Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Today was one of the best days. Ever.

Michelle, Jordan and me at Lake Louise.

I was really, really happy.

Lots more to come.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

...reunited and it feels so good.

We talked.
We laughed....and screamed.
It was so, so good.

And yes, we ate ALL of that deliciousness.

in the air

I don’t know what it is about an airport but, it always does something in me that other places do not do.

Sometimes, when I get caught with my head down, focusing on doing whatever it is that needs to be done at that time, I lose myself. And it’s so easy! It’s unbelievable how quickly I can forget who I am and why it is that I’m doing what I’m doing.

Whatever all that may be, it starts to break away when I am in an airport. Other settings, yes. But, more than any other place, airports.

It’s like when I am in an airport, I remember.

I remember the places I’ve been.

I remember all the things I’ve seen.

I remember the crazy beautiful people I’ve met.

I remember how I’ve felt.

I remember.

Slowly, hazy at first, I remember until I can’t help but sit back, close my eyes, and just relive moments. Moments flying to Thailand the first time. Moments being frozen with fear on the flight to India, staring at the northern lights from the sky. Moments being more alive than ever before.

I just sit and soak in all of them. And, slowly, I remember why I’m doing what I’m doing. I remember that life happens in seasons, and that this too will come to pass. I remember that I will always look back and think it was better than it was.

And I remember, most importantly, that I am not the sum of my days. Who I am is not contingent on what I’ve done and where I’ve been and what I can show for it.


I am the sum of my relationship with God. For even in all those wonderful and vivid memories, what makes them just that, is the resulting connection to God I experienced. All of those experiences, and all that this little life is, are inroads to more of Him.

So, I sit. And I close my eyes. And I remember. I remember faces and smells and feelings, and I rejoice.

I really am the luckiest.

Saturday, July 30, 2011


Sometimes things are just good, and we need to let them be good.

Sometimes we don't need to over think or over process, we need to just be.

Sometimes there is nothing wrong, and we not go looking for things to be wrong.

Right now it is summer. It is hot and the days are long and busy and good.

And I need to let them be good.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Translation: Tiffany and Katie's Summer of Mayhem. (See above pictures for said T and K, in order of T and K)

It is summer in Minnesota. I like to do fun things, and almost more than doing fun things, I like to drag others along as we (sometimes just I, let's be honest) DO fun things. That said, I demanded, er, offered, to help Florida native Tiffany have an action packed summer in Minnesota. In order to ensure much action is in fact packed, a list has been made. Enjoy.

1. Go camping (to this Tiffany asked, "In a yard?")
2. Kayak
3. Tube (Yes, trashy Apple River, yes.)
4. Visit Taylor's Falls and jump off things into water
5. Visit Cannon Falls. Repeat above.
6. Crash weddings of decidedly wealthy people (think Science Museum, The Saint Paul Hotel and the Walker)
7. Go to as many summer festivals as possible. Think: Thursdays in WBL, Lumberjack Days, Art on the Lake, Pioneer Days, Raspberry Festival, Highland Fest.
8. Antique/estate sale/art fair the shit out of this state. Direct quote.
9. Find Amish, buy things.
10. Day trip to Duluth+Split Rock+ Gooseberry
11. See live music at least 10 times. Roughly 3.3 times a month. Think: Music in Mears, Loring Park Acoustic Music Festival.
12. Karaoke at a townie bar on West Seventh. This needs no explanation.
13. Tour all roof-top bars in the TC. Yes, all.
14. Como Zoo + Rides + Conservatory + Paddle Boats. Yes.
15. Science Museum + Omni Theater
16. Mass at the Cathedral/tour
17. History Museum
18. Walker (First Free Saturdays & Nightshift)
19. MIA
20. Basilica Block Party
21. Oak on the Water at least 2x.
22. Tour the James J. Hill House
23. Kingsfield Famers Market, specially for Foxy Falafel :-)
24. Twins game. Obvi.
25. Mississippi Belle day trip. If you haven't done it, you must. Which is why I'm making, er, taking, Tiff.
26. Winery Tours: Cannon Falls, Chisago, Stillwater.
27. Cinema and Civics/Movies in the Park
28. Pride Weekend
29. Great River Shakespeare Festival. This.is.purely.for.Tiff.
30. St. Paul Summer Bear Fest
31. Garden Tours
32. Mill City Live
33. Florence and the Machine at the Zoo!
35. Aquatennial
36. Art fairs: Uptown, Edina, Powderhorn, Park Art Fest.
37. Have so many bonfires our hair reeks.
38. Road trip. Somewhere.
39. Girls' weekend at Rita's cabin
40. Do not get skin cancer.

...we'll see. It's a good start at least. ;)


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

real things and dreams

Spring has finally come to Minnesota. I mean, technically Spring is here. The reality is that it's generally super chilly or hot and humid. Minnesota seems to enjoy skipping seasons. Either way, those 8 feet snow banks are no more and this a happy Katie makes.

My days are filled with joys of nannydom. I think my happy spirits toward nannying once again can be in large part attributed to the fact that I was hired at UrbanVentures! Words cannot express how thrilled I am! My contract is through AmeriCorps and starts in August. Though the contract itself is for only a year, I am hopeful that getting my foot in the door will lead to a much longer relationship. I love the things they do and being able to be a part of this team is really a dream come true. I mean, really.

That said, I am enjoying every single second of nannying. It helps that Amanda has her daycare kids at her house, so we collectively have 27 children to play with each other while Amanda and I laugh at the things they do. Okay, there's not 27, but sometimes 6 can feel like 27. Especially when two of them are baby babies. My charges are Miles and Jake, 3 and four months respectively. Miles is a funny little tank of a tiny who runs around tripping on things that aren't there and says things like, "Jake hates your blue shirt." While I tell him that his four month old brother does not care what color shirt I'm wearing, he closes his ears, grabs a light saber and starts beating evil payasos (read: clown in Spanish) who are hiding behind the couch. It's fun. The baby, Jake, who was called "a lump, but a good lump" by his mom, just watches and laughs. And sometimes cries because he hates my shirt color, apparently. All in all, I like the boys.

Lisa has her Nick at home on Wednesdays so we travel to Cottage Grove so Miles and Nick can try and be friends. It's funny to watch only-child-Nick interact with oldest-child-Miles. Normally, when Miles is around Amanda's Cora, who is a little over a year old, he is as bossy as they come. When he's around Nick though, he turns into this hesitant kid who is generally nervous about everything: he gets scared of the toilette, the wind, spiders, black toys, other kids, the garage. Thank goodness Lisa is there to talk sense into me because my natural inclination is something of an intense OCD exposure therapy approach. I have learned such approach is wasted on three year olds. And doesn't work when the one administering said therapy does not know how to administer correctly.

I love my job.

I think I'm going to make a great mom.

The sun makes me giddy. I mean, really. More than once I have found myself driving home (the Bernard residence = I.LOVE.MY.LIFE), blasting music, just overwhelmed with thankfulness for the life I have. The job I have. The job I will have. The place I live. Finally, my life seems to be falling to place here in Minnesota. I've found new coffee shops, dragged Tiffany to the Farmers' Market, and strap the kids into a massive double stroller to go for hours of walks (yes, that makes sense) along the river. Not to mention I am loving the Gallery...the relationships I am building there have been nothing short of awesome.

I find myself dreaming again. For a long time, it was about day-to-day getting through: finding a job, figuring out the living situation and then, when a job would come through, being okay with hating it. There was a general feeling of: this is it? That time was not wasted though. With Spring has come a deep awareness of the work God has been doing in my heart. I feel tempered. Imagine that. Katie, tempered. Hmm.

Now though, on those drives down Marshal or Selby, I dream again. I think about where I've been, where I want to go, what memories certain smells bring to mind, what I want to do in this city, what can come of being at UrbanVentures...it's a good feeling. Also, Pinterest helps. :-)

So, I leave you with an image that inspires me to go to one of those coffee shops with a journal, get a coldpress, and dream.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

new things

There is just something about new things.

No matter what season it is, our culture just loves talking about new things: new resolutions, new 'you's, actual new items (cars, clothes, houses), renewal, new discoveries, new changes...you name it. New. We love new things and, for a million and half reasons, I don't think this is wrong.

I believe it's God's heart to give us new things. In fact, the entire Bible is written about God doing new thing after new thing. The story of the Bible is this perpetual story of God giving His people lots of new things (...sometimes physical, a lot of the time spiritual) based off His word and His promises.

It always amazes me how all people are the same. No matter where in the world you go, people love newness. If they live in a climate where the seasons don't naturally lend themselves to annual cultural celebration of change (think winter: getting ready for new things; spring: newness coming; etc), they still pursue this idea of something new. New. All people want new things.

When I think about God working in and around me, all I can see are new things. Sure, I have the same relationships, I go to the same places and (as a friend recently told me ), I even wear the same things. Yet, God is making the old new. There are new perspectives, new ideas, new words and new thoughts for every given situation.

I have come to the conclusion that much of life runs on this 20-80 spectrum. Most of the time, when we have a reaction to something, what we are feeling and thinking can be broken down into this 20-80 paradigm. Our reaction is 20% legitimate to what is actually going on and 80% based on ourselves or something in us that's, well, off. For example: if I am fired from my job, I have a reaction. 20% of that reaction is natural: I am hurt that I was fired, I feel rejected and I feel unsure about the future. Is that all I feel? H no. I feel a slew of other emotions: deep insecurity (why was I fired?), massive self-doubt (am I not good enough for this job?), insane amounts of failure (why wasn't I able to measure up/do what I was supposed to do?) and any other number of emotions. It's clear that the bulk of my emotional energy is spent on the latter, more irrational feelings. If I examine those feelings/thoughts, I see that none of them are actually founded. They are all, literally, in my head. All those feelings, that 80%, are based on myself and some standard that I apparently both set for myself and failed to meet. The former, 20% are healthy, normal, rational, containable and resolvable reactions.

It's all about perspective. Just knowing that we are operating at this 80% level of irrationality can free us! How much of our lives is wasted on the 80% that is made-up, in our heads, self-imposed and, honestly, stupid? So much! We do this in every area of our lives, especially how we view ourselves and our relationships with God.

It's amazing how we hold so much over our own heads and backs and stop ourselves from walking confidently before God. It's stupid. I feel like more than half the time God simply wants us to get over ourselves, shut up and come to Him. It's like He's saying, "You! I don't lord that over you! I don't even care! Just come talk to me! You're upset about things that aren't even real! Let me show you what's real! Please!" Yet we sit. We sit in our 80% lies, react in ways that are irrational, and have a morphed perspective of ourselves, God and our situations.

And still, God wants to do a new thing.

God yearns to do a new thing.

He years to release us from that sick cycle of not seeing things clearly or correctly. He years to give us perspective that is NEW. He years to take our same relationships, places and even clothes, and infuse them with newness: new views, perspectives, thoughts, ideas, emotions and understandings. That is what He does.

He makes things new. All things. All. Things.
Even me.
Even tired, stuck-in-my-ways-can't-see-anything-but-my-idea-of-what's-happening-me.
....and the best part?

So here's to Spring, to the age-old human longing for new things that God so loves to satisfy.
Let's let Him make us new.


Monday, May 2, 2011


This song should not be stuck in my head on May 2. But it is.

At least it's good.


Sunday, May 1, 2011


Gina. And Tony not being on time.
1000 cupcakes
Me and Becca. Check out that kofia from Hebron.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

.....80's and best friends.

The last 24 hours have been some of the best hours I have ever had. In the spirit of Mrs. Oostra, I am making not a letter, but a list.

1. Baseball/soccer/kick ball at the Pink House. I created a score chart that included both points, stars and smiley faces. Oh, and golden arrows. "Katie hurts people more than balls."-Ryn
2. I got a ball ran over. And cried.
3. "Shout" -Tears for Fears
4. Blueberry beer at the Adams with Becca.
5. "It's not funny until Katie pees."
6. Midnight airport run. In. The. Rain. :-)
7. A slight white-trash-Minnesota birthday party for a 78 year old. This party did in fact include Patrone.
8. "You guys, do you inhale fire when you smoke?" -Kristen.
9. Sweet dance moves in a kofia that would make a Muslim man angry.
10. "Katie, these people have Minnesota accents like people on TV."

Such an amazing weekend. I am one lucky lady. Go outside. Run around. Drink a beer. Jesus is alive and life is so, so good.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cora May


Ahem, April.

As I was walking down the stairs this morning, I was looking out the window. I'm not super good at doing things with my feet when my brain is not fully involved, so naturally, I fell down the stairs. And since it was morning, my contacts were not in and my glasses went flying.


So I did what anyone would do: I started crying. Now, some who know me know that I can be a tad emotional at times...so, things like snow and tripping and not being able to see sometimes makes me react in a much more, ahem, emotive way. I realize this is silly.

As I was sitting on the stone landing, crying, I realized how insane I was, so I started laughing at myself. (Bipolar what?) My life is funny.

Snow in April is funny.
Thinking my life is hard is funny.
Falling down an entire flight of stairs because I am craning my neck to see the snow covering the tops of houses and am not paying attention to what my feet are doing, is funny.
My reactions sometimes are funny.

I may be a lot of things, but someone who takes themselves seriously is not one of them. Thank G.

So, on this snowy Spring day, I am thanking God for jobs and friends and stairs to fall down and emotions to feel and perspectives that sometimes do not come right after the fall. Sometimes we need to fall, start to cry and then realize the truth of situation, and laugh. And then we can get up, put our glasses back on and be glad that we can make ourselves laugh.

It's a good day.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

For real.

Recently I've been having conversations with people who love Jesus yet, for whatever reasons, don't fully understand He loves them in return. Now, I know no one will ever fully understand the love of God, it's certainly a process, but I do believe we can know God's deep affections for us in a way that changes how we view everything.

Last night I was talking with a friend and as I listened to her talk, I was reminded of a time in my own life when God gently challenged me: "Kate, how much of what you think about yourself is the same as what I think about you?" I was astounded at this thought because, well, hardly anything I thought about myself at that time lined up with what God thought about me.

It dawned on me. My friend last night, my friend from earlier that night, people I spoke with all week, friends I know in Chicago and Alaska and India and Ecuador and Thailand and St.Paul all struggle to receive love from God because they themselves do not believe they are lovable by God. They do not see themselves as God sees them. They do not think the same thoughts about themselves as God does. I include myself in this category as well.

I have only changed a tiny fraction of my thoughts (thus my views, thus my feelings) about myself in the past couple years to line up with what God thinks about me. It's hard. It's alarming. It feels like I am lying to myself (because I don't believe the truth), BUT it is oh so sweet. It's amazing how easy it becomes to accept God's insane-all covering- ridicules -overflowing- FREE-abudant-lavish love for me when I believe I am lovable.

Why on earth would I even waste time thinking anything about myself that God does not think?! Sure, I have sin. Lots. Sure, I am flawed. Very. And sure, I need work. Mucho. However, as I slowly become undone and warmed before God, those changes and sin that need to be addressed, happen. Not out of force or obligation or even my own attempts, but because I want to become more and more the woman God sees and loves.

So I challenged my friend and I will challenge you and me and anyone I see: think only what God thinks about you. If it's in your head and it's not a thought God would think about you, change it. It takes time and effort and a lot of discipline, but man it's worth it. Feeling the love of God becomes real.

Don't know where to start? Try these on for size. I know for a fact, for real, that God thinks these things about you.

1. He does not cringe when you come to Him, no matter how many fails.
2. He is not frustrated with you.
3. Shame does not come from Him AT ALL.
4. He doesn't want you to TRY and love Him, He wants you to first RECEIVE love from Him.
5. He takes pleasure in your company.
6. You are His inheritance, what He wants and desires.
7. He is not mad He made you.
8. He sees all of you, and STILL rejoices any time you turn to Him.
9. He waits for you.
10. He doesn't think you're a failure. At all.

Here's to seeing ourselves, thus God, thus our world, well.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


glorious. a silent shudder a brisk breeze lifted hair wisps- there you are. a moment so sweet- a deep aching, a longing for something i have not touched but know exists. my heart goes to a new place, light flickers in the distance. here you are. i stay where i am, not wanting to leave. feeling so full, on the verge of something new, bigger. here we are. this is what i live for- the silent, screaming bursting, still moments only my heart recognizes. still, deep waters both peaceful and terrifying calm yet turbulent- it's this dangerous wonder i want- flickering light, the breeze passes, i am left standing, full and hungry. you are glorious.

Monday, April 11, 2011

No pancakes.

This last week I had the AMAZING opportunity to go to Kansas City with two of my favorite women.

We went to IHOP, and no, not the pancake place. We went to the International House of Prayer. And let me tell you, it was off the freaking chain. In fact, there is no more chain, that's how amazing it was.

One thing that hit me hard over the week was the massive amount of truth packed into John 17. As a woman who has gone to Bible college, gotten a degree in Biblical/Theological Studies, and started Seminary, you would THINK I understood God's love for me.

Nope. Not even close.

I felt like I had never even READ John 17 after hearing some of the speakers teach on it. It was insane. I was hit hard by the reality that God PUT His love for HIMSELF in us. IN us. There is no need to conjure up anything, HE GAVE IT TO US. And, when reading the passage further, it's so clear how the whole point of everything is KNOWING the LOVE of God.

Basic, right? Wrong. For whatever reason, I never got this. I never understood that God loved me first and that by having the Holy Spirit living in me, I has access to God's own heart which intrinsically loves itself. That means, all I need to do is ALLOW God to love and then love FOR God will come naturally.

They challenged us to pray a simple yet life altering prayer, "Holy Spirit, what do you FEEL about me? Holy Spirit, what do you THINK about me?" The Psalms say God's thoughts about us are more numerous than there are grains of sand. Just simply praying that prayer and opening myself up before God put me in a position to be FLOODED with words and images from God's heart to my own. Things like: I am not ashamed of you , Kate; you've done a good job (um, what, G?!); thank you for loving me, Kate (again, WHAT?!); you look like me, Kate (okay, God, you're nuts) and so on.

I don't think I need to go into great detail to explain how one's heart jumps at the sound of God's voice saying He's not ashamed of you, even proud of you. Those who know me know I battle with shame...I am not some little prim and proper Christian. To hear God say He's not ashamed of me astounded me. It freed me. To hear Him say that I look like Him, that I resemble the LOVE of God, well, let's just say I needed several tissues.

I have so much to share about my time at IHOP, but I just had to share that prayer before I went to bed.

Pray it. Ask the Holy Spirit to tell you what He thinks about you. Ask Him what He feels about you. Guaranteed it will blow your perception of yourself out of the water, and loving God, well, it will become....different.

Can't wait to share more,


Saturday, April 2, 2011


I decided I'll post the other pictures I printed and put on my wall later, not today. Why? Because today is the second day of April and I have some things I'd like to say to April. My good friend Julie inspired the format for this particular post. So, enjoy a letter to my friend April.

Dear April,

As you know, we've been together roughly 24 years now. Almost half a decade! My how time flies. Please know how it warms my heart when I think of our deep commitment to one another.

However, this being our 24th go round, I have some things I'd like to change. Maybe we could use the word refine. Yes, April, there are some things I'd like to refine.

1. I don't want to crash diet. Though I love you, you are notorious for making me feel, well, fat. You tell every department store to get its swimsuits out, you tell gyms to start offering incentives for joining, Jennifer Hudson won't shut up about Weight Watchers and I'm even a little suspicious as to what you've asked Special K to do this month. The point is, I know I need to get in shape, and I feel the pressure. However, this time we're together, I am not doing anything stupid.

2. I do not want to buy new 'spring' clothes. Listen, April, March technically owns Spring, so back off. I do not need a new wardrobe. Not only can I not afford it, but I just straight up do not need anymore flat toe-less shoes. Especially from Target. (Anyone? My goodness they are cute!) I know you like to make your time with us about sprucing things up, getting fresh and turning over a new leaf, but I don't think clothes will do that for me this time. And, let's not forget, according to you, I would need to loose 10+ pounds to look good in those new 'spring' clothes, remember?

3. I don't want to be teased. Listen, April, I feel bad for you, I really do. You're stuck between March and May, sometimes you get Easter, but it's never guaranteed, and you always have Lent. I hear ya, it's rough. But here's the deal: you don't have to get nasty. Pick a temperature and stick with it. Also, pick a form of precipitation and stick with it. None of this 20's then 60's bs and please no snow. Please. I know you hate that you have to be all wet so May can be all colorful, but we all have a role to play.

I know some of this may sound harsh, like I don't appreciate what you do for me, April. I do! I do! I just think we're getting to the point in our relationship where we can be honest with one another and express our needs in a healthy, real way.

In return, I am willing to make some changes for you.

1. I won't complain. Before, I know, I hurt you with my sighs of frustration at the rain. But hear me, April, I am in a new place now. I welcome the rain! I love the rain. It's a sign of change and growth and things to come, and you, April, usher in a glorious time of renewal. So, my griping will cease. Promise.

2. I will push into Lent and LIKE it. Yes, it's true, most (ahem, all) seasons of Lent I make commitments and forget about them and get annoyed that it's not full blown spring yet. Well, that ends here April. So far we are a couple weeks into Lent and I'm all in. I'm doing what I committed to and I'm so feeling this idea of recommitting my baptismal vows. April, you represent a time to journey out of death and into light.

3. I will work out. I get it. Swimsuits. Health. I get it.

I hope this letter finds you well. I can't wait to share these next 28 days with you.

Much love,

Friday, March 25, 2011

1,000 words

I was going through my pictures (22,000+) yesterday in order to find a few to print, mat, frame and hang. Needless to say, looking at the pictures brought me back to all sorts of places...Ecuador, Thailand, India, Alaska, Minnesota summers and every season in Chicago.
There were a few images that were begging to have their stories told. I printed six, and just had to share their stories with you. They're just that good.

Above is one of my favorite pictures. Ever. This was taken in the Burmese refugee camp Mae La in Mae Sot, northern Thailand right along the Thai-Burma border. The people who live in Mae La are displaced and, for the most part, forgotten by the government. Though Thailand provides land for Mae La and the other seven surrounding refugee camps, Thai officials are anything but sympathetic toward the refugees. In the eyes of the Thai government, the refugees take up land, resources and jobs from native Thai people. We heard story upon story of the cruelty the Burmese Karin people have endured. Not only did we hear stories, we ourselves witnessed first hand the corruption of the officials who manned the camps and saw how poorly they treated the Burmese.
The Red Cross is one of the few international presences the Thai allow into the camps. The Red Cross' main goal is to provide decent health care for the people living in the camps as they are not allowed to leave unless given approval from the Thais (eg: sponsorship through a refugee program in another country). This picture was taken right outside the hospital in Mae La and the baby in the picture was a patient. I don't know what was wrong with her, but her entire leg was bandaged. She had a make-shift IV and was running a fever. Visitors are not allowed in the hospital, but I made friends with the dad and went in with him. The hospital itself was a series of 'rooms' divided by low (waist high) walls, concrete beds and two or three nurses. Being in the hospital infuriated me. Hearing stories of how Thai officials would gather mass numbers of Burmese refugees, tell them they were being moved to a new camp, put them on a boat, ship them to sea and leave them sans food or water on the boat at sea to die...that was heart breaking. This hospital in a camp where people get food MAYBE once a day and are forced in live in squalor with hardly any hope of leaving, that hit me harder than I explain.
This image reminds me of my refugee friends, my sponsorship and the reality that the 'news' will never come close to covering what goes on behind fences.

Below is a picture of a small shop in the Himalayas somewhere between India and Nepal. As you may know, China and the state/territory/country
of Tibet are in constant turmoil. Many Tibetans flee China occupied Tibet and come to Nepal where they can follow the Dalai Lama, worship and live in peace. In fact, the Nepali and Tibetan peoples' cultures have so blended in northern India that some natives call it 'Little Tibet'. The shop below was, we were told by the owners, a safe house for those Tibetans who were fleeing the Chinese and making their way to southern India. The house fronts as a momo (like gyoza) shop, but the floor lifts up to an underground reprieve. Meeting expat Tibetans and seeing how they lived in fear put an entirely new perspective on peace for me.

The image above is of a lady who lived in Kolkata. Every day, we would get up at six am and take a bus into the worst part of the city. We would walk to the Kali Temple, the place where Mother Teresa built the first of the Missionaries of Charity homes. Each morning, without fail, this precious little lady would be sitting on the steps ready to greet us. Standing a maximum of four feet tall with a severe 70 degree angle in her back, she was by far one of the smallest people I have ever seen. But small does not even touch her spirit. She wasn't looking for money, food, shelter or even acknowledgement. She simply liked to sit on the steps and watch us and come and go from the Home of the Dying. When we'd take breaks, she'd smoke a cigarette with us and rub our backs. She'd braid our hair. She'd sing in Hindi. And she'd smile. Her smile was captivating, illuminating and spacious. This was a woman with whom I shared nothing but the fact that we were both living in what felt like, most of the time, hell on earth. As people were dying, she would sit and wait to care for those who were ushering them into Heaven. When I think of India, of Kolkata, of Kali Temple, I think of her. The woman who I shared no language with other than that of death.

For now,

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Switch

It has been quite the month, to say the least.

Today I got to sleep in...way in, and it was wonderful. This whole past week I have been dead tired, and I mentioned this to a friend who told me, "Well, Kate, you're emotionally exhausted."

Emotionally exhausted. I guess that makes sense.

If I were writing this a week ago, Jehovah only knows how riddled it would have been with emotion, pain, frustration and anger. However, like I said, I got to sleep in today.

It's always amazes me, no matter how many times I go through something and the cycle happens the same way, that I forget how I work. I mean no matter what, I seem to forget. I forget that when I am in something, I am in it: I feel it in my bones. And I forget that after I buckle down and let emotions run their course, I am the most logical person alive.

I'd like to get this tattooed on my forearm so next I am in the middle of the bone-breaking emotional shit storm (there really is no other term, sorry), I will look down and remember, "Okay. I've done this before. I've gone through this before. I'm going to be more than okay. In fact, according to this arm tattoo, I will be better and walk into more of what God has for me."

Now, I am not going to do this. I would like, despite my life pattern, a real job someday. And I think the title "Poem to Read During Emotional Shit Storm" is too long for a arm tattoo. So, I go to God:
Me: God?
G: Yes?
Me: Will you help me remember I am not a weak little flower next time something like this happens? Actually, just don't let this happen again.
G: I tell you all the time who you are and who you are not.
Me: Okay. Just tell me I'm going to be okay.
G: You're going to be more than fine, Kate.
Me: Why can't I see that right now, G? (yes, I call God 'g'. we tight)
G: Because you're too busy staring at yourself.
Me: Oh snap.
G: Yup.

The reality is, everything changes when your perspective changes. At least that's how it is for me. When I can stop looking down, focusing on the ground, and start looking up and around, I see all there is for me HERE and NOW. It's so freeing. So freeing. When I ask God to show me truth (enter logical Katie here) and commit to believing His truth, it's like the weight and even pain of my situation is lifted.

The reality is, 90% of my life is perspective. Right now, for the first time in 24 years, my future is sealed off. All I have is right now and the people around me. God is growing in me an intolerance for broken integrity, a desire for contentment and the ability to live in the Kingdom of God right here and now. Now, that's all a work in progress...especially living in the Kingdom each moment.

The truth: no one is perfect, but we can love the Perfect One. This, in my eyes, frees us from hypocrisy. Life is good and life is hard, a butterfly garden and a shit storm. We get to choose how it shapes us and what me make of it.

Here's to switching our perspectives,

...reading The Sermon on the Mount.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


A good friend wrote this.

It speaks to me on so many levels, and I know it will do the same for you.

Be blessed.

Worry Notes – for The Gallery Church, March 13/11

Matthew Atkinson, © 2011

Jesus said “Don’t worry about what you will eat or drink or wear.” Fair enough. I still have to get up and go to work and use these hands and this mind God gave me. And that can be tough some days. But I try not to worry about whether I’ll have a job tomorrow. Money and chaos slosh across the globe, and we get caught up in it. Yet I work hard and trust that God loves me. I try not to worry about a roof and a plate of food.

I haven’t always been this way. I used to collect worry like my sweater collects dog hair. Where ever I turned some new worry was attached to my mind. A horrible way to live. Now only by the grace of God, I don’t worry as much about money and health. “The Lord is my shepherd.” I have to trust Him.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t worry at all. It’s simply that when I take the focus off my navel, like I think Jesus is telling me, I can look up and see what’s going on around me. And what I see worries me. Is this wrong? What was Jesus talking about when He said “don’t worry”?

Jesus didn’t say, “Don’t worry about hungry children.”

Jesus didn’t say, “Don’t worry about battered wives.”

Jesus didn’t say, “Don’t worry about Frida or Jesse or Reuben freezing to death on the streets.”

I do worry about these people. Their faces trouble my dreams. And I not only worry, I weep.

I weep for the child living in fear of a parent.

I weep for the young women, who believe the lies and don’t know that they are beautiful just the way they are.

I weep for the company man, wrung dry and discarded after decades of service.

I weep for the elderly, sitting unvisited, out of sight, out of mind.

I weep that I am able to forget all of this because I am so comfortable.

How did I come to this place, my very own desert? The Spirit has led me out of my comfortable life to this place of tears to learn - something. I fall to my knees, pound my fists on the ground and cry in outrage against the pain I see. The Spirit waits. Laying exhausted after my anguish, a quiet question. A frightening suggestion. I turn away, but the question hangs there. Will I follow Jesus? Into the pain of the world?

Or will I stay here and turn inwards, and let the worry grow, consuming me from the inside, turning my guts to water and my spine to jelly. My mind fixated and my eyes darkened until all I see is unending bleakness instead of eternal goodness. No, I can’t put down roots in this desert; I will wither and die.

The path does not end here.

Or will I return to my old life, and numb myself with busyness and trivia and sandcastles and television and life on the hamster wheel, and with religious talk and a couple of bucks thrown in the plate?

Then what would I be? A numb, uncaring religious guy. Didn’t Jesus make it clear what he thought of that?

No, the path does not lead back either.

And the question still hangs in front of me. Can I trust Jesus enough to follow him into the pain of the world? Can I wrap the worry and tears and pain in prayer, and carry them with me? I try: worry in the embrace of prayer hurts, but it enlarges my heart, making a sanctuary for others. The peace of God descends but only to the extent that I try to live out what I ask God to do. This is where the Spirit is leading me. This is the path out of my desert.

So I move forward into the world of blood and tears, of pain and joy and redemption, of light breaking into darkness. While I take these hesitant steps, please don’t give me greeting-card theology; it will only distract me from the words of Jesus.

I know that there will be a day when all the tears will be wiped away, and there will be no more pain, sorrow and death. Yes, I hold that treasure in my soul. But today, there is pain. And choosing neither numbness nor despair, I act. But I must act with love. If I help you without loving you, these hands become tools of manipulation and that can do violence to the soul. How can these hands be made safe?

At first, fists clenched in anger, these hands are now prepared by clasping in prayer. These palms are cleansed by the sweat I wipe from your brow. (Reaching out …) these fingertips are baptized by the tears I wipe from your cheek.

This is the path. I can’t go back.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

New New New

Well, it has been quite a long time since I've posted.

But, here we are again.

So much has changed in the last fewmonths. I ended a long relationship, I dropped out of Seminary at North Park, got baptized (water and the Holy Spirit!), moved back home to Minnesota, started nannying again, moved into (yet another) Pink House with some amazing women, started going to the Gallery Covenant Church and started dating an amazing man.

It has been an insane time. In.Sane.

As with most transitions in my life, it has been a time of major reflection, repentance and new vision for moving forward. After being in Michigan this summer, I went through an intense bout of counseling that, when coupled with this most recent set of changes, leaves me with an overwhelming feeling that I am growing up.

So, read along. The adventures of a slightly crazy, mostly honest, flawed, God-captivated, not-so-young-but-still-young, woman.

Ode to 4735 N Campbell. Too short.