Thursday, May 31, 2007

happy place

i do not handle stress well. and the term 'well' is being entirely too generous. i have the utmost respect for those of you in my life who when faced with a large mountain to climb simply put one foot in front of the other and take one step at a time. im not that person. in college, rather than begin cramming for exams that i was unprepared for, i took long naps or went out with friends. in recent weeks with the realization that our move was imminent, i hosted dinner parties and dined with friends.

i made a lame attempt to prepare for the mother of all garage sales (our master plan at downsizing our abundant 'stuff' collection before the big move) a bit of background...our housing development being full of the military moving type hosts a mega garage sale every year. its the only one ive ever made it to and if not for the crazies knocking on our door at 6 am, i would have missed this one as well. anyway, it is a great opportunity to unload all of your junk on others and make some money while doing it. unfortunately, the evening before this years blow out had us flying home from palm springs at midnight. the 'planner' in me decided i needed to price my basement full of stuff well in advance and lucky me had 3 great friends who offered to help. i made dinner, we drank wine and by the end of the night decided we'd save some time and put a sign in the yard that said "everything $1.50". yep. thats how it goes. i prefer to distract myself from the unpleasantries of stress with all things enjoyable. we made some money at the garage sale inspite of my brilliant idea and being taken by a fast talking professional garage sale swindler for $39 (more on that another time). anyway, back to the happy place...

the night before our packers came, we had friends over for dinner. the night after they came we went to a party. totally enjoying my happy place. most people try to supervise the movers when they are in their house carefully or not so packing their life away. not me. i like to stay as far away from the progress as possible. pat found it amusing daily by playing a game similar to 'wheres waldo' only it was more like 'wheres katies happy place'. he found me painting my nails on the deck until they packed up our patio furniture, then hiding under the covers in our room at noon while the packers being the worker bees that they were worked on our living room. of course there were the constant offers to go get pizza, drinks, mail...really anything to leave the house.

at one point pat called out, 'katie, are you up here??' to which someone under covers replied they hadnt seen her all afternoon. now that we are out of our house, our life is in boxes crated somewhere in the black hills awaiting a 2 month ship ride to korea (or 'land of the not quite right' as pat calls it) and i am enjoying some wonderful family time in estes park, im feeling much better. im in a new happy place awaiting the next moment of stress that requires my quick duck and hide evasive maneuver. its interesting that as im writing this i am in our condos lobby during the most hectic time of day as my family of 7 adults and 5 children are trying to prepare dinner with kiddos running wild in a kitchen not big enough for all of them. hmm. maybe this is another lame attempt at a happy place. its working. im happy and out of the mix.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

heong bye bynida

i am certain the above title is probably not how you say good bye in korean, but it works for me now and i will make any necessary correction to it when i am actually in korea picking up the language along with any any air borne diseases i am certain they will discover are in korea within weeks of our arrival. we are officially out of our house with the help of an all star cast of packers and movers. there were way more boxes than i care to unpack so i am contemplating throwing out every third one and see what comes up missing. it seems like such a daunting task watching your life packed up in dingy grayish paper and sealed shut with screaming tape until you realize you have to unseal and unpack every single box. makes me wish i was more of a minimalist like my friend paul. but back to the flashy team of movers...

they really are deserving of an honorable mention here :: first, the mastermind of the show was josh, a 26 year old soon to be professional boxer (according to him) who arrived to pack each day with several pins protruding from his hand after surgery from a bad punch. id give him some award for successfully packing out my entire kitchen with one good hand, but i wont really know if he was successful until i unpack the boxes months from now. there was brunell, a 40 something fellow who had been on the job just under 2 weeks and was under the watchful eye of the above mentioned boxer/packer. he was a hard worker who only sweat occasionally on my linens as he packed them. bud, a retired military man in his 70's made an appearance for a few hours one day, but didnt join us the rest of the week. finally there was francis who was very polite, albeit a bit timid since it was his first day on the job. the good news is they did arrive everyday in a real truck unlike our hawaiian movers who showed up late afternoon in a milk truck everyday. i wish i was kidding, but im not. after crying about the fate of all my stuff, milk truck driver and his hawaiian sidekick managed to eventually pack us out in just one short week. it turned out to be the only move without damaged goods. hows that for some aloha.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

my faith is like pudding

interesting concept, i know, that this faith that i write, speak and think of so often in terms like strong, genuine, unshakable and steady could be like pudding. mushy, easily molded, shifted and changed. and yet, what i am realizing daily is that my faith is strong conveniently when things are going my way and easily changed when they are not.

recently i was on a flight and with flying topping my list of phobias right under mice and above bridges, i began my pre take off routine of prayer. prayer over the nice pilot that he not be drunk or depressed, prayer over the plane that it be mechanically sound, prayer for the other passengers that they not be unruly, armed or contagious... just the basics before taking to the friendly skies. i typically spend the first few minutes of every flight i take like this, giving over my parannoid control freak self into the hands of the One who is ultimately in control of the flight. within moments i usually feel at peace, able to relax a bit and leave my thoughts of an imminent crash behind. on this particular flight the peace lasted a little less than 12 minutes when we began to feel a tinge of turbulence and hear those ridiculous dings that i know must be coded messages from the pilot letting our all too perky stewardess know that we are in fact going down and there is no hope. i immediately begin to look around frantically searching for fear in the eyes of fellow passengers...i find none. i look to see how my better half is handling this terrifying turbulence...he's sleeping. it occurs to me that every plane crash that has happened certainly had at least one person praying for its safety and i realize that i am terrified. my faith is all but non existent and for several moments i question if God really heard me and if He is even aware of this plane bouncing around in the sky with me on it.

the turbulence subsided and when the pilot reassured us from the cockpit i began to feel somewhat at ease. the ease that i was so anxious to have was fleeting and replaced with that uncomfortable feeling that comes when you begin to sense that you have failed. i began to see a clear picture of how frustrated God must be with me and my flimsy faith. here i am, a supposed believer who claims this amazing faith at every turn of the road until the road begins heading in a different direction than what i think is best. im always quick to point out God's faithfulness when He heals someone i love, but what if He hadnt healed them? ill always tell you of His power when ive seen a life changed, a depression lifted, a hope renewed, but what if the life wasnt changed and someone was left suffering? ill even let you know how His plans have always been better than our own and every assignment we have had in the military has been a huge blessing, but you certainly wouldnt have that impression if youve been talking to me lately about moving to korea. im suddenly aware that having faith when life is going according to my master plan isnt having faith at all and ive been disguising a weak faith behind a multitude of blessings. real faith is grown, shaped, strengthened and revealed in the moments of turbulence in my life, not in the calm before or the peace that comes after it is over and He has faithfully carried me through once more.

i have a long way to go on this faith filled journey and i am thankful beyond words that my Father in heaven continues to bless, care and have faith in me and the person He is shaping me into inspite of myself and faith thats like pudding.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

palm springs

what an amazing vacation we just had!! who knew hanging out in the desert could be this much fun. pat, the peach and i just got back from a week in lovely palm springs. we rented a house with pat's fam and had the best time. i have 5 lbs to show for all the great food and buckets, i mean pitchers of margaritas we put down. the house was fabulous with over 4,000 square feet on one level that gave us our own private wing where gk took crazy long naps after mornings in the pool. there was a very elaborate plan to get us all out to palm springs to celebrate pat's mom, barbara's 60th birthday. clearly, by her reaction when she walked into her surprise party, she did not know. the secrecy paid off, the party was a blast and we had a great week. ill be posting more pics and useless details when i get a chance...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

dear mom,

i have for the first year ever failed to mail a mothers day card to you and while you have graciously absolved me from all guilt, i have not been able to shake the feeling that i am missing a great opportunity to tell you that this day of honoring mothers was made for a mother like you.

so, here it is in real time on this real day and i hope in the midst of celebrating you, you have a chance to read this. i know ive mentioned it a thousand times before and yet there will never be enough thank yous to really do what youve done justice.

thank you for being a counselor, motivational speaker, mentor and friend.

you have perfected the art of listening (no doubt in part to the hours i have needed you). you have not only listened, but have truly made me feel heard. whether it be through thoughtful advice, truth always spoken in love or gentle validation, you have never failed to make yourself available to hear and guide me. the vast amount of wise advice you have given me has taken root in my soul and led me through more than you can possibly imagine.

in those moments when the cloud of discouragement has covered me, it has always been your gift of encouragement that sees me through. your way of always painting the future with wide brush strokes of hope and promise and faith in the One who carefully plans our steps has defined the way i see my life. i will always remember you saying in the midst of your chemotherapy that if your cancer was the most difficult thing our family faced, how richly blessed our family was. i will never forget your profound courage, your unfailing optimism, your steadfast faith and your continual praise to God during the most fearful time of my life. thank you for an example that i can only hope to follow in times of joy and times of struggle.

it is your example, the clear picture of the kind of mother i want to be that inspires me daily. where you found the well of patience for me as a child is baffling, and yet it seemed to be an endless supply. it mixed well with the waters of unconditional love and acceptance that were poured onto me daily giving me a safe place to grow, succeed and fail. you always have enough joy to celebrate my triumphs and enough grace to ease my failures. i can only hope to emulate that kind of home for georgia.

you never cease to amaze me as my mother and the role you seem to equally thrive in is friend. where would i be without your friendship? the question itself leaves me drawing a blank as i cant imagine a moment without it. as seamless as blinking or as natural as breathing is the friend i have in you.

thank you counselor, motivator, mentor and friend for being all these and a mom that i cant thank God enough for. happy mothers day. i love you.


Saturday, May 12, 2007

did i say 'naked'?

i have an amazing ability to say the wrong thing. maybe a few of you know what im talking about. correction, i know a few of you know what im talking about. however, i doubt you suffer from the affliction to the same degree i do. or maybe youre one of those people i know who continually say the wrong thing and yet never ever realize it. pat and i fondly refer to you guys as those lacking 'situational awareness'. maybe we would be more accurate to refer to you as 'clueless', but that seems a bit harsh. so, there are just too many times to count where i have mispoken or said something i wish i hadnt. recently, i thanked a police officer and told him to have a great day as he handed me a speeding ticket as if he had just given me an extra shot of espresso free of charge in my latte. or then there was the apology i gave awhile back to someone who im still completely unclear as to what im sorry for and should have just said 'im sorry youre so crazy'. most recently my skill left me a wee bit embarassed.

i had a craving for a couple of options at two different local restaraunts, one mexican place and a great sandwich shop located right by it. trying to keep my carb storing body from having a feast i opted for a lettuce wrap sandwich and placed my order. the young (16 years old with that 'im really trying hard to be punk and mysterious' with my hair covering most of my face and my hat barely on) man asked me what i was in the mood for. simple enough question. very polite i might add. i immediately responded with "something naked for sure". at this point his one eye that was peeking through his mess of a hairdo about popped out of his head as his face became bright red. within moments that flashed as quickly as my grandmas buick, i realized that i had mistakenly mixed up terminology from the mexican restaraunt with this innocent adolescent boy's place of employment.

i am a moron. the burrito without the tortilla is a 'naked' burrito. the sandwich wrapped in lettuce is ironically called a lettuce wrap and the person with an insatiable appetite for her own words is called katie.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

good bye friend

i now know why people are at a loss for words when trying to console someone. there are no words for grief. if and when i can come up with a few, i will share them here. until then, know we are okay. just desperately missing the greatest dog/friend/companion we could have ever imagined. thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers. they have been a tremendous blessing to us.