perder la vida

Learning to Live Missionally and Mindfully

vital information May 28, 2009

Filed under: general information,mindful living — Katie @ 12:33 am

Five pieces of vital information you must know if you care to keep up with the life of Katie:

1. Last Wednesday, I had my wisdom teeth taken out on the left side. I woke up from surgery to find myself having an allergic reaction to the final anesthetic they gave me. Then they sent me home with a painkiller I am allergic to. Then I developed the beginnings of a dry socket. Then I had a sinus infection. Then I scratched my eyeball. Then I had to have the dry socket cleaned and packed. It has not been a good week.

2. Mom and I are leaving on a ten day road trip up the Northeast on June 3. We are going to several major league baseball parks, the Louisville Sluggerville Factory, Hershey’s Chocolate World, and other fun places. Our primary destination is a little town in Maine where we will meet up with all of my mom’s siblings and spread my granddaddy’s ashes on Father’s Day. It is going to be the best Father’s Day.

3. Arnold got his rabies vaccination today. Not really all that exciting, but I didn’t know it was the only shot required by law. Usually we get all of his boosters and a physical exam. That usually runs me about $120. Not so today! I spent a whopping $12. I read up on annual shots for dogs and was pleased to find that many experts do not recommend annual boosters due to health risks. So, Arnold will now only be getting a full round of boosters when absolutely necessary.

4. On Monday, I took back $200 of the $350 I spent during last Thursday’s power hour. I was very mad at myself and definitely regretful, but the only thing I can do is make this a learning experience and move forward. And definitely not make the same mistake twice!

5. I start my summer babysitting gig tomorrow. It’s going to be quite an adventure!


skimpy spending at the grocery store May 25, 2009

Filed under: creativity flowing,mindful living,Shopping — Katie @ 4:38 pm

My friend Misty is a coupon-clipping maniac. She is super savvy when it comes to getting groceries on the cheap and has recently blogged a lot about how she does it. She uses competitor coupons, double and triple coupons, and takes advantage of Publix’s weekly BOGO deals and amazing sales… among other things. Being the penny-pincher that I am becoming, I wanted to start doing this for myself.

A few months ago, my mom and I started working on the way we buy groceries and beings ure we’re watching our budget. But, Misty’s recent saving sprees have encouraged me to work even harder to help my mom save money on groceries. So, today I did a little shopping experiement. Last week, I bought groceries solely at Publix and took advantage of sales and BOGO and spent $35 while saving $15…. not bad! But, today I went a little crazier. I visited four different stores and noted the prices of the items on my list at each store and also looked at some of the items I buy most frequently to see who had the best prices. So, here’s what you’ve been waiting for…



8 gal. trash bags



ground beef


peanut butter (I only eat Smart Balance PB)

tortilla chips


shaving cream

toilet paper (I only use Cottonelle… expensive!)


Pop-Tarts (Publix, BOGO)

Spent: $2.39

Saved: $2.39

Trash bags (Wal-mart, reg. price)

Spent: $3.74 for 72 bags

Saved: $0

Sara-Lee speciality breads (Wal-Mart, 2 for $5)

Spent: $5

Saved: $1.98 (although Publix’s brand of specialty bread is regularly priced at $2.49, so…. really nothing “saved”)

Salsa (Publix, store-brand)

Spent: $1.99

Saved: $2.00 (I normally buy Newman’s Own which sells for $3.99, though part of the money goes to charity!!)

Ground sirloin (Publix, on sale for $3.99/lb)

Spent: $5.51

Saved: $0.90 (though this technically evens out because I’d planned on buying ground round instead of sirloin, which is about a dollar cheaper than the sale price of sirloin)

StarKist Tuna (Wal-Mart, on sale)

Spent: $4 (4 cans for $1/ea)

Saved: $1.28

Smart Choice Peanut butter (Wal-Mart, reg. price)

Spent: $2.74

Saved: $0 (I generally buy this brand at Wal-Mart… it’s $2.99 at Publix)

Shaving cream (Wal-Mart, reg. price)

Spent: $1.84

Saved: $0.90 (switched brands, plus I got 2.5 oz more than what I normally buy)

Tostito multi-grain chips (Wal-Mart, on sale)

Spent: $2.50

Saved: $0.49 (Publix’s store brand is $2.59, just an FYI)

Half-dozen eggs (Publix, reg. priced)

Spent: $0.60

Saved: $1.24 (I generally buy a dozen organic eggs for around $1.99 or more at Wal-Mart)

Cottonelle Toilet paper (CVS,  on sale) – my favorite purchase of the day!

Spent: $5.49 for 12 double rolls

Saved: $2.00 (Reg. priced at Wal-Mart for $7.49, at CVS for $11.99 so to CVS, I saved $6.50!)

Total Spent: $35.80 (w/o tax)

Total Saved: $13.18 (w/o tax)

I feel like I did pretty well! Just in the past two weeks, I’ve saved just under $30 just from paying more attention to what I’m buying, evaluating and reevaluating what we really need, and really sticking to my list. Now, as I said, I went to four stores though I only made purchases at three. One gem of a store I often forget about is the Family Dollar. When I lived in Montevallo, I would HIT UP the FD for all of my cleaning supplies – they are often so much cheaper!! They had some really great deals on the cleaning supplies we use most plus a better deal on trash bags. I ended up regretting the bread purchase from Wal-Mart because I generally just buy regular sandwich bread for about $2.18 a loaf. However, bread does last quite a while at my house and the two loaves we bought will more than likely last a month or more… plus it’s fancy bread which is always more fun. I also bought some ibuprofen at Publix the other day for $4.49 for 50 tablets only to find a 2 for $4 pack at Wal-Mart (with 100 tablets in each bottle). That was a rip-off, but I was in desperated need for ibuprofen, so… I’ll just suck it up for now.

Anyway, this has been a fun morning. I love learning about new ways to save money on groceries – even “mistakes” I am making are learning experiences and I feel like I can only get better at it! I’m getting better about looking for sales, deals, coupons, and offers…. though I have to be careful not to buy items just because they’re on sale. The Pop-Tarts were my only non-list item, but I traded them for cereal and actually ended up saving money by doing so. Saving money isn’t just about what I can do with the leftover money, but what the Lord can do with it instead. Currently, most of my thrifty shopping is out of necessity but as I get older and begin my career, I want to be able to use the money I save for greater purposes than just keeping myself fed and clothed.

Now… my next post will be on why I still shop at Wal-Mart…….. that’s a whole ‘nother story.


confessions May 22, 2009

Filed under: frustration,mindful living,Shopping — Katie @ 1:13 pm

I have a big confession to make.

Yesterday, I went shopping.

I intended to buy an FM transmitter for my iPod, earphones, and a little bit of makeup (the makeup being a pick-me-up for a rough few weeks). I did that. Then I walked by a store that had super cute swimsuits… for only about $20 a piece. I bought two swimsuits (about $84 for both) plus a few other things.

For the transmitter and earphones, I don’t really feel bad at all. I haven’t been able to listen to my iPod in my car for about a year thanks to a broken tape deck, which would be too expensive to fix. The earphones I could probably take back… they were $20 and I heard I can get the same type for about $4 at Fred’s, so those will probably be heading back to Radio Shack. The makeup was a bit of a splurge… and truly one of those emotion-driven purchases. I just walked up to the counter, named my products, and handed over my debit card. At that point, I’d spent about $150…. way more than I intended.

Then came the swimsuit store. I was lured in by a 10 for $25 advertisement and then noticed the cute swimsuits. The next thing I knew, I was using my CREDIT CARD to pay for $200 worth of stuff.

I have spent the last twelve hours or so debating whether or not to take back the things I purchased. The FM transmitter stays, the earphones go. Part of the makeup will go. Everything else…. I am not sure. I really want to keep the stuff because I want it. This is a big deal for me. I know I need to just march right back to the store and hand over everything I bought, but something in me is hesitant.

This is what it is like to be addicted to shopping. You go shopping and feel great while doing it – you should have seen me strutting my stuff in the mall! But then, you leave and have all of this shopper’s remorse and guilt and dread what people will think when you confess. I have been doing so well with this project and am disappointed in myself… and really, I have already ruined part of the project whether or not I take the items back. My mindset switched from satisfied to indulgent in just a matter of minutes and the damage was monumental.

So, that’s what’s going on today.


two cities May 21, 2009

Filed under: jesus,mindful living,missional living — Katie @ 9:37 am

Last week, I was in Gualaco, Honduras with a group from UCM mixing concrete and playing with kids. We left early on Sunday, May 10 and returned the night of May 18. Though it was only a week long trip, it was powerful, Spirit-filled, and a huge impact on my life, my journey, and my project.

From the beginning, I knew that the Lord had his hand in this trip. The $800 expense was intimidating, but I believed the Lord would provide. Not only was I able to pay for my trip, passport, supplies, and spending money, but I was also able to pay all but $170 of someone else’s trip. I say that not to boast, but instead as a testament to the Lord’s faithfulness to me and to a friend who simply asked the Lord to make provisions for her. I also received bags full of clothes, toys, toiletries, aspirin, and other items to leave in Gualaco. I checked two bags full of donations and also had to put donations in other people’s luggage in order to get it all there. I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of generosity, love, and support from my family and friends.

The week was absolutely amazing. Once we got to Tegucigalpa, we had a four hour drive to Gualaco, where we stayed at the Iglesia de Cristo. There were 33 of us in all, including our leaders from UCM, a couple from Auburn, a crazy red head from Tennessee named Kayla, and our leader, Keith. Keith has been traveling to Honduras about twice a year for the past twenty years, bringing groups like ours to pour concrete into houses of those in need. The first day of work was a bit too hard for me physically, as our group was hand-mixing rather than using a tumbler. So, I spent most of my time with the kids in the area. In high school, I took French, so all the Spanish I knew was thanks to a Spanish-English dictionary I purchased before the trip. By the end of the week, though, I was speaking what I consider to be really great Spanish! I also discovered my mad shoveling skills during the week…. so, large piles of dirt: WATCH OUT!

I wish I could write down all of the things I experienced and saw, but I will just upload my flikr account soon and you can check out the details of my journey there. I did not get to visit the clothing factory, but I talked to Keith about it and hopefully he can take me next year. The time we spent in the capital at the end of the week (we stayed for a day and a half to be “tourists” before heading home) was just too busy for me to be personally taken somewhere, but I am confident that I will have another opportunity.

My hope is that the frustration, guilt, and heartache that began stirring in many of us motivates us to work within our own city. Many of us had not seen such extreme poverty and it was difficult not to feel completely spoiled and guilty for the way we live in America. I hope this trip opened our eyes to the needs of those around us. In Tuscaloosa, there are seven major impoverished areas that so desperately need revitalization and hope. My prayer is that we begin to see the needs in our own backyards and begin to take the time to serve the people of our own communities on a daily basis. There is poverty all around us, hurt, pain, confusion…. lost souls. I have said many times that our country is not a land of physical poverty but instead a land of emotional poverty. Even those of us who live relatively safe, secure, and spoiled lives are often living in extreme emotional poverty. If we could only open our eyes wide enough to see the needs of our neighbors and open our hearts wide enough to meet their needs, we would begin to see God’s miraculous works within our own city.

So, as great as my week in Gualaco was, I am glad to be home again where I can continue to build relationships and serve the poor and needy in my own hometown. Honduras, for me, was a time of refreshment for the passion God has placed in my heart for voluntary poverty and backyard missions. I believe He will continue to send me on trips like this for encouragement and for furtherance of what He has called me to do.

Thanks to those who prayed, donated, and thought of me while I was away. There is no way the week would have gone the way it did if my friends and family at home hadn’t been doing their part.

It’s now 4:36 a.m. and I am ever-so-slightly missing the church rooster, who woke me up around this time everyday……


new outfit. May 4, 2009

Filed under: mindful living,Shopping — Katie @ 3:11 am

As promised, here is some of my recent loot:


Gap shirt: purchased for $1.50 from a University Presbyterian Yard Sale (Tuscaloosa), MSRP probably around $35-40

the Limited crop pants: purchased for $3 at the Salvation Army on Skyland (Tuscaloosa), MSRP probably around $40-50

I was in love with this outfit today. Very “me,” I have to say. It also is a great outfit for sitting on the floor of the church eating crawfish and boiled veggies. 🙂

*Sorry for the crappy quality of the photograph… it was taken with PhotoBooth.


SO EXCITED! May 2, 2009

Filed under: reviews,Shopping,thinking — Katie @ 12:56 pm

Since my project has taken a new turn, I’ve had trouble finding the information I’ve been seeking. I want to know where my clothes are made, what those companies represent and what they stand for, why they outsource, how the workers are treated and how they are paid…. you get the idea. Part of my trouble has just been a lack of knowledge about where to even begin to look for such information. One day, I considered just straight up calling the customer service department of my favorite labels! I am hoping that this summer will also allow more time for me to do some investigating and more writing about my journey. This project started as a way to save money but it is constantly making me a more conscientious shopper.

Now… why am I so excited? Well, two things. For one, I have not had a Relevant subscription in probably over a year because I have just been reading the website, which is free. About a month ago, the magazine offered a year’s subscription for $7.50 in celebration of Maya’s (most notably known as Cameron Strang’s wife) birthday. So, I was like… hey, $7.50 is not bad. Yesterday my long-awaited issue came in the mail…. with Kings of Leon on the cover.

As I flipped through, I saw an advertisement for a book called Where am I Wearing? by Kelsey Timmerman. Apparently, Kelsey and I are on the same mission…. except he has apparently worked a lot harder to get information! So, visit this site… buy the book… and look forward to my next post which includes my most recent purchases: $200 worth of clothes for just $7 from a University Presbyterian yard sale benefiting their food pantry.


May 1, 2008 May 1, 2009

Filed under: family,ME — Katie @ 6:48 am

May 1, 2008

I was at work and noticed that my phone kept vibrating. I saw that my sister had called several times as well as my cousin, Holly. Immediately, I knew something was wrong – they don’t call that much for no good reason. Since my granddaddy had cancer, I thought it was news about him. So, I went to the break room at my office and returned my sister’s call.

She was crying, which confirmed my expectations. I remember beginning to cry, saying "No, please don’t say it," expecting her to say that my granddaddy had passed away during his sleep. What she said next felt like a punch right to the gut.

My eighteen-year-old cousin, Jonathan, had been in a wreck just near his high school. And did not make it.

Just like when my dad died, I felt this deep sense of sorrow that I have only experienced those two times. I wept in the break room – not caring who could hear or see. I immediately prepared to drive to Tuscaloosa, crying and screaming at God the whole way home.

As I have said before, death is no stranger to my family. Less than two months before Jonathan died, my grandmother had passed away. And before that, my uncle Jerry, and my dad. And even before them, we had experienced a long list of losses… that’s what happens when you come from a big family, I suppose.

There are still so many questions, but I think my family is finding peace and resting on God’s promises. He is weaving a beautiful masterpiece with our lives and all we can see is the messy underside. To me, I find peace in knowing that Jonathan, even at eighteen, lived a full life. He was the BEST kid. No joke. Okay, as an actual child he was a little rowdy, but he grew up to be this mellow, charming…. well… hippie. He was fun to talk to and had this smirk that you could read into for hours.

When he was ten or eleven, his mom had a second child with her new husband. Not long after the new baby came around, she had yet another! I remember asking Jonathan one day if the babies ever got on his nerves… told him that I could imagine it was frustrating having to take care of them sometimes. His response completely surprised me… he told me not only did he not mind, but he actually kind of liked it. The boys loved him. I mean… loved him. A few years after the boys came along, Shirley and her husband had a third baby… a little girl. And their relationship was even more beautiful.

Jonna also had a great relationship with his mom, his "Nano", and his "Grumps," who had passed away a little over a year before Jonathan. He was the kind of kid I think I’d want to have… respectful but fairly mischevious, well-liked for all the right reasons, loving, kind, andmature.

It is hard to not get to watch him grow up into a husband, a father, and a grandfather. My extended family is very close and it is so exciting to be a part of their lives as they grow and change. But, in a way, I think Jonathan gets something we don’t. He gets to stay forever young – without having missed out on anything.

His mom and grandmother are still having a hard time, so, if you’re reading this… please pray for them and continue to pray for them. I can’t imagine what it is like to bury your child, but I hear that it is the most difficult thing you could ever do on this earth. They are now able to smile more and talk more about what has happened, but it is still such a fresh memory that Jonathan is never far from their minds. Pray for Jonna’s little siblings – Jacob, Matthew, and Julia. I pray that they can remember him and his love for them as they grow up. Pray for his friends, who loved him and were like a second family to him. Many of his friends have been around since he was little. And, finally, pray for Houston (the driver). Houston has so much to recover from and so much to learn from this. It is my prayer that the Lord intervenes daily on his behalf and takes this awful situation and turns it into a testament to God’s providence and sovereignity.

May 1, 2009

Today, I’m going with my cousins to breakfast and to the wreck site. We have always been a team… Jace, me, Holly, Jonna, and Sescily. The five of us grew up together… with Holly and Jonna having a relationship much like me and Jace. Jace has always been more like my brother, and I think Holly would say the same of Jonna. Now our team is smaller…. able to fit into a City Cafe booth more comfortably, but Jonna’s presence is not ignored. He will always and forever be Jonna…… although I’m sure he didn’t really like being called that.