Friday, January 26, 2007

On the trail

About five years ago I went on a backpacking trip which was a first for me. Oh I've been camping and worked at summer camp for six years so the whole “going without amenities” part was second nature. What truly kicked my butt was the hiking. We hiked FOREVER and I don't say that in a dramatic and stretching the truth way. We seriously covered more miles of trails (and sometimes non-trails) than I thought possible. These also weren't sissy day-hikers’ trails made of packed and groomed dirt. Instead the majority of our time was spent on rough trails of paths worn down only by foot traffic and riddled with obstacles like loose rocks, holes, and roots. It was without a doubt one of the most challenging things I've ever done.

In hiking there is always a destination in mind. Some days we hiked to a new campground down in the valley and other times we were just doing a quick hike to the nearest summit. The thing that got me was that we spent more time hiking than we did at any of our destinations. The majority of our trip was spent on the trails.

Life is like that too. To continue the mountain analogy, we're usually on our way toward a mountain top or a valley in life but the majority of our time is spent on the trail. Those moments spent on the summit of a mountain or the lows of a valley only make up a small fraction of the whole of our life. We spend most of our time on the way to one of these destinations and sometimes those trails take more out of us and teach us more about ourselves than the time spent were we ended up.

The trail isn’t easy, literally or figuratively. On our trip I struggled every step of the way, one because I’m asthmatic, two because I’m clumsy, and three because I wasn’t use to that kind of a physical challenge. Who thought walking would be so hard? It was a battle for me everyday to fight my way up a steep incline without sitting down on the side of the path and giving up. The trip down into the valley wasn’t easy either, as I fought to keep my footing and not stumble all the way down to the bottom.

Life feels the same way sometimes. Each day has its own difficulties and challenges. I struggle because I’m selfish, and prideful, and I mess up daily (actually that should be hourly or even every minute). Who thought living would be so hard? Whether we’re heading up on our way to a mountain top experience or stumbling down into a period in the valley, we’re straining just to live.

Now this isn’t to say that the trail is all about difficulty and hardship. I got to experience some of the best scenery on the trail, to spend time with other people and get to really know them, and I got to spend time with myself. It was as much fun as it was hard. Same goes for life. We go through each day with highs and lows but there is this backdrop of family and friends and experiences that we wouldn’t trade for anything.

As I look back at that backpacking trip I realize that the part that stretched me the most, the part that really changed who I was ended up being the time on the trail. Oh the view from the mountaintops was amazing and the time in the valley when you felt like you were going to collapse from exhaustion (or in my case nursing a seriously twisted ankle wrapped in duct tape) was not all that fun, but the real change came on the trail to those places. On my way up the mountain I had to push myself to keep going, to not give up, to reach that goal and be able to look down on what I had just accomplished. Then on the way down into the valley I had to carefully choose my steps so I didn’t tumble and fall all the way down.

The same idea applies to my life. Those moments I’ve had mountaintop experiences, great success, or amazing spiritual renewal are wonderful, they’re amazing, but there was a long road to get to those. And when I finally get to that point where I’m on top of the mountain I realize that it was the trek up to there that really did the changing. It’s just at the top of the mountain that you get to see the path it took to get there. And the thing about a mountain top experience is that you always have to come down at some point. And that descent is hard at times especially when you end up in the valley or low point of life. Those struggles, hardships, and crises of life sometimes appear out of nowhere but often we’ve traveled a long road to get there. And that trudge is often life changing as well. We stumble but try not to fall as we slip and slide down that slope into the valley. And as we end up there at the bottom we see that there was a lot of life changing on the road down. As with the mountaintop we never stay in the valley forever. Again we are on the trail moving through life.

So maybe I’m realizing that in my life it wasn’t the mountaintops or the valleys that have changed me as much as I thought they did. Maybe it’s the time I’ve spent on the trail going up and down, ascending to the mountain to descend until I come to another mountain or to a valley and then ascend from there to something else.

Now the thing is that this all connects in my head to 828, but I need another post for that so I’ll be getting that up sometime in the near future.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The power of suggestion

I just got an email from the mom of one of the boys in our kindergarten class on Sunday. It seems he has lice and had to have his head shaved.

Now my head itches.


P.S. the continuation of yesterday's post will have to come tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28

And we know that . . . . not we feel, or we realize, or we come to the conclusion by the evidence presented. We know. It is a fact that we are given the choice to accept or neglect but that does not affect the truth of it. It isn’t swayed by our present circumstances, our past history, or even our hopes and wishes for the future. It is something we know to be true and a foundational basis for how we will then live our lives.

God causes . . . noone else is given billing in this statement. The responsibility, the power, the prerogative, all falls on God. We have no part, nor does the world. We establish superiority right off and it isn’t in us. It’s not only His will but also His work to accomplish what follows.

all things . . . . not just the large things be them “good” or “bad”, but all things. The insignificant things we overlook, or even the things we choose not to do or simply ignore. All things is overwhelmingly inclusive. It takes a pretty broad look at your life and begins to give purpose to each little puzzle piece that doesn’t seem to fit into the grand scheme of what you think the picture should look like. With all things part of the picture we know that nothing is left to chance, nothing is forgotten or worthless.

to work together for good . . . Do you notice that the end result is “good” but never does it promise that each individual thing will be “good”. The completion of all things as they work together is good. And what is the good? Not good determined by this world or by me but going back to the one to whom responsibility falls it’s the good of God, specifically that we will become more like Christ. The funny thing is that on some days I will honestly say I don’t always count that as good. My good rests in me in my comfort in the fulfillment of my wants, but His good for us is based solely on how much we begin to look like His Son. That is the good all things work toward, that is the good He causes, that is the good that we know will occur.

to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purposes . . . not only do we find the specific audience this “good” is for, but we see the reasoning behind the good. Those who love God, funny that it isn’t the other way around, Paul doesn’t say those loved by God, but those who love God. It puts us in a place to make our attitude match our heart and commitment. If I love God, would I not trust Him and see that His work in my life is for good? And then there is the why behind the what. Why do all things work together for good? Because we are called according to His purposes. It begins with His calling and ends with His purposes. Again not our purposes, not our definition of good, but His, God’s.

Over the last week or so this verse has played over and over again in my head and the words became bigger, the truth of what it is saying, what it is proclaiming became huge to me. I’ll have to continue those thoughts tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

3:25 a.m.

Three nights (mornings) in a row I have awoken at this exact time (or pretty near it) for no reason what so ever. Not fun I tell you, especially since I struggle to go back to sleep after that.

And in other news, I might MIGHT be posting again today and if not today than most definitely tomorrow. I've got something swimming around in my head and I'm trying to gather my thoughts in to cohesive and understandable sentences and paragraphs. We'll see how that goes.

Friday, January 19, 2007

It's a toss up

So Lost is still on hiatus (sniff, sniff) and my expectations are getting pretty high for the rest of the season. And yet there is some competition for the #1 spot in my TV addiction . . . .

See on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. CST (well now 9 with the time slot change) all things in the life of Katie come to a complete halt. Yes for this hour of my week, my life is ruled by a TV show. Don't judge me you know you do the same, if not for TV than for some other guilty pleasure. I will not accept an invitation to anything those nights if it conflicts with Lost, I will not answer my phone, I won't even try to multi-task (even during the commercials). I am committed, a fan, maybe even a little bit fan-atic.

It is here that I will pull you back from the brink of thinking I am NUTS, byt telling you I don't own any books on the show, well maybe there is that one that i borrowed from my parents but it was borrowed so I don't own it. I also don't have an alternate Lostie identity that jumps on the internet to discuss the last episode with other Losties, but I have maybe spent a little bit of time reading these postings and ideas for things I might haved missed in the episode. I can honestly say that I haven't watched an entire season in a 24 hour period (unlike some people I know). I just like the show and have watched it from the beginning and my freakish ability to remember minute details helps me stay intrigued by the mystery of it all.

But as I said, there is a black horse that is filling the gap for a favorite TV show in my life right now . . . . The Office.

I'm addicted. Ok I can admit it. When a show comes along that has me laughing OUT LOUD every episode than it's a winner in my book. It's one part absurdity and at the same time so freaking real that you begin to see some of your co-workers in the characters. I even bought the first season to make sure I caught up on all that I haven't seen. I now watch the deleted scenes on and You Tube. The Office has stolen my heart and I'm not sure I can get it back.

Oh and yes there may be one other thing that The Office has . . . .

(I'm a girl, what can I say?)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


It's cold down here.

Now before all you northerners start calling me a wuss and talk about your months of freezing weather and foot deep snow remember that during the summer months you are pansies who can't take the 100+ heat that is the REST of the year for us Texans. So we'll just agree that you are use to the cold like we are use to the heat and recognize each other's natural habits.

But back to the cold. Seems that there was an Arctic blast (how appropriate a title) that made its way down into the good ol lone star state and kicked our butts with some freezing rain, ice, sleet, and frigid temperatures. Brrrrrrrr and yuck. The temperature isn't the biggest problem, nope that would be the ICE. See we Texans are not exactly privy to lots of hands on experience when it comes to driving on ice. We own no snow tires or chains and we drive one speed . . . fast (as can be vouched for by some northern friends who were a bit scared to witness the sport that is driving in Texas). Ice puts a damper on the whole speed thing and well ice also turns what might be a "not so bad driver" into a loose cannon on wheels.

Alas, instead of playing Russian roulette with the skills of the drivers in my area I was pretty much housebound for the weekend. We cancelled church (as did many many others as I watched the list scroll across the screen on Sunday morning) because of the weather conditions and I was well stocked on food (made a run on Friday night - just in case you know). So I caught up on movies, did a little bit of unpacking (I know, I moved three months ago but really it takes about six months to be fully unpacked in my opinion), and generally just lolly gagged around (I'm bringing that phrase back).

So how was your weekend?

Friday, January 12, 2007

Some questions for the weekend

1) What side of the heart do you draw first?
Right side, and it’s always a little bit anorexic on that side of the heart

2) Can you dive without plugging your nose?
The question is can I dive, yes but it isn’t pretty, dude just jumping off the high dive feet first without trying to grab the diving board was a pretty big accomplishment for me as a kid

3) What color is your razor?
One’s pink and the other is purple but I have the standby boy razor in a nice metallic gray

4) What is your blood-type? Red . . . . actually I have no clue on this one

5) Who would you want to be tied to for 24 hours?
24 hours, well it would have to be someone I am comfortable with using the bathroom not only in front of but right next to, cause even my bladder can’t hold it for that long

6) What is a rumor someone has spread about you?
That I was engaged (ahahahaha, I laughed out loud when I heard that one)

7) How do you feel about carrots?
When they are Raw: I am in favor of them. When they are cooked: BLECH orange mush.

8) How many chairs at the dining room table?
Two with four stored in the hall closet for guests.

9) Which is the best Spice Girl?
Baby – she had the cute pig tails

10) Do you know what time it is?
Yep, handy dandy clock on my computer.

11) Do you know all the words to the Fresh Prince?
EVERY SINGLE ONE and I’m singing it now.

12) What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator?
Jump up and down and then call everyone I know.

13) What's your favorite kind of gum?
Whatever makes my breath smell fresh BUT NOT DARK BLUE EXTRA

14) All's fair in love and war?
My daddy told me life was never fair and I’m starting to believe him.

15) Do you have a crush on anyone?
Nope (sad isn’t it)

16) Do you know how to use some words correctly, but not know the meaning?
Yes and the opposite is true also.

17) Do you like to sleep?
I challenge anyone to answer no to this, OF COURSE I love my bed, all warm and snuggly and soft

18) Do you know which US states don't use Daylight Savings?
Indiana doesn’t (had a roomie from there in college, it redefined her reality to have to spring forward and fall back) and I think maybe Hawaii doesn’t

19) Do you know the words to the song Total Eclipse of the Heart?
YES, and now that has replaced the Fresh Prince in my head, thankyouverymuch

20) Do you want a bright yellow '06 mustang?
YELLOW? CAR? Uhhhh no way.

21) What's something you've always wanted to do?
Work in Washington D.C.

22) Do you have hairy legs?
After this morning, no

23) What does "Semper Fidelis" stand for?
Can I phone a friend? And my friend’s name is Google . . . ring, ring, ring . . . . “Always Faithful” – ah now Semper Fi is making so much more sense

24) Would you rather swim in the ocean or a lake? Lake, you can usually see the bottom

25) Do you wear a lot of black? Not so much that I would be considered “goth” or “emo”

26) Describe your hair? Long, blonde, straight, in need of something new

27) Do you have Entomophobia? Phoning a friend again . . . . I DON’T like spiders but I wouldn’t say I fear them

28) Are you an adult? Yes, I guess I am

30) Do you have a tan? AHAHAHAHAHA, sorry but really me? Nope, and not likely to ever get one, gosh I’m so freakin pale

31) Are you a television addict? Uhhh yes, I am and I can admit it

32) Do you enjoy spending time with your mother? Yes, although we don’t get to often enough

33) Are you a sugar freak? Hmmmm not quite a freak but definitely a fan

34) Do you like orange juice? Only with breakfast

5) What sign are you? Libra (although I give about as much weight to horoscopes as I do to the winning lottery numbers I find in my fortune cookies)

36) Where do you wish you were right now? On a beach with my friend C, JEALOUS

37) Who did you copy this from? Lorie

38) How do you know them? Well this little blogworld here

39) Have you kissed anyone in the past week? Nope

40) What are your plans for the weekend? Let’s see dinner and a movie with some friends, maybe a little matinee on Saturday with another friend and then church on Sunday (working) and then up to visit the parental units, oh and sleep, a good serving of sleep in the mix there

Thursday, January 11, 2007

When Bad dreams happen to Good people

Every now and then I have horrible dreams. Not nightmares per se. There are no masked men chasing me with chain saws or unfaced people in the shadows attacking me. Nope, my dreams always include people I know, so if I know you I've probably dreamt about you.

Now just so you know, you may not look like yourself in my dream and the funny thing is that I know that it's you but it doesn't look like you. But another thing to know is that if I dreamed about you, you've probably only been in a "bad" dream. I have no idea why my "good" or normal dreams always consist of made up people but my "bad" dreams have a credit list of all the people I know in real life.

So last night was a marathon bad dream. It was horrible and when I woke up crying and physically sick to my stomach I willed myself to forget it and immediatly replace it with a better dream. I hate dreams like that. Dreams that seem so real, that I feel like I'm really living out and that rip my heart to shreds with what happens. Those are the moments when I wish that I didn't dream, that sleep was just one long black tunnel of nothingness. Instead I wake from the bad dream and have this horrible feeling that overwhelms me and makes me think that what I just dreamed has really occured and there is that moment between wakefulness and dream when I wonder if this is in fact the world that I will wake to.

The best part is when a horrible dream is followed by a good dream. A dream that lets you wake with a smile on your face. Luckily that's how my morning ended (albeit I slept through my alarm and work up an hour later than I planned) but at least I had replaced the sinking feeling of the first dream with the lightness of the second.

So do you dream? If so, do you remember them?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Five Hundred

This little group of words represents my 500th post.

That's a lot of words, especially since I can be known to use quite a few words at any given time.

The funny thing is that you could look at this as some sort of accomplishment or really just a massive collection of minutes of my life spent on something fairly insignificant. The ironic thing is that if it is an accomplishment, it isn't really because of the effect it's had on anyone else.

Don't get me wrong, if any words I've written have touched anyone or had an impact in their life than I am truly humbled by that. But as I look back at the last 2+ years of writing I realize that this blog, these words, have had the greatest impact on me.

I've also been blessed beyond measure with some great friendships through this little piece of internet real estate. It makes me laugh that I said to a friend recently, "You know I'm going to be travelling to two weddings this spring all because of my blog." Who says stuff like that? Me, I guess.

So post #500, you mark a lot of deep thinking, laughter, tears, friendships, self evaluation, spiritual growth, good conversation, two years of my life, and a suprisingly vulnerable picture of who I am.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Laying it down

Continuing the thought behind A Me shaped You, and a You shaped me . . . . .

Becoming more like Christ means becoming a lot less like me.

Oh how I wish that I was a blank canvas and the image of Christ and his qualities could appear with each brushstroke forming this amazing reflection of all that He is. But instead of blank, my canvas is filled with pictures and expressions that are wholly me, a painting overflowing with so many things. And so for the image to change I find myself having to take away that which is me to replace it with Him.

I sometimes find myself struggling to not let my own personal relationship with Christ be characterized by catchy sayings. This isn’t to say that these phrases don’t have value in their message but I know I can easily lose sight of the message for the ease of the sound bit. “Leave it at the cross” is one of those phrases that can quickly become a catch-phrase response that has no intrinsic value. However, when you take a long look at what those five words are asking of you, speaking them can come with hesitation. And the cross is where I find myself as I lay aside who I am to become more like Him.

It’s a tough place to find yourself; at the foot of the cross. For it’s here that we find life but it’s also here that we lose our life. Christ wasn’t speaking lightly when he said,
“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?
Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16: 24-26

In my own life, I’ve found myself at the foot of the cross too many times. I come to lay down that which I hold tightly, that which I let direct my path and determine my days. I come with who I am and leave pieces of me behind. Some things are easy to let go, I’m actually relieved to lay them down, but then there are those significant ones that I just can’t seem to part with. Each time I come to the cross, a voice inside my heart asks for them.

“There’s more for you to give, there’s more for you to lay down.”

Desperately I try to ignore the prodding, the continual reminder of what I want to ignore. These are the things that I hold most dear: hopes, wishes, desires, and longings. They aren’t wrong in themselves to be wanted, to be held onto, but that isn’t the basis of Christ’s challenge. Denying self, loosing one’s life, these aren’t judged on a sliding scale of the worth of each individual part. It’s an all or nothing commitment. A realization that no matter how we view the things of ourselves they are nothing in comparison to the fullness of Him.

When God asks me to lay everything down before Him it isn’t with a promise that any of it will ever be returned to me. I can hope that if I give Him my all He will return to me in kind, but that’s not the deal. And that truth is what makes it so hard for me to lay down the things of my heart. How many times have I come to the cross and stood there willing myself to just let go of something I hold fast to? How many times have I let them go only to take them back up again and turn and walk away? Too many times.

And I realize it’s my perception that holds me back. For I know the call I have to lay it all down but there is fear that I won’t get back what I want. I perceive that what I desire, what I hold on to is the best there is, and that God won’t give me that. I find myself believing that I know better how to judge the value of what is given. But in truth, no matter if what I lay day at the cross is never given back to me, God promises to give me better.

His better.


That’s where I realize part of what it takes to be a You shaped me. To lay down my notions of what is best, my notions of what I should receive, but to accept fully His offering, to accept Him. For nothing I can conceive, nothing I can yearn for will ever be better than His.

To become like Him means to lay aside any and all of me, even my expectations, my hopes, knowing that when I give them to Him, He gives me His, His will for me, His heart for me, His plan and path for me, all that He has for me. And it’s not better because it’s better, but it’s better because it’s His. I give mine to receive His. That’s why I come to the cross, that’s why I lay it down.