Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Listening in the Silence

I don't really know if this is blog-appropriate or not but I can't help but share God's sense of humor.

I am very bad at sitting and doing nothing.  Ask my roommates.  I'm always doing something, working on something, going somewhere, or refreshing some internet page.  I don't sit still.  I like to be busy.  The minute I'm done eating, I'm out of the caf.  As soon as there's a pause in the conversation, I excuse myself.  Even when going to bed at night, I focus on praying rather than my constant to-do list or the fictional characters running around in my head.  I like constant motion.

This whole unemployed thing brings constant motion to a screeching halt.

I am trying to use this opportunity to learn to sit in silence before the Lord.  Sit and be still (although, I still wiggle my toes).  Turn off the brain (harder than it sounds).  Don't write, don't read, don't do anything but listen.

The first afternoon I tried, I fell asleep.  I rarely nap during the day and I was sitting on the floor... Two hours later I woke up with a sore neck and no conversation with the Lord.

After dinner, I sat back down on my bedroom floor to try again.  I turned off the music.  Turned off the computer.  Silenced the phone.  Put away the notebook.  And sat in silence, listening for the quiet whispered.  This time I kept my eyes open.

Katie: Ok, God, I'm listening.

And what did I hear?

Someone farting in the bathroom on the other side of the wall.  Not just one.  My private, silent moment with the Lord was interrupted by someone elses' private, not-so-silent moment.

Katie: Wow, You're funny.

That's one of my favorite things to say to God.  A sarcastic, "Wow, You're funny."

Two lessons learned here:
1. God does have a sense of humor.
2. No sitting in silence in the bedroom.

But I'm going to keep trying to sit in silence, as soon as I find a fart-free location where I'm not at risk of falling asleep.

Learning to listen,
<>< Katie

Monday, June 27, 2011

As The Deer

During our family's annual birthday celebration my grandpa was telling a story about an interaction he and Grandma had with a deer while they were on vacation.

Apparently they were driving down a woodsy neighborhood road and there were some women walking down the street towards the car.  In between their car and the women was a deer.  The deer was focused on the pedestrians, so Grandpa slowed down and approached it as slowly and quietly as they could.

The car got right up next to the deer before the deer took its eyes from the women and noticed Grandpa and Grandma.  Of course, then it took off running.

I can't help but wonder how often we are that deer.  We are the deer focused on what's ahead, the women walking towards us, rather than noticing what's going on around us.

I am that deer.  I'm focused on my future career, job opportunities, and the next step rather than focusing on the here and now.  I'm concerned about what I'm going to be doing when I get back from China rather than focusing on what I'll be doing while in China.

Are you the deer?  Are you looking at what you'll be doing this weekend rather than what you're doing today?  Are you expecting something when God's working in a different way? 

Oh, deer,
<>< Katie

Friday, June 24, 2011

Sharing Life

They didn't know I was in town.  I knew I couldn't leave without seeing them.

After dinner one evening, I gave them a call.  No answer.  I called their cell phone.  No answer.  I called the house phone again.  Still no answer.

"What do you want to do?" Laura asked.  "Do you want to go over there and check or just wait awhile?"

I hesitated.  There are some people in my life that the best (read: only) way to get a hold of them is face-to-face.

"Do you mind if we just run over there?"

She didn't.

We figured they were having Family Time.  The phone does not interrupt Family Time but Katie and Laura are welcome to Family Time.

We were wrong.

The phone went unanswered because Ruth was out walking the dog.  When we pulled up beside her she gave us a small wave.  Her eyes were teary.  We parked and ran over to hug her.

"Jesus sent you to me!" She said.  Twice.

Her father who, despite being in his 90s, had been doing relatively well had taken a bad turn.  She didn't know if he had hours to live or weeks.  She didn't know if he'd still me alive in a week when they made the cross-country trip home.  She didn't know if she wanted the opportunity to say goodbye or if she would prefer he pass quickly rather than suffer.  It had only been a month since her mother went home to heaven.

The three of us walked around the neighborhood hand in hand, tear in tear.  Then we sat on the couch together, journeyed back through life, and cried some more.  Sometimes we talked.  Sometimes we blubbered.  Sometimes we sat in silence.  We shared life.

We prayed to God.  We praised God.  We questioned God.  We said, "Thy will be done."

Thanks to her sons, we were the hill in a painful rendition of King of the Hill.  We were drooled on by the dog.  We cleaned up the kitchen.

Laura and I had no idea what to expect when we decided just to go over.  But we're so glad we did.  God was using us and, at first, we had no idea.

Be intentional.  Life is messy: share it with someone.  Drop in to check on a friend.  Let God provide your shoulder, your hug, your friendship for someone in need.  You never know when your smile is the highlight of their day.  When your kind word is really the Holy Spirit speaking directly to their heart.

<>< Katie

UPDATE: Earlier this week Ruth sat at her father's bedside and heard him draw his last breath before he went Home to his Father's House.  Please take a minute to pray for the family as they are grieving but also rejoicing that he's now healthy and whole.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Last week I made my first trip to Baptist Country as an alumna.  When we pulled into town, it didn't feel like I had been gone a month.  It felt like we had just gone to Elizabeth's for the weekend.

Very little has changed. 
A few trees have blown down, the construction projects have progressed, and there are not nearly as many cars in the parking lot. 

So much has changed.
My ID card no longer lets me into buildings, my mailbox is boarded up, and I am not returning in the fall.  Yet still it feels like home.

It was years ago when I first referred to that little town as "home."  If I flew to The Homeland, I said I was flying home.  If I flew to Baptist Country, I said I was flying home.  The lines between "home" and "school" were so blurry that I gave up on what to call each place and declared travel days "Airplane Day," no matter which direction I was going.

What is home?

Is home my parents' house?  Is home the college town where I went couch-surfing last week?  What exactly is home?

I wish I posted everything I've drafted because in February I wrote a post entitled "Redefining Family."  It claimed "family" was my five suitemates, my ten-person ministry team, and my lunch buddies.  Sometimes family has little to do with blood relation.

Home is where your family is.

I'm having a hard time deciding where "home" is because my family is in The Homeland, my family is in Baptist Country, my family is in Nicaragua, in Guatemala...  Does that make home all of those places as well?

In the same way that The Homeland will always be "home" because my family is here, Baptist Country will always be "home" because my family is there, too.

Beauty and the Beast taught me "home is where the heart is."  If that's true, then I'm heartbroken.  In Baptist Country, I want to be in The Homeland.  While in The Homeland, I yearn for Baptist Country.  I don't think this is necessarily a bad problem to have, but I am not a fan.  For four years my life has been split by 900 miles, a chasm that is not closing anytime soon.

Until God sends me somewhere else, home will have to be my parents' house.  No more trying to outsmart to get packages delivered to my P.O. box.  No more loitering in the caf.  No more spontaneous trips to Wal-mart even though we don't need anything.  No more "Katie, party of twelve, your table is ready."

As I struggle to define such a basic four-letter word, I must also remember that in the grand scheme of things, none of these places are "home."  They are all temporary dwellings prior to an eternal home.  I honestly believe that someday there will be no sixteen-hour drives and no time change because there will be no time at all.  There will be a day when tears won't roll, hearts won't break, and pain won't hurt.  All of God's children will be home, constantly singing praises to Him, for He deserves it. 

That, my friends, will be Home.

<>< Katie

Monday, June 20, 2011

Life-Long Friendships

My dad's birthday was earlier this month, so while everyone else was out, I had the job of answering our home phone.  I don't usually pay any attention to the home phone because no one calls me there.  But this particular day I did and what I saw was an area code from Baptist Country.

Even though I knew the call wasn't for me, I got excited.  Talking on the phone to someone in that state made me feel closer to my college friends.  It was the wife of one of my dad's college buddies calling to wish Dad a happy birthday.

A few hours later we received another call from Baptist Country.  This time it was the husband of the woman who called earlier.  I answered the phone and passed it on to the Birthday Boy.

Even though he went into the other room, I could still hear their bantering, the inside jokes and stories that never get old, and the gut-busting laughter.  I couldn't help but smile.  Even though their relationship has been mostly limited to an annual dinner (thanks to having a daughter in the area... wait, that was me) and birthday phone calls, my dad and Mark still have a friendship.

That brought me an amazing amount of encouragement to know that even when we're not seeing each other every day, my college friends and I can still joke around, retell stories, and (yes, even) sass each other.  While the miles between us will change, our friendship will remain the same.

<>< Katie

PS: College friends who thought they were finally free of me and my sassy, sanitary self... so sorry!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Blessing in Disguise

My friend Elizabeth was asked to lead an evening twenty-somethings Bible study at her church.  No one thought to give her a key to the church, and she didn't think to ask for it.

So, after dinner, we pulled up to church without a way to get inside.  Instead, we set up camp in the parking lot and began to study the Word of the Lord.

The evening was beautiful.  A light breeze, no humidity, and a beautiful sunset.  If we had had a key, we would have missed the beautiful day God created for us!  It was absolutely perfect for sitting outside.

While we were finishing up our study, the pastor drove up and offered to let us inside.  We were all pretty content with where we were.  Then he told us they were going to shoot off fireworks from the field next to the church in a few minutes.

If we had been inside, we would have missed the fireworks, the coolest end to Bible study ever.

Sometimes what's seen as a problem, such as a lack of a key, can really be a blessing in disguise.

Are you looking for blessings in disguise?

<>< Katie

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Falling Asleep While Praying

Last night, I fell asleep while praying.

The night before, I fell asleep while praying.

I don't remember the night before that, but I bet I fell asleep while praying.

Been there?  Done that?

I used to fell bad about it.  I mean, if I were in the middle of the conversation and the person I was talking to fell asleep, I'd be upset, right?

I don't feel bad about it anymore.  In fact, I make it my goal to fall asleep while praying.

I'd much rather fall asleep with my thoughts focused on God than to finish praying and fall asleep worrying about tomorrow.  I love for my day to end in conversation with the Lord.

Try it sometime.  The peace that comes from it is... well, God-given.

<>< Katie
PS: But I don't fall asleep every time I pray...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Ice Cream Stains

Every ice cream cone you eat is a race: you versus the melting ice cream.

On Wednesday, I lost the race when a drop of chocolate ice cream landed on my Carolina-blue shirt.  Of course, I was devastated and used every means available to remove the evidence.

After all, this wasn't just any blue t-shirt.  This t-shirt was purchased as part of a fundraiser to send my friend Hannah to eleven countries in eleven months through The World Race.  Hannah is important to me, and I want to proudly wear her missions shirt to support her.  I don't want it to have chocolate ice cream stains on it.

Wait just a second.

What's the shirt for?  Hannah's mission work through The World Race.  I wonder if she has Shout wipes in her pack.  I wonder if she's going to come home unstained after visiting eleven countries in eleven months.

I doubt it. 

Friends, God doesn't call us to look as nice as pristine as we can.  We're called to get dirty.

Jesus got dirty: He washed sore, dusty feet. (See John 13:1-17)
Jesus got dirty: He spent His time with tax collectors.  (See Matthew 9:9-13)
Jesus got dirty: He wept when His friend died. (See John 11:1-44)
Jesus got dirty: He touched lepers.  (See Matthew 8:1-4)
Jesus got dirty: He spit on His own fingers to heal.  (See Mark 7:32-35)
Jesus got dirty: He was whipped, mocked, and crucified. (See Luke 22:47-24:12)
Jesus got dirty; why don't we?

Do I care more about the chocolate stain on Hannah's Race shirt than the people she's going to be ministering to, loving, and serving?  Of course not.  At least not anymore. 

Do you?

<>< Katie

PS: The stain washed out of my shirt, but I don't want this lesson to wash out of my heart.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Trust, Even in the Desert

Let's be honest for a minute: some days I don't want to read my Bible, don't want to pray, don't want to spend time with the Lord.

It was one of those days.  Even though I wasn't tired, I was ready to call it a night.  I just didn't feel like doing a devotion.

Grudgingly I threw my Bible on my bed and flipped to where I was reading in Nehemiah.  Chapter 9.  The same chapter the pastor used in his sermon on Sunday.  The same chapter we'd read in small group.  In two days I had gone from oblivious to practically an expert on Nehemiah 9; I didn't want to read it yet again.  I figured I'd skim it quickly and go to bed.  Wrong.

Here's what you need to know: my favorite Bible is held together by purple duct tape.  If you drop it, a tree of papers will fall out.  The margins notes are numerous.  It's in such rough shape that I rarely take it out of my room.  But it's in that Bible where all of my sermon notes have been transferred... since sixth grade.

I flipped to Nehemiah 9 and lo and behold sometime in the last ten years (excluding this past Sunday), I heard a sermon on Nehemiah 9.  It was at our student worship service a few years back.  It wasn't my favorite guest speaker and based on the date and when that would have fallen in the semester, I debated even going that night.  I'm glad I did.

In Nehemiah 9, the wall around Jerusalem has already been rebuilt.  The people have literally wept upon hearing (and understanding) the Law they have not kept.  Now they're confessing their sins and reminding God of how He's been faithful to them through the exodus, the desert, and into the promised land.

It's an exercise I have been encouraged to use myself.  Since we're being honest, post-college life is a bit (ok, a lot) like a desert.  My days are filled with job searching and rejections.  My support system in 900 miles away.  I have to constantly remind myself of God's faithfulness.  But, as He did not abandon the Israelites many thousand years ago, God has not abandoned me here.

Have I abandoned Him?  Not quite.  But some days I do my devotion grudgingly; I grit my teeth while praying.

The notes in my margins around Nehemiah 9 say:

How far ahead could they see?
1. Not very far due to the pillar
2. As far as they needed to see

"You're not ready for the Promised Land if you can't trust Him in the dessert."

Nehemiah 9:21 says, "For forty years You sustained them in the desert; they lacked nothing, their clothes did not wear out nor did their feet become swollen."

I could make a list of things I lack here in the desert of unemployment.  But in Matthew 6, Jesus prays for daily bread not daily steak.  I have clothes sticking to on my back, I have a roof and ceiling fan over my head, and I have dinner on my plate.  It's definitely not ideal but it's satisfactory, at least for today.

And still, here I am annoyed that God said, "Not now" to graduate school, disappointed that my ideal job has not been dropped into my lap, and sad visiting my closest friends requires an airplane ticket.

How far ahead can I see?  Not very far.  But just far enough.  Not as far as I would like to see but just as far as God is willing to let me see... for now.  As difficult as it is to remember, He sees beyond the pillar.  He knows what comes next.  As I need to see it, He will reveal it to me.  Until then, will I trust Him in the desert?

God, I want to trust You in this desert.  But it's hard.  I am not ready for the Promised Land. Without Your grace and love, I will never be ready.  Prepare me for what lies ahead beyond my vision but not beyond Yours.  Let me focus on You and the pillar You have provided to lead me both by day and night.  I don't have to enjoy this desert, but I want to be found faithful through it.  Thank You for not abandoning me here.  I love You.  Amen.

<>< Katie

Monday, June 6, 2011

Six Month Update: Books Style

In January I set the goal to read 25 books this year.  So far, I am ahead of where I was last year at this time. 

1. The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino
This easy-read is a fictional story with religious undertones.  It's a good book but not to be considered the answer to all things.  (Of course, I like Jesus and He's only a minor character here).

2. Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman with Ellen Vaughn
Some people write because they like to write.  Some people write because they have a story to tell.  Mary Beth is the second.  Choosing to See does have a mixed feeling of "I'm famous, so I wrote a book" and "I'm doing this because my counselor told me to."  But she's very vulnerable with her audience and honest about her battles with depression and the horrors of losing a child.  As a Steven Curtis Chapman fan, reading some of these stories was almost like hearing a retelling of my own family's stories in that parts were familiar and just as funny or sad as I remember them.

3. How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez
This novel is really hard to write about in one paragraph since I used some of its themes to write a twenty-five page thesis.  Alavrez does a great job of opening up to the readers the world as seen by Dominican emigrants and their challenges in living in the United States, both cultural and familial.  It's written reverse-chronologically which is interesting but not necessarily a bad thing.  Definitely worth exploring.

4. Lifestories by Mark Hall with Tim Luke
Mark Hall is a youth pastor first and the lead singer of Casting Crowns second.  His book, like all of their CDs, reflects this.  It tells the stories behind the songs on the Casting Crowns and Lifesong CDs, but it's not a "sit back and have a story told to you" book.  It's a "sit, read, reflect, and grow spiritually" book.  The only thing I would have done different would have been to include the song lyrics with each corresponding chapter.  I think you're supposed to read the chapter then watch the music video.  I know better than to put down a book to turn on the computer...

5. Lipstick in Afghanistan by Roberta Gately
This novel tells the story of an ER nurse who moves to Afghanistan through Aide du Monde (ADM).  It talks about her transition to working in an Afghanistan hospital, her struggle to get to know the culture, and her effort to build relationships with the people there.  Even though parts of it broke my heart, I definitely enjoyed this book!

6. Forgotten God by Francis Chan
This is a book I'm going to have to read again I enjoyed it that much.  Chan takes a look at the Holy Spirit, or the aspect of God he declares "forgotten."  Really, how often do you give credit to the Spirit?  Check it out!  Definitely a must read!

7. Navigating the Rough Waters of Today's Publishing World by Marcia Meier
If you're clueless about today's publishing world, this book is a good resource.  If you have some background knowledge in writing and publishing, this book doesn't have a lot of new information.  However, it was interesting to get Meier's opinion on the situation.

8. Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah
This novel is the story of a psychiatrist who is being blamed for a teenager's shooting spree and suicide.  She essentially loses her practice the same time a mysterious lost child appears in her hometown where her sister is the police chief.  It's a story of questioning one's self-esteem, perseverance, and courage.  I found myself in this book in several different situations.  I'm not really sure what the title has to do with anything and the "strained family relationship" mentioned on the back cover isn't as strained as one would expect.  I enjoyed this book but I did find parts of it to be predictable. 

9. A Loss for Words by Lou Ann Walker
Lou Ann Walker is a CODA (a Child of Deaf Adults), so I picked up this autobiography to see a slightly different perspective on Deafness.  Parts of the story broke my heart in how her parents (and her entire family) were treated. Parts of it I enjoyed and parts I thought droned on too long.  Walker's a journalist so sometime she just wrote what happened and didn't drawn any conclusions which frustrates me as a writer.

10. Over the Edge by Brandilyn Collins
I won this book from a blog giveaway, so I wasn't really sure what to expect.  I loved it!  Maybe it was my pre-existing interest in Lyme disease or how well the book is written, but I devoured it in three days!  It has a lot of good information about Lyme and isn't too technical while also telling a compelling story.  My only real criticism would be that during the most intense moments of the story, it seemed Jannie's Lyme symptoms were ignored or forgotten.  The plot line is a lot of building and then a quick ending but it wasn't necessarily bad.  Of the novels on this list, I think this one was my favorite.

11. Friendships for Grown-Ups by Lisa Whelchel
This book holds hints of, "I'm famous, so I wrote a book about my life" but it also have some very helpful information regarding friendship in adulthood.  One thing that I found especially useful is the resources at the end containing practical tips about being intentional with friendships and building relationships.  Sometimes Whelchel went into what I would consider to be superfluous details with each relationship scenario that I felt could have been summed up with an, "Every relationship is different."  But I know some people want that kind of detail and information regarding the differences in relationships.

Current Moving Bookmarks:
Too Busy Not to Pray by Bill Hybels
Grace for the Moment by Max Lucado
Saints at the River by Ron Rash

Reading Wish List:
Outlive Your Life by Max Lucado
Twelve Extraordinary Women by John MacArthur
Crazy Love by Francis Chan
Eli the Good by Silas House
I own books 2-10, so if you want to borrow them, please let me know.

My parents bought a Kindle they're going to let me take to China, so I need to make a list of what I want to read on the plane.

What have you been reading lately?  What should I check out?

<>< Katie

Friday, June 3, 2011

Telling by Living

Sometimes it baffles me what people don't know about me.  They don't know I have a whole last name.  That I have two sisters.  That I love to blow glass.

People don't know what you don't tell them.  I graduated from a college where last names only matter for a select few (and "Ax" was satisfactory).  The "my sister" stories are not always the same sister.  Apparently I don't talk about glass blowing.

Have you told people you're a Christian?

I don't just mean telling them with your words, I mean telling and showing them with your actions.  More than inviting them to church on Sunday.  Bring a helpful hand, walking through life with them, and praying for (and with) them.  Loving them even when it's hard.  Letting them see a glimpse of Jesus by seeing you.

If you've been in my room, you've seen my hand-blown pen holder, the vase, and the paperweight.  My love of glassblowing can be evidenced by my knickknacks.  Can my love of Christ be evidenced by my thoughts, my words, and my actions?

Have I told people with my life that I am a follower of Christ? 

Have you?

<>< Katie (Axelson)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wacky Wednesday

Author's Note: the following is a collection of ridiculous statements or deeply profound conclusions that I have heard, seen, or been told over the last month.  Some are meant in jest.  Some are not.  As always, some have been forgotten before they could be written down.  My deepest apologies.  Enjoy!
<>< Katie

Tracy: We cannot prevent the storm but we can prepare for it.

Neal: Have you already eaten?
Katie: Yeah, I ate over there.
Neal: Oh.
Katie: But if I sit next to Stacy long enough I might have to eat again.

Katie: Your shirt's crooked. I would have told you that immediately when you walked in but I was kind of like, "Meh, it's Nikki, at least she's wearing clothing."

Mom [walking into an empty kitchen]: So then we... wait!  Where is everybody?  It's the rapture and they've all been taken but I've been left behind!

Nikki: I got some llama slobber on my formal dress.

Pete Wilson: Your crisis will become less of a crisis when you replace fear of the unknown with a healthy fear of the known God.

Girl [age 10]: How do you stop turkeys from stargazing?

Amy: I wish tomorrow was Saturday.
Nikki: Hey, now, at this point we're not wishing away days.
Amy: No, just two Saturdays in a row.  Let's pray about that.
Stacy [running in from the other room]: Pray about what?

Men: Bro picture!
Michael: Let's stand somewhere with pretty flowers in the background.

Neal: Does everyone who sits at this table have to be loud?!

Katie: I can drink and dance at the same time; I'm Lutheran.

Amy: Jennifer!  Can you get the bug spray?  I don't want to lose sight of this spider!
Nikki: Don't smash him in the carpet!  That won't come out of the carpet!
Nikki, Amy, Jennifer: AHHHHHHH!!
Nikki: Wait!  We have shoes!  Why don't we use shoes?
Amy: Katie!
[Apparently I'm the only one with shoes]

Professor: The brain can only absorb what the seat can endure.

Amy: Katie, can I have another Crunch bar?
Elizabeth: Did Amy just use the word "coinstar"?

Martin Luther: God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone but also on the trees and in the flowers and clouds and stars.

Neal: I am like an elephant.
Katie: What does that mean?!  You're huge and you have a long trunk?

Chase: We are wired for worship.  We are made to worship. But often times we worship what was created rather than the Creator.

English misspeak and mock...
Katie: When you speak three languages, we'll talk!  And in one of the other ones.

Anonymous Female Friend: In heaven we will never have to wear a bra again!

Elizabeth: I'll take a coffee.  Do you have any specialty coffee?
Waiter: Decaf.

Elizabeth: And I want apple butter.  I'm requesting it.  The menu says "on request."

Teresa: Be intentional with your relationships and be intentional with your time unless you want them to be stolen away.

Jennifer: I want to buy someone to play guitar for me while I fall asleep.
Katie: Usually when the words "buy" and "someone" are put together we use the word "hire."
Jennifer: Ok, I'm going to hire someone to play guitar for me and eventually they'll learn to do it for free and then they'll volunteer.

Keith: I was averaging a book a week in that class.  I was booking it!

David: Ultimately life continues regardless of our desire for time to stand still.  God has given us each day so we should take joy in those moments.

Amy: It's like we always tell Katie: mockery is the greatest form of love.
Elizabeth: Katie, they are lying to you.  They just want to make fun of you.

"A story is only sad if there's no happy ending.  I guess I always believe in that ending." - Dr. Julia Cates from Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah

Mom: I don't know what brushing my teeth has to do with Christmas.

Pastor Russ: We don't enjoy the time in between.  It feels like a wasteland.

Adam [offering a poptart]: Want some?
Sara: What kind is it?
Adam: Cherry.
Sara: Dairy?
David: Yes, earring.

Nikki: Katie, I was really thirsty, so I pretended we were in a foreign country and drank some of your water.

Micah [preteen]: Um... don't slip.  Do you want to have kids?

Neal: Remember, the longer the story the more embellishing.