Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Expiration Dates

A while ago, a few years ago by now I should think, I read this article and it made me wonder about myself.
In case you don't feel like clicking the link, it's a series entitled "Lies MKs Believe" by Michele Phoenix. This particular post is called "Everybody Always Leaves" and addresses the transiency of relationships for TCKs such as myself. I could take a long time to explain this, but a lot of you who read my blog probably already understand. If you move a lot, live in a culture that's not "your own" for most of your life, and then move some more, stuff happens to your relationships. If that doesn't make sense to you, leave me a comment with a question. Or read the article I linked to that I am now trying to summarize.
The article finishes with this truth, "the benefits of relationship are worth the risk of loss." And I believe that. I really do. I pour myself into people. I love. I fight distance. My prayers are aimed at targets sprinkled the world over.
But I still see relationships as having an expiration date.
I think part of the problem is that 95% (disclaimer: that's a random percentage that just feels true) of the people I love the most are TCKs like me, or other people who live transient lives.
When one of my friends marveled a little at the nonchalant way I treat the spans of time between seeing my family I looked at her and thought, "What did you think I thought would happen? What do you think two-year-old Kathryn thought when the teens she looked up to graduated high school, packed their bags, and left for America?" I just knew. I've always known. One day that would be me. And now it is.
(Don't read this wrong. I love my parents. They are fantastic. I'm so proud of them for where they are and what they do. They talk to me all the time. I wouldn't change one second of life the way we have it. Dear Mom, Dad, and Hannah, you are the greatest.)
One of my best friends in high school barely saw her family three or four times a year, between boarding school and working at camp in the summer. We were sixteen. How could I not have the strength to leave people after watching her be so brave? How could I ever hope to survive if I didn't suit up and cope?

I love you. Thank you for doing life with me, with your whole hearts.

So we love faster. We squeeze the marrow out of the life we have together now. We write our memories and the things we love about each other. We take too many pictures. We sing and do crazy things. We know that one day we'll be gone.
Then we'll only have Skype and 2am phone calls and the craziest alumni network you can possibly imagine (you can't even imagine.) We'll have visits and snatches and new friends in new places who don't always understand right away why we are rushing to squeeze the marrow out of life.
So no, I don't see distance as the death of all my relationships. I do know that it breaks some. There are friends I don't have anymore. There are new friends that I have now. I do know that when you do life together, side by side everyday, eeking it out together on days when you just want basketball practice to be over, walking over high hills, laughing and crying over life, it makes a difference.
So here are my questions, because sadly this isn't a post full of answers. This is a big issue in my life and right now I'm looking for clarity. I may be looking for clarity in this area for my entire life.
Isn't that not a lie? As in: doesn't everybody always leave? Isn't there always a move, a falling-out, a new schedule, and that greatest separator of all, death? I still think that these shouldn't keep us from loving, but aren't they still reality?
Next question, how do we love each other well when we're all protecting ourselves? I can see you friends. I can see me too. Our walls are going up, because it hurts. We've been apart over a year and it's stretching thin. I don't even need to phrase this as a question: we all know it hurts to keep caring and investing. So what do we do? When do we give in to other people's self-protection and let them go? Sure that would hurt, but isn't that what their self-protection implies they expect? Would giving up be weakness or wisdom? Cruelty or kindness? When is it ok to build our own? Is it ever? I talked about this a little a few weeks ago. I just want to expand. And I think the answer is maybe a little obvious, but that doesn't mean the questions don't toss in my head.

I know this isn't a blog where people always leave a lot of comments, but I'd appreciate a little coming together today. So leave me a comment if you have a thought. You can leave your name if you'd like (I'd like that but you don't have to.)

Sunday, October 27, 2013


I can't sleep again,
just like all the time
except it's so late I can't take a sleeping pill.
That is
unless I want to miss all of tomorrow,
which is really today now.
I think everything will be alright.
There is a lovely thunderstorm subsiding
now into quiet, wee, small hours of the morning.
Perhaps its receding sound will lull me
into a nap,
a morning nap.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


We are having one of these days. There are whale sounds emanating from our apartment (I won't be so cruel as to point out from whose desk they come.) Frustrated meeehhhing and "I'm gonna get this stinkin question right!" are an every-other-second occurrence at the moment. There is maybe even a little whimpering.  
So here is my plan: sleep. 
Tomorrow, which is now today since midnight has come and gone, I will study for friday. 
It sounds wonderful to me.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


I was watching this video today.
It was just a beautiful reminder to pray all the time. It's a reminder to look for God all the time.
I've been forgetting that this week.
Isn't it funny how we can forget a little when things are going well how much God comes through for us when things are going badly?
That's my food for thought. Lean on God.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Blessed | My Memorial

I wrote in my last post that I am starting a memorial. I may not have explained exactly what that is so here I will. A memorial is a thing (wall, shelf, notebook, etc...) that you keep to remind you of the ways God has come through for you. Right now mine is a piece of notebook paper with a sentence for each of the last three days.
However, my blessing have been so much greater than just those three things. In light of this, I would like to share and expand.
Over the weekend I got to go to our annual C-life retreat with one of my closest friends (see us "singing" down below.) We swam in a lake and jumped on scary things. We enjoyed the sun and watched the storms blow in while we ate s'mores and sang karaoke. We met a bunch of our new freshmen girls and did a skit all together. We came home to quiet afternoon.
I got to be with my friend Lauren and talk about all our stuff that's exactly the same a few times this week. She is truly a blessing to me.
I had lunch with my mentor on Monday. I saw God working in someone else's life. I got to hold a newborn baby.
On Tuesday, I had a lovely phone call with our "big brother."  A little girl almost fell asleep in my arms during the children's lesson. We watched "Step Up" in the middle of the night, because we could.
Wednesday was simply lovely, exactly the blustery kind of day that should make up all Octobers. My family and friends were all writing me messages. I felt like a real scientist during Micro Lab. Julia and I laughed, maybe too much, at Bible study, because that's how we are. The stars were lovely. The night was crisp.
Today everything is sliding by smoothly under the sun. Plans are being tossed around. Friends will be making their appearance soon. I made a photocopy run at work. While the copies were shooting out of the machine, I practiced solo swing dancing. If anyone saw me, I looked kind of insane or at least totally "Luna Lovegood" whimsical. I hope that's okay with the copy center people. They're generally pretty chill.
Now, it's not like this week's been all roses or anything. I definitely broke a giant glass dish, did a face-plant into a lake, and acquired a lovely assortment of random scrapes, cuts and bruises. I ran late to a few things. I sometimes fail at being a model of grace and love, often actually. So please, don't think it's all perfect or anything. I just wanted to count my blessings.

(***I am aware that this post may be seen as being a little cheesy. Just ignore it and watch this "Talent/No Talent" video. You can laugh at us, it's ok.)

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Recently a lot of things have been going on and I've heard a lot of truths. I want to write them down in one place so I can look back on them and have them to remember. So here they are. I hope they encourage you like they've been encouraging me.

I need to keep a memorial of the things God does in my life so I can look back and see his faithfulness.

Do I really think I have better things to do with my time than what is great on the heart of God?

Context! A verse can never mean what a verse never meant!

Gideon was cowering in a hole but God called him a mighty warrior. Why is he a mighty warrior? Because God said so! Why are we saints? Because the Lord named us saints.

When making a decision you should consider God's moral will, wisdom, and personal factors (what's happening in your life?) but all of reality is under God's sovereign will. There is no blueprint for my life that's exact. God wants me within his moral will. I'm not big enough to mess up his plan but I'm blessed enough to be a part of it.

The gospel is opposed to earning, but it's not opposed to effort.

The checklist of things that should be part of my walk with Christ is not about favor with God. I already have favor with God through Christ who bought it for me with his blood.

Two men sold themselves into slavery so they could go to an island and die for the gospel of Jesus. As they sailed away they cried out to their friends on shore "Let the Lamb who was slain receive the reward of his suffering!" In other words, everything should be Christ's reward and we should be paying it in love all the time. Those men could say "let us go die for Christ." They could say "Let the Lamb who was slain receive the reward of his suffering" in this big decision because they had already said it with their lives in a thousand small ways.

I shouldn't be about what I'm against. I should be about what I'm FOR.

This list is something I should think about more often.

If I seek contentment and assurance, I need to learn patience first.

Pride demonstrated as pride is obvious to me. It says "I'm better than that." Self-condemnation is also pride. It says "I ought to be better than this."

We have so much hope, so much to look forward to, when the Kingdom comes to Earth.

I should consider the decisions I think are small and meaningless in light of the King I belong to.
I should ask "What's the next step? How do I live intentionally for the glory of God where I am?"

I want my life to be an offering. Let that be my motivation, for all things.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Patience: It's a virtue

Yesterday our chapel speaker talked, briefly and among other things, about patience. He was saying that to be patient we should go to the store and stand in the longest check-out line. To learn patience, he said, we should stay in the slow lane on the highway. And my friends and I looked at each other. And Julia said "You already do that," while I was saying "That's what I do." So the moral of the story is: I'm a patient person.
Just kidding!
You're talking to the girl who bursts with news, who can't wait for Christmas, who reads the last sentence of a book if she's not sure it will be good. I looked up the ending to a movie I was watching with my friend a few weeks ago, because I can't handle suspense. I don't like to wait.
A long time ago, I prayed that God would make me patient. And he gave me people I had to be patient with. Isn't that always the way? I'm still working on this patience thing. I'm only now realizing, God already taught me to be patient with the small things. I can wait in a grocery line. I can enjoy a slow highway jaunt. Now it's time to be patient with the big things.

So here's to this school year, that has already started. May it go slowly and not be wished away into spring and summer. May it be enjoyed. May it be difficult. May it thoroughly teach us new things. Here's to a year full of patience.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Caged & Uncaged

The last twenty hours have been difficult ones. When I went to bed, some time after two o'clock, I could not sleep a wink. My heart would pound against my bones every time I tried to relax and drift away. I tried to pray but my thoughts were whirring and my heart was beating and I couldn't focus for a moment.
So I got up. I read. I danced. I did laundry at five in the morning.
And I left for church still feeling like my heart was a wild thing trapped in my chest. I was anxious, trying to make a decision that I don't need to make right now.
Still the Lord blessed my day in so many ways.
I got to see the sun rising brightly above campus and step out into the crisp Texan air at four in the morning for a breath. I got to talk to people from Pine Cove. I read for bible study at golden hour by the pond. Two butterflies flew out of a bush to greet me. The air smelled like a summer barbecue as the sun was setting.
I sent out a message asking the girls in my small group to pray for me and left for bible study. While I was there our leader was speaking and suddenly something clicked. Jesus has a will for my actions. He holds my life in his hands. I will not stress or be anxious. He will not allow the devil to steal my peace from me. I need only lean on him.
And the peace that had left me when I started having these sleepless nights came flooding back in. All the knots loosened and things were as they should be once again. I could breathe. Great is the work the Lord is doing in all the Earth. He is magnificent.

When we got home we danced in praise in the living room. Declare: the Lord is good! He is stronger than any evil that may ever come against us.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Hello October | Home & Home & Home

Welcome to the lovely month of October.
I love a Texan October. Normally September is my favorite month. That's not because it contains my birthday.
September is the corner month of summer and fall. Of course autumn is my favorite season: crisp weather, cozy days, leaves changing color, breezes blowing in.
And in Texas we start getting that in October, kind of. The storms stop being summer storms and start being the rainy days of autumn. Not everyday, just some days are rainy. There's a light wind in the morning and the evening. Tea is brewing in the apartmento even more often. Life is lovely. Is it possible to have a comfort season? I'm going to say yes.

So that was my aside about October. Or maybe that was the real thing and these are the asides:

I miss my sister. So so much. Evidence: I'm listening to Red, Radioactive, Gunpowder and Lead, See You Again, Rehab... you know, all our summer tunes minus the jazz. Han, I wish you were here and we could hop in the car and go get milkshakes and jam out to the radio. We could drive to our spot and turn the car around. You could even make fun of me for not knowing ANY OF THE SONGS (hyperbole)

Along the lines of missing things, I've been missing home and home and home. Also, I know that when I go home I'll still miss home and home and home. They'll just be different ones. Is that forever.
Probably. It's kind of a shrug.
I am very happy here. Still, I am so excited to go running in the Black Forest and see fireworks, to visit my parents in a new home and see new things, and to go see my family in Virginia.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

At the end of the day

There are two things on my mind and in my heart today.

Firstly, the question of what to do about people who need help, but won't let you help them. I know a bunch of people like this. I was talking to my "little brother" in Germany about one of them this afternoon.
Now I'm not talking about people who are carrying five boxes and won't let you grab one because they swear they've got it. I'm talking about friends who carry their internal burdens alone. They're independent in spirit. I know I can be like that at times too, so I won't blame them. I'll just pray.
I pray that God brings them joy. I pray that I can keep God's joy while still mourning with those I love when they need me. I pray that we can all grown in vulnerability and love, like Christ.

The second thing goes along with the first. It is simply a prayer that my heart would be broken for what Jesus' heart breaks for. I've prayed this before but my heart is breaking in new ways. I suppose this is an answer, so I'll pray all the more.
Lord, keep me away from my selfish ways. Make me look out at the world and see it the way you do. 

I think we can herald in October tomorrow. Today just isn't the day for it. Tonight is for tea, studying nutrition notes, listening to music in the kitchen, and listening with the ears of my heart.