Pushing Myself

I haven’t done a totally random post in forever.  I always think about stopping in, but things are just wildly hard right now which means everyday tasks I used to be so used to feel really difficult.  This morning has been incredibly hard…full of lots of emotions and feelings and sadness and tears.  I seriously stood in the entrance of Kroger this morning at 6:30am and cried…my body a sweaty, smelly mess…a cart full of groceries…rain pouring…texting with a precious friend about the deepest of losses and the most beautiful of hearts…and I just broke down and sobbed right there.  No worries about me fellow Kroger shoppers…nothing to see here.

I decided I wanted September to be different in some way…even if it was small.  Things feel so drastically different than they used to, everything is crazy complicated now and I am tired…tired of feeling lonely, tired of feeling mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted, tired of grief having us by the throats….just so tired.  I wanted to take back my life in any small way I could so I’m trying to push myself in a few different ways

1. I’m trying to get back to working out consistantly 2. I’m trying to write everyday.  Most of those writings are sitting unpublished and will likely never meet another’s eyes, but they are for me…for my mind and soul.  And 3. Start creating again…big or small.  Our bank even gave me their booth at our yearly art fair at the end of our street in September.  Now I might show up with stationery and 11 key fobs, but I will show up and I will have at least something I created with my own hands for sale.  I just need something to change and change always needs to begin within.

So in an effort to push myself I decided to sit down this morning and share some randomness.

We swam 4 times between Monday and Sunday.  One of those times Brea and I sat all by ourselves at a completely empty pool and soaked up rays and chatted away.  One time our littlest had the whole pool to herself.  And we also hit up the wave pool yesterday. Church is really hard right now.  It’s filled to the brim with the kindest and most lovely people, but Josh and I struggle to go right now.  It’s just a lot of reminders and memories and we love them, but they also feel sad & heavy.  So Sunday the wave pool was our church of choice and the sun was quite splendid.  It definitely did not hurt we got to hang with friends, see Ashley and munch on chicken fingers and icees.

(You guys, putting clothes on is even arduous.)

In Nashville we got to experience the eclipse in totality.  Everyone was off of school and Josh worked from home.  Some friends and family came over to eat and hang out.  Honestly, I didn’t know much about the eclipse…like didn’t even know when it was…until some teachers from the kids’ school told me about it.  I thought it would be neat, but never did I think it would be as remarkable as it was.  We had over two minutes of totality and it made me tear up.  Of course I longed for Everett to be with us, but I also thought about a line from a song:

The deepest depths, the darkest nights
Can’t separate, can’t keep me from your sight
I get so lost, forget my way
But still you love and you don’t forget my name

I have a lot of feelings about God right now and candidly, a lot of them are not good and I know they are inaccurate.  Still my flesh has to walk through those and process those and this reminder of how He has not forgotten us…how He knows how hard our struggle is right now…how He deeply loves us…was enough to make me want to travel to see every eclipse totality our continent will see.

We let Harper dye her hair blue.  She casually mention it one time and was shocked when without hesitation I told her she could.  Growing up there we’re things my mom did not battle…things that we’re easy yeses because she knew there would be bigger things that would require a “no”.  Decorating my room however I wanted, dying my hair all kinds of colors, getting more piercings and so on and so on we’re always yeses. It has been far tougher than we imagined watching our children grieve the loss of their brother and if you know Harper Kelley you know she loves her siblings fiercely and especially the littles…Amon, Everett and our littlest.  She is so sad and cries a lot and asks hard questions like “WHY???” and makes comments like “I just don’t understand” and “Why is this not getting easier, but harder?” and all we can do is hold her close, nod in agreement and say “yes” to all those things which are easy to say yes too which might stir up some joy for her grieving heart.

Josh Kelley is taking each of the kids over night hiking and backpacking by themselves.  Harper already has gone and Hudson was up next…in order of age.  They did not die which was awesome and they had a really sweet time together.  Pictures started rolling in Sunday afternoon once they got to some cell service and all I could do was smile.

We have received countless kind things in the mail.  I don’t even know where to start with this.  I have lost all hope of ever writing thank you notes at this point.  So many things.  So many cards.  So much kindness.  The kids do most of the opening and if there are personal cards for just me I sit those aside for later.  I’ve started working through some of those because at first I had a very hard time reading everything.  There we’re just ALL THE EMOTIONS of my own coupled with lots of emotions from others and it was pretty hard to process it all.  So many really thoughtful things have shown up at our house…ornaments, lots of Fiesta donkeys in all shapes, sizes and varieties, artwork, gift cards, jewelry, toys & treats for the kids and so much more.  Please please please know how deeply grateful we are.

Last Wednesday I was having a particularly rough day when our mailman handed over a giant box full of rainbow donkey piñata pillows.  Yes, yes you did read that correctly.  And 8 of them to be exact…one for each member of our family.  Insert all the tears.  I sat down and weeped over this incredibly kind gesture of love.  The kids we’re ecstatic about them, snagged their own and landed each pillow on their beds.  Denise, THANK YOU!  You are a gem and crazy talented and each of the Kelleys so loves their personal Fiesta pillow.

Last random thing for today.  School is in full swing which means sickness immediately plagued us.  Can we all just wear hazmat suits and go about our normal lives living germ free?!?!?!  Sol already missed a day of school and our littlest came home feeling puny with a fever.  I had to wake her up at school to which she fell back to sleep during our 2 minute drive to our house and she then proceeded to get in her fetal position and fall back to sleep again.  Insert all the eye rolls emojis…no ones got time for sick kiddos.

Hudson and Solomon both tried out for the rhythm club at school…aka the dance club.  No one was more shocked than I was that they both wanted to.  They stayed after school two days to learn the routine and then on Thursday they stayed late to preform it on their own for the judges.  WHAT IN THE WORLD?!?!?!  The results we’re posted on the door of the school Friday afternoon.  They both hopped out very anxious and excited.  Hudson made the team and Solomon made alternate…and they we’re both totally good with it.  I cry about everything these days, but watching them standing up there reading over the list made my eyes leak a watery substance.

And their entire school is broken up into 4 teams this year.  All the kids are mixed up, but Hudson and Amon ended up on the same team which means they wear matching shirts every Friday.  The other day after school I looked over from the kitchen and my heart exploded.  Brothers are the best!

That’s all I’ve got for today.  Thank you so much for stopping by to read…I know this little space on the internet currently holds a lot of sadness and bitterness and cuss words and rage 🙂 so I appreciate your willingness to read and still come into this space along with me.


  1. You are truly beautiful. Thank-you for the words to that line of a song … it ministers forward.

  2. A story from yesterday. I took my daughters to work out with me, which included a 300m farmers carry with weights in each hand. My youngest (11) was getting tired and complaining, and said she wanted to quit….so I told her that we were gonna pray. Each of the 3 rounds we picked someone to pray for. After it was over, I said “praying helps us not give up. Didnt it make you wanna fight harder at the end?” She said, “Yeah, especially when we prayed for Everett’s family. I wanted to put the weight down, but I know they can’t just put it down and it is so hard for them. So I just kept walking and praying.” I thought a lot about that. You can’t just put it down right now and that is hard. And terrible! And awful! we are praying for you. You know God is big enough to handle your grief, so let Him have it! Praying for a whole lot of peace and comfort and joy (even if it is just a moment’s worth) each day!

  3. Love love love.

  4. This internet place is nor filled with sadness it is filled with a struggling women who has lost her boy…it is filled with determination and filled with love for those around her. I bless you for being brave and i encourage you to keep doing what you are doing. It is how it is…and god is there….all the time

  5. Dear Lord!!

    You live in my neighborhood! That’s our neighborhood pool! I love that pool!

    Please message me should there be anything we can do….I have prayed for your family for almost 2 years.

    Sending love and hugs!

  6. NAna Glenda says:

    We never know how many lives we touch. But we will know how many lives touch ours…..(a.athertin). Thank you so much for sharing your family with us. I am so blessed

  7. I don’t really know how to say this, but I so appreciate you sharing your heart. Your good and bad, because it makes me feel so normal. I love your heart and love new updates. Thank you. Praying continues. <3

  8. I’m sitting in my van in the car rider line picking up my beautiful boys and I’m weeping. My older boy is from South Korea and my younger boy from Ethiopia. I know what it feels to be a mom and open up your heart to children that need you. Adoption is a beautiful wonderful thing and I weep with sadness over your loss but I am also grateful that he had you for his time here on this Earth.

  9. Love hearing from you. Love praying for you.

  10. Love the random posts…. praying for you and the family often…. and what the what with germs. One of mine went to kindergarten for three days last week and got flipping strep. Kept saying “damn dirty apes” allll weekend. Start drinking the Purell kiddos. Ugh!

  11. Love you, Kelleys.

  12. Andrea young says:

    Love you.

  13. I love reading your posts! I always have. I hurry to read anything you write. You’re just freaking honesty amazing

  14. Praying for you so hard. As Nichole Nordman has said, “When you’ve been through a hard time, you can look back and say maybe good things. When you’re going through a hard time, you say REAL things.” Keep being real. God wouldn’t want you any other way.

  15. carolyn a says:

    Still thinking of you all every day. Grief has no time limit and some days are worse than others. Your family was so wonderful to take Everett in to your loving arms & home and he had the happiest days of his life with you. Everything humanly possible was done for him thanks to your love and care. Now it’s God’s turn to take care of Everett as he continues to grow, laugh and play in his newest home. God bless you and keep you in His loving arms. ❤️

  16. I am so touched by your honesty and rawness. Thank you for inviting us into this sacred space Love and comfort to all the beautiful Kelleys

  17. Deep deep long long long breath. I wrote a blog post yesterday about the song “o come to the altar” by elevalation worship it’s comforting me today even in the midst of chronic pain and illness and not an end in sight. I pray for you today and no you don’t know me I happened upon your story through Jamie Iveys Instagram but anyways … I’m praying and sending Internet hugs.


  18. Oh how I missed your randomness 🙂 Continuing to send you guys so much love as you navigate each day. P.S. Harper looks radiant with the blue.

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