Sunday, August 31, 2008

I got tagged!!!

So this blogging thing is something I've kind of been doing for fun for awhile now, not with a whole lot of intention of having many people reading it. Don't get me wrong, I knew that people could, and I mentioned that I had a blog to a few people who I knew might have fun keeping up with it, but I don't have that big of a reading audience. At least not a reading audience that let's me know that they're out there. So when I got tagged (basically mentioned in someone else's blog, giving a survey/get to know you type topic to blog about that they had already written on) by Anita at it was pretty exciting! So here goes.... you might learn a thing or two about me through this - enjoy!

1. I think I might have to work on opening myself up a little more now that I'm back in Madison, wanting/needing to meet new people and restart life here after moving from Sheboygan.

2. I am a "Christmas light snob", a title my mom gives me every Christmas season when we discuss what kind of lights my parents should put on their house. I don't like colored Christmas lights. At all. Anywhere. Lining rooftops, wound in trees in the yard, on a tree in the house, it has to be white. Don't get me wrong, I don't have a problem with other people using colored lights (although I always like the houses decorated in white better), I will just never be using colored lights myself.

3. I have been having a really hard time falling asleep lately. Not sure why, but a couple of ideas... I'm reading a suspense/mystery novel which isn't typically my type, and tends to freak me out right before I turn off the light. I'm missing my brother. I've been living back at home (temporarily!) for the last 6 weeks, and got used to my brother whispering good night whenever he got home and I was already half asleep. He moved into the dorms on Thursday, and hasn't been around the past few nights, so it's been an adjustment. I also think I'm missing my own bed, which is in storage for now - it's tightening the timeline for finding my own place a little.

4. I am addicted to pedicures (See the name of the blog!), MSNBC (Especially during election season.), and good books (The bad part of this addiction is that I really don't like library books, so I always have to buy my own. I love being able to crack the spine of a book, even though I try not to do that until I'm at least half way through, and to write notes in margins and underline good lines.)

5. I can sneeze six times in a row. In the office at my last job, it became a game to "Guess how many times Katrina will sneeze today!" I almost always make it to four (on a rare day only three), but occasionally would get up to five or six. We always knew when someone new was around, as they'd give me a "Bless you" after only one. Everyone else always laughed and said something to the effect of "Oh, she's not nearly done."

6. I might be putting an offer in on a condo in the very near future. I know I want to buy a place of my own and start building a little equity, but it's a little scary to make that leap and write the offer, knowing the amount of money that would be on the line if it all happens! I'll keep you posted on the progress there though - could be some exciting news coming up!

7. I have hope. Sounds pretty simple, but it's taken me awhile to realize it, and even longer to really understand and live like I have it. Oh, I also have big feet - size 12 to be exact. And you're right, not many manufacturers make 12s, but thankfully, Payless carries them, and they are cheap!

Unfortunately, the only people I know of who actually read this blog, don't have their own. So I can't do the part of tagging where I continue the chain and try to get someone else to post. If you're out there reading and have your own blog, let me know. I might tag you, but I promise not to harass if you don't feel like doing it! And besides, I'd love to be checking out your blog myself!

Monday, August 25, 2008


Dear Katrina,

In a few days, you'll start college! You've worried, and been excited, and been nervous. You've got your dorm room set up just right - with a few frantic phone calls home for things you forgot. I know you're thinking how final it seems to have moved your stuff out of mom and dad's house, but don't worry about it too much. It'll be home again next summer, and the summer after that, and then many weekends after that. Sure, they'll change your room into a guest room, but it'll still be yours absolutely any day or night you need or want it. They won't move on too far without you. The good news is you can go home again. But the even better news is, you'll come to a point where you don't need or necessarily want to. Not because it isn't home, but because you'll make a home of your own.

Don't worry about not leaving Madison to go to school "away from home". In a few years, you'll be needing your family even more than you do today. You'll fight a battle you don't think you'll be ready for, but they'll be there for you, and you'll find an even greater source of strength than you can possibly imagine today. And you'll have your chance to move out of town in a few years. You'll never guess it now, but you're going back near mom and dad's old stomping ground - you're heading to Sheboygan babe! And get this, you'll actually enjoy it! So don't worry about being in Madison for now. (But go ahead and fall in love with the town, because you'll be back there again soon enough too!)

I know you're nervous about classes and life here on campus. Concerned about who you'll sit by. If you'll be able to keep up and handle the studying. Wondering what you'll do on the weekends. I know not to tell you not to worry (because that definitely doesn't do you any good!), but don't be too concerned. You're on a campus of 40,000 students, which can be intimidating, but also offers you 39,999 other people to meet and so many other ways to find your place in the world. You'll find friends, and lose them, and then find more. You'll get involved in organizations, quit them, and find others. You won't fit the stereotypical mold of a student on this campus, but you'll fit your mold.

Don't devote too much of your time or heart to those guys you think are so important. They'll break your heart. But you'll get so much stronger because of them - and you'll be more discerning in the future! Be a friend even when its tough, even to people who are tough to be a friend too. You'll need them yourself sometime soon. And as tough as some of those roommates are, put up with them. They're giving you a chance to learn how confront people at least a little better - all because of a little fight over a cardboard box in the hallway of all things! Give it a few years, you'll understand all too well soon enough. But roommates won't be all bad. One of them will give you the privilege of being her maid of honor, and they'll be the ear who hears when you need to talk, the shoulder when you need one to cry on, and always there to laugh at the joke no one else will. Cherish them.

Go to class, get ice cream at 11:45 right before closing, stay up all night watching election results come in (because the 2000 election will be one to go down in history!), decide to do the year of grad school to get your Masters (even though it'll give you a student loan to pay off), find your niche in classes, with friends, in your church, in student organizations, and as a graduate making your way in the world. Cut yourself some slack, enjoy yourself, and relax - you're going to make it girl!


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Happy 50th Crayola 64!

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Crayola's box of 64 crayons. You got it - the one with a built in sharpener! In honor of back to school time and memories of getting that brand new box of crayons (or markers or colored pencils - they were all good) before school started, try out this fun game and see how many of the colors you remember.

Try it and let me know if you beat my score of 23 wrong before finishing!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Lots of nights of little sleep ahead

As someone who has been called a fan of strange sports (right Tracy?) and a political junkie (just ask the college roommates who had to live with me watching MSNBC through election seasons), this time of year is about my favorite.

For the past two weeks, I've devoted FAR too much time to watching and cheering for people I'd never heard of compete in sports I never knew of prior to these Olympic games. Ok, I knew of most of the sports, but wouldn't call myself a devoted follower. Tonight I found myself cheering for the guy from Belarus in the final event of the decathlon. Who does that?! And now I'm up watching the late-night edition of the games, waiting for synchronized swimming - the quintessential "weird sport." But wow, it looks tough! And while it's great that we've been able to see some of the event finals live at night because they were happening in the morning in Beijing, I haven't been able to tear myself away from Bob Costas to get to bed at a decent time. Maybe Sunday night I'll actually get a good 8 hours.

But wait....

As soon as the Olympics are over, election season will just be heating up. More tv/news I can't seem to get enough of.

Monday starts the Democratic National Convention, a three day break, and the following Monday (Labor Day) starts the Republican National Convention. I realize most people won't find that very exciting, but I can't get enough of it. And both fortunately (because I love it) and unfortunately (because I'll stay up late watching the analysis by all the pundits), it won't end until November when the election is over!

Because I did Olympic thoughts yesterday, how about a few political thoughts?

1. Anyone on Obama's text message list to find out who his running mate will be? I couldn't bring myself to sign up on his website and risk being bombarded with emails. While it would be cool to get that one big text from Barack, I'm not sure I want to be hearing directly from him for the next two and a half months. Besides, you can bet MSNBC will be updated with the candidate mere seconds after that message is sent out. And as much as I check my news websites, I'll have the name of the potential VP soon enough.

As I was typing this, I thought maybe I should check right now.... In case you hadn't heard, Joe Biden it is (per the Associated Press).

2. John McCain seriously doesn't know how many homes he has?!? I realize these guys are answering question after question, hour after hour, day after day, and they're constantly watching what they say. But you don't remember how many houses you have? That worries me....

Calling Boston.... again!

Hello to my favorite dentist (I'm assuming that's still accurate...)! Shoot me an email, I'd love to catch up!!

And to all of you other people lurking but not saying anything, I'd love to chat with you too. Let me know who you are in a comment! I suppose you could email me too considering I just gave y'all my email address.... but comments on the blog are so much more fun!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A few Olympic thoughts...

1. Michael Phelps = amazing. I just hope he doesn't screw up again like he did right after Athens with his DUI. Also, a bit of fun trivia... Phelps and Coach Bowman are being honored at Michigan (before they skip town to head back to Baltimore) at the Sept. 27th game against Wisconsin! (Working on getting tickets to be there! Not for Phelps, but for the Badgers of course!)

2. There is no way those Chinese girls are 16. And leave it to the US computer experts to uncover documents to prove it. How do you feel about them losing medals if it's true? 4 years ago when there was controversy in men's gymnastics (regarding start value of a routine by a Korean), the US was the beneficiary (with Paul Hamm getting the gold). We didn't want them to look at the facts after the fact then. As disappointing as it would be if the Chinese were actually using younger girls (both because we took second to them, and because of the toll it has to take on those poor girls both physically and emotionally being used by their country in that way), I'm not sure that I'm ready to ask them to be stripped of their medals. Any thoughts?

3. I feel terrible for the US women's softball team in their loss to Japan today. It's sad enough that the sport won't be making an appearance in the 2012 games, but it just makes it worse to have their first ever loss be in the gold medal game.

4. Usain "Lightning" Bolt. Crazy fast, but also crazy immature. The way he won, letting up before the finish line, and dismissing all the other runners completely, kind of takes away from the Olympic spirit. Obviously my argument would be better received if it were from a fellow Olympian, it's just disappointing to see someone with so much talent have so little consideration or respect for others. Maybe I'm overreacting.

5. The commercial for the DVD of the (4 hour long!) opening ceremony says something to the effect of it being remembered and talked about forever. Are you serious?? Sure it was impressive, but I'm willing to bet I won't remember or be talking about it come November! And I'm not spending $20 or whatever it is for the DVD!

Friday, August 15, 2008

In the Light

When I told the story of my baptism on Monday, I found it really easy to just gloss over my whole story of coming to know Christ. As I thought about it through the week, I was more and more convicted of how I wasn't really telling the story at all if I didn't tell it all, and not telling the story takes so much of the glory away from God, and just makes it sound like a cool story of something that happened to Katrina. And that isn't the intent of baptism at all!

Yes, it was a cool day in my life. But an even cooler day for Him, as 16 people publicly professed their faith and told the story of what He has done in their lives. While I knew when I wrote the first post that I should tell my whole story, I know now that it's something that shouldn't wait, and deserves to be told. So here goes. Hold on tight.

Before I came to really know Jesus, I looked a lot like a Christian. I knew Bible stories, and had memorized words to songs, and could probably have fooled a lot of people into believing I was a Christian. Outwardly, everything looked good. Inwardly, I was a mess. I was anxious. I worried a lot. I beat myself up whenever I wasn't perfect. I thought I should have been able to make everything in life work on my own, without looking for or accepting help from anyone else. With that said, for awhile, I seemed to be doing ok this way. I was able to make it work on the outside, despite how much it was tearing my apart on the inside.

Looking back now, I can see two clear times in my life where I battled pretty severe depression. The first, in my senior year of high school, I wasn't able to hold things together very well on my own, but I had great friends and family who were able to help get me through it, and at least get enough of a band-aid to fix things temporarily. I realized then that I couldn't do it on my own, but I turned to earthly relationships as a fix. Then, in my junior year of college, about two and a half years later, things started to fall apart again. But this time, worse than before. I was trying hard to make life look good, and I started to avoid people who may have been able to at least help because I didn't want to burden them with my problems. The more I did this, the worse things got. I had trouble getting out of bed to make it to classes I loved. I just didn't see the point in going. I passed up opportunities to go out and see friends. I avoided conversations with my parents because I didn't want to crack in front of them.

The day my grandfather died in May of 2003, a friend of mine (let's call him R) happened to call to invite me to church with him. With the news of my grandpas death, I think I was just vulnerable enough to accept his invitation to go. I can't say anything special happened that day, except that I saw a friend who cared about me, and he took me to a church where people had something cool. It was appealing enough that I started to go with him fairly regularly. I was still battling my depression on my own, but I was starting to hear about having this "personal relationship with Jesus."

One day in July of 2003, I was headed to church again with R when he warned me that the service that night was going to be a little heavy. A college aged girl at the church had committed suicide the week earlier. I immediately saw myself in her. I had had thoughts of doing the same thing many times. That night, I heard a message about finding hope in Jesus Christ, and basically not having to do life on your own. I heard the verse that says "Cast your worries on Him, because He cares for you." - 1 Peter 5:7 - and for the first time, it made sense. I told R what was going on in my heart and head and about my depression. He drove me home that night, and I remember so clearly falling on the living room floor at my parents house, just sobbing, and telling them what was going on. I finally realized that I couldn't do it on my own, and I couldn't even do it with the help of my friends or family. I needed something more.

Within the next few weeks after realizing it was hopeless to try to fix things on my own, I went back to church with R, heard the gospel story, and finally accepted help from the only real way to get it - Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

I wish I could say that the instant I became a Christian, life became wonderful and all of my problems were gone. That would be great, but it just isn't the case. I still worry and get anxious. But the difference is, now I have a source of peace and a God to fall back on, who I know is the answer. On those days where I sense myself slipping back into a bout of depression, or the nights I lie in bed crying myself to sleep, I know I can turn to a God who knows me by name, and who knows every tear that rolls down my cheek, and I know that I don't have to do it on my own. And that gives me a sense of peace I had never had before.

"What's going on inside of me? I despise my own behavior. This only serves to confirm my suspicions, that I'm still a man in need of a savior. I wanna be in the light, as you are in the light, I wanna shine like the stars in the heavens. Oh, Lord be my light and be my salvation, cause all I want is to be in the light... All I want is to be in the light."

Monday, August 11, 2008

Baptism... long overdue.

This past weekend, on August 10, 2008, I finally did something I had been putting off for over 5 years. And today, I'm asking myself what took so long.

Over 5 years ago, in July of 2003, I became a Christian, surrendering control over my life (or at least starting that process... I cannot honesly say that I've done that completely, and I don't know that I'll ever be able to, but I'll keep trying) to Jesus Christ. This followed a pretty low point in my life. The short version (the long version is a story for another day, but one that should be and will be told eventually) is I was battling some pretty severe depression, trying to do it all by myself, but not doing real well with that. As crappy as the sitution was then, it was what finally brought me to my knees knowing I couldn't do life by myself, and I'm thankful for it now.

Fast forward about 5 years to this past June, when I was faced with (I guess I should say given the opportunity, but I didn't see it as a fun idea at the time) the question of whether or not I was going to get baptized. I'd heard that it was something I should do, but also clung to the fact that it wasn't something I HAD to do - it wasn't going to change my standing with God - but it was a step of obedience. After some long conversations and a lot of convincing, I reluctantly decided I was going to go ahead and do it. It wasn't something I was looking forward to, and I really didn't have many expectations for it. Boy was I wrong.

This past Sunday was an amazing day. It was a day I got to hang out with friends I hadn't seen in a month. It was a day I got to go back to Crossroads. It was a day I got to share a story of my life and my testimony, that not a whole lot of people knew, with some pretty important people in my life (Thank you to all of you who were there!). And I got to share the experience of baptism with one of my best friends too. It was a day I won't soon forget, and wouldn't give up for anything. And even more importantly, it was a lesson in the blessings that come with obedience.

Calling Boston

I by NO means intend this to scare anyone away, but I have been curious....

So I have this fun little feature on my blog where I can see who's checking things out. Well, not exactly who, but at least where they are from. And one of the places that shows up off and on is Boston, MA. Now I have an idea of who you are (Empire State Building and a crazy bus ride to NYC maybe?), and if it's you, I'd love to hear from you! It's been too long! But even if I'm totally wrong and it's not you, I'd love to know who you are too. The comment option is always open. Again, please know that I don't intend this to freak you out, and I won't get freaked out if/when I find out who you are, purely a curiousity/wanting to get back in touch thing.

Now the rest of the locations are all Kohler/Port Washington/Sheboygan, so I really have no idea who you are because I can't narrow it down, but you can feel free to leave me a note too!