Monday, November 10, 2008

Give Extravagantly

Just then he looked up and saw the rich people dropping offerings in the collection plate. Then he saw a poor widow put in two pennies. He said, "The plain truth is that this widow has given by far the largest offering today. All these others made offerings that they'll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn't afford—she gave her all!" Luke 21:1-4 (the message).

Some people have what they call their life verse. A verse that they really identify with and touches them. I just finished reading a book called "Crazy Love" it challenged me to examine my relationship with the big man and how that transfers to my every day life. It calls out people who go through the motions and are idle in their lukewarm Christianity.

In one chapter, the story of how Jesus witnesses a poor widow offer little compared to the riches of other men yet it was so much was told. I love the use of extravagantly. "she gave extravagantly what she couldn't afford- she gave her all." As found in the dictionary, extravagant means: given to lavish or imprudent expenditure; exceeding reasonable bounds; extremely abundant, profuse; & unreasonably high, exorbitant.
I hope to live a life full of giving lavishly, & exceeding reasonable bounds. I want to love my Lord and my neighbors til exhaustion. I want to do His will so I can look back and say I loved my Lord so much I gave my all.


Peace Corps Update
submitted application: September 22nd
conducted interview: October 23rd
nominated for a position: November 10th

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes We Can


Today I am so proud to be from Illinois and to be from America. I'm so proud to have many African friends who can share the same feeling of joy and hope with America. I realize that not one man can change the world, but I do believe that one man can inspire us to change ourselves. Together, yes we can.

“It’s the answer that led those who’ve been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve, to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.”

Friday, October 24, 2008

hurry up and wait


submitted application: September 22
conducted interview: October 23

this past thursday, i ventured into chicago for my interview with my peace corps recruiter. walked over to the close by metra station from campus for my commute into the city. standing on the platform waiting for the train i was just so excited. with that excitement along came a rush of emotion. for some reason, my eyes started to well up with tears.

i don't think in my life i have ever wanted something as bad as i want to serve in the peace corps. i want to the chance to serve people in need. i want to find a new perspective on the world and how i see myself in it. i want to shed all the luxuries of the western world to experience something raw.

with the recent lack in funding the competition for volunteer positions is increasing. leaving the peace corps office, i felt as if i gave a solid interview and was only more excited about the possibility of serving. on my way back to union station, i looked both ways for traffic before crossing the street and as i looked out in front of me i saw something. on a bus stop advertisement, "never have to start sentences with 'I should've...'" (Peace Corps Ad) i'm taking that as a sign.

right now all i can do is hurry up and wait.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

why do i dream in color...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7zZDRqbFpg

this was the video clip shown at focus (ncc student worship on Wednesday nights). daniel put it together from photos of his and mine. kevin from the young sea is singing in the first song. which i absolutely love.

Monday, September 29, 2008

here i stand


.i think God leaves me alone to let me find my own strength because no one else can give it to me. sometimes it is very lonely. but i know the lonely times teach me the most. i must let go in order to let anything in.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Toughest Job You'll Ever Love...


I have had the opportunity to travel to Africa twice on ministry service trips in my college career. The first trip of three weeks in the summer of 2007 opened my eyes to the issues of world poverty. I witnessed amazing stories of people who overcome horrendous daily struggles that until that point I had not even realized had existed.

I returned this past summer for an entire month. I was able to travel not only to Kenya but to parts of Northern Uganda. Going into this trip I thought I knew what to expect and that I was prepared. After the first two weeks in Uganda, my spirit was broken. The situation in Northern Uganda with the past violence LRA and the existing threat plus the problems of extreme poverty was unsettling to me. The romantic and mysterious perspective of Africa that I had from the previous year was gone. I was overwhelmed by the great need for aid.
After processing, I have realized that there will most likely never come a day where not one man lives with AIDS, not one woman fights malaria, not one child starves. I can not save the world. But I must do what I can. I can show them compassion and love. I can have relationships with that one man, one woman, and one child. I can help to aid their community in whatever humanly way possible while remembering just as much as I can help them; they can do the same for me.



One thing that I have learned from my experiences in Africa is that I cannot be lost in all the struggles that I might face but I have to appreciate what I do have and live in the moment. I feel that America and the rest of the Western world has a lot to learn from people in less developed countries. Being a Peace Corps. Volunteer, not only would allow me to develop a better understand of myself in relation to the world but I would have stories to share with others. My first hand accounts could spark others to become active in some way just as I was inspired by a former volunteer. I want to look back on my life and know that I cared for people; that I used all my God given abilities to make a positive impact. Being a volunteer, would allow me the chance to make that impact while setting me up for a life of serving others.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bothered




It’s strange but I have been home from Africa for a whole month now. Feel like I haven’t quite adjusted yet. But I’m coming to the realization that I may never (or at least in a way I hope I don’t).

See I am bothered by alot. I am bothered that when I wake up in the morning I know there is food only footsteps from my bedroom. I am bothered by the decision of what to wear. I am bothered that I can spend my summer day as an unemployed college student worry free. And most of all, I am bothered when I get into my spacious bed at night.

Why am I so bothered?

I have met children who do not know when their next meal will be, mothers who only have the luxury of one outfit, fathers who struggle to find work and families who share a tiny huts at night.

Upon returning home, there are many different emotions. The first and probably most selfish is one of relief. I’m relieved I don’t have to worry about the water I drink or the food I eat. I am not inconvenienced by a mosquito net or malaria medication. The basics of life are a lot more easily achieved here in the states.

Second, would be one of emptiness. I miss seeing and interacting with my African friends. The connection between two people from incredibly different parts of the world is a special and unique relationship. African life is hard yet there is a simplicity that comes with it. People are not as concerned with materialistic issues. They have a easier time focusing on the things that do matter in life like friends, family and appreciating every moment the Lord gives.

Last, I am left with anger and frustration. I am angry with the realization that I am so greatly blessed compared to others yet I’m not as content as I should be. I am angry that others will never have the luxuries I do yet out work me. And my frustration further builds. I know we are not suppose to be able to figure out God but I still try to understand why God would allow the world to work like this. Frustrated because I want a direct answer from the Big Man about what His will for me is. I want to know the path that I’m suppose to walk.

Senior year will be starting soon, shouldn't I have a plan for my life and purpose behind it. Right now I have different possibilities I’m thinking about. Peace Corps, grad. school, going directly into student affairs. Who knows which one I should choose and which one is the correct one.

God calls you to the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.- Frederick Buechner

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Today


My soul is the same as my brothers' and sisters'
We all travel many miles on our journeys
One expeiences the struggles and joys of life regardless of wealth or poverty
Looking closely, I see the same red African soil covering our souls
Yet when I return home mine will be washed off and their's will remain
But in the moment this does not matter
We walk hand in hand, black and white, poor and rich
Because loves sees no differences, only the Lord in one another

Thursday, July 24, 2008

On the Road Again



Today I'm head up to Naperville to visit friends. Driving to Princeton then the train the rest of the way. Feels weird to be at home. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the inconsistencies of this world. How can it be that God gives me so much and Judith, Edel, and Lucy so little? The hardest part is trying to figure out what is my role in all of this? Still processing. Meanwhile here are some more photos.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Processing...



Made it home safe to chilli Saturday evening. Nice and yet strange at the same time to be home. I'm still processing all the experiences I had. Trying to figure out where I'm at and where do I go from here...

But I'll leave you with some photos since I'm not able to put my thoughts into words.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Leaving on a Jet Plane



Just got back from a 3 night adventure on safari and then to the coast. The traveling was crazy, I'll explain more later. I'll be flying out tomorrow here at 11pm nairobi time and getting to chicago on saturday 105pm local time. I don't have time now but I will write more later. I will also be posting photos then as well. Crazy to think the trip is coming to a close.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Leaving Where I Felt Most At Home


Yesterday, we visited Nyumbani (aids orphange) to help with chores in the morning and play with the children in afternoon. I enjoyed helping Edel with her homework again. Worked on knowing the value of money and practiced writing English. I never enjoyed homework so much. I also got in on many games of Old Maid and UNO. After a full day at Nyumbani, we headed out to Anita (the girls home) for a slumber party. We were greeted and then taking to the hall where all 50 something of them get back together. Then for the next hour and half we had the greatest dance party ever. Rick also tried to play popular american songs that they girls knew on his guitar while the rest of us sang along. I don't know how successful we were but I know we provided alot of laughs. Eventually, we headed up to the houses where 8-12 girls leave with a house mom for dinner. I enjoyed cabbage, beef stew, rice, and potatoes. We had great dinner conversation about our families, music and a number of other random topics. Whitney, Nathan and I headed to bed fairly early around 9 because some of the girls have school on Saturday morning. Not before Nathan had Whit and I hyperventilating with his Neil Diamond routine. We slept in til 830ish-9. By the time we got up the girls had the majority of their morning chores done. For breakfast we had tea, and chapti. We made the chapti (tortilla like bread thing) into a sugar roll. Whit and I added butter to the surface and then dumped mounds of sugar. It made for a delicious morning breakfast.

After we helped the girls clean the table so we could play games of UNO. The rest of the morning til lunch we just hung out with the girls: played on the playground, kicked a ball around, took goofy photos and such. Some how during this process girls started doing our hair. Right now I have a half head of micro braids, look pretty ridiculous. We eventually had a enormous lunch. But the afternoon had to come to a close which also brought the end of the last visit to Anita. I had grown attached even more this year to a little girl named Lucy. The girl is absolutely the greatest thing. If there was a way to adopt I would be a mother. I gave many goodbye hugs but Lucy was my last one before getting into our van. As soon as I turned to the van the tears started to flow. )
This trip has been great but incredibly challenging as well. But my time at Anita was pure joy. I could with no doubt spend forever there. If the peace corps only posted people there... (this might be the last blog before safari and heading to the coast for some days

Thursday, July 10, 2008

No to Nakuru, Yes to Poopoo



Today the rest of the group is making the way to Lake Nakuru which is the home of thousands of flamingos but I remain at Shalom House. The past couple of days, I have had some number two issues which has lead me to be the captain of the D team (I'll let you figure that one out). So between my bathroom visits, I have been processing and reflecting on my experiences thus far. I have really been searching for what the Lord wants me to get out of this second experience.

Yesterday, we visited Kibera the largest slum in Nairobi that is the home to 800,000 to 1,000,000 people in the area of Central Park. After the elections in December there was violence in allparts of Kenya but Kibera experienced alot of destruction and violence. On the way to the Kiscodep office we saw signs saying "stop violence, keep peace." We pulled up to the office and as soon as we stepped of the bus we were greeted by familiar faces that eagerly welcomed us back. We took the afternoon to tour the community development programs. One of the stops was a preschool. It was constructed of tin, plastic sheets and cardboard. It was dim, musty where mostly a class of orphans tried to get an education. They also receive typically their only meal of sugary soup here. At the end of our afternoon together we headed back to their office where they treated us to soda pops and muffins. They did not enjoy these snacks, only provided for us.

2 Corinthians 8:2-3 "Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability."These people gave us things that they do not even enjoy themselves. I ask myself how can this be. They know the feeling of going to sleep with hunger in their gut and yet they give the wealthy Americans all they have. How do I make sense of this?

2 Corinthians 8:10-11 "And here is my advice about what is best for you in this matter: Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means."Where does this leave me? What is right for me to give? Last night in our devotion time we talked about how greatly in proportion to what they have, they give. If I was to do the same and they were to visit my home what would the equivalent be? Would they leave with my family's best china or car even? Even as a college student, I could give enough money to make a difference in that school of orphans. I'm already trying to process how I go home and continue to live aware of wealth I have been given only by the grace of God and how we are called to share it.

Also another thing I attempt to hang on to is the lesson of knowing what is important in life. There are times when I'm sitting with a child that I know that I can not fix their suffering. But I can share a laugh and a smile. I realize through processing alot of the experiences here that in life even when there is great frustration and hardships to go through there is still joy and happiness.

I've also learned to be content in single moments. In the States, we often get caught up in the fast pace business of life. Here I am much more able to sit with someone and be completely in that moment. My mind is not wondering about something else, I'm not focused on the next task. I can sit with another person and be content in that single moment. Over the past year between my experiences in Africa I feel like I was able to hold on to some of this thinking but regardless it slowly would fade and at times be completely lost. I wish there was a way of bottling this so I would not forget to enjoy life.

The thing that I hope to hold on to the most is to not forget what it is like to walk the paths of Kibera. I never want to forget that I've been blessed with wealth that not everyone in this world experience. I want to remember that I feel moved to make the biggest difference I can. I can't simply go home and keep my same perspective of the world and my place in it. This is where I am at right now.

Random side note: I want to wish my sista Tobey a happy 30th birthday. I hope July 10th is a beautiful day back home in the states for a beautiful person. Separate but equal. Love you.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

I Love Lucy



So for the past couple of days I've been enjoying Kenya but my spirits have remained low. Uganda was an eye opening experience but I'm still trying to process everything. What it means to be a western here, do people see you as their equal? What exactly am I suppose to be learning this second time around in Africa? Post returning home what career path does God want me to take? I thought I had everything figured out but this trip has turned my thinking completely upside down.

On the 7th, we returned to Nyumbani the hiv/aids orphange. The first half of the day we spent doing chores around the combound. I enjoyed the time to just chat with Theran while doing mindless tasks. The second half we were able to play with kids. I saw Anne and Nicholas but by the time we were done the were taking naps since they are the younger kids. So I sat in the shade helping Edel a 8 year girl with her math homework. I enjoyed it completely. As we were sorting beans before lunch we met another american lady who helps out at Nyumbani throughout the year and has for the past 4 years. I asked about Kenith, a 12 year old boy that was very thin. Last year Dorthy and I took a great liking to. She informed me that he had passed away in November. I don't know why but it totally caught me off guard. Maybe it is because the kids at Nyumbani seem so healthy and happy I forget that they are ill. Regardless nyumbani is a place i could just spend days upon days.

Yesterday, was a down day for the group. We did the touristy stuff like go to the elephant orphange and the giraffe house. I think I group enjoyed a lighter, easier day. We also had a group discussion time to air out different things we have been having a hard time with thus far in the trip. For me it was a fresh breath of air.

Then we head to the outskirts of Nairobi to Anita Home, a center for street girls. Getting out of the van I immediately recognized faces. One of the girls whose names stuck in my head was Lucy. She is now 7 year old girl and the youngest in the Peace Home, the center has 4 different houses that act like families for the girls. Whitney and I first sat down to a very reserved and quiet group of girls. But with the help of many UNO games the group was brought to life. We enjoyed random conversation and the competition of UNO. Lucy has this cute little smile that makes it look like she has a secret but she is going to share. I completely enjoyed the visit and looking forward to going back on Friday and spending the night.

Today we are headed to Kibera the largest slum in Nairobi that houses 800,000 to a million people. We will be visiting community development projects and reconnecting with a community organization that we got to know last year. Afternoon, headed to the top of the tallest building in Nairobi for a bird's eye view. Also will make a trip back to Kivuli to visit the boys and make some purchases of crafts made by Rwandan refugees.

(sorry for any mistakes dont have time to proofread)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Back to Kivuli


Yesterday on the 6th I got to return to Kivuli the center for street boys right in the heart of a slum. I recognized faces and names. Our group in enjoyed a show by the boys doing acrobats and juggling. We also had a decent game of pickup basketball going on. I think the boys find it amusing that the myself and whitney, two american girls, can actually play. But before all that we had gone to the local catholic church to take in a morning mass.

Later in the afternoon, the boys took us on a tour around the slum. They showed us a recycling program older boys run. One of the boys I met last year is now working and living there. It was good to see the positive change in his life.

Today we are heading to the hiv/aids orphange. I'm excited to reconnect with Anne and Nicholas (salad and chips little boy). Write more later when I get a chance.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Road Trip Uganda 2008



Entebbe to Gulu to Lira to Omot to Sipi to Kapchorwa to Kiriki to Jinja to Lingria to Kampala

I've spend the last two weeks traveling around the whole country of Uganda, experiencing both urban and rural. Faced bumpy roads for long hours. Searched for Western vs. Non-Western restrooms. Enjoyed many bucket baths.

Uganda was very different that my stay in Kenya last year. It was hard to experience poverty but also the effects of violence on communities of people. It is one thing to struggle to find food and resources but it is another to worry about violence of rebels. Our group visited many IDP (internally displaced perons) in Northern Uganda. These people are living in larger communities away from their home land because the still fear the LRA. The conditions are so unimaginable. There was a camp of 200 sharing 10 bathrooms. The school systems are fairly non-existent. On a walk through the camp I noticed a structure of bare sticks, I asked the man what it was. He then told me that it was a church. People bring tarps and other clothes to pitch over it on Sunday mornings.

Even in these conditions people find the faith and determination to worship the Lord despite all of their hardships. It was quite amazing to interact with them.

Throughout the last two weeks, we have helped an organization distrubute shoe boxes filled with items such as soap, toys, and school supplies. We get to witness the joy and hope that a simple box brings to these children.

But my emotions and thoughts have been all over the place since being here. There are days were I could be content living here the rest of my life. Other days I'm overcome with all the difficulties and endless numbers of problems these communities face. The Lord is definitely challenging me and making me take a position on what I believe my role in all of this is.

Yesterday, we travelled from Kampala to Nairobi on a 14 hour bus ride. I had a quick fish lunch on a 20 min stop. I was thinking of the hotdogs, brats and burgers that the rest of my family probably enjoyed to celebrate our nation's birthday. Missed home on the 4th. Also want to wish my brother Lou a happy 24th birthday.

Today our group is headed to one of the centers for street kids. I'm so happy. I feel like I'm coming home. Last night and this morning I enjoyed being greeted by friends I made last year. I'm very excited to be spending the next two weeks here.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Adventures of Theran and Kate: Africa


Tomorrow morning my journey to Africa will start. I will be headed to a place where my heart has been this past year. I'm excited for new experiences and also meeting up again with Kenyan friends from last summer. I'm anticipating learning more about the African way of life but also learning more about myself. I feel like the Lord has a lot more eye opening and awareness planned for me.

This trip is especially meaningful because my best friend will be along for the journey. He hasn't traveled to Africa before and I feel privileged to be a part of the experience with him. It has been awesome what my eyes have been opened to and the sense of belonging & love I feel in Africa. I'm going to be so blessed to be able to have that same shared experience with my best friend.

Theran will meet the two orphans that I fell in love with last summer . Hear their laughter, see their smiles. He will experience the feeling of community in the harsh slum conditions of Kibera. He will witness the perseverance and hope of people who wake up every day knowing that life is going to be a struggle yet rejoice for the day that the Lord made. Theran will see all of this.

I pray for both of us to absorb all that is to be learned to the fullest, and upon arriving home to the States that we adjust our lives to our new realizations.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Life is calling...

Life is calling...how far will you go?

Today, I began a process that will direct my life post-graduation. I started my online application to become a Peace Corps volunteer. I can remember when asked "what do you want to do when you grow up" on a school project I was in 4th or 5th grade when I wrote be a peace corps volunteer.

At the time, I don't think I fully understood what it meant (I probably don't even now.) My heart is set on serving abroad for two years. I want to be able to contribute to a community in a developing country but I'm most curious to find out what I have to learn from nationals of the country that I will get placed in.

Until my departure, my day dreaming will consist of peace corps.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

god it's me again...


and i quite frankly don't understand.

it is one thing to be oblivious to what is happening in the world. if i don't have an idea it makes sense that i have no urge to change anything. but i don't understand how after seeing injustices with my own eyes, how i can go back to normal life.

i'm angry. i'm upset that tonight i will lay my head down in a comfortable warm bed with no worries of what might happen in the night while there are children a third my age sleeping on the hard, cold ground fearing what the darkness brings. why them and not me?

i am not the only person who recognizes the suffering going on in the world. how do we continue to live our extravagant lifestyles while turning our head to the truth.

i realize i am one person of not much influence, or power. and if i go to these people in need, i most likely can't single handedly find a solution to this incomprehensible complex problem. i realize, i do.

but i can be there. i can offer my attention and affection. lord, what is it that you want me to do? what path can i take that best uses my skills? how do i do your will in your timing?

waiting impatiently,
kate

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

35 and counting...


35 days til Africa. There is so much that needs to get done before then.
But I can't help from day dreaming...

Can't wait to hear the laughter and see the smiles of the children... Can't wait to meet the Lord in the streets of Kibera... Can't wait to stare at the waters of the India Ocean and be in awe of the beauty He created...

Saturday, April 26, 2008

If it fits...


Try this bracelet: if it fits you wear it; but if it hurts you, throw it away no matter how shiny.- African Proverb

I luck out last summer and get to go to Africa for 3 weeks. I luck out even more to go again for 4 weeks (possibly longer). I might be the luckiest person in the world because my friend since the age of three will be traveling along with my group this summer.

One of my closest friends will be able to share friendships with the people of Kibera, the workers of Shalom, the young children of Nyumbani, and street kids of the Anita, Kivuli, and Tone La Maji.

He will be able to experience days with people who my thoughts often drift to. He will see where my heart is and where I fit. Hopefully, he will fit too.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Round 2



Seeing is different than being told- African proverb

Today I found out that this summer I will have another great opportunity to visit Africa. I will join a group of 5 other North Central students along with our assistant ministry and service director and her husband. We will travel to Uganda and Kenya for 4 weeks.

In Uganda, we will help to set up a resource center for disadvantaged children and create a refugee document center. That all includes building, painting, carpentry work, gardening and planting. We will be able to learn the stories of these people, many whom seek shelter in Uganda as refugees. After 2 weeks, we will leave the rural areas of Entebbe to travel to Nairobi.

In Nairobi, we will stay at Shalom House, the place I lived last summer. We will do similar activities such as visiting an AIDS, touring social development projects, and enjoying the centers that are home to many street kids.

I’m so excited to be able to see familiar African faces. I’m even more excited to be a part of other students’ first African experience. It is one thing to be able to share stories of what Kenya was like but to be there when others are seeing it for themselves will be amazing in its own way. After coming home last summer, I did not think I could be blessed anymore than I already was. But two trips…

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

New Cut & No Regrets

Before & After



I would rather regret the things I have done than the things that I have not- Lucille Ball

Besides trims, I haven't gotten a real hair cut in more than two years. Today I feel like I got a hair cut that is more like my personality. It is fresh, has bounce and simply is fun. I love my new look and definitely no regrets. Feel so good I might even go for a "I Love Lucy" red.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

old average "Jo"s


I woke up this morning and felt like I had slept on a bed of rocks. My first thought is why does my back, arms, pretty much my entire body ache. Then it came to me...sadly it was from dodgeball. I guess at 21, I can't bounce back as fast as I would like to.

Yesterday, for the third time in my dodgeball career I teamed up with Miss. Brianne and other friends to enjoy an afternoon of dominating people in a good old game of dodgeball. Not to be cocky, yet being cocky I would like to say if the United States of America had a Women's National dodgeball team I would qualify. I can do it all...dodge dip duck dive dodge. But yesterday my dreams of winning the Spring Tune Up were crushed. During pool play we went 10-1-1. We received a bye in the first round as the top seed. Second round we were upset in only 2 games by the Brew City Ballers.

I guess us old average "jo"s will have to wait til the next tourney to regain our dodgeball glory.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Bryan House


Isaiah 58:10-- If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness and your night will become like the noonday.

Today is new beginning for me: my first real day of interning for Bryan House.

Bryan House is an organization that assists refugee families from all over the world to pull themselves out of poverty through homeownership. Bryan House is a five apartment building complex on the Westside of Aurora. The families will pay monthly rent that will be set aside toward a down payment of home. The goal is to have refugees purchase a home of their own in a year. I’m excited to meet future families that will build great community within the walls of Bryan House.

Coming into my freshmen year here at North Central, I expected to work toward a degree, play sports and make life long friends. All of that has happened and so much more. My freshmen year, I participated in an Emerging Leadership Series which led me to get involved with World Relief and become a friendship partner. Desiree Guzman, North Central Assistant Ministry and Service Director, then worked for World Relief and was the person who introduced me to my Turkish family. Toward the end of my sophomore year, I applied for the Kenya Service trip that Desiree was leading. From previous blogs one can see that I was greatly changed by that experience. In Africa, I prayed for a way to stay connected to Africans and be able to help people in some way after returning home. Bryan House was officially purchased December 18th, 2007 and here I am.

I often am impatient with the Lord for not understanding His plans for me. I want to have my own agenda and set it in motion. I am slowly becoming aware of how things are suppose to work; that I need to work within His game plan on His timing. And if I do that everything will be as it should.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Dreaming of Conversation


Talking with one another is loving one another.
Kenya Proverb

Its been over 9 months since I've held conversations with my African friends. Martha, Jackie, Francis, Collins, Joseph... Today I've found out about a great opportunity of working in Africa this summer. I pray that everything can work out.

I long for conversations that inspire me, challenge me, even frustrate me.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

small town boys


Chilli is a town of no more than 6,000 peoples. It is not glamorous, but cute it its own way. This weekend I was able to go home for the first time in nearly 10 weeks. People from the suburbs thing of it as the "country" but for me it is home.

The best part of my trip was getting quality time with my boys. Both of my brothers are different but uniquely hilarious. It makes me wish I was home more often to hear there crazy stories. My dad is the main event when it comes to story telling. I love the way all of us kids crack up before he finishes his joke because of his laughter before even getting to the punchline.

Quick weekend at home but good weekend.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

close: pieces. far: one.


Last summer I had the most eye and heart opening experience in Africa. This coming summer I am planning to return for the majority of my summer to volunteer.

It would be nice if I only had to sign my name some where in order to go but it is a little more complicated. I have a grant proposal to cover the cost of the trip in the works. This means I need a well organized, researched, and focused research topic to turn in the 5th week of school.

I feel as if there are alot of pieces that must fall in place for this to work out. Not every piece makes since by itself but it will all come together to be one. This is my hope; my prayer.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

springy start


“If you want to become the best runner you can be, start now. Don't spend the rest of your life wondering if you can do it.”

My whole life running was always the consequence for someone not being on time, not paying attention, not trying hard enough, etc. Grade school it was simple floor lengths sprints, high school it was the dreaded walls, & last and probably the worst 14’s that have come to make me hate running. Running takes physical and mental strength. The sports I’ve always enjoyed the most running was merely part of the game; not the entire game.

Today I bought the first real running shoes I’ve ever owned: a cute but quality pair of Asics. Tomorrow I will start my journey reversing the painful association of punishment and running. I hope to turn a negative into positive and quite possibly find a new passion.

Monday, March 24, 2008

was that my life?


7am that cant be my alarm clock
705am quick shower
720am dance off with myself and vh1 morning videos
730am breakfast club
8am social psych
920am science religion magic
11am TK lunch
12pm drugs and behavior
120pm global history
2pm work
4pm hot chocolate and conversation with a irish friend
5pm TK dinner
630pm jumbo protest and change
1015pm staff meeting
1140ish-pm blog
12am bed

lost but assured
scared but encouraged
confused but confident

over involved but more left to do

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Housing for Habitat


7 reasons one should participate in collegiate challenge
• Improve your leadership skills.
• Develop and strengthen friendships.
• See the impact your work is having on communities.
• Learn more about poverty housing issues and how you can help.
• Visit new areas of the country.
• Affect a global cause by advocating on behalf of poverty housing issues.
• Help provide a simple, decent, affordable place to live for people in need.

I spent my spring break in the Carolinas to participate in collegiate challenge. I have a huge complaint for the makers of their official website. One major reason was left off; southern hospitality.

One would think a group of women athletes would eat the healthiest compared to the average groups that go on spring break trips. That statement could not be more false. Our hosts’ southern hospitality killed any thought of that. We enjoyed huge lunches that would qualify as large dinners for most of us. Every lunch and dinner seemed to be served with dessert as well. Not only did we enjoy our desserts but the whole experience was great. The communities that were worked in were very appreciative and welcoming.

As an athlete at a small school, we know who other athletes are but beyond what sport they participate in we don’t know much more. The past two years I’ve done habitat trips of all women athletes. It has been an awesome opportunity to really get to know others and created friendships that otherwise wouldn’t exist. Overall, the trip was another one for the books.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Words on the Fridge


My brain feels like the cluster of words on the fridge. Cold and long was winter term. Today is just a preview of the warm weather to come. Spring break means a week and half of no forced thinking or reading for class which I welcome. I will be leaving soon with a group of women athletes to participate in collegiate challenge (an effort to have college students volunteer with Habitat for Human as part of an alternative spring break program). It will be nice to chill before a crazy spring term.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

One Last Thing


Running on 4 and half hours of sleep, I just finished an end of the term project which is my last requirement for winter term. I'm done. I have a sense of relief and achievement. I've finished out the term and I feel as if I couldn't have given anything more to my studies, I'm spent.

Most people would crawl in bed and finally enjoy sleep that I've been deprived of the last few days. But I have energy to do one last thing today... if possible I would go a couple of rounds with Colins in attempts to restore my pride with some Uno victories.

But he is a world away, guess I'll have to wait til summer.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Social Theory Past Bedtime


beau-ti-ful adj. having beauty; very pleasing to the eye, ear, mind, etc.
Staying up late studying the great thinkers of social theory over the last few centuries as much fun as that is one of the girls and I have gotten way off topic. We’ve talked about everything from songs written with political agendas to what it means to come from a small town.

The conversation leads to discussing what it is to be beautiful and does one really feel beautiful. Along with that thought, who is defining beautiful? Is it the realistic view of the individual or the impossible yet influential view of the media? We come to the conclusion that most modest people look at themselves, aren’t thrilled and don’t proclaim to the world “Oh, I’m beautiful.”

While trying to better understand George H. Mead, I come across a quote under a section; “I am what I think you think I am.” This frustrates me yet at the same time for many of us this is true. Why is it that we let society conform our own views of ourselves? Is it possible to restate the quote to be “I am what I think I am”?



(image from a RA program, taken by my sister)

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Waiting for the Real World


My winter term here at school is coming to a close which means the arrival of finals. Most students can be found in states of panic or frustration as many of us try to wrap up last minute term projects and papers. At this point many students begin to vent on the frustrations of college life: cramped dorm rooms, too much assigned reading for classes, and nasty cafeteria food. We talk about how much we look forward to graduation and entering the ‘real world’ one day.

If the REAL world was represented by 100 people, 80 people would live in substandard housing. 14 would be unable to read. 50 would suffer from malnutrition. You ask how many would be in our shoes and stressed out about finals; out of 100 only 1 person would achieve a college education. Yes, only one.

Life after college and entering the ‘real world,’ will I be able to see reality the way I want or will it be a shared reality with the rest of the world? It is more comfortable and easier to live life with blinders on. But to call yourself educated and not be able to recognize what the ‘real world’ actually is, seems quite silly to me.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Breezy Saturday


"I don't know if we each have a destiny or if we're all just floatin' accidental-like on a breeze."

Friday, March 7, 2008

Left.Right.206.


Nutrition Facts. College. Jessie “03”.
Never leave a wingman behind.
STOP. Kate.
Cardinals 42.
Las Vegas. Pikes Peak. I heart JESUS.
Australia. Texas. Cubs. SIUe. Arizona.
Don’t give up the best is yet to come.
To look back and say, at least, I didn’t lead no humdrum life.
Rotate. Bearhug. Beautiful.
There is no cosmetic beauty like happiness & laughter.
LOUKAT 2.
Today is the first day of the rest of your life.
Mischievous. Embrace life.
Adventures of Kate & Swimmer.
Trust. Dance. Choose.
Impossible is nothing.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

More Than Just a Little White Bracelet



One day during my senior year of high school, two people were talking about the Iraq War. “Oh my god, my brother is there,” I thought to myself. It seemed as if I had forgot or after so many nights of worrying I had accomplished clearing the thought from my mind. In some far away country protecting my freedom my brother, the kid that had been there for everything: bubble baths, back yard fights, high school basketball games; I forgot about him.

The next day I started wearing a Nike wrist band with ‘battlegrounds’ pressed into it and every time I looked at my wrist I remembered my brother. My freshmen year of college, my brother safety returned from his second tour of Iraq. Finally, I could stop worrying. No more panicking about late night phone calls, avoiding news footage with reports of road side bombs, reading obituaries of young soldiers… I was ready to remove my wrist band.

But it occurred to me there were so many more people’s brothers fighting; their lives still at risk. It has been over three years since I first wore the wristband and I’m waiting for the day I take it off. The day were ‘battlegrounds’ are no more.