Hi, Everyone! With Rene hosting the 2013 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration in Orlando, we wanted to try something a little different. We asked the moms and dads heading down to the conference May 9-12 to answer our Life Lessons questions with a Disney twist, of course. Like the GEMS they are, they took to the task. We will be running their answers in the regular Life Lessons slot. Oh, and don’t worry. You still have a chance to share. Just email Ella and she will get the information to you. Now, we present our Disney Social Media Mom of the day, Kelli.
Are you happy at the moment?
This is a tough one for me to answer. We’ve had a hard and disappointing few months and I’m coming out of a time of emotional trauma. It’s been kind of dark and foggy and I don’t think I could truthfully say I’m happy, but I’m hopeful for the future and I maintain a level of joy in the blessings of life.
If you could go back and say anything to your 16-year-old self now – what would it be?
Calm down. Life is exciting and there is so much joy to come. Embrace your gifts and don’t be afraid of them or ashamed of your talent. Stop worrying about your weight and about that boy you’ll never see again. Don’t think too highly of yourself or hold yourself in too low an opinion. And please, for the love of everything sacred, stop wearing oversized flannel shirts!
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?
That life doesn’t always turn out the way you planned and letting go of a dream is like burying a loved one. But even in the darkness, God is good and hope is not lost. There are always blessings waiting around the corner.
What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?
I just finished writing my first novel. I hope to see it published in the next 12 months.
What’s your secret to happiness?
I don’t think happiness is guaranteed nor do I expect to always feel happiness, but joy is always possible and I have a well spring of joy constantly bubbling thanks to God’s unending grace. I see Him in my husband’s love and support for me, I hear Him in the giggles of my children and I feel Him in the breeze of a warm, Florida day. If I stop to look around and listen, I can always find joy even if I can’t feel happiness.
What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?
Reading. I’m enamored with the written word and swept away by the fantasy of story.
What’s your biggest regret?
Not taking the opportunity to show love when the action of love was needed. And wearing oversized flannel shirts through most of my high school years.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?
That life is a gift and the things we have are not to be taken for granted. We are constantly working to teach our children to think of others before themselves – I’m constantly learning this lesson myself!
What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?
I fear failure and I fear success, which leaves me often paralyzed to chase after dreams. I’d really like to stop worrying so much and just embrace the gifts I have with confidence. I’m a work in progress…
Aside from motherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?
My novel. I spent twelve years researching, learning a second language, interviewing Soviet World War II veterans and pouring over history books to write that book. I wanted to give up so many times, but I didn’t and I’m really proud of the finished product.
Who is your favorite Disney princess and what has she taught you about parenting?
This question took me by surprise. I really had to think this through! I loved Merida for her spunk and I appreciated the mother-daughter dynamic of that movie. As a mother, I would like to learn to better listen to my children as they grow and help guide them toward the future that best suits them, not the future that best fits my own vision.
What ten words best describe you?
A writer who can’t find 10 words to describe herself – Ironic.
Wait…that was eleven words. Clearly I’m not good at answering this type of question. I texted my husband to ask him to help me with this, but all of his suggestions were inappropriate so I was stuck trying to come up with my own answer.
Kelli Stuart is a freelance writer and a mom of three who spends most of her days shuttling children from one event to another in her smokin’ hot minivan. In 2004 Kelli co-authored the book Dare 2B Wise with Joe White and shortly thereafter began heavily focusing on her own novel, a historical fiction story set in World War II Soviet Union, which she recently finished (and her family is thrilled because it means she’ll start cooking them dinner again). In 2008, Kelli discovered blogging when her youngest was a newborn and she needed a way to merge her love of writing with her life as a stay-at-home mom. She launched her site, Minivans Are Hot, as a way to write about the often baffling and hilarious business of being a mother knowing that if she didn’t laugh at life, she just might cry. In 2012, Kelli had the distinct privilege of traveling to Tanzania with Compassion International as one of their bloggers.
Kelli currently lives in Tampa, Florida where she tries hard to concentrate on balancing her love of writing with her desire to sit on the beach and read a good book. You can find her on Twitter @kellistuart and Facebook.
More from GEM:
Life Lessons: Krystyn (@seriouskrystyn)
Life Lessons: Jennifer Patrick