Monday, August 30, 2010

My Friends Hate Me

Today words are not my friends.  They've been really mean to me lately.  They're tripping over each other as they fall from my mouth.  They clog like an ink blot as they're scratched from my pen.  They hate me.  And I hate it.

When technology and I don't get along, when my suitemates pick on me, when the world seems to be against me, I still have my word-friends to back me up.  Except now.

Who am I if I cannot cooperate with the English language?

I am still a daughter of God, a friend, a roommate.  I'm still a role model, a team leader, and a big sister.  But I am not me.  I am a writer.  This is what I do.  What do you do when you can't do what you do?

You blog about it.  But then you remember what Sherman Alexie said, "Every word on your blog is a word not in your book."  I guess I'm nostalgic for my book.  I reread and tweek scenes, but it isn't the same.  Sure, I still have some of the excitement about someday finishing it but that someday apparently isn't today.

I.  Am.  Frustrated.

<>< Katie

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Lunch with a Stranger

It was a little after 1, and I had somewhere to be at 1:30 and lunch to eat first when I flew into the caf.  I got my food and had resolved myself to sit alone, something I actually enjoy doing periodically.  I still don't know how I saw her since she was behind me, around the corner, and hidden by the crowd, but I did.  She, too, was sitting alone.  I walked up and slid my tray onto the table.

"Can I sit here?"

She had food in her mouth but nodded, and I told her I'd be right back.  I dropped my bag, left my tray, and went to get my milk.  I came back, sat down, prayed the Common Table Prayer, and asked her name.  Marta.  I recognized it from working check-in that morning.  She was a transfer student; it was her first day on campus.  I asked how it was going.

As she talked, slowly the tears welled in her eyes.  They matched the ones I had been sporting earlier.  Sometime between my golf-cart ride to McDonalds with Megan after check-in and this lunch, I discovered the job I had last year was no longer available to me.  It was a complicated situation, and I was the victim of the system.  I was confused.  Upset.  Frustrated.  Livid.  I cried.  I called my dad.  I cried again.  I had a plan: talk to my boss, but I couldn't do that until I knew I was not going to melt in his office.

With a compassionate smile, I asked Marta how many times she had gotten lost that day.  Lots.  She'd lost her map.  She laughed.  I laughed.  She cried.  I cared.  By the end of lunch, I had gotten her two new maps.  Each had her apartment building circled, the building where her nursing classes would be circled, and a big huge "F" over the building where the food was.  What more does a person need, right?  I walked her to where she needed to go, and we said goodbye.

I visited my favorite coffee shop to email my hippy boss.  My internet's still spotty.  "We have a problem," the email said.  "When are you going to be in your office?"

Almost instantly he responded, "I'm here now; come on over."

I did.  When I walked in, he asked how I was.  I said I was cranky.  He didn't understand: worms were burrowing and he'd just gotten his iTouch to work after two years; how could I be cranky?  Then I told him what happened to my job.  He became distressed and no longer cared about the worms.  He called his boss who called her boss who promised to work on the mess for me.  The hippy told me it was just a matter of faith that the situation would work itself out.  It was weird.

At dinner, I saw Marta again.  I asked if the rest of her day had improved.  She said it had.  She even had a new friend!  I was so excited for her I "woooh-who-ed" right there in the middle of the caf.  I had intended to sit with them, but we got separated in the mob.

It's been four days since I've seen Marta.  My job situation has been rectified.  My boss's boss's boss, who has a big important title, made some phone calls, got me my job back, and earned himself a hand-written thank you card.  I can only hope Marta has memorized her maps, made more than one friend, and is enjoying herself.

I think we both needed each other at that lunch.  It was a simple exchange, a breach of the comfort zone, and a world gained.  God's way to remind us that He is Jehovah-Jirah, the Lord provider.

<>< Katie

Friday, August 27, 2010

Tales of Nikki and Katie: The Episode of the Bike (Helmet)

In my family, when you turn double-digits, you get two big presents: a mountain bike and a bedroom set.  It kind of worked that way for me and my parents kept the tradition for my sisters.  So, on my tenth birthday we all hopped in the van and drove to the same bike shop where my mom and grandfather got their first adult bikes.  I still remember the day. This must have been before my purple phase because I came home with a maroon bike that I absolutely loved and a red helmet I tolerated.  I'm now twenty-one and that same bike came to college with me. 

Nikki hates to walk everywhere from our middle-of-nowhere apartment, so I offered her the use of my bike.  Problem: I'm tall; Nikki's not.  We tried to find a seat-height that would satisfy both of us but couldn't.  Finally we realized the seat moves very easily, a brand new feature back in 1999 when I bought my bike.  When Nikki wanted to ride it, she could lower the seat.  When I wanted to ride my bike, I could raise it.  Very simple; very easy.  I told her the code to my combination lock, and we were set.

A few days later, my bike was missing from our second-story porch because Nikki took me up on my offer.  Except Nikki was in the living room.
Katie: Where's my bike?
Nikki: OH MY GOSH!  Katie, you have the smallest seat in the world!
Katie: I have the smallest butt in the world.
Nikki: It's in my office.  I rode it to work and go so fed up with it that I got a car ride back.

This was Friday meaning my bike was locked in there over the weekend.  Not really a big deal.  Nikki also conveniently wore a dress for the next several days meaning she couldn't ride my bike back.

Nikki: Next time you're up near the caf, swing by my office and pick up your bike because it might stay there all semester if you don't, and we really need the space back.
Katie: Yeah, I'll remember to take my helmet with me to the caf.  That's not dorky.

Last fall, I crashed on my bike.  My thoughts went something like this, "Road?  Sidewalk?  Road?  Sidewalk?  Road.  Crap, speed bumps.  Just kidding!  Sidewalk."

I learned something very important: You can't do "just kidding" on a bike.  Indecisiveness leads to skinned knees

Since I've always been very safety conscious and I have a history of bike crashes, I wear a red helmet when I ride my maroon bike.  I also ski with a purple helmet and have been known to Wii Bowl in my ski helmet.  Yes, everyone laughs at me.  I've decided I'd rather be the dork with the helmet than the dork with the broken head.

When I did finally retrieve my bike from Nikki's office, I rode it down the hallway, on the sidewalk, through the grass, across the parking lot, up the hill, through the building, and up the stairs without a helmet.  It was terrifying.  And liberating. 

When I told my mom this story, she laughed all the way through it.  When I got to the "So I rescued my bike and rode it home without a helmet" part she said she was proud of me.  Huh?!

And now I face a major decision: Helmet or no helmet?  That is the question.

<>< Katie

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Does this match?

Even though I'm not doing anything particularly strenuous during the day, I'm ready for bed by the end of it.  The other night, I trudged back to my apartment sometime between 8:30 and 9.  I was ready to take a shower, put on my pajamas, and chill for the next few hours.  It was going to be great.

Then I remembered the prayer walk at 10pm.  I took a shower and opted against walking around campus in my pajamas because they're really classy.  I put on a "better," comfy outfit instead.  My only non-pajama sweatpants are bright blue, and they match literally nothing.  I call them my dentist pants because they look like scrubs.  I didn't want to dirty another shirt, so I pulled on a brown wife-beater tank top.  Ok, not runway attire but not bad for lounging around either.  Until I put on my black Chacos and red pull-over polar fleece.  Except at the prayer walk it was too hot for the polar fleece, so I tied it around my waist.  Oh, and my hair was still wet from the shower.  Maybe my pajamas would have been a better choice.

Honestly, I didn't really care.  Or at least I didn't think I did.  It was dark and people could only see my silhouette.  However, the further we prayer walked the more annoyed with myself I became.  Why did I have to bring the polar fleece?  (Oh, yeah, I'm from the north were the temperature drops dramatically at night.  I forget it doesn't do that here).  Why did I buy/ why do I wear the dentist pants?  Maybe some other shoes would have been a better choice.  Why am I so awkwardly skinny?

It was in that awful self-loathing session that I realized I am comfortable in who I am.

Huh?  Let me explain.

Even though I looked like a dope, I didn't run from a social event.  In fact, I made jokes about wanting to return to the 90s and the drown rat look I was sporting.  I can laugh at myself.  I dropped my socks in the toilet for goodness sake!

As I was thinking about this I realized that in the days and months to come girls who have worse image problems than I do are going to walk these same sidewalks.  My heart broke for them.  What may be a love-sass for me might be devastating for them.  I began to petition to the Lord to heal their insecurities, give them comfort, and show them acceptance.  Let them see that they are beautiful on the inside and out.  Let them feel loved.

I've said this before and I'll say it again: tell her she's beautiful.

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

I love you all,
<>< Katie

Monday, August 23, 2010

Chopper One Sighting

One evening after dinner there was a knock on the door.  Most people just walk into our apartment, but if someone knocks those who don't live here often answer the door.  This time Nikki got it and standing outside was a middle-aged man.

Before I tell you about him, let me tell you about my apartment.  We're a brand new building that is still considered to be on campus, but we're out in the boonies.  A large parking lot separates us from the nearest building.  My front window view is a cliff with a road at the bottom of it and woods across the street.  More woods on our left, and behind us is a huge red field that will someday house more buildings but for now will be the home of our own Mud Fest.

The middle-aged men that darken our doorstep are our fathers and the maintenance men.  This particular man was neither.

"I'm the father of a girl in the apartment across the hall.  Do you have internet?  She doesn't either.  I just want to take a quick peak in the closet at your wireless hook-up."

Across the room and out of eye sight, I shot a "What the heck does he think he's doing?" look at Adam.

"We were told the internet can't be hooked up until the building is complete.  Even though we're living in it the building can't be officially declared complete until the cable company comes back," Nikki explained.

"You see, that's not true," he said.  "You guys can't live without internet."

If there was sarcasm in his voice, I did not hear it.  He also never gave his name, but Adam said he had a school employee ID.

If I was suspicious before, I was upset now.  My desire for internet was overpowered by my desire for that father to let his daughter go unplugged.  It was one night for goodness sake!  The rest of us had been internet-less for literally a week, and we were still alive.  Gasp! 

I'm glad I didn't answer the door.  I might have said something like this: Sir, if you work here, check it out in the morning.  Don't go around the building at night and explore the internet hook-up.  Don't teach your daughter that you can fix everything instantly.  She's 18 not 8!  (OK, I would not have really said that, but I thought it).

Honestly, my heart broke for her.  You see, I know what it's like to go to school where your parents work.  For nine years I shared a building with two student-sisters, a teacher-mother, and an administrator father.  It was not unusual for someone to see all five of us in one day.  Even now, I go back and nobody asks me what I'm doing.  They already know; Mom told them.

To the girl who I've not even met yet, I am sorry you chose a school where your parent(s) work.  I've been there.  I'm sorry you have a hovering Helicopter Parent.  I have two.  Come on over.  We'll swap stories.

Dear Mr. Creepy Man/Helicopter Father, thank you for trying to fix our internet.  We really do appreciate your (failed) effort.  Now, it's 9pm and your daughter's first night away at school.  Let her make some friends and enjoy herself without you here.  It's actually better if her computer doesn't work, so she's not in front of the screen all night long.  Oh, and, yes, we can live without internet.

Thank you for letting me rant.  As always, thoughts welcome.

<>< Katie

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Gang's All Here

Well, summer is over.  Even though classes don't start for another few days, I'm back at school.  Most students aren't back yet, but all six of the girls in my apartment are back.  (Jennifer, Nikki, Allyson, Amy, and Elizabeth)  Despite our hectic pre-semester schedules, it's been great to be back together playing Banangrams, being sassed, Wii-ing, being sassed, cuddling, being sassed...

Oh, and the light switches have been fixed.  Allelulia!  No more being blinded because you, heaven forbid, rolled over in the middle of the night.  Now if you sit still for fifteen minutes, which I can do thank you very much, the light goes off.  Of the two, I prefer this (I think).

Another glitch in our brand new building is the lack of intenet.  Since school is not in session, the computer lab are not open, so I have to butter up to a professor, yes, before school even starts, to check my email.  I can survive without internet.  Facebook can wait.  Email's important, but anyone emailing me urgently right now will accept the "My internet's not connected yet" excuse.  The blog, sorry friends, can survive a few days without me.  Books, however, need to be ordered.  At the beginning of last semester I talked about how I like brand new books and don't mind paying bookstore prices to not have to worry about the hassle.  I stand by those opinions.  However, this semester my schedule includes a stinky science class with a text book that costs almost a million dollars. A book I'm never going to use again and will not be able to sell.  So I Amazoned it. (I just made "Amazon" a verb... it's English).  Since I had to order that one online, there were a few others I ordered, too.  Well, intended to order.  The lack of internet put an impasse on my plan.  I'm not making an online purchase from a public computer, sorry.

Periodically, I can get internet when sitting in a certain position on my roommate Jennifer's bed.  Ever seen someone putting cell phone in the most bizarre of positions in order to get a signal?  Yes, that's me with my computer.  When I get Jennifer's Bed internet it's for about ten minutes and that's it for the entire day. This morning, I was starting to get cranky about the situation and stressed about the upcoming semester.

I only had a half hour, so I booted up my computer, plopped it on Jennifer's bed, and began to rant.  "God, I can live without internet. I proved that several times this summer and again this week. However, I'm really starting to worry about this upcoming semester. If I could just order my books I'd feel a lot better."  I checked my AOL email since it's my internet provider (since 1997!) but before I checked my school email and gmail, before I checked facebook, before I checked the blog (gasp!) I went to Amazon.

Finding the books was quick and easy.  Checking out, no problem.  I got decent deals and saved a lot of money.  Life was good.  I hit "Submit this purchase."  It went.  PAH!  I closed amazon and typed "" into the navigation bar.

"Internet Explorer cannot display the page."

I was moderately annoyed and simultaneously moderately amused.  I said I wanted internet to order books.  I got internet to order books.  I could not help but say, "Thank You, God."  The blog.  Facebook.  Email.  All were unnecessary distractions.
Twelve hours later, I'm using some friends for their internet to update my social media outlets, not for work.  Life is good.
<>< Katie
Reason of the Day to Laugh at Katie:

I dropped my socks in the toilet.  No, they weren't on my feet.  Yes, the toilet was empty.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wacky Wednesday

We all say funny things.  Some of us more than others.  <>< Katie

Dad: I'm booking your hotel for Festival.
[This was literally two days after Festival...he clarified it was for 2011]
Laura: Mom said you already did that.
Dad: Yeah, well, hotels are weird.  Sometimes you have to call them twice.

Random Guy in the Post Office: You don't need a passport to visit Hawaii, do you?  Because it's in the same country, right?

Katie: What's the purpose of a foyer?
Mom: To welcome your friends into your house.
Katie: Last time I had a friend over it was October.  And we came in through the garage.
Mom: I'm sorry your friends don't live in this country.

Christina: What's another word for "mouth" that starts with a "b"?
Laura: Orifice.
Christina: That's it!

Peder: Hey, Festival, love your lawn chair.  Hug your lawn chair.  Take your lawn chair home with you otherwise it will go into the lawn chair morgue, and we don't want that.  We love our lawn chairs.  You can bring your lawn chair back at noon tomorrow.

[Easter Sunday morning]
Katie: What's in your pocket?
Andy: My pocket knife.
Katie: Why?
Andy: In case I need to cut something.
Katie: What are you cutting in church?
Andy: Who knows: sandwiches, pickles, leaves, people--I'm trained to handle that.
Katie: It's wrong to cut people.
Andy: What about surgeons?  They cut people.
Katie: That's a slightly different situation.
Andy: You're a slightly different situation.
Katie: So you're bringing your knife to church because we're going to have surgery in our church clothes?
Andy: No, they cut those off.

Mom: Tina, get the blue laundry basket off of the... um... what's it called?... um...
Katie: Chair.  Washing machine.  Couch.  Counter.  Mantel.
Mom: Deck!
Katie: I'm glad you figured it out on your own because I would have been shouting nouns at you for a long time before I came up with that one.

[a facebook conversation... no photo involved]
Brother One: Brother!  Nobody wants to see your poop!
Brother Two: Please?
Katie: I bet your dad's interested.
the dad: I'm as interested as Katie is.
Katie: I like poop stories better, thanks.

Sarah: I sleep in pajamas most nights.

[on the bus back from the NYG]
Katie: Pastor Russ, I don't have ample floorspace back here, so I put my flip flops under your seat.  If they slide up there, just kick them back to me, please.
Pastor Russ: If they slide up here, I'm throwing them in the garbage.
Katie: That's fine, but then I get to wear your shoes.
PR: Good thing I only have four different types of foot fungus.

[Mom had just used some relatively normal medical term... Christina's in high school]
Christina: I know I'm going to be a nurse and I should know what that means, but I haven't taken physics yet.

Uncle Bill: What are you holding?  A zucchini?  A cucumber?
Uncle Jay: A carrot?
Dad: A grape?
Uncle Jay: With elephantitis!
[it was a potato... a normal potato.... now forever known as a grape with elephantitis]

Christina: Daddy, why were you at the doctor?
Dad [creepy voice]: Bahlud.  Vampries.  Bahlud.
Christina: Did they take a pint?
Dad [serious voice]: A quart.  Might have been a half-gallon.
Christina: Oh.

Pastor Seth: Have you gotten dinner?
Katie: I ate lunch at like 3.
PS: So you had lunner?

Mom: I need a Rav-4 Brochure.
Katie: I don't know what that means.
Mom: A Rav-4 is a car and a brochure is a little booklet.
I took her all of the little booklets I could find.

Speaker Dude: Your story isn't about you.  Look it up.  [pointing to a Bible]

Nikki: Keith!  I think I'm sick, I've blogged twice in a week and I have two others in draft.
Keith: If that is sick, rush me to the critical care unit.  And bury Katie; she's been dead awhile.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Faith like a Child

Last night, I had the apartment to myself while my suitemates were at practice, so I curled up on the couch hearing the light-switches click and beep.  I kid you not.  Last year I complained about the air conditioner claiming to be 74 and really being 52. This year the light switches are going to be the death of me.  Every single one of them in the entire apartment is motion sensored.  They click to announce, "I see you" which is really fun when you walk past the bathroom and the sensor sees your movement in the mirror.  What's more fun is when you roll over in bed in the middle of the night and the light becomes a self-appointed wake-up call.  Thanks.  If you somehow manage to sit still long enough they go "beep, beep, beep" to see if you still exist.  If you haven't proved your existence by the third "beep, beep, beep," the light goes off. 

I digress.  I wrote this last night as a reflection and I don't want to post it.  Even though I blog a lot, there's a lot that I write that doesn't get posted, and I was content to adding this to the pages that will forever remain in the Writer's Notebook.  You see, it's kind of a nostalgic, vulnerable post, so be nice.  &lt;>&lt; Katie

Max Lucado recommends allowing a child to take you for a walk every day.  On said walk you're supposed to let the child lead, listen to his/her thoughts on situations, and grow closer to understanding what Christ means when He says we should come like children

I'm not really at a position in my life right now where I interact with a lot of children.  Andy doesn't really count.  That means I have to search for my child stories.  Often times I search no further than church.

The other Sunday, I was standing in the sacristy with the other communion servers for the day.  In walked a mother and three kids.  All three of them ran directly to their father.  The father stopped the conversation and greeted each of his children with a kiss and a complement.  First his daughter, he kissed her on the back of the hand.  He asked if she had new lotion because her hands were soft.  Next, his middle son, he greeted with a kiss on the top of the head and a complement on his shirt.  His took his youngest son in his arms and kissed him on the cheek.  "You smell nice.  You got a bath."  I can say beyond the shadow of a doubt, that father loves his kids.  You could see his face light up when they walked into the room.  Even though she did not get a kiss at this moment, that husband loves his wife.  I love the simplicity and intentionality of this exchange.

The following Sunday, a different family invited me over for lunch.  After we ate, the ten year old crawled into her father's lap.  For awhile, she listened silently to the adults' conversation.  Then she began to ask questions.  All of us adults looked at each other almost as if we were jealous of her naïveté, simple-mindedness, and "innocent" questions.  We weren't jealous of her father and his struggle to accurately yet appropriately answer her inquiries.  You could hear in his voice, his enunciation that he was amused yet challenged.

I want that relationship with my Heavenly Father.  I want to be aware of the pure joy of being in each others' presence.  I want to see the sparkle in His when we talk.  I want to sit in His lap and ask as many questions as I'd like, and I want to hear Him patiently answer every last one of them.  I want to be that child where reality and worry don't overpower faith.  If that's is the desire of my heart, then what am I doing to grow closer to obtaining it?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Love Tap

My friend Laura (not to be confused with my sister Laura) was walking with a bunch of her colleagues when all of the sudden she fell to the ground.  Boom!  Down.  Everyone panicked and thought she fainted.  As someone who has often seen this happen, I will admit it does kind of look like she passes out.  Not the case.   The woman walking behind her, Megan, grabbed her firmly, supporting her as if Megan was afraid Laura was going to fall again.

"Are you ok?  I'm so sorry!  I don't really know what happened.  All I did was this," Megan said.  As she said it, she tapped Laura in the back of the knee.  Sure enough, Laura tumbled to the ground.

"You knew I was there!  You knew I was going to do it!"  Megan said.

In telling me this, Laura said she wished I could have been there because I would have just died laughing.  Even when she told me, I literally LOL-ed.

You see, most people don't know this about Laura but she falls over if you touch her in the back of the knee.  Even a simple brush; even if she knows you're there.  You touch her in the back of the knee and she falls like a sack of potatoes.  Boom!  Over the years, I've gotten really good at "tap and catch."  It's actually a useful life-skill.  I went through a phase where I intentionally or unintentionally knocked over Laura every time I saw her.  I will admit, I've made her fall without touching her... TWICE... in five minutes.  Is it wrong that I don't even ask if she's ok anymore?  I accept my much-deserved dirty look, the nonverbal request for a hand up, and the conversation continues.

Does anyone have similar stories?  Have you ever known someone who falls over with literally a tap?  The devious side of me thinks it's great fun.

<>< Katie

Friday, August 13, 2010


A few months ago, I read a blog where Stephanie was lamenting the lack of things to write.  One commenter essentially said, "Blogging is a hobby.  The day it become a chore, I quit."  I'd like to offer a rebuttal.

Everything we do, even if we're naturally good at it, requires work.  It takes time and energy.  It takes effort to improve.  Where would we be if we stopped doing everything that was hard?  If I'm in Denver, am I going to stop walking because the thin air makes it hard for me to catch my breath?  No.  I'm going to walk differently than I would in Florida.  I'll take my time, be careful, and drink water.

Yesterday, I added 750 words to my novel.  I think that's the most I've added in all of August.  The lack of words flowing does not mean I've forgotten about or abandoned it.  It means I'm exploring writing prompts, revising poorly crafted sections, and searching for inspiration.  I keep trying even though it's difficult at the moment.

Sometimes being a Christian is difficult.  It's had to give grace when you want justice.  It's hard to be joyful when things aren't going your way.  That doesn't mean you should give up.  It means you should take a deep breath, get a drink of water, slow down, and rejoice in the little victories. 

My pastor nailed it on the head on Wednesday when he said, "Not everyone is going to grow the same way spiritually.  Just because you're not reading your Bible enough doesn't mean you can't be growing spiritually."

If what you're doing is not working, TSD- Try Something Different.  Just because it's hard, doesn't mean you should stop.  Just because words have vanished and eloquence seems to be a thing of the past, does not mean you should stop trying to write.  Just because your spiritual life seems to be stagnant does not mean you have the right to get mad at God, sorry.

Keep trying.  You'll be a stronger person on the flipside.

Agree or disagree?

Keep on truckin',
<>< Katie

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Birthday Bash

My extended family of thirteen took our annual birthday celebration on the road to a cabin in a world where pine trees are planted in perfect rows, motels pride themselves on having cable tv and air conditioning, and the nearest town had a high school but no grocery store.  I've written two blog posts about our journey but both left me with a "Who cares?" feeling.  So I'm going to try something a little different.  Let me know if you like it or not. 
<>< Katie
(Most photo credits belong to Laura but some are mine and some Mom's)

One day we went tubing and kayaking down the river.  We were expecting a two-hour adventure, but it really took upwards of four.  The beer cooler got its own tube, but we forgot to pack food.  I felt like a message in a bottle; except at one point I was being blown upstream rather than down.
We had four dogs with us.  This is Holly, Queen of the World.  I was less than thrilled when she decided I needed a wake-up kiss on my nose at 8am...
Cassie, my family's dog, seems to think eating is optional.  Before we left, my aunt looked up the nearest animal ER: twenty-one minutes away.  She forgot to look up a people ER.  We teased there we were so much in the middle of nowhere that there was no 911.  That joke was a whole lot funnier before we had an incident when calling 911 would have been appropriate.
One uncle tried to make a pudgy pie with no spray and only one piece of bread.  I'm glad I caught the novice... crisis adverted.
Dad: Breakfast is always good when it involves a hammer.  Katie!  Write that one down.
My uncle walked in one afternoon and found my male cousin painting my sister's toenails.  My uncle laughed at my cousin.  Personally, I think painting fingernails and braiding hair are two life-skills that boys should have.  My uncle--who has a wife but no children--claimed he could braid hair, so I let him try.  It took two tries before he got this in my head but gave up before he had to use a ponytail holder... hence the twisty stolen from the bread bag.
My favorite thing: fire
Laura's favorite thing: feet
(both sarcastic)
Grandpa: What do you guys have against feet?  Feet are wonderful people!

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Heartfelt Note

July 29, 2010
1 am
Dear Mr. Mosquito,

I understand you are hungry.  I realize you, too, are God's creation and therefore you have a purpose in life.  I think your purpose it to keep all of the good people at Off! employed.  Were it not for you, they would be searching for other ways to feed their families.

Speaking of feeding families, we need to have a little chat.  Shame on you, my male friend.  You deserve to be smacked for even thinking about biting me in the place you did.  You went exploring areas that should be left alone, and now I'm the one who has to resist the urge to scratch.

Now, if you don't mind, I'd like to get some sleep, uninterrupted by buzzing and love bites.  Why don't you pick on someone your own size?  I do have an unfair advantage.  Don't make me use it.

Love (to smash you),
<>< Katie

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Homeless Man

This story made the Gathering website, but I'd like to tell it again.  Although not directly involved in the story, I was in that line of people wearing an orange shirt and a green backpack.  I also witnessed the connection of the dots later in the day.  It was a powerful moment.
<>< Katie

Planting- 6:45am
Lisa noticed a homeless man on her way to the convention center.  She asked how he was, and he said he guessed he was ok because he was alive.  She had to continue her walk, so she said, "Jesus loves you."

Sowing- 6:50am
Unaware of the previous interaction, Sarah was caught off guard when the homeless man looked at her, continued the conversation, and said, "But why does Jesus love me?"  She struggled for a minute before telling him about God's love and being God's child.

Reaping- 6:55am
A few minutes later Andrew, also unaware, walked by on his way to the convention center.  The homeless man shouted to him, "Jesus loves you."  Andrew smiled at the homeless man's faith.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Silly String and Stonings

For my birthday, Melissa gave me the same thing she has given me every year for the past plethora of years: purple silly string. This year, it got opened in "God's front yard" aka the church coffee shop. Naturally, it was mere seconds before we were all covered with purple silly string. Christian was out of the room.

We saw him returning, and I hid around the corner, but he saw my shadow.  Suspicious but unaware of my dangerous weapon, he refused to enter.  After a short impasse, I ran out at him.

"Don't you--"

It was too late.  I, Katie Ax, have showered a pastor with purple silly string in the church atrium.  Of course, Christian wasn't going to let me get away that easily.  He nearly tackled me to usurp the silly string.  I've been in enough "fights" at church to know the woman's bathroom is no sanctuary (pun intended).  Besides, there was no way I was going to outrun him.  And this is still church even if it is Monday night.

Flight wasn't an option.  How do you fight silly string?  I went for the third, less famous option: fetal position.  I fell to the ground in hopes of taking the "tornado position," but I klunked my head on the floor (carpet-covered concrete, in case anyone was ever wondering).  I flailed around for a minute before resolving myself to the fetal position.  We were both laughing.

All of the sudden, Christian's face turned serious.  "And neither do I condemn you.  Go and sin no more."  And he walked away.

I know the relief I felt that minute was absolutely nothing compared to the relief the adulterous woman felt when Jesus told her the same words some two-thousand years ago.  You see, she faced something far worse than silly string.  She faced death by stoning.

We don't know a lot about her.  We know she was caught in adultery.  We don't know where the man is.  We know the Pharisees cared more about trapping Jesus than they did about this woman.  We know Jesus gave her life.
According to the law given by Moses, the punishment for unfaithfulness was death.
We know Jesus showed her mercy.
Mercy: God not giving you what you deserve.
We know know Jesus showed her forgiveness.
Forgiveness: Saying "Yes, what you did was wrong, but I'm going to put it behind us.  I wish you well."
We know Jesus gives us the same.
"And neither do I condemn you," He says.  "Go and sin no more."
And unlike Christian with my silly string, Christ will never seek retaliation.

<>< Katie

PS: Thanks for all of the birthday wishes.  Tuesday's post had a record number of comments: five.  :-)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

One of my Favorite Stories

On August 2, 1989, Freddy arrived home from a work dinner to find his house empty.  Nothing unusual.  He called his in-laws who lived down the street.  He says he knew the moment his father-in-law answered the phone.

His wife, Parah, didn't know.  She was too busy running up and down the stairs trying to relieve the cramps caused by eating a whole bowl of green beans for dinner.  After the stairs, she moved on to the stationary bike before resolving herself to the bathroom floor.  She still had three weeks.

A few hours later, they were in the car on the way to the hospital.  Freddy's eyes rotated between the road, the clock, and his screaming wife.  Less than five minutes.  As they drew nearer, he expressed his lifelong dream of being pulled over at that very moment.  Through gritted teeth Parah told him to shut up and drive the car.

One stoplight away and an ambulance appeared on the horizon.  Freddy didn't stop to think.  He knew he had to get his wife to the hospital before that ambulance arrived.  He ran the red light and threatened to park in the ambulance bay.  He parked in the on-call physician spot instead.

Inside of the hospital a few floors up, their sister-in-law Sasha heard about Freddy and Parah's late-night arrival.  She slowly meandered downstairs thinking she had plenty of time.  Stopping at the nurse's station to talk to her friends, she was told about a patient in Room One mere minutes away from giving birth.  Suddenly the pieces fell into place and she rushed into the room, almost missing the birth of her goddaughter.

She wasn't the only one who almost missed it.  The doctor almost missed it, too.  He arrived at the hospital and poked his head in Parah's room.  "Do I have time to change my clothes?"

"If you hurry," the nurse said.

They teased he could have been there sooner if Freddy hadn't been parked in his spot.  Luckily, the doctor did make it back in time to deliver a baby girl at 1:35am on August 3.

That was 21 years ago tonight.  How do you think I should celebrate?

<>< Katie

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Broken-Toed Tennis Player

I mentioned last week that Mom broke her toe.  I think I need to do justice to that story.

While my sisters and I were at the National Youth Gathering, our parents were on a retreat as part of my dad's work.  The first day they were there, she was conned into playing in the tennis tournament.  Mom's not a tennis player.  She's been a Tennis Mom for almost ten years, but she's never been a tennis player.  A few months ago, she decided to pick up the racket and give it a shot.  She'll be the first to tell you, she's not very good.  Lucky for her, she was partnered with one of my sister's friends, a stellar tennis player and a great guy.  Neither one of them wanted to play, but they weren't really given a choice.

That night, she had to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.  Feeling smug, she pulled out her flashlight, but it was brighter in the dark room than she expected, so she turned it off.  She'd turn it on, look, turn it off, and take a few steps.  It was a fantastic plan.  Until she realized the bench at the foot of the bed was wider at its base than it was on top.  SMASH!  She moaned and face-planted onto the bed.

"There were women screaming and falling into my bed at 2am," Dad says when they co-tell what happened.

In the morning, there was still the tennis tournament to consider.  Mom taped her toes and shoved it in her tennis shoe... She felt the skill level of the first match was pretty even, and they won.  The second match was harder, but as her opponent got riled up, her partner got fancy.  He did most of the work, but she still had to serve and return serves.  They won the second match.  That meant they were in the championship.

"Whatever you do, do not let the ball go to him; always hit the ball to her," said Mom's opponent.

They were playing a nine game proset, that means first one to nine games wins, and they were up 8-5.  Again, her partner is an amazing tennis player and did all of the work, but he's so easy going that he didn't care.  Mom decided since the match was not on the line, she wanted to try something her coach had been teaching her. 

Her partner and opponent were rallying cross-court from the baseline.  At the net, Mom stepped into the center of the court and poached, my trademark shot.  She volleyed the ball; it went over the net and dropped.  There was no possible way for them to hit that ball.

Mom jumped up to cheer that the poach actually worked.  Then reality set in.  That wasn't just a great shot, that was the game-winning shot.  Game, set, match, tournament!

Mom jumped up to cheer realizing she, an amateur player with a broken toe, just won the tennis tournament.

And she wonders why we give her no pity for her injury. 

<>< Katie