The First Time


Do you remember your first love?  The way they made you feel? That flutter when you whisper their name… when your eyes meet and quickly break away.

I had that feeling again, but not in the romantic sense.

Do you remember your first encounter with Christ?  When you first felt Him near?  Not like some guy you read about in a book, but really felt His presence…

I do…

It was the summer of 2003; the first time I went to Twentyfour7.  I was standing on the right side of the stage, in the back of the group that were all pressed up against the small stage.

“What are they doing?” I asked myself?  This was the first time I had ever experienced a real worship experience.  I grew up in a small church where we would stand and sing hymns, but it didn’t feel anything like this.  Nowhere near it.

And then I felt it… The Holy Spirit rushed through me as the band played and the crowd sang at the top of their lungs… “He is Mighty to SAVE!” Tears flooded my eyes.

“DO. NOT. CRY!”

Too late… they’ve already seen me wiping the snot from my face.  I’m caught.

To this day, I cannot hear, play or whistle that song without evoking those feelings.  But somewhere along the line, it got lost.  Somewhere in my walk I decided that I was fed up with God’s timing, that He was taking too long to make things work out for me.  I saw everyone around me being so blessed.  Was this because of my past?  Was my sin worse than anyone else’s?  I became bitter.  I went through the motions.  I lost hope.

It got dark.

Things really started falling apart.  All of the things that I had heard about people falling away from the protection of God were true.  I knew what I needed to do but I refused to do it.  By the time I finally decided to get things to turn around, it was hard.  It was really hard.  I looked for a church, I tried going back to my old one but that season ended long before I left.

I finally found a church that seemed like a good fit but never found my place.  I tithed and showed up but beyond that, it was hard finding where I was supposed to be.  I was on my way to that church one day and I went to get coffee and accidentally stopped at a different church.

This is where things got strange.

Everyone was so familiar.  I know I’ve talked about this before, but I want you to know where I was… I want you to see what God has done.

After a few months of going to this church, I still don’t know exactly what to do or where to go, but I know this is where I am supposed to be.  Things are being confirmed through other people.

If you didn’t know, I had surgery last month on my left elbow and right hand.  I haven’t been able to properly play the guitar for a few years and it has sucked.  I think having the first surgery 6 years ago really messed me up.  Mostly emotionally.  I had been struggling for a couple years to play and there was this expectation that I would just be healed or shut up and just play.

“Stop being so dramatic, Kelsie.”

That crushed me.  At the time I was playing  the guitar 20-40 hours a week on top of a 40 hour work week.  I was expected to know all of these songs and it was hard.  I doubted that I was supposed to even be on the worship team.  I wanted to quit every day… but I wanted to play.  I knew deep down that this is what I was called to do.

I can finally play again.  My right hand still hurts a bit and I’m re-training my left pinkie finger to move right, but ya’all…  I can play again.  And… I WANT to.  I have had to just sit there and stare at a wall of guitars and not play them.  I’d take one down and strum a bit but it wasn’t long before the pain was too much.

As I write this, my hand hurts from cracking a bunch of pecans the other day.  Then I cut up a bunch of pears and made a pear pie with pecan streusel.  I hope it doesn’t suck.  We’re having family dinner for Thanksgiving at work.

I’m sorry this is allover the place.  I haven’t been writing much lately and I just got a notification from WordPress.com that I have had this blog for 10 years.  I should be more diligent because looking back over the past 10 years has been awesome.

I’m done.

 

Advertisements

This Place


I was on my way home from work last night thinking about some things that have been going on. It’s been a rough month. So I was trying to make a positive list in my mind. It was a short list but it reminded me that we should celebrate the small victories.
Here’s one: I’ve lost 35 lbs. I found some jeans I had packed up thinking they’d never fit again. They fit again. My favorite bra also fits again. That’s something you know now.
Victory!
It’s a struggle, but I have every tool I need to succeed as long as I just keep at it.

I went to a financial seminar of sorts and it really struck me when he was speaking about being able to fund our dreams. I just happen to have some pretty big kingdom dreams that are quite costly; but here’s the thing, some of it is free. God really tugged on my heart that night. Why am I not serving and working on the parts I’m already prepared for?
If you’re not familiar, I want to be a church planter. From the ground up. If you’ve ever read a post about mission trips I’ve been on you know that it’s my heart.
I’ve spent so much time trying to fund the next trip, forgetting that my own city is my mission field.
So I’ve started going to a new church.
I went to get some coffee on my way to church then ended up at a totally different one.
I just showed up and fit right in.
Don’t get me wrong, I really liked going to New Horizon, but I never really found my place there. I kept trying to force it, but I think my season is closing there. I got what I needed for the time and that was my encouragement to press on.
This new church is small and meets in a community center in Hillsborough, but the Spirit of God is so alive in that place.
I’ve been so far from where I should be for so long that I can finally breath. Like being lost in the woods and you finally get to the road and can see the lights of the city.

God celebrates our small victories. He rejoices with us when we succeed and more so when we are fulfilling our destiny.

I am so ready for the next season. Like… Soooooooo ready, y’all.

Here’s a song I wrote about this moment a couple years ago…

On a serious note:


I found a blog that I wrote in 2003.  Yeah, they were around back then!  I had been drug free for about a year – everything free.  I’d say it’s been ‘freeing’ but I never thought 1 year would turn in to almost 15.  I’m trying to find a picture of me back then to really set the mood…

I was invincible!

If you’ve never heard me give my testimony or read it, or watched the video or read the article… you should.  All of that seems so far away.

Without further ado…

Here’s the link.

auntie sue
Look at those pink dreads!

Hopefully one day I’ll return to this girl in the picture.  She was strong and on fire!  I get jealous of her zeal some days.

On a different serious note.  My dad’s birthday was yesterday.  Shortly before he died I remember him saying he was proud of me for the first time.  For a brief moment it made all of the struggle worth it.  If he could see me now…

NSFW – Toilet time with Kelsie J.


I worked the late shift and was now going to be even later at work so we sent a guy to pick up some Chipotle for us all. You probably know where this is going…
Three of us got some pretty horrible food poisoning. I worked in the underbelly of the airport so the employee parking lot was about a 3 day journey. I started the trek and stopped at the first bathroom I could to empty my aching bowel. I had almost made it to the exit when I had to duck walk to the nearest ladies room.  A plane had just landed and about 10 ladies were forced to listen to the chorus shredding my innards.
The walk to the lot wore me out. I was panting like I had just run a marathon, sweat pouring from my brow; shirt soaked. I made it, though. I got to my car and carefully lowered myself in, cautious of delicate my pooper. I readied myself for the 47 minute drive home. Yes, an entire lifetime. Mind you, it’s 0347 hours and every shop, store and station is closed on the way.
I said a little prayer and started the engine. As I was nearing the exit to the airport, my tumtum started to rumble again, my eyes started to water from the putrid stench slipping out of my precious little bum. At the time, I was pretty heavy in to vaping, with a delicious caramel and vanilla flavor. It smelled just like those little soft caramel chews with the vanilla center.  I tried to focus on the heavenly flavor, choking on the poisoned burrito stench, filling up the air.
I managed to make it to a nearby Sheetz, one that I visited daily and made my way to the back of the store, dodging each familiar face.   I exited the restroom and judgmental eyes watched me take my walk of shame to the exit.
“I’m sorry.” I muttered as I left the store.
I quickly made my way back to my car and nearly choked on the spoiled air as it wafted out through the open door. I cranked my car up and skirted out of the parking lot, making haste to the house.
I’m almost there…
As I turned down a dark country highway, I was home free – or so I thought. Not a soul in sight until a car passes from the opposite direction and just my luck, it’s a Sheriff’s Deputy who whips around behind me. I try to mask the stench inside the car by hitting my vape a few times, but no luck. I flip on the overhead light as I pull off, looking for anything in my car I might sit on when I inevitably release my bowels… nothing. Not a news paper, old t-shirt or even a McDonald’s napkin.
I sit quietly as the officer makes his way to my driver’s side window, shining his flashlight in to my backseat, then on to me, sweat drenched and pale.
I slowly lower the window and look down in shame. The aroma of caramel delights is mixed with the stench of diarrhea and the officer takes a step back as he covers his nose.
Him: Good evening, ma’am. Do you know why I pulled you over?
Me: No.
Him: The speed limit is 35 right here.
Me: Oh, I thought it was 45. I’m sorry.
Him: Any reason you’re in such a hurry?
Me: Well… (I look him dead pan in the face) I had some bad Chipotle and I’m about to wreck my britches. If I don’t go soon, I’ll have to step over to that ditch, sir.
Him: (Tapping the roof as he walks away.) Have a good night, ma’am.
Me: You, too!
My tires threw gravel as I spun out from the street, making my way to the house. For the most agonizing 13 minutes, I clinch my butt cheeks. I take deep breaths. I think about exactly what I need to do once I pull in to the driveway.
I finally arrive home and see the last obstacle standing between the bathroom and myself. I clench my house key in my hand and slowly get out of the car, legs shaking.
5 stairs… I take them slowly, easing myself up each one.
I breathe a sigh of relief as I find the front door unlocked, my trembling hand turns the knob and I step in the door.
7 feet.
My roommate is up and cleaning the house.
5 feet.
I compliment the cleaned house.
2 feet.
How was my day? I’ve been poisoned.
I sprint to the half-bath, barely latching the door behind me. I finally release my clenched cheeks and sweet, sweet relief, my bowels explode like a volcano. Hot, rotten lava spews from my anus. I cry out in relief, but then notice there’s no toilet paper, no towels… nothing but a small, cute rug.
Then there was a knock at the door… I waddle over to the door, pants around my ankles, poo running down my thigh. My roommate left a roll of toilet paper and some floral scented room freshener. I tap dry my poor, raw pooper and look back in dismay at the toilet that my sweet roommate had just scrubbed clean and pick up the toilet scrubber and try to erase the memory of what just happened; I then make my way to the shower.
The next day at work I feel hung over. I’m pale, dehydrated and incapable of making eye contact with anyone I meet. My car smells like raw sewage … and caramel delights.
My co-workers, who were also poisoned by Chipotle, try to play it off as nothing until I tell them my story.
Maybe one day I’ll tell you about the night I was poisoned by Casey’s taco pizza. This kind of stuff happens to everyone, right?!

These are words!


Things are happening and I’ve been trying to get better at many of those things.  Like telling you what’s happening, I’m not good at that.  I’ve been keeping a written journal, which is great and all, but you can’t see it.  I wouldn’t want you to.  I’ve gone on adventures.  I’ve stayed in the house.  I wanted to pop in and say something, you know, because you wonder what I have to say.

I bought a new convection oven.  I know, it’s exciting.  My microwave died.  It works great as a kitchen timer, clock or night light.  If you want it, come get it.  Mali isn’t sure what to do with this new contraption.  The timer clicks and she stares at it.

I spent the weekend at the beach and visited a church there.  The message was great – about the Father’s love and the story of Hosea.  Very fitting for a Father’s day message.  Then a woman named Morningstar got up to tell about how her son was almost swept out to sea and she had to run in and save him. Then she prayed for ‘those who couldn’t save all of them’ and I cried.  I ugly cried.  Right there.  I cried for all of the ones who didn’t make it.  The girl whose brother found her hanging – who was beyond help before he even called and the father who found his son hanging – who was celebrating his first Father’s Day without his boy.  That one got me – He kept saying “I need to cut my boy down, how do I get my boy down?!” My heart was crushed.
Two people prayed with me, but I couldn’t tell them why I was crying, not really.

19366346_10207574751640690_6705132878584794470_n

Overall, it was a good weekend.

 

I went and saw 3 light stations and got sunburned on the ferry ride, but then I came home and Mali was sick.  I had to take her to the emergency vet and she had to take drugs for days and now she’s feeling better.

And that is my life.  A roller coaster.  More like a carousel – ups and downs and rounds and rounds.

I don’t really have anything else to say.  I’m trying to stay busy and keep my mouth shut until it’s time to go home.

I did something


and it was terrifying.  Mostly because it wasn’t scary.  I went to Nash Street Tavern’s Open Mic on Tuesday.  There is some legit talent in Hillsborough.  Not that I’m shocked, but it was great to see live music again.  It’s few and far between.  Yes, I played.  Last.  I sat quietly in the back and when they did a last call I asked for a guitar.  That may have been the first time I was nervous to play in many, many years.  The last time was stepping out on stage to a packed stadium.  But once I started playing I felt right at home.  They asked me to come back.  I might.

Here’s a song I didn’t play.

This song keeps coming to mind lately.  More so than when it first came around in my head.  God promises to never give us any more than we can handle, but some times I think he forgot to turn down the stress a notch.  Some days get pretty heavy and it’s not even crazy things.  I used to be totally stressed over actual legit things.  How am I going to pay rent?  Are they going to shut the lights off?  etc…  It’s so strange that I can go to the store for groceries and buy them.  Just put the stuff in the cart and go pay for them.  If you’ve never been absolutely broke, good for you.  I’m glad to be over that season of my life.

I really didn’t have any real intentions when I started this and I really don’t have anything to talk about.  I just wanted you to know that I’m still here.

Let’s do some things!


I’ve been wanting to write for a long time.  I’m in a place right now that I never thought I’d be.  It seems like the plan is actually happening, it’s just taking a long time.  I’ve been getting out more, alone, but out of the house.  I’m not sure when it became so overwhelming just to leave my house.  Part of the reason is because I don’t know anyone here besides the few that I work with but after 12.25 hours with them I’m pretty much over them.  However, I’ll never meet anyone if I never leave the house.

I’ve been going to church again but haven’t really met a lot of people.  I haven’t joined a team because I just finished the classes that you’re supposed to take to help you find your place.  I did learn, though, that being out of the church, my mercy has increased, so there’s that.  I just need to get on a team but every time I would ask about it they would ask if I have taken the classes because, you know, you have to know your spiritual gift to stack chairs.  I don’t even know where I want to volunteer.  I signed up to go to the office and do some stuff, but I started a new medication that made me unable to function.  It took a couple weeks to get past the dizzy spells.

I’m fine.
Thank you.

While I was initially writing this, I was on a plane to Des Moines trying to stay awake.  I was on nights, trying to switch to days but my body wasn’t having it so I woke up at 0136 instead of 0400.  I was a sleepy girl.

I’ve been listening to Within the Trenches podcasts and they’re talking about taking hard calls and processing them.  Some days I wonder if I’ll make it in this profession.  You take and take and build up a pile of horrors, but then what?  It’s part of the job, but it’s hard.  But then you get the good calls, the successful calls and it makes it worth it. I tried talking to someone about it, but I don’t want to sugar coat it or cause them trauma but it feels better to get it out to a human.  Mali doesn’t know what I’m talking about.

Here’s a success story: One of my cardiac arrest calls was a success.  cpr saveThey made it.
I received an award, along with many of my partners in Orange County and a CPR save pin.  This is what makes it worth it.  Not only knowing that they lived, but acknowledging it.  There were so many recipients at this ceremony andI was so proud of each of them.  Especially seeing the same ones go multiple times.  So often, as a telecommunicator, we never find out the outcome.  We don’t know if they made it or not.  This event was really encouraging, not only to me, but the whole team.  Sharing successes builds up a team.

So I was on vacation in Iowa.  I went to my niece’s wedding, which was great and a high school graduation of a cousin’s son.  Both of those made me feel really old.  It was a reminder that I’ve wasted a lot of time.  I’m not sure if I regret it because it has made me who I am.

So… that’s what has been up.