Joy Examination

This past summer, I have very consciously recorded in my brain’s notebook a particular feeling. You know that warm, effervescent feeling that bubbles up from the deep well of all the feels? I realized this feeling was on the endangered feelings list.

And you’re thinking, Oh for the love, Kendra. Get over yourself and your first world non-problems.

But I needed to keep this notebook in my brain so that I could. Get over myself.

The notebook log of joyful feels:



– Sitting in a park in Savannah and watching my kids play independently on the playground.


– Backfloating in the neighborhood pool on a weekend afternoon with hubs and kiddies
– Walking at the Chattanooga Market, flanked by both my kiddies

The pattern I see is that joy is 100% more likely to occur when I am with my family. I like the odds of that.

I got contacts this past summer. I wear them and I like them but I am still adjusting to facing the world without my double-goggled barrier. There is a lot one can hide behind the Velma-inspired specs. You can hide tired better, you can masquerade as someone who is put together. I’m afraid of how naked my face is now, how it might betray me, let others see my joyless countenance. Untitled

The little boy with autism who likely wandered away from his grandparents’ home and drowned in Lake Erie this past weekend had lived in my hometown. I was so heavy with the sads yesterday, thinking about his family and their loss and how hard autism is and how long the summer days can be with little children and yet we wouldn’t trade them for all the world. Then, this evening, I drank in all the images of my hometown, where street after street, families placed luminaries up and down the sidewalk to send a little love and light out into the darkness of pain and grief and uncertainty.

Amazing how the heaviest sadness can be followed by the most noble acts of downright goodness.

thanks, kelly, for the beauty from ashes
thanks, kelly, for the beauty from ashes


I realized this past summer that joy comes at a tremendous cost in this world. It is expensive, and buying it at wholesale is not an option. It requires pacing through the aisles of great injustices and terrible-awfuls where we sometimes have to linger because of congestion. Joy is the item we fight for, and we would not want to purchase it with a coupon–the cheap stuff isn’t long-lasting and will just leave us wanting more. Joy can be fleeting but it has taught me more about a God who loves us and wants us to experience it in endless supply.

Read More

Romantic Getaway in #CLE

As an early 10th anniversary present, my parents offered to watch our monsters so we could get a fancy hotel room in downtown Cleveland. Our gratitude was basically incalculable.

What can be calculated, however, is how great the hotel was. Allow me to recommend the Metropolitan at the 9 because, in addition to waking up in a monster-free king-sized bed, there were other amenities to enjoy.

To start, I want to highlight something that is minor but important. You will read a lot of reviews on Yelp, etc. and they will mention the paintings on the walls throughout the hotel. The paintings are somewhat sensual (see also: sultry silhouettes OW OW!). Dear readers, this is not the ambience that our family of four usually seeks when lodging elsewhere. But on this particular night, the paintings were sort of nodding at us with approval. They seemed to whisper, Yes, isn’t it great to be a grown-up! You can have candy for dinner if you want! And sit up on the rooftop deck! So while the reviews are accurate–the paintings could be kind of awkward if you were putting your grandma up for your rehearsal dinner– the Met is clearly a grown-up friendly establishment.

The hotel itself is modern but homey. Sometimes a modern aesthetic can be cold but the main hues of black, red and white are all hedged with wood and plants and even some old timey pieces like rotary phones and Art Noveau posters. Our room was modern, spacious and all the furniture choices were so comfortable. Speaking of airy and comfortable: you have to be comfortable with the air that basically sets you apart from your bunkmate(s) and the shower. The shower is in the middle of the room. Pro-tip: it will not generate enough steam for modesty’s sake. So shower free, travelers, or go home. :)

Wow. This hotel just sounds like the perviest place, doesn’t it?

View from our hotel room: I thought it was very mannerly that Lebron James turned around when I was changing.
View from our hotel room: I thought it was very mannerly that Lebron James turned around when I was changing.

You have to ask the front desk for the robes, FYI. Just didn’t want you to expect and not receive.

We did not patronize the restaurant at the Met but we did take full advantage of the Heinen’s that is literally next door to the Met in the gorgeously restored Cleveland Trust Building. Now that place is special. It was so lovely to be able to grab some top shelf chocolate and berries for a late afternoon snack while watching “Million Dollar Listing: New York” and not “Littlest Pet Shop,” per usual monster request.

We had dinner reservations that evening at Crop. It was a beautiful evening so we walked across the Carnegie Bridge. I would not recommend this to my gal pals who are in stiletto heels, but it is a lovely bridge to traverse otherwise.

Crop was impeccable from the cheese platter and truffle popcorn (swoon!) to the short ribs and beet salad. Be sure to ask the host/hostess for a tour of the vault if you are able. It will really round out the experience.

Of course we stopped by Mitchell’s just down the street from Crop on W. 25th because the raspberry chocolate chunk as well as the campfire s’more flavors are near-religious experiences.19308443314_716b456d4d_m

We Ubered our way back to the Met. It was our virgin voyage as Uberites so our ride was free. Isn’t that spectacular? You, too, can get a free ride. Thank you, Mr. Darryl, our first UberDriver.

When we returned to the Met, we wanted to check out the rooftop deck. The deck is really amazing–what a great spot for an afterwork apertif or a post-Tribe game libation. As we gambled around the deck, a very burly employee said, “Oh! You guys missed it!” He was stuttering and I don’t know if he had been over-served or had a speech impediment but he wanted us to know that the rooftop deck party was over. We had only wanted to catch a rooftop view, though, and he welcomed us to take a spin around. “You missed it!” guy was perhaps the most memorable encounter of the evening.

In the morning, we took advantage of the gym which is clean and fairly large but nothing spectacular. We put the bookends on the overnight with a mid-day trip to the West Side Market for procuring cannoli, coffee and other treats.

I would DEFINITELY book again at the Metropolitan, but only and especially sans kids.


Read More