Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012: Cut It Off

Lemme just say that I am SO glad to see 2011 go. A handful of beautiful things have happened this year - namely graduating, getting married to Blake, and seeing my mom get remarried - but the rest of the year has, quite frankly, sucked. It's been a tough, tough year. But God is always good. That's the nice part. Even in the worst of times, He is still good, still proving Himself, still working in us and fighting for us. So, I suppose being able to see that firsthand was beautiful. :)

For 2012, I want something different. I am praying that God blesses this year and gives us a reprieve from the troubles of 2011. I want to enjoy life, to be fully present, to be changed. And each time I think about the "theme" of 2012, I land amongst the difficult words of Mark...

"And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell..."
Mark 9:43-45

Cut it off. It's better to be crippled, to be lame, the be half-blind than to be cast into hell. It's better to be mocked, to be ridiculed, to be poked fun at than to be thrown into hell. It's better to be judged, to be questioned, to be a source of bewilderment than to be thrown into hell.

What is it that needs to be cut off? What can I clearly see in my life that needs to be severed at the bone? What is it in your life?

Most of us pride ourselves in dancing around sin. I do it, too. We make some excuse, blame it on our culture, attribute it to the faults of our parents. But do we take heed to the words of Mark? Cut it off. Not lessen it, not put up boundaries, not take a break... cut it off.

For me, the things I need to cut off the most can be accessed by a button or two. This year, I have really (and this is so hard to confess to the 7 of you who will read this!) become quite a couch potato. After things started settling from the tornado, I started using the TV to zone out. I needed some sort of brain vacation, and TV was my vice. I hate admitting that because it's kind-of embarrassing. I thought that working full-time and tutoring on top of that would leave little room for TV, but thanks to the DVR and streaming Netflix through the Wii, vegging out in front of the light of the TV has been easier than ever. In fact, the TV is on right now... Saturday morning news.

Though Mark's words are radical - cut it off - I'll be honest, I'm not ready for radical yet. I'm not ready to say "I'm not watching TV in 2012" because I know I will stick to it for a while and then end up watching more TV than ever about halfway through the year. So, I am going to just set up more boundaries and try to phase TV back out of my life. Believe it or not, there was a time when I really didn't watch much TV at all. And, what is most important is to watch only things that are holy, good, and true. If a show evokes sinful feelings in me (covetousness, jealousy, anger, etc.), then I need to simply turn it off.

But more than anything, I want 2012 to be a year of getting back to the things I love most. I want to make room for the gifts God has given me. I want to write more, journal more, get back to memorizing Scripture, play my ukelele more, make more crafty-craft projects... I want to live more in the present and less in the tube. I want to focus on the everlasting, not on story lines that I'll forget in a month. I want to know more about King David than the King of Queens (yes, I went there!). I want to know more about the prophecies of old than about Oscar predictions. I want to know more about myself, too. It's a simple wish for 2012 - to intentionally de-clutter my heart and my mind so I can make more room for Jesus.

Maybe I am not being quite as severe as Mark intends, but I'll get there. I'll be praying this year for God to reveal the things I need to cut off, the things I need to put away, the things I can live without - he things that will hinder me from entering His Kingdom. Because I would rather live impaired on this earth than be unwelcome in the eternal Kingdom of Heaven.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

New Year's Resolution Contenders

Yes, yes, I know, it's Christmas Eve. If I write about anything today, it should be about the excitement I have about the holiday. But, today is a serious time to think about the upcoming holiday - New Year's. Last year, I was lame and didn't really make any resolutions. Or did I? Obviously, whatever they were or might have been were not that important. I know I didn't post about any resolutions. Apparently I had WEDDING and GRADUATING on the brain, so I guess those were some major accomplishments of 2011.

Anyhoo... now the question is what to resolve for 2012? Here are some ideas:

1. Create a bedtime routine and be in bed by 10:30 on week nights. I have been trying to practice this one. It started with 10:00 p.m., but that's just too early. 10:30 sounds reasonable.

2. GET AWAY FROM THE TV. Seriously. This whole Netflix-on-the-Wii thing has not been healthy! We've been TV addicted for the past several weeks. Not to mention King of Queens on the DVR. That's just asking for trouble.

3. This one is a definite resolution: Read the Bible through with Blake. The church we've been attending is doing a read-through-the-Bible plan as a church using a chronological Bible. I'm super pumped about it! The sermons and small group lessons are also going to be based around the weekly readings, so I am really excited about it. I can't wait to get started next weekend!

4. Utilize the Cricut and my baking skills more often.

5. Spend 20 minutes a day cleaning. Yeah, right.

6. Learn some new chords on the ukelele and start using it in my library lessons.

7. Turn all of my coat-hangers in the closet backwards. Whichever clothes have not been turned around by June 1 go to Goodwill.

8. Save money for a small summer vacation.

9. Save money for an entertainment center and/or futon.

10. Spend less money eating out; spend more money buying awesome stuff (like art) for our apartment. :)

These all sound like great ideas... I'll probably keep 'em all.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Jesus, Lord at thy Birth

6And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
Luke 2: 6-7 (ESV)

A tiny baby, and yet a King. God's perfect plan wrapped in earthly love. An innocent baby born to die an innocent Lamb. 

I can't imagine, though I try, what thoughts were running through Mary's head as she carried, delivered, and held this miracle child. He was completely flesh, completely human, completely man. And yet he was a King, the Son of God, the Most High. He was Emmanuel, God with us. He was the long awaited one, the heir to the throne of David. 

Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from thy holy face
with the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord at thy birth
Jesus, Lord at thy birth

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

all i want for christmas....

No, I don't want my two front teeth. But I do want the roots of one of my molars to be healed and made whole! Apparently the roots of your teeth can calcify to protect a dying root (or roots) and my body thought it would be a great idea to go ahead and put some bone fragments in the roots of my poor little tooth. Add another random dental health adventure to the list.

I didn't even think I needed root canal treatment - I knew my tooth hurt (the way the other one did before my first root canal treatment), but I just thought I was being overly aware of a little toothache. Nope. But, no big deal. My endodontist is the bomb and having to back next Friday to finish the procedure means another hefty dose of N2O (it is expensive to get, but soooooo worth it!).

In other news, Arnold ate an entire box of cordial cherries yesterday. I REALLY knew better than to leave them within his reach, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Stupid of me, I know. He ate the whole box - 10 cordial cherries. I wasn't alarmed at the chocolate consumption because this isn't the first time he's eaten chocolate in large proportions. He was fine, puked it up in the hallway a few hours later, and seems to have slept just fine in his crate. It was a fabulous evening.

I went to bed around 8pm last night. I just couldn't stay awake any longer. My head had been hurting all day plus the frustration about the root canal procedure just wore me out. It was a good idea to go to bed early - I woke up feeling refreshed and ready for another day! Just two more days until GLORIOUS CHRISTMAS BREAK!!!! I can't wait to wake up late (meaning... 7:30) on Thursday!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


 "All choir members need to come to the cafeteria at 2 o'clock today for practice."

Those fifteen little words sent me to tears. Not hysteric tears, just the embarrassing kind that are noticeable enough not to pass for the old "ugh, my contact is bothering me" lie. They weren't supposed to have choir practice today and I was supposed to finish my 3-part writing lesson. My cooperating teacher gave me a hug and said we'd figure out another time to get my writing lesson in before it was due.

That semester, I learned more about being flexible than I did about how to teach. There was always something due, always something going on, and always something getting in the way of me completing my assignments. But, I learned to make-do. I learned to adjust, to reschedule, to relax. And in the end, everything got turned in!

The past two days at work, I've been able to flex my flexible muscles and just enjoy the ride. The library has basically been shut down for meetings and DIBELS testing since Friday of last week. On Monday, a teacher came running down to the library asking if I could fill in for him because his sub request never filled. Awesome for me, because I really had nothing to do! So, flexible Katie hung out in 3rd grade most of the day. Yesterday, I was supposed to go on a little excursion with some students and I'd been looking forward to it for a week. I even wrote about it in my journal! And then I got to school and a 5th grade teacher needed me to sub for him. At first, I was a little sad because I really wanted to go on the trip. But, then I flexed some more flexibility and wound up hanging with his students (which was fun because they were working on their math raps!). Who knows what will happen today!

I have been really proud of myself the past two days. Back in the day, I'd get all in a tizzy when plans changed at the last minute (both at work and at home). It really knocked the wind out of me when things had to change. But, I've learned to just roll with it. Just go with the flow, adjust, readjust, breathe. No big deal. There is not much in life that is really worth me getting worked up for. Not to say I don't stand up for myself or that I'm just a pushover, but.... I only buck when necessary. Life's too short to spend it frustrated and angry over things you just really can't control.

Monday, December 12, 2011

milk & cookies

I may be 26 years old, but I just love milk & cookies for dessert at the end of the day.

My waistline may not appreciate that habit, but... oh well!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

saturday mornings

Since we've been married, Saturday mornings have looked like this:

Me waking up early (usually sometime before 8), drinking a cup or two (or three!) of yummy coffee while browsing Pinterest and watching home remodel/makeover shows.

Sometime around 9 or 10, I wake up Blake from his much-needed rest.... It's a happy day!

Blake usually has "dog duty" and is responsible for taking Arnold out to pee/poop. But, since I am a sweet wife, I take Arnold out on Saturdays. This morning, I took him out (sans-leash 'cause I'm a rebel!) and started thinking about our Saturday morning "routine". It's so relaxing, so calm.

The thought crossed my mind that we will eventually add kids to the mix and my Saturday morning routine will look much different. No more waking up slowly, lounging around and indulging in my own hobbies. I started to have a little mini panic moment - Do I even WANT to have kids? No more relaxing Saturdays? I'd have to get up and feed the kid and entertain it and play with it and eventually watch annoying Saturday morning cartoons... 

And I looked at Arnold and realized that I've been taking care of him for almost six years (and Elaine for 1 1/2). It's meant walking in the freezing cold and in the rain, adjusting my schedule to ensure he isn't home alone too long, arranging for someone to take care of him when we go out of town. It's meant taking care of both pets when they're sick, cleaning up poop and puke, emergency visits to the vet's office, training, discipline, whininess (that'd be from Elaine), coming home to expensive chocolate ripped into and spread all over the floor. Sure, they are "just pets," but they're good training. We take care of our pets because we love them, even when it's terribly inconvenient and monotonous (and gross). I'm sure readjusting my schedule to suit the needs of my child(ren) will be just as easy. :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A list.

1 trip to the NICU
1 allergic reaction to Ceclor
3 concussions
1 diagnosis of scoliosis
2 partially fake front teeth
3 crowns
1 root canal
2 wisdom teeth extractions
1 set of stitches on forehead
1 broken arm
1 broken toe
1 bout of tendonitis
1 appendectomy
1 conservative surgery
1 tonsillectomy
1 diagnosis of ADHD (so many things made sense after that diagnosis!!)
2 bouts of bronchitis
2 fainting spells
3 trips to the ER (resulting in a few of these procedures)
1 "bubble study" echocardiogram (that was fun!!)
1 diagnosis of PFO (which about made me pee in my pants!)
countless x-rays
2 ultrasounds
at least 3 CT-scans

I just think that list is hysterical.

And it makes no sense! I am practically the healthiest person ever. An ultrasound tech once told me I had "beautiful organs" that needed to be in a textbook. My cardiologist said I had an "athletes' heart" (and I am obviously no athlete). My dentist loves my teeth and I brush AND floss twice daily!

I have to say, though, the coolest experience was having an EKG (echocardiogram). It was merely a final step to rule out a potential heart problem (glad to say my heart is healthy!), so I wasn't nervous or worried about it. It was so amazing to see my own heart fluttering on the ultrasound screen. The doctor was kind enough to show me all the chambers and I got to watch it beat for a little while.

Today I'm just thankful to be healthy. I'm thankful for being taken care of when I'm sick. :)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

SOC Sunday: Health Care Crisis

I tend to stay away from anything too political here on my blog, but the whole health care drama hits very close to home. It actually hits my pocket book every month... pretty hard. And come January 1, it's going to start hitting even harder.

I have been on my own independent Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama plan since I turned 25. Even though Obama extended the health care age limit to 26, it was cheaper for my mom (since she is single) to come off the family plan and for me to get my own plan. It wasn't terribly expensive - maybe $100 or so? I had a dental rider, too. My co-pays for visits were $40 (where they used to be $20) and the plan covered most prescriptions with a reasonable co-pay.

Last November, BCBS sent me a letter saying my premium was going up, my plan changing, blah blah blah. I honestly didn't have time to worry with it because I was so busy with school. So, my monthly premium went up to $115, my deductible stayed the same, but my co-pays for prescriptions went up.

This November, I got ANOTHER letter with the same news - monthly premium raised to $135, same deductible, same co-pays. I just couldn't take it anymore, so I switched to a new plan.

On January 1, I'm going to be covered by a low premium, high-deductible plan. I lose my dental rider, but my monthly premium will be less than $100. I guess the advantage is that I will really only pay for medical care that I actually use (and I am hardly ever sick and take no prescriptions). I can only pray that nothing significant happens, and I pray even harder that I can get a full-time teaching job so I can get on with the state's insurance. Despite the fact that teachers' insurance premiums are rising, they'll be a welcome relief to what I am having to pay now!!!!

That is all!

This was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…
  • Set a timer and write for 5 minutes only.
  • Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
  • Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
  • Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.
  • Link up your post below.
  • Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

O, Christmas Tree...

One of my many finds on Black Friday was a brand spankin' new Christmas tree. It's a 7.5 footer, labeled as a "pencil" tree (although there's nothing skinny about it), and it takes up more than its fair share of space in our tiny little apartment. As far as we can figure, there's only one place for a Christmas tree in our apartment - the dining room.

You can see the tree from the living room (and from the glass patio doors), which I like. But, I don't like that there's only one foot of space between the tree and the table on one side. :) Oh well... that's tiny apartment life for ya. Next year, we may figure out a way to rearrange the living room so we can put the tree there, but it's up and decorated in the dining room and it's staying put!

Regardless of where the tree is or how big it is (I'll probably complain one day of how small it is once we live in a bigger place....), there's one sure thing to love about the tree:

Our ornaments. 

Blake's mom and I both have a penchant for expensive Christmas ornaments, so it didn't help that we went shopping for ornaments together this year. Thankfully, she's a sweet mother-in-law, so she paid the bill for a few of our new trinkets! I also collect Belle ornaments, so we bought the newest Hallmark Belle and we also started a Charlie Brown collection for Blake. I was just so excited to get our ornaments on a tree that wouldn't fall over! The tree is missing it's bow, but I'm getting that today... guess I could've waited to take a picture of it until then!

Here's to our first Christmas in our tiny little apartment (and to my first photo collage)!