Sunday, January 30, 2011

What to Do with Elaine

Elaine, Elaine, Elaine.... what to do with Elaine? She is so cute. She has such a funny little personality. She has the most beautiful eyes. But, she is a killer. And I mean a KILLER. We should have named her Elaine the Ripper or Hannibal Elaine. She is a hunter at heart and that little heart of hers is making Blake and me reconsider our decision to

You see, Elaine, like most indoor/outdoor cats, likes to bring presents to the house. Tiny little dead presents. Well, at least the majority of them have been dead. It started with mice. She would kill them and bring them in the house. A few times, she would bring them in alive and torture them until we could get her to run back outside. Then, one day.... there were feathers.

Everywhere. Little fluffy bird feathers all over the place. She graduated from tiny baby mice to adult birds. One afternoon, we heard the "squeak squeak" of a dying animal in the garage and upon investigation, found Elaine plucking the feathers from a beautiful little bird. Being the bird-lover (NOT!) that I am, I "rescued" the bird by catching it and taking it far away to a field so it could potentially die in peace. Since that time (which was about four weeks ago), I have woken up to find three piles of bird feathers where Elaine had tortured a bird IN our house. And that's not to mention the many mice she has been bringing in over the past several weeks.

Last night was the the worst, making us reconsider keeping her. We originally got a kitten to keep Arnold company (particularly for when we move) and Elaine pretty much just fell into our laps! Some sweet friends gave her to us and we have LOVED having her... except for her killer mentality!

So, back to last night... I was sleeping on the couch and heard some LOUD knocking sound. It was 3:45 a.m. and hopped up to go investigate. As I walked towards the back of the house, I saw a trail of feathers in the hallway.... and then found Elaine, standing proudly in the laundry room, looking over her latest catch. Still half-asleep, I leaned in to see what the creature was. It had the coloring of a squirrel, but was definitely a bird. But, I couldn't tell if it was alive or dead so I stood there, thinking about what to do.

THEN - and man, I wish there'd been a camera on the wall so you could SEE this - the BIRD FLEW UP, HEADED TOWARDS ME!!!! For those of you know me, you know I - HATE - BIRDS! They freak me out. So, this bird is flying at me and I am screaming at the top of my lungs and jumping and all of that stupid girl stuff that we do when we see something totally freaky. The bird flies down the hall and lands in the threshold of my mom's bedroom. My mom was already out of bed after hearing my screams and as we were trying to figure out what to do, the bird started to fly again! And it landed ON HER BED!

Quickly, I grab a pair of latex gloves and an old hand towel and head for the bird. My only option at this point is to catch it and take it away. I lean over it, terrified that it's going to fly again, and try to assess the damage. It looked like she hadn't had the bird for long because there was no blood and it could obviously still fly. I had hope for this bird's little life. So, I quickly grabbed it and took it outside to our backyard. As my mom was taking off her sheets and pillowcases to wash, I shoved Elaine in her carrier as punishment.

Then, I held back tears... trying to decide what to do with Elaine. I love her, but this is crazy!! We've had Charlie - a 20 pound BEAST of a cat - for eight years and I can count on ONE hand the number of "presents" he's brought into the house!!! She has killed more than a dozen little animals since we got her last spring. Ridiculous! I don't think Arnold has ever brought a dead animal in the house... and he's a DOG!

After I let her out of the carrier, she wanted to cuddle. I felt bad about being so mad at her, so I snuggled with her... hoping that she would start to get the hint that we like her WAY better when she is sweet and snuggly.

So... the options are:

1 - Close the doggie doors and keep Elaine in the house 24/7. This means that Arnold will now have to be walked/let out a few times a day (which wouldn't be a problem except that we live 30 minutes from where I work and my mom's schedule is crazy!!).

2 - Close the doggie doors at night and pray that Elaine doesn't catch anything during the day.

3 - Leave Elaine at my mom's as an outside cat when we get married.

4 - Give Elaine away and let her be a barn cat or something. I mean... her hunting skills ARE pretty impressive.

We'll see what happens. So far, we are thinking that #3 is going to be the best option. That means, though, that we have to find a buddy "replacement" for Arnold, since we got Elaine for him. Agh! What to do, what to do...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Week One

My final semester is underway and a full week is already done! My internship is going well so far - I LOVE my teacher and LOVE the school where I am placed!! I really couldn't have picked a better experience, so if anyone from UA's Clinical Experiences office is reading this, THANK YOU. :) I'll spend five more weeks in 1st grade at Maxwell Elementary in Duncanville and then I'm heading to 5th grade at Moundville Elementary in... well, Moundville! I couldn't be happier.

The week has already flown by, making me think that the rest of the semester will go just as quickly. I hate that it is going by so fast, except that it means we are closer to the wedding day! ;) I really want to enjoy every minute of my internship and take in the experience rather than rush through it, though. I am even really enjoying teaching first grade - the first couple of days were a little overwhelming, but I'm starting to get the hang of it now! And... can't believe I am saying this... I kind-of like teaching first grade. :)

So, the week is over. This blog post is boring. And my coffee is a little too strong. :)

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Box Just for Wishes

As a little girl, I would sit and listen to my mom sing and play the guitar for as long as she wanted to sing and play. Having a guitar-playin' mama was pretty cool, and she always picked the best songs. My favorite was an old Jim Croce tune, "Time in a Bottle." Cheesy as the song may be, it was an instant favorite... and one I still love to hear.

If I could save time in a bottle, the first thing that I'd like to do; is to save every day 'till Eternity passes away, just to spend them with you...

At around 15 years old, I was overwhelmed with the idea of marriage and consumed with thoughts of eventually finding a husband. Most 15-year-old girls are boy-crazy (which I was), so I wasn't totally out of place... but my heart went so much further than just dreaming of my crush of the week. I was already in love with my husband, I just didn't know who he was!

On June 16, 2001, I began writing love letters to my "future husband." I kept these letters in a box.... a box that I so beautifully decorated with all sorts of 15-year-old stuff. I wrote letters for quite a while, but sometime after 2006, I lost the box. I had no clue where it was.

Until today.

While Blake and I were working out in my mom's shed, I found the box tucked away in a bigger box... on the bottom of a pile of other boxes... :) It was in perfect shape... letters still in tact. Without thinking, I immediately blurted out my intentions with the box to my unassuming fiance. My idea, at 15, was to write letters to my future husband and to send the box to him on the morning of our wedding. Thinking (or, rather, not thinking) that Blake would think my idea was silly and childish, he teared up a bit as I looked through the letters and we both realized just how long ago I started really thinking and praying for my future husband.

I silently read just a few of the letters and began tearing up, myself. I think in that moment, it really hit us both that we're here! We're finally here... we've arrived! All of those questions, all of the wandering, all of the bad dates and bad relationships... now we're here! We're looking in the face of reality and seeing our wishes and dreams and prayers come true... in one another.

At 15 (or 16 or 19 or 22), I couldn't have possibly imagined how wonderful this time in my life would be or how perfect Blake would be for me. Or, maybe I did, because on my "Must-Haves" list, I listed "great forearms," "a prominent Adam's apple," and "likes me back" - all things that appropriately describe my hubby-to-be. :) Such a cheesy song... and some cheesy love letters... but I think it all goes to show that God put the passion for marriage in my heart SO many years ago... and He led me - step by step - to Blake.

If I had a box just for wishes and dreams that had never come true; The box would be empty, except for the memory of how they were answered by you...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Engagement Pics!!!!!

Just five days before Christmas, Blake and I met with our photographer, Donna, to have our engagement pictures done. She was so sweet to meet us so close to Christmas! Blake and I wanted our engagement pictures to really compliment who we are as people and wanted them to be unique, so we headed over to Tuscumbia, Alabama and took our photos in and around ColdWater Books there in downtown Tuscubmia.

I was SO nervous right before we met Donna... were the pictures going to turn out okay? Would we get enough shots? Were our outfits okay? Did I have on enough makeup? The list of questions went on and on... but the minute we got started with the pictures, all was well! And without further adieu, I'll just let the pictures speak for themselves... you can view them here. Click on "selected" to have the "good" ones narrowed down for you if you want to view them - Donna went ahead and put just about all of them up since we had SO much fun taking them, but.... even *I* have a hard time looking through 154 photos of myself!!

If for some reason that link doesn't work for you, here's another route:
- click "proofs and ordering"
- click "Blake & Katie"
and there ya go... you should still be able to view the "selected" ones. :)

Yay!!!! I am so excited.... we're 172 days away and getting closer every minute! Marrying Blake is a dream come true. All girls deserve a Blake Ball. :)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Great Expectations

I hate New Year's. Every year, there is so much expectation - where and how to celebrate, who you'll be surrounded by when the clock strikes midnight, what to wear, what to drink, what to eat... I get SO excited about New Year's every year... only to have my high expectations squashed.

I was very excited about this New Year's - spending it with Blake and looking forward to an excitingly busy year ahead. I was hoping to do something exciting and be surrounded by friends, but we celebrated by having a pot roast dinner with my mom and Fred and watching "Happy New Year, Charlie Brown". Our New Year's eve was sweet and quiet and, of course, sealed with a kiss at the stroke of midnight.

Despite the comfort I felt being with my soon-to-be husband, I couldn't help feel the sting of what is happening in our lives. Blake and I are in this weird point in life where I'm not sure where we "fit." With this past semester being so dreadfully busy, neither of us have had much time to spend with... well, anyone, really. I have felt very isolated from many of our friends simply because of how overwhelming school was, coupled with Blake's health issues. It has been a busy semester and our time has been very limited, but it seems like the efforts we have made to embrace community have been in vain. We are surrounded by people and yet I feel so very alone much of the time.

Maybe I am just looking in all the wrong places, or maybe I am being taught something, or probably both. It leaves me wondering... what is wrong with me? And that's a hard question to ask yourself. It is something I have said or done? Am I too busy? Am I too demanding? Did I offend someone? Is there just something wrong with me? Time and time again, I find myself in this place where I am in this awkward position in life - I mean, I am twenty-five and still in school (not for long, though!). Somehow whatever I am doing at any point in time doesn't fit in with what everyone else is doing. I feel like I am running a race parallel to the people in my life. I see everyone else is going the same pace right beside me, but I can never seem to get over in their lane and run the race with them.

Just like finding Blake, finding friends who will run the race with us will happen when the time is right. So many times, I tried to make relationships with guys "work" because I thought I was ready. What I found was that the Lord knew when I was ready and, until Blake, everything was transitional. That's what I'm learning about this time in my life... in our life. Everything and everyone is transitional right now... Blake and I will not be in school forever and this "awkward" time will only last a short while.

At some point, I suppose we will settle down and have a family and build a life... but until then, we are constantly moving. Some of the friendships we make now will last a lifetime and others will only last through the end of a season of our life. And what I am learning to realize is that both types of friendships are necessary and both types are beautiful. The hard part is coming to the realization that some of the friendships I thought were lifelong are really only seasonal. Some people are only in our lives because of where we are in life... and we will continue to have these beautiful "seasonal" friends for the rest of our lives. It's not a bad thing... it's just a hard pill to swallow.

If you read this, props to you. Normally I would never, ever, ever post something so... emotional. I generally try to stay away from "feelings" on the ole blog, but... this is a hard lesson that I've been trying to learn for as long as I have had friends. Friendships aren't easy... and I am hoping that 2011 is a year for developing more solid friendships, for taking time away from work to spend time with those I love, for finding community that will embrace us in return, and for knowing that God always provides every piece of the puzzle when the time is right. I have all my faith in the knowledge that the Lord shines the light just far enough for me to see the next step. The "next step" isn't too far away, and I rest assured knowing that God's provisions are always just enough.