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


Back from the ‘boro March 18, 2010

Filed under: frustration,jesus,missional living,spirtual matters — Katie @ 2:28 pm

It’s Spring Break. WORD.

Originally, I had no Spring Break plans other than to sleep, relax, and catch up on schoolwork. Then I decided that was ridiculous. So after a brief chat with my mom, I thought that a trip to Greensboro (NC) would be a great idea. It WAS a great idea! It wasn’t a very long trip… but long enough to get away from Tuscaloosa, catch up with some great friends, and fall a little bit more in love with North Carolina.

What I realized about Greensboro during this trip is that it’s just a really big small town. As Greensboro has grown, it has built itself around existing buildings and homes. I’m sure many structures have been demolished over time to make way for growth, but many more remain. The downtown area is also not overwhelming… nowhere near the madness of Atlanta or Boston. Okay, I know those cities are much, much larger than Greensboro… but… that’s what I think of when I think of driving downtown! Anyway, I could go on and on about all the things I love about Greensboro.

But, what I loved most about this trip was our visit to the International Civil Rights Center & Museum (could they have chosen a longer name?). According to Alisa, Greensboro is where the civil rights movement began. 🙂 The museum is actually located in the old Woolworth’s department store building, which is where four young men from NC A&T protested the injustice of the continued practice of segregation. They began their protest on February 1, 1960. Within a week, students from other universities in the south began holding their own sit-ins. Within three months, the sit-in movement had swept the racially tense south and helped bring racial segregation to an end.

Since I am from the south and have experienced modern racism, I am fascinated by anything and everything to do with the civil rights movement. But, this museum moved me in an unexpected way.

The first exhibit featured a KKK robe and hood. I did not expect to see that… at all. It was in a dimly lit case and, at first, I didn’t notice it. I walked closer to the case to read an information board on an adjacent wall. Then, I realized I was standing right next to this disgusting artifact. Once I realized what it was, I almost broke down in tears right then and there! There is a part of me that is so ashamed of the people who came before me. None of my family was involved with the KKK… in fact, my great-grandfather (a rich landowner, farmer, and employer) set an example in our community for helping African-Americans. But, I still cringe whenever I see anything related to that awful organization. I wondered how I really would have felt about blacks during the 50’s and 60’s. Would I have been a friend? Would I have helped fight for civil rights? Or would I have fallen into the trap of ignorance like so many southern whites?

I could go on and on about the things I saw in the museum and how I feel and how I am constantly taking for granted the freedoms and civil liberties that we have now. Just being able to stand in the same room with people of all races is a major achievement. But, what I haven’t stopped thinking about since the visit is not about race at all. I started thinking about human trafficking and the fact that there are more people enslaved today in 2010 than there were before the American emancipation. I don’t think about it much because it’s not as prominent in the U.S. But, countries across the world are harboring and trading human beings for sex and labor. India alone has 40 million bonded slaves (the Dalits/Untouchables) working to pay off the debts of their ancestors.

I wonder what I can do… I wonder if I can do anything. I wonder why our attention has been on Iraq for so long when there are so many more people hurting across the world? I wonder why we are stuck on one civil rights movement (Though powerful! And important!) when our global brothers and sisters in our current day and time have no civil rights and no liberties are are being treated like animals. I wonder if things will ever change. To me, the problem seems so big that there may not be a solution. But I hope that as we become more aware of the realities of this world,  people will begin to take a stand the way those four young men took a stand for racial equality in a time of division and hatred. And maybe… just maybe… one day I will walk through the halls of a museum dedicated to the disenthrallment of slaves everywhere.

That was deep. 🙂


Life’s Lessons February 25, 2010

Filed under: frustration,general information,ME — Katie @ 2:43 am

Warning: Whining ahead.

Throughout the course of our lives, we all learn valuable lessons that we wished we could’ve learned an easier way. We often learn from our mistakes and, though we’re grateful to have learned a lesson, we wish we could have avoided the mistake. I have a great deal of mistakes under my belt… and also a lot of valuable lessons learned.

One of my most recent valuable lessons learned: Don’t buy a car! Ever! You should just ride a bicycle. Or walk.

Okay, so that’s not really what I’ve learned. What I’ve learned is that when my mechanic tells me something, I should write it down so that I don’t forget that my timing belt needs to be replaced until after the belts breaks and ruins my motor. Yeah, that’d be a good idea.

It wouldn’t be such a big deal if I hadn’t just had a lot of major work done on my car… most recently, I had the clutch replaced. That’s not a cheap procedure. I’m just not willing to shell out the cash to replace a timing belt and repair the motor (nearly $2000 of work) after just spending around $1000 for a new clutch, $200 for a new starter, over $800 in tires over 4 years, and all the other crazy things that have happened to my car.

So, basically I am stuck with one option: get a new car. Seeing that I’m still in school and have no real income, I’m not sure how that’s going to happen. What I’ve decided is this… for now I’m okay. I’m borrowing my mom’s car and she’s borrowing one of my sister’s family’s spare trucks. There is no rush for me to get a new car, which is great because I have no way to pay for a new car! My plan is to just be patient and see what God can provide! My guess is that something awesome will happen in the 11th hour and I’ll be grateful I waited. My inclination is to just go find a way to buy a new car and put myself into more debt, but… I’m going to hold off on that.

So, here’s to lessons learned.


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.


Friday to Friday February 5, 2010

Filed under: frustration,general information,mindful living — Katie @ 7:56 pm

Last Friday, my left foot started hurting after I walked all over campus and Tuscaloosa for about two hours in less-than-sturdy shoes. I immediately recognized the pain as a tendinitis flare-up, as I have had problems with this foot before. I thought the pain would go away in a week’s time, but it has not. I was on crutches for a few days and will probably resort back to using them tomorrow. The pain got better on Monday/Tuesday, but walking to Graves from the Ferg did me in on Wednesday.

This is just a bummer because I love walking. I like taking the long way to get to my car. I like parking on the top deck so I have to walk up and down three flights of stairs. I like my classes in 313 Graves because I, again, must walk up and down three flights of stairs. I like taking the tunnel from Graves to McClure because it means going down a flight of stairs, up a flight of stairs, and down again to get to my destination in the library (it’s a maze, really). I like walking the fifteen-minute route to Shelby on Wednesday mornings, even if it is freezing cold. I like walking to and from Adams. I like walking my dog. I like walking aimlessly around the mall or in Target or at any store. I just really like walking. A whole lot. And right now, it hurts to walk. And that angers me.

Rant: over.

In other news, I am sure that I am the healthiest person alive. Over the past few weeks, I have become obsessed with pumpkin yogurt for breakfast.

1/2 c Fat free vanilla yogurt (tried it with plain and… yuck. It was so gross!)

1/2 c pumpkin puree (can be canned – just make sure it’s the pumpkin puree, not the gooey sugary pumpkin pie filling)

1/2 – 1 tbsp cinnamon or nutmeg

1 tbsp honey

YUM. O. Fiber-licious, plenty of vitamins, and deliciously tasty! I have been eating it almost every day for a few weeks. I also have carrots at lunch most days which makes me wonder if my skin is going to start turning orange!


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.


Things I Don’t Want to Do… on facebook. August 27, 2009

Filed under: delerium,frenz,frustration,reviews — Katie @ 7:57 pm

For over four years now, facebook has provided me with hours upon hours of mind-numbing, unimportant, and menial entertainment. What started, for me, as a way to connect with my new fellow University of Montevallo students became an all-entrancing gadget in which I could post all my favorite movies, rant and rave about how awesome I am in the “about me” section (to which has currently been reduced to read, “About Me: I have an awesome life.”). It grew into a tool in which I could have a virtual bulletin board where I could display all my favorite “pieces of flair”. I spent hours searching through flair. I could write on my friends walls about hanging out and getting together, so that the whole world would know that me and the other person had something to do other than play on facebook. Usually, though, the hang out never happened. And still isn’t happening. I could create a virtual library, where you could see all the covers of the books I have read. And, of course, I could make things FBO (“Facebook Official”) when relationships got serious…. or un-serious.

Today, facebook’s membership has been extended to include people such as my mother. A sixty-two year old retired gal who likes to randomly stalk (and then comment) on my posts. I should remember that she can read this. (And that she will probably read this blog post, so I better be careful!). Facebook has become Town Square, at least in the virtual world. Everyone is there. I have more “friends” than necessary. I tried to clean up my friends list yesterday to no avail. There are people I don’t really talk to, but I’m nosey, so I want to still know what is going on in their life. That is S-A-D. I decided only to delete the people I actually did not know or no longer had any relevant communication with. I think i deleted about ten people. TEN. Out of over 900. Again, that is S-A-D.

Lately, if you’re like me, you’ve been bombarded with invitations to causes, games, quizzes, groups, and events. And you’ve probably already read about a bazillion blogs or seen several videos that complain about facebook. Well, hate to break it to you… but if you’re reading this, you can add it to your list. I don’t normally complain about facebook, but…. today has been a special day filled with lots of unexpected events so I feel like a good facebook rant is a must. You might be asking yourself at this point, “Self, what frustrates Katie about facebook?” Well, here’s your answer: all the stuff you ask me to do or put out there for me to read that I don’t want to do, read, see, or think about!

I have compiled a list:

1. I do not want to be your friend… if I don’t know you! Who are you and why are you stalking me, stalkery people? The least you can do is clarify who you are and why you want me to be your friend. Then I’ll think about adding you.

2. I do not want to accept your FarmTown gifts. I DON’T EVEN HAVE A FARM! I tried to have a farm, but I apparently suck at harvesting crops so it died. Then I got rid of FarmTown, yet you still want to bestow upon me gifts of seeds, plows, and recently acquired farm-handy items. Let me repeat: I DON’T HAVE A FARM. Therefore, your wagon will sit on my fancy virtual city lot unused and unappreciated.

3. I do not want to fill out a survey in which I am “required” to elaborate on my first kiss or any other PDA-esque moment in my life. Gross. And I don’t want to know those things about you, either!

4. I do not want to see your smoochy smoochy cuddly wuddly messages to your girlfriend/boyfriend!

5. I do not want boycott anything, especially restaurants that were established in part by a good friend of mine. Duh, don’t send that to me.

6. I do not want to read your depressing status updates. I understand that we all have bad days and want to rant about them… heck, I event rant about them via my statuses. But, really. Your life can’t be that bad! SOMETHING good has to happen from time to time!

7. I do not want to be tagged in super ugly pictures of myself. I’m sorry, I’m vain. I know it. Thank God for the untagging tool.

8. I do not want to chat with you EVERY SINGLE TIME I am on facebook. This has since become less of an issue in recent weeks/months, but when facebook chat first started, it seemed like an IM-ing free for all. Use in moderation, people. Moderation.

9. I do not want to read about how you hate Monday or how you are thanking God it’s Friday or how there are only so many hours left until the weekend, your day off, your vacation, your long-awaited source of relief. Mainly because Fridays and weekends are just as busy for me and I get jealous.

10. Last but never least, I DO NOT WANT to read about what you’re doing at every single second! (This applies to Twitter, too!). No one wants to know what you have for lunch every day, no one cares if you go to the gym every day or not, no one wants to know about the billboards you pass as you’re driving to your vacation destination, no one wants a play-by-play of your life. No one. Except God. And you don’t need facebook or Twitter to access him.

There it is, folks. I hope you did not read this in its entirety because it will only confirm that I have had 1) way too much free time on my hands and 2) way too much coffee. Basically, I think having a job and classes again will help with my animosity towards the facebook. But, for now…. this is just how I feel so deal with it!