Thursday, August 28, 2008

Attention, Church Leaders!

Two books hit the shelves while I was on vacation in Virginia earlier this month, so I am delinquent in writing about them. They are both really excellent books for pastors and others in church leadership (worship teams, visioning teams, other committees in need of some inspiration and guidance...). They are both very-updated editions of books that came out 6-9 years ago, and you should check them out because a) you probably didn't hear about them back then, b) a lot has happened in the last 6-9 years, so these editions are more up to date and just plain better, and c) I didn't edit those editions.

The Wired Church 2.0, by Len Wilson with Jason Moore. This book is everything you could want to know about media ministry, from the methodology of why it is important in today's culture to the plans for how to set up your technology and grow it in phases. This book is a must for anyone interested in implementing or expanding use of media in worship, and for anyone trying to get stubborn committees of old-school congregants on board with installing a screen in the sanctuary.

UnLearning Church, by Michael Slaughter. I say that Mike (or at least this book) is "emergent for the rest of us," because he does not self-identify as emergent, but reflects some of the same ideals for the church that those in the emergent conversation do--transformation, sensory experience, uniting ancient and modern traditions, embracing paradox, etc. (In light of that fact, Emergent Village is featuring an excerpt on their blog here.) This book challenges church leaders to "unLearn" their old assumptions about worship, congregational life, church growth, and the role of the leader in order to transform the church and the world for God.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My name is not Kelly!!!

I rarely write blog posts at work, but I need to vent! My name is not Kelly!!

It happens at least once a week (twice this week--once just now, if that wasn't already obvious). I send an e-mail to a professional contact with my nice little electronic signature: Jessica Miller Kelley.

Minutes or days later, I get a reply: "Dear Kelley...," "Thanks, Kelly..." and my blood boils (more rapidly if they don't even include the extra "e").

Why is it so difficult to read and remember my first name in the 4 seconds between pressing "reply" and writing a salutation? If my name was Jessica Johnson, no one would write, "Dear Johnson..."! (or Miller, for that matter.)

A colleague I've known for over a year, who I know knows my name, actually called me "Stephanie" the other day, which was annoying but actually intriguing, since the Senior Pastor at the church Matt served as Associate called me Stephanie for the first six months I was there. I must look like a Stephanie.

Either way, most of the culprits here have never met me in person, so it's not that I look like a Kelly.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Five Whole Years

Matt and I met five years ago today. Five years ago right about now, in fact. We were at a salad supper in the refectory of Vanderbilt Divinity School, the first event of our new student orientation.

It was the day I moved to Nashville. I had graduated Furman in the spring, and after working my first summer at Passport, I moved into the Disciples House on 20th St., across from The Boundry (a very noisy neighbor, but a very swanky bar and nice place to spend an evening). Matt had just graduated Butler, returned to his hometown, and moved to an apartment on 18th Ave. As I loaded the car in my parents' driveway that morning, I said to them, "I could meet him today!" "Him," of course, was "the One." I'd been single my whole senior year of college (which was great!) but starting grad school in a new place, I was hoping to meet somebody special. Matt had just gotten out of a serious relationship just a few weeks earlier, and walked to the orientation event wondering, "who knows? Maybe I'll meet somebody special."

After we'd eaten and heard welcome speeches from the various deans, a people bingo game was started, so we could mix and mingle. After getting signatures in squares marked "Someone with a cat," "someone who speaks Spanish," etc., and getting five in a row (Bingo!) I was approached by a cute guy with a goatee. After introducing ourselves, Matt asked me to sign one of his bingo squares. I signed "someone who was a religion major in college," and then he asked if he could sign one of my squares. Sensing he was interested in me, I decided to turn on the sass. Showing him my five-in-a-row, I declared, "Sorry, I don't need you!" He was hooked. Our first date was six days later.
We knew each other a little over two years when we got engaged, and a little over three years when we got married--pretty standard, I'd say. Matt's parents had been married 4 1/2 years by the time they reached this milestone, but nonetheless, I find myself thinking "I'm married to and having a baby with someone I've only known five years?" It feels like such a short time! And yet, we knew we were a good match right from the start. I love you, baby--happy 5 years!

(neither of us had a digital camera at the time, so here's a pic from spring 2005, the earliest I could find!)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Belly Pics, months 3 and 4

Here's the belly at 13 weeks...

... and at 17 weeks (last night)

Ever since week 10, I've been saying "ooh, I think I'm starting to show!" and then there's really no change. It's been mostly in my head for the last month or more, I guess--though there are several pairs of pants I cannot wear without a rubber band connecting the button and button hole. I know I look just about the same in the above photos, but I think the bump is getting a little more undeniable (and un-suck-in-able) now. Someone last night actually said, "ooh, is that a little bump I see?" Albeit, the person knew I was pregnant (I'm definitely still in the zone where a stranger would fear offending me if s/he asked when I was due) but that's the first time someone has actually noticed a difference! I haven't gained any weight yet (which I am thankful for) but I'm glad to "look" a little more pregnant. I'm sure the thrill will pass when I'm lugging around a huge belly, so might as well celebrate it now.

And while we're celebrating, check out the precious contents of my belly, pictured at 12 weeks!

(The dumb guy at Kinko's who scanned it for me saved it as a PDF, so it's really poor quality. For seven bucks, we're going back to have him do it right. We'll re-upload when we get a better-quality version.)

The Pregnancy Stupids, and other side effects

Since buying my essential copy of What to Expect When You're Expecting just a few days after finding out we were pregnant, I've heard about the forgetfulness, clumsiness, and general flakiness that can strike pregnant women. I think it was Jenny McCarthy in Belly Laughs who called it "the pregnancy stupids." I read about women leaving their keys in the fridge and driving miles past their own houses.

I thought it couldn't happen to me.

Just in the past week or so, though, I've found myself moving my mouse around, looking to open some file on my computer at work, and I realize I have completely forgotten what I'm looking for. It's the cyber equivalent of going into a room to get something and...

What was I talking about?

There's also the general hormonal snippiness (not as bad as one might expect from me, though!) and a little bit of weepiness. I don't think I've cried at anything that I wouldn't have cried at before (except one day in a meeting with my boss, but he's very understanding, both of pregnant women and of general office stress) but I think I'm reacting more strongly to the things that ordinarily make me a little weepy. Rather than a single glistening tear, I'm bawling pathetically at song lyrics like John Mayer's "Daughters"...

Fathers, be good to your daughters.
Daughters will love like you do.
Girls become lovers, who turn into mothers.
So mothers, be good to your daughters, too.

...and Five for Fighting's "100 Years"...

15, there's still time for you
time to buy and time to lose
15, there's never a wish better than this
when you've only got a hundred years to live

Those always get me. But scratch my general rule. I'm watching "The Family Man" right now, with Nicholas Cage and Tea Leoni. It's a great movie, but it has never made me cry. It got me just now, though. It was the scene where Cage's character is showing his wife the Manhattan penthouse they have the chance to move into. He wants to recapture the life of luxury he lost. "I'm talking about us finally having a life that other people envy," he says. And his wife responds, "Oh, Jack. They already do envy us."

It's so beautiful! He learns that his wife and kids are the only things he really needs...

Here I go again!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

A Word on Edwards

I was really sad to hear yesterday that the rumors and allegations about John Edwards' infidelity were true. I was a big fan during his primary run, loving his focus on issues of poverty and health care. It is definitely disappointing to see that he succumbed to the temptations of power as so many other politicians have.

I have to say, though, that it is refreshing to hear Edwards acknowledge flat-out what everyone already knows about public figures who can't keep it in their pants: that power and success, people's cheers and votes of confidence lead to a self-delusion that they are above the rules. Edwards humbly said that his campaigns for Senate, V.P., and this latest presidential primary "fed a self-focus, an egotism, a narcissism that leads you to believe you can do whatever you want. You're invincible. And there will be no consequences."

I've never heard a public figure caught in adultery actually acknowledge that it was self-centeredness (what I would say is the root of all sin) that caused him to stumble. While certainly disappointed in his actions, and bothered (but not surprised) that he lied months ago in efforts to keep his affair private even after he had come clean with Elizabeth, I am pleased with the humility and sincere remorse evident in his public confession yesterday.

While you may never hold public office again, John, please keep working for the causes you believe in. There is plenty of work left to do.

Prego Notes, week 16

  • Nausea is theoretically easing up. Went a whole week without barfing. Celebrated that fact at breakfast with everyone our last morning in Virginia. Threw up entire Arby's lunch three hours later.
  • Have gotten sick 3-4 times in the week since then, including once while behind the wheel. That was not fun.
  • Still not showing much. I can tell a difference, but it's not enough to save me from workplace comments like "You still don't look the least bit pregnant. It's disgusting."
  • Sent Matt to the grocery the other night for cashews and spreadable cheese. Otherwise, it's still all fruit, all the time. I haven't cooked a real dinner in weeks. Make that months.
  • Matt has been absolutely awesome with the back rubs, foot rubs, and craving-fulfillment. I'm a very lucky girl.
  • Heard heartbeat for the first time at this week's appointment. Expected "thump-thump," heard "whoosh, whoosh." Super cool.

Baby Wes is about 4 1/2 inches long now. We'll find out in a month if Intelligender was right (see this post), or if we've actually been causing gender confusion in poor Baby Kate. We've been delinquent about posting pictures recently, but we'll get the 12 week pics of me and of baby up soon. Thanks for everyone's well wishes--we're so excited for this sweet addition to our family!

Thursday, August 07, 2008


I think it's pretty cool China chose to start the Olympics on 08-08-08, especially since 8 is a lucky number in their culture. But, August 8 (tomorrow) is also exciting for another reason.

200 Pomegranates and an Audience of One, an awesome book I've had the joy of acquiring and editing over the past year, officially publishes in just a couple weeks (Sept. 1) and is already building some great momentum. The author, Shawn Wood, is coordinating an Amazon Book Bomb for tomorrow, 08-08-08, which means that you should click RIGHT HERE any time tomorrow, check out the book, its reviews, and oh-so-importantly, buy the book! Amazon has already sold out of the first shipment they bought, so it may say "temporarily out of stock," but don't let that worry you--you'll get your order ASAP!

The book uses the biblical story of Huram of Tyre (see I Kings 7) as a vehicle to motivate readers to discover and cultivate their gifts, and to use them to serve others and honor God. Shawn has a very fresh, conversational style, and really bares it all when talking about struggles he and members of his family have gone through. It's very inspirational--but not in that fluffy, shallow way like books with clouds or flowers and girly writing on the cover. This book is for anyone who has ever wondered if what they do really matters, if they really have anything to contribute to the world. I'll ruin the ending by saying "you do!" but trust me, you'll be a lot more convinced once you read the book.

Monday, August 04, 2008


We haven't posted in a couple weeks, not because nothing interesting has been happening, but because we've been so busy. We just spent a few days at The Homestead in Hot Springs, VA, which we never could have afforded had it not been for my (Matt's) parents' generosity. Dad just turned 60, so Mom set this trip up as a surprise for him, not telling him the kids would be there, too. One of the many highlights was Friday where the guys played golf on a course built into the side of a mountain while the girls got a massage at the resort spa. Needless to say, this was a godsend for poor, pregnant, exhausted Jessica. Pictures will be up soon!


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