Kelley Kelley Hartnett

All articles by Kelley

 

Kneeling at the Side of a Stingray Pool

I have a bit of a complicated relationship with God these days. And by “these days,” I suppose I actually mean “my entire adult life.” My pendulum swings widely, and unpredictably, between hook-line-and-sinker-for-Jesus and not-at-all-sure-I-buy-any-of-this-like-at-all. Interestingly enough, I tend to have my most spiritual (I guess that’s the right word) experiences when I’m in full-on skeptic mode. Take, for instance, my recent trip to the St. Louis Zoo....
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On Belonging

Okay, look: I’m not the most athletic person in the world, okay? But last year, my favorite friend did this unbelievably difficult kayak race called the MR340, which inspired me to put myself through some sort of physical challenge. (Besides eating too many donuts, which would be a more typical Launa-inspired physical challenge.) (I’m not wrong, am I, Launa?) ANYWAY. I can’t run (joints), I don’t enjoy biking (butt), and I didn’t want to kayak (dark...
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Day Plus 33

So, in general, I’m trying not to eat junk*, but after Dad’s appointment with the oncologist today, I decided a celebration was in order and I picked up a dozen sugar bombs from the best donut shop on the planet: Donut Drive-In. (If you’re from St. Louis and you’re about to argue with me about World’s Fair, that means you probably haven’t actually tried Donut Drive-In, so shhhhhh.)...
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Day Plus 28

Welp? Dad’s back in the hospital. Yeah, I know: “Booooooooo.”...
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Day Plus Sixteen

Dad’s home. It’s so good. And it’s a little scary....
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Day Plus Eleven

Chemo-induced mouth sores are no joke. And there’s not much more to say about that. In other news…...
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Day Plus Six

Big news: Dad got his last dose of chemotherapy today. And Jessica, today’s nurse, declared it to be his last dose ever. I love the optimism. There’s just so much damn hope in that place. It’s contagious, and I adore them all so much....
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Day Plus Two

Since we’re basically in wait-and-see mode, I likely won’t post every day. Soooo, assume no news is good news. Or, at the very least, not overly concerning news. In fact, just now the nurse said, “Well? I guess I could get some vitals on you or somethin’.” The way I see it, if Amy has to think hard to come up with something to do for Dad, he’s doing jussssst fine. Day Plus One (yesterday) brought...
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Day Zero

So, today was pretty uneventful. <happy dance> I mean, other than Dad getting his transplant. </happy dance>...
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Day Minus One

Quick update on today: Dad’s doing super-great. He ate three meals, walked 16 laps around the floor, rinsed with saline three times (to avoid getting mucositis, which causes nasty mouth sores), used his spirometer (to exercise his lungs and prevent pneumonia), and started working on a puzzle I brought....
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Day Minus Two

And the phrase of the day is: roller coaster. I got a text from Dad early this morning: Sour stomach. Nothing’s helping. Bring bottled water.  DAMMIT....
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Day Minus Three

This morning, two doctors and a couple of nurses told Dad that yesterday was the worst of it. Dad wasn’t buying it at all, and I was only cautiously optimistic. I don’t know why we doubted what they were saying; these people simply don’t engage in sugar-coating. If it’s going to suck, they say so. So when they say, “Today will be better,” we should know they mean it....
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Day Minus Four

Yeah, so eff cancer. That’s my attitude tonight....
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Day Minus Five

Random Thought 1: Since Facebook became a Thing, I’ve had loads of friends post about all manner of health (and other) struggles. I need to confess that I’ve not always given my complete attention to those posts. So many of them have big words and long explanations, and besides, I’m rather easily overwhelmed by others’ suffering. And now, hello, I’m posting the same sorts of updates. I’m humbled and deeply grateful for your willingness to keep up with me. I can’t...
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Day Minus Six

Okay, so far? The stem cell transplant process involves a lot of sitting around, frequently interrupted by sundry wonderful people: nurses, nutritionists, housekeeping staff, physical therapists, doctors, and doctors-in-training. More than once today, I’ve said, “That person was, like, 12.” (I am, like, solidly 40-something, and I’m astounded by how young medical professionals are these days.)...
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Day Minus Seven

Today, my dad began his stem cell transplant process. Okay, I know a bunch of you are all, like, “Wait. What?”...
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On the Occasion of My 25th Wedding Anniversary

It was January 25, 1992. I was barely 21 years old, seven months away from receiving my bachelor’s degree, and, on that night, I was wearing an impossibly puffy, disastrously sparkly, stupidly expensive gown. I begged my bridesmaids to tell me jokes as they fussed with my gigantic hair and smoothed my over-indulgent train. “I’m going to throw up. I really, really am.”...
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Tequila and Amazing Grace

Although this story begins with a margarita and includes a scene in which I’m shaking uncontrollably on the floor of my parents’ powder room, it’s not actually about drinking too much. It’s important you know that right up front....
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I Don’t Care Who’s Sitting in the Oval Office

I had a rather large glass of wine last night while I was watching the election results roll in, and I fell asleep before the finale. I was awakened at 2:16 am by a text from my eldest daughter: “I don’t know if you’re up and saw the results of the election. Be careful going on social media tomorrow.” My youngest also texted me: “Why is he allowed to be the president, mom? I’m so scared.”...
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Sometimes, Quiet is Violent

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” – Martin Luther King, Jr. “Sometimes, quiet is violent.” – twenty one pilots So, here’s the thing: A few weeks ago, a Black friend of mine called...
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Training to Climb a Volcano

In March of 2009, I climbed an active volcano in Guatemala—Volcan Pacaya. Yes. Really. ...
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Uncomfortable

A few Sundays ago, my parents’ pastor offered me her pulpit. I hadn’t preached for more than a year, and because she said I could teach about “anything,” I leapt at the opportunity....
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Things I Thought I Might’ve Done By Now

As many of you are (painfully) aware, I’ve recently become an Empty Nester. Along with the expected emotional upheaval (I miss my kids a whole, whole lot), I’m working through some other garbage. Namely, I’ve reached the rather painful conclusion that my life is half over, and (aside from rearing two dynamite young people) I haven’t done a damn thing with it....
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I Need to Talk to You About My Car

All right, here’s the deal: I drive an Audi TT convertible. Given that I’m sort of a loudmouth about poverty and privilege and materialism and minimalism, that may seem a little hypocritical. So before you go all TMZ on me and hire someone with a drone to scope out my (non-existent) multi-million-dollar ranch, I want you to know something about my mid-life-crisis-mobile: Jack talked me into it....
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Turn, Turn, Turn

It’s August 1, 2016. Otherwise known as the first day of the month in which I become an Empty Nester. A couple of weeks ago, an older couple came into the shop where I volunteer. (They were actually about my age, but whatever, okay? Just whatever.) As I was ringing up their cranberry orange cinnamon rolls, we began small-talking about kids, and when I mentioned that my youngest is heading off to college in the fall, they were...
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And Also

Yesterday, I wrote this post: A List of People Who Are Human Beings in No Particular Order.  I wrote it in 10 minutes. I know it’s a hot mess in spots. I also know it’s incomplete in a lot of ways—and I want to correct a piece of that tonight....
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A List of People Who are Human Beings in No Particular Order

A baby taking its first breath. A momma who chose not to carry her baby to term. The nurse who assisted with the procedure. The pastor holding a condemning sign outside the clinic. The man forcing his girlfriend to stay in the waiting room....
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Area of Refuge

Hi. It’s Kelley. It’s been more than two months since my last confession post. The last few weeks, I’ve been wholly self-absorbed. My youngest squirrel graduated from high school. We sold one house and bought another (much smaller) one. We discovered none of our furniture would fit in the new place, so we spent hours shopping for a bunch of new stuff (which is not nearly as fun as it sounds) (first-world problems)....
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Queer

estimated read time: I brag about my kids on Facebook. Over the past several weeks, I’ve posted many, many times about my high school senior, Bekah. Yesterday, in my ongoing attempt to dispel my kids’ assertion that I have a favorite child, I posted about my college sophomore, Emily. I mentioned how smart she is. I mentioned how much she’s learning and, consequently, teaching me. I mentioned that she’s a queer woman....
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I’m a Blogger Who Does Not Blog

estimated read time:  Oh my gosh, you guys, I’m a blogger who, apparently, does not blog. But I can’t not write today, so here are four things I have to say:...
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Mouse

estimated read time: Saturday  I’m getting in my car to take it to Firestone for an oil change. Jack’s planning to follow me so I have a ride home. Me (as I walk past my car): Hey, Jack? Any chance there could be a mouse in my car?...
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Food

estimated read time: It took me eight years, but I finally did it: I gained back every pound I lost. All 30 of them....
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South

estimated reading time: She was sitting on the shoulder of an I-70 west on-ramp, holding a sign that read, “SOUTH.” She was wearing plastic sunglasses and a hoodie, and to her left was a collection of 11 or 12 suitcases and duffle bags. As Launa and I passed by her, we talked for a moment about going back to let the woman know she was sitting in the wrong spot to go south, and we marveled about all of her bags, and we wondered who...
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A Birthday Party at a Homeless Shelter

estimated read time: I’ve been arguing with myself all evening about writing this post. I’m always, always, always afraid of saying something stupid/offensive/ignorant, particularly when it comes to issues of social justice. But then I decided that if we don’t talk about stuff, nothing’s going to get better. So, here I am: Talking....
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Maybe It’s the Sunshine
(or Beauty in Four Movements)

estimated read time: I think I’ve told you this—or you’ve undoubtedly noticed: I’m the angsty sort. I get wound up about all sort of things—some worthy of the wind-up and some absolutely not. While I’m not ready to label myself a pessimist, I have to admit it’s been easier for me, lately, to see the yuck and the wrong and the not okay. But the last couple of days have been just… well, they’ve been pretty great. ...
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I’m Not an Idiot, and Neither Are You

estimated read time: It’s February—still nine months away from Election Day—and I’ve already started unfollowing people on Facebook.  I should back up. A few weeks ago, I had myself a bit of a moment and I unfriended more than 600 people on Facebook. Not unfollowed. Unfriended. ...
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On Being Counter-Cultural

estimated reading time: I’m frustrated these days. Okay, okay. I’m usually frustrated. But lately, I’m especially frustrated. There’s this preacher-guy named Michael Frost, whom I respect quite a lot. A couple of years ago, he lectured a room full of professional Christians about how we should be leading “questionable lives.” That is, if we’re truly following Jesus, our lives will look so completely bonkers to people around us that they’ll be asking us why we’re behaving so strangely. I’m talking about unreasonable generosity....
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Things That Happened Today

estimated read time: In case you’re curious what I’ve been up to today: I accidentally ordered and consumed 1/4 of a skinny vanilla latte before I remembered that I’ve quit caffeine cold turkey. I learned someone nominated Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize....
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For This First Day of February

estimated read time: Today, we’ll have plenty of opportunities to argue about any number of things:  guns, immigration, abortion, political candidates, the origins of poverty, same-sex marriage, health care, standardized testing, gender equality, Black Lives Matter, the economy, climate change, and more....
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A Man Standing Naked in the Middle of the Street

Note: A friend of a friend of a friend wrote this post on Facebook and it made its way to me. I reached out to the author, Dr. Timothy Huffman, and he graciously agreed to allow me to share it as a guest post here. Just so there’s no confusion: This is neither my experience nor my words; they’re Dr. Huffman’s. And they wrecked me in all the best ways. estimated read time: It’s Sunday...
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This Morning at The Bridge

estimated read time: I might’ve talked about this before. If I have, I apologize. Actually, you know what? I take that back. I’m not at all sorry. Somehow, this conversation seems to be dying, and that’s just not okay....
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A Monday Morning Paradigm Shift

estimated read time: I learned a new word this morning. pedant: a person who annoys other people by correcting small errors and giving too much attention to minor details Oh. You mean, my openly hostile response to the disappearance of the Oxford comma isn’t charming? My habit of editing billboards aloud on road trips isn’t adorable? My propensity to rearrange sentences beyond all reason to avoid ending them with a preposition isn’t brave and pure?...
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Well, That’s an Odd Place for a Life Lesson

estimated read time:  Over the weekend, Jack and I made a tiny bit of progress on our journey toward Less by wandering around the metro St. Louis area looking for our new home. We’re not picky—we simply need a place that: isn’t a ranch-style but still has a bedroom and full bathroom on the main level has dormers is no more than 1000 sq. ft. sits on at least 1/2 acre doesn’t require a septic tank, propane...
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One Word

estimated read time:  It’s 10:49 am on January 1, 2016. To my right is a stadium cup from Shakespeare’s Pizza, half-full of a home-made smoothie: frozen berries, a banana, almond milk, a handful of spinach, and a scoop of protein powder. It’s not my best effort; it’s a lovely shade of lavender, but I used too much of an under-ripe banana, the berries were freezer-burned, and the consistency is all kindsa wrong. Still, it’s preventing me from...
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Fourteen Things

estimated read time:  Sorry I’ve been a way for a bit. To catch you up, I present 14 things that’ve happened since we last spoke: December 14. Participated in a tree-trimming party for Bre, a HomeFirst STL client and Bridge Bread baker. It was the first Christmas tree she’d had in 10 years. It was a sacred evening. December 15. Sent a rather frantic email to the Saint Louis Zoo to find out whatintheheck they’d done with my daughter’s Christmas...
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A Jar of Peanut Butter in a Box

estimated read time:  It was cold that night, and we were giving out donated socks and gloves, water bottles and fruit. Dim light from one, tired streetlamp puddled in the deep cracks and potholes around us. We stood silently, watching the door of the dilapidated warehouse across the street; we’d been warned it could contain “trouble.” (Of what sort we were left to imagine.) We were waiting for permission to walk around the building and into the back parking area,...
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Paying Attention

Today, I’d planned to engage in my every-once-in-a-while practice of playing ostrich—sticking my head in the sand, pretending everything is just fine, and writing about something light and fluffy and fun. But then, quite out of nowhere, it dawned on me that my cousin and her husband are Muslim. I confess that I don’t know E— well; I was an Air Force brat, moved around all the time, and can count on one hand the number of...
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My Stupid Mouth

There’s a scene in You’ve Got Mail in which Meg Ryan’s character has what she calls a “breakthrough moment.” “For the first time in my life, when confronted with a horrible, insensitive person, I knew exactly what I wanted to say, and I said it.” But then later in the film, she makes a confession: “… of course, afterwards, I felt terrible… I was cruel, and I’m never cruel. No matter what he’s done to me,...
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Dear Mr. Trump, Part 2

Just in case y’all are wondering how I’m doing with the whole “feeling sorry for Mr. Trump” thing. . .  Dear Mr. Trump, Remember me? I wrote you a kinda-sorta nice letter a few days ago. Yeah, so this one’s not so nice. Some people are wondering if the Democrats hired you to make the Republicans look bad. If that’s true, I commend you: you’re doing a fine job. If it’s not true—if the opinions and ideas you’re spouting are actually real—I beg...
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Dear Mr. Trump

I’m not exactly a fan of Donald Trump. But this week, I’ve been seized by the notion that I don’t get to pick and choose whom I love. It’s easy for me to rant about how we should be caring for the poor and marginalized, but the truth is we should be caring for the wealthy and those in the spotlight as well. That doesn’t feel as noble, but concerning myself with “noble” is a clear indicator that...
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