Happy Birthday, Keira!

I'm so glad my brother Chad married Keira! I love that she's from So Cal, so they have excuses to come visit me :).
She is such a good mom to these two munchkins! I admire her patience and the calm way she is with them. She is such a good teacher to them!

Thanks for being a part of my family!

Grandma Kay

Meet my great grandma, Kathryn Hoag Grant...

She and I have a special connection. This is my cousin, Ashley, but I remember sitting on her lap many times. She always kept her fingernails long and well manicured...always painted! I was fascinated with her nails and would play with them for hours. I remember thinking that beautiful, long nails surely must be a trait of a lady. Grandma Kay is definitely a lady.

She had a talent for knitting and tatting (lace making). We have several dresses and outfits that she knit herself. Gorgeous and meticulous in design and quality. I love wearing the dress my mom passed down to me. It still smells like Grandma Kay.

Even as a little girl, I could tell how much Grandpa Grant and Grandma Kay loved each other. I remember him gently teasing her. She kept an immaculate home, everything had a place. It was so peaceful.

My friend Terra posted about a memory of her grandma and it reminded me of when my great-grandmother was nearing the end of her struggle with Alzheimer's.

She was living in a home with several other ladies dealing with similar age-related issues when I was in high school. I regret not visiting her more often.

During one of these infrequent visits, my mom pointed to me and said, "You remember my daughter Charity?" and Grandma Kay's response was, "Is this her husband?" Typical to the style of the 90s, I was probably wearing overalls and and oversized sweatshirt. I do remember that my hair was back in a ponytail. Funny, she thought I was a man! Though I may have found the dementia entertaining at times, I know it was a really hard thing to cope with for many in my family.

During one of my last visits with her, I'd like to think she had a lucid moment and I will never forget it. She was sitting in her favorite rocker in the house and I was sitting in a hard backed chair next to her. Her clear, pale blue eyes looking straight into mine and holding my hand really tightly in both of hers, she said over and over, "I love you so much!"

I don't know if she recognized who I was, but it's a precious memory that I will remember forever. And someday I'll ask her.
for those of you who take the time to read the novella below: I am keenly aware that Bethany will be done with high school next month and is quickly approaching "dating competition" status. shoot.

a different kind of flashback friday

i've been going through my computer files, trying to make some space on my start up disk (really, i just need to suck it up and get an external hard drive), and i came upon this letter that i wrote. our family "new year's letter" from 2006. I think this may have been the last time my parents sent out a letter. I was entertained re-reading it and remembering...maybe you'll enjoy too?

Hey all,

It’s been several years since we have distributed a Christmas letter and no, the Kelly K. family has not fallen off the face of the earth, we’re just pulling ourselves up from hanging over the edge! That’s honest, right? I am driving back to Southern California later today and decided after reading and enjoying all of your family updates that there is nothing more that I would rather do with my last few hours in Utah :) than type up our own addition. So, here I sit at my parent’s kitchen counter while Bethany chases the barking dog out the back door and Casey ignores my mom’s requests to vacuum the family room. I’m not sure how the two youngest feel about being the only two living at home, but rumor has it that the house has gotten a lot quieter over the past year.

I will attempt to catch you all up on the last couple of years and inform you of plans for 2006, just in case we skip the letter again next year.

My Dad, aka: Dr. K., Papa Kelly, Gwampa, hasn’t aged since 35, still puts in 90-hour work weeks and is a great provider! I appreciate his dating advice, which usually sounds something like: “You would make me very happy if you told the loser you’re exploring other options.” Some of my favorite times with Dad are spent driving around bundled up with heat on full blast and the top down on his new shiny black BMW, watching him take his turn behind the boat, and discussing possible interpretations for his counsel after a father’s blessing on my behalf. He and my mom enjoyed cruising through the western Caribbean and exploring Book of Mormon ruins this summer—a trip that re-wetted his appetite for diving. The remaining K. kids are getting scuba certified and the reduced nuclear family of 4 is going diving in Cancun. The trip was conveniently scheduled the week before my spring break, but I wasn’t invited anyway! I’m really not bitter.

Kit, my mom, is keeping busy as usual. Trying to find the perfect educational experience for the “little” kids and single-handedly saving the world. Last year, she was the President of the Utah County Medical Alliance and through that, reached thousands in educating on internet safety. I admire her desire to go back to school and finish her degree—a long awaited dream of hers. I think she wants to be an integrative counselor when she grows up. Really, she has always been one. People often ask me how I know so much about health and wellbeing and I have to give the credit to her :).

Chad & Keira have now been married for five years. They are living in ______ where Chad is working as an electrical engineer. Adam is now 2 1/2 and the greatest joy in all of our lives! This Christmas he announced that he got a “grip of presents” and asked me in regards to the electric bull I got him, “Can you take it back to the store now?” They are all excitingly awaiting the arrival of their first daughter in January and are “doing great”!

Collin & Elizabeth live in Orem and are expecting their first—a little girl due to be born on my birthday (which would be so fun for me). They are going through the fabulous process of applying for dental schools. Collin’s first interview with UNLV is coming up. I am pulling for Vegas as they would only be a few hours drive away from me! Collin is my financial/business counselor and Liz is so creative. She has recently gotten involved in photography and currently designs sample pages for a scrapbook company.

Charity—the 26-year-old fledgling—I moved to Southern California in August. Yes, I get to drive home to a skyline of masts, sails and palm trees with the Pacific Ocean in the background. It’s a peaceful and happy place. After spending the last couple years trying to figure out the “next step” post graduation, I decided that for me it’s more school. I just finished my first semester at an obscure private university in Irvine where I’m working on a master's in Marriage & Family Therapy. As if the torture of an MA isn’t enough, I’ve decided to apply for the doctoral program at the end of next semester. Wow, huh? Who would have thought? I love school. But more importantly, I love what I will be able to do when I’m done!

Emily & Russ were married in October (hence the formal family photo) and live in Orem. They are so great together. They are both working and going to school full-time. Russ is finishing up in Construction Management with hopes of starting his own business. Last I heard, Emily was studying Advertising—but I changed my major five times and I’ll give her some room to do the same. Emily just got Russ a drum set for Christmas and they have turned my parent’s food storage room into a practice room. We could be a regular Partridge Family—Russ on the drums, Casey on the guitar, Dad on back-up guitar, Emily on bass, Collin keyboard, Bethany on vocals, I’ll be the roadie, and Mom will be the manager. Watch out music industry!

Bethany (15) was voted “most attractive” at school. It is no secret that she is the best looking of the three K. girls. I’m just glad she’s so much younger than me and *hopefully* will never be dating competition. She is a double “triple threat.” She’s smart, beautiful, and talented and she sings, dances and acts. She is counting down to sweet sixteen (7 and 1/2 months away). She could also host TLC’s "What Not to Wear" and practices on Mom daily. She is a sweetheart and asks frequently if she can move in with me next summer. I don’t blame her!

Casey (12) blows us all away with his natural guitar talent. He’s obviously the youngest—he gets his way with nearly everything and tries to act much older than he is (though his short & skinny, skater frame deceives many). He is into art, music, and video games. My little punk bro—he is turning into a really cool kid with a great personality. And he’s a looker!

All in all, the more I learn about other people’s problems the more I think we’re doing pretty great!! We have so much to be grateful for! Especially at this time of year when dad gets his bonus and...just kidding! This is the time of year when we can resolve to be a little more kind, more loving, more patient, and do more good in the world as we reflect on the Love of our Savior and the amazing and infinite blessing of His life and Atonement!

Much love to you all!

Happy Birthday, Mom!!

Here are just a few reasons why I love my mom!!

Southern California Girl!! Instilled in me a love for the beach and healthy eating.
(this is her hot senior photo - cresenta valley high)

Made a pretty darn good decision so I could be born to this glorious world!
( marriage solemnized at the Los Angeles Temple)

Glamorous!!! Taught me to always keep my lips moisturized with color!

Patience beyond belief on family road trips!
Taught me how to use mother nature's restroom when we
didn't have time to stop in town and find a public potty.

(four corners USA)

LOVES being a mom and LOVES her kids!
(and loves matching dresses)

Super fun to travel with!
(open air market in England where we found the best spanish strawberries)

Hot Hot Hot!!
Mom, I love you! I'm so grateful that you're my mom!


post #101

I had a wonderful conversation on Sunday night with some friends and the word self-esteem came up. One of my friends was asked to rate his self-esteem as being high or low. He described himself as "low"...actually, he used a thumbs down with a subtle frown. If you met this guy, you'd probably wonder WHY??? He is attractive, successful, funny, active in his faith, but still there is some sort of insecurity plaguing him (those are all my word, not his, btw).

I attempted to make some comments about my ideas about self-esteem and found it difficult to find the words. Well, I found an explanation that fits. I've mentioned Michael White before; this is from the introduction of his book, Narratives of Therapists Lives.

"...words like self-esteem and self-fulfillment ... represent taken for granted notions about life and human action in contemporary western culture. Notions like these have become our culture's "facts" about human nature. But they are nonetheless products of the structuralist discourses."

The word discourse, as it is used in Narrative ideas, refers to cultural rules for who can say what and what time and with what authority. There are endless discourses about gender, race, religion, and words like self-esteem. This idea has been socially constructed. You don't hear about it in other cultures. So, why in western culture, is self-esteem so important? What does it mean and why is it such a sought after notion?

Is it possible that someone who could be labeled as having low self-esteem has just been blinded by the pressures and expectations of a fast-paced, grandiose culture? Blinded from the absent but implicit [which is associated with an understanding that every expression of life is multi-layered] principles of their lives?

I get some mixed expressions when I tell people what I am training for and studying in my chosen career path. Sometimes I'm even asked the question, "How do you listen to people's problems all day?" Most of the time, I assume that people are thinking even if they don't ask me.

I guess I don't see what I do as "listening to people's problems" or even "fixing" people. I'm not in the business of fixing people, nor do I believe people need to be fixed.

The concept of the absent but implicit refers to the possibilities of people's lives and experiences. The concept of the absent but implicit invites me to consult people about the more implicit layers of the expression of their concerns and problems. Even as I type this, I am aware of the significance of being allowed to witness people's lives and help them with the things that concern them. Helping people travel from what they know about their lives and problems, what is familiar, to the possibilities and the hidden pieces of joy and positiveness--this is very exciting to me and is what is keeping me going.

i have a crush

this is something that i never let myself do...have a crush. but i think it's safe to say this one won't go anywhere. i will admit, my crush started back during the top 24 week. but, now that i think about it, i've kinda always had a thing for rockers. in high school and even going back to middle school. i kinda always liked the rockers! i don't know what it is.

was yesterday not glorious???

...with the rag top down so my hair can blow... on my way to San Clemente (Riviera's) for an awesome day at the beach.

Little Jack...and my sunglass case.

Surfing with Dolphins--where man meets wild!
I have never seen this before, but apparently, it's not such a novel thing as I think it is...

Jack and Monty.

War paint! Melissa is such a cute mom! What kid wouldn't love to be allowed to draw all over themselves??? Thank goodness for washable face paint pens! BTW, something about my friend Melissa...she had brain surgery a couple weeks ago and was out at the beach, doing mommy things, chasing Jack, playing in the water (up to her waist)...unbelievable. If I were her, for sure I'd still be in bed.

Leave it to Ms. Austen to figure me out.

Which Jane Austen Heroine are You?
(this is from a facebook application. if you want to take the quiz, i'll send it to you on facebook.)

Fanny Price : Mansfield Park

You are smart and shy, a quiet beauty with brains that intimidate everyone around you. You often feel out of place, homeless and alone. As an intellectual idealist, you long to be heard and understood, but rarely waste your time trying to defend yourself to those who could not possibly understand. Time and experience is making you bolder. Despite your clever genius, you long for simplicity, and the love of your soul mate, who is a socially surprising and unlikely match.

I tried it again and changed ONE of my answers

Talk about a personality crisis. I'm so confused now! I don't know who I really am.

Take this test!
Your color is red, the color of racy sportscars, blushing cheeks, and luscious roses. Red symbolizes passion, romance, and love. So, since you're ruled by red, you probably trust your feelings more than your brain and tend to act spontaneously. If you see something you want, you go for it without thinking twice — impulsive is your middle name. You don't wait around for people to make decisions, either; you dive right in. Quite the romantic, you pay close attention to your emotions. In fact, if your heart isn't in what you're doing, you won't be satisfied. Of course, even when you do pour all your energy into the projects you tackle, your impetuous nature means your passions can shift as frequently as the wind. That's why some reds have trouble with commitment. Our advice? Next time you're feeling fickle, think before you act, if possible. You might be surprised at the results. Overall, though, it's great to be red. No one lives life more completely than you do.

what do you think? did they get me right?

Take this test!
Your color is black. The color of night. Serene and mysterious, black conjures up images of elegant evening gowns, dashing tuxedos, and gleaming limousines. Traditionally a symbol of success, black also represents power and an uncompromising demand for perfection. Not surprisingly, you tend to set challenging goals for yourself and do whatever it takes to achieve them — your strength of character is second to none. This unfaltering determination, along with your natural elegance, impresses people. But keep in mind that your personality might be intimidating to some. Try to temper your demanding side with a little softness — trust us, it won't kill you. Overall, though, black is the color of professionalism and achievement, which means it's clearly the color for you.


Happy Birthday, Dad!

Today is my dad's birthday. I am so glad he's my dad. I've learned so much from him. He is generous, strives to do good, works hard to take care of his family, and loves the Lord!

Thanks, Dad, for your example of endurance and faith! I love you!


I have learned something about the word privilege that I didn't learn at BYU. I am grateful for the education I received in undergrad--studying at BYU gave me a solid foundation in the importance of the family that I would not have gotten anywhere else. However, I am very aware of how sheltered I was in many other areas. There are many ways that I can and do easily take for granted the privileged life I have always had. I don't want to take it for granted. I don't want to take anything for granted!

This past Monday I was privileged to attend one day of a three-day conference with Michael White (see previous post). Late in the evening of the first day, he collapsed and was taken to a local hospital and the rest of the conference was canceled. I just received an email informing me that he just passed away at age 59.

I have not agreed with everything I have learned about Narrative ideas and practices (seems to be very relativistic and liberal). But, there is so much about the ideas of Michael White that have opened my mind to possibilities that have long been buried. I very much appreciate a focus on accountability as a therapist--recognizing the privilege and power of being recognized and consulted as an "authority", along with the need to help people reclaim the authority, agency and accountability in their own lives.

As someone who is very much a baby to this kind of therapy, I count myself very lucky to have been one of the few to hear his final words and hopes for the future of Narrative ideas.

It seems as though theorists live forever. They aren't supposed to die at 59. My heart goes out to his family and friends.

Happy [Late] Easter

My Easter Sunday started early with the Sunrise Service of the Christ's Church By The Sea, a Methodist congregation on Balboa Peninsula . As long as I live in Southern California, this will be one of my favorite traditions. We arrived at the beach in between 14th and 15th St before sunrise. The nearly full moon was still high and the ocean air was brisk. There is something about being up before most of the world that always makes me really like myself. That probably sounds weird, but I don't know how else to explain it. I feel unique in my experience with nature, to be awake at a time that most everyone else is asleep and unaware of the remarkable and beautiful. Maybe that's part of it.

I'm not the only one who makes this worship service a tradition. Each year for the past four years, the music entices dolphins to pay their respects to their Creator. It may be the dolphins more than anything that keep me coming back. I wonder if they know the event that we are celebrating, if they know anything about the great gift of the Resurrection. This video is pretty poor quality. I wish I could post a better version. Anytime you see a stirring in the water, that was a dolphin.

Later that day, I met up with Melissa and Darren and their kids at church. They were in town from Vegas to go to Disneyland. After church, we came back for lunch at my house, dyed eggs and took the ferry to the beach and a walk on the pier.

What a great day!

Ice Breakers...

Check it out. So my dad and my li'l bro are all into triathlons now and I wasn't there, but I wanted to give a shout out anyway. Here's the before shot.

I guess they all did it in reverse, run-bike-swim, so they wouldn't have to swim-bike-run and get pneumonia. That was nice of them!

Go Fight Win!! rah.