Posts by Kelsey

I’m in Urbana-Champaign all week

This morning while I ate breakfast a strange man walked by the cinnamon rolls wearing only boxers and a T-shirt.  I couldn’t help but stare. Part of me wanted to take a picture.  

Now, I’m really not into men in boxers. I thought maybe I just wasn’t seeing right, and that after a few cups of coffee maybe the site would make sense. We do live in an age of jeggings, skorts, and other portmanteau crossover fashions that a fella from Indiana just can’t quite understand.

But I suppose this is just a normal occurrence of dorm life in Allen Hall at the University of Illinois.

Still, I stared. Was he wearing…

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The Thank You notes that I carry & carry me

Last week I Skyped with a class at the Notre Dame Academy in Park Hills, Kentucky, that read WHERE AM I WEARING? I’m always happy to Skype with classes reading one of my books. I often do these Q&A sessions for $0, but payment comes in many forms.

Last night after returning from two days in Ferguson seeding a Facing Project, a package from the class was waiting on me. There were pajamas for the kids because I shared that each night after bath I have Harper check the made in label on her pajamas. There was a moleskine with an awesome quote followed by a message from Amanda Staggs, the class’s teacher.

 

Every gift was thought out and full of meaning. It’s…

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What the heck I’m talking about….

If you are wondering what it is that I talk about when I travel around corrupting folks from the stage, or if you’d like to invite me to speak at your event and want a better idea of what I talk about, this is for you!

Whether from the page or the stage, I’m addicted to telling stories. I’ve delivered way more than a hundred keynotes to audiences from 3 (I was related to two of them too!) to 7,000 (I don’t think I was related to anyone). I typically custom frame a talk to fit the audience, but I know that folks like to have a clearer idea of the…

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Harper at 2,190 days old

“It’s my birthday!” Harper announced in our bedroom at 2 AM.

Today Harper turns 6. And you gotta respect her enthusiasm for the day and for life in general. A month from now, I’ll be 36 (I’m Harper +30), and I’ll want to sleep in on my birthday

But I’m younger now than I was before she arrived.

I read children’s books about talking animals and magic. We’re also making our way through the Harry Potter series.

I color, still not very well. There is something really meditative about it.

We pick on Annie together.

We crack toot jokes more than we should.

We play hide and seek and tag.

We go on bike rides.

We giggle.

We sing duets from Frozen.

We have dance parties.

We play video games. About a year ago we started playing…

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Your Country Needs You to Study Abroad & Travel

This past Tuesday I had the best excuse to turn down any and all meeting requests.

“Sorry, I’ve got a meeting at the White House.”

The White House invited 100 travel bloggers to begin a dialog on how to increase the amount of students who study abroad. While 50% of students enter college with the desire to study abroad only 10% actually do. And of that 10% most are white and most go to Europe.

The administration made the case that getting Americans, especially young Americans, out into the world is a matter of national security and economic strength.

From Assistant Secretary Evan Ryan’s remarks:

“It is crucial for our country’s next generation of leaders to travel, live, work, intern or volunteer abroad in order to gain the skills needed to understand and operate…

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Grandma Betty is washing bananas in heaven

Betty holding our son Griffin.

Annie’s grandma, Betty Ludwick, recently passed away. She was 93.

She listened and she loved. She humbly led a life that led others to listen and love. If you spent five minutes with her, you felt like one of her grandchildren. That’s why I was so honored to read the tribute below written by Betty’s three granddaughters at her funeral.

Stephanie, Emily, and Annie did an amazing job writing this. It is touching and funny, and most of all it’s Betty. Even if you weren’t lucky enough to meet her, I think you’ll enjoy it.

In Memory of our Grandma, Betty Ludwick

March 10, 1921-November 13, 2014
By: Stephanie Pfefferkorn, Emily Taylor, and Annie Timmerman

If you knew…

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I met Temple Grandin!

My hair wasn’t brushed, neither were my teeth.

I wondered down zombie-like to the hotel’s continental breakfast. My eyes weren’t really working yet, but it wasn’t hard to discern that Temple Grandin was sitting in the lobby on the phone.

If you aren’t familiar with Temple Grandin, she’s sort of a patron saint of the autism community. Born with autism, Temple has been able to make an impact seeing the world from a different perspective. She was played by Claire Danes in a movie and is a rockstar speaker at events across the country.

SHE IS A BIG DEAL, especially to parents like me with a child on the autism spectrum.

I didn’t want to…

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The Gold Nugget in My Wallet

(This story originally appeared on the blog of the Indiana Authors Award.) 

I carry a gold nugget in my wallet. A slave owner in Burkina Faso gave it to me.

The bus ride that took me from Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou, ended at a flooded road and a trip in a tiny dugout canoe where the oarsman joked about crocodiles. From the canoe I got in a taxi that didn’t have brakes. The driver stopped the car using the “Fred Flintstone” method – sticking his foot out the door and dragging it along the road.

We arrived to the town of Poura, Burkina Faso, at dusk. There were no rooms to be had. The proprietor of the town’s only hotel had taken all of the keys with him on vacation. Fortunately,…

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Change Starts with a (Fair Trade) T-shirt: Nerding out over at prAna

Rocking my prAna Fair Trade T-Shirt at the Midwest Writer workshop. Apparently I’m about to drop an F-bomb.

 

This afternoon, I’m visiting Fair Trade USA’s headquarters, so I though I’d share the post I wrote for the clothing company prAna:

Change Starts With a T-shirt

The post covers how a T-shirt changed my life and how excited I am that Fair Trade certified clothing exists….

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Suit-Wearing Kelsey Says Stupid Things: My Evening at the Indiana Authors Award


The sun poured through the glass walls of the library and made me even more aware of the fact I was wearing a hot and itchy suit.

“Man this suit is hot,” I said to Jessica Brockmole, one of my fellow Emerging author finalists at the Indiana Authors Award. She socially appropriately acknowledged my statement.

And then I went on.

“I don’t normally wear suits. Actually, borrowed this one.” If only I had stopped there. “My suit doesn’t fit any more. I started doing CrossFit about a year ago and my butt got bigger.”

The more dressed up I get, the more socially awkward I become. It’s a law that is as true as gravity to me.

(In a suit at the wedding of a former…

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