Welcome to the world of randomness, ramblings, and reflections. Enter with caution.

25 April 2009

Happy Bitsy Day!

today is Bitsy Day. today it has been 12 years since my mother went home to be with her precious Savior. i miss her greatly, and today i celebrate her life. i try and remember the good times together, the fun memories, and the amazing woman of God that she was and that i hope to become.

but at the same time there is still this tugging on my heart, still tears waiting just below the surface. things still feel so raw, so fresh, and i wonder if that will ever go away. will the sting of losing her ever go away? or will i always feel it as strongly as i did the day God took her away?

i still remember that day so vividly. i remember running to the front office with m early dismissal, i remember the stares of students passing by as i stood crying in the hallway, waiting to go home. i still hear my sister's voice on the phone right after she was gone. i can see the rain coming down as we made our way to the airport. i remember is driving around the flooded streets looking for a gas station, and remembering how God let the van run on fumes as we finally made our way into one. i remember seeing my brother and sister come through the gate, the first ones off the plane. i remember not being able to eat. i remember us all saying goodbye as a family. i remember all these with such vividness. i can't remember what we were wearing, but i can still remember the feeling, the emotion, the simultaneous grief and peace. i hear the thunder clap as momma slipped away. the thunder clap that sounded like the gates of heaven opening up and momma just couldn't stay away any longer. while i don't want these memories to fade, i do wish the sting could go away. but it's still there. it's always there, waiting just below the surface.

i was thinking about a time when momma came with me on a church outing. i must have been 7 or 8 years old. a group of us kids went to see the A.D. Players, or the After Dinner Players, a christian theater troupe. we went to see "joshua and the tarah, tarah-ah, tarah", or at least i think that's what it was called. i remember sitting on the front row next to her, her smiling at me as we enjoyed the performance geared towards children with audience involvement. one of the other memories i have is of her singing me to sleep as a child.

when i couldn't sleep, i would leave my room and go to my parents' room. i would quietly wake up momma, and she would pull me into her lap and gently rock me in her arms while singing over me. the hymn of choice was "i love to tell the story". it worked like a charm every time. i would feel so safe in her arms, and her beautiful voice singing those sweet words over me put me at rest. she would sing this to my brother and my sister to get them to sleep, too. i imagine if she were around today she would sing it over her grandchildren. instead, that has been passed on to us.

in honor of this Bitsy Day, i recorded my version of "i love to tell the story", along with a second chorus that i wrote myself. i hope you enjoy it. please feel free to comment in the comments of this post, or on the youtube video page itself.

i love you, momma. this one's for you.

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30 December 2008


so often times i settle in my life. it's something i struggle with. God has been making it more evident to me lately. the latest reminder came in a somewhat unlikely form: a song by katy perry. yep, the i kissed a girl and i liked it singer.

so her latest single is called thinking of you. a few lines in there struck me. "comparisons are easily done once you've had a taste of perfection" and "how can i have better once i've had the best".

the Lord is perfection. He is perfect in every way. i've tasted this perfection. yet comparison isn't easy for me. so many times i taste other things and think they are just as good as my Lord. rather than spend five minutes along with my Savior, i choose to watch a movie, or a television show, or just be lazy. because these things seem so important sometimes. i know it's stupid to think a movie is of any great importance in the battle for my affections, but it seems that way. i know in the back of my mind it can't compare to being in the presence of the almighty God, but i choose to settle.

the Lord is the best. He's my best. He wants the best for me. but again, so many times i think other things are better for me. but as the line says, how can i have anything better once i've had the best? i have the best. so why do i want something more?

maybe it's because these other things that rob my affections are much more tangible. so how do i make my God more tangible to me?

why is it that i can quote friends like nobody's business (well, bethany, you beat me at that), why i can memorize song lyrics after hearing them only once or twice, but i struggle to memorize scripture, to remember the promises my Lord has made, to remember that if i go to Him first it will turn out better than i could ever imagine? how do i use these gifts to remind me of how awesome the Lord is?

a new year is upon us. a time to make resolutions, a time to start over. i tend not to make resolutions because in my mind it's just a setup for failure. how many resolutions really last past march? the end of february? two weeks into the new year? I try to set goals for myself. see, a goal is something you strive for. a resolution seems more like asking for perfection. once you stumble or fail, you give up. a goal gives me something to look toward, even when i stumble i can still see it in the distance.

now, to be honest, i haven't reached many of the goals i've set for myself in the last few years. i still get overwhelmed at my shortcomings and tend to give up. but i can look up those past goals, see how far i am toward reaching them and continue to press on towards the goal.

my goal this year, amongst many others, is to realize that my God is the best. that He is perfection. that nothing else compares to Him and His majesty. This is going to be a daily journey, starting afresh every time i am fooled to think that something is better. to give Him first place in my life, to stop settling.

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10 December 2008

quick rants

note to hollywood type directors and such: please stop making every character from texas with terribly thick accents. there are several of us who have no such accent. thou we still say y'all. it's our right as non-accent bearing texans.

note to drivers (ok, more like notes, plural): when turning left, if you have a designated left turn lane, please use it. and please move into it all the way, as soon as it opens up, not at the very last second.
use your turn signal when turning or changing lanes. it's not a decorative feature for christmas time, it has an actual function.
please come to a complete stop at stop signs, especially when there are crosswalks. it's called a "stop" sign, not a slow down and proceed without caution sign.
go the speed limit in school zones. the lowered, school zone speed limit. is where you're going so important to put children's lives in danger? can't it wait another 47 seconds?
get off my tail when we're sitting at a red light. i can't go anywhere and you inching up on my rear bumper isn't going to change that.
i'm sure there are more, but those will come at a later date.

note to shoppers: the employees are people, too. they make mistakes sometimes. and sometimes registers and computers go down or end up taking a long time. are you really in that much of a hurry?

note to employees: there's this thing called customer service. it usually involves smiling and saying hi to customers and trying to help them, not ignoring them and acting like you wish they would go away (it's ok to wish they would go away, but do it with a smile on your face). try it sometime, you might be surprised at the results.

note to the clothing industry: please make women's clothes in colors other than pastel. they don't look good on everybody. stop acting like they do. and also, make clothes for real sized people. your clothes don't even fit on mannequins (i see the safety pins in the back). and give us some modest clothing, please. there are some of us who only wish our husbands to see certain parts of us.

thank you. that is all for now.

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25 June 2008

shameless self promotion

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17 June 2008

my kiwwian

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02 June 2008



why do we feel the need to "outdo" each other on everything? why do we have to outdo each other when it comes to our grief? seriously.

a conversation went like this. the circumstances were around one of our friends having to leave town suddenly because of her father's health condition.

me: "this may not be the best time to tell you this, but when i was 15, my mother died. so if you need someone to talk to, whether your dad ends up being fine or whatever, i understand and i'm here if you need to talk."

okay, let me interject real quick here. this bit of information isn't something that everyone i hang out with knows. it's not exactly something you tell people when you meet them for the first time: 'hi, i'm katie and my mother died of cancer when i was only 15 years old. so what do you do for a living?' the main reason i brought it up was to let her know i've been there and i am here for her if she wants to talk to someone who's been through it. ok, back to conversation.

other friend with us: "yeah, when i was little both my grandparents died. and i had nobody. i mean, i didn't know what to do."

see? right there! i was trying to let our friend know she's not alone and someone she knows has been through what she;s going through. then our other friend had to outdo me with her grief. and i'm gonna get on a soapbox here for a second, but losing a grandparent is nowhere near the same as losing your parent. the only place i would consider it would be if your grandparents raised you and basically were your parents.

i had to take a step back and make sure what i said to our friend in need wasn't trying to outdo her in her current situation. and i don't think it was. had i gone into details then and there about how terrible it was and how depressed i got and so on, then yeah, it would have been just that. but i think by what i said i was more or less informing her of something in my life that can relate to her should she need someone to talk to.

it really bothers me when people try and outdo me, or other people for that matter. why must we always have the best story, or the worst experiences or the most broken bones in one event? what is it about our nature that makes us this way, especially when it comes to caring for our friends? i don't have an answer. and i don't know that i will ever figure it out

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24 May 2008


this is too cute.

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18 May 2008

facing my fear

ok, so any one who knows me well knows i only have one fear. one phobia, if you will.

i am afraid of birds.

i know now i will get lots of practical jokes involving fowl, but whatever. it's not wild birds that i fear as much as people birds: pets, city pigeons, that sort of thing. basically i don't like birds that like people.

my fear stems from several bad experiences. a few of my friends growing up had pet birds. some had big birds, some little. in an attempt to get me accustomed to birds as pets (i've always been a dog person), this friend put her two very small birds on my shoulder. instead of sitting and chirping nicely, they started pecking my ears mercilessly! not a fun experience.

another friend in high school had a huge tropical bird. we were sitting in the family room, the bird on its perch. out of nowhere, the giant red bird takes flight and heads straight for my head! had i not moved, my face would look quite different than it does now.

so, i don't really like birds.

today, as josh and i were getting ready to run errands, we go out to our car and in the space next to ours, there's a little baby bird on the ground. it's momma had made a nest in the covered parking. poor little guy look quite new, missing several feathers and keeping his eyes closed a lot. he had a big wad of fishing line wrapped around his little leg. my heart broke.

i may not like birds, but i don't want to see one suffering. josh got some socks and put them on his hands to pick the little guy up and i called animal control. luckily they are practically around the corner. animal control came and picked up the little guy and took him to the bird rehabilitation center just down the road. i hope the little guy is okay.

if i could have chosen what i would do today, finding a bird and needing to take care of it would not have been my first preference. but God knows when we need to face our fears and He puts us in situations to face them where there is no option to turn and run. the only option is to look our fear in the eye and deal with it.

do i love birds now? no, not really. do i want a pet bird now? ummm, no. but i have become a little more comfortable around them. having one take flight right next to my head still freaks me out.

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11 May 2008

mother's day

eleven years.

eleven years have gone by and today is the exact same day as it was back then: may 11. mother's day.

has it been eleven years? it can't be. it seems like it was just last week. then again, at times it seems much further away. eleven years. eleven years and it is exactly the same. i believe this is the first time we've come upon a repeat of the exact same days.

those of you who know me well, or have been reading since the beginning (all 3 of you) know what happened eleven years ago. for those of you that don't, i am going to share. i don't want your pity or condolences, i just want you to read and try and understand what has become a huge part of who i am. the best way i can think to do this is to share with you what i wrote for my senior english class in 1999-2000.

A Single Clap of Thunder

“Great show last night,” Mr. Bradley said to my theatre class on the morning of April 25, 1997. Mr. Bradley, a short man with a strong resemblance to Mario from the popular Nintendo game, was the theatre director at Klein Forest High School when I attended there. My classmates and I picked up our chairs and formed a large circle in the center of the black box, or as we liked to call it, “the little theatre.”

The class settled down and we began discussing our performance of “The Diviners” from the previous night. Our double cast characters gave us notes and we reviewed the show. Near the end of the period, a student aide emerged from the tall black curtains hanging from the ceiling and handed Mario a slip of paper.

“Kristen, it’s for you,” he said as he held the paper out to me. There was no Kristen in my class.

“It’s Katie, Mr. Bradley,” I said. “Kristen is my sister. You’d think after almost an entire school year you’d be calling me by my own name.”

“Sorry,” he laughed. “I haven’t done that in a long time, though. Here you go.”

I took the paper, expecting to see a note from the counselor about my schedule for the next year. Instead, in my hand I held a piece of carbon paper, which meant an early dismissal. I knew something was wrong. I grabbed my bag and ran to the front office at the opposite end of the school. I walked in the office and saw my father sitting in a chair, his eyes puffy and red.

“Daddy?” I asked, “what’s wrong? Is Mom okay? She’s not, is she?” Tears began to form in my eyes and I tried to fight them, but the battle was lost.

“Katie,” he said, “the nurse said your mother is in the final stages of dying and that you should come home. Mrs. Brand is here to take us home. I’ve already called Kyle and Kristen and they’re trying to get home.” Kyle and Kristen, my siblings, were in the Dallas area at college.

My dad hugged me as we walked out into the rain to Mrs. Brand’s car and went home. My high school pastor, Eric, was already at my house by my mom’s side when I got there. He greeted me with a hug and sat me down next to my mom’s bed.

“John’s on his way,” Eric said. “ I’ve called Tony and we’re trying to get a hold of Mike.” John, Mike, and Tony were the rest of the guys on the youth staff at my church. Mike was out of town at a conference, so they weren’t sure if they would get a hold of him.

“How’s she doing?” I asked the nurse.

“She’s not in any pain,” the nurse said. “She can hear us, but she can’t respond. Talk to her, let her know you’re here.”

“Okay. Mom? Momma, it’s me, Katie. Momma, I love you. Please keep fighting, Momma. I know you can. I love you, Momma. Keep fighting.”

Within the next hour, almost my entire family was in my house. Kyle and Kristen were at DFW airport trying to get on the next flight home. It was hard to say when that would be since many flights in the Dallas area were cancelled due to severe weather.

After sitting by Momma’s side for two hours, I got up and went into the den where Eric, John, and Tony were. They gave me hugs and we sat down.

“I can’t watch her die,” I told them. “I can’t just sit there and watch her slip away. I’ve been doing that for the past year and I don’t want to do it anymore. I don’t want to go back in there, I can’t.”

“We won’t make you,” Eric said, “but I think you should go back in there later or you’ll regret it the rest of your life.”

“I know. I just can’t, not right now.”

“Hey, I want to see this guitar you’re always telling me about. Where is it?”

“It’s upstairs. In my room. It’s Momma’s.”

“I’ve never seen your room, either. Let’s go look at that guitar, huh?”

I led the three of them upstairs to my room and showed them Momma’s guitar. Eric picked it up and started playing. It helped take my mind off Momma for awhile and gave me an emotional break. Then we went downstairs and they left to eat lunch.

“We’ll be back later,” Eric said. “Here’s our cell phone numbers. If anything happens, or if you need anything, call us right away.”

“I will,” I said. “Thanks for coming guys. It means a lot.”

They left and Kristen called to say they were still working on getting home. It was about 12:30.

I went back in Momma’s room and talked to her some more. I told her things I remembered and how much I loved her. Around 1:15 I went into the kitchen to get something to eat since I missed lunch at school, but everything I looked at turned my stomach. I sat in the kitchen, praying that God would at least let her make it until Kyle and Kristen got home. Then I went upstairs to my room to get away from all my relatives, trying not to focus on the dying woman in the room below.

Around 2:45 my Aunt Linda came upstairs.

“Katie,” she said, “we think it’s almost time. You need to come downstairs.”

I followed her downstairs and she sat me in the chair by Momma’s side. I began rubbing Momma’s shaved head because she always said it felt good. Dad was on the other side of her bed holding her left hand. The rest of my relatives and a few family friends stood at the foot of her bed. Her breathing had been strong all day, but she was now struggling to get air. Kyle and Kristen still weren’t on a flight.

Her breathing seemed to stop a few times. Every time it did, I whispered in her ear, “Come on, Momma, breathe. Come on.” Every time I did, she managed to start breathing again. My mom’s brother, Uncle Randy, began reciting Psalm 23.

“The Lord is my shepherd,” he said, “I shall not want...”

There was a loud clap of thunder and Momma slipped away. It hadn’t thundered once all day. She was gone. I kept telling her to breathe, like I was expecting it to be like a movie where you think someone’s dead, but someone tells him or her to breathe and they do and they get up and they’re fine. But this wasn’t Hollywood. This was real life.

Damn Hollywood for not letting us see reality, for making us think that nothing bad ever really happens, for making us think death isn’t final, for putting us in the frame of mind that everything will always be okay, for teaching us fantasy and saying we live in a perfect world. Everything won’t always be okay. People aren’t always okay, we don’t live in a perfect world, bad things do happen, and death is final.

The room was one big sniffle except for one person sitting in a chair, still rubbing her mother’s head.

“It’s sounds like a commercial in here for Kleenex,” my dad said.

The room laughed momentarily.

“That sounds like something Bitsy would have said,” Aunt Linda said.

“I was just saying it for her.”

I went upstairs to call Eric. The phone rang as I reached for it.

“Dad?” the person on the other end said. It was Kristen. My dad had picked up the phone just before I had. “Is Mom alright?”

“Kristen, you’re mother’s gone,” he said.

“NO!!!” she screamed. That’s when I started to cry. It finally hit me that Momma was gone. It also hurt that my sister was in so much pain so far away from us. She called to say she and Kyle were on the next flight home. The three of us hung up and I called Eric, who was already on his way. Then I called my best friend, Abbey, and left a message on her machine since she wasn’t home from school just yet. I told her that my mom was gone and asked if she could come over. Then I went downstairs and waited for Eric.

Eric showed up and I met him outside in the rain. John showed up not too long after that. Tony wasn’t able to get back, but Eric had been able to get in touch with Mike. We found out the flight Kyle and Kristen were on and Eric drove my sister’s best friend, Paige, and me to the airport to pick them up.

Their flight was delayed, so Eric bought the three of us dinner at the airport, but I still couldn’t eat. When their flight came in, they were the first ones off the plane. The three of us stood in the middle of the airport, crying and hugging. We got their luggage and went back to the house.

Abbey and her dad were waiting at the house. I took Kyle and Kristen into the bedroom where Dad and Uncle Randy were and we said our last goodbye to Momma. We cried and knew we were starting a new adventure. Momma had a smile on her face. It was still raining outside, but it hadn’t thundered since Momma slipped away.

mother's day has always been a little difficult since then. and this may sound weird, but that very first mother's day seems to have been the least difficult for me. that first year was rough, marking the passing of each month, first holidays without Momma, but mother's day wasn't as rough. maybe because it was so close, i was still dealing with just the loss of her i couldn't even begin to think about the impact of a holiday.

that first mother's day, may 11, 1997, my brother and sister came in to town for the weekend. we went to lake jackson, texas to be with my dad's family. surfside beach isn't too far from there.

before Momma died, she'd made it very clear (years before she ever got sick, actually) that when she died, she wanted to be cremated and have her ashes scattered into the gulf of mexico at surfside beach, where she had been baptized. right after she died, my family and i were trying to figure out when to go and do that. after my siblings came home from school, sometime later that summer, when? then i suggested we do it that mother's day. it was only a couple of weeks away, but i thought it would be fitting to let her go on mother's day. to let our mother go.

so that sunday, exactly eleven years ago today, my uncle ted drove us out to surfside. we opened the wooden box holding my mother's ashes, and, handful by handful, the four of us set her into the gulf and let the waves carry her away. my uncle took pictures for us, and after the last was washed from the box, we stood there, looking out into the gulf, sending Momma on her way. then we turned around, my sister put her arm around me, and we didn't look back.

it was so emotionally charged and yet very freeing at the same time. this was what Momma wanted. this was her final resting place, in the waters that washed over her as a young woman as she surrendered her adult life to our loving Savior and Heavenly Father. a moment she never looked back on, only ahead to her final resting days with Christ, striving every day from then on to become more and more like Him until He decided it was time. she was at peace.

i hate the way america does mother's day, the commercialism of it all. the truth is that mother's day shouldn't have anything to do with giving birth, not from a biblical perspective. when God made eve and brought her to adam, adam named her eve, which means the mother of all things. she hadn't given birth yet, not even been pregnant. and making mother's day all about the woman who gave birth makes it hard for me to see the part of God that is feminine.

God created man in His own image; male and female He created them both. women are made in the image of God. he's our heavenly father, but he's also our heavenly mother. there's that feminine side to our savior. the compassionate comforter who wants to hold us to his chest and gently rock us to sleep. the mother hen who wants to hide her brood under her wing. the things we associate with our mother.

that's how i want to view mother's day. not just a day about celebrating the fact that a woman was able to reproduce, but a day about thanking all the women in our lives who "mother" us. the little old lady who always bakes us cookies. the school librarian who loves on the schoolchildren. the young lady who can't have children of her own but takes under her wing teenage girls and disciples them. the older sister who does what she can to take care of and love on her younger sister when the woman they love the most is taken away. these women should be honored on mother's day. not just those who have children.

but for today, i will think of my mother, of the wonderful, godly woman she was, and i will remember her and honor her. and maybe one year i'll return to surfside for mother's day, just to say hi.

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18 April 2008


i don't know why, but i feel like i've been on the edge of tears for a few days now. it's not really that i've been sad, but it's just, well, something seems like it's always there, just under the surface. i've been learning to deal with it, learning to not let it take me over, but sometimes i feel like i'm about to break. it's momma.

josh and i picked up a few things from his parents house the other night and moved some of it into storage. a lot of it is files that we need to keep, but don't necessarily need in the apartment, and some of his old mementos and things that his mom was hanging on that we now get. but we also picked up our guitars. i've had my main guitar with me since we moved, but his 12-string acoustic was still there, along with my inheritance: my mom's acoustic-electric (or maybe it's just a hollow-body electric) guitar.

i haven't played her (my) guitar in ages. i used to play it all the time. then i got my acoustic guitar and started using that to play and lead worship. my inheritance is very old, and is in need of repair. it needs new strings, the electronics need a little tweaking, and the pegs need some oiling. i need to take it into the shop. but i can't seem to bring myself to do it. if something were to happen to it, i would be crushed.

now, i know it's just a thing. i realize that. i know it won't bring my mom back. i know it's not really that important. but at the same time, it's not just a thing. and it is important. it was my mom's guitar. it was what she told my father to give to me when she died. in a way, for me, it's an extension of her. it's a part of her and it's a part of me. in a way, it feels like one of the last connections i have to her.

i pulled it out tonight and started to play. i had to stop 'cause the thing would not stay in tune for more than three seconds, and the sound of an out-of-tune guitar is for me what nails-on-a-chalkboard is for most people. i wish i could play it. i wish it would work the way it was designed to. but that's not what i wish the most.

i wish i could have heard momma play. i wish i had vivid memories of her and that guitar, of her playing worship songs and hymns for us. maybe she did play for me once or twice, but i was so young that i probably don't remember. or maybe it was just too infrequent and i wasn't really interested at the time. i wish i had memories of her and her guitar like i have of her singing in church. i wish they were so real that i would have a hard time believing she wasn't right there.

whenever we sing hymns in church, or some of the older praise choruses, i can hear my mom singing them, mostly the harmony. it's so vivid it's as if she's next to me, singing in my ear, holding my hand and smiling at me. when we sing those songs i am almost always moved to tears. sometimes i fight them, sometimes i let them come on through. i miss her greatly. and it's always right there, below the surface, waiting for something to make a crack for it to come through. that was tonight when i started to play.

there's so much i wish my mom could see. i wish she could see my love of playing and singing. i wish she could listen to the songs i write and sing them with me over and over. i wish she could hear me play the song she used to sing me to sleep with, and i wish she could hear the new chorus i wrote for it. i wish.

i wish.

one day i'll work up enough courage and have enough peace about taking my mom's guitar in to get repaired/restored. one day. but today is not that day. today is the day that i think about momma and her playing her guitar. i just hope it was as amazing and wonderful as i imagine it would be.

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