Hi. I’m Chelsey.

I live in Jefferson City, Missouri with my v. handsome spouse, my wildly cool daughter, a moderately well-behaved Shiht-Poo named Popcorn, a chill Beta fish named M&Ms and an industrious bunch of composting worms who are all named Gary. I am a daydreamer, activist, clergyperson, writer, creative, and environmentalist. Though I could say some of these roles are professional, I’ve found that being professional is, well, boring. I much prefer the freedom that comes with being an amateur.

In my career, I have worked in a number of arenas, learning much from each experience. (If you like that sort of thing, you can see my CV here.) Past job titles include: Lead Pastor, Facilitator, Suicide Hotline Worker, Counselor, Editor, Waitress, Dental Website Copy Writer. But the real story is in the work, the relationships, the lessons, failures, stresses and revelations that have happened while I was busy working. The richness of that won’t fit on a resume. 

I launched Amateur Efforts in 2020. Wanting to focus less on institutional preservation and more on soul formation, I began working with individuals and groups to help them cultivate inner wisdom, identify values, and create practices that are unique, sustainable, and life-giving. It’s been a joyful journey that has lead me to work on behalf of organizations such as The Center for Courage and Renewal, Lexington Theological Seminary, and The Missouri Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, to name a few. Through this work, I also co-founded The Good Friday Collaborative.

But on the side, I kept feeding this hope/vision/dream I had to write. Along the way, I’ve received support, mentorship, and guidance through Orion Magazine, The Collegeville Institute, Bread Loaf Environmental Writers Conference, and the Ragdale Institute. Through experiences with other writers, workshops, and developing my writing practice, I am excited about my next chapter: as a candidate for a PhD in English Literature with a Creative Writing emphasis at the University of Missouri, beginning in 2023. What a ride.

The name Amateur Efforts was born during my college years. This was before I learned the concept of wabi-sabi and how to accept imperfection as a natural part of any process, be it in art or life. All my handmade cards or gifts were branded as “Amateur Efforts.” I even drew a crooked little star for a logo. It was an effort to signal that there should be no expectation of perfection, that the final product likely swerved heavily from the original concept, that while there was a lot of love in the offering, there might not be as much craftspersonship on display. As time went on, I learned to embrace how lived experience is often askew from our expectations. And I learned to love the joy in that slant.

In my life and work, I seek to walk the tightrope between the ridiculous and sublime. For example, I deeply enjoy fart jokes. I am also deeply attuned to the Divine. Sometimes the Divine can even be found in the fart jokes, and that is truly the best of all worlds.

Through the course of my life, I’ve been shaped by a global community of healers, activists, writers, thinkers, pastors, and revolutionaries who have each helped me to locate my soul and and have encouraged me to let it shine in the world. My work is to do the same for others. I am deeply influenced by non-violent teachings, contemplative spiritual practice and thought, ecologically-based spirituality, and the revolutionary power of interpersonal relationship.

I’m grateful that you’ve stumbled upon my little corner of the Internet. Consider this website an invitation to connect. Whether you’re looking for a spiritual companion, group facilitator, speaker, or just looking for kindred spirit, welcome. It’s an Amateur Effort, to be sure.

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