that perfect hand…

In Ocean's 11, Danny said that "the house always wins. If you play long enough, never change the stakes, then the house takes you. Unless, when that perfect hand comes along, you bet big… and then, you take the house." Here's the hand I've been dealt, sometimes it's risky and sometimes it's safe, but all the time… it's perfect. It's mine.


all i know

The best I know how.

Amidst a conversation the other day, my teaching partner asked me how I handled a situation amongst a few of our kids. Not unlike many of the incidents or experiences in the first two months of our year, I felt helpless and hadn’t predetermined a strategy, so it felt fitting that he asked me post-handling. All too often, we’ve felt uncertain about how and what we’re doing and, as I’ve mentioned before, been overwhelmed by the fragility of our ‘clientele’ this year. It feels as though the distances between corners-turned are quite lengthy, and we’re teaching ourselves how to have some more grace for, well, ourselves. Anyway, some tough days. So within a conversation regarding these matters and how we do, I think I smiled weakly, but said directly, “I just do it the best way I know how.”

The best I know how.

I am in a space right now that happens every so often as the season changes and it seems as if I’ve been evolving at a little slower of a pace than usual. Self-reflection overrides all other aspects of my time and I am caught up in having tea with myself, wondering what lesson I am supposed to be learning or when I will be enveloped within a challenge that I cannot foresee the reason for (yet). I should apologize to those around me, because I tend to be a bit of a bother during these times as I don’t know what to say, for fear of being found out that I am [heartfully, mentally] journeying again.

I realize that I don’t have answers or understanding or awareness for absolutely everything, but I do know that I live and act the best I know how to. As a daughter, I try to honour my parents for the ways they’ve raised me and the role they uphold within my life. As a sister, I know I’ve come up short here and there, but trust that the love, grace, and forgiveness that I wholeheartedly extend to them in moments will ultimately be sent my way. The best way I know to be a friend is to think of them, be intentional with my honesty, care, and support, and pray for that in return. In my profession, I don’t know how to teach or be a colleague or mentor in any way other than the way I do it. I am growing, learning, changing, and sifting through different ways that I believe I can get better.

The only thing I am absolutely certain of is that this part, the part where I am looking at what I am doing and how I am doing with an honest heart, is truth. My truth – what informs me, guides me, criticizes me, molds me, might look different than yours, but it’s all I know. I struggle with comparisons (I think we all do, to some extent) because I think that comparison is unfair to the nature of who we are. If everyone is operating honestly for themselves, then I believe co-existing with each other might be a much more gracious task. So as to look at one another and whisper “your way of doing, of being, is different from mine – but we’ll find our way.”

I read somewhere today that “broken bones heal stronger, and so do broken [people].” My brokenness surfaces during these seasons for me; when the noise of what I am walking through magnifies the parts of my truth that I need to piece back together and fix. But I am working towards deeply understanding that this is not a bad place to be – vulnerability, trepidation, quiet. In a moment, I wait for the next [light hearted] time where simplicity masks the contemplation of where I am at. It can be easier to be satisfied and not question, than to crave and look for more to cultivate your truth.

The best I know how.

I only know one way to be, and that’s how I am doing it. I seek to understand others in my desire to love them for where they’re at when they meet me at “this” (undisclosed/unspecified/proverbial) place. I find that knowing people, asking questions, and truly listening helps me see the best parts of them and maybe use some of their ways to help me with mine. I am not sure if I’ll ever get it right – being daughter, sister, friend, teacher, but I know that I am doing my best with what I’ve been given. I try to appreciate, and be grateful, for that awareness.

Someone told me once that his way of looking at what he does is by ensuring that he “doesn’t get in his own way.” Profound, was my understanding – don’t over think or question too hard what is smouldering in your hearts, otherwise you might inhibit yourself from seeking those truthful, honest, natural desires and truths. And in not getting in my own way, I certainly hope I don’t get in the ways of others. The best parts about me seem to require an ever present you (in any defined form) and I am at a point where my excuse for being is that I am doing it [all] as I can, as it should be… for who I am.

Garrels' Quote

catching up


Hellllo, anyone out there? With November came an honest effort to get some balance back in my life, including doing some of the things I’ve been neglecting – such as blogging. Now it is November 12th and I’m actually getting it together. I think I will make this a regular thing. 🙂
Actually, I am  just looking for more excuses to play on my new MacBook. Fun!
I am settling in. That’s probably the best way to describe the monotony of newness in my life right now. “They” say that it takes about 6 weeks before the routines and expectations of being a teacher “click” and everyday doesn’t seem so difficult or tiring. Well, just like when I learned how to drive a standard, it took me closer to 8 weeks but I am finally feeling like I am not run off my feet EVERY single day. Honestly, I have the best class imaginable for my first year – but with report cards (what I am supposed to be doing now), parents, trip planning, assessment, and simply preparing for every class, it is exactly what I mentioned above: monotony of newness.
Some notable moments (I wish I could blog in detail but running the risk of defying confidentiality is much too great):
– I tried to make the kids caramel apples for hallowe’en. Mom used to do this for all of us kids and a few of our friends every year and since I am teaching at my old school, I thought I would continue the tradition. Unfortunately, in my quest to make the caramel soft and delicious, the caramel sagged right off the apples. The kids didn’t care but, as Jack’s caught, aesthetics to me is everything and I was devastated by how gross they looked.
– My class lead the school in the Remembrance Day celebrations and, after looking at the agenda from years past, I decided to do away with the seemingly-obligatory-but-not singing of “In Flanders Fields” and made a video of my class talking about what freedom and remembrance mean. The video was followed by a somber reading, some sharing of words that represent freedom, and my darling girls singing Sarah McLachlan’s “I Will Remember You”. I might be biased, but it was POWERFUL. It was an incredibly silent and respectful event as I tried to work with my kids about getting away from thinking of Remembrance Day as remembering war and more of remembering the price that has been paid. ANYWAY, I want to provide you with the video of the service but you’ll have to ask; I can’t post it online. I am so proud of those kids.
– Letting go. I know it sounds silly but just as I’ve made a turn in my comfort in teaching, I’ve also been able to relax a little bit on being stern. That is not my first nature as a teacher so now that routines are set, I am easing into being a little less strict and a little more Kate.
Either way… I am blessed. Incredibly blessed. Come see for yourself, eh? 🙂


welcome to my home.

Yes. That is what I’ve been waking up to! Can you believe it? I am grateful that I am now driving that white SUV there (a RAV4 for inquiring minds) instead of my old dear Bella – who I sold, fortunately. The cabin living is growing on me. I am having a relatively easy time maintaining the fire and not waking up to every gunshot or growl or engine revving that goes on out in these parts. There is also a resident bear. I think things would be different if I lived out here on my own but my friends whose property the cabin sits on and their two kids have been such a blessing; I am enjoying the laid back life of living in the woods.

Except the horrible cell service and Internet connection. Oh well, not the end of the world.

What else?

I am 45% done my Christmas shopping! I am so excited about this endeavour this year; having two nephews makes it double the fun. And more than that, I am anxious for Christmas in all ways. I can’t wait to skate on Lake Kathlyn and see Luke and Joce and sweet Annabelle again and – ahem – have my kids be the starring class in the Christmas pageant…all before going home for 10 days to my family and being cozy in Penticton. I can’t believe it’s almost upon us; I am grateful for what 2011 has brought me… the list is so long.


That’s the catch up for today – more to come.



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six in six

Finished six weeks of practicum so far, starting the seventh in about 2.5 hours and I’ve learned six things that I plan to elaborate on:

1. Being firm is difficult — I scare myself sometimes and have made myself cry (not in front of the kids, but later).

2. Support is invaluable; friend(s)/mentors who understand exactly what I am going through is an understated blessing.

3. I teach and lecture using my hands a lot.

4. There’s a balance between being selfless and selfish that I’m close to understanding — I am learning to care without getting emotional.

5. Sometimes being constantly challenged is not healthy (or so it feels, as I can barely keep my eyes open and it’s only Monday).

6. There is nothing cooler than adolescent youth.


… did I just say that?



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i kissed grumps good bye

Every once in awhile I wake up in the morning completely disatisfied. It happens very rarely but it’s like a feeling walked into my heart and head and decided it is time for a little renovation. I spend a few minutes thinking about this, thinking about what I’ve done the last few weeks and then I think that thought I think 100 times a week: Is this where I thought I would be? How much longer before I start living this life I am meant to live? Then I start thinking about what I am spending my time and energy on and feel like I have to fix it.

I woke up yesterday like this. Just frustrated with how unproductive and unemotional and unjoyful things have sort of been lately. Kind of like a funk that is so deeply seeded into my day-to-day existence, I woke up sick of feeling so mundane. Amanda and I have coined this attitude ‘grumps’ and I am so not good at being grumps. I don’t know how I am supposed to channel this energy and I don’t know why grumps is resonating so intently. I even spent the last little bit deciding everyone around me is grumps, not me. But it is. And it’s frustrating. So it’s time for a little renovation. I think?

Classes end on Thursday and I still haven’t heard from the teaching program. Nobody I know who applied has, but when I was thinking about that my mom said to keep praying. But how can you keep praying for something you actually haven’t been? Yea. When I think about what I need to work on in my spiritual life it’s prayer. I have an easy time praying for the little things throughout the day like a mom whose trying to calm her kid down in the mall, when a friend asks me to pray, or when I want rockstar parking, but I find it hard to expose my fears and concerns through prayer. I am having an equally difficult time understanding my purpose. But yea, pray for my prayer life? That’s so redundant but I don’t mind admitting that I am struggling.

Among other reasons and things and people and places and fears, yesterday I really just made a mental decision to start editing. Edit out bad habits or feelings or whatever it is… I mean, living a joy filled life has been fabulous but I don’t think it’s wrong to struggle with it a little bit sometimes. Or is it? I don’t know. I just don’t do well with this. I start second guessing everything. I get worried about things I shouldn’t and I start watching my back in odd and disastrous ways. I just hate being grumps. But rising above and out of it can be hard sometimes, especially when you don’t really feel like people give you room to be grumps for a little while. I need encouragement. I need affirmation that I am doing okay. I need to own and believe that nobody else really has it figured out.

But then I woke up this morning to a glorious, rich, perfectly sunny and warm day and I understand that maybe the adventure is in living life, not attempting to solve it. Grumps gone.


silence me now

I am starting to believe that the lessons we learn and risks we take are much more invaluable the harder time we have with them. I have been praying specifically for silence lately. I decided not to give up anything or take up anything for Lent, but to use this time to create a habit of enjoying the silence more. They (whoever THEY may be) say that it takes 21 days to pick up a habit so I figure in 40, I will have this almost mastered. At least, I thought I would.

In the last few weeks, God has been calming my heart over the things that seem to plague me the most. Especially when it comes to waiting on my teaching application or my current state of financial affairs or ICBC or my car or boy or school wrapping up. I pride myself on not being an overly stressed or worrisome person, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have concerns. When I had my kidney virus, my doctor told me that when you’re not an emotionally-charged-stressed person, your body chooses to react in other ways to make up for your emotions…through exhaustion or hair loss or blood pressure, etc. Lately it just started getting super noisy in my head and I just wanted to calm down and let God handle the rest.

It’s funny how it’s calmed down in my head, outwardly things have been chaotic. I broke Kyla’s espresso machine’s coffee pot, broke my favourite bowl from my mom, drove over a nail and popped my tire, the starter went in my car, I got four awkwardly-placed zits, toppled over coffee grinds and twenty minutes later, spilled my entire coffee all over my bed, carpet, and notebook. I also spilled a beer at our Mexican dinner party the other night all over myself so I was drenched from my middle down to my knee, dropped every other item or missed my mouth when I tried to eat off my plate…not even with chopsticks… when I went out for Chinese the other night, and finally, had both of my legs seize and spasm beyond painful repair when I was at the lagoon last Thursday night, sitting in the same place for three hours (try looking like a classy, elegant woman when all you want to do is scream and cry and yell… it all comes out in a garbled screech-crying-laughter). All in a matter of a few short weeks. (This is only ironic because I am not exactly a clumsy person or someone who likes to be out of control).

But through this couple week silence-excursion, I’ve learned that people constantly surprise you; that the most backwards way of handling things is to reserve the best for the people we’re trying to make an impression on, when I think we need to reserve our best for the people we love the most. I’ve also learned that, contrary to what procrastination may dictate, the state of my e-mail and facebook are proof-positive that I do not need to be on the computer very often, not that many people e-mail or ‘fb’ me all day long so there’s no need to be on it that much. As I make moments of silence, that’s when God creeps in and reminds me to trust him and trust my instincts and heart, I’ve had four or five occasions recently that reminded me that trusting people and trusting my worth, albeit being hard, is the greatest service to myself I can give. I feel like I am constantly being reminded to believe the best in people and trust them at their word, but we’re from such a broken and fallen world, it’s hard to remember sometimes that there still are truly honest, integral, humble, real, beautiful, positive people out there and I need to immerse myself in that truth and own that belief. Finally, spontaneity is key. Key. I need that.

My favourite current ways to disrupt this silence are with music (Dave Matthews concert in WA  this summer anyone?), playing basketball at the rivercourt or playing catch, the lagoon, cooking and dreaming of food (Jes and Marli, I truly am a Stam girl now… L made a comment on how often food is a topic!), phone calls and family love or visits from friends, new friends, learning about my heart, and simply being present in the lives of the overly-specially-wonderful family I live with.

This silence thing has disrupted and changed my routine. Usually before I go to bed I read or turn on the TV (which is set to turn off 20 mins later, since I know I will fall asleep). Now I just go to bed, and if something is on my heart or in my head, then I concentrate on that. It’s funny how now that I’ve been praying for calm and silence, how that’s infiltrating the other areas of my life. I have been affirmed recently by people saying “Kate, you’re so…” or “… is my favourite part about you, Kater!” and what’s funny is those things he/she affirmed in me have been ambitions and character traits that I’ve been actively trying to achieve in the last few years. But it’s been in the silence that I’ve really made certain things more important. Like hearing good things about myself, owning them, and not in vain or conceit, just hearing it is something I am not good at.

Do you ever find that the hardest things to hear are criticisms or insights from the people that matter to you the most? I say embrace it. Because as much as I’ve felt affirmed lately, I’ve also felt shaken and I don’t think it’s safe to ever be fully comfortable that there’s no room for improvement. The key to understanding that some things, when said in love and respect, are the greatest lessons to learn. But neither can you expect to take wisdom from people who haven’t earned your respect and vice versa. I think it is a privilege to share my heart with someone and have it heard, but I also understand that sometimes, people will not be as receptive as you may want, and that’s okay.

I guess what I am finding with silence in my heart and head is that there is so much more room now to pay attention to those and things around me that deserve it. In those moments of the day, however short they may be, that I devote to just sitting down to wait or listen, I am able to edit out of my head and heart the things that truly don’t matter or make sense or I don’t want in there. It’s kind of like a character-building heart-humbling exercise. And having God speak into those moments is just an added bonus, I know he’s doing something with me, he can just be pretty evasive when I ask specifically what that is.

Oh well. I like this season… actually, I love this current season of my life.  If anything, calm and quiet is helping me deal with the relative Kater-life-chaos with a bit more grace and honesty than before, except when my legs were not moving — I didn’t think I handled that in the most progressive-Kate fashion. I guess I can’t always be a hero. I wish we got that on video so I could share it with you.

Take some time to enjoy the silence. It’s not as quiet as you may think.


my thoughts for… your thoughts?

A couple weeks ago, Nathan spoke at CPC about relationships, specifically romance. Go here and click on the title for February 15/09, to hear this –it’s worth it. ANYWAYS.

The big thing Nate was trying to get across was that everyone can romance anything because we are romancing something, whatever that thing or person is, whenever we invest our time, our talent, and our treasure into an aspect of our lives; that is what we romance. This convicted me.

That’s all I’ve got. What are you investing your TIME, TALENT, and TREASURE in? You don’t have to share with me, but it might make you think twice before you spend those three important parts of who you are in that way. Or at least, what you’re romancing might shock you and might need a little renovation. And re focus. I might start a chapter for this on my blog, I just have to figure out how.


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I have this list, consider it a “to-do” list, that I figure I am going to “get to” once I am done school and a little more financially and mentally stable. But God doesn’t really work like that.

I am too comfortable.

I feel like I have so much I should be giving rather than worrying about how to receive (or maintain) the things that I need. So it seems as though God is opening my heart and I don’t even know where to start. I have this idea that consistently plays round and round in my head “It’s not the lit places that need the light, it’s the darkest” and now I want to do things to bring that light to those areas. Not when I am done school, but right now?

I can’t figure out how to upload this as a link, but I was listening to [yet another] sermon from Mars Hill Church in Michigan, and the most recent one was so powerful and convicting on the topic of serving others. Seriously listen to it. Kinda like reading the book “The Shack”, I would preferably come through the computer screen and forceably make you listen to it… but I am not going to do that. Instead you’ll just have to take my word for it and maybe it will speak to your own servant’s heart.

Go to Mars Hill Church teachings and it’s the first sermon [currently] listed called “Examples” by Leroy Barber. Click on the link “MP3” and it will download (temporily) to be played on whatever music source you use.

If you have iTunes, you can also subscribe to Mars Hill Church and it would be one of the sermons you get right off the bat. It’s definitely worthwhile.

Anyways, I think it’s so easy for us to forget how blessed we are simply to be alive that it’s equally, if not easier to forget how little it hurts us to pour those blessings on others. We’ve got lots, we can share. Also, on that topic, you can listen to “A Life Poured Out”, the sermon from the week before, by John Ortberg which also was really good.

Something to think about I guess.


losing my mind

I just want to clarify that I am not as responsible as I appear. Or as organized.

Case in point:

A. Last Thursday, after she had repeatedly told me it was cancelled and wouldn’t be happening, I went to ‘family dinner’ at Auntie Monika’s, ergo forcing Uncle R. to order us pizza as a result of my forgetfulness.

B. Monday I took off my new watch in the library while I was reading only to realize two hours later as I was walking to my car I wasn’t wearing it. I ran back to the library to find it sitting under my chair, much to my delight.

C. That same Monday, I spilled my tea in the morning all over my seat (this issue has two parts, first the tea spilling) and it was a hot day so I assumed it would dry up. The reason I was walking to my car was because my books were getting really heavy so I wanted to dump them off. I put them all on the said tea-spilt seat only to find at 5:00 pm that the seat had not dried before I put the books there so my brand new textbooks boast tea saturated stains now.

D. That same Monday I was praying in my morning devo about finances and struggling already and God just reminded me he’s taking care of me. That being said, I decided to go and buy my $70.00 textbook that I was trying to avoid purchasing. UVic has “cubbies” in the bookstore where you put your bags before entering the store. I bought the said book as well as a binder and notepad so in the process of putting those two items in my bag, I failed to put in the very-expensive-prayed-about-item and walked away. This was at 9:30am. At 4:00 pm, driving home, I was halfway back to Colwood (far) when I realized I hadn’t seen that book all day. I mad dashed in sheer hysteria back to UVic, praying that someone from the bookstore would hear my case with compassion and honour my receipt. As I ran into the bookstore, I glanced over to the cubbies and lo and behold, there sat — after seven hours — my history textbook. I estimate hundreds of students walked in and out of those doors but there. It. Still. Was. God was 1/2 smiling on my that day.

I went home in dire straits. I had had enough. Thinking the week could “only look up from here”:

E. Yesterday, I felt like junk. Like someone had taken my throat, head, and stomach out of my body, stomped on them, and put them back in. So I decided to skip my last class of only 2 classes of the day. As I am walking back to my car, I realize I don’t have my keys. Sure enough, they are locked in my CAR. What now you wonder? Well, bless his heart, my Dad (and his BCAA membership) were heading to Victoria that evening for dinner at my Aunts. Would he leave a little early? Sure he would! But that didn’t eliminate the awkward girl sitting on the curb right beside her car, in an act of fear someone would steal her pretty little car, reading for two hours in anticipation. (That was me, in case I lost you). By the time Dad arrived, called BCAA, tow truck never arriving at all, Dad takes matters into his own hands and in an act of true heroism and bravery, lassos a pieces of rope through the crack of the window and, with the aid of a long piece of wood, manages to open the window enough to reach in, it is now 6:15 pm and my skipping class to go home to bed is a distant memory.

The whole time I am thinking: My joy is being tested. My joy is being tested. My joy is being tested. My JOY IS BEING TES….ARE YOU SERIOUS, GOD?!?!

Like, enough is enough. I am sick of near-catastrophic events! I haven’t had a bad day in about 12 months… why now a bad WEEK?

On the upside, this week:

A. I sent Jes’ birthday present on time for the first time in a long time.
B. I finished all my History 315 readings early as well as finished three of my Young Adult lit readings on time.
C. Finished three items on my new “to do” list.
D. Successfully went down the blue (and tumultuous, freakishly scary) waterslide at our private swim at the Cowichan Aquatic Centre.
E. Witnessed a miracle. (It’s not an emotional, but rather hilarious, one for which you need my voice, animation, and excitement over the matter to explain. And it’s only amazing if you know the person it involves.)
F. And finally, after a year of dreaming, planning, devising, calculating, waiting, Joce and I took our rollerblades out on the Galloping Goose trail. It was a dream, I tell you, a dream. Complete with the misty eyed viewing and sun ray bursting setting.

See? It’s apparently not all bad.



I am way too old for this. Well, way too old for many things. Twenty-three just seems old. I know some of you may argue, but I digress. Atleast, it’ll be old until twenty-four. Oh the horror!

Here are some pics from Jes’ trip and Jayme’s birthday… sister lovin’. And some Dad lovin’ too.

Aren’t we just a big bowl of good times and delights?

Maybe we’re actually aging like fine wine. This picture doesn’t do my tan justice.

Look Dad, you made that. Or those. Three. Rather.


echoes, silence, patience and grace

“There’s a big
a big hard sun
beating on the big people
in the big hard world”

It’s kind of like the residue of heart-burn and stomach pains. Sometimes, it hurts bad enough to leave an echo of awfulness, then there is silence while I anticipate its return, in mock patience. And I’d like to think I handle it with grace given that I hardly every complain, even though it’s pretty consistent in my life.

That is so not the point.

I don’t really know much but I do know that things are still at a standstill. Is that okay? It’s not like I am an excitement junkie, but it sure feels like what I am craving when there is none. And I mean excitement as in something new. It’s interesting how wonderful home sounds when we’re not here. Doesn’t mean it isn’t wonderful, but I am desiring something a little less predictable. I joke with my friend about this, like God is just keeping me here in preparation for something really BIG that’s coming around the corner.

Well, I keep turning them and then there is nothing. Why is that? I mean, I wake up, go to work, go to the gym, come home, eat dinner, sometimes talk to someone on the phone, sometimes I write, most times I work outside, then I go to bed. My social life has picked up a bit this summer so far, which is fine, but that’s not what I mean.

I am just missing when my blood pressure raises higher and not because I am getting defensive or because my coworkers are being [insert explicative]. I want something to get excited about that is not my crush at work or Mom’s cooking. Don’t get me wrong, I am not sad or depressed or hyper sensitive, I am just…gasp…bored.

I want a curveball.
A dream come true.
Some seriously warm weather.
A visit from someone.
Good news.
A niece or nephew (just kidding).

Basically, I want it to be my turn for something ultra-fantastic-and-unexpected. Any chance you want to get on the bandwagon, support and pray for me? I don’t want a challenge necessarily, just something that rocks, that’s for me, and that pales the ever-present heartburn that I still haven’t seen a doctor for.

Echoes, silence, patience and grace. I need something other than that. I’ve gotten pretty good at the echoes, communed with the silence, tried my best to be patient, and accepted the grace.


Listen to me: HOME by the Foo Fighters:

Wish I were with you but I couldn’t stay
Every direction leads me away
Pray for tomorrow but for today
And all I want is to be home

Stand in the mirror you look the same
Just looking for shelter from the cold and the pain
Some want to cover, safe from the rain
And all I want is to be home

Echoes and silence, patience and grace,
All of these moments I’ll never replace
No fear of my heart, no absence of faith
And all I want is to be home

All I want is to be home

People I’ve loved, I have no regrets
Some I remember some I forget
Some of them living some of them dead
And all I want is to be home