All posts by Kellie

About Kellie

(Blog Editor) lives way on the other side of the planet in her native Australia and gives thanks for the internet regularly. She loves books, her boys, panna cotta, collecting words, being a redhead and not putting things in order of importance when listing items. She credits writing at as a major contributing factor to surviving her life with sanity mostly intact, though her (in)sanity level is subject to change without warning.

Scarcity and Prayer

119HThe answer came as a little rectangle of paper, a few lines printed across it, nothing else. As answers to prayers went, I was decidedly underwhelmed.

I sighed, and scrunched my eyes a little tighter to squeeze whatever other clue out I could get.

A little piece of paper, some empty lines… and a smoothed lead pencil. Ah… recognition. In response, a blink type effect, then two names are there, carefully pressed into the paper. My ex-husband’s name, and his wife’s.

I am not a god of scarcity.

Huh. I ended my prayer and rolled into bed mulling the answer over like it was a loose tooth.

I’ve been wrecking myself against some significant decisions lately. I’ve had the stresses of starting a new job, beginning the second year of my degree, my youngest has started high school, and my oldest is in his final year. I’ve come home some nights late in the evening, to the assorted messes and heavy slumbering heat two teenagers can make, and wondered just what on earth I was trying to do with my life. Continue reading

Peculiar Treasures: The View From Here, There and Up Everywhere

Welcome to another week, and another delicious array of internet delicacies and substantial mindfulls to get you going.

Did you know yesterday was World Water Day? Do you like long showers? Check out how the two sentiments don’t cancel each other out.

What about the birth of a baby girl causing her Mum/Mom to realise “There is nothing fragile about feminine power” (and that those little baby hair clips are awesome)? In a similar fashion, Shannon Hale discusses the sexist double standard of children’s literature (big hint: children’s books are for children, not “just” boys or “just” girls).

Then this article discusses how to raise “joyful readers”, which ties beautifully into this gorgeous collection of beautiful libraries around the world.  If libraries aren’t your cup of architectural delight, what about these churches, shot to show their vertical splendour? (Warning, you may get a bit dizzy scrolling through, but it’s amazing).

I have to admit, some of those library and church ceilings and intricate corners made me wonder “Who cleans that? What name would the person responsible for the dusting and teams of workers?” Because recognising work is actually work is important, as this defender of the term “stay-at-home-Mom” passionately argues.

Motherhood is different for everyone, and this photographic essay captures work and motherhood in a graceful way, with many different ages and outfits.  There’s also success hidden in wrinkles and higher age brackets in this piece, as many phenomenal people show that success happens at all ages.

Discussion and contemplation don’t have a time limit either, with this writer sharing how she spoke of priesthood power while teaching a Primary class, and this piece in response to the first, disagreeing on several points while recognising the need “to be a part of the conversation” about revelation about the priesthood.

If Monday has brought some mortal coil dissatisfaction, why not consider your body to be not your masterpiece, but the paintbrush you use? And if you want a spirit animal to help you through the post-weekend clean up and carry on, what about this dog running the Iditarod blind?

Last of all, do you think happiness is being considered a virtue? And, by association, struggle as something of a failure or faith related deficit? This post has some definite food for thought, and also provides this week’s First Draft poetry, in providing a Found Poem (I think the first paragraph could be one too).

Walking in faith

through hard things,

while acknowledging they’re hard,

is beautiful.

There is a vulnerability in

taking off

the mask of positivity and

allowing yourself

to feel what you


The irony is, God knows anyway.

We’re only fooling


and each


Peculiar Treasures: Compass, shovel, digging in


Over here in Australia we’re slipping into Autumn, and over in America you’re losing an hour’s sleep and waiting for Spring…while we’re all waiting for the weather to change, let’s have a look at some peculiar treasures!

First up, there’s been discussion about kids having no moral compass. No, that kids have a moral compass but it’s broken. No, actually, kids have a moral compass it’s adults who are asking the wrong questions… Here’s the initial article arguing that kids aren’t being taught moral truths, just options, and a later piece disagreeing on multiple fronts.

Too much moral weight and argument too soon in the week? Have a piece of pay it forward pizza instead. Warm, stretchy fuzzies guaranteed. Then there’s an open letter to all (possibly lonely) Moms of older kids to boost and encourage you, and a glimpse into how a Mom helped save her daughter and their relationship through poetry.

Neil Gaiman has said thank you for all the fish (in a manner of speaking) to Douglas Adams, and this NPR interview with Modest Mouse discusses how a long process isn’t a bad thing when creating.

If you’d like something easy on the eyes, there’s findings that looking at art keeps you fit inside and out, and the man who makes art inside cliffs that you can wander around, on, under and through.

There have been many words added to the dictionary in recent years, but what about the surprising words that have been removed? Try your words with one of the most bookish spelling tests I’ve seen in years (examples feature Mr Darcy, vampires and bookshelf organisation).

Finally, this week’s First Draft Poetry, a found poem crafted by Sandra from the Modest Mouse interview, titled Strangers to Ourselves:

it’s not a race

to have something to say


needing time

to fill my head


try on a lot

in the interim


beekeeping, foraging

I spent time


In the woods in Oregon

It’s easy to lose track of time

Blood Isn’t Thicker Than Water

blood water

I donate blood. Not for money, not for a love of pincushions, but because I know it makes a difference. (The Australian Red Cross Blood Service also gives chocolate milk, juice and TimTams to donors afterwards, which is admittedly a sweet deal, but not my only consideration). Because I am such a fantastic bleeder, I now donate plasma – a component suspended in everyone’s blood that is literally liquid gold, precious and needed. The process is impressively simple: a needle into the vein, a tube from the needle to the centrifuge, the centrifuge spins when full, pushing the plasma into the waiting translucent bag.

Then, while I’m tucked up in a reclining chair, snuggled under a soft blanket, saline is mixed back with the remaining blood, and piped back into my arm. The cycle repeats three times, by the end of which I’ve read a good chunk of my book, have kicked back for about half an hour, and can see the sparkle and heft of 900 straw coloured millilitres (30 oz) waiting to be spun into saved lives.

Blood isn’t thicker than water. You need water for your blood to shove around your body, to be hydrated, to think clearly, to make it easier for your heart to actually beat and for your blood to move. The saline replaces the volume I lose in donating, and I’m always impressed at how faint a blush the tubing can hold, carrying my blood and salt water back to me, back to my heart. Salt water is just as important to your body as your blood is, and in my case today, I have extra salt water inside and out.

My grandfather is dying. Cancer is laying siege to his spine, attacking northwards and consolidating their sneaky outposts around his body. He went straight from diagnosis to palliative treatment, from normal routine to a hospital bed at home. This is not my Grandpa.

My Grandpa taught me about cryptic crosswords, introduced me to dry humour and quick witted conversation, and taught my seven year old self the complicated way to the local corner store to buy his morning paper (with 20 cents extra “in case you need it”). He bought me my first ever tape deck – a bronze brick of a single cassette player – for Christmas when I was twelve and told my parents to let me be so I could read. He and Grandma would argue over which of their families gave me my red hair, then each pull me aside later out of the other’s hearing to tell me it was their sister/aunt who also had red hair. “Red hair is in our family, Kel. Doesn’t matter where it came from exactly… But it came from my side…”

My Grandpa met me the week before a wedding. His son was marrying my Mum, and I was the orange haired, bobble-headed toddler that came as part of the package deal. I didn’t find out for decades that blood played no part in our relationship. Instead, I grew up confident I was his favourite and oldest grandchild, with no evidence to the contrary. Even when the truth was revealed to me ten years ago, and I broached it with Grandpa and ‘ma, they just said “We love you, so who cares?”

People care. Last week, after ten days of being softly and deliberately left out of the loop by those related “by blood”, I rang him.

“Who? Kel! Oh Kellie, how are you?” curled in my ear and eased the frostbite of fear. He knew me, was delighted to hear my voice, asked after my sons and my life. At different points in the conversation we each wheezed and rattled, but his love for me flowed through the line unchanged and unaffected by DNA strands and diagnoses, thicker than blood, more vital than water.

Blood isn’t thicker than water. You can’t live without either. Salt water of every kind is involved with all of us, in the families we choose, that we make, in the families and people that we lose. Some people give blood. Some people give love.

Blood isn’t thicker than water. The heart just wants to be full.

Which is thicker, blood or water? Why? 

Peculiar Treasure: Giving, Getting and Going

2015-02-Life-of-Pix-free-stock-photos-seaplane-lake-float-wild-Eli-SarpilaLet’s start the week with some giving, like the opportunity to give girls the feminine focussed support they need to attend school during their menstrual period. Then there’s the Kickstarter campaign for a movie about an Idahoan farm boy missionary and his companion, a Congalese revolutionary (screen writer and producer is Margaret Blair Young) and this article talks about the multiple whys behind the movie.

Then to getting: such as these authors getting to the finalist stages of the AML awards, and Oliver Sacks’ response to finding out he has terminal cancer. If you want to get prepared for Easter, how about having your own version of Lent? The piece gives suggestions that aren’t just about giving things up, but are about getting closer to the Saviour and out of our comfort zones and habits.

Finally, let’s get going! First, an interesting take on movement being in our DNA, and how we need as much a varied movement diet as a varied eaten diet. Then there’s the creator of the Zombies, Run! app, who worried she would be called fat after appearing in her Kickstarter video, and says brilliantly “I started to enjoy being in my body. I felt better. I felt good. It is a very different feeling to be in a fat body that is moving a lot to one that hardly moves at all. It feels like love. As simple and as joyful as that.”

Speaking of simple and joyful, read how a dropped cake brought Arlene and Alan Alda together, and watch a beluga whale be serenaded by a Mariachi band.

This week’s First Draft Poetry is by Melissa Y., inspired by the Lent article:

there are times
when I would like to mark
with the ash of last year’s
the tangible black
of crumbled palms
that promises a rising,

redemptive dust
on an empty vessel