Author Archives: Kelly

A Time for Change

If you have read any of my sporadic posts in the months that have made up this year thus far, thank you for being a true friend. 🙂 I’ve done my best to take my one little word seriously this year and really identify what needs changed and what doesn’t in my life.

It was two years ago that I felt God stirring within me a desire to start this blog. I knew it was from Him, and He has done nothing but prove to me on a very personal level that this is His space to grow me in my faith. My prayer is that along the way of me fumbling through, stretching outside my comfort zone, dreaming, feeling hopes dashed and realized, going through seasons of much writing and seasons of next to none, someone out there has been encouraged by a lesson I’ve learned as well.

While the official anniversary of my blog isn’t until September, I started the process of figuring out how to set up an official website in July of 2011. That means it’s subscription renewal time with the Internet geniuses who power up blogs and websites and give people the rights to their own domain names. I’ve been less than impressed with my current company; thus I’ve been waiting for several months for my contract to be done with them so I can switch to a more user-friendly company. I need all of the user-friendliness I can get, thank you very much.

I’ve also expressed in the past the idea of changing things up when it comes to the name of my blog. That has led to a little homework and a lot of praying, contemplating, and conversations with myself. Aren’t you glad you can’t get in my head?!? I’m going to be nice and sum up all of the results nice and concisely for you.

The purpose of this blog is to find Jesus, no matter where I am or where you are in life. He has used this place to bring me into fellowship and dependence on Him time and again. Whether I’ve been going through a hard time, a time of tremendous joy, I’ve felt wrapped up nice and snug in the bonds of community, or isolated for whatever reason, when I write in this place, I look for how He was a part of that season, day, or moment. So I’m not going to completely do away with the title because He gave it to me, and I never want to forget to look for Him in the exceptionally average parts of my life.

I’m going to change my web address it kellywesterfield.com

Why? Because this is my place to share my story that God is writing, so it kind of makes sense to attach my name to it. My tag line is “Looking for Jesus in the Exceptionally Average” because He has met me there, and I have learned to love the art of meeting Him there as well.

Since I started blogging, I wrote my first eBook, and the passions God has placed in my heart have grown. I believe that by having a website with something as simple as my name, I’m able to write about those new passions without feeling the need to make everything fit into my blog’s current title.

So I don’t know how concise that summary was, but believe me, it was way shorter than if you’d have fallen victim to an actual conversation with me about it. The new blog is not yet up and ready for visitors, but as soon as it is, I’ll definitely let you know! Thanks again for being a true friend and hearing my ramblings as I’ve tried to figure out which direction to go.

Grace on a Train Ride

Lately you’ve been telling me, “I’m feeling shy a little bit.”

Even when you don’t admit it, there are occasions when I can see it written on your face in scenarios that you used to do nothing but smile through.

It makes me sad, sometimes, to see it, especially on the day we prepared to board the train at the zoo. You have always loved riding that train, not once have you boarded without an excited smile. But not this day.

You were excited to get on, so we made our way over to the station. This day we had an exceptional conductor. He went above and beyond from the beginning of our encounter with him. We were his first customers of the day, but he made it seem we were royalty who had rented out the entire premises. He asked your name, and the shyness came on you then.

You looked down with timidity, and gingerly handed over the ticket when He bent down, called you by name, and welcomed you aboard. I wondered at this exchange.

Why would you be anything but excited by this special treatment? He kept talking to you over the intercom throughout the ride, continuing to call you by name. Still you looked down with your shy face intact, seemingly ignoring the sights the conductor was pointing out to us.

The kindness of this man continued to touch me, and it’s as if he knew that if he kept pouring grace and blessings on you, you’d eventually realize what a beautiful trip this trek around the tracks with him as your conductor could be.

Our conductor stopped at the station after only one time around the tracks, but instead of kicking us off, he let on two more passengers before continuing on the journey. Slowly, the smile started warming your face as our new friend at the wheel made this the best train ride of our lives.

We received a bonus trip around the tracks thanks to the grace of our conductor, and the last time around, your shyness left. You even found enough confidence to wave at by-standers and point out the turtles who sunned their weathered bodies on the logs by the shore.

That day on the train, I felt a connection to the part of you that felt a little bit shy. I feel it sometimes when I go before God in prayer. I feel a complete mess as I attempt to pour out my requests to the very One who created the world and all it contains, and it’s hard for me to look up at Him with confidence. I’m thankful He doesn’t take offense at my shyness or write me off as some rude kid who doesn’t know what a gift He’s giving me with grace greater than my sins.

He calls me by name, no matter how much I cower and ignore His voice. He gives me more and more grace with each trip around the track, and He silently cheers when I get it enough to show the confidence He longs for me to possess and exude so that I may boldly approach the throne of grace.

So that day when you finally showed your smile and wave, I cheered for both of us, and I thanked God for grace on a train ride.

Grace and Speeding Tickets

Photo Source

I recently read Grace for the Good Girl by Emily Freeman and immediately identified with the good girl Miss Freeman described. Over the past decade of my life, God’s given me one situation after another to force me to overcome the false security I’d spent a lifetime building up in my head by playing the good girl game. Reading the book was kind of like putting a punctuation mark at the end of an issue I’d spent a long time working out with God.

Or so I thought. Maybe it was just a comma because last month I got a big test from the highway patrol.

The kids, a friend, and I took a road trip to Kansas last month to visit family. Since we are a one-vehicle family and Tanner needed our vehicle to get to work and back while we were gone, we got a rental car for our trip. It was a fancy new Dodge Avenger – a major upgrade from our humble family car with the dangling rear view mirror (that’s my fault, too, but a story for another day).

It was a looooong journey. What usually takes just over four hours took a solid six. If you’ve traveled with an infant before, you understand my pain. Also, I’m not the kind of person who loves to drive. I get major claustrophobia when it comes to semis on the highway or being sandwiched between vehicles of any size. However, I put aside those fears, braved the screaming baby in the back (only because I had my sweet friend soothing her with a pacifier as much as the baby allowed), and trucked on down the road.

We were in the home stretch, with only thirty minutes left to go! I could taste sweet freedom.

Then the baby woke up.

I had put off stopping to feed her as long as possible, and I knew any cry she had uttered up to that point on the trip was a mild whimper compared to what was coming. My phone also rang about that time and I made the foolish decision to answer it and try to answer a quick question that required engaging my mental calendar.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the patrol vehicle whip his way across the median, but it couldn’t be for me. I glanced at my speedometer and felt confident I was going in a safe range to not catch the radar. You see, I’d never been that girl. I was a good girl who doesn’t get in trouble with the law. We’re talking squeaky clean record here

When he followed me and pulled me over, I was in shock. What on earth could I have done wrong? Then he told me my speed, and I thought he must be joking. I know this sounds ridiculous to most of the world, but really. I could NOT believe that I was speeding.

But I was.

That rental car’s speedometer and my car’s speedometer don’t look the same, and let’s face it, I was not paying one bit of attention to it because deep down, I never worried about getting in trouble for something like speeding since it has never been an issue for me before.

He asked me why I was speeding and I told him I was trying to get to a place where I could feed my baby. Lame! Insert obvious answer from officer about needing to arrive safely with my baby first. Also note that my precious, darling baby decided to be cool as a cucumber the entire time we talked to the officer. Thanks a lot for choosing that moment out of all the rest to not scream your head off, child. 😉

As I sat there waiting for him to process my ticket, I processed what was happening in my head. First off, I was really ticked at myself for driving that fast with my babies in tow. How could I put them at that kind of risk by allowing myself to be distracted and frazzled? Second, I wondered how on earth I was going to pay for this ticket (I’m still trying to figure that one out, by the way. I’ve decided that being an adult running a lemonade stand might not be as effective, but one can dream.)

I was also struck with reality. No matter how long I have made it in my life without getting in trouble with the law, one infraction has tainted my record. It’s only by paying my debt that I will I get out of trouble with the law. No amount of, “But…I’ve never been in trouble for this before!!!” is going to make the debt go away. No number of excuses – it should be noted about now that the baby started screaming at the top of her lungs the second we pulled back onto the highway, thank you very much – make it disappear.

As I am a few weeks on the other side of it, praying about how to pay for this ticket, I see the beauty of grace in an even greater way than before. The funds for this citation are so minimal that they are hardly fair to compare to the pile of debt my sins would have accumulated by now if it weren’t for the grace of God present in my life, washing me clean and giving me an identity that is greater than good girl…who has only one speeding ticket on her record.

How has life shown you how much you need grace? I’d love to hear your stories, too. 🙂

Linking up with:
Soli Deo Gloria

 

If you’re new to this site, thanks so much for stopping by! I would love to have you as a part of this humble little community of women who want to find the exceptional power of God in our otherwise average lives. If you would like to receive updates when I add new posts, you can like my Facebook page, subscribe to my RSS feed, or receive new posts by email. You can also find all of these options easily by going to my home page and clicking on the appropriate icon located in the right side bar.

 

Some Thoughts That Lead to a Crazy Idea

Identify

My one little word for this year is Identify.

One thing I love about adopting a word for the year is that, no matter how much I know I need to focus on it over the course of several months with intention, I can’t even comprehend how greatly it will impact me. This word has been no exception.

In my season of quietness, God’s given me a lot of time to think.

One of the biggest things I’ve tossed around in my scattered brain is the direction in which to take my blog. It’s a funny world, this online one, and I never can settle on exactly the right mix of linking up and social media involvement that is supposed to come with the blogging territory combined with real life family, friends, and homemaking.

I’m sure there are bloggers out there who have found peace about the balance, but you know what I keep discovering the more I listen to women who blog? Many of them are at odds with whatever this blogging thing has become. Nothing worth doing in life is going to be easy 100% of the time, but there has to be something to this. Somewhere along the way, in this swirling mess of our online social lives, we are coming up short of doing what works.

I can think of at least a half dozen women I know either really well or decently well who share my love of writing and have many things of value to say, but they’re at a loss of knowing how best to share it in a way that allows them to actually live life while sharing the important messages they have to offer in the written word.

Unfortunately, I haven’t come up with a solution yet, but identifying the problem is the first step, right? 😉

I do have one thing I’ve been wanting to try, and the darling Amy Andrews has intrigued me enough to consider taking on my own form of what she’s about to try. I’ve been thinking about coming up with a monthly email. Call it a newsletter if you want, but I don’t really think it can be categorized as that. The thing is, I don’t have “news” to share per say, but I have stories. I enjoy stories, learn best from stories, like to look at life as a series of stories, smile when I think about stories others tell me…I think you get the picture.

I guess you could call it a monthly storygram where I’d share some of the things I would normally turn into blog posts over the course of a month if I had the luxury of regularly scheduling time to write. But I don’t have that luxury right now, and I work better with a deadline in sight, so maybe this would work.

Also, one thing that I don’t like so much about blogging is the lack of interaction that comes with it. It’s that nature of blogging, and as a good friend of mine worded her thoughts on leaving comments on blogs, I agree that, “I don’t want to say something inane to validate my presence.” But one of the whole points of blogging and networking is building relationships. When I look back at the women I’ve gotten to know through blogging, the way I’ve actually gotten to know them is through personal correspondence between just the two of us.

I’m only a small blogger, so actually dialoguing via email with my readers is a viable option. Should you feel obligated to email me back every time I sent out a storygram? No way! However, it would be a lot more comfortable for both of us to actually chat a little with each other about what we’re both going through in life if we had a private conversation going on. I’m simply offering a starting point for us to catch up by letting you read a little about what’s been going on in my life. How fun would it be to sorta be pen pals?!?

Or if you never get a chance to send me an email back, then I’m just continuing to give you an occasional something to read, all conveniently delivered to your inbox. I’m not planning on doing away with my blog. I’ll still post on here occasionally as I do now, so you don’t have to participate in this little idea if you’d rather keep things the way they are now.

Before I actually follow through with all of these crazy ideas of mine, I’d really, really appreciate some feedback. Does this sound like something you’d actually enjoy, or would it be just another email to clutter your inbox? I’m still in the “thinking about it” stage. No actual steps have been taken, so if not many are interested, then nothing is lost, and I won’t be offended. I think out loud when I brainstorm, and this is one big brainstorming post, so fire away with your thoughts on the matter. Either leave me a comment on the blog or Facebook or email me at trendbreakers@live.com.

Have I mentioned how much I love and appreciate you sweet friends who take time to read my ramblings? Because I do!

If you’re new to this site, thanks so much for stopping by! I would love to have you as a part of this humble little community of women who want to find the exceptional power of God in our otherwise average lives. If you would like to receive updates when I add new posts, you can like my Facebook page, subscribe to my RSS feed, or receive new posts by email. You can also find all of these options easily by going to my home page and clicking on the appropriate icon located in the right side bar.

 

What I’ve Been Reading

While I’m busy not writing so much right now, I’ve been catching up with a long-lost love of mine – reading. I don’t know exactly what caused it, but I went through a several years’ long funk in the book reading department. This year, I was determined to change that since I knew I’d have a lot more down time with nursing a baby. Also, I got a Kindle for Christmas from my parents, and it has made reading one-handed in the middle of the night infinitely easier.

I fought the idea of an eReader for a long time, but the fact is, I am reading far more books than I did with those good old fashioned paperbacks. In case you’re new to the eReader scene, let me encourage you to check out the website eReader Girl. It lists daily deals on free or discounted eBooks, and I’ve gotten a ton of books to add to my library for next to nothing.

I thought I’d share a few of my favorite reads of this year for those of you who enjoy a good book. If you’re an avid reader, you probably already read many, if not all, of these long ago, but I’m like 5 years behind all books that are not by Francine Rivers. So this list is more for those recovering from a non-reading phase. Oh! And I totally recommend stealing Crystal Paine’s idea of starting a Pinterest board to keep track of all of the books you read in a year. It’s a big motivator for me to be able to add a new book to my list so I can go back and cheer myself on for reading 14 books so far this year! Go me! 🙂

1. Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic. I know, I know. The awesomeness of this book is old news to many. Jen told me to read it 2 years ago when it came out. It sounded good, but I was in that reading funk, and I kept putting it off. I’ve decided that it’s for the best that I didn’t read it until I had a 3 year old and a 2 month old. Any season of motherhood that includes an infant comes with an element of chaos, and I needed to read it right. that. minute. in my life. It’s encouraging, it’s convicting, it’s short. All of those things that are important to moms of little ones. Rachel writes like she’s a friend sitting down and talking to you about what’s happening in her life, and I love that! I have started reading her newest book, Fit to Burst, as well, and it’s great so far, too.

2. Impact my Life: Biblical Mentoring Simplified by Elise Pulliam. This was an eReader Girl find that turned out to be great! My passion for discipleship/mentoring grows with each year I’m alive and learning how Jesus did things. It’s an easy read, and I plan to use it as a guide when I start my own mentoring group with girls in our youth department at church. No sense in reinventing the wheel when Elise has done such a great job doing the leg work and presenting it in this book!

3.Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try Hard Life by Emily Freeman. I’ve heard Ashley talk of this one often, and I really wanted to read it. It was a fantastic book! I sent out texts to several friends when I was only a few chapters into it saying, “You must read this!” This book is for all of those girls who find security in being “good” or following rules or pleasing others. It gives a lot of food for thought, and a part of me wished I’d discovered it a decade ago before I learned much of its contents the hard way. Sometimes learning through experience is the best way, however, and I still felt encouraged by this book because it will always be my flesh-inspired tendency to lean toward the “good girl” way of thinking. Thank God for grace!

4. Sparkly Green Earrings by Melanie Shankle. This was my most recent book to read, and I LOVED it so much! I can’t count the number of times I laughed out loud as I related to Melanie’s stories about potty training, throwing sand, and countless other accounts of those stories that can only originate from being around a small child. It is more than just a a laugh out loud book, though. I felt encouraged by her message as well, and I can not recommend it highly enough.

What books have you read recently that you would like to recommend? I’m officially taking recommendations since I love reading again.

If you’re new to this site, thanks so much for stopping by! I would love to have you as a part of this humble little community of women who want to find the exceptional power of God in our otherwise average lives. If you would like to receive updates when I add new posts, you can like my Facebook page, subscribe to my RSS feed, or receive new posts by email. You can also find all of these options easily by going to my home page and clicking on the appropriate icon located in the right side bar.

 

 

 

Letters to my Daughter: Let’s Talk About Beauty

BabyCakes Studios: Westerfield &emdash;

To my sweet baby girl,

I tell you every day that you are God’s precious gift to me, but I wish with all of my being there were some way that I could convince you of how deeply I mean it. You have no idea how much He’s brought me through to get to this place where I can sit without overwhelming fear and smile down at you, a little lady entrusted to me.

Don’t be alarmed when I admit this to you, but there was a time in my life, long before you were conceived, when the thought of having a daughter petrified me. I’m over that now, and I could not be more delighted that you are my beautiful daughter, but I want to explain a few of the reasons I feared it.

It boils down to this, being a girl myself, I know more vividly the struggles that come with being female. It’s not easy, my dear, but it doesn’t have to be nearly as hard as we tend to make it. Today I want to begin a conversation that we’ll have many times in our years of growing together.

Beauty.

I still struggle with this one, my love, but we will work hard to conquer it together.

I remember when I was a girl there was a wildly popular company called Glamor Shots. In short, women and girls would go in for a photo shoot after getting a makeover. Was it evil to participate? Not at all. I knew lots of people who did it, and I firmly believe that they did nothing wrong for indulging in this fun activity.

I wanted to go in for my own makeover and come out with the pictures to prove I, too, could look beautiful with hair fancy in pure 90s form with lots of hair spray and really tall bangs. But my mom said no. I remember crying as I asked her why. I wanted to feel beautiful for once in my short life, and it seemed she was depriving me of that happiness. I remember her quiet response, “I want you to always know what true beauty looks like. You don’t need all of that to be beautiful. You already are beautiful just the way that God made you.”

I didn’t get it. I sighed as I looked in the mirror and begrudgingly distributed my homely school pictures. “If only…” I sighed as I imagined how much better I would look with a lot of makeup on my pre-adolescent face.

Now that I’m grown, there are still times when I still play that “If only…” game. If only…

I had the same body I did 10 years ago.
I had more money to buy nicer clothes.
I had different hair.
I had a more attractive face.

They start piling and I start spiraling when I dwell on “if onlys.” But one article I happened upon recently online made me smile and get my focus off my self-centered, incorrect view of true beauty. It contained dozens of pictures of funny Glamor Shots photo shoots. While the women posing were probably beautiful women in real life, they looked comically out of sorts as they posed with their white glove-adorned hands holding their far-too-big and bedazzled collars. The pictures were dated, just like pictures become as time passes. The styles portrayed in those pictures 20 years ago are long gone, and their lipstick would not turn heads in a positive way if worn today.

In the 5 minutes I spent perusing the pictures in the article, I silently thanked my mom for being right and sticking to it when it would have been easier to let me go feel better about myself for a brief season in my life by having my own Glamor Shots. Fashions change quickly, my dear, and your body will always have some awkward stage it’s going through even when you’re all grown up. So please do your best to understand early on that beauty is more than what you put on or how you style your hair. It’s how God made you. Perfect. Exactly how He wants you. In HIS image.

This is only the beginning of this conversation, sweet daughter. We both have much to learn about finding that balance of caring for the temple God’s given us and not getting caught up in what those around us say we should do and wear to look good. May we always remember to cast aside the “if onlys” and strive to glorify our Creator with the beautiful bodies He’s given us in every season of our lives.

Love,
Mama

Soli Deo Gloria

 

 

 

If you’re new to this site, thanks so much for stopping by! I would love to have you as a part of this humble little community of women who want to find the exceptional power of God in our otherwise average lives. If you would like to receive updates when I add new posts, you can like my Facebook page, subscribe to my RSS feed, or receive new posts by email. You can also find all of these options easily by going to my home page and clicking on the appropriate icon located in the right side bar.

 

 

Get the eBook “Trend Breakers” for only $0.99!

JPEG Trendbreakers

Happy Mother’s Day to my readers! This weekend, you can purchase my eBook, Trend Breakers: Discovering and Choosing True Friendship in a Lonely World for only $0.99! It’s available in both the PDF form or for the Kindle.

Go here to download the PDF version. Just be sure to use the coupon code: MOTHERSDAY

Go here to purchase the Kindle version.

I pray that God blesses you in your friendships with the women God has placed in your life, but ultimately you enjoy and appreciate the relationship you have with the Creator of friendships.

If you’re new to this site, thanks so much for stopping by! I would love to have you as a part of this humble little community of women who want to find the exceptional power of God in our otherwise average lives. If you would like to receive updates when I add new posts, you can like my Facebook page, subscribe to my RSS feed, or receive new posts by email. You can also find all of these options easily by going to my home page and clicking on the appropriate icon located in the right side bar.