perder la vida

Learning to Live Missionally and Mindfully

Katie Lewis, breaker of racial barriers. March 2, 2010

Filed under: fun times,general information,mindful living — Katie @ 1:29 am

Today marked the start of my fourth week in my second grade placement. To be quite honest, I wasn’t sure I liked my placement at first. These kids are TOUGH. They have little attitudes and talk back and are NEVER doing anything wrong (it’s always someone else’s fault). But, I really have grown to love them. There are so many sweet moments throughout the day that remind me what I’m doing what I’m doing. Three or four of them came up and gave me these really big hugs today and, even though part of me is thinking “Get off of me… I am your teacher,” an even bigger part of me is savoring these sweet little moments and thankful that I have an opportunity to touch their lives in some small way.

In addition to my new-found sentimentality, there has also been a slew of hilarious moments. Last week at lunch, I talked to a few of my students about our favorite musicians. Since Michael Jackson’s death, young children everywhere have put him on some pedestal. They all said they like Michael Jackson – I think I impressed them when I said “Billie Jean” is my favorite MJ song. We talked about Beyonce, Alicia Keyes, Lil Wayne, Tupac… you know, the stars. 🙂 Today I talked to some kid about the Lakers/Nuggets game. ME. Katie Lewis. Talked about basketball.

Anyway…. so all of this has a point. Today at lunch, some of the kids and I were talking more about music and life. And then someone brought up skin color. I mentioned that some of my kids first assumed I was Chinese (because of my dark hair??), but other than that, no one has noticed that I’m the only white person in the room. The only reason this surprises me is because I’ve heard of the kindergarteners and 1st graders at this school flat-out tell their teachers that they didn’t have to listen to white people. So, I’ve been surprised not to have any problems out of my second graders regarding the color of my skin.

But today… man, today. They just about made me fall out of my chair. The kids were going around the table talking about how they were “brown” and then one of them looked at me and said, “Miss Lewis…. are you black or white?” I about died!! They had to ASK! I looked at them and said, “Now, what do you think?” Their response: “You’re white. Or maybe you’re just light-skinned.” WOW.

I guess the combination of my love for Tupac and my sass, they have been confused about my skin color. This has been one of the most surprising and also touching realizations of the semester. I am not one to necessarily care about skin color, but I have been concerned about how minorities react to a white teacher. I want to teach in low-income, racially diverse schools and…. well, I’m a well-to-do white girl. I have wondered, Will they respect me? Can I connect with them? Will they just see me as some white girl?

What I have learned over the past few weeks is that my skin color truly doesn’t matter. If I can connect with these kids and try to find common interests and try to be friendly (without being their friend – meaning, I maintain authority), then they could care less what color my skin is. I could be purple for all they care. If I don’t make a big deal of it, then they don’t make a big deal of it.

Maybe I should have known this all along, but… I really didn’t. I really expected forming relationships and gaining respect from these kids would be much more difficult. Part of me thinks that I was just given a good class with a good personality, but I wonder if what I’ve been doing (trying to connect with them) has actually helped. Either way, these kids have taught me so much already… and I’m so thankful for those 20 precious faces! 🙂


Oh, Canada! OH. Canada. Oh, CANADA! February 13, 2010

Filed under: fun times,general information,ME,reviews — Katie @ 1:18 pm

I hate the Olympics. I think that makes me Un-American or, rather, Un-World. But, I can’t help it. I just don’t really care about the Olympics as much as other people. You know what I do like? That Morgan Freeman/Visa 2008 Summer Olympics commercial. That was good. I don’t think Morgan Freeman is doing any commercials for this go ’round and, frankly, that upsets me. Correction: Morgan Freeman IS doing a Visa commercial for the Winter Olympic Games! Maybe this won’t be so bad after all.

The list of reasons I hate the Olympics is really too long and annoying to post here. But the main reason I hate the Olympics is because of the RIDICULOUS amount of money spent on the Olympic Games. RIDICULOUS. The Greeks didn’t even wear uniforms in their Olympic Games – they knew how to save a dollar.

And what is with this whole massive opening games ceremony? Why can’t we just light the torch and get on with the show? Okay, okay, it is beautiful. I won’t lie, the Beijing games’ opening ceremony was quite beautiful and I might or might not have teared up a few times. The opening ceremonies are just a way for a country to shake it’s tail feathers in front of the whole world.

With all of that said, it would not be right for me to complain without offering some sort of suggestion on how the Olympic Games could be better. So, for as long as the 2010 Winter Olympic Games continue, I will be offering my advice to the powers-at-be, in hopes that the 2012 Summer Olympic Games can be that much better.

Day 1, Suggestion 1:

The only entertainment you need at the opening ceremonies is comedienne and actress Wanda Sykes.

Come on, you know she makes you laugh!

I believe it is my American duty to say a big “GO U.S.A.” to end this post. No matter how much I dislike the Olympics, I still want my team to win.


Friday to Friday… to Friday February 12, 2010

Filed under: fun times,general information,ME — Katie @ 12:21 pm

It has been quite a week. Here’s a quick re-cap:

1. Started my placement on Monday. I am in 2nd grade at Southview Elementary two days a week. I love it! My teacher is easy to work with and the kids are great. Southview is a Title I school, which is the type of school I [think] I want to work in when I first graduate. These kids are “at hope” and need lots of attention and guidance, but it’s totally worth it.

Some funny things that have already happened:

– While writing a list of weather conditions in their daily journals, I overheard one group discussing whether a “brainstorm” was a weather condition or not. It was hysterical!

– I have been asked if I have any kids or a husband about 10,000 times.

– One little girl tried to kiss me on the cheek! It was so cute and totally awkward all at the same time! Teachers must have a 6th sense that lets us know when little bodies are coming in for the kill because I quickly realized what was happening and gently pushed her away and said “Don’t you give me any germs!!” I don’t ever want to deny affection to a child because you never know how much or how little affection they receive at home. Sometimes, a teacher is the only source of kindness and affection a child sees all day long. I am not available for kisses, but I am always available for side-hugs. 🙂

– Just so happened to walk by the nurse’s office right in time to watch a kid puke.

Those are just a few of the funny things that have already happened. I am sure that my list will just get longer as the semester goes on!

2. Tim Walsh, our new worship leader, started on Sunday. EXCELLENT. Worship was so great on Sunday. Working with him is so natural and I’m looking forward to getting to know him & his sweet family!

3. The tendinitis foot seems to be getting back to normal. I haven’t worn a brace at all this week, which was probably a bad idea…. but the foot feels like it’s getting better. Thank you, Jesus.

4. I had a facebook message conversation with Michael Shepard (of Lovedrug) in which I implied that he was being a virtual creeper. About two minutes after I sent him said message, I realized who he was. There go my chances with a rock star. Oops. 🙂

5. Speaking of facebook, it changed. And I don’t like it. But, I think this new layout is going to help me break my facebook addiction, so I’m okay with that. Google Buzz also came out and, to be honest, I haven’t found a need for it. It’s just one more social network that I’d have to keep up with. Make it go away.

6. Tuesday night, the women in my family and I went to Sips ‘n Strokes. Hilarity ensued.

7. It is apparently supposed to snow today…. we’ll see. All I know is that classes are canceled which means I have more time to do homework. How sad is that?

8. Dreamed I had a black widow spider as a pet last night. I don’t even want to know what that means.

9. LOST this week was re.donk.u.lous. Seriously. It was over as soon as it started. I wish I had some elaborate theory on how things are going to turn out, but I’m so lost… no pun intended. Here is what I think:

– Sayid is not infected with the same thing that Rosseau’s team had. Remember, she had to kill the members of her team (except Alex, of course, who was taken) once they became infected. Sayid cannot be killed, so he is infected with something else entirely. He is not Jacob, either. Whatever has happened to him is bad for the Others, which is why they want to kill him.

– Jack is going to join forces with/become/emulate/follow Jacob at some point. I feel like this is almost a given, since Locke and Jack are enemies and Jacob & the Man In Black (MIB) are enemies (and MIB is currently imitating Locke).

– What is happening off the island is actually happening in 2004. When the atom bomb went off, September 22, 2004 began again. What is happening then is what would have happened if the plane had never crashed. As we saw this week, Jack and Kate are beginning to recognize people. Kate was struck when she heard Claire call the baby “Aaron.” I have no clue why this is happening or what it will mean… will the 2004 versions get to the island?

10. I. AM. TIRED. Monday & Tuesday with second graders and then two days of intense classes and assignments have me beat. I fell asleep last night somewhere around 9:30. Craziness.

That’s my week in ten items or less. It is Friday at 6:21 am and I have lesson plans to write….. hooray.


“WE DID!” January 8, 2010

Filed under: 1,fun times,ME — Katie @ 3:48 pm

Yesterday, I had some doubts. Just like I had doubts about beating Tennessee, beating Auburn, winning the SEC championship, Ingram winning the Heisman… I had a lot of doubts this whole season. Not to say that I didn’t think our team could do it, but I was trying to be cautiously optimistic.

And that, my friends, must be the sign that we’re about to do something extraordinary.

Last night’s game was incredible. The first few minutes were terrifying. I think we were all holding our breath, hoping that the boys’ sloppy plays were indicators of nervous jitters rather than an upcoming poor performance. Then the unthinkable happened. Texas’ star QB, Colt McCoy, suffered a shoulder injury early in the game that would keep him out for the duration of the Rose Bowl. We know now that our QB, Greg McElroy, was also playing injured… but a few cracked ribs didn’t stop him.

At first, McCoy’s injury really made me angry. Here we were at the National Championship ready to take down a Texas titan and he wasn’t even able to play. And his replacement wasn’t looking too hot. I didn’t want to win on a technicality because it wouldn’t feel like a true win. But after shaking off his own nervous jitters, Texas’ up-and-coming star QB, Garrett Gilbert, found his groove and brought his boys together to put up one hell of a fight. At one point, it looked like he was about to lead his team to victory. But, they were no match for our onslaught of talent. Texas may have had Gilbert and Shipley, but we had guys like McElroy, Ingram, Richardson, Cody, Arenas, Julio, Johnson, Dareus, and not to mention the entire Tide Nation cheering them on.

What I love, at the end of the day, is that we have a great TEAM. We’re not a one-man show. It’s the entire Alabama Family that makes Alabama football what it is. It’s the coaches, the players, the administration, the students, the alum, the fans, the kids…. it’s a family. No one gets to stand alone here.

And, if Nick Saban knows what’s best for him, he’ll give me a cut of that $400K bonus he received, seeing that my new-found fanaticism is the only explanation for this year’s extraordinary performance.

Get ready… because Bama’s back.


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!


Coming to an End December 14, 2009

Filed under: frenz,fun times,jesus — Katie @ 2:22 pm

The fall semester has come and gone, the year is winding down, and my time as the 345 teacher at church is coming to an end. I committed to work each Sunday for a semester and my time is almost up (unless something changes, but for now… that’s the plan). Before it’s all over, I just wanted to stop and reflect on the past few months with the kids and what God has done throughout the semester.

I have to admit, I was a little weary of my commitment at first because it meant that I wasn’t going to be able to really help lead worship for four months. I was able to sing a few times during the second service, but it was a hassle and more trouble than what it was really worth. But, as the semester went on and I really got to know the kids, I knew I made the right choice. Working with kids can sometimes be exhausting (especially when you have sixteen in your class and you try to throw a party and decorate cupcakes!!), but I always leave the KidZone refreshed and smiling, glad that I spent part of my day with such fantastic kids.

I wish I had written down more of the hilarious stuff that happened or was said… this post would probably be a lot funnier if I could remember those things! One of my favorite moments was when everyone was laughing at something and Eli says, “We’re not laughing at you, we’re laughing with you.” Haha! So wise, even at four years old! I’m also proud to say that Jack finally learned my name about halfway through the semester. Poor thing has a lot of “K” names to remember, so at some point he just settled on calling me “Teacher.” Eventually, he remembered my name and hopefully he won’t forget it!

All the kids have been so much fun to teach. Their little personalities amaze me… how they each have a distinct way about them and each have their own preferences and interests. I have loved getting to know them and I hope to have the opportunity to continue watching them grow! That means babysitting, people. 🙂