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! 🙂


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.


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.


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.