Saturday, August 8, 2009

El Paso baby yeah!

Yesterday was my and the boys first full day here. At first it seemed a little depressing to see my sister and her daughters leave in the morning. It felt odd to be alone in her house with my family, knowing they wouldn't be back for days. And then came the uncomfortable anxiety of unfilled time. I strangely only vaguely remember this sensation when moving to Maryland. Maryland... seems a distant memory already.

Anyway, again came flooding back the old feelings of needing purpose. What am I to do here, Lord? Fighting the urge to settle into stability, absolutely opposed to refinding the normal life. I don't want to fill my time uselessly anymore. I don't want to have a home so that I can hide from the world. I don't feel God has lead us here only to regress into that lifestyle.

I can tell you what Maryland was. I can see the good that came from that and even many purposes in it. On the outside, it seemed impulsive on both ends; the move out there and the move from there. But I knew and Dan knows what a growing experience it was for us together and individually.

So what will El Paso be for the transient Tinsmans? Only God knows... I have my suspicions, for sure. As difficult as the balance is between settling for a time and knowing our imperminance, I have trust in God's plans for us. I just need to keep my sight within today and save the big thoughts for the guy in charge.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Bottom line

Maybe we should've let Texas become its own state. Maybe Lincoln should've let the south secede from the Union. Maybe somebody at some point should've notice that our nation got too big for one government. The state governments are great ideas... but, alas, the federal government oversees them as well. Freedom is diminishing at an astounding rate... and all in the name of what?

I'm not going to weigh in about the universal healthcare plan. Not here. Nor will I rant about the enormity of the government growing like cancer across our rights. This is what I will say, God wins. That's a bottom line I can get behind!

Meanwhile, I wonder what this all means for every day people like me (I don't know about every other day people...). Should our goals change? Were they worthy goals to begin with? What of the American dream? .... the American dream... freedom to pursue our lives in peace, uninhibited by outside pressures or restrictions. What do we have now? The American Entitlement? Have we all been reduced to sniveling 5 year olds? IT'S NOT FAIR! wahhhhhhhh! Those darn CareBears at it again...

And I know, I know it's the natural progression of things once God is slowly yet purposefully removed from authority of any kind. But it's sad to see it happen to this country. A nation that God blessed so much... thrown back in His face with spiteful ingratitude. That He hasn't completely anihilated us yet is beyond me.

But I digress (or regress?)... What is our focus? Our goals as christian Americans? It seems at least to me that the pursuit of stability may eventually compromise our beliefs. We may in our lifetime have to encounter situations now where we will have to break our nation's laws in order to uphold our Maker's. With the world and our country in it's current situation... what should be our focus? I know that the main point never changes: tell the world about Jesus. This could get tricky and something tells me (as Mark Martin does) the roof is on fire! This is urgent... we need to act NOW. Busyness needs to give way to a purpose filled life. Not the Rick Warren way - the Jesus way.

Lord, guide us to serve you in every way. Move us to live as though there won't be a later - no retirement - just a now. Give us clear purpose in our every day lives. Fill your people with the passion to bring your kids back to you. Help us eliminate distractions that waste our time and energy, remove negative influences so that we may hear your voice clearly. Let us be wakeful watchful for we know you are coming soon, Jesus! Fill our discouragements and cynicism with your everlasting hope. Renew our strength each day and measure our steps with confidence. In your holy name, we pray AMEN

Saturday, July 11, 2009

There are so many things on my blanketed mind, like sand drifting through my fingers... ahh, the beach.

Abby's visit was absolutely awesome! I couldn't be more thankful for friends that have known me half my life, go without talking to each other for 9 years and pick up right where we left off. I am so grateful to have that memory with me... hanging out at the Thiels with the cutest baby ever - Aida Rose. The National Zoo, Rehoboth Beach in Delaware, downtown Annapolis and Hagerstown stomach-dropping roads that made Abby scream!

Not even a month later and suddenly our lives are thrown into change AGAIN. I won't complain. I won't mourn the 8th move in our nearly 8 years of marriage. I am amazed and awed by the love of our God. His will and purpose for us is being revealed to us the further we go on... in His timing.

Just this past Tuesday, Dan arrived at work only to be kindly escorted from the building with possessions in hand. Suspension, they said, with termination imminent. They gave him the option to resign, which he promptly did. At peace, he said, over the whole ordeal. Five days later and still no regrets. God has paved our path and more than ever we are seeing what a blessing it is to trust fully in Him and walk forward in faith.

You see, just two weeks ago, my sister and I were on the phone, a common occurrance as the topic of living closer to one another was also. In the past this conversation would go on wistfully, hypothetically and end with a sigh as reality overcame us. However, this time it would not go that way. We both suddenly got the idea that it could happen! Why not, I said? Dan hates his job, he's always wanted to live near them as well! why not indeed.... I told Marie to pitch the idea to Dan (believe me it makes sense that way). Sure enough, he was on board.

From that point, Dan and I concocted a plan: I would promptly move to El Paso or Phoenix with the boys and the dogs. Dan would remain in Frederick working and living in a 1 bedroom apartment saving up money. This past Monday Dan signed a 4 month lease and we went home content with our plan. Well God had a different idea....

After Dan called me from his Jeep on the way from work... my mind was reeling. No income (save his VA disability check). No job. And on the 31st.. no home. Dan was at peace. He wasn't angry even though his employer had gone back on his word (approving leave that he was now saying was too much time from work). He had told me a couple months back that the people he worked with were a godless bunch, greedy and self-motivated. He was uncomfortable there and his skill set was at odds with the position he held.

We easily got out of his 4 month lease. (Thank God for that!) And began packing... We still are packing. And every day we see God's hand in this. Yesterday, as we were clearing up the garage, Dan looked over and me and said "Let's have a yard sale tomorrow." I said "ok." We readied the garage for the event, posting it on craigslist, and with the help of Dan's old army buddy, we were up and open at 8am this morning.

Jim, our awesome neighbor came strolling over asked us what we were up to. He said most garage sales do better on Fridays here and earlier, too. I said, well it can't hurt to try. Seconds after that conversation, our first customer walked up. We had a steady stream of people coming through all day. The couch, end tables, dresser, valet, sheets, baby clothes, stroller, army stuff, lamps, tv... and lots of other stuff were bought. By 1:30 Dan and I were both pooped and ready to park our butts inside (it was oppressively humid out today). We gave it a half hour more and then shut the garage. Not even 10 minutes later, it started pouring! It was like God's approval after all our hard work :)

I'm busting out of Maryland in 4 days and I can hardly believe. My darling brother Kyle will be keeping me company as we traverse across the country once again.

I'm just in such awe of God's love and His amazing involvement in our personal lives. That He works so purposefully in each of our lives to draw us to Him and toward our purpose in Him... it's astounding!

I'm really looking forward to this next phase of our lives. He has grown us so much out here and we are so blessed in every way. And I am so incredibly blessed to have Dan as my husband... he is an amazing man and I'm always surprised (though I shouldn't be) by how God is working in him and through him.

So tonight... I'm thinking sitting cuddling tv watching with my man... and some peace and quiet. Cheers y'all!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Junk yard musings

Listening to Audrey Assad who I found in a roundabout way of link pasting.

Reading about Kate McRae... the amazing little girl who inspired the whole world to pray for her and write songs for her, worship God in honor of her. I pray that she is healed and the whole world sees how mighty the hand of our God is.. and how gracious He is to listen to us.

I need to pack. Again. When did destinations stop being destinations? Instead just another pit stop... for who knows how long? How do people live in one place for decades? Why are we so nomadic? Well, you can't say we are afraid of change :)

The world is a cruel place for talent. Even if we find the thing we are good at only one person can be the best at it and then even that position is fickle relying on the whims of society, trends of an indecisive humanity. As a christian we know our talent is for God, to praise Him to bring Him glory. Something no one talks about is how we know if we are doing that adequately or not. Is it measured by the acceptence of others? Will we be affirmed by human confirmation? Is it only effective if the results are visible? This is a difficult presupposition to overcome.

I see miracles all around me. The grace of God is a miracle all in itself. It's not that I cannot see results of God's hand. I still struggle with how I fit in that. I've learned that God in fact DOES listen to me, my prayers. I have absolutely no doubt about that. And I know that we are to use our uniqueness in traffic control. I don't have the answers, but I know who does.

Maybe I say too many words. Maybe I think too many thoughts. Maybe I should do as my mother does and secure a barrage of meaningful cliches. One of my favorites that I hung up on the door to the garage says "If it matters to you, it matters to Him." Pretty sure that was a Max Lucado.

Why can't I remember scripture? I've been reading the bible since I was able to read. I'm in it at least once a day. Ask me to recite a passage and everything I memorized in grade school, the chapters I had to know by heart in high school go flying out of my head. I wish I could. Good thing I love to read! Because I'm going to need to re-read the bible everytime I need God's words. Not a problem :)

I am a random junk yard of musings today... discarded thoughts revisited, thinking perhaps I can make something of my semi-abandoned ideas. Meh....








Thursday, June 25, 2009

Long Overdue Introspection :)















Sure enough this isn’t my home. With every move I am even more convinced that geography has no bearing on feeling at home. Even in the place that I call home – Phoenix – I feely strangely at odds with my surroundings, always a nagging feeling of something important lacking. Here in Maryland, I feel like rolling around in the green that envelopes this landscape. I breathe in the air and it sits well in my lungs. This place is both invigorating and sedating all at once. I see the beauty and majesty of God all around me. In Phoenix, I revel in the dry pounding heat of the city. I love the distant mountain landscape, the open desert stretching for miles uninhabited. I see the wonder and stark power of our Creator. Yet, I cannot embrace it. My feet only cover small area at any given time, my eyes can only take in so much before my heart starts to ache. It’s as though my Father has left a gift at the doorstep… and then departed. But there in that gift is detail, complexity, affectionately made and a small reflection of the one who made it.


It’s easy to distract the heart and mind from this. It’s much too much easy to lose myself in social interactions, television shows, plain busyness of life… cleaning, planning, paying, driving, fixing… etc. Yet here I find a lacking as well.I have so many unanswered questions… Questions that can be answered certainly but not satisfiably. Or perhaps I am just so easily dissatisfied with any finality.






So here are a few of my questions… questions that I ask time and again that don’t seem to have any satiable answer. What is the point of friendships? I realize this is a highly customized concept. Friendships are what people make them to be, but this can vary quite dramatically from one person to the next, I suppose, based on their own particular needs and desires. If that is true, then the likelihood of two people finding a perfect friend in each other is rather low and obviously explains the many dramas and quandaries experienced in that social interaction. To find a near fit almost always feels too good to be true, often enough questioning and doubting the intimacy of these relationships conversely leads to many problems and difficulties. It’s kinda funny.

A bigger question that sits in my mind is one of location. Why be anywhere? I mean I know I have to be somewhere, so why be where I am now? Why not somewhere else? What is it that holds me here? Or takes me there? Bottom line: what’s the motivation in location? Naturally I will follow my husband where he goes. But what leads him where he goes? Sometimes it seems as arbitrary as the wind. Is the idea of a better job a good reason to move? Is the idea of being near family an intelligent reason to move? Geography? Politics? Schools? Taxes? Culture? Friends? …. I do have an easy answer to this question. Go where God leads you to go. But then again, how do you know where that is? And beyond that (as I found it easy to believe He wanted us here in Maryland) is a plaguing question: how long are we to stay? I know that may illicit a chuckle from some… How do I determine whether it is we that want to leave and not God? Doesn’t He put the desires in our heart? And beyond those supernatural gut instincts, what do we go on to make this decision? Are we merely out here to see what we left (Lord knows I didn’t need to be taught this)? Were we sent out here to stay for some unseen purpose yet to be revealed? I struggle with this idea. I hesitate to see myself here in the future (a long time problem with me anywhere I am… 2 years in our house in Gilbert seemed short and likewise eternal). I hesitate to see us moving again… for I fear that we have been so well entrenched in this habit, we may learn to never sit still.

Above and beyond all of this is this deep desire to do something meaningful. While I well know this exists in most people, I absolutely cannot sink myself into anything that seems trite. I am all too keenly aware of worldly pulls: vanity, greed, self-serving, works righteousness… weighing my success on productivity. I am a barrage of battling wills. I refuse to get caught up in buying nice stuff and decorating (money better spent elsewhere, not to mention the vanity factor), yet vanity gets me anyway… as I am mostly ashamed of what our house looks like and worried what people will think. I refuse to push my meager energies to have a productive show for my day… yet feel really worthless about how my days are spent wishing I could have some proof to validate my existence. And I wonder about my internal motivations… am I lazy? Unambitious? Afraid? I am absolutely afraid. Afraid of not being good enough. Afraid of failing. Afraid of trying something and then not doing it well and taking it too hard. Afraid I’m missing what I’m supposed to be doing…

There are short answers to these questions. God’s word is enough to satisfy the hungriest heart. And I often am brought to tears by His amazing love and the seemingly unending ways He speaks to me in new ways through His word. So why the plaguing questions? Why can’t I just rest easy in today and know He is in control, that He has a plan? I don’t know.

Right now this is what I know. I miss my family so much it hurts. I miss the amazing friendships I made in Arizona. I want my husband to be happy. I want the best for my kids. I want to feel fulfilled (and I am mainly so by being a traffic controller). I want feel as though I’m living exactly where God wants me to, how He wants me to. Won’t I know when that happens? Or will I?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Rapping Roberto


He's been on tv, radio, and written a book or two. He called out the chinese for their illegal drug use in the Olympics (a few times), was called a "midget" who "knows absolutely jack shit about baseball" (by none other than Barry Bonds), and has a considerable (albeit boring) resume.

I mean, come on! Who blogs about Bob Costas? And what can I say about him? Sure I'd heard his name before I looked him up on Wikipedia. Since I have little interest in sports, let alone the people talking about the sports, I am possibly the worst candidate for writing about Bob Costas. However.... he has a good sneeze/swear name. I could easily transition from my recent Bob Dylan exclamations. And I always welcome a good sneeze challenge (as long as there is no words that start with "h" because that is actually a little painful).

Honestly, I'm a little annoyed at his story as told on Wikipedia. Whoever wrote it apparently had no interest in showing WHO Bob Costas was.... Either that or they were paid by Bob Costas to only showcase things that may promote his career (though it hardly seems he ever needed assistance getting to the top) and withhold anything that may infer he is actually human and makes mistakes. Though he did divorce and remarry... what a cretin!

Marie, I wish I could think of something or someone nearly as boring as Bob Costas for you to blog about... And maybe I could've done a better job of this, but I am feeling uninspired and just wanted to get it over with!

What would Bob Costas say?

"I don't believe there's a single American sitting around saying, 'I'd like to see Bob Costas' take on this.'” - Bob Costas

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Nimwit




We were sitting on either side of him... but we couldn't save him. The futility of it all struck us as soon the table struck him (or so it seems).

Alas, it was true... he started it. Yes, HE struck the table first. You cannot imagine the shame and embarrassment when very quickly, yea, in the blink of an eye only enough time to utter an alarmed gasp, the table won. It was over like that. Suddenly there was a wild convergence of tears and blood, wet paper towels, and then hastily the four of us departed.

The proximity of the health center was appreciated, furthermore, the lack of patrons therein proved an even greater blessing. While the boy was seen immediately with his father at his side, I was left with minimal paperwork and his alarmingly well-behaved younger brother.

Every cry I heard from beyond the admitting doors squeezed my heart, compressed my lungs, even as I smiled at the adorable antics of my darling 2 year old. My brain reassured my heart that things were ok and it was satiated for another 5 minutes until another cry rang out. Only an hour transpired before me and young lad were allowed to see him. His demeanor was immediately relieving. He was calm and not unlike his normal inquisitive self began grilling me about the blood pressure cuff (what is that for? what does it do? what is it called? does it hurt?...etc).

So walking papers in hand, we headed to the van. Thankful to have our kids in one piece and quite relatively in their original condition with the addition of 6 blue stitches, we made one stop before calling it a night. At home, the champion table diver sat with a bowl of chocolate ice cream as he talked to his Aunt Moe Moe on the phone about SpongeBob.

And I breathed a weary sigh of relief... my heart full of sad thankfullness.


Monday, June 8, 2009

Dutch Pain

After Caleb's very last T-ball game of the season, I got the great idea of spending the rest of the day at Dutch Wonderland, an amusement park 2 hours away. So off we went. It was a nice, well laid out park geared entirely towards the younger crowd (9 year olds and under). The boys had a blast. Dan ate funnel cake. Caleb and Elijah were almost able to finish off a cotton candy (I'm proud that they didn't!). 2 lemonades, several kiddie rides, a diving show (this was easily Elijah's favorite part)


one semi-decent roller coaster (that Caleb LOVED), and a good lounge by the splash park (Caleb got drenched while Elijah adamantly refused to venture beyond trying to squelch the singular spouts of water) and we were ready to call it a day. But not before getting one of these pics!

So yesterday, I went to the picnic for MOPs (after being thoroughly cheered by an unexpected phone call from Jess!) with Caleb (didn't want to deal with 2 kids and a pool plus three dozen other people). I was exhausted, crabby, and feeling rather anti-social (this was only compounded by the fact that no one was talking to me!). But after a half hour it got better and I had several interesting conversations. Plus Caleb had an awesome time swimming (he will be so happy once we get into our new house with the pool!).

Today, I wish I could die. I thought all I needed was to be completely caffeinated all hours of the day in order to make a semi-normal life for myself. Apparently I forgot about the pain part of the deal. Ugh. It feels like someone is squeezing the marrow out of my bones and twisting my muscles into knots. Fun Fun!

So I shall find myself a nice seat and make a home there, pray for well-behaved boys, and hope that OTC painkillers will at least help a little.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Collage Time!

We had a great time, sitting on the kitchen floor getting all gluey picking out pictures for our collages. And afterwards Caleb made a game of cleaning up the scraps (as always a good guy vs bad guy game).


Here is Elijah's. I helped cut out the pieces and put the glue on. He picked the pictures and placement.



Notice the messy plate of spaghetti? This was on the same page as the one Caleb chose which was a neat plate of spaghetti! Just like my boys!



I love Caleb's! He has the Oxy bottle (which both boys picked without knowing the other had as well!) and a washer and dryer! The kid likes clean! I just noticed he glued a little blurb (it's upside down in the square) entitled "I Love this Country." Patriotic, too, I guess?


Ok, so I couldn't just watch the fun. I made one, too *giggle* It was fun, and I was doing it long after they lost interest. I wish I would think to do this kind of stuff more often...



Cluttered and Disagreeable

My oh so sweet darling lovely friend told me I was cluttered and disagreeable. Isn't that nice? But it begs the question... um, am I? Let's see... cluttered? My person is rarely cluttered. I in fact find it most unfortunate when that occurs because it means only one thing (as I do not accessorize): tis much too much cold. Hats, scarves, gloves, layers and layers and layers... it makes me want to scream, tear off my clothes and run around butt naked. Bad visual, sorry. My space is cluttered. Oh yeah, definetely. Hmmm.... maybe that's what she means. But it's not entirely my fault! My husband is a serial clutterbug and I have two young boys that think the command, "Take off your clothes," means stopping dead in their tracks and removing each and every item and leaving it in a display of artful indifference on the floor. *sigh*

Am I disagreeable? No way! I do NOT concur! ....wait.... Ok, maybe sometimes I may pipe up to say something contradictory. But I do it out of love, goshdarnit! Besides it is a family legacy. To be disagreeable in my family just means your breathing still. Arguing is a pasttime, a hobby. We even won the inter-county championship of Michigan for debating the longest without falling into weak rebuttals of "nuh uh" and "yeah, well you're stupid!" We didn't agree with the trophy (actually Kyle wanted it, but we spent so much time debating over whether or not he should get it that Jesse snuck in and squirreled the trophy away).

Ok, I promised less introspection and more facts. Here's what I know: I figured out why I blog (expect an introspective blog on that one later!), the constant drizzling rain reminds me too much of Washington state, my kids have completely lost their minds and spend most of their time making inhuman noises or fighting over everything (today it was my grocery list), I really want to homeschool .... and yet that and all else ambition waits on that state of my health (frustrating!).

If today goes as planned, I will actually make dinner, bathe the children, construct yet another BF (blanket fort - not best friend! lol) for Caleb and Dan's campout in the AZ room tonight, sit down and make collages with the boys (if that happens I'll take pics and post here).

I miss you all! I hope to make a trip to Arizona in August (this time for 2 weeks!) so keep that in your prayers!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Do I know how?


Do I know how to blog without being analytical and introspective? LOL

I honestly ask this question because I'd love to have a place for people to come and see how and what I'm doing in my life. Not that my life is so grand and full of excitement. But I think people tend to ask the question from time to time... "I wonder how Katie is doing?" It's unanswerable unless that person is rather odd and is actually directing the question at me. Which really isn't that odd in my experience actually... I have some weird friends and family! But the point is, I am rarely on the phone, a lax email user, and have been known to for no reason what so ever fail to get back to people in a timely manner. I'm actually a little surprised I have any friends! LOL

So, here goes... I will try to keep the introspection on the back burner for the most part and try to just give the facts of life (I really hope that song is now playing in your head!). And for all you curious kids out there, my previous posts are loaded with introspection and not even remotely intended for your eyes. Oh well.

I'll initiate this newly renovated blog by sharing this picture.




Here's Caleb and Elijah enjoying the blanket fort I made for them in the living room. We've been into BF construction now for the past 2 days and with the forecast filled with rainy days, we could easily perfect our form :)


Thursday, April 2, 2009

When I wasn't the same...

I tell the story often enough that one would think I could explain how I got from the dark cave of depression to pounding the road towards a life given, not earned and full of joy.



Seven years ago, I lived in a studio apartment that had one window. I was a newlywed with bruises and an inanimate best friend. I spent my days in a fog of thoughtless stupor consulting my best friend for distraction... Beat the Geeks, Different Strokes, Days of our Lives.... I was the front runner for wasting time and avoiding life. I wanted to die. I thought about it a lot. I cried a lot. I couldn't figure out why I existed, why God had made me... an average girl with crippling fatigue and endless pain. Why even after trying to do all the right things I had ended up in the dark cave of directionless depression. I had expected rewards, accolades, success for making all the right choices. I kept replaying it over in my head... My advisor, a christian man at a christian school telling me I didn't belong there... that I wasn't fit to serve God in a full time ministry. At that point in my life, God was a distant entity. He mainly observed with His arms folded sternly across His chest. He was not a smiling radiant hope. He was not a beacon in the storm... no, there was no greater storm in my life than the God that I saw. Serious. Strict. Glaring. A virtual hurricane of disapproval. So I approached Him cowering, ashamed, hating myself, beating myself, a sick pride of masochism deep in my heart.



I noted all my failures. I saw no success. I was beat. Defeated by my own imperfections, kicked down by the world, missing all the marks. I fell short of everyone's approval and I finally sat down.



These were dark days. I didn't want to numb any of my pain with drugs or alcohol. I wanted to feel the punishment I felt I deserved. I believed I deserved every bit of emotional and physically agony I was given. But this time, I hoped that it led to death. I felt worthless, a mistake at best, an ultimate failure with no potential worth investing in.



It's no mistake however, how much I needed to reach that point. I absolutely needed to throw out what everyone thought of me. I stripped it down to me. I suddenly wasn't trying to please anyone anymore. Not my parents, not teachers, not friends, and not God. I still desperately wanted approval, but I was growing ever more angry that people were so harsh and unforgiving with me. Doing nothing was exactly what I needed to do, to prove a point to others and mainly myself. I was tired. I couldn't play that game anymore. Not physically. Not emotionally.



Deep down, I knew God loved me. I spent most of my life denying the how's of that fact. I never believed He actually loved me in my entirety. I couldn't believe that and simaltaneously maintain a groveling position that I had grown accustomed to. I was taught that gratitude was the motiviation for good behavior. But I was not taught the thing I was to be the most grateful for. I was grateful for the external blessings of my life... food, house, family, safety, education.. etc. I never knew how much He loved ME, personally and completely.



Stripped of the world's expectations, I had to consult the One who made me. Why? I asked over and over... sometimes through tears, sometimes in quiet musings, sometimes in frustration and anger. Why did you make ME? I knew He had a purpose in all things... This was the first time I had to confront the truth that He had a purpose in me... little old me.



So I began a slow quiet journey pondering this thought: what does God think of me? While part of me was comfortable with the angry stern Super God, there was another part of me that just wanted a Daddy. I just wanted Him to hold me and reassure me... that I was ok, that things were ok, that things would get better. And He did. There was no great vision or epiphany... What happened next did change my life forever, however.



My great grandmother died. No shocker, she was old and senile. But it brought family together. A few weeks later, my dad was diagnosed with colon cancer. A month later, my grandpa (my dad's stepfather) was diagnosed with skin cancer. Two months later, my sister was informed she had breast cancer.



How did this affect my internal process? Depression is a dark and lonely place filled with mirrors. Strangely enough, the barrage of family illness acted as a crane to lift me out of my dark hole of self-reflection. I had no choice but to focus on the present issues of others. I sat with my dad in his hospital room. My whole world tilted... I did lose my dad in a sense because of his cancer and how it changed his life choices. I did lose my grandfather when the cancer took his life a year and a half later. And I gained a sister when her cancer brought her closer to God and changed her heart.



I crawled through 21 years of my life, never knowing that God was beside me not just above me. I stopped and sat down and cried, not knowing that God was holding me. I gradually started looking around me and at myself. Then... I looked up! Praise God.. there He was! And He was smiling and His arms were wide open. He took my hand and for the first time ever, I was walking. My head up I felt the sunshine, I saw the beauty of His world. And He brought me to a mirror... I was hesitant. I did not want to see what a wretch I was. His love was amazing as long as I didn't have to think about how unworthy I was. But He lifted my chin and said, "Look, please... just look." So I did. And I saw a little girl standing with her Daddy. I saw how lovingly He looked at me. I saw that I wasn't dirty or ugly, I was beautiful! ...And behind the mirror was a bloody and beaten Jesus... holding the mirror was a cross. And I saw for the first time what I should be grateful for. Sadness and joy converged into a flood of tears. I fell at His feet. "...thank you... thank you..." it was all I could do or say. Knowing I could not even began to pay Him back for all of this, I said what I believe was what He wanted to hear all along, "I am yours. Let me live for you in your world. Show me the way, Father." We embraced, He stroked my hair, pulled me away to look at me in the eyes, "Daughter, I am always with you. I will be with you every step of the way. Don't ever forget that, ok?"



.... So when the darkness of the world seeps into my heart, I remember what He told me what He still tells me everyday. The sun rises because He is still there. He is still here. And I have His words, His promises to bring me back to a sunny day in front of the mirror of Christ. I have His love to warm me from the coldness of others. I have the hope He gave me to keep me on track. He is with me... every step of the way... my Daddy.

peace and love,
kate

Saturday, March 14, 2009

God Loves to Surprise Us

Romans 4:16 "People receive God's promises by having faith. This happens so the promise can be a free gift."



I love Max Lucado. I love the way he writes, how he surprises me with simplicity. March 14 in his Grace for the Moment Vol II was exactly what I needed to hear today. Though I credit him less than I credit an amazingly loving and intimate Father.



I never know whether it is a good idea to be so blatantly honest about my short-comings and flaws. But it strikes me often as the right thing to do... as the temptation to be proud is so very near and my upbringing also inspires such humility :) So this is the raw shameful truth of how this morning was spent: in tears, in self-pity, and a sense of unfairness. The great worldly truth of my situation hit me hard this week. I was alone thousands of miles away from everyone I loved. Stuck in the house with two energetic young boys. Cloudy cold days blew across the yard. I watched as Reba shivered and Ando barked at squirrels.


I started to feel as though someone had put me in a glass case, imprisoning me with freezing weather and endless miles land, rolling hills giving way to swamp, then desert... the epitome of desert stretching through parched thirsty eternal ground. My sight became distorted. I couldn't see the light through the clouds anymore. I sought God's joy in Word. I admit that Ezekiel isn't the most cheery chapter in the story of God's people. I even found my grey heart plodding through the meaninglessness of Solomon's Ecclesiastes. Even the bittersweet twist of the last chapter left me wanting.



I searched for coincidence in my life and readings and found king David. I couldn't piece that together, and I started to believe I was trying too hard. I stumbled through my days. Hiding from my kids, losing myself in Friends, grateful for the laughter it instigated. I decided I should write, so I began a story. I learned a lesson in friendship from a dear friend. The clouds seemed to settle lower and heavier. I wanted to find meaning and purpose but felt powerless and insufficient. I prayed for other people. I cried on the dining room table missing my family and friends.



I figured my husband could be more supportive and turned on him. I pushed him away out of fear of being utterly alone. I translated his actions (and inactions) into words that were intended (unintentionally) to hurt me and leave me completely isolated.



How many more people could I find fault in? Who else could I blame for the funk I had found?



Under it all, I knew it was me and my putrid attitude. It stunk from the core of me polluting the air around me til I was physically sick from it. Even the taste of food, the idea of food lost its appeal. Perhaps the idea of feeding the disgusting rot in my gut has been convincing enough to discourage the normal pang of hunger my body invariably evokes.

And it all boils down to impatience and a lack of seeing things unseen. I need to learn how to live in this world and still be heaven focused. How do I maintain involvement where I am and still see the bigger picture and trust in the invisible nature of what that entails? Can I be that detached from earthly matters and still love and find purpose while my feet are still under me? The conflict rages eternally in my heart and head. Push and pull. Humanity vs soul. I desire to perfect this delicate balance and the irony lies therein. After the daily battles, exhuastion, and open wounds I came home to this idea: I need God for everything. EVERYTHING. I need God to fight my battles. I need God to release my fears, my lonliness, to figure out my life.

I seem to think that after so much leaning and learning that I will eventually be able to do it on my own. I never stop to think how that could happen, or why I would desire such a thing. Because surely if I had I would conclude the insanity of it. The motivational error itself is astounding. The end result is agonizing... a life without God, a life denying His power, His control. This is not what I want by any means.

Back to Max Lucado... He reminded me that God gives us things in such surprising ways. While we see one thing, hope and pray for things, He has the greatest thing in store for us. And while we think up these small obvious solutions for our own lives, God is working out a far better idea and placing it in front of us at the best time. All this and I still sit and feel lost and anxious. I honestly believe most of the time that I could be doing so much more, spending my time more wisely. And maybe that is still true. But I don't need to feel guilty about it! God knows my heart and He knows I search for His guidance and His will. And He also knows how deaf I am to hear Him, how blind I am to see how plainly He cares about my life, my every day run of the mill life!

I get to be reminded endlessly about His love. I am afforded the ability to live another day in His world, in His care. He is ridiculously forgiving and patient with me. He knows I will forget again, that I will try to run my own life, beat myself up for not fulfilling a purpose unknown to me... that I will cease trusting Him and cry in anxiety and self-pity. How many times will He surprise me with His love?

......I love the answer.... Forever. Endlessly. Throughout eternity. Without fail. Constantly. Unconditionally. Immensely. Without limits!

Beyond these clouds, I believe in the Son. Inside my grey heart, is joy unending. All this ... for free? I'm out of words....

peace and love,
kate

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Everyday

Nothing about my everyday life is worth writing about. My feelings, reactions, thoughts about the past, future and where I am now are nothing new. I feel a little Solomonesque today :) What's the point of blogging? I was asked that somewhat recently by my sis. Why blog? I have to admit the question has not yet been answered for me. Why do I blog? What do I hope to accomplish? Am I hoping to accomplish?... now, frankly that doesn't sound very much like me - goal focused! Ha! Here, this one is for Leah... "I found that if you have a goal, that you might not reach it. But if you don't have one, then you are never disappointed. And I gotta tell ya... it feels phenomenal." (Peter La Fleur in Dodgeball)

So... yes, I am in fact sitting here spending time blogging even though I don't have any real good reason to do so. But then again did I really have an answer when Pastor Spencer asked Dan and me why we wanted to have kids? Our exact answer was .. pause... look at each other... bigger pause... stare at floor...a shrug and then "I don't know... because God says we should?"

Macaroni, the phantom chaser

Why do we have pets?

Why do we dance in public?

Certainly I could answer that it is for mere enjoyment - yay! But pets and children are a lot of work. And dancing can be just as enjoyable at home.. why go to a club? Why not write in a journal?

Truth is I Iove writing. I feel a little directionless lately though. Where am I writing what? Why am I writing how? Questions for nothing... I need a something. I need inspiration. This blog is but a weak solution to a strong yearning. It's as though the need to write something (anything!) builds up inside up me until I can do nothing but dry heave this dribble. It's a pathetic shame. On the brighter side, I like have a nice collection of music here as I own very few of these songs. Kudos to the internet and the ability to plug in!

Death Cab for Cutie is a must have stand by for anytime listening - pure enjoyment!

Pinback has a repetitive sound that occurs in a great deal of their music - I still love it immensely - kind of a laid back feel good tuneage.

MercyMe is a surprise to me... I never thought I liked them as much as I do as they have a tiny bit of country twang that I tend to avoid. I also noticed their focus is on heaven - I love that!

Yael Naim - funky indie sound that I innately am drawn to.. I wish to have more of this for my listening pleasure. The thing about indie is how hit and miss it is... But, oh! to find a rare and talented gem like Yael is cause for celebration!

Downhere and Shawn McDonald are worth coupling because of how I feel about them both. There is a unique quality to each that will always draw me in and endear me to each new song.

I don't understand people who don't have a profound respect and love for music - good music. It is so much a part of who I am that bits of songs come out in conversations randomly. To remove music from my life would be the greatest torture and would change me irrevocably.

Tangent done, so is blog post :)

peace and love,
katie



Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What is your purpose?

Such a small sentence, yet so loaded with responsibility, accountability, and self-worth. One’s purpose in life is an idea we can’t escape. We innately seek purpose in all things… whether talking about the origins of life and the universe or in the motivation behind our actions. What is the purpose? What was the reason for the cause which produced the effect? What effect do I hope to produce? What is my purpose?

There are countless books, articles, and opinions on how to discover your ultimate purpose in life. Answers are given to the ageless question of “why am I here?” Most of these writings are geared toward careers or self-fulfillment. Is my purpose to be successful in a career? Is my purpose to find self-fulfillment? I don’t think so. Neither does God apparently.

He plainly states that our purpose is to serve Him. Simple enough on the surface, right? But what does that exactly entail? Serving God means to follows His rules and the common denominator behind all His rules is this: LOVE. We’ve all heard the saying “God is love.” Well, He is. And our purpose is to love, to love Him back by obeying the law, but also to love others. So there is an inward application of self-discipline and an outward application of loving others. Once again, how do we do love others exactly? It isn’t always so cut and dry and what may seem like the most obvious way to love isn’t always the way we personally were called to love.

Let me expound on that. It’s no surprise to anyone that we are all individuals with unique qualities and personalities, unique down to our very DNA. Why should it be any different when it comes to how we love? We were all called to love in different ways. There is a great book called “The Five Love Languages” that most people seem to be familiar with. The content makes it quite easy to clearly identify the mode in which you love. It is obviously categorized and therefore generalized. But the gist is good; you will learn basically how you see, feel, and give love. And this coincidentally, is how God purposefully made us. We are each of us purposefully made! I didn’t really grasp that concept until a few years ago. Part of me believed I was cranked out on an assembly line and that somehow I wasn’t constructed quite right. I didn’t seem to fit the mold of what seemed to be the right way to love.

Society likes to say that love is obvious. Actions speak love, they say. Feed a homeless person, give a gift basket to the sick dude, or invite people into your home. But a great deal of us, I believe, love on a much more subtle level. A love that is not lesser by any means, but perhaps a love that is quieter and harder to put a finger on. Some love by listening. That’s it! Just listening to a tortured soul or a lonely invalid. Some love by being behind the scenes of greater things, rarely acknowledged, loving in the shadows. No matter how we are built to love, we can be sure that who we innately are, what we are instinctively drawn to do in love, is exactly how God purposefully created us.

What is your purpose? To love. To love as God uniquely designed you to love. To love no matter where you are, whether working or resting. To learn love as though it were a skill to hone. To love as though God himself were always watching, because He is! Remember His will and remember His love and then live with those thoughts always with you. And loving will be a joy. Loving will be an honor. Loving will be the purpose that fulfills you and gives you the greatest success that you can hope for in this life.

One more thing: love yourself. Accept who you uniquely are and appreciate that God put intimate thought into making you. Love you the way God loves you. Don’t forget your own value. Know that to love properly means to view everything and everyone through God’s eyes. This is the beginning of a life of peace (no fear), joy (through all emotions), and unending wonder (as the beauty of God’s will becomes clearer).

Peace and love,
kate