Archive for September, 2008

Lights Out.
September 22, 2008

We had no electricity last week. For FOUR days.

Believe me…I was not only cranky and frustrated, but I was uuu-gly.
No blow dryer, no straightener, insufficient light to apply my much needed eyeliner so I wouldn’t look like the unfortunate lovechild of a baby groundhog and a surprised Asian woman.

All the food in our refrigerator and freezer spoiled…making our house smell, well… just be glad this post isn’t of the scratch ‘n’ sniff variety.

I was unable to get on-line…no typing papers, no e-mailing, NO FACEBOOK!

As soon as the clock struck eight, it was a can’t-see-your-hands-in-front-of-your-face kind of dark. Candles are dreamy when they are unnecessary, but a real pain when you have no other option.  There is melted wax all over every surface in our home now.

As I carried my lantern (thanks to Suzie and Josh’s wedding, I do in fact own lanterns) up the stairs to my room, it seemed as though my long pigtail braids should be hanging down my back, my calico jumper buttoned up to my neck as I hollered “Night Ma! Night Pa!”… we’re talking, this was a real rewind to the days of the Frontier. A time that I can say with the utmost confidence that I would not have survived.  Reminiscing on Oregon Trail days in the elementary computer lab is going to have to be enough for me.

 

Heck, I enjoy a grand thunderstorm.  A die-hard romantic, I’ve been known to leave the house and drive to the top level of a nearby parking garage to enjoy a rolling violet sky and flashes of spider lightening.  I’ve even mentioned having a glass ceiling in the bedroom of my one-day dreamhouse for just such an occasion.

Who doesn’t enjoy a peek of God’s majesty?? Just as long as we’re not inconvenienced…
right? 

“Look God, I like ya in small doses that fit my schedule, make me feel better, give me my spiritual “fix” for the day, but try not to interrupt my flow, alright?  Great…thanks, I’ll call again when I need something.”

Maybe a tad melodramatic, but I couldn’t help but correlate my attitude over a few days of no power to a lifetime of being irritated with God when things didn’t go my way.

I want enough of Him to WOW me…but not enough to disturb my plans, purposes or priorities. 

The power was turned back on by Friday night… and as I reveled in the wonder working abilities of my curling iron as it turned my freshly lightened platinum locks to a Marilyn Monroe-esque cloud of ringlets, I felt like kissing Thomas Edison full on the mouth!

Tucking the new streak of electric blue behind my left ear and spritzing my wrists with a little Tocca Stella, I wrapped a black pashmina around my neck, grabbed my roommate Janie and off we went to enjoy the night! 

It was quite late by the time we went looking for dinner, and we were huuuungry.  After almost a full week of subsisting on Saltine crackers, bottled water, granola bars and lukewarm applesauce…it was time to feast!  I squealed the Jeep into a parking spot at Chili’s, salivating at the thought of a Chicken Caesar wrap or Southwestern egg rolls.  I yanked on the handle…and it didn’t open.  WHAT?! Closed!? At 11 o’clock?? Ah geez Ohio, way to party.  Back in ol’ Huxtable we climbed, off to Logan’s Roadhouse.  Mmm…I would love a Logan’s house salad with honey mustard… yum yum. 

Wait a minute.  CLOSED?!!? YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING ME!  I am not wasting this cute hair and cute girl friend on a night driving through the McDonald’s arches. 

The ONLY place that was open was T.G.I.Friday’s.  Yuck.  After three or four unpleasant dining experiences, I was not thrilled, but oh well.  We were hungry and the doors weren’t locked.

We walked in as a party of inebriated fellows were stumbling out the door.  One of them poked me in the eye and mumbled something about how he liked my highlights.  At this point, my annoyance ‘o’ meter was approaching a solid 9. 

The host, Greg…with his perfectly coifed hair and sweet smile led us to our table.  A few minutes after pouring over the menu, our server came by.

With his bedazzled D&G belt buckle glittering in the fluorescent lighting, “Willie” talked a mile a minute. After about a dozen “Babe” and “Darlin” remarks he flew back into the kitchen to get our drinks.  I moodily stared around the restaurant at the motley crew that surrounded us.  This was not my idea of how to spend a fabulous Friday evening.  Willie came back and took our order, and when the food arrived, I debated whether or not I should ask him if we could pray for anything.  We did.
And Willie’s eyes about bulged out of his skull.

He was shocked and spit out a prayer request.  We bowed our heads and spent some time with God, and after the Amen, Willie returned.

At about a hundred miles an hour he whirred out how blessed, how thankful, how awed he was that God had brought him customers who wanted to pray for him.  (I felt pretty terrible that I almost didn’t ask him because I was too annoyed.)
Willie pulled up a chair and shared some of his testimony with us.  A Lee College grad who desired to be in full-time ministry, he was facing some really tough times.  He had left Tennessee to move to Ohio at the request of his old youth pastor… this man had some wild stories and clearly was in LOVE with his God.  Turns out he and Janie had mutual friends, and we all laughed at how crazy it was that the Lord brought us together.

As he carried our dirty glasses away, I looked at Janie, and her huge grin matched mine.  Looked like the evening turned out quite well after all. 

He knows what He’s doing.

 

Okay God.

Inconvenience me.

Psalm 29
The Message

 1-2 Bravo, God, bravo! Gods and all angels shout, “Encore!”
   In awe before the glory,
      in awe before God’s visible power.
   Stand at attention!
      Dress your best to honor him! 

 3 God thunders across the waters,
   Brilliant, his voice and his face, streaming brightness—
   God, across the flood waters.

 4 God‘s thunder tympanic,
   God‘s thunder symphonic.

 5 God‘s thunder smashes cedars,
   God topples the northern cedars.

 6 The mountain ranges skip like spring colts,
   The high ridges jump like wild kid goats.

 7-8 God‘s thunder spits fire.
   God thunders, the wilderness quakes;
   He makes the desert of Kadesh shake.

 9 God‘s thunder sets the oak trees dancing
   A wild dance, whirling; the pelting rain strips their branches.
   We fall to our knees—we call out, “Glory!”

 10 Above the floodwaters is God‘s throne
      from which his power flows,
      from which he rules the world.

 11 God makes his people strong.
   God gives his people peace.

 

Noodles & a Pop.
September 16, 2008

Welp, I’m old.

Don’t argue with me.  25 is old. It’s half of a half of a century.

This weekend was quite interesting.  I’d made up my mind to go home to celebrate with my beloveds in Indianapolis, but then things got messy.  People were backing out and not responding, and I was realllllly struggling.  First of all, I felt like no one should have to plan their own birthday bash, but I understood that me being a state away made it difficult, so I didn’t fuss about making the plans… but after multiple texts, emails and phone calls… not being responded to becomes wearying. 

So, after feeling de-valued and pretty darn unimportant, I canceled the whole shindig.  Not to make a point (although that was tempting…) just to not drive a few hours to feel like I was forcing people to celebrate with me.

Love shows up in the funniest ways. 

I got a phone call from one of my wisest friends…Valerie.  She and her hubby mean so much to me…and she told me flat out that if people were letting me down, then it was time to have it out with God.  She exhorted me to “go there” with Him.   So I did.  And I realized that the reason that I was so upset is because people are my idol.  And so, when it feels like people don’t love me in the way I want them to, or aren’t being the kind of friend I suppose they should…I’m devastated.  And that is not right. 

My beautiful best friends Andrea & Angela offered to come out to Ohio on Sunday to spend the day with me… I weighed the options.  I decided to go anyway. 

So with my glittered eyes and patent peep-toes ready to party, I got in the Jeep to trek the 120 miles to Indy.  Bob called.  And as I vented my frustrations… being 25 and not being where I expected to be in life, being 25 and having friends I never expected to let me down…let me down, being 25 and having my family seemingly not make me a priority…that darn kid spoke some truth into my life.

“Kate, I love you…but it is not the goal of your life to be celebrated, to be affirmed, or to have a fun birthday.  The goal of your life is to glorify God.  Your heart makes me nervous, it’s so bitter.”

“I know Bob, all the bitterness is poison…it’s not good for me…”

“Kate, it’s more than ‘not good for you’…it’s going to kill you.”

Huh. 

He then went on to share with me a story he once read of a monk who admitted that his prayers often were derailed because he was constantly thinking “I wonder if anyone is thinking about me…”

So, I rode the rest of the way in silence.  Maybe I needed to get out of my incredibly selfish state of mind and start doing things differently.

I met Andrea at her hotel and we drove downtown to meet the rest of the gang at one of my favorites- Palominos. 

We were seated in the back at a round table near a window overlooking the bustling sidewalks.  Angela, Zach, Dan, Bethany, Adam, Val, Andrea and myself laughed and conversed for hours, until we noticed we were the last people in the restaurant.

With tummies topped off with paella and chocolate torte, we left full and happy. 

After many photographs and a quick visit with Austin at Dan’s nearby house… Andrea and I tried to navigate downtown and find our parking garage.  Hmmmm. If only I would’ve paid more attention in Girl Scouts…

After walking and gagging down a dumpster filled alley, a stranger approached us and offered her help.  This kind woman tried to help us find our way, and she quickly got to chatting.

Lisa was one of the few homeless women in downtown Indianapolis.  Her daughter Ebony was pregnant with her first grandbaby, and she was so excited to meet him or her.  She asked if we could help her out since she had taken the time to help us out.  Thanks to my hero- Dr. Cook, interactions like this don’t make me nervous anymore.

After handing her a few dollars, we asked Lisa if we could pray for her for anything… she immediately rattled off quite the list!

“Pray that I get a crib, yea, that I get a crib, and a hooptie car, and I love weed, I’m a weed-head, yea, I love weed, and I’ve had 2 beers today, and I got a job interview on Thursday.”
We stood there with our arms wrapped around her and prayed as the streets streamed with visitors in for the 2008 MotoGP. 

I could barely hear myself praying over Lisa’s constant “Yes Lord!’s” and “Please Jesus!’s”…
After we Amen-ed, Lisa continued on with more details of her life story, and then shared this gem…

She told Andrea and I that one night as she was reading the Word, her stomach ached with hunger, and she prayed out to God that He fill her.  Whether it was just with Himself or with actual food, she was starving.  She said that at that exact moment, for no apparent reason, at a table full of people playing cards in the room next to her, a woman laid down her cards, looked Lisa square in the eye and said “Are you hungry? I am going to get you something to eat.”  And went to the kitchen and brought Lisa back a bowl of noodles and a pop. 

Lisa said that it felt like a feast, she was so full! After only eating a small bowl of noodles! She was struck then to read even more of God’s Word…convinced that God is a God that hears and responds! She kept saying it… “Noodles and a pop…I was so hungry, and for no reason, that woman gave me noodles and a pop, I prayed and God gave me noodles and a pop.” 

My eyes filled with tears, and I thanked Lisa for blessing me on my birthday with a truth I had stopped believing was true…that God listens and answers.  She looked at me like I was crazy…as if to say “Of course He does!”

After another round of hugs, we parted ways.

Andrea and I walked quietly up the ramp to the third level of our parking garage.  On our way home, I couldn’t get over what  a special present that Lisa had gifted us with. 

I love when God tempers the superficial with the eternal.

Here I was, decked out in 8 strands of pearls and blonde curls, worrying about who was going to join me for my $30-a-plate dinner extravaganza… and God wanted to quiet my spirit and remind me that He answers our needs.  Not our wants.  Our needs.

And when He responds, we will be full.  So full that we can’t explain it.

I drove to Sissy’s and was greeted with a comfy bed made for me on her comfy couch and a hot shower and a “Happy Birthday” banner taped to the door.  I woke up well and had the chance to spend an hour and half with my Common Ground family… sitting between my kindred spirit Melody and my best friend Andrea.  Jeff preached truth into my life.  God again reminded me that it’s about trading in sin for salvation…daily…

Self-centeredness for humility…self-protection for faith… setting my baggage down.

After lunch with more beloveds at Cafe Patachou, where I enjoyed the rain, the organic orange juice, the world-famous cinnamon toast and baby Maryn resting her sleepy head on my shoulder, I felt so full.

It was more than the fresh fruit and the croissant… it was more than the birthday presents and cards… it was setting down my hurts enough to enjoy those that I love, and those that love me…it was being poured over with truth… it was choosing to acknowledge blessing…it was having the chance to recognize and show appreciation to the incredible people around me.
Thanks God…for my noodles & a pop.

 

As I drove home listening to my new Rosie Thomas CD (the perfect gift, by the way, Sweet Face…) the lyrics to ‘Death Came and Got Me’ seemed to sum up the weekend quite perfectly.

“When will love ever find me?
All my life all I’ve craved is to be seen.
Who cares anyway…
Cause when it’s over,
All that matters is the love you gave away.”

With A Cherry On Top…
September 9, 2008

Thanks Gary.

Yup, here’s a big ol’ shout out to a random combo… The Holy Spirit + Dr. Gary Chapman + My little sis…

This last weekend was great.  Rachel came out from Indy on Friday night, and we got pizza and went to see one of the stupidest movies of all time…then we came home and fell asleep watching Gilmore Girls, our favorite show.  (Sorry Dr. Huxtable, I meant second favorite show, my apologies.)  I slept in till 9:30 and then went to Tim Horton’s to get us breakfast… and by “breakfast” I mean some cup of hot water that was supposed to resemble a Chai Latte and black coffee for Rach that I could’ve sworn should have been a delicious Mocha concoction…oh well. I went to my room to wake up that little cutie bug and then it was time to DO WORK. 

Once a year, and only once a year, I cut Rachel’s hair.  It is one of the most stressful events you can imagine.  3 years ago she cried because I cut off 1/2 an inch instead of a 1/4 of an inch!  (That’s not a lie…)  This Saturday was amping up to be just as emotional when she informed me that getting her hair cut was like me losing an arm.  Mmmm. Okay.

The time had come to give Rachel a bit more of an edge, a Roche Reagent Account Manager with a Rocker vibe.

After an hour and a half and over SIXTEEN INCHES GONE she looked amazing and I was one sleepy kitten!  I blow-dried and product-ed (not a word, I know) and flat ironed till I was satisfied… I whipped off the cape, she walked to the mirror and Ta-DA! She loved it! YEA!!!!!  Now I have 12 long months to recover before we do it again…

I hopped in the shower while Rachel swept the scene of poor Rapunzel’s shearing…

My heart was lighter than it had been in awhile… my shampoo was sudsing, sunlight was streaming through the windows, and I love that I got to make someone happy and simultaneously had the opportunity to use my creative skills…it made me feel like I had value.

As we primped and prepped for a night out at The Greene, conversation shifted from light and bubbly to a bit more serious.

Sometimes Rachel and I struggle to communicate effectively, but luckily most of the time we work through it.  It usually stems from my hyper-sensitivity. I can get very upset very quickly over some harmless statement that went through my ears and on it’s way to my brain turned into the exact opposite of whatever was uttered. This happens a lot when we talk about the important stuff… life, God, boys…

As I sat Indian-Style on the floor busy making the perfect bedroom eyes with smoky shadow and faux lashes, Rachel laid on my bed and we started talking love… how we feel about it, how we’ve messed it up, how it’s been messed up in spite of us, what we want in the future, and what God might be up to where our husbands are concerned.

I lamented about the ol’ dating game… It’s been a good few months since I’ve been on a real date, almost a year since a boy has gotten me flowers and I-don’t-want-to-say-how-long since I’ve smooched someone special.  Rachel and I laughed at our boy experiences… and somewhere in that laughter, there was real hurt.  I long to be pursued, and Rachel…used to being pursued…longs to know for sure what’s best.  As she tried to encourage me, I was offended by something she said…even though she said it with the best of intentions.

My eyes filled with five pound tears as the room grew silent. 

Sissy was quick to explain what she meant, although she didn’t need to… my tears weren’t splashing because of anything she said, but because, yet again, I was questioning God… Why am I in Ohio? What in the WORLD am I going to do when I finally have this degree matted and mounted on the wall? Am I making a difference? Will I make a difference? Where is joy? Where is contentment? Where is He?

As I sidled up to her side so that we could pray together, her eyes lit up- “I’ve had an epiphany!”  That made me giggle…mainly because she looked like a mad scientist and also because I highly doubted that this lightbulb of hers was going to be something I hadn’t already considered.

I was wrong.

“Kate…what are your love languages? Gifts and touch, right?” 

She was exactly correct…for those of you who aren’t familiar with “The Five Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman, he presents the concept that there are five specific ways that we give or “speak” and receive love… Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Quality Time, Physical Touch and Gifts.  While I am a big fan of any of those, I am a big time gifts and touch girl. 

Some people are better at those things than others… a few months ago at an Anderson family reunion in Chicago, I was blessed by my cousins Sylvia and Gretchen Hagelow who learned the spiritual value in touch while Gretchen was battling cancer as a young, vibrant woman… every time one of these women hug you- they mean it.  Both arms wrapped all the way around you as they make sure you feel loved.   I have tried to share that idea with my friends who are big fans of the side-hug, or horror of horrors “The Pat”… if you know me at all, you know what I mean…

I’ve also been gifted by some wonderful people… things that stand out include Christmas ’02 when I received a Beauty Salon Barbie from my mom and dad.  Feeling a little silly, and way too old to be excited about a purple haired doll, I turned it over to find that a “certificate” for the tuition and enrollment at a fabulous Cosmetology School was taped to the bottom… my purity ring…a glass kaleidoscope… my Story People prints… my scrapbook from my Arnett girls… 30 notecards of love taped to my Jeep… a Ziploc bag of Lucky Charms marshmallows… an amazingly dedicated Song of The Sunbird… my New Kids On The Block bedsheets… are just some of the presents that have brought joy to my heart.

“That’s IT!” exclaimed Rachel again.

“Maybe you don’t know if God loves you because He can’t hold you, and because when you ask for things, they usually don’t happen.”

Bingo.
I never thought of it that way, but she was EXACTLY right.  I long to be held, but my Savior has yet to tangibly wrap His arms around me.  When I ask for things, when I beg of Him, He seems to withhold His goodness from me. It feels like a holiday with all the beautifully wrapped gifts locked in a safe.  You know they’re there, you know you’ll love them, but you can’t have them.

So as Rachel and I bent our heads to pray, I could only ask God to either show me His love in ways I understood or else change my idea of what Love is.

I have to lay down my demands and expectations of why, what, when, where and how God is going to love me.

So on Saturday Rachel and I both lost something that seemed very important…and feel so much lighter now.

Daydream Central.
September 2, 2008

When I leave for an event- big or small, formal or casual, I always check to make sure I have the following:

*Nars Striptease Lipcolor.
*C.O. Bigelow Mentha Lip Shine.
*Kate Spade wallet.
*Mini Catwalk Work It hairspray.
*Awesome 99 cent pop-up hairbrush/mirror combo.
*Gum. Keys. Shades. Etc.

But apparently I have been severely unprepared seeing as how I have recently forgotten to bring my husband along.  Sheesh…what was I thinking?

This last weekend started off with a Friday night mini-reunion of old friends…let me paint a picture for you here… Annie & Todd Beall, Kristin & Pete Dryer, Sara & Jon Waldo, Tiffany & Andrew Belleman, Joe & Katie Zuerner (who is adorably about-ready-to-pop prego), Jamie & Brian Vance with baby Owen, Kelly & Matt Green with baby Emma, and Suzi & Matt Kaufman with baby Eli!  There was wedding rings a-flashin’ and babies a-girglin’ and talking about weddings and babies swirlin’ and then there was…me.

It’s hard enough feeling alone in a crowd where no one knows you…it’s expected, but in a crowd where you know everyone… well, it’s hard.

Somewhere along the line I got mad at God that life hasn’t turned out the way I expected…there’s no degree on the wall (yet)…no sparkling 2 carat teardrop stunner on my left hand…no baby shower invitations being sent out on my next trip to the post office…

Well, this weekend continued on to be an emotional whirlwind as I attempted something I’ve never done before…

On Sunday, I went to a wedding where I knew neither the bride OR the groom! Out of the 35, count ’em, 35 weddings I’ve been to in the last 5 years, this was a first!  I went as the guest of my best friend Angela, who worked with the bride.  It was a beautiful ceremony and reception, where we met plenty of nice people, but again, I felt like a neon sign that said “SINGLE” was blaring above our heads and that the James-Earl-Jones voice of God was going to announce any minute “Someone please date these girls!”

The thing is, there are some amazing people in my life…Godly, attractive, funny, caring people that aren’t hooked up, hitched or parents yet, and I don’t think any less of them.  So why do I think less of myself? 

We have to quit judging the quality of our lives based on what we don’t have. 

So you’re driving the ’87 Taurus instead of the Range Rover…so what?  So you’re playing gigs at the local coffee house instead of Madison Square Gardens… So your hairline is receding, your vocabulary is too small, your parents are divorced…  The bottom line is, consider what you DO have!

I might not have this degree, but I have a chance to come back and pursue it… I might not have a wedding to plan, but I was saved from an unhealthy relationship that would have been disaster…I might not be wearing the latest from some couture maternity line, but I have the opportunity to pray every day for the kids of mine that might just be waiting in a foreign country for me to come get them…and I can’t wait for that day.

I also want to say thank you to my beloveds…I honestly believe that wherever and whoever this crazy husband of mine is, he has been prayed for more than any man on the planet.  People are constantly lifting the future love of my life…his heart, his ministry, his character, his purity…to the Lord.  It is truly a gift to have someone listen to your daydreams and desires and relish them with you, and encourage you to stay patient and prayerful.  No one does that for me better than my parents, Bob, Andrea & Angela. 

There is a gift in listening.  Next time you are with a dear friend, listen to them…dream with them…pray with them.  It might be the balm to their spirit that they’ve been longing for, it might be an encounter that knits you two closer together, it might be the only time that day where they haven’t felt alone.