Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Year in Review: Book Sytle

Another year has come to a close and I feel some sort of end of the year reflection is necessary. I almost feel like my year can be categorized by what state/country I was in at the time. Between my family of five we visited 6 countries and almost 15 different states. Wow! However to blog about our 2009 adventures seems a bit braggadocios despite most of our trips being academic.

My goal for 2009 was to read 13 books--one for each month and one more. It seems like a small number, but when your schedule already includes several literature classes it's hard to read for fun, too. The rule was if I was required to read a specific book it did not count but if I could read a book from a list or a book in a specific genre it did count.

Here are my books from the year and my thoughts on them:
1. Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
I opened it expecting a novel, and that's not what I got. However, it was a nice read while on a cruise. It definitely challenged me and I need to read it again.

2. She Said Yes by Misty Bernall
A simple novel written focused on Cassie Bernall, one of the students who died in the Columbine tragedy. Unlike most biographies of the dead (especially those written by parents), this one does not paint Cassie to be unrealistically perfect. Her mother depicts the mistakes they made as a family and mistakes Cassie made herself. Definitely a touching novel.

3. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
Randy Pausch taught American how to die. The end.

4. Me, Myself, and Bob by Phil Vischer
An inside look into Big Idea, the man and the company behind VeggieTales. It also shows flaws and shortcomings in addition to successes. Highly technical at times but very interesting. Did you know the original lyrics to "Where is my Hairbrush" was "Where is my razor" but they figured parents would not want their kids running around the house frantically searching for razors?

5. Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
Dan Brown is a fantastic story-teller, that is for sure. I read the book after seeing the movie, but, as always, the book is better. I also read this book in English while living in a Spanish-speaking country, so any story I could understand without trying was very welcome. Read it as fiction and it's fascinating.

6. Every Young Woman's Battle by Shannon Ethridge
Please don't let your daughters read this book. Highly graphic, incredibly biased, and very condemning, yet it was interesting.

7. My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
Yes, this novel made me cry. A well-written story of a girl with leukemia and her genetically designed sister conceived to be her donor. As a writer I am prone to guess the end of novels before I get there and this one I did not successfully guess. Definitely read but have tissues handy.

8. Faking Grace by Tamara Leigh
This one I did guess the end. A highly predictable Christian novel but still enjoyable.

9. Somebody Else's Daughter by Elizabeth Brundage
Don't waste your time. The dirt and grime covers up the story-line.

10. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
Wow! A retelling of the Biblical story of Hosea and grabs the hearts of female readers. Yes, I fell in love with a fictional character.

11. Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac
Interesting blend of Catholicism and Buddhism. This book challenged me a Christian, but I'm not a big fan of Kerouac because I don't think his novels have a plot and that annoys me.

12. Mistaken Identity by Newall, Colleen, and Whitney Cerak, and Don and Sue Van Ryn
Another heart-wrenching true story. Several college students are in a bad accident killing many of them. One survivor is slowly recovering and it is months before they realize she's being treated under a false name. A family who was grieving their daughter's death receives a midnight phone call announcing she is still alive while a family who has been sitting at their daughter's bedside for months watching her condition improve realize their daughter is dead and this is someone else's daughter. Oops and wow!

13. A Thousand Tomorrows by Karen Kinsbury
Check out the book review I wrote on this book for all of my thoughts. It's a story about how a girl with Cystic Fibrosis and a cowboy who struggles with abandonment put aside themselves and learn to love.

14. The Bible
For the first time in my life I read the entire Bible, and I did it in a year. If you don't have a copy, please go pick one up!

Happy reading!
<>< Katie
PS. Except for Angels and Demons, I own all of these books, so if you want to borrow one let me know.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bananas and Apples

This evening Mom and I were scrapbooking when she announced, "Dad says we're allowed to scrapbook until 6, then we're eating dinner and doing some sort of family something."
"He's bored."
"I asked that. He said he's not; he's avoiding work."
"Then I won't tell you it's currently 6:04, so we can keep scrapbooking until Dad notices."

Inside I was screaming, "MORE family activities?" We had family over from the time I went to bed yesterday! All of this just a few days after Marathon Christmas. Besides, we're partying with family again in two days for New Years. All we do is "family somethings."

We call ourselves the Banana Bunch. Every spring for probably the last ten years we've gone to visit my aunt and uncle in Florida. On their counter they always have a full bowl of bananas. Within two days of our arrival, all of the bananas are gone. Noticing this as they pack a lunch for the day in the morning, my aunt and uncle BOTH make special stops on the way home from work that day. Crud! Now there are two things of bananas. Not to fear; the Banana Bunch is here! Two days later, we're out of bananas again.

Well, we have recently put a new spin on our title. Our latest "family something" has been the Scrabble-like game Bananagrams. As with all of our other "family somethings" all five of us don't love the game. For some unknown reason dyslexics have this thing against playing word games with English majors. I'm sorry! I didn't ask for eloquence!

Deciding on "family something" has become a challenge. Someone refuses to watching House; someone else refuses to watch anything but House. Someone refuses to play Bananagrams, and someone else refuses to play Scattergories. That settles it! We have to play Apples to Apples.

Ladies and gennifers, the Banana Bunch is civily playing Apples to Apples. There is something wrong with this photo!?

<>< Kate

Persistence Pays Off

There almost was no blog today because I've been entertaining all day. The only time I've had to be alone is when I've snuck in to the den to play Bejeweled Blitz (Yes, I am addicted to that facebook game). That is... until everyone was fixing to leave and we had a very important moment.

Every time we say goodbye in my family we always end up wrestling. Yes, there are a few reminders of our latest line, "No time for the ER on Christmas." It's not Christmas anymore, folks. Punching, hitting, flicking, and karate chopping is all legal. Right after we hug, I become the recipient of one of these things from my uncle. The problem is that he forgets I'm a girl and hits just a little too hard. I cry, he tells me I need to work on my speed, I grab his hat and disappear until I'm ready to forgive him. Anywhere from 30 seconds to five minutes later (yes, this is all while we've got coats on and are saying goodbyes) I come back and return the hat; he hugs me again (without hurting me). I've gotten a lot of self-defense lessons while fighting back tears. This has been happening for years; it's normal.

Today when we hugged he was holding a few boxes for Ziploc bags. After the hug, he picked up one of the boxes and went to hit me on the shoulder. With my left hand I grabbed the box and with my right hand I stole his hat. We stood there staring at each other both in shock.

I did it! I finally did it! I don't have any idea how it happened but the persistence paid off! Yes, I'm going to toot my own horn with this blog, but you have no idea how big of a deal this is! For my entire life I've been playfully beat up as part of "good-bye," and I finally was able to stand my ground!

<>< Katie

Monday, December 28, 2009

Chilling Conversation

I wrote one of these awhile ago and everyone begged me to do another one. Well, they're incredibly difficult to write because they're very personal. This was yesterday morning when I returned to me seat following communion. I bowed my head and was hit in the face.
<>< Katie

Oh my gosh it's frigid in here! It's Christmastime; why is the air conditioner still on?
Hey, you're the smart one that sat in the same seat twice in one week. Didn't you learn on Christmas Eve?
I feel like I'm sitting in a wind tunnel!
At least you can feel.
Not helping.
I'm serious. Your friend with Lyme disease's body doesn't control temperature correctly. Yours does.
But I'm always cold. I'm already wearing a sweater and long pants. I can't put much more on.
You have a coat.
Then it won't do me an good when I go outside. Have You noticed it's 16 degrees outside, Mr. I Control the Weather?
I have noticed.
Did You also notice I don't have any gloves?
You have gloves.
No, I don't! They're at home in the dryer because they were germy. What a day to wash my gloves!
That's My point. You have gloves... a plethora of gloves. A red pair in your peacoat, a blue pair that belong in Wonder Jacket but are in the dryer right now, a purple pair for texting, a black pair for skiing... Katie, you even have a pair of gloves you wear around the house.
But my hands are still chapped and cracked. All of those gloves aren't doing me any good right now!
But you have gloves. Remember the mitten tree in the atrium? Those kids are getting their one and only pair of gloves.
The mitten tree! That's a good idea! Maybe I'll borrow a pair for the day.
I can turn up the AC if you'd like.
No, thanks. Heat would be nice right about now.
Not until you realize what you do have... a working body--
Minus the spontaneous bleeding of my hands.
You have gloves, your choice of jackets, and think about all of the miscellaneous items stored in Wonder Jacket.
There aren't any gloves in Wonder Jacket right now, I already looked.
No, they're not home being washed. Not because they were dirty but because you think they're full of germs.
They were!
Do you used the washing machine, which you have.
Having a washing machine isn't preventing me from turning into an ice cube right now. You know those cartoons were people are frozen in solid blocks of ice? That's what going to happen here today.
No, it won't. I'll make sure it doesn't happen, but I want you to forget about being cold and just listen. I know that's hard for you but try. For Me?
Ok... fine...

Sunday, December 27, 2009


I woke up the morning after Christmas to find my sisters and our family friend Evie watching a movie. I was disappointed they hadn't waited for me to watch it with them, but I figured I'd see it at a later point in time. Actually, it was one I wanted to add to my small collection of movies; I heard it was really good.

Several hours later the movie ended and they walked into the kitchen bewildered. I asked what they thought, and they were all very confused. Eventually they concurred they would not need to watch the movie again, had no idea what it was about, and wanted to watch the deleted scenes for clarification. Problem: there were no deleted scenes to be found.

I think we have a similar problem with life. We look at scenes, time spans, and sometimes even entire lives and are left bewildered. Are there some vital deleted scenes we missed? Always. Just like the movie director has a big picture in mind, God has a big picture in mind. Just like the movie viewer, we don't always get to see the big picture. Even at the end of the movie, or the end of life, we sit back to reflect and realize we're more confused than we were previously. It doesn't make sense.

However, I assure you that God's plan does make sense. We're just missing scenes. He has seen them, He knows the unmentioned details, He understands the purpose. Max Lucado says, "God not only knows your story, He wrote it." God not only knows the movie plot in your life, He wrote it. He didn't forget parts, eliminate vital scenes, or mess up lines... He just hasn't shown us the whole picture (even though we think we've seen it).

<>< Katie

Saturday, December 26, 2009

International Security

I had another blog in mind for today, a God-moment even, but it needs to be more developed first. Instead, I logged online and found an interesting article I'd like to talk about.|htmlws-main-n|dl1|link3|
Sorry, I don't know how to do the cool "click this link" thing... I can do it for my school/work blog on wordpress but not here).

That's right, they're changing airport security measures at least temporarily. When I first read the article, I was worried. They said no carry-ons in your lap when you're one-hour out from your destination. Um... my flight home is only two hours; you mean I'm going to sit there staring at the back of the seat in front of me for half of that time? I think not. No electronic devices I can handle. While I can't handle words in the car, the motion from planes doesn't bother me, I'd much rather be reading or writing than staring at the stranger sitting next to me.

I then learned it's only international flights. While I've never flown through any of the cities mentioned in the article, I do have international flying stories that can tell, and I realize international airports have different rules and regulations.

In Central American countries, security measures are... well... a bit different. My friend had his wallet chain confiscated. This had not been a problem for him to and from Europe nor to Central America. We were amused the US didn't care about it but this country did.

Also, the 3-1-1 rule does not apply (3 ounce liquid, 1 quart size bag, 1 traveler). Even though it was under 3 ounces and in a Ziploc bag, they took my hand sanitizer. I didn't understand, and the security guard felt the need to attempt to explain it to me in very broken English (I am an American but that doesn't mean I'm ignorant; I do speak Spanish). What I finally understood is that they had to take it because it has alcohol in it. I worked really hard to not laugh as I assured him I would NOT be drinking my hand sanitizer. He took it anyway and I was glad this was on the return trip. He didn't care about my one-liter bottle of water, though.

If you've been in an airport in the US you've heard the woman say, "Items purchased beyond the security check point may be carried on to the aircraft." This seems really weird, right? Well, in Central America, items purchases beyond the security check-point may NOT be carried on-board the aircraft. They hand-check bags as you're boarding the plane and confiscate water bottles at this point in time. This was bad news for our team member with a kidney stone. Flying with a kidney stone isn't a good idea to begin with but to board a plane in a lesser-developed country with a kidney stone and no bottle of water is... well... let's just say EMS met the plane when we landed in the US.

I'm not saying one way is right while the other is wrong. I do prefer the US standards because I'm not forced to surrender my beloved hand sanitizer and then fly five hours without a bottle of water but that doesn't mean it's a better system.

Just something to ponder.
<>< Katie

Definition of Furniture 101

"Are the dogs allowed on the furniture?" Evie asked this afternoon.

"No! Why?" Grandpa responded. He pretends to not like the dogs, and when there are four of them running around I guess I can understand that.

"Well, Russell was on the sofa, and I didn't know... I'll tell him to get down next time," she explained, looking at me as if I should have known to shoo Russell off the couch.

"Oh, that don't matter. The dogs ain't allowed on the tree... the lamps... the tv... that kind of stuff," Grandpa told her and she and I both looked at each other and stifled laughs.

"But the couch don't matter?" She asked.

"Nah. That couch ain't furniture," he clarified.

Charlie Brown Christmas trees are furniture.
Lamps are furniture.
TVs are furniture.
A couch is not furniture.

Thanks for clarifying, Grandpa.
<>< Katie

Friday, December 25, 2009

Swiming Cat

She had eight dollars in her wallet as she boarded the plane that would take her back to the farm for the first time in eleven months.

Sounds like a very cliche opening line to a novel, right? Nope. Just my life. It wasn't really intentional that I hadn't been to the farm in ten months; it just kind of happened that way. When someone brought it to my attention that I hadn't been out here in almost a year I didn't believe her, but it's true. As for the eight dollars... I am a college student.

Even though it's been almost a year since I've been out to my grandparents' "farm" some things just don't change.

This was a story Grandma shared with us for the first time today; it happened about two years ago.

Grandma and Grandpa discovered some abandoned kittens in their barn, so my grandparents adopted them and raised these kittens in the house. Apparently they were so small they were bottle fed and needed help pooping (insert countless dirty jokes here). I would like to add that having kittens in the kitchen is not bizarre at my grandparents' house... pigs, chickens, dogs, cats, people, are all welcome around this table. One of the black and white kittens escaped from the box on the kitchen table, jumped onto the chair, and then on to a towel before Grandma could grab him. Well, the towel was covering a huge bucket of Grandpa's fermenting home-made wine. This poor little kitten was swimming in home-made wine. Eventually he escaped and began running across the kitchen. Grandma grabbed the now-pink kitten, rinsed him off in the sink, and hoped Grandpa wouldn't come in before she got the mess cleaned up. Luckily, Grandpa stayed outside and no one witnessed this hilarious event.

Now the home-made wine is gone and no one died from it, so Grandma had to get this off of her chest. She carried this hilarious story inside herself for two years without telling a soul. Haha!

<>< Katie

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Hope, Pray, Wish

I didn't come up with this idea but rather stole it from another blog I read.

Hope, Pray, Wish

I hope you all have a blessed, healthy, and safe white Christmas. This is especially important for my family because it would be a significant first if we made it through Christmas without a glitch. Let's just say we're gotten really good at throwing flaming items into snowbanks, and we tease my sister that it isn't Christmas until she almost passes out. :-) However, we always have a good time, laugh a lot, and take a million photos enjoying each others' company.

I pray for those who aren't with their families this holiday. I am thankful we know if in all of our brouhaha we need emergency personnel they're on the other end of 9-1-1 ready to take our call, but this also means they are not celebrating with their families. Likewise, I pray for those who are fighting for our freedom both here and abroad. I pray for those too sick to enjoy today the way we think when we think of Christmas. I pray for those stranded both due to problematic travel plans and financial difficulties.

I wish for everyone to know the real reason to be joyful this Christmas season. It's not about the big man in red who magically squeezes down the chimney. It's not about the candy. It's not about the pretty lights outside. It's not about the gifts under the tree. It's about the Gift God gave when He sent His Son to leave the heavenly realms and become a baby. What a marvelous gift.

Every time I write "Hope, pray, wish" I have to think because it reminds me of "Tears, Hopes, and Promises" a wonderful Easter song that discusses how after Jesus died on Good Friday there were many tears, lost hopes, and broken promises. However, those of us who know the rest of the story know the tears became tears of joy, the hopes came to fruition, and the promises were fulfilled. May your Christmas be filled with hope, prayer, wishes, joyful tears, and promises.

I thank you for reading and I thank you for putting up with my grammar errors this blog. We're leaving in twenty minutes and my hair is still wet, but I had to post this before my Christmas got too wrapped up in the traditions and I hadn't taken a minute to remember the real reason we celebrate.

Merry Christmas, everyone!
<>< Katie

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Spider Web Sin

Both of these ideas are my Sunday School teacher Matt's, but they really stuck with me so I want to share them.

Have you ever walked through a spider web? What is your immediate reaction? Get the spider web off of you, right? What if we reacted to sin the same way we react to spider webs? What if the instant we sinned we tried to rid ourselves of it?

Cell Phone and Gloves

I'm looking through my blog and realize I have a lot of drafts that never got posted. Most of them I just published as they were and were recorded under the day written. This one I rewrote, so I put it on a new day. This happened sometime during the past semester:

Last night, I walked up to order my food and the woman behind the counter was texting... with her gloves on... I made my order, she reached for my pizza, and I added, "And I'd like you to change your gloves before you make it, please. Sorry." Her face changed and she looked at her coworker as if to say, "Did you hear that?"

I felt rude, yet not sorry. If it happened again, I'd do the same thing, and here's why:
1. She should not be texting a work.
2. If she must text behind the counter, her gloves should have been removed. I've always learned that when gloves are on you are committed to what you are doing and nothing else. If you do something else, change your gloves. It's not that hard.
3. Cell phones are among the germiest things on the planet.

I shared this story with my surrogate family because Ruth is more outspoken than I am and she would have had no problem asking the woman to change her gloves. Yes, Ruth definitely agreed with me. My brother Andy, looked and me and said, "That's awful!" I like to think my eyes got huge when he said that because he kind of backpeddled realizing how that could have been interpreted. He then added, "That she did that, I mean; you were in the right."

Why does the right still feel wrong? What would you have done? Sometimes God tells us to do something that is right but it still feels wrong.

What would you have done in the dirty glove situation?
<>< Katie

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New Year, New Plan

When I look back at my blogs for the past year, I realize I've been a pretty bad blogger. The highest number of posts I've had in a single month is nine. That's not a pretty number. I keep saying I'm going to do better and that doesn't happen, so here's my plan:

For the rest of Christmas break I'm going to try and post daily. As I get back into the brouhaha of school I'll return to my poorly-kept every other day rotation. Some of these blogs will be God moments but some will just be funny stories and you'll have to find your own spiritual connection. I'm also going to try to resurrect the Birthday Blog idea (I know, Melissa, you never got yours; I haven't forgotten). I'll also write about whatever else is on my mind: dreams, book reviews, old memories, and maybe--if you're really nice to me--you'll get blips from the story I've been working on for years (but no promises). Even though my psych class is over I'm going to keep working on my project to minimize the complaining, so I'm going to try to avoid "people are basically stupid" blogs. I also don't want you to hear the play-by-play of my day because, frankly, no one cares that I ate peanut butter on my breakfast bagel today instead of my normal extra cream cheese. Oh, and sometimes I think in Spanish and sometimes I think in sign language, so I apologize if you need to learn both of those in order to read this blog. Be multilingual. It's fun. I'll try to keep it mostly in English but sometimes I just can't help myself.

With that said, I need your help. It's really discouraging to look back and my blog and see "0 comments," "0 comments," "0 comments." It makes me wonder if I'm talking to myself or if people actually read this. Do me a favor and if you take the time to read it, take the time to let me know you're read it. I don't care if your comment is a, "I read this post," "Good," "That doesn't make sense," or even "Grammar mistake here" if you must. Please just let me know I am actually writing for an audience and not just for myself. I'd appreciate that a lot. Thanks!

This is me being vulnerable, please be nice.
<>< Katie

Monday, December 21, 2009

What is Worship

I'm scrapbooking my Guatemala trip right now, and I realized I never blogged much about it (see March and April for the few stories I shared). This is an excerpt of my journal from March regarding a lesson I learned again in July and again last week. I guess we could call this my theme for the year since apparently I haven't fully grasped it yet. This was our last night in Guatemala after we'd said good-bye to the children:

"In group devotion, we read Psalm 139. It was perfect for our saddened hearts after saying 'Good-bye.' We also sang a few songs (in English). I did sing for awhile* otherwise I didn't focus. I always feel weird not singing. I feel like I'm not focused/ unenthusiastic, etc. I think that's because I judge those who aren't singing. Another thing I've learned on this trip: it's ok to be silent and listen. That sounds like something I've been taught again and again, but it was reinforced today. Singing your heart out and praising God with your hands is not the only way to worship. It is just as much worship if you sit still and allow Him to move. It's worship by looking at His beautiful creation. Worship is painting a building. Worship is tediously cleaning a paint tray... twice. Worship is everything you do if you do it for God and to the best of your ability. Worship is sitting around a cement table with a few friends, freezing cold, looking at the starts, being amazed by the city/ mountain views, and reminiscing about the week."

<>< Katie

*This was during the time when I was forbidden to sing and sign. Click here for the full story.

False yet true?

Two blogs in two days? Wow! It must be Christmas break. :-) This one doesn't make much sense, but I've been mulling over it all day, so I have to post it.

Whenever I finish a blog and don't close the tab on my internet, the name of the blog appears followed by that post title. Since my blog is boring and just my name, it's my name followed by the title of my newest blog. Last night, it read:
Katie: Perfect.

That caught my eye. Katie: Perfect. No, no, no. Not in the slightest. No perfection here... remember the Rudolph nose and chapped hands I mentioned yesterday? Have you heard about how I learned campfires make bad sit-upons but leave great imperfections? Perfectly-shaped bodies fit perfectly into clothes, right? Then clearly I don't cut it. And there I go complaining again. Complaining, point out others' faults, and not giving the benefit of the doubt are things I do well. Plus, even though I'm an editor, I know it's only a matter of time before someone points out my own grammar mistakes.

Katie: Perfect
Definitely not.
Yet through Christ, I am made perfect. So are you.
Jesus the sinless positions Himself between you and the Father, so that God can look through Jesus-colored glasses and see us as sinless.
(Maybe that was confusing, but it makes a really pretty picture in my head.)

I hope you all have a perfect Christmas!
<>< Katie

PS: In case you are wondering, our self-decorating living room tree now has two red ornaments, a red and gold bow, and a silver tree-topper. Do you think it will be done in time for Christmas?

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I've been trying to figure out what to write about for this blog because I'm trying to be more regular in updating... these were some of my ideas:
- I could talk about how the 7 foot Christmas tree in my living room has only one ornament on it (it's red) because we lost interest after trees numbers one, two, and three.
- I could talk about wearing gloves to bed to protect my freezing cold hands with 100 little tiny paper cuts. Thank you, winter wonderland.
- I could tell how my sister thought I cut the grass yesterday (It's December and snowing, really, Tina?)
- I could talk about how annoyed I was this morning in church when everyone was texting, coddling babies, passing notes, or making faces at strangers across the sanctuary.
- I could explain how thrilled I am for the Christmas paparazzi later this week since I've got a beautiful new pimple on the end of my nose that makes me look like Rudolph and a grow-out line in my hair that is phenomenal. (I stopped dressing up for Halloween when I went to college, but I might take up dressing up for Christmas...)

Except most of those include some sort of complaining, and I'm really trying to work on that...

Or I could tell you about the some inspiration I recently received.

I had the amazing opportunity to hear Peder Eide talk about Christmas. He said something that really struck me, and I've been mulling over it ever since. He said God made a plan to save the world and it went off without a hitch. God's plan worked, and it worked the first time.

Does ANYTHING we do happen on the first time? This very sentence I've recrafted three or four times. Even the simple activities sometimes take two tries.

Yet, Jesus doesn't have a Plan B. Plan A worked and it worked perfectly. The census, the manger, the shepherds, the virgin birth, all worked perfectly.

Wow. What a perfect surprise.

Peder ended his Christmas devotion with a prayer as possibly prayed by several people vital to the Christmas story. Will you combine them and make this your prayer?
"No matter what people think or say, or even it works out completely different than I planned (Joseph). It’s all about You God (Angels). Give me more passion for what You want, logical or not. (Shepherds). Do with me as You will! (Mary)"

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!
<>< Katie

Friday, December 18, 2009

God Speaks Through a Wal-Mart Commerical

I might have just seen my favorite commercial ever.

A mom is turning off the lights on her way to bed, and she goes around the Christmas tree to find her young son hiding with a toy guy and a rope.
"What are you doing, Samuel?"
"Shhh! I'm going to catch Santa," he explains.
"What are you going to do with the rope?" She inquires.
"Tie him to the Christmas tree," he says nonchalantly.
"Honey, you can't even tie your shoes," she reminds him compassionately.
"Go to bed, Mom," he says seriously.

This kid is serious about capturing Santa and tying him to the tree. He's not even concerned with simple logistics. He is determined to catch Santa.

What if we had the same determination to fulfil God's wishes. He can worry about logistics and we just sit waiting with the rope telling any skeptics to go to bed.

Maybe the commercial isn't great for Wal-mart (because you don' know who the ad is for until beyond this scene), but it is great for God moments.

<>< Katie
PS: If you want to watch the commercial, here it is:

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Is it too late?

In high school, I remember a friend of mine sharing how she'd gotten a ride home from someone who had admitted a fear of dying. When my friend shared this, with our prayer circle, the adult leader was excited for her. "How perfect!" He exclaimed, "What an amazing opportunity to share the Gospel. How did you respond?" The truth is, my friend didn't respond. She fell silent and let the other person talk.

Well, today--probably 5 or 6 years later--I was talking to this friend again and this incident came up. She admitted it was something she had always regretted, so she stopped regretting and did something about it. She decided she would send the other girl a facebook message regarding their conversation in the car 6 years ago. Well, days turned to weeks and weeks turned to months and she hadn't sent the message yet. It was as if God told her, "Stop putting this off! Stop putting Me off!" That very night (at 1 am) she wrote a facebook message explaining how we don't need to be fearful of dying because Jesus died for us. She said she doesn't remember what she said, meaning she didn't write it; God did.

I'd be taking creative liberties if I said the girl confessed her sins, accepted Jesus that second, and died the next day. No, instead my friend has heard nothing. And she doesn't expect to, but the funny thing is that she's ok with that.

It's only ok to accept silence after you've done what God has asked you to do. Don't be silent until then. Don't spend 5 or 6 years regretting being silent. Do something about it. Do it now.

<>< Katie

Friday, December 11, 2009

Are you thinking?

Papers are written. Exams are taken. Grades are being turned in. Life is good. Time to head home!

Going to school a million miles away from home has made me a frequent flier. I think in terms of flights and never put anything I can't take on an airplane in my purse for fear that it won't leave before I fly next and therefore will be confiscated. I store my 3oz liquids in quart-sized Ziploc bags. Flying is the story of my life. This year alone I've flown 15 times (not counting lay-overs). I'm pretty sure that qualifies me as being able to go through the expert traveler line at security.

Well, today I flew on autopilot (pun unintended). I went through security, took of my shoes, pulled out my bag of liquids, arranged my bags in order so that it's easiest to pick them up on the other side, and walked through the metal detector. This no longer worries me. I've been selected for extra screening in the past; I've got nothing to hide therefore don't mind the magic wand. Today, I made it through and was waiting for my bags when I heard it, "Bag check!" Crap. It's mine. "Laptop!" CRAP! How often do I fly? When is the last time I flew? Not really a big deal, they pulled my laptop out and run the bag through again, but I felt like an idiot. I should know better. I think I forgot I had it with me because last time I flew (two weeks ago) I didn't bring it.

Just wait, it gets better.

I realize I'm halfway through the concourse before I even bothered to look at the monitor to see where my gate was located. Thank goodness I was headed in the right direction. I buy my customary bottle of water and something to snack on (I can almost never eat on "airplane days"...I've come to accept it rather than fight it), take a seat at the gate, and start to read. I pondered briefly if my bag would fit in the overhead compartment. No, it won't. Sadness! Gate check. See you at baggage claim, wonderful blue bag I carry-on so as not to have to wait at baggage claim... They began boarding the flight, so I walked up with my ticket in hand and was halfway through the tunnel before I realized I didn't know what zone I was sitting in. I knew my seat assignment, but they load by zones, so I shouldn't be allowed to board the plane until my zone is called. I definitely think I boarded with the "Parents with small children, and people needing extra time or assistance." Oops. In my defense, I think they might have called, "Gold, Silver, and Preferred customers" which IS me, but I couldn't prove that. Oh, well.

Sometimes when we do something so often it becomes ritual. What once was so important it was the only thing you could focus on for days has become so mundane that it barely crosses your mind. Pay attention when you do something ritual because otherwise you miss important steps. Ask yourself why you're going to church today and be sure you know what the pastor discussed. Don't simply read your Bible because it's what you do every morning but take a look at what the words actually say. Think. Don't just do.

Oh, I did make it home safely, picked up my bag, and headed out to the car when it hit me. It hit like knives piercing through my skin. Ladies and gentlemen, it is FIVE degrees Fahrenheit here. Welcome to Alaska, Katie. Merry Christmas!

<>< Katie

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Time Out

"STAY RIGHT THERE!" A voice approached me in the caf. It was my friend Jordan. He and I pass in the caf a lot more than we think, but we never see each other/ only see each other from a distance/ whatever. Well, this particular day, we caught each others' eye and knew a hug was about to come to fruition. He told me to stay put while he put away his dishes (who really wants to hug with dirty dishes in their hands?). Unfortunately, where he told me to stand was like the busiest section of the caf, so I moved towards the ice cream and waited in time out.

My friend Nikki lost her voice. She's really frustrated because she can't talk. Rather than partaking in the conversation, she's been forced to listen. In fact, whenever she does try and speak she either can't be heard or is just talked over. She's also been put in time out because she can't talk at a normal volume level.

It's finals time. That means my apartment is study central. Last night, we took a break and went for fast food dinner. The rule was that all homework needed to stop while we ate. We took a time out.

Take a time out. Maybe you don't have to stand by the ice cream. Maybe you don't need to be silent for the day. Maybe you don't even have to ban the books.

But take some time out of your busy day. How you spend it is your call but I think it's best to do borderline nothing. Sit in the peace and quiet and wait. Talk with some friends instead of racing from one activity to another. Be silent and wait before the Lord.

Psalm 46:10
"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

<>< Katie