Monday, October 31, 2011

Luch With Christ

My phone alarm rang: luch with Christ.

Yeah, that was really supposed to read "Lunch with Christa." Someone must have been in a hurry.

Yet that someone can't help but laugh at the irony. "Luchar" is a Spanish verb which means "to fight." While "Luch" isn't actually a word, it's similar enough.

Fight with Christ: 12:10.

As much as I hate to admit it, I fight with Christ.  And it's more than just at 12:10.

<>< Katie
In other news, Happy Reformation Day!

And Happy Deep-Breath Day... NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow and I'm participating for the first time. The idea is that you write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. So, I apologize if I'm more sparse on your dashboard, but "every word on your blog is one less word in your novel" (I forget who said that, but it wasn't me).

Also, I'm thinking about making some changes on my blog in the future, and I would love to hear your feedback.  What do you want to see more of?  Less of?  What haven't I done that you'd like to see?  What do you never want to see again?  You can post your feedback in the comments or email me at KatieAxelson[at]gmail[dot]com.  I promise, I won't hate you for being honest (at least not forever).

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Right now I'm participating in an online bookclub through Bloom (in)courage and we're reading What Women Fear by Angie Smith.

I've been reading the chapter in the book, watching the corresponding video, and participating in discussion. Yesterday was Chapter 7: Fear of Not Being Significant.

In the video, co-host Jessica Turner told a story she heard from a woman named Roseann.

Roseann's mentor, Miss Helen, had passed away and in visiting the gravesite, Roseann noticed her grave stone had cracked and there wasn't even a place to put flowers. Of course, she demanded the gravestone be fixed. As for the flowers, she realized that Miss Helen loved the Lord and she now has flowers all over the world.

I have recently started collecting/ taking photos of flowers around the world and sticking scripture on them with the intent to hang them in my bathroom (when I have a bathroom). I thought it was a cool idea to be reminded of God's truths but also of His people around the world.

But now it has become more than that. I want to love the Lord to the point where it shows no matter where I go. I want to leave a glimpse of the Father in myself as flowers around the world. As I collect international flowers, I also want to leave flowers for the Lord.

<>< Katie

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Anyone Can Cook

I had everything for a sandwich out on the counter when I decided I wasn't in the mood for salami. I decided to prove to myself (and the world) that I can cook!

"Anyone can cook," as Gusteau in Ratatouille says.

I have never met Gusteau, as evidenced by his statement that anyone can cook. I think I fall in the category Remy argues, "Anyone can cook but that doesn't mean anyone should!"

I decided on a very basic meal and assembled my ingredients. I was in luck! We had everything.

So I began, step by step to assemble my--never mind, I'm not telling you what I didn't actually make.

It's not that I didn't want lunch. It's not that I didn't how to make lunch. It's not that I couldn't make lunch. No, it was the thoughts and questions rolling around in the back of my head.

How do I know when it's done? When it looks like you'll eat it. But what if it isn't done all of the way? What if I get food poisoning and die? It's not working. This isn't what it's supposed to look like. I did something wrong. This isn't safe.

So I changed what I was making. Bonus points for thinking on my feet, right? Yet the questions and doubts continued.

This doesn't look right. Will I smell it if it starts burning? What if I burn the house down? Where is the fire extinguisher? Is it supposed to do that? I don't think this is right. I'm not eating this.

I gave up. I turned off the stove, poured my epic fail into a garbage bag, and took it out to the street. Salami sandwich it would be.

You better learn to like P, B, and J because that's what you'll be eating for the rest of your life. Your kids will be the one with the mom who can't cook. You better make a lot of money so you can afford to eat out regularly because PBJ and frozen lasagnas are going to get old fast. Gusteau lied.

I wasn't sure if I wanted to smack something in frustration or cry in embarrassment. Maybe both.

The kitchen was littered with the dishes from my lunch fail and I sat at the table pouting, salami sandwich on my plate.

Not in the mood, God.
Why are you listening to the enemies lies?
You mean the truths?
They're lies. You can cook.
Do you not smell that? Were you not watching me make a mess?
You are a mess. But a beautiful mess. Do you want to know what you did wrong?
I know what I did wrong: I tried to cook.
You didn't wait. Everything you did--except switching "recipes" in the middle--was correct. But you didn't wait. Cooking takes time. Learning to cook takes time.
If You're going to tell me it's like fishing, I don't want to hear it. Not a fisherman, fisherwoman nor a fisher-of-women. Sorry.
Why are you swallowing the lies? Toss them out like you did that half-cooked meal. Be done with them. All of them.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Real Person

Eight twenty-somethings sat squished around a card table. It has become a Monday night tradition.

Although I sit among them with minimal elbow space, I feel far away. Six of them are in graduate school together taking the conversation to a level where I spend more time trying to find the verb in the sentence than actually comprehending it. The other two have jobs. Real jobs, careers. They make money, own homes, and cook real meals.

There I am. Lost among friends. It's not their fault. Does that mean it's my fault?

My fault I didn't get into grad school? My fault I don't have a job? My fault I'm stuck in limbo? My fault that sometimes I wear work clothes just so I can feel like a real person?

Even putting those words on paper... er... the screen seems ridiculous. But it's very real. Real enough to bring tears to my eyes... again.

Let's just be real: job searching sucks. (Although, I have a new appreciation for rejection letter because it means the company loves you enough to tell you they don't want you rather than just letting you guess).

People always ask me what I'm called to do, if I feel led to a certain job or company, etc. What the heck does that even mean?

I am called to do the same thing every one else is called to do: to love and serve the Lord wherever He puts us.

For six of my Monday dinner buddies that means serving Him through divinity school. For the other two, it means honoring Him in their respective careers.

For me, it means trusting in the unknown. It means looking hopefully towards the future (whatever that is) but also finding a way to enjoy today. It means adding "free Monday dinner and enjoyable socialization time" to my list of 1,000 gifts.  It means knowing this time in between isn't a wasteland. It means trusting that I haven't been deserted in this desert.

It means sometimes I get to write mopey posts because, in order to be a real person, I need to be real about my struggles and fears. I don't have it all together. I don't know what I'm going to be if I grow up. I don't know what tomorrow looks like.

But I do know One who will accompany me tomorrow.

Because He is faithful.

"Yet still I dare to hope when I remember this: the faithful love of the Lord never ends. His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness. His mercies begin a new each morning. I say to myself, 'The Lord is my inheritence' therefore I will hope in Him." Lamentations 3:21-24

Keeping it real,
<>< Katie

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Yet I am lukewarm.

(This is post is in response to my Thursday declaration to never want to be lukewarm).

In the book Crazy Love author Francis Chan devotes an entire chapter to profiling lukewarm people.

Here are my interpretations of Chan's points:
1. They do what is expected of them, what "good Christians" do.
2. They tithe when it's comfortable.
3. They do what is popular rather than what is right.
4. They aren't sorry for their sin; they are sorry for the repercussions of it.
5. Their hearts are moved by radical stories yet their feet remain stationary.
6. Fear of rejection keeps them from sharing their faith with everyday people.
7. They compare themselves to the secular world.
8. They only let Him be part of their lives rather than their whole life.
9. They love Him but not with their whole heart, soul, and strength.
10. They love themselves more than they love others.
11. They are limited in how they serve others, holding time, money, and energy limits.
12. They focus more on everyday life than eternal life.
13. They're thankful for their life luxuries and do not consider giving everything to the poor.
14. They do only the minimum.
15. They're concerned with safety rather than being willing to risk and sacrifice for the Lord.
16. They are content, secure.
17. They structure their lives so they don't have to live by faith.
18. They don't live drastically differently from non-Christians.


I guess I am lukewarm.

I do what is expected of me out of obligation not out of passion for the Lord. I do the "good Christian" things but not always because I want to. It's hard to throw a dollar, ten dollars, twenty dollars, fifty dollars in the offering plate when there's nothing headed into the wallet. It's hard to financially support my friends' mission trips when I'm unemployed. I am a crowd follower. I apologize, repeat the offense, and apologize again... for getting caught. Stories touch my heart, blogs change my life yet I don't change my actions...

I could go on.

Is there something (or somethings) on that list that punch you in the gut?

But what are you going to do about it?

It starts with me.

Hot, not lukewarm,
<>< Katie

Thursday, October 20, 2011


I've been living out of my suitcase for two weeks as I job search. It's been two weeks of ups and downs. Of awkwardly cold-calling strangers and laughing until I can't breathe. Awful and great. Uncomfortable and easy. Yin and yang.

It makes me miss my favorite roller coasters: mission trips. If you've ever been on an international mission trip before, you probably know what I'm talking about. The ups and downs. The high highs and low lows. Encouraged, discouraged. Peaks and valleys. One minute of tears of joy; the next tears of sadness. You switch back and forth so many times in one day that you forget what it's like to be stable.

What is stable? Stable is somewhere in the middle. Somewhere I don't often find on mission trips. Stable is what we cling to in everyday life. Stable is comfort, contentment, conformity. Stable is lukewarm.

In Revelation 3, John transcribes what the Lord commands him to write to the church in Laodicea:

“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

'These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.'" Rev. 3:14-16 (italics mine)
It's like God is saying, "When you're on fire for Me, I can use that. When you're cold, I can use that, too. But when you're apathetic, when you're stable, I don't want you."

This passage isn't really talking about emotional roller coasters. But I think it applies here, too. When our hearts break for and with others, we connect as God's children. When we rejoice and celebrate, we exalt God and His goodness. It's when we're in the middle, stable, and comfortable that we're in the most dangerous position of all.

We don't want to change. We overlook the needs of others. We're too caught in our own ways to see matters worthy of praise. While I would love for the tears to stop coming so easily, I don't want to be stable. Not now, not ever.

I don't want to be comfortable and content. I want my heart to break for what breaks God's heart. I want to love the way Jesus loved--the least of these, the broken people, the forgotten. I want to live a life worthy of the calling I have received!

I do not ever want to be lukewarm!

<>< Katie

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sarchi, Land of Broken People

Sarchi, Costa Rica, will forever be ingrained in my brain as the "Land of Broken People."

In the one afternoon we spent their, we saw more physically disabled people than I have seen in my entire life. He's wearing an eye patch, she's missing a leg, and that is not what a bandaged arm is supposed to look like.

I really wish I could say I did something noble like praying over the ailing or dispensing Advil or something.

I didn't.

I gawked and laughed at jokes about what must be in the water. It ashames me now. But to this day, anytime I see people with physical handicaps or disabilities, I remember Sarchi, land of broken people.

Could we not all be considered to be from Sarchi? Are we not all broken people?

Wounded physically, maybe but more likely wounded emotionally. Broken hearted.

Ironically, one of the two friends who visited Sarchi with me, the one who made the joke about the water, is responsible for breaking my heart. Intentionally or unintentionally doesn't matter. It happened.

Broken people.

I am growing to love broken people. It's in their vulnerability, when they share their brokenness, that God's glory shines most brightly. We can't all be perfect people. Let me rephrase that, none of us are perfect people.

Just admit it: you are broken. It's hard to say, but I am broken. I don't have it all together. I don't spend time with the Lord like I should. I snap when I should be courteous. I miss blog days when I have committed to blogging every other day. I try to exalt myself sometimes even at the expense of someone else. I even, gasp, cry.

I hate being broken. I want my body to do what I tell it to do. I want my emotions in check all the time. I want my heart guarded and unbroken. But trying to heal myself only turns into a more-contorted broken arm. More damage than good.

Yet I choose to sit at the feet of the Great Physician and let Him, in His time, bind up my wounds, replace my broken heart, and mend my soul. It is only then that I begin to heal. Maybe more slowly than I would like; maybe not perfect in the world's sense but perfect in God's sense.

And it gives me a story to tell. A story that boasts my weakness and His greatness.

I understand now, the older song that says, "Brokenness, it's what I long for. Brokenness, it's what I need."

I am broken.
I am Sarchian.

<>< Katie

Friday, October 14, 2011


My sisters and I sat in the front pew. In between us were our parents and a few adult friends from church. I looked down the pew to notice all three of us held up one finger.

No, not that finger.

It was our pointer fingers. I promise. It almost looked like we were singing "This Little Light of Mine."

Except we weren't. We were singing, "Back In His Arms Again."

One life.
One love.
One way home.

Mark Schultz was fifteen feet in front of us. He looked towards us, saw our "Ones" and shook his head. He made us stand up as he announced to the audience that we had been to fifteen of his concerts. Fifteen. No embellishing.

We know every word, every motion, every story. Yet still we sit in the front row every time we can.

One life.
One love.
One way home.

Once we began to sing that refrain too early in the song. He just chuckled.

Tonight I as drove home from a wonderful dinner, "Back in His Arms Again" came on the local Christian radio station. I subconsciously put up ONE to declare that He is the one, the only.

The One I want to run to.
The One who unites us around the world as brothers and sisters.
The One who knows which of my cold phone calls will lead to a job interview.
The One who is walking with me, walking with you through every step.
The One whose arms I want to fall into.

"Back in His Arms Again" by Mark Schultz
I see it in your eyes
the pain you keep inside
is slowly tearing you apart.
Through you've run away
reminded day by day
you've stumbled and you've fallen.
Still He's calling

I believe that He loves you where you are.
I believe that you've seen the hands of God.
I believe that you'll know it when
you're back in His arms again.
I believe that He never let you go.
I believe that He's wanting you to know 
I believe that He'll lead you 'til
you're back in his arms again.

I'm glad I found you here
'Cause in between the tears
something in your eyes shows hope.
When I stand before you now
as one that knows the power
of coming to Him open and broken

I believe that the loves you where you are
I believe that you've seen the hands of God
I believe that you'll know it when
you're back in His arms again.
I believe that He never let you go
I believe that He's wanted you to know
I believe that He'll lead you 'til
you're back in His arms again

And I know that He's calling,
He's calling you home.

One life.
One love.
One way home.

and when you rise
and when you fall
He will see you through it
He is waiting in the dark
back in His arms again

One life.
One love.
One way home.

I believe it. And I trust it.
<>< Katie

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


As I was looking for a photo to use for my new LinkedIn account, it was suggested that I use one of the individual shots from the family portraits we had taken at Christmas time.

I remember that day. It was the dead of winter, a bad hair day, and I had three new pimples. Not ideal for family portrait day.

The photos turned out great. My eyes jump off the page; my skin is blemish-free. Everyone says they're beautiful, stunning... and they are. In a worldly sense.

Honestly, they make me sad. It's not the fault of the photographer; he did a great job. The retouchings are pristine, flawless, beautiful.

But is blemish-free and radiant blue eyes really what defines beautiful? In today's society: yes. As unfortunate as it is.

It has bothered me before but seeing my own face match those with "perfect, clear skin" punches me in the gut.

Do I like having red splotches on my face? No.
Do I shutter when I look back at photos taken on a particularly bad day? Yes.
Does this make me proud? Absolutely not.

I've heard it said one of the hardest things to trust God in and with is physical appearance. In seeing those retouched photos, I feel like I'm telling God, "You didn't do a good enough job; good thing my friend PhotoShop is here to help You out."

I don't want that attitude, and I don't want anyone else to be forced into that attitude.

It's not scriptural.

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."
Song of Solomon 4:7 NLT

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

(Sorry, I couldn't pick a translation... I love them both).

<>< Katie

PS: I am not condemning retouched photos; I am just expressing some concerns of my heart. Neither am I bashing the photographer. Someday I'll get married, I'll hire the same photographer (after all, he's my uncle), and I'll ask him to retouch my photos.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Katie V. GPS

Usually battles of Katie Vs. GPS are victorious. Common sense trumps machine, right?

Yesterday I tried to outsmart my five year old GPS yet again. I lost. Something about having never been to that town before should have clued me in to the fact that it was not a good idea. The "seven hours to destination" didn't turn off my creative mind either. Since I needed to go east (seven hours east), I decided to turn on the east-bound side of the highway rather than the west-bound like Eunice (my GPS) was telling me.

Well, Eunice is persistent and after a few miles of "Make a U-turn" and "Turn around when possible," I decided to pull over in the parking lot of a country Baptist church and check the rest of her directions.

Going west to get east made no sense. Going west one mile to pick up a straight-shot east-bound freeway did make more sense. Eunice was right. Although the logic seemed backwards, the directions were correct. Going west was a short jog out of the way that would lead directly to my destination... in seven hours. I made a U-turn when possible.

Sometimes God and I argue like I do with my GPS. For some reason I have this tendency to think I'm smarter, my common sense more sound, and my ideas better. So I turn east to get east. Surely God's directions to go west were a detour but the road isn't closed anymore.

Except, unlike me, God sees the full set of instructions. He knows about the freeway one mile west and the direct shot, 70mph, it'll take me to my destination.

Sorry, Lord. I did it again. I deliberately ignored Your directions and followed my own. I thought I knew a better way. I was wrong and lost. Thank You for being persistent and not giving up on me.

<>< Katie

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wacky Wednesday

Ken Davis: People don't jump out of the boat at the first speed bump. Boats don't have speed bumps. Let me think that through.

[While trimming trees]
Mom: No, no, no. Leave that one.
Dad: Ok. We'll get it next year.

Mom: Those are cute pants.
Katie: Thanks. I found them in the bottom of my closet and by that I mean on the top shelf. I don't know where they came from.
Mom: You probably wore them in middle school.

Christina: KATIE! Toga expert! I need to borrow your skills [because] it's Salad Dressing Day tomorrow for Homecoming.

Dustin: Jews knew the Old Testament scriptures the way we know songs, so finding OT references in the New Testament not only reminded them of that particular passage but also the context of surrounding passages.

Katie: Jews waited for the Messiah with great anticipation and excitement. It was like waiting for Christmas that wasn't coming... literally!

[playing Harry Potter Wii]
Katie: Look! I'm riding the broom!
Boy, age 10: It looks more like you're riding a bull.

Grandpa: Stinkin' winter lasts all winter!

"Creativity is being comfortable with not knowing what comes next." - Ann Voskamp

Christina: Taylor's sleeping over, too!
Katie: She's sleeping over TOO? That means someone is sleeping over one! AH!

Christina: Michael's bringing Bridesmaids [to my campfire party] just in case the weather is bad.

Katie [Sarcastic]: Sometimes I drive around with two tennis hoppers in my trunk. [Serious] Actually, right now I am driving around with two Haitian drums in my trunk.
Mom: As long as it's not two Haitian drunks in your trunk.

Ezelis: I'm not okay with living in a way this world calls "normal." I am called to be different so people can see how God is real.

Katie: You think I made it up?
Grandma: You coulda; you're a writer. Nah, you wouldn't a thought of that!

Mom: Look! Four-hundred and ninety miles until empty! We can get halfway to--
Katie: Church.

Matthew: She's a transplant.
Katie: Yeah, I moved to Baptist Country but they spit me out.
Dawn: Why'd we take her back?

Katie: Do you pray before you go to bed?
Pastor's Daughter, 8: Sometimes.
Katie: Sometimes?
Daughter: Yeah. Sometimes we forget.

[Playing Harry Potter Wii]
Boy, 10: Just walk around while I'm doing this level. Don't go down. And don't kill yourself by going off the edge... again.
Katie: I didn't mean to! Either time!

"When He says something to you, it will be your own language, significant in a personal and specific way. It will be exactly what you need to hear. All you have to do is listen." - Susan Hill

Katie: You're busier than I am, so give me a call when you're free; I'm probably free too. And if I'm not, I will be free in the next half hour.

Mom: What are you going to do today?
Katie: Sit around and wish I was in Baptist Country.
Mom: That's what you did yesterday!

Automatic voice message: --will expire shortly. Consider this your last notification. To be removed from future notifications, press three.

Mom: No sleeping in the cabin sheets.
Katie: Ok and no eating in the dining room either.
Mom: No four-legged fish sleeping in the cabin sheets.

Mom: These subs are huge! No one can eat all that! Ok, Katie can, but no one else!

Charmaine: With God you gotta always keep a suitcase packed because you never know where He's going to take you!

"It's the art of seeing that makes gratitude possible, and it's the art of gratitude that makes joy possible, and isn't joy the art of God?" - Ann Voskamp

Sorry it's late. It was typed on an iPad magnetic keyboard from a house with no furniture smack dab in the middle of nowhere. I'll fix any grave errors when I have access to a computer again. I hope all is well! <>< K

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Wash Cloth

It had been a good but long 15 hour day.  I left at 8am and returned home at 11pm with only a few hours before I had to get up and do it all over again.

But there were things separating me from that extra soft twin bed with two king size pillows. Namely: a shower.

I showered as fast as I could, sinus headache growing in intensity with every passing minute, but I kept my eyes on the promised land.

I reached absentmindedly for my facial lotion. Welcome cold weather, the phase of the year when my face is at risk of falling off because it's so dry. Lotion would bring me one step closer to dreamland.

But then I stopped.

I had an idea that would at worst be one step further from dreamland (and one step closer to a missing face) and at best relief to my painful head. Idea: to drape a warm wash cloth over my face.

So I did. As hot as I could stand it. It was heavenly!

In that moment, nothing but the warm wash cloth mattered. The rest of me was getting hypothermia as my wet hair dripped down my back.

But I didn't care. That simple hot cloth was the best thing that happened to me in all fifteen hours of my day (sixteen if you count the getting ready hour). I wanted to stay there forever, wash cloth over my face, cold hair dripping onto the floor.

Except I couldn't. So eventually, I bore the separation and continued my bedtime routine.

"Hey, Katie," God spoke but not in an audible voice.

Of course, He would start speaking as I was rushing to bed. Sometimes He's like my family, starting a conversation with me as I'm on my way out the door.

"Yes, Lord," I answered. Something like that.

"Remember how that wash cloth felt?"

"How could I forget?" Ooh! Jesus-like. I answered a question with a question.

"Remember how nothing else mattered and you wanted to stay there forever even thought your toes were cold and those hairs I numbered were matting together as they dripped water molecules down your back and onto the slippery floor?"

"Yes, Lord, and if You say to stay like that forever I totally will! After all, You're God and I'm not, so if you tell me, I'll do it obediently."

"Katie, stay that way forever. But let Me be the warm wash cloth. Bury your face in Me so nothing else matters. Not this world, not the job hunt, not even the fact that your pants don't fit. Let Me be your wash cloth."

"Yes, Lord."

"Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.'" Psalm 91:1-2 NIV