So much meat, so many potatoes, so much time---- and so little flavor. :/ However, Irish beverages... much more flavor. ;)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

sea sick.

i'm sitting in a chair, and yet i feel i am falling over. i used to think i was low on protein, or sick, or... something. i didn't know how to respond to it for the longest time. now, when i suddenly realize i am queesy and feeling ready to hurl over the ship's railing... it is just a windy day, and the gusts are tossing my building like a Pearl of the Sea.

you think i exaggerate. i really don't.
I really want a dog.

Meghan initially told me no. Of course this made me want to try. At this point, she is more open to the idea, but I don't think we will really end up with one. But this little guy... oh how he makes me smile. Megs, how could you resist? ;)
Last night I had dinner with a wonderful woman I've always known, but never really known. When I posted asking if anyone knew about getting published, both of my sisters suggested I contact Debbie Kellogg. I did, and asked her if I could glean from her experience and wisdom over dinner. Debbie is in the process of writing a novel, she has several novels stored up in her mind, and she has already penned several screenwrites. I got a couple good book suggestions on the topic of writing a novel and getting published, two new authors to check out for the beauty and excellence of their writing, and above all, a lot of encouragement and joy... the kind you can only get from talking with another person who is in love with the same thing you are in love with. It was such a comfortable evening of hearing a woman ask all the questions many would not think to ask, and sharing the simple pleasure of something we both love to do... and will do forever, whether we make a dime from it or not.

Thanks for the suggestion sisters. You were right, she is incredible. Even had she not been a woman passionate about the word, the story, and style, I would have loved getting an evening to sit and talk with such an incredible, selfless woman. Writers can become consumed within themselves and the worlds they create, but Debbie is an excellent example of a woman who get's that life is not about me. When those people become writers, they can change your world and you trust the worlds they bring you into for adventure and transformation. (Think Tolkien.) I walked away with a great deal. And I look forward to buying her books one day.

Just wanted to share this revelation, and let you know, I'm being practical and searching out this destiny I feel called to in more ways than just pouring words out here.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Praying for all my finals-taking friends today... blessings on all of you.

Peace over your minds, clarity, focus, perseverance, recollection, grace, and favor.

Finish strong and with peace. The end is in sight. ;)

love you.