The Wonder Years 1


Ever since I was a girl, I have always loved heading off on holidays. It often meant getting up early, climbing into the car with blankets and pillows (setting up the mobile bed well before mobile homes), and then driving into the morning light. I had three siblings and sometimes things were very tight in the back seat. I remember one holiday was a drive to Sydney in a Holden HG sedan. Complete with 4 kids in the back. And mum, dad and nanna on the front bench seat. It was a case of heading off on the open road. With the destination way ahead. And nothing to do but enjoy the scenery, the occasional conversation, and endless games of ‘I spy’. Too funny when you think there was no air conditioning, all luggage on a single roof rack (lost two suitcases before Kalgoorlie), and no backup plan. Just pack up and drive. We lived in the moment and experienced everything with passion, excitement and a cockeyed optimism.

Still wondering
I think those holidays remain with me. I still love to rise early in anticipation of a long drive. I love the twists and turns of the road. The overtaking traffic and the trucks hurtling pass in the opposite direction. The stops at the service stations for drinks and food that would never suit me in city slicker mode but fit so aptly in the front seat of a car.

There is a wonder to these days.

And it still shapes me. The not knowing it all. The waiting but with expectation and confidence that something is coming. I am definitely one for loving the journey over the destination. I see this outworked in my everyday approach to life. I love the long version of a story. The build-up to an event so much more than the event itself. The talk and discussion about philosophy and theology. I love the in-between when we are wondering how it could work and if it could work.

Allowing the stories to be told unfinished
And now with the Foxglove Project, a charity I lead supporting women and girl projects in the Developing World, I have just written the first book. It’s called Twenty Reasons to Believe. It shares some ideas around ‘good’ development and women helping themselves out of poverty, as well as telling the wonder-filled stories of 20 women.

It’s not an original idea I know. But I like to think the stories are different. They have not finished stories. Not all BIG stories of overcoming and winning. Sometimes they are tiny steps stories. Sometimes they are tottering steps whereby a woman is unsure if she can trust, what she so much wants to be true. And I for one find such beauty, such wonder in each of their tales. It’s not the end of the story. It’s the journey. The travel along the road in a slow car with the windows down and the sun shining brightly ahead. It will be a beautiful day. A wonderful day. And we are driving towards it.

About Kelley

Kelley is a speaker, author, overseas aid worker and perpetual student. She is passionate about women and gender issues, both in the local and international context, which underpins her enthusiasm for kinwomen and its contribution to women ‘living their finest life’. In 2014 Kelley completed a Masters in International and Community Development before establishing The Foxglove Project. Foxglove is a registered charity focused on supporting international development projects that are sustainable and driven by indigenous leadership. Kelley’s paid work requires her to travel extensively to evaluate and support projects supported by Australian funds. This experience and networking enables Foxglove to partner with outstanding overseas agencies delivering real opportunities for the poor and vulnerable to lead independent self-determined lives. Kelley combines these passions with a love of family and faith. Across more than 30 years of marriage, Kelley and her husband have worked through many of the challenges of building a relationship while raising three sons. Their boys have now finished high school changing the dynamics of family life and relationships. One of her great joys is sharing parenting lessons and learning from good and bad (sometimes disastrous) experiences. She uses humour and common sense to talk about the everyday challenges facing parents in today’s context.

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