Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Goodbye '08, Hello '09.

I feel like the end of the year deserves some sort of attention on this here little blog, but I'm still trying to figure out exactly how to commemorate it. Stay tuned.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Walking into my place tonight, arms full with boxes given to me by people who completely love me, I couldn't help but get frustrated when I had to lean just the right way to get my keys out of my pocket by myself, and get the door open, stumbling in the dark because there was no way I would be able to flip the light switch. I couldn't help but notice the quiet here, with no one else changing out of the holiday clothes to get comfy and ready for bed. No one else to laugh about the funny things we talked about during the day.

The holidays tend to do this to me, and I'm struggling to find the balance between enjoying the reason we celebrate, and just wishing it were over so life would be back to normal, and I wouldn't feel quite so UN-normal.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wishing you a Merry Christmas!
Hope you have a chance to relax and enjoy time with those you love.

"The sun cannot compare to the glory of your love; There is no shadow in Your presence; No mortal man would dare to stand before your throne; Before the Holy One of heaven; It's only by your blood and it's only through your mercy; Lord I come.

I bring an offering of worship to my king; No one on Earth deserves the praises that I sing; Jesus may you recieve the honor that you're due; O Lord I bring an offering to you; I bring an offering to you."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Projects

A few of the projects that have been happening around here lately... Some gifts (so act surprised if you get one!) and the annual Christmas card that finally went out in the mail today!!

If you've read much of this blog, you'd know I'm a fairly big political freak. I'm really not informed enough on New York politics to have an opinion on Caroline Kennedy's qualifications as a senator, but on the day she announced her intentions to petition for the seat, I thought this video was pretty cool.

Thankfully I have a dad who has always told me I could do and be anything I want to too.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Great night

This will likely not be exciting for anyone but me, but I just got home from a FABULOUS night with friends from Blackhawk - small group, crashing Study Day worship at Blackhawk (not really crashing, we were invited, but it was definitely mostly college students who looked exhausted from studying :( ), and a drink and great conversation at Eno Vino. So needed that. Thanks guys.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Update on the snake...

Since the post about the snake has gotten the biggest response of all posts lately, I thought I'd give you an update....
Via comments and phone calls, the vote so far is:

3 votes against the snake
1 vote for the snake (with a fairly long phone call in support of it)
1 vote for a dog

Now for the most important vote of all, mine, I vote against the snake, and for a dog... in a few months. I'm not trying to house-train a dog during a Wisconsin winter! Eventually there will be a puppy here, along with a ton of pictures on the blog.

Monday, December 08, 2008

My brother just offered me $2 rent per month to keep a snake (preliminarily named Sam, Sam the Snake) at my house. The offer quickly increased to $12, which he said was "3 times his orignal offer." No, don't worry, your math isn't wrong, his is. And no, don't worry, the snake will not be showing up at my place.

Two fun things I love about my family...

1) I love that all four of us, in three different houses tonight, on four different TVs, watched the same show, and called each other within 10 minutes saying pretty much the same thing - "This show is hilarious!" The L's love them some Boston Legal! Too bad tonight is the series finale! :(

2) I love that last night, while picking out our Christmas tree and taking our annual Christmas card picture at the tree lot, we managed to have enough fun to make a scene and have everyone wondering what was going on. (We even got a decent picture out of it!) And then had some fun with our waiter at Applebee's - enough that he started taking cheap shots at us while bringing us our order. I'm sure if I tried to tell the story here, it wouldn't come across nearly as funny as it really was, so I won't try, but I'm thankful for those nights where we can just completely enjoy each other's company and senses of humor.

Christmas Tree Pictures!

The prospect of being snowed (or iced) in tomorrow has calmed me down a little and given me some room to breathe. I'm sure I'll be checking my work email throughout the day, but the fact that I'll be home has helped me feel like I can get a few of the things on my personal to-do list done during the day. It bummed me out that decorating my tree seemed like a chore this year, when it's something I normally love to do. Tonight, in my relaxed, breathing easier mood, the tree is now looking a little more like Christmas to me. Just a warning that it's not really your traditional Christmas tree, but when it comes to Christmas, I'm much more a pink and lime green girl than red and green!

Christmas Tree in my living room.

Jingle bell tree in my bedroom.

And a picture from the Christmas tree lighting I missed in Sheboygan!

And just because shoes are fun....

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Fathers and Daughters

I experienced the amazing way a dad loves his child today. First, my own dad did some pretty amazing things, and let's just say he loves me in a way I really don't deserve. His generosity and willingness to help me when it's not always convenient for him are such an example of his selfless love for me.

Then, when I was working at Pier 1 this afternoon, a younger dad came in with his daughter who looked to be about 5 years old. They were carrying a basket, filled with pink and purple ornaments. They were playing with the stocking stuffers, ringing jingle bells, and finding ideas for their tree. I approached them to see if they needed any help, and somehow the conversation turned to their "life situation." He told me how this was their first Christmas "on their own," as he put it, and were looking to find ornaments for a tree since they didn't have any anymore. I helped them find a few things they were looking for, but then couldn't stop watching from afar as they continued shopping. I realize that part of being a parent is doing these everyday things with your kids, but I couldn't help but see how much he loved this little girl, seemed to enjoy being in Pier 1 (as a 3o-ish year old guy, that isn't the usual reaction we get in our store), and was making this fun for his daughter. I just wish I could have watched longer.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Need a smile?

A little progress is being made on getting my house ready for Christmas! Today the Christmas music was on, the tree and Nativity went up, and I took some Christmas card pictures.

After taking about 20 pictures hoping to find one that would work for the card, I was definitely having one of those "Wow, every picture of me looks like crap," days. And those kinds of thoughts tend to start to spiral fast. In the process of running a few errands, I stopped at the gas station. Today, in addition to my caffeine boost, I got myself a little much needed self-esteem boost too. The sweet girl working at the Citgo just stopped in the middle of my transaction, smiled at me, and said "Your hair looks really pretty!" I realize how simple that sounds, but she made my day. I hope someone made you smile today.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

21 days

...until Christmas. And I'm not at all in the mood. I realize it's not about the lights, or the tree, or the fun pink wreath I have. It's not about the shopping, or the songs on the radio. But all of that stuff that provides a little atmosphere always makes it easier for me to start focusing on the real reason we celebrate. I often get so wrapped up in the to-do lists, that I miss the miracle of the baby Jesus. And even more so, I lose my focus on the grown-up Jesus. At this point, this is as far as I've gotten on getting my house ready for Christmas.

I'm praying I'll do a little better at getting my HEART ready for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

What's your favorite late night snack?

If you ever lived in the dorms at UW-Madison, you probably recognize this box.

A late night order from Ed's or Carson's and one of these babies shows up at your door. This particular box showed up at my door on Sunday night, thanks to my little brother living in the dorm, experiencing the deliciousness that is Juston Sticks himself, and remembering how much I said I liked them!

I got to enjoy some myself the past few days, thanks to an order from Matt big enough to give me leftovers for a couple nights! (*Update: I realize how gross this may look in the picture. Trust me, they're wonderful.)

Thanks Brother! Love you!

Monday, December 01, 2008


...but not insignificant.

1) Text message I got from my dad tonight that made me laugh out-loud: "I feel like a champion triathlete, I just completed the xword, sudoko and the kakuro!" Love that!

2) The cost of buying all items in The Twelve Days of Christmas this year: $86,609. Up 10.9% from last year. One question... how do you determine the cost of "Lords-a-leaping"? Ok, maybe this one was insignificant.

3) Looking for a little advice/accountability on this one. I'm having a rough time holding grudges lately. There are a few people in my life I feel like I need to have a real heart-to-heart with. And that's definitely a tough thing for me to do...

4) Lonely seems to be a very real feeling for me lately. And it's a bummer.
Just a short post wishing you a Happy December 1st. I know the month always flies by for me with a ton of craziness (all of it fun, but crazy nonetheless), but I'm hoping you and I both get a chance to slow down a bit and enjoy it.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Was it worth it?

A couple stories of Thanksgiving-time/Black Friday craziness...

Was it worth it to get your $30 digital picture frame, or whatever the big deal this year was? Don't get me wrong, I'm all about the Black Friday shopping - you can definitely find good deals. But I don't know that it's ever worth someone's life. I think the most outrageous part of this whole story is the comments made by shoppers as they left the store. "I've been in line since yesterday morning." First of all, that's nuts. At least enjoy your Thanksgiving. Second, a man died. Let's show a little class.

Yes, this happened at the Pier 1 store I worked at. I was "on-call" to work that night, and Thank God I wasn't called in to work. While I don't know specifics on what this was "worth" to the man who did it, let's just say, I'm quite positive it wasn't financially worth it.

Hope your Thanksgiving was restful, and relatively uneventful. But let me know if you got any good deals/finds on your shopping trips!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A big thing happened this weekend....

I went to the library, got a new library card, and even checked two books out.

So you're saying to yourself, what's the big thing that happened this weekend Katrina?

If you've ever visited my place in person, you've likely seen something like this:

(that picture doesn't really do it justice...)

Let's just say I have this thing about buying books and making them my own. In the spirit of putting myself on a bit of a budget, I decided that the book buying fund was one that could get cut. At least until I read all of those sitting double-stacked on those shelves. Until then, to the library I go when I need that "new book" fix!

Hey E - see that black box on the low shelf?! ;)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Can you help a girl out?

I've been given the task/honor/job of hosting Thanksgiving Day appetizers next week (it's coming so fast!), mostly because the family that is coming to town wants to see my new place. Let's just say I have a lot to get done in the next 9 days (cleaning and unpacking in addition to a lot going on at work!), and I'm not much of a cook. Does anyone have any good/easy/ delicious/impressive recipes I could try??? Help me out if you have anything! If I get any recommendations, I promise there will be pictures and a story of the whole process - it should be entertaining! Thanks in advance!

Refrigerator Love

I realize it seems strange that 1) I'm taking pictures of my refrigerator, and 2) that I'm posting them on the blog. But what I see there has made me smile more and more by the day lately.

Those 5 cards you see there are from some pretty special people in my life, and three of them have been added in just the last two days! One is from grandma, one is from Nicole (my best friend in Madison whose made an appearance or two on the blog in both name and picture), one is from Kellie (mentioned in the last post!), and two are from Erin (one of my sisters from Sheboygan who is missed a ton and who deserves a shout-out on the blog because she's a fairly consistent commenter here on FF&TNP). Thanks for the mail girls! Anymore that comes will definitely find a place up there!

(Notice the two other little fun things - a penguin gel-cling thing that T (my "little sister" in Sheboygan will be getting in the mail soon herself) and the Badger Basketball schedule!)

One other note on the lame/strange picture... you know every blog post that has a picture automatically gets a little better than one that doesn't!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Met Baby Langdon

Tonight I spent about an hour over at Kellie and Nate's meeting the first baby to be born to my high school circle of friends. It's always nice to hold a tiny baby (6 days old in this case!), but it was just as nice to be able to catch up with his parents. First off the baby details - Langdon Joseph was born last Monday morning, close to 8 pounds, and perfect in every way. Mom's doing great, even to the point of having him out and about a little. He even went to his first Packer Party today, and saw a good win!

I feel bad saying this, and it isn't meant to take anything away from the miracle that is the baby, but I almost needed the time to catch up with Kellie and Nate more than to see Langdon. Is that completely selfish of me?

Kellie and Nate, despite the fact that I don't see them all that often, are fabulous friends. They know what's going on in your life, and remember and think to ask questions about how specific things are going. They're genuinely interested, and can balance their 6 day old child with caring about friends. It was great to see the cool things happening in their life with their beautiful baby, and really good to have them as friends in my own life.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

83 cents of bliss

It's about the little things lately. Slippers, just sitting down on the couch, my fabulous gas fireplace that lights up with a fun little sound the moment I flip the switch, and....

Genuine Diet Faygo Redpop! This little grocery store find has made my night the last few days. It's the little things.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Operation Condo Update

Closing on the condo was October 14th. Today is November 8. Here's the progress that has been made!

Living and Dining room (also where most of the unpacking is happening!)

Green kitchen - I love it! My mom and I found the square art over the sink (that you can't see) today on our marathon shopping trip down in Schaumburg, and I LOVE it in this spot. I'm not sure that the picture does it justice, but it completely ties in the vases and fun colored plates above the cabinets.

Hallway to the bedrooms, just wanted a picture of the fun rug we got at Ikea today.

Spare bedroom - there's a place just waiting for you all to come visit! The room is painted pink and gray, and just feels pretty glam. Still a lot of unpacking to do here, but I love how fun it looks.

My bedroom! So happy to have my own bed again! And the black wrought iron against the blue works.

I'm definitely excited about the whole condo thing, and having a place of my own. But I'm having some mixed emotions about the whole doing it on my own part. I've prided myself on being on my own, and being able to handle things without help (i.e. a man!), and there are days where it's easy to remember that and be ok with it. And there are days where it's so hard. The days when I moved boxes in on my own, making 10 trips down to my car, without someone to help hold the door, or another set of hands to help carry the awkward stuff. Yesterday was one of those days. Today has been better, and I'm thankful that I can lay on my couch, watching trashy tv, having popcorn that I don't have to share!

Monday, November 03, 2008

tomorrow (if you haven't already)!

I definitely have my own (strong) political opinions, but I feel even more strongly about exercising my right to vote. Your vote counts. It matters. Get informed. It is your responsibility. Stand in line as long as it takes. Make sure your voice is heard. Get out and vote!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Just a quick post with a kind of fun picture from the women's retreat back in Sheboygan last weekend. I love me some flipflops, even on a late October day in Wisconsin - by the lake nonetheless! (I didn't dare put my feet in the water though - a month ago, definitely, but it's almost winter here now, I know better than that!)

Monday, October 27, 2008


I feel like I'm running a marathon length race at a sprint speed lately. Life has been pretty busy, with a lot of things I'd love to share on the blog, but I also feel I need to do them justice by giving them the attention they deserve in the telling of the stories. Some of them funny, some of them tear-inducing, some of them controversial.

Let's see what I can do to at least give you a little update on what's been going on and what's been going through my head.

My weeks have been a little crowded. Monday nights is Life Group with the peeps from Blackhawk. Tuesday nights is stained glass class with Nicole. Wednesday night has been condo updating/moving night recently. Thursday night is working at Pier 1. Friday night has actually been open. Saturday night doesn't have anything regular going on but often gets filled up. Sunday is working at Pier 1 and worship at Blackhawk. Monday it starts all over again. I don't mean to complain about any of this, it's been fun, it just makes for some busy days - and nights.

I've promised condo redecorating pictures, so here they are! Some at least...

The whole process at my new "house" a "home" (that sounds so strange to say!) is still a work in progress, but it's getting there.

The Crossroads Community Church Women's Retreat was this weekend and was really good. I had a blast catching up with some of my girlfriends in Sheboygan, listened to a wonderful speaker, and am still processing a lot of the stuff she taught. That's one of the things that needs a little more thought before I go into it too much... but hopefully more to come.

While I was in Sheboygan, I also got to catch up with some other friends. Dinner (at Chili's of course - one of the best restaurants in town!) with Andy and Brandon and then just a lot of catching up with those guys. If you're reading this, thanks AD, it was much needed.

And one other thing I've been contemplating blogging about.... politics. Something I'm completely passionate about, but am a little tentative to start talking about on here. Just not sure how it will all go over (not that that is the point), and want to be able to accurately state what I think. For now, let's just leave it at this... I'm loving watching the 24 hour news coverage of the campaigns. I know it drives other people C-R-A-Z-Y, but I'm getting my "once every four years" fix of it right now and soaking it all up while I can! We'll see if I work up the courage to tell you what I think about all of it within the next week.

Enough of the random blogging for now. Hopefully there will be a more cohesive post in the very near future. Thanks for hanging in there with me if you're still reading.

And one last thing - a big hello to all the Sheboygan women who might be stopping by after either finding out about or being reminded of the blog! It was awesome to see you this weekend, catch up, laugh, and cry with you! I'll be back soon, and leave me a hello in the comments if you are here!

More later - K

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A quick update:

  1. Bedroom painted Rhythmic Blue - check!
  2. Master bathroom painted Ocean's Kiss - check!
  3. Kitchen painted Village Green - check!
  4. Living Room (all but the big green monster) and hallway painted White Stallion - check!
  5. Erin visiting this past weekend for a ton of help at the condo, some shopping and even more catching up - check! (So glad you came darlin'! I missed you and needed some girlfriend time! Can't wait until you're here for just some FUN rather than work!)
  6. Start new part time job at Pier 1 for a little extra cash and a sweet discount - check!
  7. Negotiate part time job for the spring with the accounting firm to prep taxes - check!
  8. Finish stained glass project from Tuesday night class - check! (The picture doesn't quite do it justice, but you'll see it again when it gets hung in my master bedroom.)
  9. Fight this nasty cold that came at just the wrong time - (waiting for the check on this one)
  10. Attend the Crossroads Women's Retreat this weekend at the Osthoff in Elkhart Lake - can't wait to check this one off!

Plenty more pictures to come - condo updates and retreat pictures early next week! Hope your week is going well!


Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Closing on MY condo was today! Everything went well - totally exciting (to have my own place and be doing it on my own), and completely nerve-wracking (to think of the magnitude of it), all at the same time. I'll get over the nerves, but stay excited! Enjoy a few "before" pictures for now. Plenty more to come!

View from the main door onto my porch!
Living room - with two sided gas fireplace!

Kitchen - the red has already been covered!

Master bedroom - again, the red is gone!

Master bath - do I need two sinks? No, but it's fun!

Second bedroom - the yellow will be something different eventually.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

"Where people of goodwill get together and transcend their differences for the common good, peaceful and just solutions can be foudn even for those problems which seem most intractable."
-Nelson Mandela

Happy Fall.

It was the PERFECT fall day today. What a surprise to have an 80 degree day in October in Wisconsin. Nicole and I took advantage of it with a trip to the pumpkin patch, with a hayride (with two different pairs of horses - Max and Eric, and Dick and Dock!) to pick out any pumpkin you could carry, and a 15 acre corn maze to get lost in. We didn't get lost, but actually made it through pretty quickly. There was no messing around for us - we were on a mission, and didn't have any use for the "emergency" map they gave us. Two perfect pumpkins and two pairs of dirty shoes and jeans later, we were on our way to the Wollersheim Winery to check out the remodeling and get a bottle of Prairie Fume. I'll take a Saturday like this anytime!

Let's hope Nicole doesn't mind that I put her picture on the blog.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Hang in there with me...

I'll be back soon enough. Just a little crazy busy and stressed out right now, and not ready to be totally vulnerable about what's going on by putting it all on the blog. I'm sure I'll be sharing a whole lot of it soon enough!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

I realize I've been a little absent from the blog world lately. A bit of an explanation...

It seems like life has gotten a little crazy in the last week or so with the news of the condo actually happening and everything that comes along with house buying. I'm keeping it short, but do ask for your prayers that everything goes smoothly with the remaining arrangements that have to fall into place to make things happen. Hopefully there will be house pictures and painting pictures coming your way soon - along with more updates about the everyday life stuff that's going on with me!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Remembering to Trust

I should have blogged yesterday.

Let's start there. I'm going to pretend that today didn't happen for the time being.

God is SO good!!

I've kind of alluded to a lot of the "stuff" that's been going on in my life. Things like feeling a little trapped living back at my parents house, and condo hunting, and car problems. All of these were the things that hit on Saturday, cause a lot of tears to fall, sent me on a hike, and ultimately brought me to my knees calling (and crying) out to Him.

After spending over $1000 on my car (that I just paid off two weeks ago) for repairs, I got it back this last weekend with something else wrong - un-driveable condition wrong. The condo I had found was looking like it was never going to happen, and I was envisioning living at my parents forever. (I realize that was a little irrational, but a lot of what I think is irrational.)

Fast forward two days. On Monday, life started coming together in an amazing way. I took the car back in, and in very mechanical terms they explained that they had messed something up, and they rebuilt my brakes entirely, at their cost. The condo negotiations started to come together... and here's the big news... we actually have a deal! (Much more on that to come, but for now let's keep it at the stuff that's even bigger on my mind right now.) Monday night was my first "Life Group" meeting (aka Small Group), which just gave me some much needed fellowship. It made me hopeful for relationship possibilities here in Madison.

On Tuesday, the way God was (and still is!) working was SO clear! All day long, it was like He was saying directly to me, "Kate, do you see how much I love you?," "Do you trust me now?," "Do you see how big I am? None of this is too big for me to handle if you'll just let me." It was so obvious the way He had His hand on me, loved me, and was working His good plan for my life.

It's much easier to see Him working when He works things out the way we want Him to. It's much tougher when things don't go the way we planned.

It's days like today that we need to remember days like my Monday.

Without giving you too many of the teary, confusing details... With the way the economy has been spinning out of control, the condo loan I had planned on and built my budget around is no longer available, and the options are more limited, and more expensive. Long story (which I can't go into without more tears that I'm not ready to shed) short, I'm going forward, prayerfully, with the condo. Everything else says do this. And I'm learning to trust Him. I'm a "numbers girl" at heart (who else loves spending her days looking at spreadsheets and databases?), and have spent the night playing with my budget, and figuring out how to make it work. No huge worries, I'll be ok, just with a few changes in the way I live.

In a way, it's exciting to see how God will work and make Himself known through all of this. Today I'm convinced that He has a good plan for me, and I can't wait to see what's coming my way next. Tonight, I'll fall on my knees, praising Him for all the ways He is so good, and trusting Him with everything that comes next.

One other note and request for all of you out there in my blog-world of friends.... remind me of this post next time I'm freaking out, trying to do it alone, doubting Him.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Throwing out the map

I had one of those mornings where I just needed God to show up so badly. Ok, it's really been one of those weeks, but it brought me to my knees this morning. I was definitely tired of fighting. I found myself back in bed after being up for a couple hours this morning, just sobbing into my pillow, praying to just fall asleep so it would all go away. (Or just be shoved aside, never to really be dealt with.) I was praying for God to show up. Praying for Him to fix things. To fix the brakes on my car. To fix the whole loving situation/place to be at "home" thing by making the real estate agent call back finally. To just let me go to sleep.

He wasn't having any of it. At least He wasn't having my plans, because He had his own (surprise, surprise!).

Now let's just get something straight. I am by no means what you'd call a nature girl. I really don't like the woods or being too far from civilization. I want to be able to get a Diet Coke whenever I want one. I want to be able to turn on the radio and sing or scream or cry with it. Stick with me, this is going somewhere.

As I was laying in my bed, not falling asleep, the car still a mess, phone not ringing with the call I've been waiting for, He told me to get up, and drive to a state park just outside of Madison. Huh? Sure, I know where Governor Nelson State Park is, but I haven't been there in years. It's a park, with woods, and animals, and hiking trails. It's not really my kind of place. But somehow I knew I needed to be there. I was trusting I needed to go, but I wasn't sure was going to happen when I got there, so I still had a backup plan. I at least brought my "fun" book and a blanket, and my plan was to park myself at the beach and get lost in a novel. So, I drove the 15 miles or so to get there. Paid my $7 to get in. Grabbed a map. And found a parking spot. Now what. The map had 4 hiking paths marked out, and I had parked at the beginning of one of them. I thought... why not. Let's hike.

To get an idea for how unprepared I was for this walk, check out the shoes I wore on this little trip.

I ended up on a 2 mile trail, walking through the woods. I had a map in my back pocket with all these fun little facts about trees along the trail, how the lakes in Madison were formed. Now also remember that this isn't really my element. Everytime I saw one of the little number markers on the path that indicated the map had some extra info, I found myself pulling out the map, reading about it, and also just making sure I was going the right way. I really didn't care about the trees. Or the lakes. Or any of the history. I was really only looking at the map to make sure I wasn't going to get lost out in this woods. I know this is completely irrational. This was a WELL groomed path, that is nearly impossible to wander off of unintentionally.

The whole idea of making sure I'm on the right track is just so typical for me. I need to make sure everything is going the way I plan it. Life should be mapped out, I have it mapped out in my head, and life gets thrown in a tailspin when something goes wrong. Exactly like it did this morning. It's the little things - like the car being repaired, but coming back with something else wrong, or not getting a phone call when I expect it - that can just take me down for the count.

I was about 3/4 of a mile into the hike (I know because I had it all measured out on the map of course!), when I finally realized how little attention I was paying to everything around me - the bird hanging upside down on a tree limb, the spider web stretching almost three feet between two branches, the tiny bright purple flowers soaking up the sun. At that point, I made a conscious decision to keep the map in my back pocket for the rest of the hike, and just trust that the path would take me in the right direction, and eventually lead me out of the woods.

It's incredible how much nicer the walk was after that. For the whole first mile, I didn't see any other people walking. After that, I ran into an older woman who smiled at me and commented about how nice it was that we had a warm day in September. I met a man walking his brand new puppy who I knelt down and played with for awhile. A kid out for a run (who did two circuits of the path while I was walking that last mile!) who just smiled as he passed. I noticed the sun breaking through the trees more. And even better, I noticed God showing up for me just when I most needed Him.

No, my car isn't magically fixed. The phone call didn't come. I'm still dealing with some of the crap that runs through my head. But I know He's there. And I'll be ok without that map I so often depend on. He has a map that's so much better than mine. And even better than having a map in my back pocket, is having Him on the walk with me every step of the way.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

You ladies from Tennessee are wonderful.

Ramona from Knoxville made my day yesterday.

No, not a blog follower. Or even a blogger. At least not that I know of.

Ramona works at the call center for US Cellular.

Last night I was driving the beltline home at about 9:00, pretty wiped out, a little frazzled, and trying to figure out all the financial and car and condo stuff. And I realized randomly how much I had been texting this past month. And that I don't have a texting plan on my cell phone. And they just raised rates to 25 cents a text. And I'm trying hard to get on a better budget to make the car and condo stuff happen. And my cell phone is coming to the end of a billing cycle.

Being that it was already 9:00, I wasn't going to make it to a US Cellular store last night, but I thought I might, just might, be able to change my plan over the phone.

I "#729"ed it (#PAY), and after getting through the maze of "Push 1" commands, got a voice, or rather, a cough.

When I'm in a crummy mood, I tend to take it out on the people I love the most, and am much more pleasant to complete strangers. (Not one of my best traits... I'm working on that.) She apologized, and I told her that it was fine and to take her time. She went on to explain how her voice was almost gone as it was almost the end of her shift. And how the sudafed she had taken earlier was wearing off. Then we got down to business. A little. At least we got as far as me telling her I wanted to add a text package to my plan.

She proceeded to ask me "Did you meet some nice honey that you've been texting too much darlin'?"

I told her no, but that I wish I had! She was working on getting my plan all updated, but while she was doing that, I learned...

  • how she lost her mom earlier this year to Alzheimer's
  • that her dad has, in not so many words, asked for her permission to start going out with women again
  • how he's (her dad) been going dancing down at the American Legion
  • that she's trying out the online dating thing
  • that her daughter is in the Air Force and is in Las Vegas right now
  • that her daughter has recently gone through a divorce
  • that she used to work construction (with someone named Bubba!)
  • that she's 5'9" (and said she was tall - I told her I had her beat at 5'11")
  • we both wondered why tall men always go for the teensy-weensy women
  • how she was wearing 3" high wedge sandals that she got for under $4 at the end of last season

She was telling me all about this with her sweet accent. In the middle of it I had to ask her where she was a from, when she laughed and told me "Eastern Tennessee. Knoxville." A conversation with a friendly voice, who could make me laugh, and instantly feel like a friend was just what I needed last night.

US Cellular will definitely be getting a letter from me commending their customer service reps.

And Ramona will be getting a call again as soon as I find that "honey" I have to text message!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Torn, lost, but still hopeful

I'm completely torn tonight.

On one hand, it was a great night. I have found a church I like for it's worship and teaching, but wasn't real sure how to get connected to anyone at a place that serves thousands of people a week. I was blessed to be part of several small groups during my time in Sheboygan, and was really hoping to find something like that back in Madison. And tonight was the first step. I went to the small group (Life Groups at Blackhawk) kickoff tonight, and at least have a group that I'm part of now. It's strange to think that three years ago, the idea of being in a "small group" of people from church was terrifying. Now it's something I've been needing! I'm also so excited about the fact that it's a group of people who are all pretty much in my demographic. One of the benefits of being at a bigger church, is that there are enough single 20/30 year olds to form a bunch of groups! I've never before been in a group like this, and I'm kind of looking forward to how the dynamics work when people are closer to the same life situation.

I have to admit though, it isn't a whole lot of fun to think about having to learn to be vulnerable
in front of a whole new group of people....

Especially when I'm feeling like this....

So lost. So unloved, and even unloveable. The whole love thing doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. I know I've been at this point before, and I know I'll pull myself (well, ok, I won't do it myself, it never works that way) out of it eventually, but when you're sitting in this place, it flat out sucks. I don't have any better words for it right now. I'm so tempted to draw into myself, to pull away from people. The one thing I know that is different this time around, is that I've started to run to Him. Ok, time for truth, I'm not running to Him, but at least there are a few steps in His direction. And that is better than before.

For now...

"Lord I'm tired, So tired from walking; And Lord I'm so alone, And Lord the dark, is creeping in; Creeping up, to swallow me; I think I'll stop, Rest here awhile. And this is all that I can say right now, And this is all that I can give; And this is all that I can say right now, And this is all that I can give, that's my everything.

And didn't You see me cryin'?, And didn't You hear me call Your name?; Wasn't it You I gave my heart to?, I wish You'd remember, where You sat it down. And this is all that I can say right now, I know it's not much; But this is all that I can give, yeah that's my everything; This is all that I can say right now, I know it's not much; But this is all that I can give, Yeah that's my everything.

I didn't notice You were standing here; I didn't know that, that was You holding me; I didn't notice You were cryin' too; I didn't know that, that was You washing my feet; And this is all that I can say right now, oh, I know it's not much; But this is all that I can give, yeah that's my everything."

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Little Sports News

I realize it's old news, but it still makes me happy....

Charter now has Big Ten Network!


The Badgers won last night!


The Packers won today!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I've been living back with my parents for 9 weeks now.

I'm living in the guest room.

I'm living out of a suitcase.

All of my "stuff" is in a storage unit a mile and a half from the house.

There have been at least two other people living here the whole time I've been here.

I'm back at the house that was my home for about 13 years, but it doesn't feel like home anymore.

I'm longing for a place to get away and have some space and time to myself.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Take my word for it...

I found this interesting article on MSNBC.com today about the 10 Coolest Small Towns. I see number 1, ok, some place in New York. I'm sure it's cool. See number 2 and realize I've been there, Manitou Springs, CO. I agree, it is cool. It sits right at the bottom of Pikes Peak near Colorado Springs. I've checked out the shops there, had lunch at one of the little cafes. So far so good with this list. I'm with 'em. Number 3, a little town in Ohio, Yellow Springs, sounds pretty enough. And then.... I look at number 4.

Mazomanie, Wisconsin.

You have got to be kidding.

Been there too. As they say, its 24 miles from Madison. Apparently Erik Torkells (who wrote this section of the article) is enamoured by the artist co-op and the dance studio with a circus camp. A store that sells Wisconsin-made souvenirs (a souvenir from Mazo - exciting!), and even the clothing-optional beach.

I went to this little town every Friday, of every week, of every summer vacation in elementary school, for the weekly trip to the "Mazo Pool" with daycare. I remember the bus ride (that seemed to take forever with three kids to a vinyl bus seat on hot summer days), and lunch at the park shelter, ineveitably swarming with bees, hoping that your lunch didn't get lost on the way, and getting about a half hour in the crazy crowded pool, before making the long bus trip back, only this time in your wet clothes after swimming. Oh, the memories. (*One note: I always feel guilty saying bad things about the daycare I went to as a child, mostly because it was a wonderful place for me to be as a kid. I was lucky enough to go to a Christian daycare, even before that was a significant part of my, or anyone in my family's, life. I had wonderful teachers who loved me, and gave me a safe place to be, where my parents felt comfortable leaving me. They allowed my mom the opportunity to be a better mom by giving her the chance to work and do the things she loved, while still keeping me well taken care of. Thanks CFK!)

Let me tell you from first hand experience. The place isn't that exciting. Save yourself the time, and find a different small town in Wisconsin to experience. I can guarantee you there are better ones.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Only one thing to say tonight...

And Aaron Rodgers, you have some pretty eyes!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

"That girl"...

It's been one of those days. I realize I just posted 8 hours ago about what a good day it was, and clearly, parts of it were wonderful. But those doubts and other nasty things have made their way into my head, and are consuming me now. And I find myself having trouble falling asleep, so here I am.

It all started at church this morning. I'm definitely digging the church I've been checking out since I got back to Madison. Worship is great, messages are good... but... it's BIG. We're talking 1,000 people at a service, and they do four of them a Sunday! I'm coming from my cozy little church plant in Sheboygan, where you at least recognized most people, and knew a lot of them by name. It was comfortable. It was home. And there's this great song that I've associated with Crossroads in Sheboygan since that Vision Sunday service this May. And then today, they introduced and sang it at Blackhawk here in Madison. Now I've been missing a lot of my Sheboygan friends lately, and being in this new church with this old song was too much. As soon as they started to play "God of this City," the tears started falling. To borrow a line from K, I was "That girl!"

K told me the story about the Sunday she was in this new church (same one I'm talking about!), and didn't know anyone, so she was sitting by strangers, and started crying during the message. I know you've been there. It just hits you and there's no stopping the crying. She told me how she's sure the people who were near her went home that day and were praying for her throughout the week, thanking God that she was there that day, and that He was working on her heart. She told me how she wanted to tell them to not misunderstand, that she knew Jesus and they didn't have to worry about her, but it was just one of those days! That was me today. Missing Sheboygan as the worship team at Blackhawk sang "God of this City." In my mind, that song belongs to Zach.

"You're the God of this city, You're the King of these people, You're the Lord of this nation, You are. For there is no one like our God. There is no one like our God. Greater things have yet to come, greater things are still to be done in this city. Greater things have yet to come, and greater things are still to be done here. You're the strength in our weakness, You're the love to the broken, You're the joy in the sadness, You are. For there is no one like our God. There is no one like our God."

I'm just feeling like I'm at that low point, where there isn't really an explanation for it. Trying to find my place in this kind of new life, in a new town, with new people. I knew it would be different when I came back after being gone for three years, I guess I just wasn't completely prepared for how to deal with it and what to do about it. I know He has great things in store, I'm just growing impatient waiting for them to happen. If it's ok to covet your prayers, I could use them. Just for some peace about where I'm at. Assurance that He has a plan that's better than anything I could dream up. And for my heart (and head too!) to get more refocused on Him.