Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Being Used

"I'm tired," I said, resting my head on Neal's shoulder.  It was lunchtime on our third day in Nicaragua and we'd already done three church services, visited three schools, and been performed for twice. 

He put his arm around me in a side hug.  There we stood in silence for a few minutes.  I never said this but I was more than tired; I was discouraged.

The previous night we had done a worship service at a youth-filled home church in the city.  It was in the upper room of this little house where our team of 26 took up most of the incredibly uncomfortable seats.  The youth from this church sat scattered among us, crouched on the floor in the back, or stood squished in the corner.

They started out the worship service with some songs, prayer, a dance, and a short message.  Then we did some of the same things: three songs, a skit (the only service we didn't do The Heart Skit), a prayer, a sign performance, a testimony, and a sermon.  By the end of the service, most of our team was in tears, in awe of how alive the Spirit of the Lord was in that church.

This is an excerpt from my journal that night:

God, I'm a little jealous that everyone else had such wonderful experiences tonight. I know You are alive and here in Nicaragua but I didn't feel it the way everyone else did. I know that You speak to everyone in different ways but it seemed like You spoke to everyone in the same way tonight... except me.
My eyes were dry.  I felt nothing.  I was annoyed with God for not allowing me to feel the same thing as everyone else.  I was jealous, and I hadn't told anyone but God.

My head still resting on his chest, Neal rubbed my arm with his hand.

"God's using you, you know," he said.

As silly as this sounds, I was surprised to hear that.  I knew that God would use me but I did not know He is using me.  Present tense.  Not some abstract future occurrence but right now.

Neal continued, "A lot of people said when you signed 'My Savior, My God' last night was when the Holy Spirit started to work on them."


I had no idea.  I figured God had started speaking when they danced, when we sang in two languages, when the father and son did a duet, when we prayed... sometime long before I took the stage.

Apparently not.  The Holy Spirit used me and I had no idea.  While I still would have liked to enjoy the overwhelming experience like the rest of my teammates, I was stunned and amazed to learn that I had been used and I had no idea.

I think I thanked Neal for telling me exactly what I needed to hear.

The version of "My Savior, My God" I signed was written to be a trio.  I signed it by myself.  A Trio, a Holy Trio, perfromed it.

Sometimes the Holy Spirit uses you and you know it.  You feel it.  But sometimes the Holy Spirit uses you and you have no idea.  You don't feel it.

Are you ok with both?

I am.

<>< Katie

Monday, March 28, 2011

Pitiful or Beautiful?

Our last morning in Nicaragua, we left at 4:30am.  As we were driving towards Managua we watched the moon go down and the sun rise in the mountains hand-crafted by our God.  The moon set was breath-taking.

I handed my camera to Jessica for a photograph.  It failed to capture the moment.

"Pitiful," Marie said upon viewing the photo.

Jessica handed the camera back to me.  "Beautiful," she said.

It was in that moment that I learned the difference between pitiful and beautiful: the person saying it.

Friends, God tells us we are beautiful.  Why do we keep referring to ourselves as pitiful?

We are who we are.  We are who He created.  Why do we tell Him that His handiwork isn't good enough?

<>< Katie

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

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Anaconda Squeeze

It's very overwhelming for Nicaraguan places to be invaded by 26 Americans.  The first day, half of our team was going to the special needs school and the other half to an orphanage.  We had planned VBS-like activities.  My group was going to teach the story of Daniel and the lion's den with audience participation and a corresponding craft.

Flaw in the plan: a miscommunication with the orphanage meant we wouldn't be able to work there.  After some quick re-figuring, we found ourselves working with 5 and 6 year olds at a school.

Flaw in the plan: this was a public school.  That meant no talking about Jesus.  There were two sets of 80 kids each and we had no plan.

Yay for being flexible and thinking on our feet.

We got the first group to sit under the shade of a tree while we introduced ourselves, did some silly skits, and told them why we were in Nicaragua.  (We did slide Jesus in there briefly).

After that we let them play.  We tried to teach them Duck, Duck, Goose (Renamed Gato, Gato, Perro).  It didn't fly.  The soccer balls did.

Eventually recess was over, so "Neo" collected the balls and became a human jungle gym.

No matter how many times he said, "No," those two little boys wouldn't stop reaching for the balls.  I had the perfect distraction: a camera.
One kid became two, became four or five, became thirty... There are about 50 more photos that I want to post just to show you the cuteness of the crowd we drew.

I ran out of funny face ideas before they lost interest.  Instead, I started asking them questions in Spanish.

Katie: Are you having a good day?
Adorable Children: SI!
Katie: Do you like recess?
Adorable Children: SI!
Katie: Is it better than math?
Adorable Children: SI!

They loved every minute of it!  Every "Sí" was more energetic than the previous.

Eventually my other team members came up and introduced themselves, talked about why we were there, and did some skits.  I did all of our interpreting for that group which meant I had no idea what the next plan was and I didn't get thirty second water break during the switching of groups.  When we told them to stand up, they did.

I think it probably started with one child's desire to give me a hug.  As had happened previously, one child turned into two, turned into three or four, turned into fifty.

My very first Anaconda Squeeze!

I deserved to be trampled because I was the one who riled them up... but I loved every minute of it!

I relished that moment.  I tried to touch every child around me and told them all that I love them.  I wish I could have told them about Jesus and how much He loves them.

I also wish I would not have forgotten how to conjugate.  When there are fifty kids latched to your waist, it is almost impossible to stay upright.  But I couldn't find the words, "I'm falling."  I got "to fall," "I dropped it," and "he fell" but not "I'm falling."  I finally realized I was going down and there was nothing I could do about it but try not to crush kids in the process.

When I started to shrink, the rest of my team stopped taking pictures and realized I needed help.

Eventually, we got the 50 kids off of me and divided into groups.  Naturally, my group was the largest, and I still had no idea what we were doing.

As per Erin's suggestion, we started the Hokey Pokey.  In English.  Meaning what?  Katie's solo.

Right arm.
Left arm.
Right leg.
Left leg.
The kids were starting to get it, so I asked for body parts from them.
Right knee.
Left knee.

Three days of Hokey Pokey later and I was out of breath and thinking about what we were teaching these kids: the Hokey Pokey is what it's all about. 

We could tell these kids we were there because of Jesus but we couldn't tell them who Jesus is.  We couldn't tell them Jesus loves them.  We couldn't tell them about how great Jesus is.

It broke my heart to imagine these kids going home and having this conversation.
Mom: How was school today?
Child: Great!  We tackled some Americans at recess!
Mom: Why were there Americans at you school?
Child: I don't know.

We couldn't tell them about Jesus's love, but I can only hope and pray that we were able to show them the love of Christ through our actions and play time.  They definitely showed us what it mean to love like a child.

It also made me think about how often we have the opportunity to tell people about Jesus and we don't.  When we have the opportunity, we fail to seize it.  When we don't have the opportunity, we desire it.

What if the Hokey Pokey really is what it's all about?
But what if it's not? 
And what if we're missing opportunities to speak the Truth?
What if we were better about speaking love?

<>< Katie

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Climb

"It's not very, how do you say?  Es-steep," said our host-pastor, Manolo.

Famous last words.

From my first step off the bus I knew the hike up the mountain would be challenging for my out-of-shape self.  Manolo said it would take 45 minutes, but I didn't dare time it.

I followed in line behind some mountain runners... I don't run on flat ground much less up a mountain.  It was not long before, I was incredibly out of breath and I could feel my heart pound in about 87 different places.  It was so bad someone asked me if I have asthma.

Those in front of me kept going but I could not keep up no matter how hard I tried.  I gave everything and it wasn't enough.  Finally, I paused to rest.

Neal: Hey, Katie.
I didn't even have the breath to respond; I turned my head towards him.
Neal: That's where we're going.
He pointed above our heads to the rock.
Neal: Does that encourage you or discourage you?
Katie: I know it's supposed to encourage me, but, honestly, it's really discouraging.

I had no idea how far I'd come but it seemed shorter than I had left to go.  That was discouraging!

As the runners disappeared from my view, I found the strength to continue.  I'm not a quitter.  I knew it would eventually be worth the pain.  And I had been promised communion at the top of the mountain.

A Nicaraguan youth with our group offered to carry my bag.  I let him (that bilingual Word of the Lord is heavy!), and he disappeared up the mountain.

Katie: There goes my water.
Neal: I have some.
Katey: We can share mine.

I felt so cared for and loved.  I was getting up that mountain, my friends were going to make sure of it!
Neal would pop back down and again, but Katey and I walked together the rest of the way up the mountain. She accepted my pace, and we stopped frequently to enjoy the views (ok, and catch my breath). It was no longer a race to the top but about enjoying the journey. Slowly I began to enjoy my trek rather than only continuing for the communion at the end.

Tortoise-style Katey and I continued towards the top... Slow and steady. Eventually we heard laughter and shouts from nearby.  Even though we'd lost the rest of our group, they had to be nearby.  We rounded the corner and there they were.
We'd made it!  We had reached our destination!  The handiwork of our Creator was ours to enjoy!
From the top, we could see for miles, kilometers, actually.  It was breath-taking!  When everyone made it to the top (believe me or not, Katey and I weren't last) we took a group photo.  Best team photo ever!  Then we took a seat and listened to Manolo teach while we watched the Master Painter paint us a beautiful sunset!
Afterwards, we were given the assurance of the forgiveness of sins through the body and blood of Jesus Christ.  We then sang "Revelation Song" a capella.  Breath-taking!

The wind was blowing and the sun going down, taking the temperature with it.  Even with the goose bumps on my arms, I didn't care much. 

Now in the dark, we began our journey down the mountain, under the barbed wire, and around the rocks.  Except we hadn't planned to be hiking in the dark, so we didn't have enough flashlights for everyone.  New version of walk by faith and not by sight!

We walked slowly, getting split up as we went.  We prayed for safety.  Cold rain began to fall.

Hiking down a mountain in the dark, shivering, and it's raining.  Sounds awful, right? 

"Well, it'll be a story to tell when we get back," I said.  Honestly, I thought it was wonderful.  Maybe I'm biased because I was one of the lucky ones with a flashlight.

Sherry began a rendition of "The Wheels on the Bus."  That turned into "The Hokey Pokey" which became "I'm in the Lord's Army" and "Father Abraham."  (Those are Baptist songs... I don't really know them either).  We were having so much fun singing and slipping.

Eventually our group got separated, and I walked alone with my flashlight.  Under my breath I continued to sing.

I love You, Lord,
and I lift my voice
to worship You.
Oh my soul, rejoice.
Take joy, my King,
in what You hear.
May it be a
sweet, sweet sound
in Your ear.

Abba, I belong to You.
I belong to You.
Abba, Father.
Abba, I belong to You.
I belong to You.
Abba, Father, God.

Worthy is the
Lamb who was slain
Holy, Holy is He.
Sing a new song
to Him to sits on
heaven's mercy seat.
Holy, Holy, Holy
is the Lord God Almighty
who was and is and is to come.
With all creation I sing
praise to the King of Kings.
You are my everything,
and I will adore You.

Just me and Jesus time.  Somehow amidst the literally rocky ground, the cold breeze of night, the gentle rainfall, and the tiredness of my body, I found the strength to praise Him.

The climb down was considerably better than the trek up because I had a goal.  It wasn't the top of the mountain.  It wasn't even the bus at the bottom.  It was to spend time in the presence of the One who formed every mountain, placed every rock, and grew every leaf.

The same One who put me there was worthy of all of my praise.

When we made it to the bus, those who were already there cheered for the newcomers.  I smiled.  We did it.  Not by our own strength or power. God's hand of protection guided us up and down.

Take a minute to praise Him today.  Amidst the barbed wire, the rocky ground, and the wind.  As you share the heavy load and water with friends, thank Him for the friendship.  As you see flowers, sunsets, and raindrops realized He formed you, too. Enjoy the hike up; it's not a race.  Enjoy the stumble down; it's ok to fall.

<>< Katie

PS: No one was hurt in the making of this blog.  (Except maybe a spider).

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Broken Hearted

I had never before seen The Heart Skit when our campus minister Neal gave us the thirty second plotline.  Three or four of us volunteered to be the protagonist, but Jessica chose me.  I kept quiet while they discussed who would be the man to break my heart.  They unanimously decided on Neal.  After making sure no one else wanted the part, Neal agreed.  Due to time constraints, the final cast was not able to practice together.

That night, the magnitude of the skit hit me.
1. I was going to have my heart broken on stage in a silent skit.  Can you say: FACIAL EXPRESSIONS?
2. I was going to have to flirt with my married campus minister.

I prayed for emotional strength and thought about boundaries.

During church the following morning, Neal and I took opposite sides of the stage.  In my hands I held a paper heart.  Neal's object was to romance me until I gave him my heart.  We made eye contact and showed embarrassment.  He waved; I giggled.  He took a deep breath and stepped closer to me.  I looked away and made the same move.  He put his arm around me; I leaned into him.  He reached out for my heart, and I pulled away.  He hugged me, I hesitated before surrendering the heart.  We both smiled from ear to ear.  He took my hand and paraded me around.  He pointed into the distance, I looked, and he planted a kiss on my cheek.  I blushed.

Was NOT expecting that.

From the side of the stage came another girl.  His attention shifted.  I tried to pull him back but he pulled away.  From behind, I wrapped both of my arms around his waist; he dragged me across the stage.  Using his foot, he pushed me off.  I stumbled backwards, regained my balance, and ran at him, jumping for my heart.  He pointed to the heart, pointed to me, pointed back to the heart, and got a devious look.

He took his hand off the other girl long enough to rip my heart to pieces and throw them on the ground.

I fell to the ground with my broken heart.

A friend walked by, picked up a piece of my heart, looked at it, dropped it, stomped on it, and walked away.

Two friends came and tried to help me piece it together.  When they let go, my heart fell apart again.

I sat on my knees trying to put my heart back together like a puzzle.  It didn't work.

Brett knelt at my side.  He put one hand on my back and a Bible in my lap.  His eyes dripping compassion, he pointed up, crossed his arms over his chest, and pointed to me.  I turned away.  He tapped me and pointed to the Bible.  I pushed him away.

Alone I sat, cupping the pieces of my heart to my chest.  It wasn't working.  I sat them down and turned my interest to the Bible Brett gave me.  I hesitated, closed the broken heart into the Bible, sat back, and prayed.  I waited until the camera flashes stopped.  I opened the Bible and tucked in the Psalms was a brand new heart!

Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting...He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:1, 3

I love the image of being healed in Christ represented in this skit.  But I think it's oversimplified. 

Heart breaks are very real; being healed is a long, slow, painful process.  I've been there.  Five times last week and my share of times in weeks and months previous.

Our hearts are not the only ones that get broken.  We are often cast in Neal's role doing the heart breaking every time something we find more attractive or interesting comes along.  God's heart breaks every time we turn away from Him.

Every time, ladies, we're infatuated with a guy rather than with Him.
Every time we put our focus in something else.
Every time we doubt, fail to trust, are too hard on ourselves.
Every time we cry, God's tears outnumber ours.

Take a moment right now and tell Him how much you love Him.  Let Him love you back.  Let Him heal your heart.

With love,
<>< Katie

Sunday, March 20, 2011


I have crayon under my fingernails.
My hair has dirt in it and is uncooperative.
My legs are scratched up, bug-bitten, and hairy.
I'll spare you the details about the revolt happening inside of my body.
I'm physically drained but emotionally and spiritually on a mountain top!

Sorry for the silence last week.  I was on a mission trip to Nicaragua.  We had one goal and one goal only: serve God.

That meant going to five church services in one week but being the church all week.
It meant entertaining 80 kids for an hour... twice.
It meant building relationships and encouraging people in what they're already doing.
It meant loving and serving with everything we have.
It meant visiting the fire station, touring the local hospital, and climbing mountains.

Let me tell you, the Holy Spirit is alive and well in Nicaragua!  It was so encouraging to see!

I'm trying to get all of my thoughts into the same language. As I do that, I'll share stories and photos... so don't go anywhere!

But now... I must go to bed.  Yesterday was a 22-hour travel day that included a six am pit stop because someone was bus-sick, two plane rides, and a 1am tire-change on a 12-passenger van.  But we are all home safe and healthy!

<>< Katie

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Tennis Racket

"I carry more to class every day than I pack when I fly across the country."

It's true.  But last week Thursday when our campus minister Neal asked me to bring my suitcase to his office to help prepare for our upcoming mission trip, I protested.  I didn't want to walk fifteen minutes across campus with my suitcase.  I don't usually fly with a suitcase, and I definitely wasn't walking to class with a suitcase.

On Friday, when we were meeting as a mission team Neal said, "I heard some of you care too much about your pride to walk all the way to my office with a suitcase."

He didn't have to say, "'Some of you' means 'Katie.'"  I knew.  He knew.  In case Neal's subtle reminder to keep my pride in check wasn't enough, God took care of it. 

Monday my gym class made the mid-semester switch from badminton to tennis.  For the rest of the semester, I get to carry around a tennis racket all day twice a week.

Really, I'm ok with it because it means I get to play tennis twice a week, but after about... oh, fifteenth time answering the "Why do you have a tennis racket?" question, it gets a little old.

Has your pride made unexpected appearances today?

What is your "tennis racket" to carry around today to make sure the pride stays in check?

<>< Katie

Update: Neal weighed my backpack today... 25lbs.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Lenten Promise

It started in November when it was still sporadically warm enough to wear shorts.  We wanted to avoid No-Shave-November to keep our options open.

Enter No-Soda-November.  For the month of November, my suitemates and I gave up soda.  There was a little bit of cheating forgetting but, as a whole, we did well.  Not going to lie, on December first I had root beer mixed with milk.  It sounds gross, but it's delicious.  I don't think I've had any soda since.

In December, Allyson and Jennifer gave up fried foods.  A little bit more failure.  Always justified in some bizarre way or another.

In January, the two gave up eating after eight pm.  By now the other four of us were beginning to realize this habit of giving something up was more about stubbornness than it was health.  More about temporary sacrifice and self control than building better habits.  We started to convince them that exceptions could be made.  "This fresh out of the oven cookie is still part of dinner.  Dessert just wasn't ready yet because we at dinner at 7:30."

In February, the shortest month, Jennifer and Allyson started their hardest mission: no sweets.  No chocolate, no desserts, no mochas, no Valentines candy...  They began to consume potato chips at the speed of light.  I kid you not, Jennifer ate an entire bag of cheddar Lays in one sitting.  Around the middle of February, they went to Taco Bell and declared cinnamon twists chips rather than sweets.  Allyson even poured the remaining cinnamon and sugar into her mouth.  Needless to say, we declared them failures.  For the rest of the month, they hid their sweet-eating from judgmental persons.

They did not give up anything for the month of March.  Ironically, the month in which Lent starts.

Today, Ash Wednesday, a lot of the Christian community around the world is sacrificing something.  However, unlike Jennifer and Allyson, our sacrifice is not out of stubbornness.  Our sacrifice is to honor the One who sacrificed His life on the cross.  Our sacrifice is about growing spiritually closer to our Savior.

Figuring out what to give up for Lent is always a challenge for me.  I try to avoid giving up anything food-related because we'll just be honest: I'm a skinny kid.  Skinny kids and food sacrifices don't sit well with the rest of the world.

Two years ago I gave up facebook... and learned refreshing the page actually helps me think.
Last year I vowed to blog no more frequently than every other day... a habit I have kept.

This year I'm thinking about:
- giving up my car to save on gas... but I only drive the car pool one Sunday morning out of every three
- giving up socks... that was Nikki's idea
- giving up the color purple... I might get in trouble for public indecency.
- giving up my thesis... ooh, I like that idea
- getting more exercise... can you see this skinny kid on a treadmill?
- drinking only milk and water... oh, wait, that's pretty much covers it.
- giving up breathing... what's that?

For Lent this year, I'm going to work on two things:
1 - spending more time in serious prayer, ideally in the form of 20 minutes or more a day in our campus prayer room.
2 - affirming or encouraging at least one person every day, perhaps through the mail or in other Project 7-like ways.

What are you giving up or adding for Lent?

<>< Katie

PS: Guess what?  Today's Ash Wednesday meaning... in 40 days I get to go home for Easter!  (I haven't been home since Christmas).

Monday, March 7, 2011

"Everyone Needs Compassion"

"Daddy, what were your five compassionate things you did today?"  I asked.  Dad was getting ready for bed, and I was sprawled out on his bed with a book.  I wasn't moving until I got an answer.

Dad: Helping people get on the elevator.
Katie: Did you really help people on the elevator today or are you making that up?
Dad: Actually, I helped THREE people onto the elevator today, so that's three things.
Katie: No, "Helping three people on the elevator" is one thing.  What are the other four?
Dad: Um... calling Grandma and Grandpa.  Calling Laura.  Um... Four... Kissing in public.
He walked over to Mom, gave her a hug and a kiss, and smirked at me.  Then he came over and gave me a kiss.
Dad: Five!  Now get off my bed.

I called him lame, but I did move.  He asked my five compassionate things for the day, and I gave an equally lame list.
Compassion: a deep awareness for others' hurting and acting upon those sympathies.
I'm pretty sure kissing doesn't count.

Compassion is risking your arm in an elevator door to ensure someone in a wheel chair has ample time to get on board.  Compassion is letting someone cut you in line because she has a screaming child who needs a nap.  Compassion is smiling at the waiter even when he brought you the wrong kind of wine.

Everyone needs compassion.  Did you hear me?  Everyone needs compassion.  Not just those you think are deserving of it.  Not just those who cross your path when you're in a good mood.  Everyone.

It's hard.  Very hard.  But let's work on it together.

So, friends, I ask you the same thing, what were your five compassionate things for today?  How did you show or receive compassion today?

<>< Katie

"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." Ephesians 4:32

Friday, March 4, 2011


Secretly, I've always dreamed of going to China.  In my dreams I've always envisioned my future husband and me going and bringing home a child.  As always, God had a different vision.  (But I haven't given up mine).

An opportunity has been made available for Amber and me to go to China for three weeks this summer.  We will be teaching English but--more importantly--we will be witnesses for Christ.

"Being called" to do something was not part of my church lingo growing up, and I've really wrestled with what it means to "be called" to China.  I haven't quite figured it out yet, but I am perusing this opportunity with the intention of doing God's will rather than not doing it because I'm unsure if it's His will or not.  (My friend Ron gave me that advice years ago and it was pretty much the best advice ever).

Even though there is still a lot of unknown, I officially submitted my application today.  Now I need your help, friends.

1. Pray. Pray. Pray.  Right now.  Pray for me as I venture on this journey.  Pray for Amber and all of the other volunteers we'll be working with.  Pray for the people already in China.  Pray for safety and health.  Pray for us as we prepare to answer tough, blunt questions about our faith.  Daily. Pray. Pray. Pray. Please.

2. I have no idea where on a college student's budget I'm going to come up with $3,000 to pay for the program.  I firmly believe that God provides.  Support letters, bake sales, begging on my hands and knees... If you have ideas or can support us financially, leave a comment or shoot me an email (katieaxelson [at] gmail [dot] com).  Even just a dollar or two helps because God can use anything!

3. If you have any materials, teaching advice, donations, etc.  We'd love to hear it.  Haven't really thought that far ahead, but it's never too early to start planning.

My calendar officially doesn't end until August now!  I'm really excited to see what God does with this trip!  This is my first trip to a foreign country where I don't speak the language.  I'll let you know how well Chinese people speak Spanish and ASL... I don't promise to blog every other day while I'm in China, but I will try to update you all periodically.

For His glory,
<>< Katie

"Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?' And I said, 'Here am I. Send me!'"
Isaiah 6:8

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  Acts 1:8

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wacky Wednesday

Katie: Sometimes broken things are worth keeping.
Nikki: Like us.

Sara: I'm going to lick Cinderella's castle.
Heather: Or you could lick Mickey's butt.  Or you could lick the trash can Goofy touched.  Or you could lick the road where everyone walks.  Or you could lick David's face.  Do all of these sound ridiculous?  So does licking Cinderella's castle!

Katie: Go outside by the puke.
Andy: You want us to buy you some puke?  That's a waste of money.  We could just produce it naturally for you.
Katie: If I ever need any puke, you'll be the first person that I call.
[Elizabeth and Andy kiss loudly]
Katie: I have my own naturally-produced puke now.  Thank you.

Elizabeth: Jennifer!  Do not chip clip your eyelashes!

Nikki: Katie, I'm pretty sure you're one-fourth dog.  I'm going to get a dog whistle just to annoy you because I'm sure you'll hear it.

Katie: Dork.
Jennifer: I'm not a dork.
Katie: "Dork" is a term of endearment just like sassing is a love language.
Jennifer: A dorking is a pigeon with five toes.
Katie: I've also heard a dude is an infected hair on an elephant's butt, but I don't believe that either.
Jennifer: [laughing hysterically] Allyson!  Come here, dude!
[She proceeded to call everyone a dude and laughed all night]

Andy [making lunch for our student teachers]: Do you want ketchup or grape jelly?
Amy: A mix of both.
Andy: Don't tempt me.
Amy: Andy, I like my sandwich cut in the same of animals.
Elizabeth: I like mine cut like monuments.
Andy: Amy, yours are cut like quadrilaterals.

Jennifer: I wish I could buy an eraser just to erase things.

Eva: She's high maintenance.
Evan: That's my fiance she's talking about.
Katie: Are you going to let her talk that way about your fiance?
Evan [with pride]: I like maintaining her.

Katie: I'm studying English, Spanish, and American Sign Language.  This summer I'm going to China.
Josh: You realize none of those languages are going to help you in China, right?

Hannah: What's Katie's last name?  Axelson or Axelton?
Matthew: Have you seen Katie?!  It's not AxelTON.

Jennifer: I could be like a hamster and stick the candy in my cheeks, take it up to my tower, and eat it there!

Grandma: Yeah, we had burnt carrots--
Grandpa: --We had burnt carrots, burnt broccoli, and burnt offerings...

Jennifer: Katie, if I finished your sentences they'd start with words and end with numbers.

Danielle: I don't know how to wrestle Katie.  I'm afraid I'm going to break her in half!
Katie: I told you, she could lift me with two fingers: it's not a fair fight.
[Later I was wrapped around her body and she was standing and spinning]
Jo: Oh!  Don't hurt her head!
Katie: But it's ok to hurt the rest of me?

Nikki: Sometimes I just really don't think it's fair that I  am so blessed with so many of you wonderful girls in my life when there are lonely people in this world. [beat] Maybe I should start pawning you off to lonely people. [beat] Katie, you're first!

Katie: The sauce-dressing stuff on this salad is so thick and overpowering that I can't tell what's chicken and what's a crouton.
Josh: I feel like that may be the point.

Jennifer: BRRRR!
Nikki: I'm sobrrrr!
Katie: I'm not.

Nikki: Andy, the word "sloughing" is in this book.  And I used it today.
Andy: In a periodical sense?

[In the coffee shop, Amber's giving the attention wave to her computer.  She was watching a video.  Entire conversation in ASL]
Katie: Are you talking to yourself?
Amber: No, I'm in class, and I'm copying the teacher.
Katie: Why?
Amber: Because it's fun.
Katie: So you are talking to yourself.  Or you're four.  Which?
Amber: That one! [the four]

Katie: Ladies, you crack me up!
Jennifer: Oh, do you need some glue?

Dr. D: I never sneeze in dark rooms.

Jennifer and Allyson: Do you need anything from the store or the bank or the coffee shop?
Katie: I mean, if the bank is giving out free samples, I'll take some.

Lauren: Oh, man!  This scratch paper she gave us is so big and antique-looking.  It intimidated me.  I had to get a piece of scratch paper for my scratch paper.

Jennifer: I don't want to go to dinner.  I forfeit dinner.

[Andy was studying.  I was reading with my head in Amy's lap; Amy was studying]
Andy: Katie, you have a laceration on the occipital portion of your head.
Katie: Amy, I'm sorry I'm bleeding to death in your lap.
Amy [pulling away]: WHAT?!

Jennifer [singing]: Holy, holy, holy!
Katie [spoken]: Can I finish my story?  Lord God Almighty.

Dr. H [female]: This is my stun gun. POW!
Matthew: Don't taze me, bro!

Jonathan Martin: When the Spirit is working, there is a strange cocktail of supernatural boldness and awareness of my fragility.  It's like His calling card.