perder la vida

Learning to Live Missionally and Mindfully

Fever 2010 February 22, 2010

Filed under: delerium,family,frustration,general information — Katie @ 9:16 pm

I find it strangely coincidental that I am reading a book called Fever 1793 (about the 1793 Yellow Fever epidemic in Philadelpha; written by Laurie Halse Anderson) and that I woke up today with a 100.5 degree fever.

Yesterday I felt “weird” all day, but figured the busy week was just catching up to me. This morning, I woke up with my ears aching (sure sign of a fever for me), a headache, a cough, and a sore throat. I was supposed to be at my placement (2nd grade) today, but couldn’t go because of the fever. So I went to the doctor to make sure I didn’t have the flu and to get some drugs.

As I was driving home, I felt extremely tired. I was just ready to come home and crawl into bed and sleep for a few more hours. Then, about half a mile before pulling into my driveway, my car started to make this soft grinding noise. I thought I hadn’t completely shifted gears, so I slowed down. Then an emergency light came on. Then my battery light came on. Then my battery died! In the middle of the street!!! My phone wouldn’t work, so I just sat there… sickly and irritated, waiting on someone to help me.

It didn’t take long for someone to see me and pull over to help. This nice older man PUSHED my car into my uncle’s driveway and then drove me home. Thank God for the kindness of my neighbors.

My mom says “If it’s not one thing, it’s four.” She’s right.

But I’m not complaining. A day of rest and some car problems never killed anybody.


Saying Goodbye January 21, 2010

I have said “goodbye” far too often over the past few years. When I stop and think about the grief my family and I have endured since 2006, it overwhelms me. Sometimes, out of nowhere, feelings of anger and bitterness rise up because I randomly remember that life is not fair.

On Saturday, I heard about a 25-year-old acquaintance of mine who died in a boating accident. This acquaintance of mine, Matt Miller, was golden. I am not going to elaborate on his life here, but just know that he was the kind of person everyone should have the opportunity to know. I was shocked by his death. Angry, even, that God could somehow think that Matt Miller’s life on earth was complete. Matt’s death reminded me so much of the car accident that took my 18-year-old cousin, Jonathan’s, life in May 2008. I remembered my dad’s quick illness and sudden death in 2006. I remembered all the people I have known who have died in the past three and a half years. There are too many to name.

Then I remembered that just one year ago today, my granddaddy left this earth. I remembered how perfect his last few days were. We were ready to say goodbye. Watching my granddaddy fade from one life to the next was much like watching a ship sail out to sea. We prepared ourselves for his leaving, savored each moment, and took him to a place where he could be set free. And in those very last days, there we were, my family and I, standing at the shore waving our last “goodbye’s” until he had sailed so far away that we could not see him any more.

Saying goodbye is hard. Whether you have the opportunity to bask in a loved one’s final sunset or if someone’s life is ripped from this earth like a tree cleaved from its roots, saying goodbye is hard. It is never easy.

It’s not supposed to be.


Hello, Goodbye. December 31, 2009

Filed under: family,frenz,fun times,general information,mindful living — Katie @ 3:59 pm

It’s time once again to reflect on a great year. But, not only am I reflecting on a great year but also on a great decade. The decade began, as you know, with the potential for disaster. Though no computers crashed and the world didn’t end, my family encountered quite a disaster. Apparently my uncle inhaled too many smoke fumes from the fireworks and ended up in the hospital! Quite a way to ring in the new year, right? Other than that, the beginning of the decade was uneventful.

But, the decade itself was quite eventful. I graduated high school, sang in Carnegie Hall, went to Disney World three times, went in and out of college, experienced great loss, went to Honduras, led worship, left the Church, returned to the Church, became a Derek Webb fan, fell in love with New Orleans, adopted a dog, saw Alison Krauss in concert, built a house, moved about ten times, watched my friends get married, watched my friends become parents, discovered what I wanted to do with my life, and met some truly amazing people along the way.

It’s been a great decade. I am not who I thought I would be or doing the things I thought I’d be doing at this point in my life, but I really wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m finally looking forward to finishing college and I know exactly what I want to do with my life and exactly where I want to do it. I’m praying that the 2010’s (not sure what to call the upcoming decade…) includes student teaching in Greece, moving to North Carolina, working towards a Master’s (never thought I’d say that!), adopting another dog, traveling to Asia, getting an iPhone. 🙂

But first, before I can move forward, I need to look back at this past year. I wasn’t sure what to expect in 2009 and I’m beginning to think that’s the way to look at everything… with low expectations! I certainly didn’t have any big plans for 2009, but this has been one of my best years yet.

The year began with a “Friendship Day” with Miss Ashley Martin. We hung out all day and watched Tyler Perry movies and then semi-successfully made Hoppin’ John’s (a New Year’s Tradition). A few days after this, I started taking classes at the University of Alabama… something I swore I’d never do. The rest of the year was quite a whirlwind. Here’s a recap:

– January 21 – my sweet granddaddy passed away. Though it was sad, it was peaceful and my family and I enjoyed our last days and moments with him. A few days after, we had a Celebration of Life service (rather than a funeral) and man… it was awesome!!

– Went to Gulf Port for a mission trip. Learned how to skirt a trailer.

– Spent four hours in a car with Rob & Benji while traveling to South Alabama to see Misty & Bobby get married. Rescued a turtle on the way. Pretty sure it was a TMNT.

– Had an Easter Sunday picnic on the Quad with some incredible friends.

– Went to Tennessee with Rachele to renew her driver’s license and then drove back. That was a random day which included a tasty lunch at a cute little diner in Podunk, Tennessee.

– Traveled to Honduras! This was definitely a highlight of my year.

– Had my wisdom teeth taken out. Then had an allergic reaction. Times two. Then had severe dry sockets. This was definitely not a good experience!

– Went on a 10-day road trip with my mom up the coast and back. Saw Louisville, Cincinnati, Greenville & Guilford (ME), NYC, Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, and the Blue Ridge Highway. Rode in a sea plane. Spread my granddaddy’s ashes in Moosehead Lake. And I touched a zebra.

– Ended up in the E.R. one night thinking my intestines were obstructed. Just a kidney infection… you know, no big deal.

– Went to the beach with Rachele and did NOTHING. Except lay in the sun.

– Had a dream that I received a hefty financial aid package. Found out not long after that I did, in fact, receive a hefty financial aid package. 🙂

– Turned 24. Had a rockin birthday party.

– Interned in a kindergarten class (and survived!).

– Traveled to North Carolina (one of my resolutions!!) to seemy dear friend Alisa get married!!

– Rolled my first house (sorry, Chris McCay!).

– Determined what the heck I wanted to do with my life.

– Became a semi-avid football fan after attending the UA/TN game.

– Had a root canal. WAY FUN. Not.

– Went to Disney World for Thanksgiving with some of my extended family. Rode Mt. Everest not once, not twice, not…. okay, we rode it FIVE times. In a row.

– Finished my first professional semester at UA.

– Bought a ukulele.

And those are just the big moments. Lots of amazing little moments in between…. dates with Ashley at City Cafe, reading lots of incredible books, a mini-weekend in Birmingham with Carla, way too much time spent in the dentist’s chair, and lots more. This year really was an incredible one.

So, to wrap things up… it’s time for resolutions. I think I did pretty well with last year’s:

1. Start UA and work towards my degree (obviously) and towards getting accepted into Teach for America

Done. All A’s, both semesters.

2. Pay off my car loan!!!
Done. Waiting on the title!

3. TRAVEL! Even if it’s just to NC to see Alisa!
Done. LOTS of traveling this year!

4. Draw boundaries (and stick ot them) with the way I spend my time and energy.

Done. Though it was difficult and I’m still not that great at it!

This year’s resolutions are:

1. Travel to a state I’ve never visited. (I have been to about half so far.)

2. Try a new food/cuisine at least once a month and write about it.

3. Learn to sew/monogram and use the Cricket.

I don’t even put “read more” on my list of resolutions because I think I do that anyway.

What a year. My feeling is that 2010 is going to be a year of preparation… I’ll apply to two major programs this year (to do my student teaching overseas and to Teach for America). I could have a job contract by November 23 of next year. That freaks me out a little bit! So, hello 2010. You have a lot to live up to!


Since it’s Christmas… December 23, 2009

Filed under: family,frenz,fun times,ME — Katie @ 3:00 pm

It’s coming. Christmas is coming. Whether you want it to or not. I have been surprised by the Grinchy-ness of some people this year and even at myself… I honked & screamed at someone who cut me off the other day. If you know me, you know I am the calmest driver ever, so that was a big deal. I felt serious guilt afterward. But overall, I have been my usual giddy Christmas-loving self.

But something tragic happened this year that has put a damper on my Christmas. Seriously tragic. Here’s what happened.

After the SEC game was over (which, Bama won in case you’ve been living under a rock), I was so excited that I put up my Christmas tree in record time. Our tree is relatively small, but it is COVERED in ornaments. I love ornaments. The more you have, the more your tree sparkles! I was so excited about the tree this year. Somehow, it was more beautiful than ever. Naturally, I am in the habit of turning the Christmas tree lights on anytime I’m in the room. I figure you only have a Christmas tree up one time a year, so you might as well enjoy it whenever you can.

And then the unthinkable happened. Last week as I was sitting on my couch watching Lost (more on that later), I glanced over to admire my glittery glimmering happy Christmas tree. And my heart shattered into a million pieces.

The strand of lights on the top and the strand on the bottom…. were out. Only the midsection of the tree was lit. I was devastated! These lights have lasted a few years and I was planning to buy better ones next year. I thought these would survive until Christmas! But they did not. And what did I do?

You’d think I stripped that tree down to its aluminum core in order to re-light the tree or maybe that I’d hunt for the bad bulbs and replace them.

But no.

I just let it be.

So, here’s to partially lit Christmas trees. Here’s to enjoying Christmas no matter what. Here’s to hunting down the best decorated houses, giving gifts and seeing peoples’ happy faces, to eggnog coffee, to a Christmas morning pajama party at my Aunt’s. I hope you all have a fantastic Christmas, too! Don’t let the Grinch shrink your heart!


best year yet December 1, 2009

Filed under: family,frenz,fun times,general information,ME — Katie @ 1:31 pm

It’s really too early to do an end-of-year blog about what I’ve loved and loathed about this year, but when I stop and think about 2009, I can’t help but think of what an amazing year I’ve had.  I am not sure if the next thirty days can compare to the past 334.

It has been an interesting year filled with intense growth, travel, friendship, surprises, and more memories than my brain can hold.

I’m challenging myself to see how memorable I can make the last thirty-one days of 2009. I’m going to try to squeeze in one last road trip, one more party, one more Tyler Perry movie…. and then prepare to make 2010 even more amazing.
Cheers! It’s DECEMBER!


A Brand New Day September 22, 2009

Filed under: family,jesus,ME — Katie @ 10:22 pm

I miss my dad.

Simple as that. I miss him. Not a day goes by where my mind doesn’t stop and pause on thoughts of him. Each September, I start to relive the last week of my dad’s life. I can’t help but wish I could go back to that week and linger on every single moment that came and went. I wish I could stand there in my dad’s presence just one last time… soaking up every crinkle in his tanned skin, the deepness of his dark brown eyes, every wiry gray hair, every raspy word he had to say.

The last time I saw him, I knew I needed to pay attention. Something in me knew to take in as much as I could, but I had no idea that would be the last time I saw him alive. Now that I know, I can’t help but wish to go back so I could stay just a little longer. So I could hug him longer, tell him sweeter things, hold tightly to his leathery brown hands and spend just one more moment with him.

But what I know is that just one more moment would never be enough. If I had five more minutes, I would want five more. If I had two more days, I would want two more. Even another lifetime with him wouldn’t be enough.

This year has held more hurt than the previous two. The dust my dad’s death stirred up is beginning to settle again. Life is moving forward without him. My mom and I have learned what life looks like without him. In some ways, it’s good. It’s good to continue on and live a life that would make him proud. But, in some ways, it’s heartbreaking. There is so much I wish I could share with him…so much I wish I could say… so much I wish he could see.

But through all the pain, through all the brokenness, and through all the many tears I’ve cried, I cannot deny the fact that the Lord has carried me every single step of the way. I cannot say it enough – God. is. faithful. He is so faithful. He is so trustworthy. When my world was turned upside down, He promised He would take care of me and I stand today as a testament to His provisions, to His mercy, and to His love for me. I want to shout at the rooftops of His goodness! The more my heart breaks, the more the Lord puts it back together… and the more He puts it back together, the more I want to tell the world about His goodness. For all the tears I’ve cried out of grief, I have cried ten times more out of thankfulness and excitement about the way the Lord has kept His promise to me.

I miss my dad. I always will. But when I think about what the Lord has done, I can’t help but be thankful for all the moments I did have with my dad and for the twenty-one years I knew him and for the relationship we had. I can’t help but be thankful for the Lord’s provision, for new-found father figures, for new “families,” and for a brand spanking new life.

Yesterday marked three years since my dad left this world. It was a good day… a busy one, filled with plenty of distractions. But at the end of the day, I remembered my dad. I remembered what I was doing on that day three years ago. And I remembered the Lord’s goodness. And last night, new life was brought into the world. My cousin Esther Charlotte was born. Three years ago yesterday, her parents also said goodbye to a little life yet to even make it into to this world. And three years later… a beautiful baby girl is born. So, here’s to God’s goodness… for goodbye’s and hello’s. For life in the midst of death. For hope in the face of loss. For me, yesterday was a brand new day.


Getting older’s not so bad when you have friends like mine August 15, 2009

Filed under: family,frenz,ME — Katie @ 11:14 am

What I want most for every birthday is to be surrounded by people I love and to see them happy. I always make a big deal out of my birthday because it’s an excuse to get people together and be a host (one of my passions!). I love seeing people in conversation, watching them discover each other, laugh at one another, and build relationships. Maybe my passion is people…. (I’m trying to find my passions in life, if you can’t tell). Last night’s birthday shin-dig was certainly one to remember.

It started with Rachele and me discovering how unqualified we are to light a grill. You’d think it’d be easy….. but, no. About twenty matches later…. we had flame. Then we closed the grill. Then we opened it. Then the flame was gone. So, Rachele tells me to pour more lighter fluid on it. . . . . DO NOT DO THIS! Flames will leap at you! But, we eventually got it going and everyone got to grill their favorite foods while Rachele and I made Unintentional Sliders. 🙂

After eating way too much white chocolate popcorn, we did the cake/presents thing and…. let me just say, I got some awesome gifts. First of all, Stephen and Susanna gave me The Shell. This shell is no ordinary shell… it is a perfectly formed conch shell that Stephen and Susanna found in Hawaii while on their honeymoon. Stephen planned a long, romantic walk down the shores of Maui and they happened to stumble upon this shell and found a long-lost love letter in it. Okay, that is all a lie…. it actually came from a shell shop in Florida and they had it on display at their house and I asked for it…. so I got it. I love my friends. Rachel and Valentino gave me what we all thought was going to be a pair of earrings or a special coin or a rock from Jerusalem………………. but it was a pickled sausage (and a gift card to Target!). Ashley made me a giant cookie cake, which I ate all of… Nicole brought me a pack of OREOS!!!!! Rachele brought me some BEAUTIFUL gerbera daisies, which I pray last for a really long time. Jon (not Quitt) got me Donavon Frankenreiter’s latest album…. and Ashley Atkins….. She bought me Office Space. Gifts are one of my love languages and my friends definitely hit the jackpot last night.

So, all in all, my extended birthday celebration so far has been excellent! Tuesday is going to be relatively normal except that I’m getting my hair washed and cut and then having dinner at the Cotton Patch. I love birthdays. I love my friends. I love love. Love love love love love.