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.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

My Prayer to Make a Real Difference

This came up in my memory feed this morning from a page I don't work with anymore, don't have time. I still pray this, though, as a writer and a person, because when you are on top of the mountain or feeling fierce or walking on water, there are innumerable memes on FB to speak to that. There are untold quotes calling forth the warriors and the lionesses and the lions, but when you feel broken beyond words and you are battered beyond beliefa and the blood and bruises cover your body and all you can do is kneel in the mud of your life and hope the King comes soon because without Him, you are never getting out....and the vicoes tell you to pray harder, believe more, read the Bible longer, or just do something else...there needs to be a voice that says, "Yeah, I've been in your hell. I've been face down on the battlefield shocked at how much I could hurt and still breathe. I know what it is like to see the impossible all around you when you can't get to your knees, little less to the victory line. I know where you are, and I'm here to tell you, it is not hopeless. I am here to remind you to breathe. I am here to remind you that God is still restoring lives and still working the impossible and still shattering dark with blazing light and still showing up when you least deserve it and still loving you and believing in you when you can't believe how hard you've fallen or how faithless you feel. The King has not forgotten you. Don't give up on the King."
I pray to God to be that voice.
My prayer from two years ago...
Dear God,
Give me the courage to be real.
To be real about my heart.
To be real about the hard.
To be real about the victories.
To be real when I'm on my knees, bleeding wondering when you are going to save the day.
To be real when the answer comes that could only be from your hand because it would be impossible otherwise.
To be real with my questions.
To be real about what I know.
To be real in my faith.
To really live with fierce passion for you.
--Jerri L. Kelley--

Friday, August 18, 2017

My Pondering Place: What is Hate?

This morning while I was walking, I was thinking about the question:
Do you hate anyone?
With some of the situations people I listen to are in, it is a fair question, and I thought I knew the answer, but I didn't.
In my mind, hate meant I wanted someone tortured and treated cruelly and I wanted them to go to hell for eternity. You know, HATE.
Suddenly, in jarring clarity, I heard a Voice, not my own, say,
"Hate is when you don't love someone.
Hate is the absense of Love."
Think about that for a moment.
Let it sink in.
If love is working through an argument with someone, is the silence of staying angry or not trying to build the relationship...hate?
If speaking encouragement and life into our kids and responding to them with hugs and assuring pats on the back is love, is withholding kind words and a soft touch...hate?
If helping a tired spouse get the have to do list done is love, is ignoring their fatigue...hate?
If giving encouragement and prayer to our leaders is love, is withholding encouragement and prayers, even if we don't bash them...hate?
Maybe hate isn't a monstrous ferocious beast that carries a torch and screams or throws rocks or bombs. Maybe it is something far more simply not being kind when we can, not being encouraging, not giving another car some room to get in when the lane is ending, not giving an appropriate tip at a restaurant, not taking a child's hurt feelings seriously, not listening to our spouse's day, not telling our leaders we appreciate them, not being a light in whatever way we can when teh world gets dark for someone.
If hate is the absence of love, then is not choosing to respond with love, even small acts of it, choosing to let hate have room to plant seeds and destroy our relationships, families, communities, and nations?
My pondering place today...
--Jerri L. Kelley--

Thursday, August 10, 2017

When Heaven Invades Home Depot Space

Gotta tell you about the cool happening this morning.
Last week I told you how I prayed for the Lord to give me strength in my knee so I could get back on the road and get ready for the 10k in November, and He did. In fact, I have only had one mild episode with my knee since then.
This morning I was so tired when I had to go back to Home Depot for another 10 bags of sand. I had already emptied 15 bags and smoothed them and laid over half the pavers, and I was tired.
So I'm in Home Depot, and the helper crew was busy, so I started loading the 60-pound bags of sand, which is not the same as bench pressing 60 pounds. Bench press is easier. Sand is like a limb body in a slick sleeping bag. I had loaded 8 of them and was pulling the other two, and I honestly prayed, "Lord, I need help." Seconds later, I hear, "Ma'am, how many more do you need?" A man was reaching in to get my other two bags for me. I told him. He loaded them. I blessed him in Jesus' name, and he went on. So did I.
I checked out and waited and waited for a HD person to load the bags for me. Finally, I told the cashier I was going to see if I could load them, but if anyone came, PLEASE send him to my truck.
I got to the truck and prayed for the Lord to give me strength to load 600 pounds of sand. I got 4 bags in, and I really had no idea how I was giong to get the other 6 bags, but God is faithful, right?
Then a truck stops, blocking the drive area, and out gets that same man. I just said, "You are my hero today." He said, "No. I am your blessing today."
Y'all...speechless...I told him I had waited but finally gave up, and he said, "That is because you were waiting for me."
And he loaded the other 6 bags, shook my hand, BLESSED ME in Jesus' name (like he hadn't already blessed me?!), and thanked me for letting him help!!!
Isn't God amazing how sometimes He puts strength into your body and sometimes He brings somebody else to share their strength?
Yeah...this daughter is feeling the wonder of her Daddy today.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

How Did God and I Become So Intimate? Conversations like This.

Over the years, especially the last few years, people have asked me how God and I developed the intimacy we have and how He became my best friend. It is a lot of things. One of the biggest is honest communication, not just the angry spewing or aresenal of painful questions most folks think about when they think of "real" or "honest", but talking to Him like He is my husband sitting with me on the bed or across the table or on the deck, and we talk with the knowing that whatever we're in, we are trying to find each other in it. Sometimes I can't find Him, but He is always trying to find me, too, so with the understanding that the goal is to find each other, we talk. I feel like He would like for me to share some of tonight's talk from my journal so people know what I mean. I hope it blesses you.
Dear God,
I won't pretend to understand the last month. I won't pretend to understand today. And I'm not even gonna ask. What I am going to ask is for your grace while I am walking through the trials. I know they build character, and I know I need that. I"m good with that, like really peaceful good with that, but since you are the noly husband I have and the only best friend I have and the only one to talk to at 10 o'clock at night so I know how to handle today's stuff tomorrow, I'm just going to tell you the tears don't mean I don't trust you or that I'm angry. They just mean I'm tired. I am mentally so tired. I know. It'll all get done, and the ongoing issues with...everything...will either get fixed or not. And i know a few years from now, I won't remember tonight. I'll just see some amazing way you handled it better than I can imagine. And I'm really trying to hold onto that. The better than I can dream or imagine. Because right now, that isn't how things look. But I know. Circumstances don't define you. You define circumstances. And problems aren't problems for you. They are just a way for you to show powerful love. I do know this. I really do. And sometimes I just need to write you a letter and tell you all this because I need to read it. :-) I need to be aware again that the goal really isn't about the circumstance or handling trials perfectly to impress you, but the goal is to find each other and hold on. Thank you for holding on when I get lost until I find you. I love you.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

My Fitness Journey: It's NOT a DIET. It's a Lifestyle.

This past week a few folks have commented on my "diet", and I've been asked questions that I don't know how to answer, so I stare at people or go silent, not because I'm upset about the comment or questions but because I don't really have an answer. Due to a variety of time consumers and physical injuries, this thread has not become what I want it to be. It will get there, just hasn't yet. One of the things I wanted to explain is the difference between a diet and the journey I'm on.

First, a diet has the purpose of weight loss. Period. The goal is for the numbers on the scale to go down. That's it. That's the point of a diet.

That is why people use extreme things like less than a 1000 calories a day or vomiting or weight loss pills or weight loss surgery. Now, let me say here and now I am not criticizing those who use weight loss surgery, but I will say that very few people I know who use it actually keep the weight off because the problem isn't the size of the stomach but the size of the pain they are trying to feed.

Because the goal is weight loss, people use tools (like food deprivation, exercise, and calorie limits) to make that number change, and when they reach their happy number, they no longer need the tools, and the weight starts going back on again.

That is dieting in a nutshell.

That was never my purpose. A number on a scale was never my goal.

I didn't build a 300+ sq ft covered deck in order to lose weight.
I didn't renovate a house in order to lose weight.
I didn't work with a trainer for over a month in order to lose weight.
I don't walk 3-4 1/2 miles a day to lose weight.

I lost weight because I did those things.

My muscles toned because I did those things.
My clothes got too big because I did those things.

My weight loss has been a result of doing what I love and wanted to do, not the other way around.

I built the deck because we have no shade here, and I've wanted a deck since we moved. Finally, last summer I had a friend who could give me a few days help and carried 60 lb bags of cement for me, and I built the deck I wanted to build.

Last fall I had a situation where I needed to renovate a house to rent it out. I hired folks to do a lot of the work, but I ended up building fence, moving truck loads of landscape stone (big ones, by hand), digging stuff out, tearing things down and rebuilding, and so on.

In the process of those two projects,  part of my heart was restored. Part of me I had made small so I could try to fit in some absurd box people shoved at me so I could be acceptable and not intimidating.

I remembered that I love being outside.
I love building things.
I love moving heavy things.
I love being strong.
I love feeling athletic.
I love the mental satisfaction that comes from hard physical work.
I loved the muscle tone I saw in my legs and arms.
I loved how my body was changing.

And for the first time in nearly 20 years I could see myself as the person I physically want to be.
I could see myself as the person climbing the climbing wall at the rec center.
I could see myself hiking miles in state and national parks.
I could see myself doing 5Ks again.

So I called Adam, told him my goals, and we worked together to develop a structured program to implement once the projects were done.

My physical goals included:
Be stronger than I've ever been by the time I'm 50. BTW, before I got pneumonia, I was chest pressing 70 pounds, the most I've ever done.
Walking 5Ks. Now my goal is a 10K, and I am eyeing a half marathon.
Climb the climbing wall at the rec center.
Be one helluva hot MILF.  I know some will find those words and that term offensive. I'm not trying to be offensive. Just keeping it real as a woman and human. We like to feel attractive. Plus, I plan to remarry one day, and I want my husband fantasizing about my body, thank you very much.
I want to wear size 12 jeans because it is an easy size to find.

There. My one number in all that is the jeans, not because it is a magic number but because I want to enjoy shopping and finding something in my size.

Then there were the goals we didn't discuss because he couldn't help me with them anyway. My non-physical goals:
Find activities that make me happy and fed my soul instead of taking the easy way out and eating something.
Find activities that feed my mind so I don't boredom eat.
Take responsibility for enjoying life.
Take responsibility for engaging in life.
Actively create a life I love being part of.

See, none of this was about a diet. Yeah, I wanted to lose weight, but that is a result of doing what I love, not the driving purpose of what I do.

Let me give you a clear example of the difference in how this looks in real life.

A friend of mine at church last night asked me if I am still losing weight. I stared at her like she had two heads, not because of the question really but because I didn't know how to answer it, and she clarified, "Are you still walking?" Oh, yeah. I'm still walking.

But here is what I stared:
In the last three weeks, I've lost 1.5 pounds. In the "weight loss" community, that really isn't good results. However, in that same three week time frame, I have gone from not being able to get my "carrot jeans" on to being able to get them on, zip, and button them. Now I can't squat down in them. I can't sit in them. Motion is pretty none existent, but I didn't have to lie on the floor like Julie Roberts' character in Eat, Pray, Love, so yes, my body is changing even if the number on my scale isn't.

THAT is the difference between a diet and a lifestyle.

I'm not on a diet.

I'm actively creating a life I love.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

I'm Not Just Walking for Me

So, WonderBoy went to brush his teeth, and I heard a, "Mom! I think you should see this!" from the bthroom, except I didn't even have to get to the bathroom before I saw the water coming under the walls. Yep. The tub is full, toilet overflowed, and floor covered. Plumber #3 is coming tomorrow. Thankfully, already scheduled because there was concern that #1 didn't fix it all. Plumber #2? Comes Sunday to fix the drain pipe just under the house.
Me? Honestly? Thinking I am glad I already planned to put tile down in the bathroom because the bleach water I use to clean this when it is over will destroy the varnish on the stained concrete, and do I want to go with the tile that looks like boards or squares? I like the boards, but they might clash with the laminate flooring I hope to get down before winter.
Also laughing at the irony that all my towels are now wet and I have no way to wash them without making a bigger flood. Come on. It's funny.
And this is what else I"m thinking. I'm thinking one day my kids are going to be adults and they are going to go through those crazy times when they wonder if something could please go right, and I want to lay out a good map for them to follow when that happens. I don't want to be the example of stress and chaos and cussing and crying. I want to be the example of calm and clear thinking, so, I sighed more than I wish I had. Honestly, I'm really sleep deprived right now and running on low energy, but we delegated the towels and the water turnoffs and all that had to be done, and stuff was moved to my bahtroom, which, thank you, Jesus!, isn't flooding or clogged. And we laughed about the towels and decided to just let the dishwasher finish running because stopping it would only send water through faster. All calm. All methodical. Like I want my kids to learn to respond.
This isn't life-threatening. It's a nuisance. It's time consuming, but it isn't crisis. Even all the stuff crammed together the last few weeks isn't crisis. It's just transition at full-speed. We are the ones who have the crisis or not.
So, with everything that comes, I pray for God to give me wisdom to know what to do, but I also pray to handle it all well because I want my kids to know how to handle it well. To me, that is part of my privilege as a mom...laying the map for how to deal with the stuff that comes.
Thank the Lord He is amazing about guiding our steps, not just for our walk but for those following behind us.
Stay on the journey!
Jerri L. Kelley

For The Ones Who are Hurting So Much, if I were There...

My beloved friend who is hurting so much right now, I am so sorry. I am so sorry the world is so heavy on you right now. I'm sorry...about so much, and if I were there, I would hug you and let you cry until my shoulder was soaked, and you couldn't even stand up anymore. Then I would slump to the floor with you and let you put your head in my lap and cry some more, and I would cry with you because sometimes the only response that really says, "I get it," is to cry too, and I would sit withy ou until you either cried yourself to sleep or into a calm numbness because you won't cry forever, and numb can be a sweet reprieve. And if you wanted to talk, I'd listen, but if you just wanted to be there on the floor, not having to hold up the world or the marriage or the finances or the kids, I would sit with you because we all need a place where we are held up instead of holding things. I would hold you.
So wherever you are, wrap yourself in your favorite blanket, in your favorite sweatshirt, lie wherever you need to lie down, hide in the closet or in the tub or just on your bed, and cry the hard pain tears. No judgment. No having to hold it together. No having to be enough or something more than you can be right now, and know my heart and prayers are with you, and if I coudl be, I would be there in person as well. You are loved.
May you feel the presence of Almighty God holding you just like I described. This is the presence of God I know. I pray you know it, too.
Love and prayers, beloved one,

Focusing on the Peace because the Peace has the Answers to the Problems

To everyone who has been praying for me, THANK YOU! Realistically, on a scale of 1-10, the last 6 weeks has been a .001. Praise God for nothing life threatening, right?! It's just a lot, and I run on brain tired a lot frying to get the checklists done and make decisions. And yesterday was an avalanche day.
But this is what I've learned about avalanche days.
If I make the conscious choice to stop the running to catch up or stay ahead and focus on what I know about God's character, calm really does come. I think clearer. I don't end up with a tension headache (yesterday was a failure here). I am not short with the kids. I don'tt ake on that ridiculous idea that nobody likes me and I'm in this by myself and if people really cared....and then get mad at everyone in the world for not helping with something they know nothing about.
When I let mental chaos run amuck, it gets really crazy, really fast. So I try to reign in the chaos and run to the Christ who reigns (yep, i said it just that way so it would be easy to remember. I'd put in a meme if I knew how because that is good stuff).
Running to Christ doesn't mean i pray about the problems. It means I look at the peace.
Looking at the problems changes nothing. Looking at the Peace changes everything because now I am looking at the answer.
Maybe I still don't know how to do this or that or whether to take 12 hours or 9, but I do know the storm is at His control, and I'm hearing Him, not the crashing of the waves. My mind clears so I can think and hear and respond instead of reacting, and instead of seeing everything that is going wrong, I see the One who makes it all alright.
Does all that make sense? Is that applicable? Because if you can't apply this, then it is just a bunch of cute memes, and there are enough of those on FB. I'm serious. Can you use this? Let's talk.
Praying for you today. I'm glad you are here!
Stay on the journey,

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

When It is Tuesday and the Week already Feels like Too Much

It's Tuesday, and some of us are feeling like we've had a full week squished into our week already, and maybe our spirits or brains are feeling a little squished, too. I have learned at this moment, I have two choices:
I can sit here and simmer in the squished and be miserable and feed this unholy headache.
Or I can stop looking at the squishing chaos and look at the saving Christ.
I know. That sounds so sickeningly Christian-cliche', but I'm not talking about some warm fuzzy, paste on a smile, and pretend it is fine Christ. I'm talking about the Christ that saves when the winds are whirling and the waves are crashing, and I feel like I am crashing in them.
This morning I was reading in Mark where Jesus and His disciples are crossing the lake, and the squall comes up and they freak out and accuse Jesus of not caring if they die, and He settles the storm and asks, "Where is your faith?"
He wasn't asking about their faith in His ability to calm the storm. He was as king about their faith in His character. He was asking, "Why don't you think I care about you yet?"
See, we often look at hard things or hard days and yell at God, "Don't you care if this kills me?"
But the real question is, "Do you believe He loves you?"
And I wonder if we can call it faith that God sent a Messiah who would die for us if we don't believe He loves us enough to be kind and not cruel toward us.
Here is the real the issue, the one that gets rid of the unholy headache and quiets the storm raging inside. The real issue is deciding that Christ is a Savior and not a sadist, that He is kind and not cruel. No one can decide but you.
The real issue is knowing God is for you and not just waiting fo an excuse to do something to you.
And I know you don't want to hear this, but that is a choice you make. You either believe Him or you don't. This isn't based on your momma or daddy or ex-whatever or what uncle so-and-so did to you or how the preacher who had the affair or whoever else. When it comes to believe who God is and how faithful He is to you, it is about HIM. It is about His character, His kindness, His word, and deciding no matter what the world and the enemy of your soul throws at you, no matter how high the waves, God is still all the compassionate, kind, generous, long-suffering, gentle, forgiving, loving glory His Word says He is.
The only way to become unsquished by the stuff going on outside of you is to become unfazed in your faith, not in an outcome of a situation, but in the character of God.
And you know what you do when your Tuesday has already packed a wallup the whole week feels like it can't hold?
You write a FB post about the character of the God who holds you, so you remember and settle in deep and solid and bring anyone else who wants to come with you.
There is room. Come on.
Jerri L Kelley