For a few very hard years this word was my mantra.
The word means
-undismayed; not discouraged; not forced to abandon purpose or effort
-undiminished in courage or valor; not giving way to fear
But the truth is, I was often dismayed by everything that had taken place, and I did battle discouragement. I battled fear and doubts. I hurt and was angry, and sometimes "undaunted" sounded more like a mockery than a mantra, and I was determined to be real about all of it in these posts, thus the name, Undaunted Reality. More than that, though, I was determined to live undaunted, not because I'm so great or strong, but because my God is, and no matter what this world looks like, He is the only reality that matters.
I pray I live the reality of Him beautifully undaunted.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Blessings and Burdens

Great day over here.

 WG finished a really nice dress at the costume shop and is starting a new project tomorrow with Ms. Robin's help and supplies.

WB got a great report at the orthodontist's.

Nearly all the name changing is done.

I chose to put down volunteering as a CASA advocate for now, which was...sigh....BUT the Lord had already been talking to me about all the "blessings" that I hold onto that have become burdens because they are from a different time and for a differ...ent reason, and then David Wahlstedt just confirmed it with his blog.

The truth is as much as I want to be a CASA volunteer I still have two kids at home, and I am going back to school again for the first time in a long time, and maybe learning how to have a relationship with my adult kids is really where my energy needs to be right now because, wow, it is not as easy as one might think, this having adults in teh house with minds and ways of their own.

And that is hard for us to get, isn't it? That the blessings we hold with clenched fists can be the very burdens keeping us from healing or growing or having peace.

It could be stuff we own. It could be things we do. It could be that thing we are obsessed with and pray for every single day that eclipses everything else God wants to do or we could become.

Yeah, sometimes the greatest blessing is being told we can let go of what is waiting us down so we can have what lets us be more or do more or have more or be better in relationships than we ever imagined.

Blessings...even the ones you put down...
Jerri L. Kelley

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The One Thing That Really Matters

So WonderGirl and I went to see a play today for one of her classes. The take away is something I have said so many times.

 You can't always control what happens in life.
You control how you react to what happens in life.

I often get asked how the kids and I came through 2010 and 2011 so well and reached the point of joy and excitement we have now.

I decided no person and no event defined us.
 Only God defined us.

They kids believed me because they saw it in me. That's it. Right there.

There was no great self-help book. We didn't spend months in counseling (less than 10 hours total, actually). We never took meds. We didn't go to classes. We didn't listen to DVDs or this teaching or that teaching.

We asked a question:
God, what do you say about us?
And we have tried to live that with undaunted faith.

--Jerri L. Kelley--

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Sabbath Blessings

Blessed Sabbath to each of you.
May you find rest for your body, mind, soul, and spirit.
May you rest in Him.
May you worship Him for He is worthy.
May you not tell Him all the stuff you didn't like about your week or don't like about your life but tell Him all the beautiful things you love about Him.
May it not be a day of ritual, but a day of intimacy between lovers.
May you find uncondemning truth in Him, even when that truth is that you need to repent of something.
May you find peace in Him and couage to address the things in yourself that destroy your peace.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Because I'm Really Not Entitled to Mercy...Please Be Merciful

Yesterday morning I visited the Social Security office to change my name on my card. The woman who helped me was great. She was also left handed. I noticed this because I noticed the scars on her right arm and hand and the fingers that pointed in unusual directions. She could do some things with that arm, but for the most part, it wasn't useful, not like most of us use ours.
Last night I spent three hours mowing less than 1/4 of my yard with a push mower. I have no clue how many times I had to restart the mower because it kept bogging down and dying. At one point, it was dark, I was sore, my body ached, and the mower died...again, and I blurted out, "God, can't I please just have easy once?"
First, I thought about the "expected 2 hour wait" at the SS office that ended up being 25 minutes. Wasn't that easier?
In fact, I had finished all of the day's to do list and most of the next day's to do list, so surely there had been a lot more easier.
But then the simple truth came to me. I have two functional arms and two functional legs, and although they hurt so bad right then, those hurting appendages made it a lot easier to mow than having only one arm or a less than fully functining hand or no legs or legs in casts.
The truth is I had an amazing day yesterday, and I was whining because I was having to work to mow.
Talk about a pathetic entitlement mentality.
Even as I tell you this, I feel embarrassed at the idea I don't think I deserve to work hard or I should somehow be exempt from hard stuff. What a pathetic, unbiblical, ungodly, and totally un-Jesus mentality.
And it isn't even about the woman whose hand didn't work, and I have it better than her. No. It's about the reality that I was focusing on that hard thing and had totally lost sight of all the easy in the day. How utterly shallow of me to lose all the blessings of my day in the shadow of inconvenience.
God have mercy. Do not hold my pathetic selfishness against me, and have enough mercy not to let me hold onto that pathetic shallow entitlement mentality.
--Jerri L Kelley--

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Because Our Over-Packed Day Needs to be Packed with Him

If you are like me, today is one of those days when I stuffed so much in my calendar to get done my poor calendar popped a proverbial button! So while we are racing time like mad people let's stop the race and take some time to step out of the madness.
Pick up your phone or your Bible or wherever your scripture is.
Open it.
Close your eyes, breathe deep, and let it out.
Do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthn you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10
Now, lay it on the altar. Lay YOU on the altar.
Father, I need your help. I have this crazy day, and some of the stuff I need to get done requires being outside several hours, and it is hot and humid, and I'm not acclimated for this. I need your physical strength and help to get that done.
I also need your help in planning strategically. These things on my list aren't negotiable. They really need to get done, and I need your help to know the order that is most efficient.
I also need your help to remember that my all-important list, isn't. I have a horrible tendency to get so focused on doing things that I forget the imnportance of my people, and, Father, my people are priceless. My relationship with them is priceless. Help me to not be so list-focused or stressed or flat out cranky and rude that I hurt those people's feelings or make them feel unimportant in any way. Make sure in our planning that we make time for them.
Thank you for being the other part of me that is working on this.
Thank you for the physical strength to do all I need to do.
Thank you for the amazing people you put in my life.
Thank you for being my strength and help.
Thank you for holding me up when I'm tired.
Before I stopped and talked with you, I was afraid.
I was afraid I wouldn't get everything done. I was afraid I wouldn't have time for my kids.
I was afraid my atitude would stink because I got all stressed out.
I was afraid I would handle this packed day like I've handled others, and that wasn't pretty.
But now, I'm really not afraid. I'm peaceful and calm, and a smile is on my face because I'm not doing this by myself, in my own wisdom or in my own strength. Thank you for being with me.
I love you. Show me how I don't love you well so I can repent and you can show me how to love you better.
In the Almighty name of Jesus I pray,

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Calling It What It Is

Yesterday I stood before a judge, took an oath, made a petition, answered questions, and it became official. In less than two minutes, my name went from a hyphenated blend of two lives to an unhyphenated statement of self.

There was no audience. No round of applause. No major celebration.

Just the kids and I walking out of the courthouse with the paperwork in hand that acknowledged a major change in my life had occurred.

And it was major. In fact, I told my friend Scott, "This is epic for me."

So why did I feel so sad when I had been looking forward to this for a long time?

I knew it didn't feel like grief, but I wasn't really sure what it did feel like. Until early this morning when I couldn't sleep so I asked God what it was and took time to write it out in my journal.

I felt sad because I knew most people wouldn't understand how epic my name change is and certainly not why. I know people would this is my way of letting go of my late husband or letting go of a marriage that didn't work. Some folks even said as much, but that isn't it. I let go of that a few years ago. Really, I'm so over that.

I knew some people would think this is my way of showing my late husband I don't need him or his name and I can move on without him and...really, how utterly shallow is it to need to show a person in the past that I am moving to the future without them? Kind of a lie, isn't it? I mean, if I'm still that hung up on what happened in the past, I'm not really moving toward a future anyway. And how much more shallow and flat out pathetic to need to show a deceased person I can live without him. Seriously. That is some seriously messed up stuff there. No, that isn't it.

I didn't change my name because of what I'm leaving behind. This isn't about running from or escaping the past. It seems to me that folks who do something drastic to run from the past usually end up running right back into it anyway. Nope. That wasn't it.

I actually changed my name for simpler reasons than that. I changed my name back to my maiden name because of what I am moving into and toward.

My maiden name, Kelley, is Gaelic. It means "warrior." Frankly, this suits me. It suits my personality. In fact, it is perfectly defining of who I am.

If you ask my kids, they will tell you, I am momma bear to the core, and no one messes with my cubs, but it isn't just my cubs. It is anyone God puts into my care. I am fiercely protective of those who cannot protect themselves.

My volunteer work the last six years has focused on rebuilding lives of domestic violence victims, seeing warriors heal from trauma and PTS, teaching personal protection to people, and loving people and walking with them through hard places. I am what Lt Col Dave Grossman refers to as a "sheepdog". It isn't just what I do. It is who I am.

In six weeks I will return to college and get my degree in criminal justice to go along with the degree I already have in sociology. My goal is to became more equipped to be a more influential and more effective sheepdog. As my kids say it, I am taking my momma bear-ness and protecting a whole other group of "kids" God has ready for me.

Changing my name is a rite of passage, and rites of passage are not there so someone can escape what they used to be. A rite of passage is stepping into a new a thing. It is taking what a person has already become and moving them to the next thing. It is forward motion driven by expectation, anticipation, and hope. It is marked by a nervous confidence of knowing you are ready for a new identity because you can handle the weight of it.

A rite of passage is no small thing.

Kelley. Warrior.

I chose to return to that name because I want the weight of it. I want the weight of being a sheepdog. I want the weight of being a warrior. I want to wield the power that goes with this identity.

And it isn't because I'm proud or my ego needs stroking. It isn't because I need a title or a uniform. It's because I look around me and see "cubs" who desperately need a momma bear, and the very core of me prays simply, "Give them to me. I'll take care of them. I want them." That is who I am. It is that simple.

Yeah, changing my name has nothing to do with who I'm not anymore. It has everything to do with who I am, and who I am...well, the name speaks for itself.

Loving being me,

Jerri Kelley

Monday, July 17, 2017

When a Bad Hair Day is Really Isn't About the Hair at All

Right now in Texas humidity is running high. It makes for nearly unbearable days walking the dog and worse days mowing the yard. It also makes for some really bad hair days, and we all know about those, right? Except for some, that derisive look in the mirror on bad hair days has nothing to do with hair. It's what is IN their head, not on it that is the real mess. I know. And I want you to know even when you can't control that out-of-control on your head, you can control what is IN your head. 

For those who sent me feedback on the last video, THANK YOU! I already had this recorded, so I'm not sure if I really fixed anything, but keep the feedback coming, and I'll keep working on this end. Thank you so much for being my assistants on this journey. You are priceless!!!