Sunday, December 18, 2005


I say this with, sobbing. I went to see a movie called The Family Stone with my mom last night. I was expecting a funny movie, stomach muscles and cheeks hurting from laughter, feel good kind of movie night. WARNING: for those that want to see it, stop reading unless you could care less about twists.

Well, as you are going along wondering what everyone's problem is, you find out that the mom is dying of breast cancer. At the end, you are left with her death and the family moving on. I shed a tear and thought I'd be on my way. My mom and I sat through the credits (as we always do), while she sings some old song I don't know but was apparently hugely popular in her day. I had a horrible thought racing through my head and I thought that if I didn't roll it off my tongue, I would burst. I started crying painfully, and as I tried to choke it out, the words wouldn't vocalize. I waited until I had some composure (my mom was waiting patiently also) and I finally squeaked out in sobs..."I'm glad it wasn't you."

There it was--betrayal. I felt relieved and guilty at the same time. By saying that, was I saying, "I'm glad it was my dad instead?" No. But it crossed my mind. It is a horrible thought to feel you favor one parent over another, or the thought that you could ever be thankful that it was one gone over the other. Well, I faced it. And there it is. I'm sad that it was him, but I'm equally glad it wasn't her.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Only in Texas

I guess it was a week ago when we had the freezing-cold-Ice-Storm-of-the-Year and today I was wearing short sleeves...

Caroling for Kenya

This past Saturday, I went caroling to raise money for our team going to Kenya in March. It was fun and we raised a little bit of money too! I am praying for God's grace in support raising. I feel a little behind, but I know that is MY human brain trying to believe God when He says He will provide. But, the money is due soon! So, if anyone is wanting to support me, let me know and I'll find a way to get the check from ya! I still need quite a bit.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Storm of the Year

Ok, so we had our first ice "storm" (if that is what you call it) here in North Texas. You would think that we would learn from past mistakes and STOP driving big semi-trucks over bridges, but I've just spent an hour watching the news and all the wrecks that keep happening. Did I mention I got the day off of school? Yay!

I drove home last night from my friends' house and it took me like 30 minutes to go across town. It was kind of fun to drive through the ice. I got stuck behind a stuck truck at TWU (the big hill) and I was very thankful for my brother at that point. He made me learn how to counter-steer a fishtail, and by golly, I think that is how I made it past the ice hill. Plus, it was super fun! I was glad to get home, lie around, and snuggle up while watching the Ewan McGregor motorcycle marathon. *sigh*

I've got a surprise day off. I think I'll put up my Christmas tree...

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Social Purgatory

I once heard a singles talk (no, this one was not the typical "I'm fearfully and wonderfully made.." one) where the woman started off by saying, " I LOVE being single. I want to be married." Can these two statements co-exist? (one wonders) I believe, yes. But I am getting the suspicion that most people don't think so. Read the rest of this post with that in mind...I agree with the statment and carry it wholeheartedly: I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE being single. I SO want to be married.

The other day in church, we were asked to shout out what we are thankful for. I waited as I heard many things from others to be thankful for: God, babies, family, car rides that went well, safety, etc. The only thing that came to mind was what I shouted out: singleness. After the few chuckles subsided, I found myself pretty peeved. Why do people chuckle when you say that? It's like they don't believe me. "Poor dear, it takes courage to find contentment. I am glad she is speaking truth so she can believe it." Like someone with boils on their body saying, "I'm thankful for good health."

This was just icing on a multi-layered, very old cake for me. I have heard this time and time again. Many singles feel that we are in some sort of 'social purgatory', waiting, twiddling thumbs, until the marriage lottery calls our number. Is it really the end all, be all, of life? Don't get me wrong about marriage (remember my disclaimer at the start), but this is stinkin' frustrating to deal with, day in and day out. Part of my discontentment with singleness is because I almost feel like something is wrong with me if ever I am actually content being alone.

When else could I do the things that I do? Why sit around when the Lord has given me time to use for Him, without any distraction? I look forward to the day when (rather, if) God allows the beautiful "distractions" that marriage/kids can bring, but how is moping, sulking, complaining, and envying going to bring me to that desire?

I hope I haven't ticked anyone off.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


So I went to a U2 concert on Halloween weekend and it was awesome! I bought the tickets back in the spring for me to go with my mom, brother, and sister (we have all loved U2 since I can remember). It was such an incredible concert, but I loved the time with my family most of all. I miss my brother terribly and I am so proud of him for starting college last year (he is a late bloomer, but a genius!). My mom has been the glue of our little struggling family and the Lord has really blessed us because of her surrender to Him. My sister is like our backbone of truth, strength, and wisdom and I have managed to lodge myself right into the middle of all of this :P

I was totally affected by Bono and his message for Africa and the nations (despite his rattling off of some crap about Islam, Jew, and Jesus all being true...but whatev). My heart for Africa has always been sensitive, but I guess the possibility of me being in Kenya for Jesus in March makes my eyes fill with tears and my heart pump a little faster. Who knew you could get a dynamic concert and a little missions lesson all rolled into nosebleed seats that sold out in 2 minutes 8 months ago?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Were you worth it?

Dear France,
I love you dearly and I am so thrilled that I got to visit you and your people this summer! Besides, I met some great people on the project that I worked on. But, I have some bad news for you, France.

You see, yesterday I had a bad day. The pits. I had to have an emergency root canal because of you. I had a cavity go from "not there" to severe in the exact amount of time that I spent with you. Rats! But, that's not all. Trekking around your beautiful cities left me with a stress fracture. Although your doctors are legit, they didn't properly stabilize my bone, so I received a torn ligament in the arch of my other foot when I tried to hobble to your beach and back like 5 times a day. Hobbling on that foot, now my "stress fracture foot" also has a torn arch ligament. Yay. France--in case you can't count--that's two arches torn. Now, let's do the math...How many feet do you have to work with? Yes, you got it.

Now, granted, some of this was my doing--the Fanta, the stubborness about not walking everywhere--but you gave me no choice. I wasn't going to hold it against you, France...until yesterday. As the numbness was wearing off from the root canal and the tooth was just beginning to throb like mad, I received the disturbing news that because my injuries in my feet were so old (aka...happened in the summer), the swelling was "abnormally" out of control. In other words...not healing. I wish I could say that getting a steroid shot in my heel (which, by the way, was more painful than the moon TATTOOED on the top of my foot) was nothing because I got to spend time with you, France. But, that was not my thought at all. In fact, as I limped out with the doctor's order of 6 weeks/3 times a week of electronic stimulation therapy (then, if it doesn't work, surgery) and a throbbing heel and tooth, my only thought was..."France, were you worth it?"

Can you prove me otherwise?

Your so-so friend (who's a little ticked),
Katie B.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Can I get a shiver?

I am so excited because we had our first "cold day" here in Denton! Yay. I wore a thin long sleeve shirt and I think I shivered once. I absolutely adore fall/colder weather, so I am pumped about our little "cold snap." Hopefully, it will last longer than a day.

I am also excited because I am praying that the Lord will take me to Kenya this March with my church. We have to raise about 2-3,000 bucks by January, so you know I'll be calling y'all to see if you can help out. I am excited because it will be different from other ministries I have gone overseas for. This time, we will working with "Food for the Hungry" and hopefully with AIDS orphans (those affected by parents who died of AIDS). There is a litte bit of orphan in me that burns for them, so I hope I get to go. Please pray and give $ if you can. You will be blessed!

Friday, October 14, 2005

I'm addicted to heroin...kind of

I was watching the movie Trainspotting (which is horribly wonderful I might add) and I realized so much about the life of someone addicted to a hard drug like heroin. I have been around my fair share of heroin addicts (sadly), but I guess I have always seen them coming off of it--not ever witnessing the power behind the addiction. I have to admit, I previously had the NO MERCY stance on all of it. I think my inner monologue went something like this, "Ok, loser, just quit it already. Can't you just see that it is ruining your life. Hello? Man, you must be such a weakling that you can't stay away from something so obviously harmful; you would be willing to let so much go for such a instant gratification/short term thing. I'm glad I'm not YOU."

However, after watching that movie, I realized that I was no better. It may sound ridiculous to many, but I feel so much of what he was talking about with just your regular suburban heroin--Starbucks. I find myself bargaining with the devil practically to get an IV drip of Chai Latte. I think they are going to start signing off your first born at the checkout counter pretty soon. Seriously, the power of wanting something that you've told yourself you can't have is wicked hard to overcome. I have now been thrust off my high horse to the ground of compassion and understanding--and it's a rocky place.

I only wish every hopeless addict I've ever snobbishly written off could hear me now...

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Mission Impossible?

Lately I have felt a little alone in this world--like "alone in a crowd" alone. I have wrestled with God about why and my main reason is because the people I connect with the most are so far away from me. Don't get me wrong, I love the people I hang out with, but I am talking about the people who just "get" don't even have to say how you are feeling--they just know. Those people in my life are hours and hours away and I miss them daily. As I was feeling all of this (and having a slight breakdown :P), I spent some extended time with the Lord at a retreat.

I was sitting on a blanket by a beautiful lake and listening to the wind. I thought it was rushing water at first, but then I realized that it was the sound of the leaves blowing. I looked over at a group of 3 trees that were close to each other, but far enough away that they reminded me of my situation with my best friends. The trees looked very similar in make-up and about the same height. Here is what my heart received from Jesus:

The trees are not lonely. They stand alone, but never lonely. The same wind that pushes one, pushes the other. Although they respond each in their own way, they are still rustling with the same movement and the same sound: like they feed off each other without ever being near. This is your season...should you choose to be content in it.

I was super encouraged because I realized (yet again) that my contentment right now is a choice.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Being Eve

I have struggled lately with trusting God's goodness in my life. I believe that all sin traces back to the core lie that God is not good and doesn't have our best interest at heart. Isn't that why Eve believed Satan and took matters into her own hands? God was holding out on her.

I have watched several dreams of mine come to fruition in the lives of others before my very eyes. It's tricky to be happy and jealous and doubtful and hopeful, all in the same breath. It makes me want to take matters into MY own hands sometimes. Ultimately I know that God is good to me and has my best interest at heart, but it takes a little while for that thought process to rule in my heart.

I am learning the secret of contentment: I love my life and all the opportunities as a single gal. Who do I know that has a life just like mine? Some days just take more convincing, that's all.

Friday, August 26, 2005

R&R @ B&N

It has been 2 weeks since school started and I am just getting to know the crazy first graders that I have in my class. They are like little excitement bubbles that burst in every morning and they TOTALLY can't sit still. It's great! Tiring, but great. If only I could have half that excitement for life, I think I would have a deeper definition of the word "abundant"...

Needless to say, after 2 long weeks, I have been relaxing after school the last couple of days (trying to rid the song "Annie Apple, she says, /a/, she says, /a/" from my brain) by doing one of my favorite things--sitting at Barnes & Noble, drinking a chai latte (with all fat...I mean, milk), and reading a whole book that I never intended to pay money for. Man, I feel so much better! Maybe you are thinking what a nerd I am right now. Maybe you think it now that I said it myself. :P

My sister came in town for a few days and it was glorious! I was supposed to be spending time doing the "blitz" with my church (which equaled living in a gym for 5 days while going out to share the Gospel on campus every day), but my sister seemed to really need the encouragement. We got to see 4 friends that I haven't seen in years and I stayed up late talking to her every night. She kept feeling bad for "taking me away from my activities" and I had to keep reassuring her that I operate under the "people over activities...ALWAYS" motto. Mainly I just realized that loving someone requires sacrifice of some kind; and, if you really love them, it rarely FEELS like a sacrifice.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Ahh...Paris! (and beyond)

I am definitely back in Texas (or should I say baked in Texas?), but I wanted to give you closure with my summer in France before I excite you with the daily news from DENTON! (that was sarcastic) Seriously, though...

I confess that I was really ready to leave Nice. Not because of any one thing, but just the drain of weeks away from your home base and friends. Don't get me wrong, I ADORE some of the people that I met on project, but I hadn't spoken to my sister in 2 and a half months! Our team finished strong with worship on the beach in Nice, and a guy from Ohio accepted Christ that night. It was exciting to see that Jesus will bring you across the world if that is what it takes to meet Him.

We traveled as a group to Paris to debrief and talk about transitioning back to our "normal" lives in the States. Can I just say that I love Paris?! I got to hang out with some awesome people, see the Impressionists at the Orsay, walk a ton, trespass in the "Phantom of the Opera" Opera House (thank you again, Jon), relax by the grand canal at Versailles, climb the Arch de Triomphe (not sure how to spell that one...), eat the best fondue--well, the ONLY fondue I've had, go with my team to the top of the Eiffel Tower at night, lay down and watch the Tower sparkle from the lawn with all the sprinklers, and say some teary goodbyes to people that I truly love...

The longer I am away, the sadder I get. I really miss people--partly because I know that I may never seem some again, partly because even if I do, it won't EVER be the same. But, such is life...I can appreciate my experiences even when I know I can not have them back again.

My flight home was a mess and I had to stay the night in Chicago. I talked to my sissie for 2 hours and that helped my massive crying episode subside. I spent a weekend in "project immersion" where I ate just about everything, and then I started work again. I have been abnormally calm and think I am freaking some of the other teachers out. They are stressed that I am not stressed. Does that make sense? I went to my church's leadership retreat this weekend and it was pretty exciting but VERY intense and long. I love being back with my peeps, but I was frustrated at the lack of excitement a few times. I think it is hard to come off of a summer with about 40 excited people to a place where there are maybe 10 total. I can't blame the ones who are not that passionate, but it was sort of a buzz kill for me. All the more reason to stir up the passion...I think I am just annoying them. :P

Thursday, July 28, 2005

A New Sister

Just a praise...

I met a Russian girl who is studying in Nice for 5 years. We were doing our outreaches on the beach Promenade these last couple of weeks. We have a drama set to the Skillet song "Locked in a Cage" (or something like that) that is awesome and then I danced on the hip hop team to the remix of "Stomp". Another girl did interpretive dancing to a Christian song that was very beautiful. While all of these outreaches draw a crowd, the other 25 team members are initiating conversations with the bystanders. It has been very effective in building friendships, meeting people, etc.

I can not initiate convos until the end because we dance every 8-10 minutes or so. This is my favorite type of evangelism, so I was kind of bummed at times watching all the great interactions. So, I prayed last Tuesday that I would be able to have 1 conversation at the very end of the night.

Once the night ended and most people left, I saw a girl on a bike. I hesitated to talk to her, but as she geared up to drive away, I ran up to her and started talking. She spoke some English as I asked her about her life. I shared the Gospel in English, but she seemed to want to hear it in French. I asked her if she saw the drama (thinking that she would understand the non-verbal Gospel) and she said no. She just stopped for the crowd. I got her e-mail and invited her to the drama/dance on Thursday, but she said she had to work till midnight and couldn't come. Thursday rolls around and she shows up to the drama! I realized with language that I misunderstood her and she works AT midnight. Before I noticed the language mistake I made, I thought she left so I went about my business. Because I wasn't with her, one of our Chinese-French-speaking students saw her and shared with her for 2 hours! In the middle of all this, I realized that if I had known she was still there, I never would have left her side. It was neat to see how God moves things to work out His will.

At the end of the night, I was feeling sad for other reasons and I sat down next to the two girls. My Chinese team member said, "Good news, Katie, she has just asked God to be in her life." It is also neat to see that after my Russian friend left, my team member and I just cried because we both needed the encouragement that night AND we had a new sister in the Lord!

Both of our friendships with her are solid and she has already come to one of our team family dinners. Please pray for solid discipleship and a good church for her (those are hard to come by). This has been an answer to my prayers because I had asked God to allow me to meet one girl here in Nice that I can keep in contact with and build a friendship. I was starting to doubt Him with 1 week left but He is faithful in His timing. He gave me more than I even asked or imagined.

Thursday, July 21, 2005


Sorry it has been awhile since my last post--I have literally run non-stop for weeks. I have barely had enough time to process all that I am feeling and going through. Some neat experiences have happened and I have felt like an emotional roller coaster here sometimes.

First off, we took a trip a few weeks ago on our day off and it was great. We took a train to Ventimiglia, Italy and spent half the day at the market. We jumped on a train to head back to Nice and stopped off in Monaco/Monte-Carlo. It was beautiful! I went with the group that spent the majority of the time in the castle area and gardens (surprise, surprise ;P). I enjoyed the people that I was with and had only a few minor frustrations. Overall, I was impressed with the fact that it is okay to want things to be beautiful and royal--there is no shame in that as long as it brings glory to God and benefit to others. My thoughts were of Esther in the Bible. I think that is why she is my favorite...

After a hard week with the students here (meaning in my own heart toward them), we took a mid-project break to Cinque Terre, Italy. For anyone that knows me, this has been my dream since I drooled over Quincy's pictures 5 years ago. It was INCREDIBLE! I delighted in God's creation and it was even more beautiful than I imagined. Our team worshiped at a cross perched on the hill and you could hear our singing down all over the town. We reflected and hiked around a bit. I spent the day seeing all five towns and walking around. Did I mention that I got my foot x-rayed and I DO have a stress fracture? Well, that had an impact on my ability to participate which led to frustration. I got left a few times--three to be exact--and yes, I cried. I realized how much I like to be included and that I have to get that from God. There is NO way people can satisfy that all the time; they can't.

A crazy but funny story from the end of my trip...
I was bent on going kayaking in the ocean while in the Cinque Terre. Like, bent. Everyone knew it and so the last day (I had one hour to squeeze it in) before our train left, I went to get a kayak. It was so awesome--waves crashing, paddling against them, I even caught air a few times. I felt strong, adventurous, and excited. When it was time to paddle in, there was no one to help pull me in. Normally that would not be a problem, but the waves were so powerful that I could not "beach" myself. So, I asked an Italian dude to help and he said sure. He was pulling empty kayaks in, and when he was done, he walked away. I got his attention again, and he laughed as he walked on. So, I was a little peeved by this time. I did my best to "beach" myself again. I put my paddle down and then the waves pulled me back out without a paddle. In a rush, I tried to step out while the water was still shallow. My flipflop caught the edge and my body stepped out before my feet.

I fell on my hip and I hit a bunch of rocks (I have a black/purple/red bruise the size of a grapefruit to show for it). As I was sitting in the water, the Italian guy started laughing at me--hysterically. He thought it was the funniest thing. I admit, I said some choice words to him because he said he "couldn't understand English" and that is why he wouldn't help. I marched to the kayak place and almost beat him over the head with my paddle (it DID cross my mind, I confess). I was so humiliated that I was crying--I know, it is like daily--by the time I reached the older Italian guys who ran the business. I explained what happened and they dragged the young dude in, chewed him out in Italian, waited for him to apologize (they insisted that we wait until it was "from his heart"), he kissed my cheek "from his heart", and the older men gave me my hour for free if I promised to give their business a good name.

After that experience, I had 30 minutes to clean up before our 5 hour train ride home. Good times, good times...

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Nice is Nice

So, I have been in Nice for a few weeks now, but I haven't had a moment to even write about it. I was thrust immediately into my role as "student staff" (which is funny because I am neither a "student" or CCC "staff"). This has been interesting to figure out how to balance my time with students and still go to meetings, etc. I feel lazy sometimes when I decide to rest instead of go to the beach or shopping, but if I don't, I will be a grump.

I had my 27th birthday here last Saturday and that was fun. In all honesty, the surprise birthday party that I had in May with my church was like my "real" birthday. This day, July 2, just made it official that I am one year older. I feel like I am 18 on the inside no matter what I see in the mirror. Ahh! ;P I celebrated by going to get my first official crepe in France. It was filled with chocolate/hazlenut creme--called Nutella--and was drippy good. I called it my "birthday crepe" and when you say it in French, it sounds mysteriously like "birthday crap". Hmmm....

We are going to visit a village in Italy and Monaco tomorrow for our day off. It is an optional excursion for the team and then I will try to lay out on the beach in Cannes for my day off on Saturday. I have had an interesting time with my feet here and have not been able to find the remedy in France. Apparently, French people do not have flat feet and they have never heard of a little term called "arch support". My mom has to Fed Ex the solution to me.

I will most likely get my foot x-rayed next week sometime, so please pray for healing.Our team needs prayer too because we are having a lot of difficulty. A stomach bug has hit about 8 people, one girl is having seizures and can't explain why, we've got nightmares, foot trouble, my teeth are starting to hurt, bags stolen, 3 deaths of close friends and family of our team--and all in 2 weeks! We need fighting for. We have about 50 people on our team...please pray.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Oh, Glorious Downhill!

So we decide to hike up a path to a waterfall and it is supposed to be "just right over there". Is anything ever like it seems? The sign for the little path said 30 minutes to the waterfall. Whose 30 minutes? Mine, or a large German Black Forest hiker guy? We decided to move on even though my foot feels broken at this point. I have never actually seen a waterfall up close, so it was worth the pain just trying.

The climb was deceptive, started off with barely an incline for the first 5 minutes and the rest of the 40 minutes was straight uphill (like a staircase). It was beautiful and serene, with alpine flowers growing in the middle of the forest path. We found our first bridge that overlooked this rushing little waterfall. It was breezy and pretty, but I was thinking "Wow, this is great, but is that it?!"

Well, it wasn't. After a few more bridges like that, we spotted a beautiful rolling waterfall. Small, but gorgeous. I was fairly impressed, but I had some shattered expectations of what a "glacial waterfall" should look like. Well, I saw a sign that looked like it pointed around a corner and I heard a faint rushing water sound. Even though we thought we had seen it all, I asked my friend if we could check it out. We turned the corner...

And I was completely deaf from the powerful sound of a monstrous waterfall. It was tall and massive, and sprayed cold, melted snow water on you. I was amazed that we couldn't hear/tell/feel this from just around the corner. We sat and prayed and worshipped and the all I could think of was the song from Delirious: " bigger than...the air I breathe...the world we'll leave/And God...will save the day...and all will Glorious!" After all of that, we decided to come back down to earth. But the Lord spoke to my heart through the waterfall. On the way down, those other look-alike bridges/waterfalls were nothing compared to the source from which they came.

God is not satisfied when we only soak and sit at the "edge" of His glory. He wants us to hike up--hurting feet and all--to experience the source. The point where you can hear nothing but the roar of the waterfall and feel nothing but its refreshing breezes. Suddenly the whole world disappears and it takes conscious, concerted effort to come down from the mountain back to reality. And suddenly the cares of the world and even religion have very little impression on you now that you've seen the source of all greatness.

I am different because of that waterfall. But, I'll tell you that my heart could only think of how glorious going downhill felt after an experience like that.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Ferris Wheel Gone Wrong

I am catching up on days still, so read the one below first to be chronological...

Took a cab this mornning at 6 am and paid an arm and a leg for it too. The cabbie practically kicked me out on the street when I wouldn't give him 2 extra Euros for "situating" my bag in the back. I took a train from Tours to Lyon and then from Lyon to Saint Gervais. Then I took another train from Saint Gervais to Les Pelerins, right next to Chamonix/Mont Blanc. I hiked up a mountain for 10 minutes to get to my hostel. Right after I arrived, it poured down rain. I met 3 cool roomies--one Canadian and two Austrailian women. We connected and went out on the town.

My foot has been in great pain for days, and it feels like a stress fracture. I don't think it is, but it hurts. The walk in to town was about 20 minutes and I had a rough time. We stumbled upon some bagpipe guys and realized that Chamonix was celebrating the Summer Solstice (I think that is what the longest day of the year is called). It was awesome! We ate a great dinner, danced in the streets (Haaay!), drank a drink in a pub, and danced some more. Every corner had a different type of music playing--some DJ's and some live bands. I enjoyed every minute of it.

The next day, my last day of vatcation, was by far the best. The Austrailians had to leave, but they told us about some cool things to do. I decided to go on a funicular up to Augille du Midi (a high mountain) and then a cable car over to Mount Helbronner, Italy. Have you ever gone on a ferris wheel and had to stop at the top, swaying and rocking in the breeze, while you wait for people to get on at the bottom? Well, hold that feeling and magnify it by 20. Picture the same scene--only you are in a little capsule, suspended on a cable between two mountain peaks at 3600+ meters (who cares how many feet that is at this point!), hanging--really dangling--over about twenty crevaces of a massive glacier. This was like a ferris wheel gone ALL wrong.

Don't get me wrong--the view was breathtaking. But somehow I jumped into a cable car solo, so mine tipped back just a little. You hang and sway for 2-3 minutes, about 6-7 times and the whole journey betweeen 4 mountain peaks takes about 35 minutes. When I got to Italy, my stomach was turning. The ride gave an incredible view of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in France; but, my stomach churned when I pictured my capsule plummeting into an ice crevace below. Thankfully on the way back, a French girl rode with me and it was awesome. I didn't notice the swaying, just the view. When we hiked around a bit on a lower mountain, we decided to search for a nearby waterfall...

And that is just the first half of the day. Part two coming soon.

Monday, June 20, 2005

A Day Fit for a Princess

I am a little tired of trains--arranging them, changing trains, cramming, waiting in lines for their reservations--all of it. Think twice about getting a Eurail Pass for France. Ok, that is all the complaining I will do...

So, I decided to take it easy today. I took a bus tour today and it was awesome! We left after lunch to head out to Chateau de Chenonceau. Oh, the palaces! Everything royal--from the 4 poster beds to the flower gardens painstakingly planted. I walked around the shrubs carved out like a maze. The weather was gorgeous and I just strolled around, taking it all in. After Chenonceau, we toured Chateau de Amboise, and then Leonardo DaVinci's house (in his last years of life). IBM had taken his drawings and built all of his inventions. They were scattered through this park where you could use them and play with them. Maybe it was the engineering side of me, I don't know, but it was more glorious than the palaces. DaVinci was a genius.

We ended the tour with wine tasting in a little winery built in a cave. Very cool! I don't like wine so much, but since it was white wine, I joined in. They took us back to the station and I hiked back to my hostel. It was cool because I started talking to a Chinese lady on my tour and she turned out to be Campus Cr. for Christ staff in Paris. She knew all about my summer project in Nice!

Small world.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Hitchhiking on Father's Day

I am catching up on a few days, so bear with me...

I arrived in Tours, France after a long day of travel. I am sunburned from WAITING: For the many modes of transportation that say they are coming when they aren't; for random buses that miss your train times because nothing lines up; waiting. But somehow, the waiting is pleasant--maybe cuz it's Father's Day and my heart has been so broken lately that it is now at rest.

This morning I woke up and made my way through the crowds for the marathon at Le Mont St. Michel. Of all the weekends--a marathon weekend! I am so glad I went last night when no one was there. I made my way up the incline to the Abbey (this is what makes the Mont St. Michel a ''Mont'') for Sunday mass. As I took my place and the monks started chanting, my eyes filled with tears. Maybe it was the haunting singing, maybe the longing for my Father to have known Jesus, maybe wondering if Jesus FELT glorified in all the ''religion'' taking place. My tears fell and my eyes were empty--no more to give. I cut out of mass early to see the abbey and catch my bus. I accidentally took a ''tour'' of the abbey (which saved me 8 Euros!) but I was almost late getting back to the bus stop, although the bus never came. I re-routed and arrived in Tours by 9:45 at night. There were no taxis to be found, so I waited some more.

A nice couple asked if I wanted to share a taxi with them, because my hostel was on the way out of town to their house. 20 minutes passed--no taxis and there were 5 people ahead of us. My feet were practically bleeding, the blisters pinching against my shoes. The couple decided to call a friend and they took me to my hostel. Is it hitchiking when you've met and talked with the people?

My desperation and God's grace made it all possible.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Heat Exhaustion

Today was the worst, but then it got better! I waited in the wrong line at Gare du Nord in Paris 3 different times. I couldn't stop crying--I think Father's Day crying came in too. I finally got in the right line to take a train to Pontorson/Mont Saint Michel, and the lady said I needed to go to a different train station in Paris. I had 30 minutes until the last train left. With my ginormous bag and soggy clothes, I RAN to the metro and into the station. The last train left at 14:05 and I jumped on at 14:03. I was hot and about to faint, but this man was blocking the aisle and wanted me to move. I had nowhere to go and by this time, vomit was rising to my throat. I backed up and then barreled over him and another person, stumbled to the luggage car and collapsing, holding my mouth--dry heaving and hyperventilating. I am fairly sure it was heat exhaustion because it was 85 degrees+ and I had been running and carrying my bag for 3 and a half hours. You should see the picture I took of myself to prove it. :)

Several people took my bags off of me and led me to a seat. It was hilarious, y'all. I wish I'd had a reality show at this point. There was no water on the train (at least none that were bubble-free), and the snack machine with the only clean water on the train ate my last 3 Euros. I could not stop crying--it just poured out like gut-wrenching rain. I hit the machine and went back to my seat to cry some more. Then it got better...

2 Crazy Asians

Someone showed me where to catch my bus to Mont Saint Michel and this is where the day was redeemed. You see, I wanted to spend Father's Day at the place my dad loved the most, Le Mont Saint Michel, France. He particularly liked it at sunset. I thought it wasn't going to happen, and I kept praying and asking Jesus to get me to the mount for Father's Day.

I suppose that is why I collapsed and had the gut-wrenching tears. It was originally told to me that the train was leaving at 14:00, not 14:05. But then it was changed and I had 2 minutes to spare. Then, I had accidentally been booked on a bus that took me to my hotel door at Mont Saint Michel (which is amazing cuz the rail station is 20 minutes away). I would've had to walk if it had not been for that bus. Plus, I met GRACE and SUNNY (2 Asian ladies--yes, those are their actual names). Grace and Sunny said they would take care of me after hearing my story. We walked to the Mount together that night. No one was at the Mount, which was amazing for a Saturday night. They had made reservations at a high quality restaurant. When I saw the prices of the restaurant, I said I couldn't join them because of the price. They said, "Don't worry...we'll treat you!"

This was a treat indeed. We had French cider & wine (I tasted), several courses, and it totaled 202 Euros! My steak was the cheapest thing on the menu at 45 Euros. I was definitely wined and dined and there were many famous people who had eaten there over the years. Their pictures hung on the walls. We watched the sunset from the top of the mount, but I really wanted to see the silhouette of the mount against the sunset, as that is the poster my dad had hanging on the wall. We talked about it often and I shared his love of sunsets.

Well, there was no conceivable way to see the silhouette when we were ON the mount at sunset. I prayed and asked Jesus to stay the sunset. I believed He could do it for me and even that He would. We walked leisurely home and the sunset lasted from 10:30 until midnight! All the colors stayed intact. I kept looking at my watch and thinking, "Okay, Lord, that's enough, I've seen it." But the sunset stayed until the mount was just about out of my view (a 20 minute walk). When I was about to lose view, I turned and the sunset was gone.

We even had a laugh at a guy who flashed us on the way home. :P

Friday, June 17, 2005

Lessons from a Seagull

6 modes of transportation and 12 hours later, I arrived back to Paris from London. It was a very stressful yet relaxing day coming back. It is stressful for me anytime there is changing transportaion and timing everything right to get back to Paris before dark. But, once I was on the underground/bus/ferry/train/train/metro, you have to relax. I learned this by watching the coolest seagull by the ferry. I had taken a bus to Dover after hiking through London. I got on the ferry to go to Calais, France, and while waiting to take pictures of the white cliffs of Dover, I took note of a particular seagull.

I realized I had a lot to learn. This seagull (sg for short) struggled to get from the ship into the air. But, once in the air, its natural design took over. I watched as it floated effortlessly upon the wind, almost like it was windsurfing. But, everytime it touched down to the ship to get food, life got complicated. There was definitely a solution--back to the wind once again. The ship was not the sg's carrier, just a pitstop for goods. The wind was forceful but guiding and all the sg had to do was steer its body to ride the wind's direction. The sg surfed the wind, not the other way around. Because the wind really had the final say on the direction of the seagull.

Well, as you can see, this related so much to my reliance upon the Lord in my daily life and even my travels. The world is not our carrier, He is. After the struggles comes the effortless surfing. He is in control and moves me, but I have choices about the direction I "think" I'd like to go. But in the end, He knows best and can change that direction for me when needed.

After my lessons from the seagull, this knowlege has come in handy. I'll explain later when it doesn't cost 8 Euros an hour to type.

Tom and Katie

I got back to Paris after the long trip from London. I had been praying and asking Jesus to take care of me the whole way. All of the transportation has to work out correctly, and believe me, that is difficult in France! He directed me home, and I had some people even share a cab with me and pay for the whole thing. I was almost to Paris when a funny thing happened. This French guy at the rail station asked me for a cigarette in French. He realized that I was not French and then started talking to me about how he loved America and loved music there. He found out I was from Texas, so he said he loved country music. He inquired of my music tastes and then asked if I liked rock music. I said not really, but he insisted that he had the best amplifiers in all the land. By now, you can probably imagine my face--but he wasn't getting the hint. He then asked if I would like to come to his car and listen to his amplifiers. After a definite no, he pressed on that I should come look at them. I kindly thanked him again and started to get up, hoping to avoid another Mohammed incident. He left and I chuckled all the way to my train. Seriously, has that worked on other American girls? I have gotten more offers in the last week and a half than I have since third grade (that was a good year)! I toured Paris for one last day and Bethany decided to come with me--we saw a ton of stuff. Something random--I spent my last night at the Eiffel Tower,watching the lights sparkle. When we got home, we saw that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes had just gotten engaged there that morning. Crazy!!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Ewan McHottie

One word to describe Ewan: Haaaay! (Jesse and Ruth--that's for you). Guys and Dolls was the best! I had great seats and enjoyed every second of it. Sadly, Ewan decided not to come out and meet his adoring fans, and because my hostel was touching the theater, you know I was one of the 6 people waiting forever. When I finally gave up, my hostel doorman said he saw Ewan leave on his motorcycle a while ago. He also said, "Oh yeah I saw him earlier today walk by our hostel with a cup of coffee (from a cafe 2 doors away)". What!? Where was I when all of this was taking place? Anyway, they tried to comfort us by saying that Ewan would be signing the next night. Great! Only I will be in Paris.

All in all, great fun! The Eurostar Channel Tunnel train rocked and I want to thank my mom and sister for making this whole event possible. They helped me finance this jaunt as a birthday treat! You gals are awesome. By the way, mom, I don't have your new e-mail on hand. Can you e-mail me so we can talk?

I have more adventures to speak of, but it has been a long day. I will post Part 2 tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Happy Birthday, Mum!

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday, dear Mum,
Happy Birthday to you! I love ya'!

On your birthday, I took in the sights of Paris on a cruise down the Seine river, and then walked around Paris taking pictures for 5 hours down by the Louvre, gardens, Champs Elysees, Arc de Triomphe, and the Eiffel Tower. I wish you were here with me taking it all in.

Tomorrow, London to see Guys and Dolls with good ol' Ewan McGregor. I'm pumped!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Wobbly Knees

I am feeling the 509 little steps that I hiked in the Cologne Cathedral the other day. This morning I woke up and walked around Brussels--much better the second time around. I found the train and took it to Paris. Upon arrival, I attempted to call my friend who was to meet me, but I couldn't get the phone to work. By this time, the 40 lbs on my back and wobbly knees from the cathedral were starting to get to me. Several people helped, and one guy even let me use his phone card. No luck. I am standing in the middle of Gare du Nord, wondering how I am supposed to get to a place that I have no address for and no phone to contact. I found two sweet Americans who let me use their cell phone to call. My friend had already been to pick me up that day, but missed me because our communication over e-mail hadn't gone through. Grrr! She started to tell me how to get to her house (which is very complicated) and the more she talked, the weepier my eyes got. By this time, my legs were about to give out. When she heard me starting to sob (I have been very emotional these few days, I know :P), she said for me to take a certain train and sit there while she came to get me.

The American girls gave me a subway card and a little map that they had marked where I needed to go. Somehow I seem to lose all sense of adventure and ability to focus with that bag on my back. Because as soon as it comes off, I am fearless! But I managed to find my friend (rather, she found me) and we hiked back to her house from the train--about 20 minutes walking. We rested for a few minutes and set out again for a Bible study. It was cool to see the work she is doing here. I would say well worth the sweat and tears!

Sunday, June 12, 2005


Well, I left the beautiful experience of Germany to travel about on my own. What was I thinking coming to Brussels first?! I was initiated into travelling by myself as soon as I stepped off the tram. A dude named Mohammed decided he wanted to escort me to my hotel, no matter what I said. He followed me in and kept trying to exchange numbers. He left and then came back in with his number written down. I had already told him no about 6 times. By now, I had to break out my ghetto--dude, I said no and I put my hand in his face. That worked and my hotel receptionist thought this was very funny.

I went to my room and cried myself to sleep. I woke up with crusty eyes and aching shoulders from my bag of bricks that I am carrying--Brussels is fittin' to have a large number of my second hand clothes left in their hotel. Regardless, I was ready to go out and make the most of my trip to Brussels, Belgium. With new spirit, I took the hotel shuttle to the city center. I am thanking God for the shuttle, because I manuvered the tram to my hotel and walked--that is where I met my little "stalker friend" earlier. The hotel has a shuttle to the train station too. I am all over it. Anyway, Brussels is like they took Morocco and transplanted into a New Orleans style place where they speak Dutch. I felt strangely like I did in Istanbul because of the large packs of Muslim men standing around. Interesting...

I was taking in the beauty of the city market place and a Muslim dude asked me for the time. I looked at my watch and he grabbed my hand to look also. I pulled my hand away and he started saying "F@#! you, F@*! you!" I rolled my eyes, but I was really thinking, "No you di ent!!" (said in a ghetto voice). Wow, do I have a sign on my head saying "Bother me, I'm lonely". After these little initiations, I decided to join in with packs of tourists, pretending I was one of their group. I squished right up behind them until the took another direction, and then I found another group to "join". It was funny, but I had no one to laugh with me (please chuckle as you read this so I can complete the experience :) ).

I am off to Paris tomorrow to meet my friend and I am excited to spend the next 5 days in Paris and London. Please pray for SAFETY and that I would be invisible to others as I walk around. Funny, I have always prayed that I wouldn't feel so invisible in life, and now that is all I want.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

The Hiccup

We have had some pretty exciting days on campus after my "wounded soldier" day. I met some great Germans, Bulgarians, Turks, and even some Germans who sound like Scottish and Irish people. What a diverse culture--some of what I like about the States is found here in Dortmund.

Some people that stood out to me: Birgit (and her mother Monika)--she approached me and we hit it off and exchanged numbers. She has come to EVERY one of our events on campus so far, even though she takes 23 hours in school and works part-time; Henrik--hilarious German guy who does American, Scottish, and German accent impersonations. He walked up to our table and asked to eat with Marc, Joa, and me. We talked about lots of things, and he says he wants to go to church, but without God. His heart seemed to be seeking though; Senay--a Turkish girl who wanted to exchange e-mails and come to the English conversation class regularly. These people are just a few that we have met. Many other team members have made amazing contacts. We did an English conversation class that had about 15 people come to it (it had been 3 the week before). Please pray for our grill party tonight and our goodbyes with our friends we've made.

I will have some more pictures up later, but one of the best "outreaches" we have had was going to the Irish pub, "The Hiccup", last night. We watched Germany play Russia in futbol on a big screen and many of our friends came to hang out all night. It was great to relax and talk with them after we had an open-air worship service on campus. We didn't have a great turnout for that, but the RIGHT turnout. At the Hiccup, amid the smoke and noise, two Gospel conversations were going on simultaneously, while 2 guys that the team met last year were conversing with the team as well. Very fun!

Monday, June 06, 2005

Meeting Sarah

Originally uploaded by Brownie Bytes.
I went to a German party and met this girl named Sarah. She spoke excellent English and was just a joy to talk to. We exchanged e-mails and numbers and she said she will try to come to some of our events.

Seriously, we hit it off and I thank God for meeting her. We talked for over an hour and clicked immediately. Praise God for relationships!

A Wounded Soldier

It has been quite an interesting day. After a weekend of helping and worship, today was rough. I'll start with the weekend first.

A crazy thing in Germany--when a couple buys a house, they are repsonsible for putting EVERYTHING in it. I am not talking about a registry, I am talking about cabinets, tile, wallpaper all over, paint, flooring, windows...the list goes on. One couple involved in the church needed our help, so we spent this past Saturday (and some Sunday) doing jobs for them. I am trying to put pictures up soon so you can have a look at the craziness. Talk about stress!! On Sunday, we went to church and some from our team led worship. Bryan (one of our team leaders) spoke to the congregation with the help of an interpreter. We all went to eat Italian ice cream and Turkish food--imagine that! I think the Turkish guy behind the counter was laughing at my attempts to order in Turkish. :P

Today I woke up on the wrong side of the bed or something. It was rainy and I felt pressured to wake up earlier than I did. I snapped at someone on my team and then I was supposed to go share the love of Christ with the people on campus. Somehow it didn't seem okay. I talked with a friend and cried, and then I spent some time alone. I realized several things about why I was feeling emotional: I haven't spent a lot of time with God lately due to the nature of overseas travel and teams, and the five year anniversary of my dad's death is coming up on June 10th. Please pray for my heart. I am always too busy to think about it until May comes, then suddenly I start crying a lot. It usually takes a while to figure out why I am so sad for the month. Anyway, all of this heaped on me today. So I cried in a cafe alone, talked with Jesus, and then I still didn't feel okay to go out on campus. I felt like a soldier in battle, only my legs had been shot.

The difference was that I asked God to carry/drag me to where he wanted me to go, even though I didn't feel like anything would come out of it. I was wrong about being ineffective. Apparently, Jesus always works with a willing heart, even if it is from a wounded soldier.

I met some great people not 5 minutes after I returned to our book table on campus. One girl exchaged addresses with me and said she was really excited to start talking with me. :)

Keep praying for our team relations and my effectiveness here in Germany. I would also love to hear comments or encouragements if you have any. More later!

Friday, June 03, 2005

Germany Team

Germany Team
Originally uploaded by Brownie Bytes.

This is our team on the first night at a local "castle" (okay it has a moat--it counts!) The red eyes are from the camera, not our lack of sleep! It was a long and smelly flight, but I am glad to finally be in Deutschland.

I had to fly by myself because of my later trip to France, so God provided a group of Christians that were going on a mission trip to Russia for me to hang out with on the way over. One older guy owns a photo lab in Dallas and saw that I am a picture taker, so he offered to develop all of my pictures at the end of the summer! For those of you that know how expensive black and whites are to get developed well, you'll know that I almost fell out of my chair. All is well with our team and I look forward to the next 10 days in Germany.

If you would like to see more pictures of the "castle" and a few of our team, click on the "Germany Team" picture and when it takes you to the webpage, click on my "photostream". You can view a slideshow or you can browse away!

Thank you to those who have been praying for me and our team--please keep it up! I need it desperately.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Wow and a little about me

It has been so long since my last post because life as a teacher is never easy in April/May! I have had a rough year and am looking forward to the summer. About the summer: praise Jesus for getting all the money for my mission trips this summer! I will be spending 12 days in Cologne, Germany with my church, traveling a bit on my own around France, and then meeting my Campus Crusade summer project in Southern France 12 days after Germany. I will be spending 7 weeks in Nice, France with CCC and then returning home to start the new school year a few days later. Wow! I am so looking forward to it.

On my France team, they did a getting to know you thing and I liked it, so I am going to post what I wrote. Most people that check this know me, but it is fun. I am not even sure if anyone checks this at all actually, so I may be writing to myself :) Either way, I dig it. Here goes:

1. Name: Katie Brown
2. School: Graduated from Texas A&M University in College Station, TX (Whoop!)
3. Year: Grad December 20004.
4. Major: Early Childhood Education (with a background in Environmental Engineering--long story); this is my 5th year teaching and I teach first grade right now
5. Birthday: July 2, 1978 (Yes, that does say seventy)5b. Where are you from: Born in Mississippi, moved to Dallas, Texas when I was 12; fully southern y'all5c. # of siblings: 1 older brother and 1 older sister (we are 29, 28, and 27 years old)

6. Interests:

6a. Things I like: people, people, people; traveling around the world; unreached people groups; Alias; U2 (going to the concert in Oct.); reading; photography; Starbucks Chai; decorating my house; scrapbooking and anything creative; watercoloring; snowboarding; wakeboarding; chick flicks; hanging out with college women and watching them grow closer to Jesus; writing poetry; organizing; office supplies; feet and foot massages (I love feet! Clean ones); laughing with my sister and late night calls we have; laughing in general; encouraging people; languages (although I only speak a little Turkish and a tiny bit of French, nothing else yet); missions; Pilates & Yoga; dancing (ballet, tap, Flamenco, hip hop...); communication; watching baseball & golf; fall weather in Texas; Boston--I would love to live there someday

6b. Things I don't like: traffic (especially mean Dallas drivers); waking up at 6:00--it never gets easier for me no matter what people say; passive aggressive people; being fake; failing; Texas summers

7. Previous Summer Projects: No summer projects, but spent a year on STINT in Turkey

8. Favorite Book/Verse in Bible: My life verse is Psalm 73:25-26 "Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. Though my flesh and my heart may fail, God is the strength of my heart and my portion FOREVER."

8b. Favorite non-Bible book: Pride & Prejudice (I also adore the 6 hour movie of it too)

9. Screenname: I don't know--maybe browniek
10. Good Quote: "Expectations are your enemy, flexibility your friend."
--Some random CCC guy told me this on my first day of spending a year in Istanbul, Turkey with STINT

Favorite Drink: Starbucks Chai Latte

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

It's Astro-Turf!

I am learning so much about the importance of looking beyond the surface of something/someone before I judge too quickly. My dad had this saying that made me laugh: "The grass IS greener on the other side, but when you get over there, you realize it's astro-turf." I know this to be true, but something about my heart always pushes me to make snap judgements about others, or to shy away from something that doesn't seem like what I want on the surface. I am not sure if this all makes sense, but I had a perfect lesson in contentment today.

I have been driving by the cutest house for months. At first it was for sale, and I wanted to buy it so bad. (Mind you, I am currently renting a great house and I am not looking to buy ANYTHING in the near future.) The house was alluring enough to make me consider spending beyond my means. It wouldn't sell, so they put it up for rent. I was so sad that I was "stuck" in the position I was in. I started to not like my house anymore and wished that I was "free" so that I could snatch the cute house up. Well today, I drove by the "perfect" house and the blinds were open so that you could see inside. This was my chance! I could finally peek in to see what I was missing and to wish I had a different situation. I walked up to find the smallest, most inconvenient, old, and did I mention smallest house I have ever seen? The inside was horrible! All of that pining--for nothing! Well, that house was not for nothing, it has made me think...the grass on the other side is definitely astro-turf!

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Shall We Dance?

My life has been a little like the movie "Shall We Dance?" If you have seen it, I would be the Richard Gere character, only in the dancing part (minus J Lo). I love to dance, so I decided to start taking tap classes with a friend of mine. I have never been so uncoordinated in my life! It is slowly happening for me, but I am seriously trying. I caught myself tap dancing in the bathroom and at work. Tapping around my house and in the grocery store. I feel like I think in tap sounds and steps. Very strange! Anyway, I thought that was something random but funny to share. More posts soon...I will explain why the long pause between this post and the last.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Obedience is not a Feeling

My sister left this morning :( I had some time before church to clean around the house and put some things away from my boxes (yes, I moved into this house in Sept.). I realized how easy tasks are once you just get started. I have been struggling with discipline in my relationship with Christ. I DESIRE to meet with God daily because I love Him, but I often find the end of the day coming sooner than I expected and I go to bed with regret that I made no time for God. I admire my sister for her consistency in prayer and worship, and we talked about how she doesn't always FEEL like doing those things. She just knows that she wants to, so she makes it a priority in her life. Then, I went to church this morning and the message was the exact same thing. The statements that hit me the most were: "Obedience is not a feeling" and "Love (for God) follows obedience". This essentially means that I should do the things that I KNOW I want to do (like daily prayer, worship, and communion with Jesus)--even when I don't feel like it--because the good feelings/emotion will come once I start. This may seem obvious, but it finally hit home with the housework & church message. God often teaches me with object lessons--it is then that they stick!