Beacon of Hope

Teyla was awake more than she was asleep last night. I woke up this morning with puffy eyes and a pound of cotton in my brain. Teyla was equally delightful. She woke up at 7:00 AM and started crying. No smiles, no coos, just wails.

Alrighty then.

Connor, Natalie and I managed to get ready for the day amid the screams. ("SHE'S HURTING MY EARS!" Connor shouted at one point, his hands firmly covering his own.) We left for school on time, which was an accomplishment. I tried to grab that small beacon of hope and hang on. I'm not a morning person in any sense of the word, but I hate starting my day with a thundercloud around my head.

I assumed Teyla, bless her poor exhausted soul, would fall into a sleep coma the second we hit the freeway. I assumed wrongly. She stayed awake. However, the screaming stopped.

Which is why I decided to drive straight to the polling center after we deposited Natalie in her classroom.

That's when the beacon of hope started to shine a little brighter.

It's a beautiful morning here in the Twin Cities. Normally, November is a bleak, gray, barren month. But this year, fall is refusing to succumb to winter's bullying ways. As I drove along my neighborhood streets, I saw trees still clothed in shades of gold, maroon and wine and bushes blazing with brilliant red. The grass is still green, if not growing. The sun is bright and warm. Our high today is 71 (which is about 25 degrees above normal).

I pulled into the Lutheran church where I would cast my vote, a freedom that was bought for me with much sweat and even more blood. Moms pushing strollers and elderly couples walking slowly and young men with scraggly beards mingled on the sidewalk. I parked the mini-van and joined the throngs. Despite the uncertainty about the economy and the angst about the direction of our country, the tone was decidedly expectant and proud. The red "I Voted" stickers were worn as badges of honor.

And that they are.

I have mixed feelings about politics. I have little faith in either party these days, nor do I believe that America is somehow close to God's heart because of the faith of some of our founding fathers. I think God is in perfect control of this world, no matter who is elected President tomorrow, and I have complete peace in that.

But I do love this country. Despite her many, many flaws, I believe she is among the best countries in the world. And that's why I was proud to vote this morning, proud to have my five-year-old son help me put my ballot in the ballot scanner, proud to have my baby daughter hugging my thigh as I exercised this precious freedom.

That beacon of hope shines brighter still.

Which is a good thing.

Because Teyla is crying in her bed right now, refusing to go down for her nap.


  1. What a fantastic, uplifting post to read today!

  2. This is a great post...very inspiring and very heart warming!

  3. I waited over an hour at our polling place. Surprisingly there was very little complaining. Hundreds of faces divided on the issues, yet united through the privilege we have to be heard.

  4. Kelly, Thanks for the uplifting post. I have to admit I have been really anxious today. I don't want to be and I know God is in control...something about the human in me I guess, or maybe the coffee. I am proud to have voted and I am proud to be an American as well. Thanks for the reminder!

  5. Such a great post...I think you and I were thinking the same thing today!

  6. They really are badges of honor. We honor the country that has been fought hard over, the freedoms we enjoy, and the people who have defended those freedoms by committing to vote. Thanks for posting, Kelly.

  7. Amen. Voting is indeed an honor.

    And Teyla is either 1) casting her own vote or 2) lamenting the results!

  8. Loved your description of the trees! Can't wait to see that down here...

  9. Great post! I do hope you get a little more sleep tonight! :)

  10. What a great way to look at being able to express ourselves...I see even Teyla is clinging to her right to freedom of speech (crying) this morning. :)

  11. I just have to stop and say that you are such an amazing writer!

    And I love your perspective. "I have little faith in either political party, nor do I believe that America is somehow close to God's heart because of the faith of some of our founding fathers."

    I just love that. I don't know how to express exactly why, but I sure do love it.

  12. Great post, Kelly. I'm thankful for your positive words today!

  13. I'm new to your blog....drifted over from 5 Minutes for Parenting. What you wrote is exactly what was in my heart. Hopefully you won't mind if I lurk frequently to see what other words of wisdom you share with the world.

  14. Well said. I've thought many times as I heard all the reports of early voting/registration-then-voting, etc. about how easily we take for granted the right and the privilege of voting.

  15. This was the #1 best written post I've read today (which covers at least 9 days of posts, as I am catching up). I only have 48 to go. :)

    You are not only the Queen of run-on sentences, you are the Queen of punch lines. I LOVE that.