Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I don't think I'll ever forget a simple breakfast (my breakfast, his lunch) I once had with a friend Kevin, commonly referred to as "Jesus Shoes."  I've blogged about this brunch before, but I'm going to do it again.  Kevin and I met at the toaster both anxiously awaiting our bagels.

"Where are you sitting?"  I asked. My bagel was done, and I didn't have a seat yet.
"With you," he said.  Kevin, a popular senior, could have sat anywhere, and he chose to sit with me, a sophomore.  That would have been enough to make my Saturday.  But God had greater things in mind for the day.  If I remember correctly, our conversation wasn't anything deep or life changing, just two siblings in Christ sharing life over bagels.  That is, until I became an obsessing perfectionist.

"It doesn't matter, Katie.  It only matters to One and His mind is made up."

I probably rolled my eyes.  While I wasn't happy to hear it, Jesus Shoes had a point (and an appropriate nickname).

Acceptance is something I really struggle with.  It's why I don't like sharing my fiction.  It's why I thrive on feedback (preferably positive, but I'm learning to appreciate negative, too).  It's why I make myself the third wheel.  I pull away before anyone has the opportunity to push me out.  I'm getting better, but it's a problem.

It's also what Neal spoke about last night.  After sharing parts of his experience in junior high, not unlike my middle school experiences, he went off on a slight tangent.  Neal's notorious for tangents but this was a really good one.  One I needed to hear and can be told again every day for the rest of my life.

"I don't know whose acceptance you're searching for but just stop because it's hopeless.  You're never going to obtain it and be satisfied.  You already have Jesus's so why are you still searching?  Is that person's acceptance more important than Jesus's?  You can't please them but you have already pleased Him and that's all that matters."

Sound familiar?

"It doesn't matter, Katie.  It only matters to One and His mind is already made-up."

Thanks for accepting my honesty.

Oh, and even though we're on a MWF schedule this week, out of reverence for Christ's death, there will be no new post on Friday.  It's coming on Saturday instead.  If you've never experienced a Good Friday service of darkness, I highly recommend it.  My prayer is that you see our Savior's death and resurrection in a new way this year.

With love,
<>< Katie

Amy: Guys, we're in a tornado warning; maybe we should seek cover.
Andy: Elizabeth and I have two blankets over here if you want one.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Nose Knows

It's happened.  I've been waiting patiently all semester and it has finally come to fruition.  A cold has taken up residence in my body and no amount of hand sanitizer, bottled water, or Zicam will be evicting my newest suitemate. Until it decides to leave on its own terms, I will be sanitizing everything I look at.

But you know what?  It's ok.  Don't get me wrong, breathing is really annoying right now, but if it's March and I just now got sick for the first time: it's been a good year!

The other day at sign choir practice, Lizzie and I got into each others' sign space.  Her hand got a little too close to my face.  If Malachi poking me in the nose made it bleed, Lizzie's fingers definitely would have come out covered in ... censored.  Ew gross!  Filter, Katie, filter. 

The sign Lizzie almost sent up my nose was "God."  Yes, Lizzie's God almost went up my nose.  Sometimes we need God to bloody our boogy nose before He gets our attention.  That shouldn't be the case but it is reality.  He shouldn't have to take such drastic measures before we give Him our undivided attention.  Yet we're too busy running around trying to stay healthy, be productive, and keep the peace that we don't find the time to thank Him for our health, work, and relationships.  We don't take a second and look for Him in those situations; we wait until He's taken drastic measures before we focus on Him.

Take a second and thank Him.  Ask Him to reveal Himself to you in a new way today.

As for me, I will do the same.  I'll also make sure I'm rexercising ("rest" and "exercise" combined) to make sure this cold doesn't apply to be my roommate for next year.  Oh, and since Zicam recalled their excellent up-the-nose product, I'll try to make sure the only thing headed up my nose is a tissue... and the occasional finger.  Kidding.  I think.

<>< Katie

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Be intentional

This semester, the theme on campus has kind of been "Be Intentional."  Be intentional in spending time with God.  Be intentional in your friendship.  Be intentional in sharing Christ.  Be intentional in loving others... It took on a whole new meaning for me tonight.

As part of the college ministry at my Baptist church, John, Keith, David, and I went out on Friday evening.  It was a little weird because I was the only female among three guys.  Before coming to college, my only brother was the tractor.  I didn't have a lot of male friends.  I was pretty much clueless as to how guys work.  Well, ok, I still am but I'm learning.  Last night was a nice challenge for me. 

Putt putt was fun.  I won!  I had the highest score!  Unlike in soccer (which I still call futbol), you can use anything and everything including my proper end of my golf club, the handle end of the club (like a pool cue), my feet, my hands, and even my mouth (I blew the fall into the hole).  Yes, I rock at mini golf!  However, I did have one advantage: the guys kept complaining about the nasty water/fish stench.  I grew up on the shore of a great lake... I smelt it but it didn't bother me.  :-) 

After mini golf, we went to the coffee shop and shared life.  All four of us are bloggers, students, and Christians, but that's about where the similarities end. Sure, we're less than ten years apart in age, but we're all at different stages in life.  The first time I ever worked with each of these guys individual, it was in various ministry settings.  I see them as wonderful men of God and in their presence I don't feel the need to constantly be concerned with my appearance (or anything else girls fret about in a co-ed environment).  Last night, we were each open with how we were doing academically and (more importantly) spiritually.  It was great to hear what God is doing in the lives of these gentlemen.  I know He's got great things in mind for them.

David, Keith, and I had each shared, and we were about ready to wrap up.  Keith looked at John, "And how are you doing?"  Keith and I are a lot alike--same double major, same germ-phobia, same thesis topic, same short attention span, etc.--but his conversation-starting ability is much better than mine.  Sometimes it's a simple, "How is Katie today?"  Other times, "What have you read lately?"  Or, my personal favorite yet the most intimidating, "How are you and God doing lately?"

I was not surprised when he turned John's question around back on John himself.  John, on the other than, was a little taken aback by it.

"You know, it's been a long time since someone has asked me that.  My pastor does periodically, but no one else.  Be aware of that if you go into ministry, no one asks how you're doing spiritually."

Eventually he gave us an answer, and we closed in prayer.  His words, however, stayed with me: no one ever asks you that once you become a minister.

Do me a favor, be intentional about making a moment to ask your pastor how he or she is doing.  If you're not comfortable with that, ask how you can pray for him/her most accurately.  Be sure you follow through with that prayer, too!  And follow up. 

Even if you don't have the opportunity to ask your pastor, be intentional about asking someone.

Let me ask you: how are you and God doing?  How can I most accurately pray for you?  If you don't want to comment publically, pull me aside in the caf, send me an email, do something.  I'd love to hear about what God is doing in your life and where you need some extra prayer.

Learning to be intentional and how to play mini golf,
<>< Katie

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Burnt Popcorn

This week in my creative writing class we're been discussing point of view (pov) and tense. Personally, it's a bit basic because I know my preferred pov and tense.  I know that if I'm writing creative non-fiction it's almost always in past tense, first person. Sure, the first person protagonist isn't always me but it's how I tend to write. My fiction pov of choice is bit more complicated. Almost always third person but beyond that I cannot/could not be more specific. Last week, I would have said omniscient. This week I'm not so sure. Senior year in high school, a classmate read one my writing assignments and commented, "This is written in third person limited. That's what Mrs. Martin said was the hardest to write, wasn't it?" I took that as a complement but brushed it off because, well, he wasn't the best student in our class. I regret not going back and investigating whether he was right in his judgment or not because now I'm quite a ways into a novel and I realized it's the wrong point of view. Sure, some parts can stay but most of it needs major revisions. I have my work cut out for me, and I realize this four days after spring break. Oh snap.

As a class exercise, I've rewritten this same scene multiple times from multiple povs.
<>< Katie

I first knew Chuck was over when I noticed his car in the parking lot as I walked back to my apartment as I late after class on Monday night. This meant I would not be accomplishing much in the hour and a half I had left of my day.  As I walked up the stairs the smell of burnt popcorn was almost overwhelming. Of course, I wondered who did it, if the fire alarm had gone off, and how long the stench had had to clear. I turned the corner and had my answers before I pulled out my keys.

"Are we the ones who burnt the popcorn?" I asked as I walked through the open door.  Bad choice.  I regret opening my big mouth.  Clearly the answer was yes. As soon as I made it through the foyer I saw Mandy curled up in a chair, her face buried in her knees. Chuck knelt beside her trying--and failing miserable--to console her.

"I set the fire alarm off," Mandy said looking up at me. Mascara and tears seemed to be hosting a marathon on her cheeks.

"Let me put my stuff down and I'll give you a hug," I said doing just that.  When it comes to rectifying situations involving my roommates, a hug is always step one. Step two was biting my tongue and not complaining about the frigid temperature and awful odor.

"We were going to watch a movie, do you want to watch it, too?" Chuck offered.

Who could think about a movie at a time like that? Sir, your girlfriend is clearly upset, our apartment will soon reach subzero temperatures, and I doubt the aroma of burnt-popcorn will ever dissipate, I wanted to say, but I didn't. Instead I ignored him.

"I don't want to watch that movie now," Mandy confessed quietly. I went into the bathroom and grabbed the air freshener. I could still hear them talking in the kitchen.

"Where'd you find that?" Chuck asked when I returned armed with Oust.

"My secret stash," I said covering up the burnt popcorn with strawberries and cream.

"Heidi, I wish you'd have been here," Mandy cried.

"Me, too," I said hugging her again. It was only half of a lie. I would have rather been here with Mandy and her fire alarm than taking notes in class at 10pm. I wish I had been here for her sake, not my own.

"I was here," Chuck interjected. I smiled at him. He's trying; he really is.

"Everyone knew it was my fault. I forced everyone out of the building," she groaned. Even my story about Emily burning popcorn during business hours and forcing an administrative building to evacuate didn't really help. It was time for Plan B: comic relief.

"Did you try waving the towel in front of the smoke detector?" I asked; she nodded.

"As soon as we stopped the alarm went off. I thought about blocking the detector, but I didn't think that would work," Chuck explained.

"Have you used a wet towel to clear the smell?" They doubted it would be beneficial, but I wanted to try anyway. At the very least, it might cheer Mandy up a bit. I put a fresh towel under the faucet, rang it out, and began to swirl it above my head.

Success! Well, I don't know if it really helped with the smell, but Liz smiled. In fact, I think I heard a giggle! And right then, that giggle was more important to me than the overwhelming burnt popcorn smell. Mission accomplished, Heidi. Well done.

Oh, but next time I try to cheer someone up with the helicopter-like towel maneuver, I might remember to close the blinds first. I think we had an audience in the parking lot.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Book Review: June Bug

We've got a lot of bizarre rules in my house: no snacks after 4pm, no showers after 9pm, no talking about cars...  My least favorite is: no books on vacation.  Lucky for me, this rule is not strictly enforced.  This is especially lucky since the only fun reading I do during the school year is blogs.  Spring break seems to me to be the perfect time to catch up on all of the books I've purchased lately and haven't had the opportunity to open.

Although it was my most recent purchase, when I scanned my bookshelf prior to leaving on spring break, June Bug by Chris Fabry caught my eye.

The basic storyline is about a nine year old girl who lives in an RV traveling around the country with her "father".  They live out of Wal-mart parking lots which becomes a problem when their RV breaks down leaving them stranded in Colorado facing the possibility of having their "home" towed and empounded.  The whole book kind of left me with an "everything's going to turn out alright" feeling while I was reading, so I wasn't shocked when the protagonist and her father were saved from the jaws of a bad situation.

Aside from not having a mother, a steady income, and never knowing where she's going to wake up, June Bug's biggest problem is the fact that she spotted herself on the missing persons list in the Wal-mart vestibule. This leads to incessant questioning about her history.  Questions her father cannot (or will not) answer.  The story of her disappearance seven years earlier also re-surfaces and once again becomes national news. 

Farby shows the emotions and feelings of everyone involved in the situation especially the devistated family, the police officer leading the investigation, and June Bug.  One thing I found interesting in that the book is written from a third person perspective except for when June Bug is present.  If she's present, it's first person from her perspective.  This seems like a weird perspective-jump that would be criticized in my creative writing class.  I also wish he had perhaps used a different font or told you when she was telling the story of that chapter because it could be confusing.

I did buy this book at a Christian bookstore, but unlike most Christian novels God is not forced into the book.  Sure, He makes appearances but a little bit of editing and He could have been easily removed to make the novel "suitable for secular publications."  This thought, of course, left me pensive about God's placement in novels.  As a Christian and a writer, I like to think I would never write Him out just to please a publisher.  However, it makes me wonder if He has to be a character in everything I write.  These thoughts could lead to a whole different blog, but I'd love to hear your opinions.

This is another book that doesn't land on my "everyone must read" list, but it was not a waste of my time either.  Over all, I'd give it a four out of five.

<>< Katie

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring Break-ing

You know you're an out-of-state college student when you're hardly off the plane before being handed a list of appointments and interviews that fill your spring break. That's ok because once you wrestle with your two sisters for the one car you know these roads and can get to your destination without the GPS (named Goopus... it's "GPS" and "Doofus" combined). In fact, you know where the lanes end, the speed limit changes, and where the police officers hide.

One thing my family does together is watch House, MD. Dad and I started it, but my sisters have jumped on the bandwagon. I don't have time to watch during the semester, so I hadn't seen any episodes since I was home at Christmastime. One of the episodes we watched this week involved a woman who blogged literally everything. Even I'm not that bad! See, look. This is me sparing you every intricate detail of my spring break and summarizing it in ten highlights. (I'd also like to note that I don't actually post my blogs at 6:48am or whatever. I schedule their publication, so don't tell me my sleeping habits have changed so I can blog at 6am or something crazy like that...)

1. First and foremost, the term "spring break" is not at all what I have experienced. It's not a "break" when the first day you get to sleep in is the day before you go back.  It's not "spring" when you wake up that day to find three inches of snow on the ground. Don't get me wrong, we had some nice warm days, but silly me, I thought in spring the warm days were supposed to follow the snow not precede it.

2. Seeing my sister's college and eating the only pancakes and pasta for four days. The only person brave enough to venture from this strict diet found herself at urgent care with food poisoning. Oops.

3. Drinking ancient champagne with Christian in the church copy room. Don't worry, April was there, too.*

4. Some of our windows need to be replaced, so we're restaining the hardwood floor first... "if you give a mouse a cookie" style.

5. My first trip to the dentist in five years. It's really not that I have dentist-phobia but rather my mother has phone-call-making-phobia. I think it's a genetic condition.

6.Driving through the morning rush hour traffic for an internship interview at a downtown coffee shop.  However, it was an incredibly interesting, informative interview. The first of three that day.

7.My first pedicure ever. Enough said.

8. Translating at the food pantry and soup kitchen. A hard of hearing Hispanic woman told me (in English) that the first time she heard her family speaking Spanish she told them they sounded like a bunch of chickens. Love it!

9. Remembering that I live in a house where refrigerated black olives are guarded by rotten tomatoes and sometimes the toilet paper pukes cat food. Don't ask unless you really want to know!

10. Last but definitely not least was having the opportunity to read for fun! Gasp! What's that? Book review coming soon.

How was your break?
<>< Katie

* Christian's the pastor of an ancient inner-city church; April is his wife. No one knows where this champagne came from nor how old it is, so, no, we didn't actually drink it.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Words are my Friends

We interrupt this program to bring you some important information...
First off, I got sick of the dots.  What do you think of the new page?  I'm still not completely happy with it.
Secondly, I can't find spell check on this new blogger.  Five points if you can tell me where it is.
Thirdly, I had already written this blog when I heard this quote.  It needs to be shared.
"It doesn't matter what you've heard, impossible is not a word. It's just a reason for someone not to try." - Kutless in their song "What Faith Can Do"

And now back to your feature presentation...

I don't think I'm alone in this, but to me words have connections. Typically it's the first time I heard/understood them but it's also when a word is very well used that it forms an association in my brain.  Some of them were teacher-enforced (Prussia: big army), but most of them aren't.
Here are some examples:
  • "Gregarious" will forever be associated with my dad's friend Greg who kept talking, preventing Dad from helping me study for my 9th grade vocabulary test.
  • "Gumption" will always remind me of a homeless man requesting a fish sandwich.
  • "Vulnerable" always takes me back to 8th grade history when we were forced to memorize "Vulnerable: exposed or unprotected."
  • "Verbose" is my former headmaster.
  • "Vex" is what my flying monkey does to Bob.
Do you have words that are only associated with God?  Besides the typical church-y words like "holy" and "divine" I can't think of any off of the top of my head.  I'm sure there are some, so I'll keep thinking.

Some words have connections, and some people have favorite words.  We all know Melissa loves "plethora" and "fruition," but what about everyone else?  Personally, I'm always looking for a great excuse to use the word "brouhaha."  Mark (the mortician) loves the word "ointment."  Most of my school friends like to hear me say words like "Chicago" and "pansy" because they emphasize my accent.  Five points to anyone (who isn't Natalie) that can correctly use the word "perspicacity" without looking it up.  Do you have a favorite word?

The psalmist did.  In Psalm 75 he(?) admits God's name is his favorite word.

"We thank You, God, we thank You.  Your name is our favorite word, Your mighty works are all we talk about." (Ps. 75:1 MSG)

Does this verse ring true in your life?  Is God's Name your favorite word?  Is it even a part of your active vocabulary?  What is your favorite name for Him?

In my Bible (yes, the Message today, sorry) it doesn't say which name for God is used here.  My guess would be "Elohim."  Personally, that's not my favorite name for God.  I'm a bit partial to "Abba" or the Aramaic for "Daddy." 

Just like in different situations we need different words because of their associations and connotations, at different points in our life we need names for God.  What name do you need today?

<>< Katie

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Pageant Prayer

Remember from last week the Post-It notes in bathrooms and the idea that the strive for beauty should not consume your every being? I wish I could have printed that blog and have a handwritten Post-It to give to every girl in this hotel.

This past weekend my grandma, two aunts, mother, sister, and I had a Girls' Weekend. As we enjoyed our pasta dinner late on Saturday night, there were two tables occupied in the entire restaurant. Ours, the six of us in comfortable clothes, minimal make-up, and freshly pedicured toes. And theirs, the beauty queens dressed to the hilt competing in a teen pageant and their accompanying flamboyant male friends.

Despite both being tables primarily filled with women, there were striking differences between the two. We discussed frivolous things like butt germs, pit chips, the history of deodorant, and doofus-ness. They discussed important matters, reapplied make-up, and nodded politely to one another. We waiting patiently for the waitress before we ordered our traditional trip diet of pancakes and pasta; they chased her down before having a special request with every order. My grandmother chastised me for my poor posture and flat hair; every detail of these women was scrutinized.

Every time I glanced towards their table I saw the same thing: a plastered smile flanked by over-treated hair. However, in one girl in particular did not seem to follow the trend. Rather, beneath the layers of make-up, her face showed defeat, exhaustion, and sadness.

Excuse me, ma'am, I said to her in my head. Your fake-smile is accompanied by a deep sadness in your eyes. You're trying to hide it under all of those layers of make-up, but you're not successful.

In the conversation in my mind, the sad girl explained she'd just lost the tiara. It seemed plausible. Maybe she'd risked everything to be here once more before she out-grew the age bracket and led the stiff competition before losing the tiara at the last final moment. Except it led me to wonder if others were more successful in hiding behind their facades. Was it possible that all of these girls were screaming for help?

A few summers ago, I worked with several pageant girls. I heard them talk about the rigors of their chosen lifestyle. They eat, sleep, and breathe pageants; most of them love it. The strict diet, the close relationships with their tailor, and the drama all included. It blows my mind. Knowing how self-conscious I became merely sharing a hotel restaurant with these pageant people I cannot imagine the pressure required to sit at that table. Those high heels hurt my feet, and I’m not even wearing them.

That does not mean I look down my nose at them in disgust.

Pageant girls, I admire your dedication. Your willingness to sacrifice everything to fulfill a dream.

I want that.
Except I don’t want my goal to be a diamond-filled tiara. Rather, I want six simple words. “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

<>< Katie

PS: What's a Girls' Weekend without a good quote?
Grandma: These pancakes that look like eyes would be really good for if you have a hangover. You're eating breakfast, and they're staring back at you.
Aunt: Yeah, throw some tabasco sauce on them and it's like looking in a mirror!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Te Amo or Te Quiero

As per tradition, the night before a mission trip our friends gather on the floot and pray over those leaving.  Last year when I went to Guatemala, Amber prayed in ASL.  This year Amber was headed on an ASL mission trip, so I teased about praying in Spanish.  I wasn't actually prepared to do that, but I did end with some Spanish just for kicks and giggles.  I said, "Dios, Te amo" or "God, I love You."

Unlike in English, Spanish has multiple words for the word "love" and multiple ways to say, "I love you."  When I first learned how to say "I love you" the teacher taught me "te amo," but I've since learned it's an intimate love typically only used between husband and wife.  A better term to use on a daily basis is "te quiero" or more of a friendship love.  I'm slowly working "te amo" out of my vocabulary and felt dumb when I said it in our prayer.  Not really like Amber knew, but I knew I used the wrong type of love.

The more I was thinking about it, the more I decided I didn't actually mess it up.  I want to know Him in an intimate way.  I want to be able to say to Him "te amo."  Don't you?

Te quiero,
<>< Katie
PS. The last part of our mission trip tradition will come to fruition on Sunday when I return to campus and take a window marker to Amber's car... dun, dun, dun. :-)

Oh, and by the way, where's the spell check button on the new blogger?  Sorry!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Movie Review: Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium

It's not a big secret: I collect quotes. Silly quotes, serious quote, life-changing quotes, awkward quotes, words of wisdom, and down right ridiculous... They're written everywhere: in the middle of notes of class, on post-it notes littering my room, in the margins of books, in my email, on my hand, on my blog... They really should all be in my Writer's Notebook, but they aren't. Instead I have them all saved in a powerpoint attached with photos for your (my?) viewing pleasure. Well, "had" might be a better choice of words; the powerpoint disappeared with my thumb drive. I've come up with many of them like "the plotline of Acts looks like an EKG" (you would, Natalie) and "I wish my name ended in an 'A'" (Melissa). Unfortunately, some other quotes have been lost forever. To combat this tragic loss, I am slowly rebuilding my quotes collection. Here is the latest addition: 
"I've been introduced many times in my life and that was the most... recent." - Mark
Actually, that one is about six hours outdated now. My real newest quote is:
"All stories, even our favorites, must come to an end. This allows for new stories to begin."
It's one of the opening lines to Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium.  I'm not a big movie-watcher because finding an entertaining, enjoyable, clean, not super-sappy movie is an almost impossible task.  I own literally ten movies (I just counted; eighteen if you include VeggieTales).  However, I found a good one that will be added to my personal collection next time I'm brave enough to peruse the vicious $5 bin at Wal-mart.

The other day Andy, Elizabeth, and I (all of us at least 20) popped in Mr. Magorium and were completely enthralled.  Sure, the movie is aimed at kids but it's great for parents, too.  It's shallow enough for a child to play but deep enough for an elephant to drown (a professor once said that about the Gospel of John).

Basic plot summary: legendary owner of a magical toy store dies and his heir has to decide if she wants to continue the tradition or close up shop.

Except it's a whole lot deeper than that.  This movie includes themes like peacefully accepting death, making the most life, and beliving in oneself.  Honestly, a movie that begins with a great quote about stories can hardly be bad.  "All stories, even our favorites, must come to an end. This allows for new stories to begin." Wow. 

I don't give a lot of movie recommendations, but I highly recommend you go watch this movie.

<>< Katie

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tell Her She's Beautiful

This only blogging every other day has been really hard this week. Just a reminder, I'm updating my blog every other day for Lent. That means this week I'm on a Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday schedule; next week it'll be Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday and so on. Oh, and a special thanks to my newest "followers." I logged in and had a new one then refreshed the page and had another new one. I refreshed it again and nothing happened. However, several hours later Hannah joined blogger and my number of followers has almost doubled in one day! :-)

A few weeks ago an anonymous woman wrote encouraging notes and stuck them on the mirrors in every woman's bathroom campus wide. Apparently some people found them cheesy but personally I enjoyed being reminded that the mirror doesn't determine my self-worth. She (whoever the anonymous "she" may be) put a lot of effort into this project because every Post-It note I saw was different. Wow!

Like I said, this was several weeks ago and most of the Post-It notes are now gone. I don't think they were pitched, however. Instead, they're appearing in other bizarre places: on dashboards of cars, stuck to the outside of Moby Dick's fish tank, and on class notebooks. It's as if a girl says, "I need to hear this every single day, so I'm going to take it remember."

I didn't steal a Post-It note. Sure, I throw rants about clothing not being made for people but all in all I'm pretty content with who I am. I don't really struggle with my image, or at least I didn't think so. I don't wear make-up. My wardrobe consists of jeans and a t-shirt day in and day out (remember those clothes not made for people?). I use a mirror but don't spend hours fixing my hair. I really don't care that much. At least I thought I didn't. Until I realized I was only wearing earrings on days when I saw people I wanted to impress. That didn't really bother me. This past Sunday bothered me more.

Allyson and I were invited to sing with my church's choir. Wearing robes. This means all the congregations sees is heads. I actually curled my hair, wore earrings, and put on a full face of make-up (and I'm still paying for it, thank you, dry skin). Since she's learned almost everything I do is intentional and enjoys hearing my bizarre reasons, Allyson asked me why. My answer surprised me.

"If all the congregation can see of me is my face, it might as well be a pretty face."

Woah! This from the girl who doesn't really care?

Later that night, my dress for spring formal arrived. It's the same dress I wore for prom, so I already knew it fit, yet I still had to try it on. As the lavender floor-length dress slid over my head I was transformed from the exhausted college student ready to go to bed into a princess headed to a ball. Five minutes later, the dress came off and the exhaustion returned in an almost-overwhelming wave. I got nothing done for the rest of the night because I let the desire to feel beautiful control me and the pony-tail line in my hair wasn't helping.

Ladies, we all need to feel beautiful now and again. It's natural. But it's not natural for this desire to consume you every being. Sure, some days we feel prettier than others. It's natural, again, if it's not controlling you. The mirror can be cruel but it does not determine who you are. Whether you want to admit it or not, you are beautiful on the inside and out. You won't be more beautiful with your hair curled (or straightened). Guess what: you won't be happy when you Wii Fit's Mii shrinks because you're underweight. Please trust me on this one. Be content in who you are.

Gentlemen, you had better tell her she's beautiful. Not "hot." Not "sexy." Not even "fine" like Andy tried the other day. Beautiful. Gorgeous. Stunning. Radiant. Every woman needs to hear she's beautiful. Have you told her today?

"You are altogether beautiful, My love; there is no flaw in you." - Songs of Solomon 4:7

That's God talking to you, friends.

<>< Katie

Tuesday, March 9, 2010



You know those days when you just want to scream? Everyone wants you and they all want you NOW! Not to mention other responsibilities you need to take care of. No matter where you go people follow you. For introverts like me, it's hard.

"But now even more the report about [Jesus] went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear Him and to be healed of their infirmities. But He would withdraw to desolate places and pray" - Luke 5:15-16

We've probably all skimmed over this passage a million times without stopping to think about it. Today in the midst of the daily bedlam that comes with living in an apartment with six other girl this verse finally caught my attention. Maybe peace and quiet do not exist at home anymore. Maybe I can't retreat to my bedroom like I always did in high school. But that doesn't mean I don't need alone time. That doesn't mean I can't find some. Maybe it's a walk around the lake, maybe a bike ride, maybe it's a trip to Wal-mart alone. Maybe it's just disappearing for a few hours and silencing my phone.

Find a way to recharge. Jesus did.

<>< Katie

PS: The other day I had Malachi (age 8) in a headlock on the floor tickling him. Micah (age 11) was running around behind me ready to help his brother but a bit hesitant. This made sense: Micah is more reserved than Malachi. What didn't make sense was the perplexed look on his face. Finally he looked up at Andy (age 22) to express his concern, "She's a girl! I don't know where I'm allowed to touch her!"

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Disclaimer: I don't think all of my reading audience will be able to fully grasp this blog. It's not that it's difficult to comprehend but rather if you haven't spent the better part of three (or sometimes four) months with single-digit temperatures and your brown grass is completely hidden by multiple inches (or feet) of snow, you might not fully be able to grasp this concept. However, I encourage you to try and fully understand the idea of cabin fever.

"I'm cold."
A quick glance around my room will make it obvious that I've said this once or twice before. The space heater, the (literally) seven layers on my bed, and the polar fleece blanket stored right next to my desk for easy access are clear give-aways to my latest refrain.

"I'm cold."
Except today it's different. Today it isn't a "When did I move to Antarctica?" cold. Rather, today was an "It's too early and chilly to open the windows but I'm doing it anyway because it's wonderful!" cold.

There's nothing like a warm day in the middle of a harsh winter. The warm day brings hope. It brings the reminder than someday this frigid winter will pass and spring will come.

Life is like that, too. Glimmers of hope amidst dark days. Reminders of why we crawl out of bed. Can you find your warm day?

It doesn't have to be life-shattering. In fact, in the dead of winter, a 50 degree day feels warm enough to take off your jacket and don your shorts. Sure, six months from now it won't feel phenomenal but six months from now isn't when you'll need hope of spring. It's right now that you need hope of spring and therefore 50 is simply blissful!

Find your warm day today!

<>< Katie

Friday, March 5, 2010

To-do List

In February, sitting on my desk was a to-do list:
  • Email staff writers
  • Read for African American lit
  • Read Playboy of the Western World
  • Read Orchid of the Bayou
  • write poem
  • ILL for class (Inter-library Loan)
  • change oil in car
  • buy ink
  • pointless paperwork

I returned from class to learn my to-do list has been modified:

  • Harass Lizzie Poo about writing her articles
  • Get scoliosis from African American lit book
  • Read Playboy
  • Read about the woman who won't go blind in "Orchard" of the Bayou
  • blog a book review
  • write poems
  • be ill for class
  • clean the apartment
  • sanitize hands
  • blog about it
  • learn to play guitar (more than four chords)
  • blog
  • sanitize door knobs
  • eat cheese
  • blog
  • Wii (but not the skiing Wii)
  • Make cheese dip for sweet suitemates
  • Blog
  • Be mocked by Nikki


Actually, that last one has been crossed off... several times.

For two weeks we kept a sass chart known as "Mockery Madness." Every time someone sassed me they earned a point (except Andy who earned a drawing...). Sassing kind of became a game but we used golf-scoring meaning whoever had the lowest score won.

Our predictions were accurate: Nikki lost by a landslide and Jo won. Nicole didn't really earn her point until after the week was over, but we put it on there anyway since she's never here long enough to sass me. Melia avoided me for two weeks because she didn't want to be a smart alec on accident and get her name on the chart. Danielle earned all of her points in one night. Andy joined several days late and almost came in dead last. Even our campus minister, Neal, found his way on our sass chart. Unfortunately no one remembers what he said but we remembered it was really good and I threw a grape at him to retort.

After a few days we decided we needed a new category: physical sass. These points are exactly what they sound like: someone touched me for the sole purpose of being a vexation. Physical touch is valued in our apartment and hugs, back rubs, and new hairdos are welcome. On the other hand, being poked while trying to stand still on the Wii, being hit in the face with a goldfish (cracker), having my cell phone stolen, being assaulted with a bouncy ball, and being kicked in the back of my knee just so I fall over are not welcome.

I should be honest: we all pick on each other. However, I have a different accent and unique diction than the rest of my friends, so I'm an easy target. It's really not fair. Just because I can use words like "TYME machine" and "schluck" does not give you permission to mock me. :-) Oh, and I get mocked for sounding too northern so I throw in a "hey yall" and get mocked for sounding too southern. I just can't win!

It was during these two weeks of Mockery Madness that we decided mocking is a love language, at least in my life. Every person that sassed me did it because they love me. In fact, every single one of them took a moment throughout the week to also build me up and encourage me. Maybe the encouragement doesn't happen as frequently as the sass does, but that's ok as long as the both exist.

After all, if we're going to call each other brothers and sisters in Christ, we need to fight like brothers and sisters do. Make sure your sibling rivalries aren't one-sided. Build each other up in brotherly love, too. (Yes, I'm preaching to myself, Mom, I know).


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Jenny the Cow

First off, Hannah hates me because I didn't blog yesterday AND I cut in front of her in the snacks line last night. Sorry, girl, I just needed some chocolate. Will you forgive me? Can I be un-voted off of the island and back into Amber's car?

I've been cranky, irritable, and frustrated this week. I'm sore from ice skating on Saturday; it baffles me the number of people that have never skated on a natural body of water. Irony is that the first time all winter when my hands have actually been warm was while I was ice skating. I'm sick of being freezing cold; maintenance can't fix my air conditioner but the room temperature has peaked at 63, so they gave me a space heater. Oh, and if you are one of those brave souls who gave up chocolate for Lent and suddenly have this overwhelming desire to remove this temptation from your life, I am willing to take one for the team and will not object your sending it to me. :-)

For these reasons, I feel the need to write a blog that will make me smile. We all have those stories that have influenced our life. Perhaps we aren't even characters in the story but it still merits regular retellings. This is one of those for me because it was a classic bedtime story while my sisters and I were growing up. Of course, some creative liberties have been taken through the years but the basis of the story is true. Without further ado, and I'm pretty good at ado-ing, this is "Jenny the Cow" as told to me by my father.

<>< Katie

I was in class just like any other day. The teacher was talking about something, but I don’t remember what since I wasn’t listening anyway. All of the sudden there was a strong rap on the door. The teacher answered to a police officer who asked if I was in that class. Now, I’m not a perfect little angel; I get into my share of trouble but nothing bad enough for the cops to be involved. Plus, I had no idea what I’d done. Silently I followed the officer towards the front door of the school.

Am I being arrested? What the heck? I wondered to myself.

As we crossed over the threshold and into the parking lot, I realized the cause of the commotion. Standing in the middle of the school yard stood my cow, Jenny. Yes, I think Jenny wanted to try out for the soccer team. How did she get here? What was she doing here? Why was she here? I don’t know the answer to any of those questions, but I didn't have time to figure them out either.

Standing a few feet from my beloved Jenny was a police office poised to shoot. I panicked. How do you prevent an officer from shooting your cow without getting shot yourself? I had no idea.

"Don't shoot!" I heard a distant wailing. I looked up towards my house and saw my mother running down the hill flailing her arms. "Momma's here, Jenny, come to Momma."

I was mortified. Surely the entire school was watching from the window. I think a stray cow in the middle of the soccer field warrants a break from useless math. In case having my cow visit school wasn't bad enough, my over-weight screaming mother was not helping the situation. The officer's arms were still extended, finger on the trigger.

"Don't shoot! I'll get her to move! Don't shoot! Jenny, come to Momma, Jenny. Momma's here. Come to Momma, Jenny," my mother's cries continued. I don't understand why she can't sound a bit more grown up, even if she is just talking to the cow. For a brief moment, I almost wished I was back in class, bored to death.

Mom drew nearer to us, the police officer failed to lower his gun, and Jenny refused to move. He wouldn't really shoot Jenny, would he? He can't shoot her, can he?

I didn't know. All I really knew was that my mother was running out of ideas and the cop was growing impatient. In the distance, I could see a yellow truck approaching our brouhaha. Instantly, I recognized it as my dad's. How many people do you know with a big yellow trucks? On second thought, how many people do you know with cows at school? Pa pulled over to the side of the road and barely shifted the truck into park before he hopped out of the cab. The focus shifted from Jenny to Dad.

"Jenny, there's Dada, go to Dada," Mom whined.

Much to our surprise, Jenny did run to Pa. The officer lowered his gun, my mom stopped screaming, and I breathed a sigh of relief. On to our next problem: how are we going to get Jenny home? Luckily, Pa already had that all figured out. He opened the tailgate and Jenny hopped into the truck bed. He drove Mom and Jenny home. Sadly, I was sent back to class.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Hockey, hockey, hockey

Even though I love and miss my family I don't get homesick a lot. I'm too busy keeping up with schoolwork to realize it's been two months since I've seen my parents. That is, until this afternoon when I was watching the US-Canada gold metal hockey game when reality hit like load of bricks.

I could picture the scene in my mind. My sisters and my parents all gathered in the family room wearing their matching Nashville Predators hockey jerseys. Mine's at home, abandoned in my closet. While I watched the game alone, their Fang Fingers flew in unison and laughter ever-flowing as they repeated our classic hockey jokes. I can even hear my dad taunting my mom.

"I know who wins," he says every time she watching a game.

"No, you don't. It's live!" She teases back, meaning this is not a recorded game from earlier in the week.

True, maybe Dad doesn't know who wins because the game is live. God knows who wins, though. Except the game He knows about isn't just live but life. He knew the US was going to score in the last 24 seconds taking the game in to over time. He knows the grade you'll make on this paper you're stressing about. He knows when Becca's baby will be born (we're hoping for Tuesday because 3-2-10 would be an excellent birthday!). He knows where my missing thumb drive is. You get the picture, right? He knows.

At home, when the game isn't live and Dad really does know who wins, Mom begs him not to tell. She really doesn't want to know; she wants to enjoy the game. Likewise, God isn't telling. In our game of life, we really want to know. Or do we want to enjoy the game?

Even though He isn't telling, God has come along side of us like someone excited to show a friend a hilarious video for the first time. Can't you hear Him? "You have to see this. The funny part is coming. Here it is! Look, look, look! Did you see that? Wasn't that cool!"

He's watching right along side you. He can't wait for you to see what He sees! Trust Him; it's cool!

Oh, and just in case there was question on my loyalties yesterday afternoon... Both teams were at equal strength. Despite being "practically from Canada," I did cheer for the Americans. Although, it did mean I had to cheer against Shea Weber, but Ryan Suter is an American so it evened out. Congratulations on your gold, Canada.

<>< Katie