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.

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A 30 second review of Inside Out

“Inside Out,” Pixar’s newest way to fleece parents of a buck, is brilliant and everyone should see it–even people who think a movie about emotions and core memories is a bunch of psychobabble.

There you have it, the only 30 second review you will ever need for “Inside Out.”

inside outTrust. It’s kind of like when you read Suess’s “Oh the Places You’ll Go.” You thought you were wading in some unexpectedly deep waters of truth. You’ll get that feeling again, times forty five.

I will add that one of my favorite parts (no spoilers) is when Bing Bong, an imaginary friend from a girlhood of yore, is riding the Train of Thought and accidentally spills chips that represent facts and opinions. In case you are a robot hard-wired to not experience the blurring of what feels like actual fact and what might be merely an opinion, this moment was a thrill. Because everyone concedes “These facts and opinions look so similar!” I felt so vindicated, having lived with a therapist for ten years. See? SEE! Sometimes they get mixed up, even for animated Pixar people feelings figures, too!

P.S. And yes I do have my next outfit picked out for the costume party.


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