perder la vida

Learning to Live Missionally and Mindfully

The War in Iraq January 31, 2007

Filed under: ME — Katie @ 7:37 am

I am praying for the war to end because of one simple reason:
I’m tired of hearing about it.

We sit around and discuss what the president’s doing and not doing correctly. We voice our own opinions on how the war should go from here. Some people believe we should “stay the course” – which, in my heart, I wish we could. I wish we could stay the course and save this country. But, when do we let go? We do we decide that we’ve done the best we could and let the country run itself? How do we know that, upon our retreat, the country won’t fold on itself and turn into a situation much like the Darfurs, Congos, and Sierra Leones of the world? Then, will we regret our decision to leave? Will we still care about these people when we’ve abandoned them and watched them fall?

I don’t agree with the war. I don’t disagree with the war. I don’t understand why there’s so much importance placed on Iraq when there are a lot of issues in a lot of countries that seem to be overlooked. I’m sure there are reasons, but I don’t know them. I liked the way the Iraq Study Group’s plan sounded, but Bush quickly squashed their ideas. 

Anyway, this is a bit of a confused rant…. I just read about four different articles on the war and… now I wish I could run my own country. We would be a barter and trade country. Want to join?

I leave you now with some of my favorite Derek Webb lyrics, from “My Enemies are Men Like Me” from Mockingbird.

Peace by way of war is like purity by way of fornication
it’s like telling someone murder is wrong
and then showing them by way of execution

When justice is bought and sold just like weapons of war
the ones who always pay are the poorest of the poor

 

The Excitement of Yesterday January 29, 2007

Filed under: ME — Katie @ 6:44 am

    Yesterday, I ventured to the Moody Music Building with Carla and friends to see Chris Thile & Edgar Meyer. They played some Bach – on the mandolin and double bass. I was happy. I haven’t heard Bach in quite some time. And certainly not with that combination of instruments.

    I also realized yesterday that there is a problem with restaurants that offer both a chicken ceasar salad and a chicken ceasar sandwich (ahem – PANERA BREAD). It makes it hard for other people to order the right thing for you while you’re reserving the table. 

    Oh yeah, and… the fast was broken yesterday! Our church has been doing 21 days of prayer & fasting for the past three weeks, which was a great experience!

 

New Year’s Resolutions: Addendum January 26, 2007

Filed under: ME — Katie @ 7:52 am

Origina NYRs:
1. Get out of debt. Seriously.
2. Spend more time with my Grandparents and family. 
3. Live for the moment. 

Addendum:
4. Read more – but check out books, don’t buy all of them. And keep a record of the books you’ve read this year.

 

We did everything we could January 25, 2007

Filed under: ME — Katie @ 6:00 pm

     Today was my first visit to my new doctor(s). The clinic where my mom goes (and where my dad went, also) is run by a young, married couple. I was there to see the wife, but the husband (Dr. K.) was talking with some nurses behind the receptionist and I could hear his voice. 
     Immediately, I was having flasbacks of the night my dad died. Dr. K. was the physician who pronounced him dead, and he was also the one who had to break the news to my mom and me. I had no idea that hearing his voice and seeing his face would bring back so much. 
      Every time I think back to that night, it literally feels as if I’ve gone back in time and am reliving the night over again. From the phone call from the hospital, to the Johnny Cash songs I made my mom sing on the way to the hospital, to walking into the ICU and being escorted into the room where they tell you your loved one has died. But, thinking about it brings back all of the feelings I had when Dr. K. said “we did everything we could.” Every negative feeling you could think of – sadness, emptiness, misery, hurt, pain, frustration – all of those things hit me at once. It’s just so strange how I can so easily remember that awful, awful night.
     It’s so strange things like that can so greatly affect us. Certain smells, certain tastes, certain textures, and certain voices make us remember things…. good things, bad things, funny things, sad things (a little Dr. Seuss for ya). 
    

 

The United States of Entitlement January 24, 2007

Filed under: ME — Katie @ 6:38 pm

     Oprah Winfrey recently opened a forty million dollar all-girls school in South Africa, dubbed the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls. In many interviews since, she has been asked why she chose South Africa and not some deserving city in the United States. Despite the fact that Orpah has done a lot for the American public – particularly for education – many apparently feel that she has left out the millions of needy American children.
     In a TV interview I was watching, her response was: “American children have such a sense of entitlement.” Even though she is now receiving scrutiny for statements such as this, I couldn’t agree with her more. 
     As a whole, the American public is full of “deserving” citizens. We “deserve” things like: free speech, equal opportunities, low taxes, and the best of everything. We’re a self-serving nation interested in benefiting ourselves, even at the cost of others. 
     A few years ago, my two best friends and I decided to adopt an “Angel Tree Child” from the Salvation Army’s annual Christmas project. The project was set up to provide Christmas gifts for underprivelged children. I couldn’t help but feel guilty as I spent money on toys, toys, and more toys, that the child had requested. Now, I’m not opposed to making a child smile by giving her the toy of her dreams. But, if she was so needy, why didn’t her Christmas list reflect that?
     I had the opportunity to see a clip of Samaritan’s Purse’s “Operation Christmas Child” project. This particular project is set up to collect shoeboxes from around the country; shoeboxes filled with school supplies, hygienic items, and some stickers and bubble gum. These boxes are distributed to children in poverty-stricken countries and cities. I cried as I watched a little boy hold up pencils, paper, and a solar-powered calculator. If an American boy received those items as a Christmas gift, he would have been terribly dissatisfied.
    I, too, have my issues with entitlement. When I have been heartbroken – by boys, friends, or the circumstances of life – I have felt like I “deserved” an apology, an expliation, or just some good, old-fashioned pity. I have even gone to great lengths seeking retribution, only to end up with more heartbreak. 
    Once, I was having a really bad day – stressed, tired, and living in Montevallo (which, if you know me, was a miserable place to live). I grabbed a piece of chocolate and stated “I’m going to have some chocolate because I deserve it!” My roommate and friend, Mollie, looked at me and said “No you don’t. You don’t deserve anything.” Every time she said that, it made me mad because I didn’t quite get it. 
    Until now.
    You see, we don’t truly deserve anything – as Americans, as humans, as Christians. We aren’t entitled to anything – not our civil rights, not our homes, not our careers, not our educations… those things are all blessings for which we fail to give God credit. We think that whatever it is we’ve done, been through, or experienced have given us claim in some way, form, or fashion. But, even our best is considered as filthy rags in the eyes of the Lord. Nothing we have done or can do can entitle us to anything. We are merely at the mercy of God, who will provide what we need and when we need it. And, sometimes, He’ll even let us have some things we want.
    So, Oprah, keep talking about the issues with American children. These are children who are offered free public schooling and dread rising every morning to receive the education offered to them. These are children who, instead of wanting what they have, have what they want. Even many inner city children, whom we often think of as the most underpriveleged, are often more interested in receiving an iPod instead of an opportunity to succeed. 
    The sad thing is that these children grow up to be adults. These adults look for handouts, demand respect,  accuse the government of “not caring,” and continue the cycle of abuse, neglect, and poverty because they’re too busy complaining to go out and try. My generation is currently griping because Social Security may or may not be around when we’re old enough to need it – well, tough cookies, people! Start saving for yourself – quit relying on others and take some initiative! Some things aren’t fair, some things aren’t easy, but… you know what? Sometimes you’ve just got to take your lemons and make some lemonade. Then, you can really bring it full circle and sell your lemonade on eBay – just to say “haha, suckers!! You thought you’d get me, and now I’m making money!” The obstacles in our lives are meant to be conquered – so that we can look the Enemy in the face and say “You thought this would weaken me, but itreally made me stronger.”
    
“God helps those who help themselves. The government helps those who don’t.” – Unknown

 

A book review of sorts… but mostly some more boring info about my life and personality. January 23, 2007

Filed under: ME — Katie @ 8:53 am

I’m only a chapter in and I’ve already decided that I will finish this book. 

You see, I am a picky reader. Much like a picky eater… except, with books, not food. Anyway, I am hard to please due to time constraints, a short attention span, and a mind for the truth. I don’t read much fiction (unless it’s Margaret Atwood – then I’m game) and if it’s non-fiction, I want the book to be an expressive conversation instead of a “keep the dictionary handy” account of life/history/spirituality.

So, when I pick up a book, I subconciously determine early on whether or not I will actually finishthe book. Despite how hard I may try, there are just books that were not written for me. 

Back to the book – I have heard great things about Tara Leigh Cobble’s music, but was not aware that she had written a book (Here’s to Hindsight) until a couple of weeks ago, while browsing through Relevant magazine. Since I work at a Christian bookstore, I ordered it for myself, but wasn’t sure whether I wanted to actually purchase it or not. It wasn’t until Alisa  wrote a little review of her own that I decided to bring the book home and start reading. From the first line, “My parents did not raise me to be like this…” I couldn’t put it down. (Well, obviously, I did put it down because now I’m typing. I can’t read and type at the same time.) 

——————————– Edit: Several Hours Later ——————————-

I have heard many good things about Tara Leigh, the musician, from my slightly-older and much-wiser friends, Carla Jean and Alisa. Both unknowingly influence much of what I listen to and read because I am both too skeptical and too busy to search for such things on my own. With that said, they usually have pretty good taste. 

For instance, they are the ones who opened my ears to the artist currenlty known as Derek Webb, who now has a permanent place on the “Recently Played” list of my iPod.

However, with a sick iPod and no CD player in my car, I am currently and somewhat-happily dissatisfied (ironic, I know) with the variety of radio stations in Tuscaloosa. I have even started listening to Paul Finebaum. And I don’t even like sports.

So, instead of listening to Tara Leigh, the musician, I turned my attention towards Tara Leigh, the writer. What I expected to be another book to hit my “started and never finished” list (due only to my own shortcomings, not to those of the author). But, I was surprised to find that I was easily sold after chapter one.

Considering that Here’s to Hindsight begins with an account of Tara Leigh stealing an entertainment center piece-by-piece over the course of a year, I knew it was a winner from the beginning. And, several hours later… I am finished. (Working from home does have its advantages!!) I, undoubtedly, will need to read it again in slow motion to fully absorb all of the bits of goodness and also to highlight the parts I really liked (because I treat books like that). 

I laughed out loud on several occassions… and teared up on several occassions… and then saw the book come full circle when she started talking about the love of God – how to receive it, how to give it, and how to give it genuinely. I also connected with the theme of community and a sense of belonging. 

I loved reading all the funny (and some not-so-funny) stories about Tara Leigh’s life and experiences – and then hearing how they were used to strengthen her, encourage her, and help her grow. I am a big believer that God is in the small stuff – and that He’ll reveal Himself in some pretty strange places, and I loved seeing Tara Leigh’s observations become illustrations of God’s love, God’s patience, and God’s heart for His people. If we can all just open our eyes a little bit to what God’s showing us, we too will see that 193 pages won’t even be enough for us to list all of His blessings:

          “Could we with ink the ocean fill,
           and were the skies of parchmentmade,
           were every stalk a quill
           and every man a scribe by trade,
           to write the love of God above
           would drain the ocean dry
           nor would the scroll contain the whole
           though stretched from sky to sky.” 
                                – “The Love of God” third stanza (adapted from a poem written in 1096.)

So, like I said… this entry isn’t really about the book, although it was wonderful and I give it a big A++ (or A “double-plus” as I recall from my elementary years). Tara Leigh does an outstanding job of sharing the pieces of her life and then weaving them together to show the “bigger picture” of God’s plan for her, for the community of Christ, and for me. 

So, here’s to hindsight. And, here’s to books that I can read in a day.
 

 

Run, Obama, Run!!!

Filed under: ME — Katie @ 7:45 am

I am REALLY looking forward to the presidential elections and all that the elections entail…. debates, conventions, Barack Obama… no matter your party or interests, there are a lot of great candidates running and expected to run. For you flaming liberals (I say that with all love & kindness!!), you’ve got your Hillary. For you conservative (or not-so-conservative) rebublicans, you’ve got your John McCain. For those of us who lie towards the middle in a more bi-partisan mindset, you’ve got your Barack Obama. For you rebellious ones, you’ve got your run-of-the-mill independents. And, just for kicks, there’s John Edwards. 

It’s going to be an exciting year and three-quarters as we delve into the fascinating world of presidential politics. I think this is going to be an interesting race to watch… with so many great candidates, a huge issue (the Iraqi war) that no one will be able to ignore, and lots of hand-shaking and baby-kissing along the way.

I’m also interested to see if my mind changes about who I’ll vote for… or about who I won’t vote for. I’ve already got my opinions and expectations of most of the candidates… so I’m wondering how those will change (or not change) over the coming months. 

Can’t you see it, though? A Clinton-Obama ticket… woman-minority? What more could you really ask for in life? Although I’d never vote for a woman president just to have a female president (frankly, I’d prefer the combination to have Obama leading), but if it’s going to happen… it might as well be Hillary. I just hope that Barack isn’t coming off as a crowd pleaser (although, his stances on the issues are quite clear), but he’s a man who believes in uniting the parties for the common good…. I watched a video of him on youtube that almost had me believing he was the Antichrist. 

It’s still very early in the game, but…. the game is on. 

Now we wait.