Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Try to grasp that we are the only reminder some people ever get that God lives, forgives, loves, and remains in control...

Pocahontas was a student of mine several years ago. I was only 21 when I met her. This beautiful woman of God has been through so much. I have to be honest, when you are reading about her story it's hard to think that God is All Purposeful. However, when you read her victory you cannot deny that God IS! You will see that God was right there with Pocahontas all along. I need to warn you, it's not an easy story to read. You will think "Did this really happen?" "Is she exaggerating?" But let me tell you that it happened. I have known Pocahontas for 6 years thing she is NOT is an exaggerator. In fact, she's a minimalist, so keep that in mind while you're reading as well. I'm not sure where you are in your life right now, but hopefully this story will remind you that God is with you. Her story ALWAYS reminds me that I can make the choice to fight. Below are the exact words written from this precious child of God.

I stand here today as a testimony of the Lord’s grace, compassion, trust, forgiveness, and love. I pray that He uses His testimony, He has so graciously entrusted me with, to open the eyes and ears of the broken hearted in need of His love. This is my Father’s story…

I was born premature and addicted to the drugs my mom ingested during her pregnancy with me. Both of my parents are heavily addicted to drugs and alcohol. They divorced when I was five. Custody was given to my father because my mother was seen as an unfit mother in the eyes of the court. At that time she was deep in her anorexia and bulimia, which increased the effects of her drug use. A problem so noticeable the court overlooked my father’s drug use and awarded custody to my father. After the divorce, my father began to fall deeper into his addiction while my sister and I watched. Our consequences for his actions came mostly in poor hygiene, lack of food and bad living conditions. I don’t remember much about living with my father, it’s the years I spent living with my mother, after my father lost custody, that hold most of my bone chilling memories.

Two innocent children had been thrown into a lifestyle of drugs and sex, a darkened place were the Lord was nowhere to be found. My mother had not been apart of my life for about a year and I was excited to finally get a chance to spend time with my mom and receive the love, safety, and acceptance I so desperately longed for. But the only safety I would be able to find in my new home was in the comfort of my closet, away from the physical and verbal abuse I received from my mother and the physical, verbal and sexual abuse I would receive from the many men she would bring home.

I feared my mother with all my heart. The drugs had taken away my mommy and I was hurt. I watched my mom, who I loved so much, slowly kill herself by shooting up. Paying the bills and paying for her habit became all to much for her to handle, so my mother soon became a prostitute and allowed my sister and I to witness everything that came with that kind of territory. At the age of six I was being taken to strip clubs, bars, drug deals, crack houses, allowed to sleep in the same room and/or bed as my mom and her clients, left alone in the middle of the night, and left for days at a time alone with my sister. I never knew what to expect, what would walk through the front door next. I became a mother to my sister; feeding her food which I had to steel from the grocery store across the street and making sure she was dressed and showered for daycare the following day.

Psalms 68:5, “He is a Father to the fatherless”. The men that my mother attracted were far from the loving and caring father I wanted and needed in my life. I was sexually and physically abused by the men my mother had around. It happened from the age of six, until I was in the third grade. I knew what these men were doing to me was wrong, so I started counting. My childhood diary became a slue of tally marks covering many pages for each time I was sexually abused. I began counting at the age of seven, when my mom found a steady boyfriend, who didn't mind her profession. His name was ----- and I would become his sex slave for the next two years. While other kids where outside playing with friends I was inside performing sexual acts for ----- and his friends whenever and wherever they wanted. ----- taught me that it was my fault and if I hadn’t been such a bad girl, they wouldn’t have to do this to me and if I had taken better care of my mom and my sister, he and his friends wouldn’t have to be this way. These men fed me the lies of the enemy that I deserved the sexual abuse that was happening to me in my own home.

Isaiah 35:4, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, He will come with vengeance; with divine retribution, He will come to save you”.
After three long years living with my mother finally CPS (Child Protective Services) was contacted by one of my elementary teachers. I was soon taken out of the custody of my mother and sent to foster homes. While in foster care I experienced more sexual abuse by men but it would be the first time I was sexually abuse by a women. I was bounced around between five different homes, only to be placed with an uncle, aunt, and two cousins in Georgia. I thought I had finally found a place were I could trust the people around me and not live in fear. The enemy proved me wrong, I was then molested by my cousin, he was fifteen at the time.

John 17:12, “While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by the name you gave me”. All my life I had felt anything, but safe and protected by God. I felt as though He had forgotten me, He didn’t hear my cries for help, and He didn’t care. I was nothing to my mother, my father, or these men and I was nothing to the Lord. After four months of staying with my family in Georgia my sister and I went to live with my grandmother, finally some safety and security in my life. I started the fourth grade and for the first time I didn’t have to worry about where breakfast was going to come from, how I was going to get my sister and I to school and if I was going to have to steal school supplies to get through the year. No, I didn’t have to worry about any of the things I use to worry about, I had a new problem.

In the fourth grade I acquired a new problem, a problem with my eating habits. I wasn’t sure what was going on with me or my body, but all I knew was that I just didn’t feel like eating. By the time I got into high school I found myself in the darkened haze of anorexia and bulimia with no way out. By the time I finally sought help from one of the counselors at the school I was 5’6” and weighed ninety five pounds, I was taking 267 diet pills a day, limiting myself to one thousand calories a week and purging up to 36 times a day. In addition to not eating I was also cutting on a regular basis. Soon after seeking help from the school counselor I was admitted to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital where I fought my eating disorder in the hospital off and on for the next year. After that year in and out of the hospital it was obvious that I needed more than just a feeding tube in my nose and going to counseling once a week, I needed to go to a residential treatment facility.

My stay at the treatment center in ------ was all but short lived. I went only to commit for six weeks and ended up staying two weeks less than a year. I accomplished much more there in one year than I ever did trying to help myself all those years in my eating disorder. I was safely able to deal with the nightmares of my past and the hold the enemy had on my life. I worked mostly on my sexual abuse and resentment I held against the men and women that abused me.

Now my life is pretty simple. I decided to stay in -------, I work as a receptionist for a private counseling practice and I’m going to school full time to become a nurse. And as hard as it may seem I am so thankful to God for giving me the life that I have. I am no longer resentful towards the people and my family in my life that hurt me. I use to ask God why he would allow all these bad things to happen to me…I now know that He didn’t allow any of this to happen to me. He was with me the whole time crying along beside of me because His little girl was being hurt.

I am a stronger person because of everything I have been through in my life and for that I am truly grateful.

So, I would love to hear your thoughts as you read this story. My mind is blank and my eyes are wide. It's almost hard for me to picture such a life because mine was so opposite. And there are parts I can relate too. When I met Pocahontas she was just a body. No personality, no life in her eyes, and a walking skeleton. I decided this year to start sharing Pocahontas's story to my small groups at the high school that I work at. I'm always very protective of my students and their stories and MY story as well. But God is teaching me that this is hindering me. And Pocahontas taught me that it is not our story anyways, it is God's story. We need to share our stories to glorify Christ. Pocahontas has more courage than I ever will have. She shares her story at the drop of a hat. She has come back to RHS and shared her story in front of 100's of girls.

As I was sharing her story to my groups right before Christmas break I was blown away by God's grace. That first of all, God would choose me to befriend this beautiful girl. It was my first year working out of college. I had NO idea what I was doing, though I tried to act like I knew, which in return just made things worst. Ha! I invited a speaker to come speak at RHS about eating disorders. This speaker's testimony gave Pocahontas the courage to go speak to a counselor for help. She walked into a counselor's office, shared part of her story and the counselor said, "I have no idea how to help you." Ha! That is not funny but it is. Can you imagine getting the courage to speak and getting that response. This is not a slam to that is a praise! She was honest and walked her across the hall to my office! She was so wise in seeking out help for this girl. Unfortunately, I didn't know much more than this counselor other than the fact that I was going to love her and ask God to give me wisdom to help her. So over the next few months I got to know this precious girl. She never talked, it was like pulling teeth to get a sound out of her. And when she did speak I had to lean over to hear her voice. Immediately I called Vanderbilt hospital to get her an appointment and was disheartened when I learned her appointment would not be until several months. Knowing what I know now I would have done my best to get her help sooner, but like I said, I had no idea what I was doing so I was committing to keep an eye on her until her appointment.

We had a schedule set up. I met her once to twice a week checking on her multiple times as well. I was walking her to her classes because she would purge in between. She came into my office one day trembling. I remember telling her to give me her diet pills (which I didn't know she was on diet pills it just occurred to me when she was trembling), my moth dropped as she pulled out bottle after bottle after bottle to total up to 9 bottles! Each of them saying, "Take only under a physician's care and to be used for extreme obesity only". Ugh! Dear Lord, how is this girl alive. I asked her to make a time line for me of her life. As I unfolded the many papers that were taped together I remember saying, "Lord, why?!" I was angry and I am still angry because Pocahontas is NOT the only one with a story. I remember the day of her Vanderbilt appointment I was not at school for some reason. I was sick because I was so fearful that she would not attend her appointment. But I was amazed when I found out the next day she had been hospitalized. Pocahontas drove to the hospital on her own and sat there by herself as the doctor examined her and said, "I don't know how you are alive." Can you imagine? My heart breaks. I visited Pocahontas continually through out the next few weeks. Her recovery continues and as you read we entered her into a treatment facility.

I still have a relationship with Pocahontas. We chat frequently through e-mail and texting. I got to see her this past summer and she was absolutely beautiful! She is brilliant, has come to life, full of energy, and never stops talking OR laughing! It's hard to remember the lifeless thing that was brought into my office so long ago. She is living life with a passion for Christ that I pray I can have just an ounce of. She is a daily reminder that we always need to be willing to be a part of Christ's plan. And it makes me thankful and sad. I'm so glad that I was willing that day I met her. Because what would have happened if I wasn't? God would have still taken care of her. I'm just so thankful because of the impact she has had on me. It makes me sad because how many students have walked into my office and I haven't been willing to take the extra step with them. Because I was tired, or worried about me, or thinking, "I'll check on them later, someone else will help them." It makes me sick to my stomache. It's a good reminder that since I'm starting work back on Monday and dreading it that it's not about ME! It's about God, it's about His Kingdom. Gosh, I can get so selfish at times it drives me crazy. Now here's the real thing that gets me thinking for those of you who are actually still reading. I mentioned to Pocahontas that I was sharing her story to others and this was her response...

It makes me so happy to hear that your sharing my story!!!!!! Even now some days I wake up and I can't even believe I'm alive. Its only by the grace of God that I am alive and I know without a doubt that I shouldn't be. If my story only changes one life it was well worth going through everything I have been through!!!!! God is so amazing!!

I cannot believe this! I want to say, "Really?" You would go through the fear, shame, neglect, abuse, self-harm, and everthing else? All for one person? And as I said that too myself I was brought to my knees. Hello?! Our God went through much much much more and yes, really, He did die on the cross for ONE person. Me and you. Humbling isn't it? And hard to believe...but I want to thank Pocahontas for being that one person that reminds me that God lives, forgives, loves, and remains in control.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Surgery ='s Success!

My baby taking care of me.

Hooray! Surgery is over with! I arrived at Vanderbilt this morning at 5:30. My surgery started around 7:30 and ended at 9:40. The outcome was better than expected! The amnuersal bone cyst that they thought was inside my hip bone was actually a type of tumor. And let me shout to the heavens for you that this tumor was BENIGN! Some of you might be thinking, "why is a tumor better than a cyst"? Well, this particular tumor will NOT come back as opposed to the cyst that had a 30% chance of coming back, which could mean more surgeries. No thank you. The tumor was larger than they thought. When removed my surgeon could stick her entire finger in it. Gross! They got to fill the hole with donor bone graph. This is a blessing because I will heal faster and it will make things much less complicated when Ryan and I decide to start a family. All the doctors and the nurses have been wonderful except for "nurse Hatchet" and I only had to put up with her for a few hours. I'm not in too much pain, just a little sore, but overall feeling really well. Praise the Lord. Mom says "praise the pain pills". Ha! She's so funny. Ryan is doing well too and of course has been wonderful. He tried to sneak into the pre-op room and got busted. There goes his career in crime. :) I'm sorry to disappoint some of you, but I didn't do anything crazy being on the drugs. However, I did ask someone to sing for me? Not sure where that came from. Some friends that came to visit kept laughing at me and I'm not really sure why, because I was making total sense in my head! Some other great news is that I get to go home in the morning! Yippee! I can't wait to get to my home, my own bed, and my Christmas tree. Ryan took off work until Friday and his mom will be there to help as well.
For all of you who have been keeping up with my blog/facebook I really appreciate it. I have saved all of your encouraging e-mails, prayers, and verses. I have read them numerous times throughout the day pre and post surgery. You all have blessed both Ryan and I so much. If there's anything we can ever do for you please let us know. I would love to return the favor. It's been humbling to be prayed for by people I barely know, close friends, prayer groups, and prayer groups of people I don't even know! One favor I can return...I pray that you all have people in your lives that love you as you all have loved me and my family. Please continue to pray that I will have a restful/painless night. And pray for Ryan as he gets to sleep in a plastic chair or me since it squeaks really loud every time he moves. Ha! He's so darn cute.

Umm yeah...I did NOT eat the hospital food!!! A shout out to my good friend Les who brought me food AND a beautiful bouquet of flowers! Oh and Ingrid who brought me some chocolate!

But guess who did...

One of my sweet friends who came and visited me. She brought me lots of reading material as you can see.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Birthday and Surgery Celebration!

Well, tomorrow morning I head into Vanderbilt hospital at 5:30 A.M. God is already blessing me. Today I learned that they changed my stay from 3 days to just 2 days! Hooray! Ryan's mom got into town tonight and my mom will be flying into town on Thursday. It's been a great few days leading up to this stinky surgery. Ryan surprised me on my birthday with a pampering day from a really nice spa. I got a pedicure, manicure, AND a massage. It was wonderful. I teared up, I was so happy. They served me lunch, gave me a plush robe, slippers, and a neck warmer. I loved the neck warmer so much I bought one for myself. :) A birthday present to myself. God is blessing me even more with the fact that I have been in such good spirits. I am not fearing, I am not anxious, I'm just in "go mode" and praising God all the way. This morning I had a wonderful time with the Lord. My bible study lesson was about how God can reverse any negative element in His child's life and turn it into a positive. A coincidence? I think not! God is so good, this was just another affirmation that He is going to take care of me. I prayed this morning that God's glory will shine through this situation. Please join me in prayer. I am praying for the hospital staff, I am praying for a quick recovery, and I can't wait to see God's victory through this.
So tomorrow at 7:00 A.M. it is. The surgery will last 2 hours as long as everything goes well. If they find that my cysts is not a cysts than they will sew me back up (gross) and re-evaluate. Also, please help me pray that I will respond well to the pain medication and that I will not fear! Fear is not from the Lord.
Look how cute my hubby is...
This is right before we left for dinner on my birthday. Ryan took me to one of my favorite Mexican restaurants. We both ate until we felt sick!

My manicure! Isn't it beautiful!!

Ryan woke me up and served me breakfast.

I only had 1! Please, I could barely even finish it!

And me enjoying one of my most wonderful birthdays!

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My Cardiologist Appointment

Well it was another long day at Vanderbilt hospital, but not as long as my appointment last week so that's good! I had to see a cardiologist today for two reasons. 1: My chest pain and 2: To get cleared for surgery NEXT Tuesday. Ryan and I loved my doctor. She was so genuine and spent over 45 minutes with us! She ran several tests, a stress test, an ultra sound of my heart, and some blood work. The tests consisted of running in my feet (I didn't know I was going to be taking a stress test), being hooked up to many many wire things, cold gel on my chest, and 5 hours...I passed! However, they did find something very minimal. I have some fluid around my heart. It's not all around my heart (which is good) it's just around a section of my heart. It's also flowing very nicely and that's better than it being stagnant. I have to go back in a year to keep an eye on it. So, my heart doctor is leaning towards my chest pain being caused by a skeletal or muscular issue. I'm waiting to tackle all of this until after my surgery and after I have recovered. I would like to visit no more doctors until next Tuesday when I go into the hospital. I can only pray that my pain will subside a little.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Wise Beyond My Years?!

I have recently realized that I have many of the same characteristics of a stereotypical Grandmother. I'm pretty sure I could sleep anytime anywhere. I would go to bed at 8:00 most nights if my husband would let me. I love taking naps. I love sewing...quilts especially. I'm going to buy a pair of glasses this weekend. I would rather curly up on the couch with a blanket and read than go out on a night on the town. I am having surgery on my hip! And on Wednesday I have an appointment with a cardiologist!!

Which leads me into an update on my surgery. It's been an emotional roller coaster for me. Everyday is a good day! It's just that there are moments in those days where I get scared and the "what if's" creep into my mind. But I choose to speak truth to those negative thoughts. It's only human to think those things at times. And I need to confess that I'm having a hard time feeling thankful. People say, "Oh it's so great that they found this"! "What a blessing they caught it now". My initial reaction is, "I guess"? I don't feel thankful that I have to have this surgery. And I must confess that I have been dealing with anger. I'm not angry at God. I'm just frustrated and scared at times. I get discouraged, especially with the chest pain. But as I said before, I know that God has a plan for my life and I'm excited to see where this situation takes place in His will! Praise the Lord my pain is not worst than it is. Praise the Lord that the doctors are not worried about cancer! Praise the Lord I have my faith. And praise the Lord I have my husband, my family, and all of you!

In the meantime before next Tuesday, I'm keeping myself very busy! Last week I reupholstered a chair. I had never done that before. I found this chair at a flea market with a few of my girlfriends for $22! I couldn't find anyone to reupholster for less than $200. Which is really not that bad, but when you are on the Dave Ramsey plan, that's a lot of money. So I went out and bought a staple gun and became trigger happy. :) It's looks awesome! I'll post pics soon. Now I'm finishing up a quilt that I am making for my Grandmother. I want to get it done before my surgery. I'm fitting these 2 big projects in between grad school, dinners, cleaning, and seeing a few friends.

Please keep me in your prayers for Wednesday as we go for another lengthy visit at Vanderbilt hospital this Wednesday. I'm not worried that there is anything wrong with my heart. My oncologist is just taking precaution before I have surgery, which I appreciate. However, this doctor supposedly helps young women that deal with chest pain so I am a little hopeful and nervous all at the same time.

Something to look forward to this weekend is my birthday! I will be turning 28! Ryan has something planned for me, but he won't tell me! I hate surprises! I will keep you guys updated!

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Surgery Smurgery...

For those of you who don't know it's been a very looong week. Last April they found a "giant cyst" inside my hip bone. View my older post "My Daily Battle" there's a lovely picture for those of you who really want to see it. Anyway, I go in for my 6 month follow up appointment last Thursday. On Tuesday, I get a phone call from a nurse. "Mrs. Crouse, Dr. Huxtable (no, that's not his real name for those of you who grew up watching the Cosby Show) wants you to see Dr. Cox (Scrubs anyone)". Kat now speaks, "Who is Dr. Cox"? Nurse: "Oh, I don't know I thought you would know". Kat: "No, I don't know who that is? Where is this Dr. located and why am I being referred"? Nurse: "I have no idea, let me call you back." Kat: "Yes, that would be wonderful for you to call me back with some actual information!
I got this phone call at work, call Superman (aka my hubby) at work crying. Superman is irritated and says, "Baby, don't worry I will take care of this". Fast forward a few hours later and Ryan gently breaks the information that I will be seeing an oncologist. So let me put the past few days in a nutshell. Many frustrating phone calls. Go to 2 hospitals and pick up every X-ray, CT scan, and MRI that has been taken on my hip area, extreme chest pain, "Could I really have bone cancer?", "I feel like my heart is going to explode", the day before my oncologist appointment was awful, chest pain so bad we debated going to the er, Ryan holds me numerous times as I cry...weep, Isaiah 41:10, I hope mom is okay, many phone calls from friends and family, I am so thankful for them, I am so thankful for my faith, "Why?", go to Vanderbilt hospital to the oncologist cancer center, there for 7 hours, saw at least 8 different doctors, Dr. Elliot is my oncologist surgeon, LOVE her! She is sensitive, genuine, and gives me a sense that she is going to take care of me. Need to have surgery soon, 3 days in the hospital, and 3 weeks recovery, you will still be able to have kids. Won't know for sure that it is not cancer until the surgery when we do a biopsy. Kat: "Why do you think it's not cancer"? Dr.: "Because your bone is not angry, cancer makes the bone angry". Kat: "I've never thought myself to be an angry person". We laugh, laughter is needed. Dr. "Also, this cyst is full of blood which means it's an aneurysmic bone cyst and that also means it's grown so we need to get it out asap". Back to Kat's thoughts. I can do this. Tonight I have to go to the ER because my chest pain is so extreme. They give me pain medicine which so far hasn't worked much. Really God? Can I please have some pain relief? Ryan holds me as I cry...weep.
So, where am I now? I don't know why we are having to go through this, but I know God has a plan. We will grow and get closer to Him and that is worth it. I will choose joy. I am so thankful I do not have any pain in my hip and that my chest is not any worse. I am so thankful to have a wonderful man that loves me. He is affirmation that God is taking care of me. That God loves me. I could not do this without him. I am so thankful for my friends and my family. Their encouraging words and generous spirits are so humbling. We could not do this without them either. I am so thankful for God. Where would I be if didn't have anyone to put my trust in? If I felt that no one was in control?
For those who take the time to read this please pray for both Ryan and I. Please pray that my chest pain will subside. That everything will go well in surgery and of course that they will not find cancer. It's going to be a busy next few weeks with holiday plans, traveling, and getting ready for the surgery. I want to clean my house top to bottom and buy some cute pajamas. :) My surgery date is December 15th. Happy post birthday celebration! I will keep all updates on my blog. I also have an appointment with the cardiologist on December 9th. I have to get cleared with her before I can have surgery. My heart is fine, this cardiologist is supposed to be very helpful with young women and chest pain. Dr. Elliot said, "You are not alone, many women suffer with the same pain you do". Maybe God has me in chest pain so I won't be distracted with all this bone and surgery junk. Mission accomplished.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Experience at Ala-Teen

A student of mine (let's call her Pocahontas) has a father who is an alcoholic. Out of support I offered to attend an Ala-Teen meeting with her. Ala-Teen is an organization that offers guidance, counseling, and support for the children of alcoholics. A little background on Pocahontas, she lives with her mother, has seen and been through some very traumatic experiences. She wants to do what is right and she wants to succeed. I feel a connection with her and I want to reach out to her before that window of opportunity is too late. Thus far, Pocahontas has surprised me. At a glance you think she is going to give you an attitude and nothing but trouble. God never stops teaching me. I was humbled by how wrong I was.
So Pocahontas and myself drive to this meeting. Immediately I am surprised by 2 things. 1. There are children in here that can't be over 7 years old! 2. There were over 15 children/adolescents in this meeting. We began the meeting the standard way...introduce yourself, "Hi, I'm Kat" and in unison I hear, "Hi Kat". The floor was opened for discussion.
Sharer number 1: (guesstimated age 14)
My best friend lives down the street from me. I walk to her house often. Last night I joined them for dinner. As I was hanging out with them I see a mom who is Betty Crocker, a dad, and a brother and a sister. We sit down and eat dinner together and there was not 1 fight. I went home that night and I felt really messed up inside. I want that so bad. So I took out a notebook and wrote down everything in my family I wanted to change. And I'm willing to make these changes. I'm even willing to get along with my mom's boyfriend. I gave this list to my mother and for about 2 days things changed but after that everything went back to the way it was. I was in the kitchen making easy-mac for my usual dinner and as I'm throwing away the box I see on top of the trash can my list crumbled up. I just stood there...all my hope had been thrown away in the trash can. I took my mac and habitually spent the rest of the evening in my room alone.
Sharer #2: (guesstimated age 12) I think we all want that. We all want a family. I have to make sure that my mom buys 7 TV dinners so I will have dinner every night of the week. I love my Dad, but he is responsible for him and I am responsible for myself. He tells me he's going to change and I know there's nothing I can do to make this happen. Last time he told me that I said, "I'll believe it when I see it."
Sharer #3: (guesstimated age 16) I had to decide who I wanted to live with. I told my Dad that I can't live with him because he is unable to set boundaries for himself, yet alone me. I don't do well when I don't have boundaries and structure.
Sharer #4: (guesstimated age 7) My dad is going away to treatment. I think he is only going to obey his mom. If that is true than that makes me really sad. If it's not true than it makes me happy.
Sharer: 5: (guesstimated age 11) I don't like getting in the car with my dad because he is always drunk and high. It makes me so sad because he's willing to put his life in danger, but what is even sadder is he's willing to put MY life in danger.
Pocahontas teared up several time through out this meeting. I teared up several times. To see these "adults" in young bodies share such wisdom and courage was so inspiring. I wanted to take them all home with me. I wanted to hold them all in my arms and tell them that you DO have a family. You have a whole kingdom! It's amazing how smart and aware these children are. For them to take the role of a parent broke my heart. Children desire to be taken care of, they desire to be loved. I wish I had their knowledge at my age. Despite their situations they still had hope. They chose joy. I want to thank these children for teaching me how important love is. I want to thank them for teaching me how important my choices are. I can only pray that they will continue on a path of maturity and that their parent's love them more to sacrifice a change.
Say a prayer for Pocahontas. I invited her to church this Sunday.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Every year we have a Halloween party called "Trunktacular" with our church. The theme was
"famous children's movies" and our community group was assigned Peter Pan. We were having a hard time getting a man to dress up as the main character. None of the men jumped at the chance of wearing tights I guess? Go figure? I really wanted to be Tinkerbell! I mean, what girl wants to dress up as a pirate or a lost boy? I'm ALL girl and all about the glitter! So my wonderful husband said he would be Peter Pan for me! As I was researching Tinkerbell costumes I came to the conclusion that I was going to have to make my own because of money AND the inappropriateness of the adult costumes. I forgot that when adults dress up for Halloween they 'slut' everything up. Ha! No offense to anyone, it's just not kid friendly! I stayed up until 1:00 A.M sewing our costumes the night before! Quite a late night for someone who is used to going to bed around 9:00 P.M. It was a blast and totally worth it! We were a hit AND won 1st place! Very exciting!

Posing for our 1st place winning!
Match made in fairytale!
The finished product! I simply took a piece of glittery green fabric and wrapped it around my torso. My neighbor pinned it down the side to fit and I just sewed a line to follow. I cut the bottom to look jagged, added tights, wings, and straps. For the shoes I took left over fabric and hot glued it around some flat slippers I already owned. Next, I added the white pom poms on the top...just like Tinker Bell!

The picture I used for inspiration!

Woo Woo! What is it about a man holding a sword! To sew Ryan's outfit I took a t-shirt of his and placed it on the fabric for a pattern. I have no idea how to read a sewing pattern and I've never sewn any clothes before. I cut out 2 matching shirts and sewed them together. Next, I cut the sleeves and the bottom of his shirt while he was wearing it to make sure it looked right. I also sewed his hat. I cut out a square, folded it corner to corner in the shape of a triangle. I then sewed it down one side and turned it inside out! Lastly I just folded the bottom of the hat upward about half an inch...and wala! Peter's hat! For his shoes (can't see them to well in this picture) we cut out giant leafs from the green fabric and hot glued them to an old pair of house shoes. We couldn't find green tights so we used brown ones.
The picture I used for Peter Pan's inspiration.

Who would Tinkerbell be without her magic Pixy Dust? Here I am sprinkling glitter on the little girls that stop by to get candy. This is also a good shot of my hair. I googled how to fix your hair like tinkerbell and got this awesome style from a blog!

One of my favorite parts about my costume was the three tiny bells I sewed on the back of my wings. This helped me actually sound like Tinkerbell as I walked. This was my husband's idea!

Peter Pan fighting the evil Captain Hook! He's winning I might add. :)

Here's our Community Group "Peter Pan and all his friends"!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Did I spell Rapunzel right? She is a beautiful girl who is a student of mine. She is close to my heart like most of my students in my groups. Groups are my favorite part of my job. I get to know the students inside and out. Their deepest passions and their deepest struggles. I rejoice with them when they share good news and I weep with them when they share devastating news. High school students have to face a lot. Conflict in the home, difficult parents, peer pressure, and much much more. Rapunzel has a wonderful group of friends, is gorgeous, talented, and a heart for the Lord. All this to be destroyed by a boy that she claims is her 'prince' who represents more of a beast. And not the kind in the fairy tale that has a giving heart under the hideousness. It breaks my heart to see this beautiful creature get the life sucked out of her from this relationship. I see it every year. Girl gets with boy, everything starts to fall apart. Her friend relationships become conflictual, she starts fighting with her family, she is miserable, she starts to question her faith, she slips on her morals, and so much more. Rapunzel is in an abusive relationship, verbal and mental. I want to rescue her and beg for her to please let our precious Father be her night and shining armor. It's been a battle for me. I will fight for her, love her, and speak truth to her. Yesterday, Rapunzel was in my office and I saw it in her eyes. Rapunzel has gone back to her so called "prince". I am angry. I am angry at the enemy and I am angry at the world we live in. The lies these precious girls believe makes me furious. She is giving up everything for what she has convinced herself is happiness. How many times will she survive the fall. And as I feel so defeated I am reminded that our Savior must feel like this everyday as His people whom he effortlessly and continually loves loves choose worldly things over Him everyday. He is there to with open arms as we return time after time. He weeps when we tear away and rejoices when we come back. Help me pray for Rapunzel. I pray for wisdom and patience. I pray for wisdom to guide her friends and her mother. I pray that God will captivate her heart. Please pray.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Preparing for baby Jack!

A few weeks ago I drove up to Kentucky to help my best friend Catie organize her baby room. I should have taken a before and after picture, you couldn't even see the floor there was so much stuff on it. Most people walk into a room like that and get overwhelmed...I get energized! I'm making her sound like a slob...she's the total opposite. Her house is actually so clean and NO clutter which I love. I told her "just throw every baby item you get in the room and I will take care of it". :) I spent about 2 full days with her. I loved it so much! I loved getting to help her prepare for baby Jack. I know nothing about babies, but I love cleaning and organizing! It was the one thing that I felt like I could contribute. She took such good care of me while I was. She bought all my meals and coffee, we went shopping, and watched girly movies. Perfect weekend! I hope I didn't work her too hard though. :)

Curtain Call

Look how ugly these curtains are! Venetian blinds?! Yuck! If you have venetian blinds in your home I'm sure they look lovely, but in my house...nope!

Now look how beautiful these are! I know it only requires straight lines to sew curtains, but I was SO proud of myself. I had so much fun making them and it was the first project on my Grandma's sewing maching that she gave me over the summer.

Such pretty fabric!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

My daily battle

Dear Fear, Pain, and Anxiety

You Suck

There is not a day that goes by that I do not feel light headed, nauseous, chest pain, and abdominal pain. I have battled these ailments since I was a little girl. With much embarrassment I think back to memories of me laying in the fetal position on an examination table due to excoriating pain. I don't always have ALL the symptoms everyday, but always have at least one of the symptoms. Well...I take that back, I have had chest pain everyday for the past 3 years. Have I been to the doctor you ask? Oh yes, many times. Here is how the story a nutshell.

Kat: I have pain in my stomach, pain in my chest, blood in my urine, and blood in my stool

Doctor: We will run lots of test and send you to lots of specialists

Doctor: We have found nothing, but take these drugs

Kat: Fantastic (sarcasm)

What the heck?! I feel like a crazy person. My family will state, "Katherine is the weak one, she was always sick". Hello! The pain is real people. I don't sleep with a heating pad every night for nothing. But then 2 things happened that have helped me come to some conclusions.

Number 1:

I found myself in another all too familiar place. The E.R. My abdominal pain was so severe that I could not walk. After many tests they could not find any medical explanation for my pain. Shocker. However, they did find and I quote, "A giant Cysts" inside my hip bone. Please see below.

The "Giant Cyst" is that dark colored spot in the right hip bone (it's your right but actually my left). Did that just confuse you more? Anyway, this "spot" they found made it a very interesting few weeks for Ryan and me. Let me break it down for you.

E.R. Doctor: We found this "Giant Cyst" oh and also this spot on your liver. It's probably nothing but could be something, anyway you need to get it looked at immediately.

A week goes by until I can get into my primary doctor...

Doctor: I have no idea what this is, did you google it?

Kat: Are you serious? Did you really just ask me, "Did you google it?" Can you give me my $25 co-pay back please, I saw this really cute shirt at Target and I would like to buy it with the money I just wasted on you.

Doctor: However, the thing on your liver is no big deal. People have those all the time.

Kat: Awesome! It would have been nice if the E.R. doctor would have told us that instead of us worrying about "nothing" for a week.

Doctor: You need to go see a bone specialist.

Another week goes by until I can get into the bone specialist.

Kat: (As I'm sitting in the waiting room of the bone specialist) "I'm the youngest person in here by 20 years"!

Bone Doctor: It's either cancer, a growing cyst that will take major invasive surgery, or it's been there since you were little and it's no big deal. You need to schedule a bone scan.

Kat: Hmm...I hope I don't have cancer in my bones. That would suck.

Jump forward a week...Praise The Lord, you don't have cancer. Come back in 6 months to see if it's growing. Woo Hoo! Ryan hugs me and we weep. Only the 2Nd time I have seen him cry. It was the first time he had seen me cry! Just kidding. In the words of my sister-n-law...more like the eleventyhundreth time.

Okay, so why am I rambling on about this? This incident changed our lives. I have asked God to show me His purpose of us going through such a awful thing. Ryan and I were forced to have conversations that we never thought we would be having our first few years of marriage. And I found myself saying, "I'm going to change a lot of things when all this mess is over". One being the color of our bathrooms. They are red and they make me think of death. But here's the hip NEVER hurt until they told me this "Giant Cyst" was inside it. That got me thinking. Our minds are very powerful. I wasn't crazy...there was actual pain in my hip. So I thought to myself, "I'm going to fight all these symptoms I feel on a daily basis". If my mind can make me feel pain, then my mind can make me feel healthy right?

Okay, number 2:

In class we learned about a condition called somotization. Somo what? Yeah, that's what I said. The Abnormal Psychology 14TH Edition states this as, "symptoms characterized by multiple physical complaints for which no physical causes can be found". Hmm...this is sounding familiar, I shall continue to read. People who experience somotization experience real feelings of pain, dizziness, nauseousness, and are sufferers of some type of sexual abuse and/or post traumatic stress syndrome. Yes, I said a sensitive word there...sexual abuse. For those of you who are thinking, "I can't believe she is saying this". We are only as sick as our secerets and it happened so I'm sorry if you are having a harder time dealing with it than me. It makes sense, people who struggle with PTSD experience terrible nightmares, feelings of shame, guilt, and much more. You will never understand unless you live it. It's not fun though. And with all the trials my abuse has caused me (we will save that for another bloggy day) this is the one I cannot seem to put behind me. I have been through counseling and I have faced all my issues. A lot of times people will become sick or hurt because they are not personally dealing with their issues and so the body finds other ways for it to release such stress such as pain. I have made one step though and that is through my thinking. I am no longer going to stop living life because I don't feel well. First of all, there are lots of people who feel a LOT worst than me. Secondly, until I am vomiting profusely, passing out, or in bed with a fever...I will prevail. If I'm feeling dizzy and I pass out...then someone will get me to a doctor. If I have severe abdominal pain, I'm moving on unless I am puking up blood. And guess what? So far, this IS helping! I did have to recently go to the doctor again because of stomach pain. But I also have continuous UTI infections (had them before I was married too so it's not the sex) and I want to make sure they don't go to my kidneys. Anyway, now I have to have more tests done to see why I keep getting those. But anyway, I'm not letting it scare me to the point that it did. This is HUGE. This was a long blog, probably the longest I will ever do. So those of you who actually stuck with me...thanks. I can't say I would have done the same. Let me end by repeating...

Dear Fear, Pain, and Anxiety

You Suck.

I Rule

With all that said, I'm not weak, but really strong. In fact I will leave you with the inspiring words of Beyonce:

I'm a survivor ,I'm not gonna give up, I'm not gon' stop, I'm gonna work harder, I'm a survivor, I'm gonna make it, I will survive, Keep on survivin', I'm a survivor, I'm not gonna give up, I'm not gon' stop, I'm gonna work harder, I'm a survivor, I'm gonna make it, I will survive, Keep on survivin'.

Boo Ya!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Definitely NOT Sleepless in Tennessee

Anyone who knows me knows that I love bedding. I am always looking at the different styles, colors, matching pillows..etc. Not only do I love bedding but I love sleeping in the bedding. Ha! The picture to the right is the beautiful duvet cover that is on my bed as we speak. It took me 8 months to pick out. That's right 8 months. So I think that gives me good reason to enjoy it. During this particular summer I am getting an average of 10-11 hours of sleep a night! I like to call this a hidden talent. At first, I was asking myself, "What is wrong with me"? Am I sick? Am I depressed? Then I ran across the verse where God talks about blessing us with rest. And I said to myself, "Kat, maybe you are tired from working 2 jobs, going to grad school, cooking, cleaning, etc." And I'm learning in my Esther bible study by Beth Moore (it's awesome by the way if you are looking for a study) that Satan loves to steal our joy away. Well NO more Satan. If I sleep 11 hours, than I sleep 11 hours! And I'm going to enjoy it while I can. Only 3 more weeks until I go back to work. I cannot believe how fast summer is going. This has been the quickest by far. Only 3 more weeks until I can sleep 11 hours a day! And let me tell you...I am having some CRAZY dreams. In fact, I will leave you with one of my latest ones. I was riding my bike in the snow, on my way to Krogers to meet my old dance team for dinner. They were not there so I went in the back looking for them and ran into my sorority sisters who were having a party. During all of this I was talking to my good friend Lindsey who was saying, "Kat, I promise you, this guy claims he is making more money selling concert tickets for Paul McCartney. Unfortunately he can only work 20 concerts because he rotates among his family".
Need I say more...P.S. Shout out to Pottery Barn for their pic!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Showing off my quilts!

Below are all the quilts I have sewn since last summer! The post before this has the one I made Catie as well. For the life of me I can't find where I uploaded those pics. I love sewing! My sweet Grandmothers have sewn all of their lives and I wanted to carry the tradition on. I could sew for hours. I love putting the pieces together and seeing it come together in the end. As cheezy as it sounds it makes me think of God. How much time he spent in piecing every single stitch that makes us up! And every stitch is important. Good and bad, because without that one single stitch...the piece as a whole would not stay together.

This is the quilt I made for my niece Anya Kate. Anya was named after me. I loved getting to make this for Emily, my sister-n-law and my twin brother, Kent.
Look closely at the pinwheels and buttons I sewed on. This was a big step in my quilting skills!

Izzy was a bridesmaid in my wedding. She is a cousin of Ryan. After trying for many years she was blessed with twin baby girls!

I picked a Noah's Ark theme. I loved this pattern.

This was my first quilt and my favorite. It's probably my favorite because it was my very first quilt, but I also think it is so beautiful. I got to make this for my first niece Libby. Pictured with me is actually my neighbor, Krista. She graciously taught me how to sew. We spent many hours at her house sewing this quilt together and getting to know each other. I've learned a lot more than how to sew. She is an incredible mother and her and her husband's hospitality is humbling. She is such an encouragement as well. She was a fighter for me in prayer when I was counseling all my young mothers through their pregnancies. Many babies have been saved because of their praying. I tear up just thinking about it.

This is the back. I ran out of the yellow material so I put a big ole purple stripe right down the center. I liked it. :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My latest quilt!

I got the opportunity to host a baby shower for one of my dearest friends Catie. This young woman has touched my heart in so many ways. Her little boy Jack is due at the end of August. Here is the quilt I got to make for baby Jack! I LOVED the prints. It was the first "boy" blanket I got to make. I was excited to do that for her.

I love the details. I saw this in a book. It looks a lot easier than it really is. I needed to take a shower after carving out the watermelon. I was drenched in melon juice!

Here I am getting ready to make the first incision.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day Mom!

I would have bought these for you and sent them to the house if "Dave Ramsey" was not in charge of my check book! :)

I hope you Dance.

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder, You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger, May you never take one single breath for granted, GOD forbid love ever leave you empty handed, I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean, Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens, Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance, And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

I love you!

3 Generations!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Birthday Ryan!

Here we are at J Alexanders, Ryan's favorite place to eat. :) One of his MANY favorite places to eat that is.
I caught him eating cake for breakfast!
Ryan is such a kid at heart. I loved giving him this cake!