Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Yeah Shutterfly!

Every year I search very hard for FREE Christmas photo cards. I mean these things can add up if you’re not careful, especially when you’re sending cards to your Aunt's next door neighbor's Mother. After much searching…BAM! I stumbled upon a blog that was sharing exactly what I was looking for! Shutterfly is offering 50 FREE holiday cards if you spread the word on your blog. This is great because for the past 2 years my hubby and I have used Shutterfly for photocards and tons of gifts for the family ranging from calendars to wedding books. And we are excited to use them again this year for our Christmas card. In fact, we are about to cozy up on the couch and pick from the numerous choices. Wish us luck as we could be in for a long night but it’s worth it because Shutterfly is cheap and fast. So make a post on your blog! Spread the word, spread some cheer and save some money!

1. Christmas photo cards to http://www.shutterfly.com/cards-stationery/christmas-photo-card
2. Christmas cards to
3. holiday cards to
4. personalized mugs to
5. birthday party cards to
6. holiday invitations to
7. Choose your favorite product from our
Cards & Stationery page

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Saturday, November 20, 2010


Last week I had 3 students submitted to a psychiatric ward for suicidal ideation and one teenage girl's aunt actually commit suicide. Looooong week. These young girls are so beautiful inside and out. It makes me angry that they are hurting so much. And it makes me sad because our teens today are dealing with too much way too soon! One student in particular, Thumbelina sticks out in my mind. I don't know Thumbelina too well. I spent 2 individual sessions with her and she came to 1 support group before she got admitted to the hospital. Thumbelina is so tiny and never smiles and even though she says she doesn't want to live I don't believe her. I went to visit her last week and I don't know if anyone who takes the time to read these boring stories has been to an adolescent psychiatric ward before but it's very "eery". Honestly, you can just feel the presence of darkness. I waited for 30+ minutes until a tall man entered the room and said in this deep voice, "you hear to see Thumbelina"? I walked the "white mile" went through several locked doors, had my purse confiscated, and finally entered a bare cold white room. There were two beds and in one was Thumbelina with her knees tucked up under her chin with her sullen vacant eyes. You start to think for a minute, "What do you say to someone who doesn't want to live"? I was overwhelmed with compassion for this young girl and as we begin talking you can hear the sadness and fear. The fear to live. At some points I can understand why she is afraid. Our world can be very scary, hard and unforgiving...but that's where faith comes in. Words of truth just started pouring out of my mouth. Jesus loves you, He has a purpose for you, He loves you even more, you don't need to be afraid, you are beautiful and you are loved Thumbelina. Tears well up in her eyes and she instantly shuts them off like every other emotion she feels. But I gently tell her, "Look at me Thumbelina, I'm not going to give up on you and I love you". I ask her if I can pray for her, she says, "It doesn't really matter, you can do what you want". I say, "You do matter and because this is true I'm going to pray for you". I asked her if I could hold her hand because I was desperate to touch this lifeless body. As I grabbed her hand I was shocked. The sterile room was freezing, I was freezing, plus she is underweight (meaning her body should be ice cold) but oddly her hand was on fire. It hit me, "There is so much life in this girl" and I hear God say, "fight for her". I tell her that I know this and her lip trembles, she shakes her head to rid the emotion. I pray, I hug, I leave and can feel a sudden lightness as I step outside. I get in the car and I pray, pray hard and you know what I realize...Satan is real and it makes me angry. So if you read this, please help me fight for Thumbelina and all the people who think this world would be better without them.

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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Be the Change!

The past two weeks at work have been crazy, interesting and overwhelming. I hosted this program titled "Challenge Day" which airs on MTV under the show called "If You Really Knew Me" for those of you who will admit to watching such a station (Now is a good time for me to admit that I'm obsessed with Teen Mom)! Anyway, Challenge Day is a program that "challenges" students to see their peers from a different light and to "get real" about who they are. It's extremely intense as the kids answer the question, "If you really knew me you would know..." Before we dive into the depths of the teenage soul we play incredibly silly games. We laugh, we dance, we sing and most importantly we HUG. Oh, and I do the worm, which is pretty incredible that my 28 year old body can still master this move on an extremely hard gym floor. I can't do this program justice with my words. It's something you have to experience. You'll see jocks crying, gang member throwing up the hand symbol for "I love you", cutters rolling up their sleeves and much more. The day get even more emotional as the students are asked to cross the line if you've ever experienced....fill in the blank. My heart breaks as kids cross the line for poverty, drugs, death, hurts, single family homes and much more. Suddenly you realize...hurt people hurt people. That's not a typo. Hurt people hurt people. And it's incredible to see the walls come down from shame and embarrassment and to hear teenagers express their deepest fears. Lives are changed. Students make commitments to "Be the Change". Cheerleaders start saying "Hi" to geeks, apologies are made, friendships are restored and the lonely feel supported. It helps the adults too. Grown men make phone calls to family members that they haven't contacted in over two years. Parents get an inside view of what their kids are dealing with. And for me, it's a breath of fresh air. I see hope, change and genuineness that I don't see very often. So three days of Challenge Day equals allot of money, lack of sleep, a million hugs, aching body, 300+ students, 90 volunteers, over 100 e-mails and referrals that I'm behind in because Challenge Day consumed my life for the majority of the month of September, and a good week and a half of recovery time from such an emotional 3 days. When it's all over though it's totally worth it and here's few reasons why. Bobby tried to commit suicide and said he was thankful he was still here. In response 99 students stood up and affirmed him that he was not alone and he was loved. Susie got to say through her tears, "I'm so mad at my dad for having an affair", Joe got to say, "I have a full ride to _____ for sports and I hate playing sports"! Betty said, "I'm angry that my parents are so sick from their choices that I have to clean, do laundry and cook for my siblings". The list goes on and on. And I got to stand up and say..."You matter, you have a purpose, and you are loved. It only takes 1 of you to break the cycle of in your family, amongst your friends and amongst your student body. So here's to hoping it sticks and me and my school will learn to "Be the Change".

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Night of Remembrance

At the end of last year my high school (for the first time in 10 years) scored above the national average in alcohol and drug use. Go “my high school”! Always trying to look at the bright side of things, I thought to myself, “Well, at least this secures my non-profit job”! Negative Nancy could also say, “Kat, you suck at your job”! Ha! But along with always being negative Nancy lies a lot too, which means I don’t really suck at my job. The best thing about this statistic is that it woke some parents up and they are on the STARS band wagon!

So, last night STARS (me) hosted a student/parent kick off night at the high school in the gym. We wanted to remind parents and students how precious life is and not to take things for granted. I need to be reminded of that several times throughout the day, especially when I run out creamer for my coffee. We had a dynamic speaker that shared his personal story about losing his son to a drunk driver. Heartbreaking. Why does that happen? I’m angry. I wish someone would have taken the keys away. So we all have heard this story a million times either on Oprah, or a high school assembly 10 years ago, but what threw me is that Mr. Williams did not speak about his “world”, he spoke about the boy who shattered his “world”. “Why did this boy make this choice”? “Why did no one love him”? “Why did he not have influences in his life that showed him character or to teach him to make good choices”? And when this boy left the bar after 6 straight hours, why didn’t any of his “friends” take his keys away”? “Why didn’t they have anyone who taught them to be a bystander”?

The night concluded with several musical performances from our students ranging from guitar, piano (that I wheeled 5 miles from the choir room) to a quartet that caused me to tear up the second the first note left their voices. In the midst of this our Assistant Principal read a summary of the evening and spoke the names (all 9) of the students that had tragically passed away from our school. I had the honor (I’m being serious) of taking the week to call these parents and inviting them to a night where their “world” was being remembered. Life looks differently when you’re listening to a parent that is heartbroken on the other end of the phone. And life looks differently when you see the very same parents walk into the gym with smiles spread across their faces. When the names were mentioned we had an opportunity to stand representing our love for that particular student. It was only for a few seconds but it felt like minutes. Suddenly…all the hurt, anger, selfishness, judgment etc. doesn’t matter anymore. Instead of hearing the voice in your head you hear tears and sniffs.

Last night was yet again another reminder for me that every choice counts. But really, every choice counts. Every person that you know and/or encounter provides an opportunity for you to make a difference. Below is the summary that our assistance principal read. I loved it so I’m posting it.

Those of us here tonight know what a special community this truly is. Though each of us is made differently, both physically and emotionally, we have this structure that unites us as a family. We want what is best for our peers, even though we may not know their names. As members of this family, we know that life is precious and we must treat each day like the gift it is. As members of this family we laugh together; We play together; We learn together; AND we cry together. Tonight is about celebrating this family. It is about respectfully celebrating a new face in a crowded student section and it is about celebrating the face that you have seen every day since the third grade. It is about celebrating each body that walks the halls of our school, celebrating those who will walk the halls after us, and it is about celebrating those who have walked the halls before us. Tonight is about remembering. It is about remembering the members of our family who we have lost and it is about remembering what their lives have taught us about life itself. You may have never met the wonderful people whose names I am about to read, you may have been a classmate, or you may have been a friend or relative. Regardless of how you knew them, celebrate. Celebrate what they taught us while they were here and how they remind us to hold each moment as a treasure and celebrate each other daily.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

So long summer...

Ahhhh! It's been forever since I've posted an entry! And to my surprise I've had several people say, "Kat, you need to upload your blog"! I always think, "People never read this crap". So here's a mass update on my summer in a very random order...

Recently, my husband has started making me dress up as characters for money. I told him that he better stop or people are going to start getting the wrong impression. Here I am dressed up as strawberry shortcake for a little girl's birthday party.

Got a whole free value meal from chic-fil-a for dressing up as a cow. This is the only time you will see me dressed up as a cow.

Thanks to TLC constant airing of reruns I fell "addictively" in love with "Say Yes to the Dress" and for the life of me cannot understand the popularity of see through wedding dresses?!

We had a Toy Story marathon when the in-laws came to visit. Here we are watching Toy Story 3 in 3-D. I'm not going to tell anyone that they all teared up at the end. I did not however because big girls don't cry.

This past weekend I went out of town to visit a very close friend. I loved getting to hang out with her and the family! The most fun I had was organizing her closet. Yes, you heard me right. Below is the "after" pic. Let's just say that before you wouldn't have known she had a walk in closet! Just looking at the pic inspires me!

I read the "Mark of the Lion" series by Francene Rivers. This is the 3rd book and I actually found myself hiding it when I was in public because I didn't want people to think I was reading a porn novel! I love Francene Rivers because she always has characters that represent Christ's love for us. I'm telling you...if Hadassah can love someone like Julia then I have NO excuses!

I met Katie Davis! Those who know me know that I'm obsessed with her blog and I got the chance to go to her home in Brentwood, TN and sit with her for 2 hours! As you can see I met her youngest daughter Patricia. It was incredible. To meet someone who's life is fully devoted to serving God was incredible and challenging. I mean, here's a girl that doesn't worry her looks, getting married, having a nice house, what she is wearing...blah blah blah...she's worried about serving God.

I fell in love with Justin Bieber. The more rhymes and m-bops the better I always say! And I find it highly inappropriate yet humorous that the local top 40 radio station has a contest titled "Play with your Bieber". If you don't get it than good for you! You're purer than me and I'm not going to corrupt you.

Jillian Michaels and I became best friends. We were getting along so well hanging out in level 1, but once she invited me to hang out with her at "level 2" my knees and I decided that she was mean and so we de-friended her.

This is a picture of me in Gatlinburg, TN...right before I dropped our brand new camera into the beautiful water!
Me wearing a life jacket that is too big for me!

Ryan and I in Gatlinburg. I just like this picture because you can see Ryan's shadow of his arm right across our faces! Obviously you can tell that we are not photographers.

My best friend Kari came to visit me for four days. It was the highlight of my summer! There's something that happens when you are around someone that brings out the good in you and loves you endlessly. She also found out that she was pregnant during this time! She also made me run intervals at the park and I haven't sweat that much since I was in high school! I lost several pounds! Dear Kari, please come back.

We stained our deck and when I say "we" I mean "Ryan".

Look how nasty it was. On the left is no power wash and on the right is power wash. :)

Look at my sweet Grandma. This is a picture of us holding the quilt that I made her this past Christmas. Every time I see her, which is only twice a year :( she gives me all her left over fabric. I took that fabric and made her a "scrap" quilt. If you look closely you can notice the X's and O's...hugs and kisses Grandma!

Another look. It's so sweet because when I go see her she's sitting in her chair with the quilt covering her legs. :)

I got to spend some time with my sister in laws. They are such great mothers AND great wives. I'm so glad my brother's have them because if I can remember correctly growin up they could be quite the "little butts" at times. :) I was perfect though and never did anything to push their buttons.

My sweet niece Libby. She is quite the little entertainer!

My precious nephew Evan. He caught a fish with pa-pa Ken. It was SO cute, everyone went outside to see and he was SO proud!

I about pooped myself when my dad went tubing at the lake and then I pooped myself a second time when he got up on the knee board!!

We got to celebrate Evan's 4th birthday when I visited Oklahoma. I was SO excited because I never get to attend the birthday parties being so far away. Kent made Evan an alligator out of cupcakes for his birthday!

This is my niece Anya...after a day of shopping with Aunt Kat and Grandma Brenda. :)
Look at her sweet face...looks just like her Daddy!

Ryan tuckered out with our nephew Drew.

Aunt Kat giving sweet Anna a bath.

I mean...could my nieces and nephews be any cuter?!

As you can see I love my family and am such a proud Aunt. It is a daily battle being so far away from them. It breaks my heart to not be more involved in their lives. But I pray that I can find ways to love them so far away. :) I just recently found out that my twin brother and his wife Emily are pregnant with their second baby! And I had another niece that was born just a few days ago! I will post pics soon (at least I intentions of doing that). :)

Friday, March 19, 2010

My New Friend

I made a new friend and I want you to meet her too...

I'm annoyingly driving along rush hour traffic trying to make it to my chiropractor appointment when I noticed this frail old woman inching along with her walker! Ummm...what the heck?! What on earth is she doing?! Is she a nursing home runaway? Is she loosing her mind? My heart broke as I pictured my sweet Grandma back in Oklahoma. I had to stop! I jerked off the interstate, swung my car around, hit a curb in the process and was on for the search. By the time I got through the traffic and everyone got out of my way I couldn't find her? I'm laughing, there's no way she could have gone far? I noticed a side street from where she was inching and there! A tiny hunched red blob! Thank God she didn't try to cross the crazy intersection! I caught up with her and hit the breaks. Lots of honking (Where the heck is that giant black button? The one with the red triangle on it?!) more honking, (OKAY people) oh screw it! I Roll the window down and in my sweetest voice I say, "Ma'am, can I help you?" Granny can't hear me. "MA'AM, CAN I HELP YOU?" Granny, "Oh no thank you, I'm just going to Target." I gasp! TARGET?! It would take her at least an hour to get to target! "Can I please give you a ride?" Granny chuckles, "You're not going to kidnap me are you?" I laughed and convinced her to hop in. Well, actually my SUV is not suitable for a tiny old woman so "hopping" wasn't really reasonable. I kind of lifted/scooted her in, threw her walker in the back and we were on our way!

I find out that Granny has a name which is Dorothy. Of course it's Dorothy because that has got to be the most perfect name for a sweet old granny who by the way is 86! "Dang Dorothy, you're still kicking!" Dorothy laughs. She reminds me of my Grandma. "Dorothy, what are you doing walking to Target by yourself?" Dorothy, "Oh, sometime I need a little adventure." "Dorothy, maybe you should read a book". Dorothy laughs, again I think of Grandma. "Dorothy, I like you and I'm going to help you shop today." She tells me I'm an angel...I laugh...hard.

Dorothy lives in an assisted living home. Her shuttle dropped her off at her eye doctor appointment and from there she decided to go to Target. She needed a new battery for her watch. Last week she missed her Bridge tournament because her watch wasn't working an she couldn't tell the time. My heart sunk, I would get her a new watch battery today if it was the last thing I did, Dorothy will not miss another Bridge tournament! Inching through Target I can't help but get angry as people are whisking by, inconvenienced when they get stuck behind her, or roll their eyes as they impatiently wait. Patience is a virtue people! While shopping, Dorothy decided to take advantage of my SUV and buy two king size pillows and a HUGE bag of soil for her garden. That a girl Dorothy! We make it to the check out line and Dorothy is mortified. She forgot to pick up a pack of socks for her husband Alfred, which I also think is an adorable name for what I imagine must be the sweetest old man to be married to this sweetest old lady. Dorothy, "Can I quickly go grab some socks?" "No, but you can SLOWLY go grab some socks." God forbid this woman falls and breaks a hip! Dorothy laughs, "I'm not used to people being so patient with me." I make a vow to never be impatient again. I'll let you know how long that last. 30 minutes later we grabbed the socks and checked out of target for the second time!

Dorothy says with a huge smile, "What is your name again?" I laugh, "Katherine". Dorothy, "Would you like to sit and have some water?" A check list vividly pops into my brain: chiropractor appointment, walking date with a friend, pack for Ohio, laundry, cook dinner, study..."Dorothy, I would love to sit and have some water with you." She smiles, I think of my Grandma.

While sipping water with Dorothy, I learn a lot about her life. Like Alfred recently breaking his hip causing him to be away from her in the hospital, her grandchildren, her children, her dog Rosy, and so much more. At this moment I remember I need to call Ryan! Oh crap, he's going to be worried about me. I dial, he answers, "Babe, this is really random but I saw this old lady walking on the side of the highway and I picked her up, I'm going to be home late." Ryan, "What?! "I'll explain later." Ryan, "Be safe!" I start laughing at the thought of an 86 year old elderly woman attacking me! Okay, it's getting late need to get going. Besides, Target has a policy and they won't change watch batteries and Dorothy will not miss another Bridge Tournament! Dorothy, "We better get going".

We inch to the car, throw the walker, pillows, and HUGE bag of soil into the back, lift into the seat, and head across to Radio Shack. They can't change the watch battery either! Ugh! So I go across the street into a jewelry shop. Dorothy is waiting in the car during all this as I walk into the store. Please picture this...Pit Bull dog chained to the wall, mid-40's guy who appears to be having a mid life crisis with his mullet, gold chain jewelry proudly displayed over his body, camouflage chaps (yes, I said chaps) and teeth white as snow. Classic. He changes the watch battery and the watch is broken. Nice. Dorothy might be missing her Bridge tournament after all. As I'm leaving mid life crisis guy encourages me to dig for all my gold jewelry and sell it to him. I promised I would keep that in mind. :)

I leave feeling a little defeated, but it was a good try. Now, on our way home. I'm a little nervous but Dorothy pulls through! We make it through all the twists and turns reaching the assisted living center. It's really nice! We walk into hallway and I'm hit with a wave of heat. I would love it here! We reach her room, open the door, and immediately here comes Rosy (the fattest Chiwawa I've ever seen). Dorothy is SO proud to show her off and I'm touched to see how much Rosy loves her owner! We get things settled in her house and I can't help but notice all the memories, sentiments, and precious tea cups proudly displayed throughout her home. Dorothy is thrilled as I take her up on the offer to sit in the chairs that view the man made pond in her back yard. I'm so glad I took her up on her offer as I hear Dorothy and Alfred have been married for 65 years and they like to watch old movies together. She is excited for him to return home from the nursing home. Me too because I hate leaving her all by herself. We exchange numbers and she thanks me with words, a hug, a smile, and tangerines. I promise her that I will be back and bring Ryan to meet her too.

I leave with a huge smile on my face. I loved meeting Dorothy. I'm not sure why God crossed our paths, but I was thankful for the opportunity. The opportunity to show God's love, to be loved, get out of my comfort zone, stop my busy life and be reminded of the important things. Maybe meeting Dorothy helped you do the same. :)

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

16 and Pregnant

I just want to get on the inner com at my school and shout, "Stop having unprotected sex!" For the Love of God, you are not invincible, it can happen to you. I don't get it, I will never get it, and I will never understand it! Why kids make the choice every day to have unprotected sex!! And I am very passionate about this because if I don't fight this battle it's only a matter of time that I will be fighting a much harder battle...abortion.

I started watching the show "16 and Pregnant" hosted on MTV really for educational purposes. It was fascinating at first watching the family dynamics etc., then just down right sad. It broke my heart to see these girls raise babies on their own, be treated by dirt by the fathers, hold onto unrealistic dreams of the "perfect family" and to see the babies grow up up in this environment...I felt overwhelmed. Out of all the couples I have seen only one healthy couple portrayed great qualities of a relationship and they made the selfless choice to give their baby a better life with adoption. Now please don't mis-read me. My teenage moms that do make the choice of abortion I love dearly. I grieve those babies lives but that is not an easy choice any woman has to make. My heart goes out to them.

But here's the thing. Despite all the statistics, facts, speakers, COMMON knowledge, they still make this crazy choice. I support through pregnancy scare, pregnancies, adoptions, abortions, teen moms and STILL these children AND their parents will NOT put them or choose to use birth control. Ahhhhh!!!!! I want to SCREAM! Now is a good time to mention that I've been reading through "The Daily Bible" because I'm so holy at which I'm currently 8 days behind and in genesis this occurred to me. God specifically told Adam and Eve, "You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die." I mean could God be more specific? So this is what dawned on me. Adam and Eve must have been 16. Tell a teenager that 1+1='s 2 and they will argue with it and try to prove you wrong or think..."Yeah, but not me". And you know, the kids are not the only one's to blame. I have conversations with parents all the time...
Me: Mrs. Denial, you're daughter has been having unprotected sex, she needs to get a pregnancy
Mrs. Denial: What?! I am shocked! (Despite all the OBVIOUS signs). Well, I will have a talk
with her.
Days later calling for a follow up.
Me: Hi Mrs. Denial, can you give me an update on the situation with your daughter.
Mrs. Denial: Oh yes, (AKA: I don't really want to talk about it out loud because I'm doing my
best to act like it never happened) I talked with my daughter and she's not going to have
sex again. (Ever in her entire life)

Again, I want to scream. Please don't live in the land of denial! Get out!

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Snow White and the 5 Dwarfs

April 30th, 2009 a young boy passed away with Leukemia. He attended the high school that I work at for his Freshman year. Most of his sophomore year was spent battling for his life in a local hospital. Unfortunately, I did not get the chance to meet this young boy. I started hearing more and more about him as students were coming with me with concern and wanting help with their fears. I became emotionally attached with this young boy through his carinbridge site. One day in my office I stared at the computer for over 3 hours reading about the trials one goes through when fighting such a disease. It was reading the stories on the site of hope, faith, his friends visiting him on his birthday. The love and support from his church was amazing, a member from the church staff visited him and his family everyday! I couldn't help but think about his mother, father, and older brother. I remember being ecstatic reading the updates as the news got greater, greater, and greater. Cancer free to be exact! Then the shock and disappointment when the last update stated, "Dear friends, we are sad to say the Leukemia has returned, there is nothing left that the doctors can do." It was a tough year last year at the high school. We had a boy murdered, 2 students die of cancer, one die in a car crash, and another pass away from a reaction to IB Profuen. I never imagined I would be conducting 5 grief groups in one year.
The 5 dwarfs were friends of this young boy I've been talking about. It's been a very difficult grief group. They are hurt, angry, and they miss their friend terribly. The day this young man died was a day like I had never seen before at RHS. We must of checked out the entire sophomore class (over 400 students) that day at school. Leading a group of boys is definitely outside my comfort zone and it's been challenging. And today was the most challenging of all. Snow White (mom who lost her son) called me to inform me that her son's tombstone would be placed and she wanted to give the dwarfs an opportunity to see it first and together. So I set up a field trip today for the boys. We drove out to the graveside, there Snow White left a cooler of Red Bull (son's favorite) and a letter to each dwarf. I too had the dwarfs write a letter to Snow White, telling her what her son meant to them and how they were going to keep his memory alive. I knew this would be important because Snow White expressed me that her greatest fear (other than losing a child) was that he would be forgotten. This boy will never be forgotten, not by the dwarfs and not by me. They also were to write one a 6 pack of eggs what they were angry about and "chuck" em!
But here's the thing. Out of all my grief groups these boys have had the most difficult time coping. Snow White believes in God and so did her son. He is in Heaven and I'm so thankful for that other wise this experience would have been much more difficult. It's been on my heart for a long time and then when I went to church yesterday it confirmed it. The sermon encouraged us to share our faith. I love my job because I get to show God's love everyday to students. Saying it however...that's a different story. But today was the perfect opportunity. I wasn't on school grounds and today out of all days would be the time that I had their attention. So I mustered up the courage and said...
"Your friend believed in God. He is in heaven, he is happy, he is whole, he is taken care of, and he was ready to go. God doesn't disappoint us, but life does. God did take care of him, it just wasn't the way we wanted him to be taken care of. Your friend does not want a legacy of hatred left behind. He wants you to remember that he was strong and accepted life the way it was. And the best part is, you can see him again! You can see him again when it's your turn to pass. But you have to have God in your heart." God says, "Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come! Your friend experienced that and you can too!
And that tiny paragraph took me about a week to gutsy up and say.
Did it make a difference? No clue. But I'm hoping it planted a seed in their sweet heads. These young men are precious. They have already had too much hurt for their young ages. No dads, addicted parents, verbal abuse and a loss of a dear friend. They have every reason to NOT believe in a God but it's more the reason that they NEED God. So please help me pray. That they will think about what was said and that I will continue to have the courage to share. He was an incredible young man. The 6 of them together had a unique friendship and tragically watched their best friend shrivel away. I got to talk with Snow White today. She is beautiful and doing wonderful. Holding strong to God and living life. The good days and the bad. I'm so touched that I have gotten to be a part of her life.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

You had what for breakfast?!

Ryan and I buy our eggs from a co-worker that raises chickens. No anti-bodies, free ranging, they don't eat their own poop, and they haven't been rebuilt by hormones. We get 24 farm fress eggs for $2! Probably one of my biggest bargains yet! Dave Ramsey would be proud.
Farmer Rick says to Ryan, "When you crack the egg you might see some tiny brown dots". Ryan, "Okay, what are the tiny brown dots?" Farmer, "Oh, I have a rooster and he fertilizes my chickens". That was it, farmer Rick went on about his day. So the question of this story is, "So...am I eating Rooster sperm for breakfast?" A quote from my husband who continues to be the funniest person I have ever known. The end.

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day Part I

This past Sunday one of our pastor's made a statement that caught my attention. "We do not love well". Umm...speak for yourself. I spend 5 out of 7 days (well, lately 3 out of 7 due to all our snow days) loving students through their worst and terrible circumstances. When I'm not working I'm loving others at church, making meals for mommies or those that are sick. Calling my family, loving my husband, meeting with friends...I love well and plenty. But then as I started listening to the sermon I started thinking of a WHOLE lot of things that in actuality I do NOT do well. In fact just last week I didn't follow through in some areas at my job. I said to myself, "My students know I am here, if they need me they will let me know". I'm pretty sure I didn't return a few e-mails that needed to be returned to some very close friends. I forgot a friends birthday, actually I have forgotten every body's birthday except my own, my twin (if that even counts) and Ryan's. I've held grudges, I've been sassy, I've been lazy, I've cancelled, I've complained, and I've been selfish...just to name a few. And all of these things really get in the way and prevent you from loving others well. Gosh, I'm really making myself sound pleasant. If it makes it any better I did all these things in hiding...in my mind. Ha! Oh, except for this experience. A few weeks ago I was walking into the Y and I was ending a conversation on my cell phone. As I stepped up on the elliptical machine this woman next to me said, "Excuse me, I just want you to know this a no cell phone zone". I said "I'm sorry to bother you, I'm off now". That probably reads nicer than it sounded. I had this tone...it wasn't a mean tone, but it wasn't a really nice tone either. Let's just say you could tell I was annoyed, because her response was, "No, I'm not trying to be mean, I'm just telling you so you won't get in trouble". I said shortly, "Thanks". I was so annoyed that I actually switched machines! Can you believe I did that?! I acted SO ridiculous. I wanted to go apologize to her but by the time I mustered up the courage she was gone. So, I forever left a great impression of myself!

So, to throw it out there, I do not love well and I need to get over myself. I hope that woman can forgive me, and I hope all those people that were affected by my flaws can forgive me too. Therefore, I need to forgive too! We've all done terrible things and we all have junk in our trunk. God says we need to forgive seventy times seven and James 2:13 says, "There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when He judges you." Ugh, does that put anyone in their place? That verse says 2 things to me. 1. Because I am forgiven I can forgive. 2. The unforgiving become unforgiven. C.S. Lewis says, "To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you." So how did this blog turn into a blog about forgiveness? When it comes to being wounded (ex: exercise woman tells me I am in the wrong, which I was, and therefore my pride is hurt) we don't want mercy, we want justice. I wanted to put that woman in her place by making her feel stupid for calling me out on something so insignificant. How hard will it be to forgive when someone murders your loved one, says something they can't take back, let's you down, or betrays your family?? Forgiveness takes ALOT to put it mildly, but it is needed in order for us to love well. Justice is not my place. If I worry about that I will be stuck in an emotional prison and I've been there...it's NOT fun. We're human, we can only love so much and be selfless so much. But the mind of Christ must be the most valued treasure of our life. Something our pastor also said that captured my attention.
Happy Valentines Day. :)

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Happy Valentine's Day Part II

I hope everyone had a Happy Valentine's Day. Ryan and I have been sick all week long. Me longer than him. Monday evening we both spent the night on the bathroom floors. It was quite an experience. We have never been sick like that at the same time and it's the first time I have ever seen him throw up. Let me just say I was in bed laughing so hard! It was so funny. The rest of the week was spent eating crackers and drinking Gatorade! So planning a fun Valentine's Day was the last thing on our list. But Saturday night Ryan surprised me with a steak dinner, flowers, and wine. I had a whole 5 bites, but it was delicious. He had the rest of my steak. :) Then we decided we needed desert so I randomly had all the ingredients for a homemade carrot cake. I know, I said it was random. The picture above is a breakfast I made for him this morning. I was much more chipper and too myself and wanted to do something nice for him. I found this recipe on the Martha Stewart website. It's a strawberry shortcake cut out into hearts. As I was making it this morning I realized that this is actually a dessert and not a typical breakfast item, but the recipe was under the breakfast category? Nevertheless, I loaded my husband up on sugar and he was happy. I also cut out the little hearts and stapled it in place of Ryan's tea bag. Something else I found on Martha's website. Also, it was the only craft I could do for free and wouldn't take me 5+hours to make!

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Ya Ya Sisterhood

My students are always challenging me. Teenagers always challenge me. They scare me too! But the lessons I learn from them are so valuable and challenge me daily. Part of my job is to to conduct support groups weekly with a small number of students. The topics vary but ultimately end up talking about similar things such as dating, self-esteem, difficult choices they are faced with, and just life. I currently have 9 support groups, mostly girls, and they are my favorite part of my job. I absolutely love walking through life with these adolescents.

I have or I should say had a group of 6 girls that are very dear to my heart. Funny thing about them is that they were all close friends when we started group over a year ago. I thought to myself, "Oh, this group will be easy." What does easy mean? Not emotionally draining, the group will run itself, it will be fun! Plus, they all have a heart for the Lord, sure their lives don't always show that, but out of all my groups they make the healthiest decisions. I relate to these girls the most, they reminded me of "me" in high school. I went above and beyond with them always! I guess I felt like I put a lot into their group so when the group failed I took it pretty hard.

So what happened? I really don't know! What I do know is that they just couldn't get along. But there was no specific incident, you know like a "She stole my boyfriend!" Or anything like that. It was all, "she said" and "she did", but they were mean to each other. Texting and facebooking terrible things. So I did what any counselor tried to do. Fix it! I brought them all into my office and gave them each a turn to share their side of the story, blah blah blah. I spoke from my heart. I told them the importance of friendship, how my friendships have held me together and when they stuck by me in my bad times and vise versa. I mean, I really told some meaningful stuff here! It worked for a while but after Christmas break I was flooded with tears, anger, and even parents wanting to remove their daughters from school! The situation had taken a turn for the worst and I'm afraid an unsurvivable situation for a human being.

So why the blog entry? I'm upset! It has been a thorn in my side. Did I do the right thing? Did I say the right words? It's so hard not to get caught up in the "well, she said/did" drama. But ultimately, it makes me so sad because out of all my students these girls should have been the ones to "get it". That life is more than this. More than this petty drama. They have every resource under the sun. But why are all my other groups going strong and this one not only failing but non existent? We live in a world of hurt people. They are afraid to trust and they are afraid to look at their own issues and take responsibility. And what makes me really sad is that these girls just moved on. There was no lesson learned, it was not their fault but everyone else's fault. So now, I barely see these girls. This has hurt me. After everything I have done for them, it comes down to this? They know I love them, they know I support them, and they know I would never judge them. So why, why is it so hard for them to ask for help and to be honest?!

And again, I'm struck by lightening. Why is it so hard for us to ask for help from God and those that love us? We know God will never leave us in fact He will love us more and yet, I still run away, get defensive, and push with all my strength. I don't want to be that way anymore. God can't use me when I do that. And something else that caught me off guard with not just with my ya ya sisters but with all my students. Why is that they are always talking crap about people and getting caught up in the "Did you hear what happened?" "Can you believe...?!" And I am struck down a second time. How is that any different than me getting caught up in the tabloids, the stupid dram from the Bachelor/church/work, or watching the Golden Globes and saying, "Oh my gosh, I can't believe she is wearing that!" Unfortunately, it seems much easier to be preoccupied with people's drama than our own. I don't think this is human nature. I disagree with the statement, "Everyone gossips or they deserve it for the choices they make", but I do agree that this is a learned behavior. And it's a terrible cycle because once you throw in people's past, their own selfish characteristics, hurts, and emotions you have a tornado that has been produced and you better leave it alone until the storm has calmed!

Lastly, God puts so much into us. He must want to punch us when we refuse to work on our stuff, choose to take the easier path, and stop seeing him because much like the ya ya sisters who are either too ashamed, embarrassed, or refuse to own any part of something they want to forget. For the life of me I look at the ya ya sisters and think, "What the heck happened?" There are many situations that start out as a snowflake and roll into an avalanche and we think, "Okay, how did that happen?" One thing I do know, I don't want to contribute to avalanches anymore. Since I do believe this is a learned behavior, I'm going to UN-learn it. And what is sad is that I think it's more socially acceptable and much easier to go with the flow than to interrupt the current.

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