Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Lost Hair

So, confession...I struggle with boys. There, I said it. If I find one of them attractive in ANY way, I am tongue tied and unable to be myself. Then, I sit back and watch as something about them disappoints me, and suddenly, I am free to be me. Do you see the dilemma?? I am free to be me...who cares about being you if you don't want them to notice anymore? It's wild really. My "head" is too active in the process and I struggle with the faith to continue to believe that God works ridiculously through us, around us, beside us, and without us.

A few months ago, I realized that faith is most certainly a gift from God, for it comes on so suddenly. But, how do we "lose" it?? This had been my week: I had lost faith in God's goodness with guys on Monday. Manhood and marriage for me was hopelessly drowning in a sea of mediocrity and cowardice...until Tuesday. Then, just as I felt I couldn't believe because I did not see "manhood," I realized I should renounce Christ altogether. **Don't freak...I didn't...stay with me here on the logic** Is it not ALL faith: one body, one mind, one Lord? If I doubt the part, I must doubt the whole. There is so much to my saving faith that doesn't involve sight that I realized how ridiculous it seems that I couldn't trust Him for much smaller (dare I say, easier?) things in my heart and life. By Wedenesday, I knew how important that realization had been because my faith in love & manhood (well, more God's goodness) had returned completely. What a gift! (meaning: given to me; not acquired on my own)

Sight cannot bring faith--it merely confirms or refutes the past. It is not an indicator even of what is to come. I am such a formula person, that faith irritates me--life appears random & irrational and I struggle to have faith without unbending expectations. How do you hope for something unseen & then not feel disappointed when the light reveals the actual? When this relates to loving a person, I'm a hopeless romantic. Or, wait, maybe romantically hopeless...

Right now, you are probably thinking, "Nice post, Katie, but what the crap does this have to do with the title, 'The Lost Hair'??" In my mind, it seems only routine to lose faith, like strands of hair--natural, daily, unnoticeable to the whole unless you are forced to look at the lost pieces--leaving room for stronger, more plentiful, growth-hungry hair.

When faith is lost through reason, it seems only faith can bring it back. When it does, your faith seems more reasonable. You trackin'?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

My Spiderman Suit

I wrote this in my journal in September, but it was coming back to my mind--so, I thought I'd write it down officially (I guess others reading it makes it 'official' in my mind):

While driving home after an exhausting week, I turn the corner near my apartment complex to find Spiderman and his friend chasing a teasing bunch of balloons. Well, it wasn't really Spiderman, but the cutest little kid decked out head-to-toe in a long-sleeve pant suit--spinning and running wildly in the blazing heat. He seemed not to care--the colorful balloons were the object of his attention. I was struck by how odd this was...not because kids were playing, but because we as adults have lost that. At some point, that excitement leaves us and fatigue or boredom takes over. That little kid woke up too early, raced off to school (his 'work'), worked for 7 hours, played 20 minutes of that 7 hours, then was herded out to his car to go home. Can you imagine the scene as he races to his bedroom to change into his Spiderman sauna suit? He'll spend another 3-4 hours playing his heart out, passion sustaining him--with a like-minded friend at his side. I was jealous...

My first thought was: what is my Spiderman suit? What passion do I have that would make me continue to burn the energy after my day job? At that point, I realized what my passions are and how often I don't do anything about them. But, that little boy showed me the importance of going full speed ahead toward something you love after working each day. We need to race home, pursue our passions & share them with people who'll run with us--even without a spiderman suit that looks like ours. They just need your fuel...your overflowing cup to drink from. Otherwise, we are bored.

What is your Spiderman suit? Go ahead, try it on again.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Invasion of the Candy Snatcher

I chose a long time ago to entrust Jesus with my greatest desires--let's equate this to a BIG bowl of candy (all my favorite kinds...Reese's, Swedish get the idea). Candy is good to have, but only in the right time. If acquired/consumed too early, the goodness of the candy is lost & your nutritious dinner is spoiled (or so 'they' indoctrinated us). Maybe if you have too much of the good thing, you also end up with rotten teeth. Therefore, you hand over these desires (the bowl) to One who has your best interest at heart...One who'd never hold out on You, but wouldn't let you push past the boundaries that keep you well.

Well, I gave that bowl to the Lord and asked that He would guard it and bless me when He knew the time was right.

God is good, so He has. Only, He guards the bowl uniquely: you have the ability to access the contents. So, everyday, in word I say "Guard my candy" and yet, everyday, I walk up and try to snatch a few handfuls. Because He's good and because I asked, He has to pry my greedy, desperate fingers off the stem to get the lollipop back to the bowl. He knows what's best, and I know that, but my hunger overtakes me (or is it my impatience??) I must have what I want...and now! Like a child, I am unable to see how his prying my fingers is good. In fact, I'm downright angry at God. Why can't he just hide the freakin' bowl?! I blame Him for holding out on me. I point to the other kids who have candy and I wonder why God is being so cruel...then He reminds me that I gave Him my bowl; I ASKED Him to watch over it. Is that His fault?

I resolve to try to stop inflicting the pain on myself each day, and to sit back & trust that the Lord brings His goodness to match my deep desires in His perfect timing. In that way, I'll never get a toothache.

Man, that candy sure looks good though...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Are we all 8 legged freaks??

Well, my tarantula and I have a love/hate type of bond--I love watching her, I hate doing just about anything else--opening the cage, feeding her, thinking about holding her, etc.

So, you can imagine my surprise at my own attachment to her when I glanced by her cage to find her belly up, listless, all 8 legs reaching for heaven, while laying in a little self-spun web "grave" cradle. I thought, "How sad, this gives new meaning to the phrase: 'Make your bed and lie in it.' She made her own little resting place."

My heart sank at the thought of Princess exiting the world--not just because I'd have to spend $25 for her replacement--but because, in some small way, we bonded. Not that she ever crawled on me or cuddled, but life in any form connects with life--a dependent on you becomes close no matter what the species (especially considering my extreme fear of arachnids). I pondered a little funeral & decided to check online at the appropriate grieving process for a spider owner. This was new to me...

Well, I'm glad I checked or Princess would've wondered why she was trapped in a shoebox underground when she came to strength from MOLTING. What an amazing process--they fast, then make themselves completely vulnerable by laying on their backs, "unzip" their exoskeleton to make room to grow (the new body already underneath), pump fluid to remove the old body, and emerge as a delicate, shiny, vulnerable, and most importantly, "more adult" like spider.

As a nerd and a teacher, I captured it all on video clips and I sat in awe at God's process for tarantulas. With fascination mounting, I wondered at the growth process for human hearts. Are we any different?? Just like all spiders know how to do this instinctively, I feel that we humans do some of the same things, if we are willing to grow. What growth does not happen without a little vulnerability toward God--you choose to spin the cradle and lie in it, belly up...or not. (Although I believe you end up on your back at some point whether you choose to have a cushiony preparation or a hard landing...) At that point, you experience the process of shedding old ideals, convictions, heart strings, and habits. The real (new & improved and ever so slightly more "adult-like") you is revealed in its fresh glory. Recovery time is important as new ways are challenged by old mechanisms, leaving you vulnerable until convictions strengthen and your heart resolves the growth by God's grace.

There are shreds of evidence that a spider is about to molt...dull color, missing hairs on the abdomen, etc. as it prepares to grow. I believe the same for a human heart. Sometimes things seem the lowest right before they begin to ascend. And here I thought my little Princess just had the mange...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


I've had some weird experiences regarding memories of my dad, and I have been thinking alot about him. This summer, I was reading Harry Potter: Book 7 (awesome, BTW) and remember writing about my dad. I revisited this entry today and thought I'd share...

There is a part of [Harry Potter] I truly identify with. When he is around others who want to understand but can't...when he thinks about [his deceased parents] often, but feels angry and guilty at times. Some part of you is torn apart when you lose a parent--the part of you that looks like them is lost...but your reflection in the mirror is your living reminder of who they were in a breathing body...good and bad morphs together, blurred, and you have faint memories of what you ought to loathe, but can't...the good blurred in like words on the tip of your tongue...barely there, but your sub-conscious mind has a hold of them... you long for more moments with them, but know that new knowledge only comes with others who knew their past-tense--a person you never they are describing a stranger who was supposed to have birthed you. The feeling is unreal, really...unable to be put in words, but understood, from one orphan to another, an unspoken bond that allows you to relax a little, knowing that they "get" you without words...a sign of relief from having to pretend you are "over" their death. Truth be told, you are never "over" losing a parent (or anyone, for that matter)...all the days of your life, you grieve the lost moments of the future as you stare at them in the mirror.

Monday, October 01, 2007

My Hol(e)y Cloak

Just some more thoughts from my journaling this summer:

I realize my faith is in the process of "becoming real." When I first came to you, God, it is like other Christians handed me a well-meaning cloak of righteousness. Designed to cover all the ugly roots growing out of me, I was thrilled to wear it. In fact, I took pride in how it looked on me, forgetting what it was covering. Over time though, in moments of stress, fatigue, trial...those roots (which had been growing faithfully) started peeking through.

Frantically, I tried to cover them with the tail of my cloak, or I would go to another conference and earn a "patch" for my cloak. More pride swelled from the "out of sight, out of mind" righteousness. Then, I realized the roots had grown out so far, they could no longer be concealed. I couldn't hide behind quiet times, Christian checklists, scripture memory, Christian lingo, a 'gold star' perfect attendance record at church, or leading others.

It was time for the cloak to be ripped off. In one fell swoop, frustration and feeling fake prompted the revealing motion, and my ugly roots scared every Christian who still proudly wore their cloaks. Only Jesus was smiling--well, so were the former 'cloak wearers' who had mustered the courage to face the process of root pulling (I think it is a favorite pasttime of the Lord's, by the way!) And so begins the process of my faith "becoming real," as Jesus asks me to bring each ugly thing before Him and request the divine help to uproot it. Then, and only then, can I help You [Jesus] heal others as their roots are ripped out.

I then gave my tattered cloak to CCA...just kidding. I burned it with holy fire...

Sunday, July 29, 2007

On the Wheel

When I was in Chicago this summer, it seemed as though there was a nice little heat wave for a few days. Then, the day I decided to go to Navy Pier, cold wind started to blow. I went anyway and I'm glad I did. Sometimes, reality hits you like a brick...

I got on the Navy Pier ferris wheel with nervousness and anticipation as the wind was whipping through the crossbars. Did I mention I am pretty scared of heights? I try to face that fear any chance I get, but the fear remains. I got in the car which I had to close the doors on because the worker was chatting and missed securing me in. That instills confidence! :p As I started up, the view was breathtaking--skyline, water, people--just gorgeous. Around the top, I noticed my car wasn't moving.

Panic set in as the wind rocked my car back and forth. Sweat began appearing as I pictured a mechanical problem. This ferris wheel is continuous--it is not supposed to stop. The fear of plummeting started to take over. I breathed short prayers and gripped the sides with my sweaty hands to secure what I felt I could secure. I sat like that for a long minute when I felt the whisper of God, "Turn around and look."

Slowly (as if any sudden movement would detach my car from the railing) I turned around to find we had been moving the whole time--the car is attached to the spokes, so you aren't able to have a stable focal point besides the sky. Peace rushed over me as reality dissolved my fear. My anxiety was perception-driven, not based on reality.

How much of life is faith in God's goodness!? Sometimes it is a matter of ignoring how circumstances are creating a false reality. God's truth and promises are like the breath that says, "Turn around and look"; "Take your eyes off of the perception and drink the dose of reality." Peace is instantaneous and bitterness can't take root when truth dwells in a heart.

"Wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage...Yes, wait for the Lord..."

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Last Crayon Standing?

My friend and I were talking in one of our late night sessions that we always do when we visit twice a year, and some of these thoughts were sparked from that conversation.

I wrote this to expound on her comment and this journal entry is regarding the feeling that many "aging" Christian women have toward singleness, pickiness vs. standards, and the like...

She mentioned that she felt like the odd color in a box of crayons. You all start out in the same box--uniform shape and representing all the colors of the rainbow. Then, as each one chooses his favorite color, you develop emptiness around you...a void in the crayon box. The popular colors are snatched up--red, blue, green. But, you are the obscure one, different from the rest. You are "violet red"--on the surface you look like regular red--like the others. But, when you put your vibrant color to the paper, you represent more than your surface shows. You are really more purple, so you are put back, because they really wanted just plain red.

The world of men (even Christian ones) seem to want red, but you are more complex than that. Your standards--following Jesus--makes you more violet (but not purple), therefore a rarity in the crayon box. It takes patience and confidence to keep standing proud of your color as the space in your crayon box grows with time.

Disclaimer: This is not a complaint, merely an observation from the collective whole of women I speak to all over the world.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The word Holiness looks a lot like Loneliness

I have been journaling a lot on my travels and have been thinking about my views on life, my walk with Jesus and other mind boggling thoughts. I will post a few of these journal entries in the next few days/weeks (depending on how together I am). :) This was the first "realization" that stemmed out of my spring/summer this year and a dear friend helped me crystalize it before she left this summer...

My Christian life (I'm going on a 10 year anniversary now) has certain "rules" that keep me from doing things that I know I don't desire--God never put them there specifically, but they stemmed from my understanding of "walking uprightly". They are good when followed with the right intentions. I am not advocating cheap grace, but only true dependence on a real God. Well, this year, these "rules" I had created over the past 10 years started becoming a noose around my neck. One move in any direction and the life was strangled out of me...I know that is dramatic but literally how I felt. I saw my self-righteousness and it was like looking at an ugly picture of myself--barely recognizable, but definitely me. How did it get like this?? I thought I was following Christ...

I prayed for humility in certain self-righteous areas and God is quick to answer that prayer (praise Him for that). Here is the start of my journal entry in response...

I love that you showed me that my "rules" were first created by me at a time when I was close to sin, rather than far from it. Purity was purposefully protected because I saw my potential for botching it all up, not because I was so amazing and put together. Therefore, it wasn't legalism then. But, somehow it morphed. Somewhere it twisted--in my own mind--to a set of guidelines that I felt made me "better," more evolved in my faith. Really, it just stunted my belief in You [Jesus]. I no longer needed Your [God's] grace--I coasted on my own synthetic version of it...a 30 minute quiet time here, a conference there, like a 10-year anniversary pin to keep me thinking I was on the right track. Thank You for de-railing my rule-bound train--it was headed for a mountain of loneliness that I had misread for "holiness." Holiness is not walking to a set of rules that make you look good--it is walking with a compass that points to the face and heart of Jesus. May I only look at my True North. Thank you again for humbling me in this area. I want never again to build another self-sufficient railway where I travel in a lonely car of bitterness.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

I miss him...

So, today is the 7 year anniversary (is that what you would call it??) of my dad passing away...I miss him always but am reminded more on this day.

Thanks to all my great friends who remembered and gave me hugs and flowers...I love all of you!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

House of Mirrors

I was reflecting (and by that I mean crying) the other day, and I realized that my life has felt a bit like a house of mirrors...

At first, it is so intriguing to lose yourself in all the chaos. Your mind tricked and teased into which reflection is actually you. As you move through, you become increasingly engrossed in the peculiarity of the experience. As you get lost in the hundreds of angles, panic starts to set in. You sweat slightly at the thought that you may be lost--not forever, even if just for a moment--you laugh nervously at how such a childish endeavor has turned you upside down.

As time passes, confusion sets in as you question where "you" ends and reflections begin; the lines blur between reality and created illusion. "You" (flesh & bone, soul & spirit) are lost. Or, maybe just fragmented; pieces of you scattered down an eternal pathway in view.

The only way to be grounded is to have the sense to step out into the Sun; fresh air...breathe; take in the wholeness of yourself; gathering the pieces of who you are in an instant. "You" are found. Sometimes we have to be fragmented and confused to appreciate our wholeness again.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Magnetic People: God is a Mad Scientist

In my many conversations with people in my life, I am continually reminded of the natural laws at work in our universe. One of those laws is the fact that God is not under them. I love that and hate it at the same time. As we were discussing one-sided attraction, my friend said she feels like God is a mad scientist sometimes, using a chemistry set that is out of this world. I started thinking how true this FEELS (with the emphasis on feelings, because I know He is GOOD). Sometimes it seems that just when you have it all figured out, God bends the rules or makes them work for His end product, rather than what you thought He had planned. It becomes hard as a rule-bound human to manuever in the Creator's laboratory. He has no formula that makes sense to us, no natural law it seems (or He breaks it for our good constantly), but He is gloriously correct in His calcualations. HIS formulas arrive at all the best and most favorable conclusions. He is not crossing His fingers, hiding behind His lab coat, and hoping that it all works out. But it sure does FEEL that way often in my life and in the lives of those I connect with.

I have seen this over and over with what I call "magnetic people": I am talking about those people that usually have a group of people surrounding them, wanting to be known and held dear, waiting to be included. These are the people that, when they don't include you (for whatever reason), you have to fight off feelings of worthlessness--even though 5 others invited you to the same thing--THEY didn't. I am sure you know who I mean...we all have some we encounter.

I am very analytical and I have spent several Starbucks times thinking about why this exists and what it looks like. I wrote this in my journal in April, but I am just now getting to write it down:

I feel magnetism is like a combo of intensity mixed with and opposed by aloofness. A tricky combination, like an elusive butterfly. You are initially stunned by its beauty or intrigued by its abrupt entrance into your life. It lands on you, kisses your nose, touches down, tickles your arm and heart, flatters your senses--you breathe in the fragrance it carries; drinking its presence until you are almost drunk with delight. Just as you get your fill of intoxication and grab for more--desiring to harness its beauty, cage it somehow--it slips through your desperate fingers as it flies on to another, leaving you vulnerable, hungover, needy, stripped an emotional one night stand. Your friends that are available and constant, there to catch you in your drunken stupor. Lean on them...their availability and stablility will be your blanket & hot cup of coffee after being stuck in a torrential downpour: security, love, warmth, true intimacy.

And the next time the butterfly returns to delight your world, let it land--but with the security, intelligence & maturity of an adult who knows that a butterfly is most beautiful when it is free and would be crushed or frantic in the hands of its captor. Unlike a child who seeks to gratify desires, we know better to stand back and admire an elusive creature, smile a little, and then return to life as usual...blessed by the account, yet immune to its intoxicating effect.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

I Wanna Ride the Stickhorse

Why, you ask? It was something that I was thinking about during our Kindergarten Rodeo Day last Friday. It is interesting how everything you need to know you REALLY did learn in Kindergarten (or should've...).

We had 6 super sweet rodeo stations including: potato sack races, pin the star on the sheriff, sidewalk chalk/bathroom break, lasso the chair, horshoes, and stickhorse relay. My kids were wicked excited--with the emphasis on wicked--and we were off to have a load o' fun, at the expense of my energy and vocals.

While we were at the stickhorse relay, I learned a major life lesson. About 4 or 5 kids were standing in the back of the line peering over to the next station, lassoing, but they had been the same ones who strained to watch the stickhorse relay while doing potato sack relay. Only, they never got to experience the stickhorse because of their "forward thinking". And, whadduyah know, they didn't get to enjoy lassoing because they were already playing with the sidewalk chalk in their minds--and so on...

About 2 or 3 kids were timidly watching the stickhorse relay and when prompted, said, "No, I'll just watch--I feel silly/scared..." They never experienced the fun because of fear.

Then, the rest of the class went buck wild on the stickhorse. They participated the fake head right off of the horse. Poor guy had to be taped on three times due to extreme enthusiasm. Some kids even slapped their imaginary horse as if they truly BELIEVED it would help them "ride faster" (not realizing that it was their tiny legs that brought them around the tree and back). I realized then how often I am the kid in the back, checking out what could be better in the future--only, I'm missing out everytime because there is always a "future" something. Then I questioned how often I was the fearful one who watched others participate, while growing ripe with jealousy and thoughts such as, "If only I had this or that, THEN I could...(you fill in the blank)."

What I really want to be is the group in the races who neither noticed anyone else nor cared of the future events--they sold out to the moment. All there; present. I wanna ride the stickhorse...