perder la vida

Learning to Live Missionally and Mindfully

My People. March 30, 2010

Filed under: creativity flowing,frustration,jesus,missional living,thinking — Katie @ 12:09 am

The past few weeks have been really hard on my emotions, body, social life, relationships, and all the other things that suffer when you’re stretched too thin. I waste what little truly free time I have because my brain is so fried that I can’t convince myself to be productive. But I also can’t convince myself to not be productive…. or at least I can’t convince myself that it’s okay to sit back and truly relax. The last day I had “free” where I could do whatever I wanted was the day I was sick several weeks ago… and I still did schoolwork and had to deal with the beginning of the end of my car. So, needless to say, I am in need of rest.

Today, I was about to break. Teaching and going to school plus having a life is all starting to get to me. But today some of my sweet students reminded me of my future as a teacher and of how the work I am doing now is all worth it. I try to bring a variety of books with me to 2nd grade for students to read when they have free time. Since testing is going on, the school day was a little more relaxed and there was plenty of time for free reading. My book selection today was a selection of poetry books. Two Langston Hughes books, a Caribbean poetry book, and a fun-read poetry book were the choices.

For about half an hour, I sat with five students… listening to them read beautiful poetry, question its “point,” and having them ask me to read poetry to them. It was the most beautiful moment of my entire time at Southview. I had no idea they’d be so interested in poetry… and interested in poetry that they didn’t necessarily understand. Hearing a struggling reader boldly read “Theme for English B” or the laughter of little boys when I explained the meaning behind “When Sue Wears Red” or the sweet song of a girl singing “Hey!”…. it just made my heart smile.

But the moment when I had to hold it together so I wouldn’t bust out in tears of thankfulness and adoration was when my little bitty ball of fire read “My People” with the passion and enthusiasm of a great orator. As she read, the uncomplicated words felt like a blanket around my worn-out soul… reminding me of the simplicity of the world and of the beauty of such magical moments.

“My People”

The night is beautiful,

So the faces of my people.

The stars are beautiful,

So the eyes of my people.

Beautiful, also, is the sun.

Beautiful, also, are the souls of my people.

– Langston Hughes

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Dreamer November 10, 2009

Filed under: creativity flowing,jesus,ME,spirtual matters,thinking — Katie @ 2:03 pm

As many of you reading this already know, I have very imaginative and vivid dreams. As an infant, I suffered from “night terrors.” These are horrifying dreams that babies often suffer from that cause them to wake up “screaming bloody murder” (in my Mom’s terms). The first dream I remember having was actually a recurring one where my head would get held underwater in a fish tank and I would wake up gasping for air. In 2004/2005, I would dream about my dad dying and would wake up in tears. These dreams prompted me to get closer to my dad and reminded me how precious my time was with him and when he died in 2006, I realized the importance of those dreams. In high school, I dreamed my grandmother died and was so convinced that it actually happened when I woke up, that I immediately called her to see if she was still alive (she was okay!)!

 

But I have also had hysterically funny dreams…. like the time I was being chased by a giant cricket. I often have dreams that are completely absurd and I wake up laughing. Even though I don’t believe these dreams have any deeper meaning or significance in and of themselves, I really believe they are a gift from God… I mean, who wouldn’t want to wake up laughing!?

 

Some of you reading this may not believe that God is in control of our dream life. I, however, do. The Bible has several stories of prophetic dreams and their interpretations. Jesus’ birth itself is intertwined with messages delivered through dreams. As early as Genesis, we hear of Joseph interpreting a dream for Pharaoh. Daniel interpreted the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar, and even Joseph (Mary’s husband) had dreams sent directly from the Lord.

 

Since I believe that the gift of prophecy is certainly alive and well in Christians today, I also believe that dreams are a type of language in which God chooses to speak to us. Some of us are open to this type of language, some are not. I know people who never remember their dreams and are convinced that they do not dream at all. There are several reasons for this, but I won’t get into that here. I just know that God designed me to receive and interpret dreams.

 

In Mark 4, Jesus tells the disciples that “The secret (“mystery” in some translations) of the kingdom of God has been given to you.” (v. 11) Later, he tells them, “For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” (v. 22-23) We all know that Jesus taught in parables and I believe that the Lord is still giving us parables today. Prophecy and dreams are a type of parable, a different type of language that God delivers to us. Most of us ask God for clear and concise information, but I don’t believe that’s always how God works. I mean…. the whole bible is a story that we all interpret to gain meaning and understanding and purpose for our lives. The prophetic is the same. They are stories, images, dreams, words, prompts… ways that the Lord speaks to us for us to interpret.

 

Now, I could go on and on about the interpretation part and how you have to be very careful when interpreting the prophetic. If I receive a dream that I believe is “spiritual” but cannot figure out an interpretation, I put it on the back-burner. I had a dream a few months ago that basically told me that a friend of mine had an evil spirit around him and that he was being used by the spirit to distract an entire church. That is a pretty serious accusation, so I was careful to seek interpretation. I still do not have that dream figured out, therefore I have put it on the back-burner and am still open to an interpretation should it come. But, for now, I do not believe that my friend has an evil spirit around him. Instead, I have just prayed for protection from such spirits and for the Lord to protect that church. Sometimes, dreams are used for a warning rather than for an update on current events. And, sometimes, you have to just give the spicy taco you ate at 11pm the credit for your crazy dreams.

 

If you are still reading this, props to you. Let me know that you made it this far. I feel like I am writing a book on prophetic dreams when I actually just sat down to write about some of the funny dreams I have been having lately. So, I’ll jump to the funny bits.
I have not been having a lot of prophetic dreams lately. In April, I started reading a book by James & Michal Ann Goll called Dream Language. It’s a great book and has helped me understand my dreams and why I receive them. It also prompted me to start a dream journal. I have been writing my dreams and their interpretations (or lack thereof) since then. I found myself up and writing dreams at one in the morning on occasion. Lately, though, I’ve been pretty dry. And sometimes I’ll have a dream and get so busy that I forget to write it down… and then I forget it.

 

But over the past few weeks, the hysterical dreams have come back in full force. The funny dreams started with a dream in which I was dating…… LUDACRIS. Seriously. We were an item and he was so, so sweet. All I can really remember from the dream was that he picked up some really heavy boxes for me and I would tell people that I loved him because he could “carry heavy stuff” for me. That’s the resounding phrase I kept hearing, “carry heavy stuff.” So… maybe I need some hot rapper in my life to carry all my heavy stuff… whatever that means.

 

Funny dream #2 came to me Saturday night. I watched a creeper movie called 28 Days Later where these zombie-like infected people try to attack the few remaining humans on earth. I even told the person I was with that I was going to dream about zombies that night. Sure enough, I did. I dreamed that I was being chased by zombies. I kept having close encounters, but managed to escape every time. At one point, someone actually rescued me from an attack. The next thing I knew, I was in a rickety boat with a handful of other people. The lake we were on was murky and steamy and the people told me we had to go underwater in order to be saved from the zombies. I was crying hysterically because I thought they meant that we had to drown ourselves. I refused to go into the water, so this guy with super dark hair (the details!!) pulled me into the water. Once I was under, the water was vividly clear and I could see everything. There was a whole city under that dingy lake! Plus, we could breathe under the water! It was a miracle. At the lake floor, there was a medical treatment facility and that’s where we went. I don’t know what happened there because the dream jumped forward. All of a sudden, the people from the boat (dark haired guy included) and I were riding on a cart in a busy airport. In my head, I kept thinking “To these people (who were passing by us), it’s just another day. They have no idea that we just encountered ZOMBIES.”

 

Dream #3 happened last night and has fewer details, but it was still funny. I was on The Office and we were showing all the employees the new Jim doll. Dwight was so angry. The Jim doll was made in the likeness of the Dwight doll, except with Jim’s features. We all knew it was making Dwight mad, so we kept going on and on about the new Jim doll. It was so weird.

 

So, there you have it. Congratulations if you made it to the end. You’re either a trooper…. or really, really bored.

 

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…

THE LIST

cereal

8 gal. trash bags

bread

salsa

ground beef

tuna

peanut butter (I only eat Smart Balance PB)

tortilla chips

eggs

shaving cream

toilet paper (I only use Cottonelle… expensive!)

WHAT I BOUGHT

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.

 

Thrifty Spending March 13, 2009

Filed under: creativity flowing — Katie @ 12:57 pm

I’m leaving tomorrow on a mission trip to Gulfport, MS for Spring Break. I am really excited about the trip, but Sunday during our training meeting, I realized that I was going to need some work clothes. Work as in… outside, get dirty, 70+degree weather…. work clothes. I really don’t have any of that! So, my mom suggested I hit up the thrift store. She’s so smart!

I RACKED UP!

For just under $30 (which is still within my $100 once I make a couple of returns), I was able to get not one, not two, not three… okay, enough of that…. I was able to get two pairs of sweatpants, one pair of wind-suit-y type pants, one pair of cotton capris, one pair of navy khaki capris (from the Limited), a pair of travel-friendly dress pants (from the Limited), a pair of purple pants (from Ann Taylor Loft – they were $3, give me a break!), and two light jackets (for the chilly mornings, one was from Express and still had the tags on it). That’s SEVEN bottoms and TWO tops for under $30! Can you believe that?

Now, I know this is two shopping trips in a short time frame, but as I said in my last post, this is Phase 2. In Phase 2, I have decided that I can shop when I need something, but ONLY at the thrift or consignment store. And, of course, I have to have a budget in mind (my budget for the thrift store was $25 – I was $3 over, but I have $13 worth of returns – you can’t try on the clothes there, so you have to return them).

I have to say that thrift store/cosignment store shopping is SO much more fun than shopping at the mall! You never know what you will find! I LOVE Ann Taylor Loft, but the clothes are way too expensive for me. So, to find a great pair of pants for $3 that are practically new and in great condition…. that’s a rush!! They need to be hemmed, but, hey – for $3, I’ll take ’em!

Check out some of my loot:

Needless to say, I’m ecstatic about my newfound hobby. I still have to be careful because, after all, this project started as a way to limit my spending. But, I’d say that I’ve done pretty well… got some things I’ve really needed and now I think I’ll just enjoy my recent purchases and wait until I need something else before shopping again.

 

Phase Two March 9, 2009

Filed under: creativity flowing,ME,mindful living,Shopping — Katie @ 2:27 pm

Wow! It has been a really long time since my last update. For the past couple of months, things have been going well. The challenge I’ve faced recently is just the challenge of having a limited wardrobe. I was wearing the same pair of jeans two or more times in a week because I only had a few pairs that fit well. I have to be honest – starting the University has been difficult on my self-esteem. It is hard to walk around a campus and see what others are wearing and know that I don’t have what they have. I have had feelings of inadequacy, which I’ve never really felt before. It’s been hard to supress those feelings and remind myself of who I am in the Lord and of the things that are really most important in my life.

I also have been questioning clothing companies in and of themselves, lately. One of my favorite clothing stores is known for its trendy but ridiculously affordable clothing. What I starte to wonder is why these clothes are so cheap. Looking on the label, I noticed that everything is made in Taiwan, the Phillipines, India, Turkey and other countries. I started wondering about the people who actually had their hands on my garment. Are these people treated fairly? Are they given fair wages? Do they work twelve hour days in poor conditions? Could they even afford the clothes they’re making?

My heart started to ache for these people. How could I live with myself? I am so concerned with my wardrobe that I am supporting a company that may have business practices with which I do not agree. I have realized that this is a catch-22. Outsourcing provides employment in countries that desperately need economic growth and development, but… at what price? I read an article once about clothing workers in Asia who worked twelve hour days and were forced to live in these tiny, substandard dormatories. They worked in horrible conditions and were not allowed to see their families. But, they had a job, so it was seen as a good thing. I’m just not okay with that.

So, I started thinking about other ways to buy clothes without supporting certain companies. If you’ve ever noticed, very few things are made in America these days – particularly clothes. I would have to never buy a single article of clothing ever again if I wanted to avoid it altogether. But, it’s impossible. I have really needed new jeans and have been debating whether or not to buy any. Well, finally, I broke down. So, I went to the consignment store and stocked up. I bought four, maybe five, pairs of jeans and two shirts for just $75. That’s still a lot of money, but a steal compared to what I would have paid if I’d bought jeans at their retail price. Normally, I buy jeans that run about $60 per pair. This $75 was from the $100 my mom gave me upon starting this project.

Consignment shops are great for two reasons. Firstly, when you shop at a consignment store, you’re supporting local business. The two shops I go to are in downtown Tuscaloosa (Twice As Nice and Deja Vu). I know that my money is going to their families and to the employees who work there, which is the second part of their greatness. When you shop consignment, you are able to stick it to the clothing companies…. even though it’s on a pretty small scale. You are getting the benefit of their designs and clothing without any money going directly to them. Sure, everything may not fit perfectly and you may not be able to find something every time you go. This was actually my second trip to the consignment store in search of jeans. The first time I went a few weeks ago, I came out empty-handed because they didn’t have any jeans in my size. Normally, I could have just gone to the mall and walked into my store and purchased jeans without even having to try them on. But, I had to be patient, creative, and willing to take what I could get. I eventually found a few pairs of jeans that fit pretty well, so I bought all of them. That’s the other rule to consignment shopping – if it fits and you need it, buy it! You can’t put the jeans back and “think about them” and then go back a few days later expecting them to be there! You have to take advantage of what’s there at the time, so I did.

And I am glad I did! I am happy with my purchases and eager to wear every single pair until they fall apart at the seams!

So, Phase Two has begun. I’m now going to focus my efforts towards learning more about clothing companies and the effects of our spending.