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.


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being thankful

I don’t know.

It seems easiest to say the things I am most grateful for…starting with family, ending with health. Everything seems to roll into each other when thinking about what I am grateful for – the obvious parts of my life, the people and things in my grasp that I fear living without.

But then, this year – I think what I am even more grateful for are the challenges and unexpected confusions and left turns instead of right ones. I am so thankful for the hardest parts of life, the ones that make me feel vulnerable and unsure and keep me up at night. Those are the places of the heart that remind me of the deeper purpose and ambition I crave in this life, and that if it was always easy, I would simply be bored.

Or honestly, I am grateful for the challenges because they serve to remind me that I am still growing, still learning, and still seeking the very best and real possible outcome for it all. Difficulties show that we are alive — truly alive.

It’s organic and natural to be thankful for the best parts of our lives, but it takes something else to give thanksgiving for the trials that we don’t realize we’re thankful for until we’re reflecting on them after they’ve passed.

With a thankful soul, happy thanksgiving.

leaves become most beautiful when they’re about to die

regina spektor

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chasing fear [away]

I’ve been messing up a lot lately and I think it’s a direct correlation to the confused state of my focus; of my values. Remember when I asked you to think about where you invest your time, you talent, and your treasure? How did you decide what would capture that focus? Or did life just go from moment to minute to hour to day to week to a routine that you never anticipated to begin with? That’s where I am.

Ever wonder about ‘value’? Not morals but the parts of our worlds that we place value on. And not necessarily material things (cell phones, homes, a good cup of coffee) but humans, relationships, family. Or success and goals and pride. I have struggled with value very recently because what I value, who I value, seems to be concrete in my heart but what I can’t control, the desired to be valued or considered valuable is getting to be pretty hard. I think that’s where unconditional love comes in — that the whole truth of caring or respecting someone, something, is being able to do it when or irregardless of whether or not the person or thing feels the same, or is capable of valuing, me back in the same way. What’s more, we all express care or value in different ways. I find I am a lot like my mom — I like to bless people with baking or my time or a little surprise or something that shows that they are thought of. But as I am learning, just because I do it this way, others don’t and it doesn’t mean they care any less.

But back to being valued. When did I decide that my measure of worth was based on if I was affirmed and valued by other people? Yes, I realize that I cannot demand to be valued by the same cup of coffee that I value so deeply. However, with people it’s hard not to scream “can’t you see how much I care about you?” and aside from scaring someone silly, that actual admission would cause my head to tumble fast to the floor and my heart to lead which is something very, very difficult for me. What’s more, admitting that makes the potential of no return much more possible — when you actually face what you value, who you value, head on. Whatever it is, especially with friends, the chance that you care and value a relationship to an exponentially large degree can reside on the chance that the other 50% of your relationship doesn’t feel the same way, or feel as much as you do. I think that’s why I have very few good friends; I’m a bit overwhelming in the caring department.

Mom told me recently that I am a winner. She reminded me of the things I would do or wouldn’t do growing up and even in the recent years solely based on whether or not I could tell I would be successful or not. Meaning: unless I know I will win, I won’t do something. I need instant gratification, I need to know I am rewarded for the effort I put in. Success to me has never been less than what I know I deserve. If I got a B+ and I barely put any effort into an essay, that’s one thing… but if I got that B+ and worked hard and visited the prof and did my very best, I would be enraged. Literally. Same with relationships. If I’ve been around someone for a breath and can sense that this is worth the investment and worth the effort, I put more than 100% in so I know I am doing all that I can to know I am doing the very best that I can. BUT that doesn’t mean it is returned and that fear of failure, the fear of not being worthy of that same type of respect or adoration or value makes the risk of putting my heart out there for a friend or family or whomever something I don’t do very easily — certainly not with confidence. Why? Because there is an immense vulnerability in this risk that a winner might actually end up losing.

But where has my goal of caring and loving and valuing unconditionally gone when I apparently expect and want a return? Or to know it’s been worth it? It is worth it? If nobody ever calls me back or I never text message anyone, then why do I take my phone with me wherever I go? Because there is a potential somebody will.

I mean, isn’t that the point — defaulting to the positive, not negative? Believing that people do value you just as much as you them? This is where I get lost in my own insecurities that I am doing the wrong thing, saying the wrong feeling, laughing at the wrong time, or caring where it isn’t welcome.

Back to coffee. For the value I find in a good, honest cup of coffee, it’s a bit of a blow when it turns out to being a syrupy cup of bitter and gross grinds-infested-not-even-resembling-coffee liquid. I get discouraged. I am sad. I wonder why I placed so much of my heart and desire on that tantalizing mug when there is always a chance for disappointment; or a chance that it will fail me.

I do think it is all worth it when there is that chance, that moment where I feel, even if only for a breath, that not only is the investment necessary to my living my life the best way I can but that I am doing it with joy and commitment to… not make any concessions, for anyone. I am going to be me and hopefully that in itself will be rewarded value enough.


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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.


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weathering the storm(s)

I am feeling totally discouraged and I would just ask that you keep me in your prayers right now because, though my problems may seem minuscule to you (see my post from a few days ago), they are like torrential floods to me:

My car was broken into last night and my cd player was stolen. I need new tires and Troy and I did some price estimating yesterday and found a good deal. But what I saved in new tires I cannot afford in putting towards replacing my stereo.

Pastor Al was talking about generosity this morning at church and how God blesses those who bless others. I am all for that idea, and I guess I consider generosity is “freely giving” not being “freely taken from“. So on top of being frustrated, I am just confused. I don’t understand why people do these things — I innocently believe first in the good of people and I am just really struggling. So please, just pray for me. It’s been a long week.


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angels among us

Cheesy? Start over.

I read somewhere once that the most powerful and healthy way to look at the world is as though like we are looking through the eyes of a child.

I say, look at the eyes, the face, the body, the interactions, the whole being of a child, and that’s proof positive that there is something bigger than all of us that is creating us.

There is a frame that sits on Rutherfords’ mantle, with Makenna in it that says something like “All of God’s Grace In One Little Face” and looking at the picture, at children, who could really argue that? (I know that there is a book with that ‘quote’ as the title for it…but I have only seen it on their frame).

There are some kids that have grown extremely close to my heart in the recent past. There are three little girls that I love without knowing simply because Ashlee is my great friend Angela’s niece, Clare because she is my great friend BillieJean’s daughter, and Gabriella is my great friend Sandra’s daughter (who I hate that has turned one before I’ve gotten to meet her!). And I think most of you know the other four.

When I see pictures like these, or interact with them, or even just know there are some coming around the corner (BillieJean!), there is a part of my heart that stirs in a way that makes me believe this: I started out that wide-eyed, innocent, smooth skinned, honest, cute, untainted, bold, matter-of-fact, brilliant, spirited, and brave. Why not try to do so all over again?

Not just see the world through the eyes of a child, but live as such, that I am a child, of God, myself. I need that wonder and awe and excitement at taking a first step or discovering something new…whether it’s as small as a cactus that is [potentially] going to bloom soon or as large as a dream come true. Though it’s still jaded and experienced and rough, my life is a work of God’s hand, and His art, and that is something to appreciate with the rare genuineness and bravery and intelligence that ripples in waves from these children that I love, love, love so much.

I don’t want to be a kid again, but I want to understand how they look at the world so I can have the same reverence to my own life and faith.

[And I am sure going to miss the kidlets on V.Isl. a heck of a lot in the next four months! Even though I know she is gifted and talented beyond measure, can you please not encourage Makenna to walk until I am back? :)]

Not many words to describe, to be honest:

Ashlee

Gabriella

Clare!

Griffin

Logan, Connor, and teeny tiny [hard-to-believe-it’s] Makenna

And if you can believe it, that’s mini-ME! Who wouldn’t wanna be that all over again?


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middle school bus conversations

It might just be a form of hearsay, but I heard them say:

“Hey [x] I think you’re really cool.”

“But [y], you’re a lot cooler than I am.”

“I don’t think so [x], more people want to sit by you in class than me.”

“That might be true, but you have more friends that are girls than I do.”

“So? I am a girl. I still think you’re cooler, [x], because the only reason girls don’t talk to you as much as me is because they think you’re hot.”

“Oh, sure. They don’t need to talk to me because they already can talk to you. The only people who hang out with me hang out because you’re my bff, [y].”

“Maybe we should just admit that we’re both the coolest kids in class.”

“It might be a good idea, otherwise we’ll just keep arguing.”

“Ok, so we’re both really cool.”

“Yep. Hey [y]?”

“Yea?”

“Maybe we can be boyfriend and girlfriend then. Since we’re both really cool and stuff.”

“Yea! Then everyone would want to hang out with us together.”

Interject voice [z], clearly “cooler” than those two: “Maybe you two should talk quieter.”

I would really like to sit down with someone who will tell me for over ten minutes that I am cooler than they are. And then ask me out.

Maybe I need to get more cool before that’s even a possibility. Or fix my delusional reality on what it takes to be cool enough to date.

I digress.