Monday, February 28, 2005

what did YOU do this weekend?

I'm Feeling: chilly
Background Noise: thoughts running through my head (okay, so no one else can really hear that...)

I got to hang out with a whole lot of middle school kids this weekend at a camp called Timberwolf Lake - it's in Lake City, MI (which is near Cadillac). TOTALLY FUN. I know most people think that sounds crazy, and couldn't be paid to spend nearly 48 hours straight in cabin with 16 6th and 7th grade girls, but I had an awesome time. We got to sing, scream, eat, play games, go tubing, perform in a talent show, and spend some time learning about our Creator. The best part was really hanging out with these girls - they are SO funny and loving and excited to hang out!!
Something I did NOT do very much of this weekend is sleep. So today, I'm feeling a little worn out - but in a good way.
On a separate note - I am thinking today about how different we all are (duh, Kate, right?) But seriously - have you ever done something for someone that you thought was soo nice and thoughtful, and they really didn't seem to care as much as you thought they would? Or when someone you love is upset, and you try to comfort them, but it doesn't work because you were thinking of what makes YOU feel better when you're upset, rather than what would make THEM feel better? I know this is a really basic idea - that we are all really different - but it makes such a strong impact on your life! Plus, it means that we never are allowed to stop learning about each other, at least, not if we want to be the best friends, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, mothers, fathers, spouses, etc... that we can possibly be.
I'm learning about becoming a "lifelong student" of the people I know - my friends and family mainly - so that I can learn to love them better, and not just sit around and be frustrated because "nothing I try is working" or "I just don't understand them." Maybe there's no way to ever really know someone completely, inside and out, but it certainly is rewarding (and appreciated) to try.

Friday, February 25, 2005

the fundamental things apply...

I'm Feeling: cold
Background Noise: Building a Mystery by Sarah McLachlan

Can you believe it's almost March? Weird - I used to think adults were crazy when I was little, always talking about how fast time went by. It used to seem like decades between Christmas and summer vacation (really less than 6 months). Now, I'm starting to see what they were talking about. Not a bad thing - but it does make it harder to appreciate things as they are happening. We get so wrapped up in deadlines and our busy schedules, that we don't stop and notice little, joy-filled things that are blossoming around us. Yesterday I got to visit our friends in the hospital - they just had a baby girl. I was only there for a half hour or so, but it was so refreshing to be able to take the time out of my day to appreciate a brand new person in our world. She was lovely - tiny and pink, and I'm so glad I was able to stop by and see them.
Maybe I need to take a little more time to appreciate those small things - like the fact that it is STILL definitely winter here in East Lansing... my gut reaction is to whine that it's snowing again. But perhaps I could sit back and enjoy the fact that time is not racing away unnoticed. I'll be ready for spring when it comes, but today, I'm happy to be where I am.

Thursday, February 24, 2005


I'm Feeling: cheerful
Background Noise: Blowin' in the Wind by Joan Baez

Welcome to Maggie Grace Wetzel, born this morning at 5:31am! Congrats to Jamie, Julie and Michael on the precious new addition to your family!!

there is a nerd inside all of us

I'm feeling: nerdy - and loving it!
Background Noise: Enough by Jeremy Camp, and my computer humming loudly as I import my favorite cds into iTunes

Every morning when I get to work, there are certain things I do. Some are obvious, like check my email, check my appointments for the day, and make myself some chai. Some are a little less normal, though, and I thought I'd let you in on some of the reasons I believe I am a nerd.
First, I like to make spreadsheets. I have some (maybe 5?) for work that are very helpful, but then I also have one for our budget, one for keeping track of my workout schedule, one for books I want to read, and one for vocab words from my word-a-day calendar. I know what you're thinking... but it gets worse. I like making them. They're color-coded and sized and lined up just so.
I also really am a school nerd - I'd love to get back into math - take Calculus II for fun. I honestly think I could be a student forever, and not because I loved college-life so much or because I don't like the working world... but because I honestly could think of things I would want to learn about for decades and decades.
To add to my list: I like jigsaw and crossword puzzles, I like to quilt and crochet and could spend hours (and much money) at Joann's and Michael's stores, I'm a country music fan, I love to re-read books, I like Broadway musicals and I sing along with the radio in my car, whether people are watching or not.
I just want to encourage everyone to embrace the nerd inside - those are the funny, quirky things about you that make you different from the people around you. It makes you unique and interesting... and surprisingly, it usually makes you more likeable. I love to hear about the nerdy things my friends and family like to do - it makes them human.
Huzzah for nerdy-ness!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005


I'm feeling: contemplative
Background Noise: radiator humming

Have you ever thought about how much time we spend trying to prove ourselves to others? It's kind of ridiculous, when you think about it...
For example, I am a type of person who likes to feel like I know what I'm doing. Not a big fan of looking/feeling stupid - although I am working on that, and am MUCH better than I used to be at accepting my own stupidity. :) However, I have to fight my natural tendency to explain things to people (just to prove that I know what I'm talking about) or give unnecessary/redundant input in conversations. Why do I feel the urge to do those things? It's just taking up time and airspace...
I'm certainly not saying we shouldn't care what other people think - because you can take that to an unhealthy extreme. I AM wondering about our self-centered desire to prove what good people we are.
Shouldn't my actions and my words speak to that - without having to "add" anything to the situation? When I open my mouth to prove how much I know, that just makes me look like a sort of condescending know-it-all, whereas if I had just kept my mouth shut, listened, and behaved myself, people might see for themselves what I know (or don't know). Although this seems like hard work sometimes (holding yourself back, biting your tongue), I am finding that it really saves energy and is way less stressful.
Granted, this can be hard to do when your JOB is to ADVISE people - I think sometimes the students I see wish I would give them more concrete answers - but I am big on people making decisions for themselves. I'm happy to provide input, and think through things along with someone, but I don't want to overstep any boundaries there.
Well, here's to being slow-to-speak... I'll keep you updated on my progress in this area.
Happy 2nd Birthday, Ashley Rider! And congrats to Scott and Heather - expecting another baby this fall!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Everything Changes

I'm Feeling: motivated
Background Noise: White Flag by Dido

I'm always surprised at how much people can change - we like to hide behind our personalities and natural tendencies, but that is actually really confining. Safe, but confining. Change can be painful and scary, and if no one is complaining - why bother... right?

I try to be changing myself all the time (though most of the time, that's not apparent to anyone but me). I'm a very verbal person, so I tend to make lists, and write down goals and things... thinking of characteristics I'd like to possess, or things that I want to be true of me. Sunday night, I was at Beaner's with a friend - she was studying for a math test, and I was keeping her company, and drinking a yummy chai latte (one of my all-time favorites - more on that in a minute). Anyway, I made up a list of words that I'd love to be used when people think of how to describe me. I'm pretty sure that right now, I'm nowhere near where I'd want to be on ANY of these, but that is motivating to me. I want to share them with you:

- generous
- easy to please
- wise
- diligent
- dependable
- compassionate
- childlike heart and faith

As of today, those are some things I really want to be working on.

Now, about the chai... yesterday, I had a couple extra minutes, and decided to verbalize my thoughts:

i love the chai latte
it is foamy and spicy and and sweet
warms me up inside

(please hold your applause until the end)

Chai Limerick
There once was a girl who loved chai
So much that she could not say "bye"
To the sweet foamy drink
What was she to think
It's all gone and she's gonna cry

thank you... I'll be here all week.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Four Score and Seven Years Ago...

It's a beautiful day for a history lesson, don't you think? Although I am a little bit bummed that I have to be at work today (I still hold that if the government doesn't see fit to deliver our mail, there shouldn't be school or work for anyone!), it's a good excuse to try to learn a little more about our American history. Maybe today, just for fun, you should try memorizing the presidents. :) I know, sounds like a blast!

How about our lady Spartans, huh?? It's been really cool to see our women have a successful season, and finally have a great big picture and article on the front page of the State News. Awesome!! Go Green!

Well, it's definitely Monday, and although I didn't get nearly as much sleep as I would have liked to this weekend, I had a great time hanging out with people I care about! Katie, Niki, Brent, Lia, Kaycee and Cam made my weekend much more fun than it would have been otherwise!

Friday, February 18, 2005

F is for fortitude (and Friday!!)

I'm Feeling: sleepy but energized (is that possible?)
Background Noise: How Great is Our God by Chris Tomlin

I got a word-a-day calendar for Christmas this year (technically last year, because Christmas 2005 hasn't happened yet...) and I want to share some of the words with you.

I think I will not use an abecedarian approach to sharing the words, as that would be likely to nonplus the more puerile readers, causing them to not think me an incisive pundit any longer. I plan to spend my Friday night in sanguine quiescence, free from quidnuncs and bouquinistes. My goal is not antediluvian bombination, qua the unctuous deipnosophist would never perform. This entry may cause a traditionally irenic caucus to engage in intestine logomachy and abandon their endemic largesse in favor of cock-a-hoop hectoring.

Big words are fun - analogue to roller coasters and cookie dough ice cream!

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Sunny days, sweeping the clouds awaaay....

I'm Feeling: refreshed
Background Noise: construction sounds (two men have been replacing our elevator for the past 3 months! What takes SO long in this process is beyond me... but I couldn't do it, so I shouldn't talk)

For the first time in what feels like weeks and weeks, I see sunshine out my window. Granted, it's not perfectly clear, blue skies, etc... but there are shadows on the ground, and that is something for which to be thankful. I know a lot of people are affected by the lack of sunlight, and my friends and I have been joking lately about suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder - which isn't really a funny joke, because it concerns serious depression, not just whiny "I feel bummed" attitudes (which describes me pretty well).
But I am feeling good today, due largely to the fact that I took the day off yesterday. My husband and I wanted to relax a little - both of our schedules are about to get really crazy in March, and we went shopping, ate out at his favorite restaurant (Szechuan, in Canton, MI) and visited family. What a great way to re-energize!
Today is also Random Acts of Kindness Day, according to MY holiday calendar (and since random means: a
lacking a definite plan, purpose, or pattern
b : made, done, or chosen at random; I guess I can't really PLAN to perform random acts of kindness today... I'll just have to wing it!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

My little friend Joshua

To my friend, Joshua Ockrin!! Happy 1st Birthday, buddy!! (okay, I know you can't read, but it's still fun to give a shout out to my shortest friend!)

To Mike, Kristen, Timmy and Joshua - I hope you're enjoying your time in Florida - we are SO excited to see you in March!!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Waaaaake Uuuuuuppp!!

I'm feeling: like falling asleep on my desk
Background Noise: Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble by Delirious

This is a game the boys who live across the street from us like to play - if you pretend to be sleeping (eyes closed, ridiculously loud faux snoring), one of them puts his head right next to yours and yells, as loud as he possibly can (and boys ages 4- 10 can be LOUD): "WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUPPPPP!!" I need some of that right now! Caffeine would be great too, but I don't drink coffee, and I gave up drinking pop this year (Katie and I are Stayin Alive in 2005!) Can't believe how sleepy I'm feeling at 2:33 in the afternoon...

Humble Pie

I'm Feeling: preoccupied
Background Noise: Beautiful One by By The Tree

Today seems to be one of those days when I have a lot of thoughts rolling around my head. I have a tendency to stress about things and over-analyze situations that don't go 100% smoothly. Nothing huge today, but just enough to create a traffic jam in the thought flow in my brain.

I did just read something this morning that was one of those things that's really important to hear, but you didn't exactly want to hear it, you know? An oh-that's-exactly-me-I-need-to-work-on-that kind of thing... humbling, to be sure. Here goes: Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get a smart retort. Anyone who rebukes the wicked will get hurt. So don't bother rebuking the mockers; they will only hate you. But the wise, when rebuked, will love you all the more. Teach the wise, and they will be wiser. Teach the righteous, and they will learn more. Wow. How often do I really enjoy constructive criticism? Not often - I like to figure out what I'm doing wrong, or be told if I ask, but I don't usually respond well to people offering it up without my asking. That's awfully prideful of me. Something to add to my list of things to be working on. :)

I'm meeting up with a good friend tonight - I'm excited about that! My friend Katie is a girl with an awesome heart - she's passionate and warm and not afraid of challenges and one of the bravest people I know.

But I must be going - eight appointments today! Hopefully I can be of use to the students who are coming in to see me today!!

Monday, February 14, 2005

Today is...

I'm Feeling: pumped! (and cold, since our radiators have been blowing cold air all day)
Background Noise: Worlds Apart by Jars of Clay

I found this website that has really fun "holidays," to break up the monotony of our normal holidays. So, aside from being Valentine's Day, today is also Ferris Wheel Day! Which sounds really fun, if it weren't 45 degrees, cold and rainy outside today. I have nothing against Valentine's Day per se, but I do feel out of place in my office today (just about the only one NOT wearing pink or red - what can I say, I guess I'm just a big rebel).
I had a really good weekend - I got to go to Bay City with my husband to work at a regional conference for HOSA. Although that meant getting up at 5am on a Saturday, I had a blast helping out (as always). Eight or nine ladies came over Saturday night to spend a night chatting and hanging out - which was really relaxing and enjoyable - Thanks Katie, Laura, Emily, Audry, Jill, Melissa, and Kelsey - I had a lot of fun! And yesterday I got to lay around the house and get things done, which, while not edge-of-your-seat exciting, was just what I needed.
Tonight, I am giving the talk at our Wyldlife meeting - I'm excited, but it's always a little nerveracking to try to speak meaningfully to 20-30 middle schoolers. Praise God for opportunities to make an impact in these kids' lives!
We are heading into prime time for advising, and yet, my office is empty on this fine Monday afternoon. I know this will soon change, so I am making the most of the lull in activity. It's a good thing I love talking to students as much as I do!
Happy Ferris Wheel Day, everyone!!

Friday, February 11, 2005

Hooray for Friday!

I'm Feeling: a little tired, but good
Background Noise: the ancient radiator in my office is humming

Remember that feeling you had on Fridays when you were in grade school? It was seriously the best day of the weekend - school's almost over, and you have a whole weekend to look forward to. Staying up late, sleeping in, hanging out with your favorite people. I love that I still get that same feeling. Happy Friday, everyone!!
Today, I get to go to Mason Middle School and visit with sixth and seventh graders while they eat lunch. I know, it sounds like a weird way to spend your lunch hour. But there's a very good reason for it - my husband and I spend about 10 hours a week working as volunteer leaders for Wyldlife (the middle school counterpart to YoungLife). It's been awesome - we've been with the group since September, and it's so encouraging! We're really focusing on loving kids (does anyone NOT remember how much middle school stunk??) Such a fun and rewarding way to spend your time.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Trying Something New!

Blogging seems to be taking the e-world by storm - almost everyone I know seems to have a blog now. I was talking to my husband Mark about this last night (he recently added a blog to his website at work) and we were commenting on how oddly addicting they are. I must admit, I'm a little nonplussed by this; but I decided to try it for myself anyway.
I've been working on kicking off a new website for Political Science majors here at MSU - to help answer basic advising questions and provide access to as many resources as possible. Mark suggested that I start a blog on the website. Since I am all about riding the wave of the future (I recently created an AIM screenname so that I could do IM advising with my students), I thought, "Why not?" So here's to trying something new.

Basic background information, if you care to know: My full name is Katharine Anne (Reh) Burley. Most of my friends call me Katie or Kate, but at work, most people call me Katharine. (the only name to not ever call me is Kathy!) I graduated from MSU in 2002 with a BA in Advertising and a BA in Supply Chain Management, and graduated again in 2004 with my Master's in Student Affairs Administration (basically a higher ed admin degree). I married Mark William Burley on July 6, 2002, and we live in a beautiful little house in Mason, MI. I started working for the Department of Political Science as the Undergraduate Academic Adviser in August 2004, and I love it!!