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! 🙂


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!


Though it costs all you have… January 28, 2010

Filed under: 1,jesus,ME,mindful living,spirtual matters — Katie @ 1:38 pm

… get understanding. – Proverbs 4:7

Lately, I’ve been re-reading the book of Proverbs. I don’t really know why… usually, I’m an Old Testament story person. I’d rather read Exodus or Chronicles or about Abraham or Esther than read a collection of random sayings. To be completely honest, I’d rather read the Old Testament than the New. I also really like the Psalms. And I like Hebrews. But, Proverbs??  Proverbs does not have a story, a plot, or a true main character (other than “Wisdom”). It’s in the Old Testament, but that’s just about the only favorable trait I can find. But no matter how out of character it is for me to want to read it, I still read it. And I love it.

I think I love Proverbs because I stink at all the things the book talks about. I stink at “keeping my foot from evil” (4:27), “giving freely” (11:24), providing “a gentle answer” instead of a “harsh word” (15:1), and “seeing danger and taking refuge” (27:12).

If my life had a little more Proverbs in it, it might turn out just a tad bit better.


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!


vital information May 28, 2009

Filed under: general information,mindful living — Katie @ 12:33 am

Five pieces of vital information you must know if you care to keep up with the life of Katie:

1. Last Wednesday, I had my wisdom teeth taken out on the left side. I woke up from surgery to find myself having an allergic reaction to the final anesthetic they gave me. Then they sent me home with a painkiller I am allergic to. Then I developed the beginnings of a dry socket. Then I had a sinus infection. Then I scratched my eyeball. Then I had to have the dry socket cleaned and packed. It has not been a good week.

2. Mom and I are leaving on a ten day road trip up the Northeast on June 3. We are going to several major league baseball parks, the Louisville Sluggerville Factory, Hershey’s Chocolate World, and other fun places. Our primary destination is a little town in Maine where we will meet up with all of my mom’s siblings and spread my granddaddy’s ashes on Father’s Day. It is going to be the best Father’s Day.

3. Arnold got his rabies vaccination today. Not really all that exciting, but I didn’t know it was the only shot required by law. Usually we get all of his boosters and a physical exam. That usually runs me about $120. Not so today! I spent a whopping $12. I read up on annual shots for dogs and was pleased to find that many experts do not recommend annual boosters due to health risks. So, Arnold will now only be getting a full round of boosters when absolutely necessary.

4. On Monday, I took back $200 of the $350 I spent during last Thursday’s power hour. I was very mad at myself and definitely regretful, but the only thing I can do is make this a learning experience and move forward. And definitely not make the same mistake twice!

5. I start my summer babysitting gig tomorrow. It’s going to be quite an adventure!


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…



8 gal. trash bags



ground beef


peanut butter (I only eat Smart Balance PB)

tortilla chips


shaving cream

toilet paper (I only use Cottonelle… expensive!)


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.


confessions May 22, 2009

Filed under: frustration,mindful living,Shopping — Katie @ 1:13 pm

I have a big confession to make.

Yesterday, I went shopping.

I intended to buy an FM transmitter for my iPod, earphones, and a little bit of makeup (the makeup being a pick-me-up for a rough few weeks). I did that. Then I walked by a store that had super cute swimsuits… for only about $20 a piece. I bought two swimsuits (about $84 for both) plus a few other things.

For the transmitter and earphones, I don’t really feel bad at all. I haven’t been able to listen to my iPod in my car for about a year thanks to a broken tape deck, which would be too expensive to fix. The earphones I could probably take back… they were $20 and I heard I can get the same type for about $4 at Fred’s, so those will probably be heading back to Radio Shack. The makeup was a bit of a splurge… and truly one of those emotion-driven purchases. I just walked up to the counter, named my products, and handed over my debit card. At that point, I’d spent about $150…. way more than I intended.

Then came the swimsuit store. I was lured in by a 10 for $25 advertisement and then noticed the cute swimsuits. The next thing I knew, I was using my CREDIT CARD to pay for $200 worth of stuff.

I have spent the last twelve hours or so debating whether or not to take back the things I purchased. The FM transmitter stays, the earphones go. Part of the makeup will go. Everything else…. I am not sure. I really want to keep the stuff because I want it. This is a big deal for me. I know I need to just march right back to the store and hand over everything I bought, but something in me is hesitant.

This is what it is like to be addicted to shopping. You go shopping and feel great while doing it – you should have seen me strutting my stuff in the mall! But then, you leave and have all of this shopper’s remorse and guilt and dread what people will think when you confess. I have been doing so well with this project and am disappointed in myself… and really, I have already ruined part of the project whether or not I take the items back. My mindset switched from satisfied to indulgent in just a matter of minutes and the damage was monumental.

So, that’s what’s going on today.