Wednesday, June 28, 2006

no place like it

I'm Feeling: chilly - the temp has dropped 12 degrees in the past hour...
Background Noise:
Welcome Home by Shaun Groves

This is our house. We've lived there for over 2 years now, and I absolutely love it.
What do you think makes people feel at home? I've been thinking about how different people and places can make me feel more or less "at home." Sometimes I feel less at home because the person or place is new - but sometimes I meet someone and feel instantly connected. Or I walk into a new place and am immediately peaceful.

Sometimes I am less at home because of a known or obvious point of contention... when you feel judged, or know that you think differently about things than the people around you... being misunderstood definitely draws away from that "homey" feeling...

I've been thinking about this since I came back from my "home - home" this weekend - i.e. my parents' house, where I grew up. I am comfortable when I walk in, and I know the house well... but there are moments when I distinctly think to myself, "this is not my real life." It's not my home anymore.

What/where/who is your home? What makes it home?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

pigs, relatives & other worlds

I'm Feeling: even-keel (sp?)
Background Noise: My Girl by The Temptations

So that's our friend Cory, pretending to eat the pig that was de-boned and roasted in his backyard. Mostly, the picture just looks mildly psychotic - check out his eyes!! :) But, all creepy-ness aside, the pig was dee-licious, and Cory's really not crazy.

I had a big weekend - battled traffic on the way home to Chicagoland on Friday, hung out with the parents and my sister - then went to visit all 3 grandparents. Here's a brief update:

My dad's mom is in a nursing home (independent care for now) because of Alzheimer's. She's pretty darn lucid still, but definitely shrinking. The top of her head came up to my ribcage.

My mom's mom is never going to die, I think. She's tough, loves to talk, and knocks the breath out of you when she hugs you. Also shrinking, though.

My mom's dad had a stroke almost 3 years ago - he's been in a nursing home ever since - can't really talk, and has no function on the left side of his body. I don't get to see him nearly as often as I should, but it rips my heart out a little each time I do. He was so strong. But he loves us to visit, and he smiles more than I ever remember him doing when I was a kid.

It was good to hang out with my sister, brother, sister-in-law, mom, dad and assorted relatives. We laughed A LOT over the weekend - mostly because my sister and I can be massively obnoxious. But funnny. So funny.

Do you ever feel like different parts of your life exist completely independent of one another? Like you bounce from one universe to the next as you move between them? I get that feeling a lot when I visit my home... some kind of strange, parallel universe. The weirdest part is that I grew up there.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

rainy days

I'm Feeling: good-worn-out
Background Noise: Gilmore Girls on the TV

Check out Mark's miraculous dive from this weekend!!

Half day of work today, then went to the movies (saw Cars - very funny) with Christy, Huntar and Stephanie. I just love hanging out with those girls - can't believe they're going into 8th grade!!

I think the rain and gloom have sapped my energy today... thinking of hitting Beaner's this evening for a pick-me-up.

Ciao for now! More tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

scrub a dub

I'm Feeling: massively productive
Background Noise: Skid Row from Little Shop of Horrors Soundtrack

I still haven't found my camera cord, so no pictures from the pool yet...

Instead, feast your eyes upon cleaning products! That's pretty much what I did all last night - I gave both our bathrooms the most thorough cleaning they've had in ages - scrubbed floors, cleaned under the sink - the works. Awfully glamorous, let me tell you. I made 2 trips to Target and 1 to Meijer last night too.

Tonight's agenda: more cleaning (perhaps the kitchen this time), laundry, talking to the family on the phone... hold onto your hats, folks.

When Mark is away, I sure do know how to play. Seriously though - our house is one of those homes where it never looks dirty on the surface - but underneath, it's nowhere near as clean as I'd like it to be. So once in awhile, I try to scrub it down completely.

I went for a run last night and today, my knee hurts. Serves me right. Darn those healthy habits.

Monday, June 19, 2006


I'm Feeling: winsome
Background Noise: Jeopardy by Greg Kinh Band

As usual, Mark and I laid around, watched TV and slept in late this weekend... HA! Well, the sleeping in part is mostly true... but we definitely were not really sitting around doing nothing - what a fun weekend we had!

First - Friday, after AOP was over (10:30am), I hopped in a car with Mark, Cheryl, Dale, and Julie and headed up to Timberwolf Lake to visit for the day - we were having our Mason YoungLife and WyldLife Mission Community meeting up there. It's always fun to be at that camp - kids everywhere, lots of life and fun and noise, and James gave (as always) a really great talk. Got back around 1:30am after a really fun car ride back home.

Saturday - slept in til about 10:00 (which is super late for us) and decided to take 6 middle schoolers with us to the MSU pool to jump off various diving boards for 2 hours. It was awesome, especially since Saturday was HOT. Then we went to Coryell's house for fresh roasted pig - it's a little weird to see the teeth, nose, and tail of the animal you're about to eat... but man, did it taste good. (Here's the teaser part - I have awesome pictures and video of the trip to the pool, and pictures of the roasted pig... I just need to upload them - hopefully you'll see them tomorrow)

Sunday - went to church, then headed to Kawkawlin, MI (near Bay City) for a high school open house, then to Canton to have dinner with Mark's dad, sister, brother-in-law, and nephews. Home by nine, and we rounded out the night watching The Punisher - one of those Marvel comics movies that makes you want to laugh a little bit (and not because it's trying to be funny).
What was the best part of your weekend?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

eclectic thoughts

I'm Feeling: a little bit ornery
Background Noise: Without You by Dixie Chicks

Not sure why this picture of a cow is on my computer. I was scanning my "My Pictures" folder, looking for something inspired to post today... and who can resist a photo file named "cow.jpg" - I ask you. Not I.

I had weird dreams last night. Not weird like "I was eating mud and wearing a banana suit while riding a unicycle." Weird like stressed out, high pressure, actual occurrences - work and personal related. I kept waking up, wondering what was making me dream such intense, gray-hair-inspiring things. I don't feel particularly stressed out at the moment, and I had a very relaxing night last night. Makes me think about how it's funny that we use the same word for the nocturnal movies that play in our brains as we use for our hopes, plans, and imaginings for our futures.

What kinds of things do you dream? If you could have anything, live anywhere, do anything, be anything... what would your life look like? Do you know specifics, or is there just a general sense of what things would be like?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

i know you've thought about it...

1. Post a list of up to 20 books/movies/TV shows/videogames/etc. that you've had an obsessive fannish love of at some time in your life.
2. Have your friends guess your favorite character from each item.
3. Post in your own journal.

1. Gilmore Girls
2. Friends
3. Harry Potter
4. The Babysitter's Club series
5. The Lord of the Rings (books, not movies)
6. The Princess Bride
7. Wishbone
8. Veggie Tales
9. X Men
10. Dirty Dancing
11. A Few Good Men
12. Mad About You
13. Full House
14. East of Eden
15. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (book, not movie)

Okay, it's harder than I thought to come up with these... so fifteen is all you get. Clearly, many of my obsessions date back to childhood - I find I'm not as freakishly into things as I used to be. Any thoughts on whether that's good or not? :)

Give it a shot - what character did I like best from these books/movies/TV shows?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

so simple

Did you know... the Andamanese language has words for only two numbers... one and more than one. Way to keep life simple, folks!

Academic Orientation Program (aka AOP) began at MSU today - I think it's fun to meet the incoming students - they're nervous, excited, tired, bored, ready to go, enthusiastic, grumpy - and everything in between. Mostly, they're really pumped to meet someone at MSU that wants to know them, laugh a little bit, and help them out.

I'm constantly humbled by how easy it actually is (most of the time) to help someone out, and make a real difference in his/her day. Guilt washes over me when students are so profoundly thankful for something that took minimal effort on my part. But what wasn't a big deal to me was absolutely huge in their world - I need to keep that in mind. Why is it that we don't jump on every opportunity that presents itself - when we know that so often, just caring about someone's problem can make all the difference?

LOVE your neighbor.
It really can be that simple.

Monday, June 12, 2006

goin' places

I'm Feeling: frustrated and uncreative
Background Noise: Natural Anthem by The Postal Service

I just wrote a beautiful, delightful blog... and it didn't upload properly. The kicker is that it didn't come up with an error message - it just didn't work. And the window you type in disappears when you click "submit" so there's no way to go back, and cut and paste fabulously creative and inspiring words into a new blog. Big fat bummer.

Here's the gist - I'm totally stoked (yes, I just actually typed the word "stoked") to go to the U.S. Open (tennis) in September - my parents are taking us all (Meg, Adam, Melissa, Mark and me) as some kind of present to themselves - which is way cool. We have our hotel, our flights, and our tickets onto the grounds - it'll be awesome!! Mark, Meg, and I all played tennis in high school, and my dad is pretty good with a racket too - we all like watching tennis on TV (I know, tennis on TV = death for some of you). Maybe we'll get discovered for our raw athletic talent and start playing professional tennis. Weirder things have happened. I think.

I water-skied this weekend – let me tell you about my mad skills on the water. Not actual water-skiing skills… wipe-out skills. Now, I can’t watch myself, and I may be biased – but I crash harder and more spectacularly than anyone else out on the water. You’re not really skiing if you don’t get water in your lungs, the wind knocked out of you, big bluish-greenish bruises on your legs from spinning like a top across the water and sending your skis flying. And believe it or not – it’s totally fun. Granted, my body is not speaking to me today because of the pain it’s in – but it’s SO much more fun to ski than to try to ski (what I spent the past 4 summers doing).

Rounded out the weekend with a wild game of lava freeze tag at the park in Mason – we played for about an hour and were all heaving and sweating by the end. How do little kids play like that all day?

Fun weekend – lots of good people, got some sun, and now it’s back to the grind (stop laughing, I’ve actually been very productive today).

Friday, June 09, 2006

baby steps

I'm Feeling: ready for a nap and a weekend!
Background Noise: Trashin' the Camp by Phil Collins

Here's another photo collage from France - in color this time! You may notice - the skies were ridiculously blue the entire time I was there - supposedly, they get 300 days of sunshine each year in Montpellier. I can hardly imagine what that would be like...

Here's a tiny insight into Katie - On occasion, I can get myself a little stressed out about things - I have to fight my tendency to worry sometimes. However, I've noticed in the past few (days, weeks, months - I'm not really sure) - that tendency has been fading. God has really been working on my heart - that's not always a fun process (ok, really, it almost NEVER is) - but it's borderline startling to see what He can do.

The reason this came to mind today is that there are some situations/decisions (nothing major, really) in my life right now, that 2 years ago would have totally stressed me out. Today - I'm concerned, but mostly just interested in watching them unfold. I'm better at resting in the Lord's grace and perfect plan than I was yesterday. It's a cool thing to realize. I like this quote from the movie Life as a House - "Change can be so slow that you don't notice your life is better or worse, until it is."

Of course, now that I've publicly drawn attention to it, I am certainly due for some new, painful life lesson. : ) Bring it on!

Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

good and faithful

Do you ever feel like it's totally unlikely that you could ever truly be used by the Lord to do amazing things?

I just started reading "Chasing Daylight" by Erwin McManus, and so far, it's really good - but it's also one of those books that makes me a little uncomfortable because it opens my eyes to how far I still have to grow. I love those kind of books (it's weird to love something that makes you uncomfortable, I know) - they always get me thinking.

The basic premise of the book is that we spend a lot of time waiting - not taking advantage of moments God gives us, watching life go by rather than living it - and often because we are afraid of making mistakes, of not walking in His will, or of not being good enough. This one hits a little too close to home for me.

I know it shortchanges God to think "He can't possibly use ME." He's GOD, right - He can do whatever He wants! It's cool to think that He planned it this way - to use vastly imperfect people to take part in extraordinary things in His name. I just want to get to the end and have God say "Well done, good and faithful servant." If I died today, I think He might say something more like, "Well, you were beginning to try to do what I wanted, well-intentioned and cautious servant." Not the same thing.

My goal is "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

i heart summertime!

I'm Feeling: like dancing (not sure why)
Background Noise: Folsom Prison Blues by Joaquin Phoenix (Walk the Line)

The office is so much quieter in the summer. Not just the office, when it comes to that - but the whole campus. There are fewer people here, yes, but it's also a palpable change in energy. Everyone is a bit more mellow, a little less stressed, and a lot less Seasonal Affective Disorder-ish. It's nice. I prefer to be a little busier than I am right now, but it's good to know that life isn't always dragging you along as fast as you can run. Sometimes, I set the pace.

Today is a little gloomy/drizzly, but I still enjoy the summer-time so much... I like warmer weather, sunshine, flowers, kids playing outside, and the fact that we can take a walk pretty much every night if we want to. One thing that isn't so enchanting - I've started counting up some mosquito bites. They love to bite me, and my delicate-like-a-flower skin just puffs right up and gets all itchy. Maybe there is some kind of scare-mosquito (like a scarecrow) thing I could rig up outside my house. RAWR Mosquitos! Go away!

I know that the pic for today is one of the ones in the collage I posted yesterday - but it was such a pretty place. I walked by there basically every day I was in France - you had to walk up 102 steps to get there (and that was the only way to get downtown - makes for a good butt/legs workout).

Happy Wednesday!!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

helter skelter

I'm Feeling: energized!
Background Noise: Reign in Me by Brenton Brown

Well, first off - here is a photo collage of some of the black and white pictures I took in France. The first one is a water tower in Montpellier, the second is on the Esplanade du Charles De Gaulle (a garden area in Montpellier), the next 5 (going across from left to right) are all of Carcassonne - the medeival walled city I visited, and the last 2 are from the restaurant in the country/mountains we ate at on Thursday (my last day in France). I saw some really beautiful stuff.

It's not even noon, and I feel like a lot has happened today already. I ate a delicious (if not spectacularly healthy) breakfast, courtesy of Coryell and Mark - and had great company - Mark, Al, Cory and I had a fun morning. Then at nine, I had an interview for an adviser position in the Psychology department - I think it went really well. I'm praying for God to make my path straight in terms of making these decisions, and I think if I don't get this job, it's because it's really not in His plan for me. There's no feeling of "why on earth did I say that?" or anything. I've seen 2 students, and am about to head to lunch with a friend in a little while.

It's a beautiful day - take advantage of the opportunities God is placing in your life today - even if it's just a trip to get an ice cream cone.

Monday, June 05, 2006

my new camera

I'm Feeling: back to normal
Background Noise: You're My Baby by Jonathan Rice (from Walk the Line)

I've jumped into the digital age just a little bit further - I now have my very own digital camera. And like all things electronic - it's just not quite as simple as you think it's gonna be. I had every intention of putting up a bunch of my France pictures today - but somehow, when I loaded the pics onto my laptop at home yesterday, they left my camera. So when I brought my camera to work to put them on my computer here... no dice. So rather than a dizzying array of breathtaking pictures of Southern France... here is a lovely shot of Comerica Park that I took a few weeks ago at the game. It puts me in mind of the baseball days of yore.

It's funny how quickly life goes back to normal when you come back from a big trip. The weekend was a little rough (jetlag bit me hard this time), but I feel good now. The office is normal, my emails and voicemails are waiting as always... same old. :) It's good to be back, though. It was nice to see my friends again this weekend - traveling by yourself makes you lonesome for people who know you well!
 Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 02, 2006

leavin' on a jetplane

I'm Feeling: ready for a long journey home
Background Noise: computers humming (this lab really isn't as exciting as the iTunes in my office - but my head is playing Leaving on a JetPlane)

Well, it's just after 7am in France. My cab should be here in 20 minutes, to take me to the airport. I'm scheduled to arrive at the Lansing airport just before 9:30pm (which is 3:30am in France). If I keep telling myself I'm up for 20 hours of traveling - will it be true?

Honestly, I am up for it - it's been a fantastic trip - I've gotten to see some really cool stuff, and I have some great pictures... but this is not the way I'd normally want to travel. Jim (the faculty member from MSU in charge of the trip) and the girls have been great - but they don't really know me... It's hard to explain, but in some senses, it's been a really lonely trip. I wouldn't trade it though - I like being someplace different, and I've definitely gotten a slightly heightened sense of independence from this trip. I just don't think I'll become one of those gals who goes jet-setting off to exotic places all on her own... but I'll definitely not be afraid to take my own day trips around a new place.

Mostly, I miss the familiarity that home brings. There are people who know me, people who love me, daily interactions and tasks that make me feel like
me. Mostly, I miss my other half - it really is weird to be without him for so long.

Bon Journee... hopefully my next post will have pictures for you all!!