Monday, December 14, 2015

18 Laps of Thankful

I started working out again last week. Who knows how long this will last, as I'm pretty bad about sticking to things like this, but I'm doing what I can. I determined that I prefer walking (even occasionally running--gasp!) on the indoor track, rather than being stationary on an elliptical machine or bike.

The indoor track at my preferred Y location is 18 laps to a mile. As I started my walk today, I tried to think of a way to both focus my thoughts as I walked and keep track of what lap I'm on. What came to mind was a wonderful exercise in reflection and gratitude. I let the number of the lap be a prompt for things in my life to be thankful or prayerful for as I walked.

ONE holy God, Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer of the world.

TWO darling daughters, and all the Mommy-Daughter fun we have. I wanted girls so badly, and though I now have a beautiful son to love as well, I marvel at the two awesome girls I get to mother.

THREE precious children: fireball Kate, cheerful Claire, and sweet baby Jonah. I love them so!

FOUR years in Brentwood, living in our lovely home, close to things we enjoy, and just three miles from Matt's parents.

FIVE members of our family. What fun we have and how I love our little family!

SIX seats at the table. Both our kitchen table and dining room table each have six chairs around them. With four of us currently using chairs, and Jonah who will eventually sit in one, that means we always have room for at least one more: a guest, a foster child, another child, etc.

SEVEN days in a week, time to be productive and time to rest. (Just picturing a page in my planner makes me smile!)

EIGHT weeks of Jonah! The joyful rest of my days getting to know my sweet boy, and thankfulness for his health and mine, especially in light of so many I know who've had traumatic births and postpartum experiences.

NINE years of marriage. Matt is such a loving husband and great father. It's not always easy, but as Andrew Peterson says, "that's what the promise is for."

TEN years in publishing. I love my work and have a great career going!

ELEVEN . . . praying for some eleven year old out there going through a tough time. I couldn't think of anything personal for this number, but middle school is rough . . .

TWELVE years in Nashville (well, the Nashville area). I came for Vanderbilt Divinity School and stayed because of Matt. Four years in Midtown, four in Clarksville, and now four in Brentwood. I love my hometown of Louisville, but being a Tennessean isn't so bad either!

THIRTEEN years old when I switched to private school. Seventh grade was wretched for me, and for eighth through twelfth grade, I thrived in a much smaller educational environment where I could participate in a lot of activities and hold several leadership roles.

FOURTEEN years of studying religion. Choosing the religion major at Furman University enhanced my faith and changed my thinking, my politics, my personal and professional life, and maybe in some small way, the world, as it's given me a more global and missional perspective.

FIFTEEN minutes of walking (by the second mile, that is, as I counted back down from 18. I couldn't think of anything for fifteen the first time!) Thankful for my body, my health, the ability to walk, and a nice facility with childcare in which to work out!

SIXTEEN years since high school. Adulthood has been pretty good so far.

SEVENTEEN days left in the year. Seventeen days to relax, spend time with family, and celebrate the birth of Christ. And 21 days left in my maternity leave--eek!

EIGHTEEN years at home. Thankful for my happy childhood and wonderful parents. Day trips and vacations, history lessons, traditions, and family dinners.

18 laps--well, 36, actually. Two miles thinking on such things made me feel grateful, proud, and happy with my life. Sure beats a half hour pondering my jiggly thighs or envying the fit aerobics instructor leading a class in the gym below. And it made my cardio time fly by! I moved on to the weight room with a peace I carried on to pick up my sleeping son from the nursery and out into the surprising warmth of a December day.


Rachel Moss said...

What a great idea! And what a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing.

I didn't realize you guys had been in your current home for 4 years. It seems like you just recently moved there.

We got your Christmas card this week. It's lovely! It looks like we won't be sending cards out this year as, among other reasons, we cannot manage to get a halfway decent picture of the 5 of us!

FionaB said...

Hi Jessica. I've been directed to your webpage by a Facebook Friend who thought you might be able to help. I'm in the UK and, for a University assessment (BA Hons in Church Music), I'm citing a piece of music arranged by Professor Blackwell, with words by his wife, Miriam. Would you be able to let me know of their birth years? Many thanks. Fiona Bain

Jessica Miller Kelley said...

Hi Fiona--I believe Dr. Blackwell was born in 1938 or 1939. I'm afraid I don't know his wife's DOB, but her name is Marian, not Miriam. Best wishes.

Cathy Townsend said...

Hi Jessica. My name is Cathy Townsend and am Director of Campus Ministry at Cornelia Connelly High School in Anaheim, CA. Our Head of School would like to put a more modern face on our wooden, outside Stations of the Cross around campus. We would like to use your Stations of the Cross images from Stations of the Cross - Projectable Art.

You gave permission to use the artwork in presentations but wanted to make sure we have your permission to use the artwork on our outside wooden posts. If so, do you have camera-ready artwork to use? Please email me at

Thank you so much for your time!

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