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). :)