Tuesday, December 21, 2010

You've Seen One Nativity Scene, You've Seen 'Em All....(repost)

Ahhh Christmas...tis the season for going into debt so that people you don't even like or know that well can say that you bought them something that they don't want or need. Thank goodness for re-gifting. Don't forget that it is also the season of fighting perfect strangers for the hot new gift this year (I think this year it's some talking hamster!????) so that your kids don't immancipate themselves from you or turn you in for child neglect. But wait..there's more...it is also the season of feeling guilty for being only one person and not being able to be in three million places at one time...who do these people think we are...Santa!? Speaking of Santa...was it Santa's birth that we celebrate...I can't remember...the pile of gifts are distracting me...I know we're supposed to celebrate a birth around this time, right....? Yeah, I think that's it...it's all coming back to me now...the true reason for Christmas...Santa was born under a Christmas tree months after his mommy and daddy had too much egg nog and found themselves surrounded by mistletoe. Then on the day that Santa was born, which must be December 25th, his mommy and daddy gave him the coolest new toy so that he wouldn't cry and then they all had milk and cookies and lived happily ever after with Rudolph and the elves. Still not sure where the strings of lights fit in...but they're pretty, so it's okay. That's it, right!?????????

Sorry for the sarcasm.
Look.....I'm just as guilty as anyone of forgetting the true meaning of Christmas. Even though I know that Christmas is all about celebrating the birth of Jesus, I still tend to get all wrapped up (pun intended) in the crazyness of it all. If you've seen one Nativity scene...you've seen them all.
We tend to forget that without the birth of Jesus...we would all be living by the old law and be slaves to our sin...and I don't know about you all...but I am SO not into sacrificing goats. Jesus' birth shows us how much God loves us. He gave us His Son. Talk about the perfect gift. It's so crazy to think about the fact that Mary didn't have to give birth to Jesus. When the angel of God, Gabriel, came to her, he told her God's will... but she didn't have to do it. She could have said, "Thanks for considering me, but no thanks." Think about it....you're this young teenage girl...betrothed to a man in your little village (Joseph...a respectable man from the line of King David)...and now you're gonna get pregnant out of wedlock and risk losing your family, your future husband, your friends...and even your life. Back in that time...women were stoned for getting pregnant when they weren't married. Not anyone's idea of a good time. But she trusted in God, and she said YES. So, we can already learn an important lesson here....even when we feel like God may be asking us to do something or say something that people will reject us or hate us for, and we trust in Him and do it anyway...we are protected and blessed. God will complete His plan whether you are a part of it or not...but why not be a part of it!!!???? How exciting!!!
Jesus' birth wasn't the only miracle that happened during that time. Mary's cousin Elizabeth, who was an old woman, became pregnant with Jesus' cousin John...as in John the Baptist...after God told her husband Zacharia it would be so. Elizabeth and Zacharia had never had children because Elizabeth was barren. Not having children back in that time was looked down upon. Zacharia was a priest and he and Elizabeth were faithful and righteous and God found favor with them. Zacharia was so shocked when the angel Gabriel told him that he was going to be a father, that he didn't believe it...and was unable to talk until after John was born. The angel Gabriel told Zacharia to name the baby John. John was prophesied in the old testament as the one that would come before Jesus. When John was born the women of the village were going to name him Zacharia, after his father, which was tradition, but Elizabeth told them to name him John. John was 6 months older than his cousin Jesus. John baptized Jesus. Whoa. So...the lesson here is that even when it seems like it's too late...it's impossible...and God has forgotten about you...have faith that all things in God's will shall come to pass in His time....and His timing is perfect. God is in the business of doing miracles my friends!
Celebrating the birth and life of Jesus and living in a giving spirit is something we should be doing all year long. Remembering the miracles surrounding Jesus' birth should be something we medidate on often. I admit, I forget all the time all the wonderful things God has done for me. I constantly get all wrapped up (again with the pun..sorry) in my own life. God gives us all a chance to carry His dream, His life, and His purpose in us...just like He gave Mary the chance to carry His Son. We can choose whether or not we will do it. We are all able to birth out God's love, kindness, and blessings....we have all been given the option. I think it's great to give during Christmas....but some things are more important to give than others. Most people don't need another toaster, scarf, or pair of socks....they need love, friendship, companionship, laughter, a shoulder to cry on, someone to tell their stories to. I appreciate all the wonderful gifts I've gotten and will get...it's such an amazing miracle that I am so blessed when so many people in the world are not. I am so thankful for everything that I have...even if I don't need it. My cup runneth over. But I hope to give the gift of love every day and never be afraid to say YES when it comes to God. I don't want normal and average....I want to follow the road less traveled. And all of this will be possible with God. Give the gift of Love...every day. And remember that celebrating Jesus' birth isn't about trees, lights, and presents....it is about remembering that God is a miracle worker and that He loves us...and that all things are possible with Him. Why do you think it is so easy for little kids to believe in Santa...some fat dude that visits every house in the world, has flying reindeer, and fits down your chimney (who has chimney's anymore!?)...it's because little kids believe in miracles. Jesus said, "Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it."(Luke 18:17) Don't let the worries and burdens of the world take away your childlike belief in the impossible!! Miracles are happening all around you!
The birth of Jesus represents the biggest gift of all...the gift of LIFE.
Thank you God for your Son.

Monday, December 20, 2010

And For My Next Trick....

I've always threatened that I would run off and join the circus.  The one thing (yes, there is only one) stopping me is this question: "If I give in to the urge to run off and join the circus, what exactly will I do once I get there?" I didn't really realize this until I recently did some research on the matter (and by research I mean that I talked to some guy that knew some guy whose uncle was in the circus).

Dude, there are so many career options with the circus.  As I considered my options, I thought the easiest thing in picking a circus career would be to focus in on something that utilizes my natural abilities and character traits.  But apparently there isn't a position open at the circus called, "The Incredible Over-Analyzing Woman".  If there were, I imagine that my introduction to the ring would go something like this, "Ladies and Gentleman, boys and girls of all ages, let me direct your attention to center of the ring! We traveled the world to find her.  We searched high and low.  Through the jungles of Zimbabwe and the mighty mountains of Ohio.  Let me now introduce to you....Katie McNemar, The Incredible Over-Analyzing Woman!!!! (Insert crowd gasps here) Your eyes are not deceiving you folks, Katie has actually been over thinking her phone call with her boss for 132 hours straight.  The only thing keeping her from continuing to worry about this phone call is that she thinks she just got a weird look from someone in the audience and is now thinking that everyone thinks she totally weird. How long will she dwell on this new thought....STAY TUNED!!!! "

I also thought about being the bearded lady since I already had a run-in regarding an angry Russian lady and my non-existent mustache.   But more reasonable winds prevailed and I decided that my desire to be one of the non-single folks running around out there was more important to me than being a side-show freak.  Tough call though.  Really tough call.

After throwing out a few more options like: Circus Accountant (I still count on my fingers and just got rid of my abacus...darn....shoulda hung on to that thing), Lion Trainer (I would definitely try and cuddle with a tiger cub and end up being one of those people in the news that has to get a new face...and knowing my luck I would get Walt Disney's frozen face.....no thank you),  Poop Cleaner Upper Person (I don't know the official title of someone that shovels crap for a living, but I am pretty sure I have plenty of years of experience under my belt....ba dah ching!), Ring Leader (my mom always accused me of being a Ring Leader, and when she said it, I felt as though it had some negative connotations.  I'll hold out for something less sketchy sounding....maybe something like, Circus Bookie), and last but not least, I decided that I didn't want to be that person that they shoot out of the cannon (I don't do well in tight spaces or tight pants...oh yeah, and soaring through the air at 100 mph milliseconds after a bomb detonates under my feet).

I got worried that I was never going to find my perfect circus job; and then the clouds parted and the angels did sing.  Finally, a break-through came when my brother, Kirk, and my sister-in-law, Dana, called me one Saturday afternoon to tell me that they had just gone to a TRAPEZE SCHOOL....right here in DC!!!!!  WHAAAA!???  I had heard about the NewYork Trapeze School before but I couldn't believe that Kirk and Dana actually did it.  They told me all about it over lunch and a few weeks later showed me pics and videos of their adventure.  Then, Kirk asked me if I wanted to go with them the next time they went.  I thought about it for a few minutes because I always thought I would be way too scared of heights to do it.  But then that kick-ass side of me bubbled up and said, "What chu talkin' 'bout Willis!?  You gonna get yo skinny white butt up to that school and you're gonna kick fears ever lovin' boo-tay...OKAY fool!!!????" (My kick-ass side is straight from the mean streets of Buckhannon, WV, so look out cha'll).

So I did it.  I signed up.  And this Sunday, I did get my skinny white butt up to that school and I loved every single second of it.

I didn't really think about it much beforehand.  I've had tons on my mind lately, so oddly enough, swinging many feet in the air whilst wearing tight clothes around people that I don't know, didn't seem to be at the top of my worry list.  That's when you know it's bad.

Kirk giving the trapeze the stare down.
The School is located in a heated tent at the DC Naval yards (to answer the question that immediately popped into your head....no, the place was not crawling with hot naval officers.  Kirk did try and insinuate  that there were just in case I decided to back out at the last minute.  Good thinking bro.  He knows me so well).

Chalkin' it up!!!
Our class had some new-comers and some people that had been coming for a while and were totally a-mazing.  Before the class started one of the instructors, who looked like she could crush a clown car between her thighs (she must own a Bowflex), took us aside and gave us about 145 extremely important life safety rules in about 10 seconds then proceeded to back-handspring into the darkness (that last part didn't happen).  She told us that we wouldn't have to really remember all of the rules because they would walk us through each step as we go.  My first thought...."How much time do I have after swinging off of a platform and into the precarious hands of gravity to pause for further instructions!?"  I'm pretty sure that there are some things that I need to get a pretty solid handle on before moving forward with this little adventure.  For example: When the instructor yells "Hup", this means "Go" in circus lingo (caution: do not yell "hup" at people sitting at a green light.  No one gets hurt, but they just don't get it).  Another important thing to know:  Chalk the hell out of your hands. This was super exciting for me because for a moment I got to pretend like I was in the Olympics and was next in line for the uneven bars.  I always thought it looked so cool when the gymnasts would reach down in the bucket thingy and get the chalk out.  It was the equivalent of hearing "Eye of the Tiger".  You just knew things were about to get flippin' crazy (pun intended).

The rickety ladder

The number one thing that kept me calm the entire time was that you are constantly hooked to ropes via a harness.  The harness was reminiscent of what I would believe an iron lung or corset would feel like, but it was my "ring of safety" so I told 'em to crack ribs if need be.  The worse part of the whole ordeal was the ladder you had to climb.  With each rung it shook like I was in the middle of an earthquake.  Luckily you are already strapped into a harness with ropes attached because it that little red ladder felt about as stable as a Hollywood marriage.

I was super excited to realize that I didn't feel afraid of heights at all throughout this whole process.  YAY!!!    As someone that used to get paralyzed with fear from a third story hotel balcony...this was mega big progress. (Insert clapping and cheers of excitement here)

Notice the toes dangling from the edge.  Also notice...my game face.
Once you get up on the platform, the instructor brings the bar up to you.  In order to grab the bar you have to stand on the very edge of the platform with all ten of your toes on the edge, feet about a foot apart and then....get this ya'll..... you let go of the stabilizing bars with your right hand and then lean forward out over the net leading with your hips while someone that looks about as strong as my 88 year old grandmother holds you by the back of your harness.  Once you lean out, you grab the bar with your right hand.  The first sensation I noticed when I grabbed the bar was that the bar felt pretty dag on heavy.

Letting go.
Then, while you are leaning out over the net, holding onto the bar with only your right hand, the instructor then tells you to grab the bar with your left hand.  This was harder to do than I thought it would be.  Letting go and totally trusting that other people have your back is hard to do.  Yes, I was attached to ropes that were held by one of the instructors.  Yes, there was an instructor on the platform with me holding me from my belt.  Yes, there is a net below me.  Yes, the people running this class are trained professionals and do this all the time.  Yes, there were lots of measures taken to ensure my safety.  However, even when we know that we are protected and safe, we have this almost innate need to protect ourselves.  I had no problem climbing the wobbly ladder, or standing on the platform holding onto the bars as they switched out my suspension ropes. I didn't anticipate that anything could happen that would make me say, "I can't do this".  I was fine with the toes over the edge, the full body leaning, and the grabbing of the bar.  But when I was finally asked to let go of the very last thing I had control of....I slightly paused.  The thought, "I can't do this", came and went pretty quickly...but it did come.  I kicked fears ass when I let go of all my control and reached out and grabbed the bar with both hands.  In order to soar, I had to let go.
Letting go.

Once I had the bar in both hands, the instructor gives you two commands; one to bend your knees (READY!), and the other to jump (HUP!).  The second hardest thing was to not only leave the familiar safety of the platform, but to actually jump into the unknown.  I suppose jumping into the unknown looks a little better than falling into the unknown...but whatevs.  The instructor on the ground is in control of the ropes attached to your harness in order to help you stay in the air, but you still have to use your own strength in order to complete the trick.  Yes, they teach you tricks.

The class is two hours long and during that time you learn trapeze tricks (as they say in circus jargon) in advancing difficulty.  I got to pull my legs up over the bar and then let go and swing from my legs only.  Then I learned how to do a back flip off of the bar.  It was as awesome as it sounds.  No matter how many times I went, the short seconds between when I let go of the bar and fall into the net were a little scary.  I screamed a little the first time.  I didn't quite understand why I did.  When I hit the net after screaming like a girl (cause, what can I say, I'm a girl) I felt a little silly. I mean, it's not like I didn't know the net was there and that I was attached to ropes.  I had some trouble getting my legs up and over the bar. I don't know why, I kept listening to their advice.  But you really only have a few seconds to think and execute a move.  Each time I jumped off the platform all I could think was....I'm freakin' flying!!!!!!!!!!!!!  The tricks were secondary to the fact that I loved the exhilarating feeling I got from each time I "let go" and jumped.  At one point in the class, you can get caught by another instructor that is on a swinging bar opposite you.  You swing out, put your legs up on the bar, let go so that you are hanging from the bar by your legs, and then you arch your back, reach back as far as you can, and make eye contact with the instructor on the other bar....then, they grab your arms and pull you off your bar and you swing through the air from their arms.  Whoa...just whoa.  I didn't get caught this time, because the timing has to be completely perfect for it to work.  If I try and grab the instructor even though it's not time, it would rip her off the bar...which isn't safe at all...she isn't attached to any ropes.  If I don't get enough momentum going, I'm not going to be close enough for us to lock arms.  If I don't wait for her instruction and try to let go of my bar too soon then I'll fall into the net.  Perfect timing is key.  If the timing isn't right, the instructor will pull her hands to her chest so that you can't grab her and pull her off her bar.  (This kinda sounds an awful lot like a dating tip now that I think about it.)

Hold on a second, Dwight Shrute from The Office (link to Wiki provided for my mom) wants to say something:

Question: Katie, what exactly did you  learn from flying through the air with the greatest of ease!?

Fact: A lot.

I learned that even though it is scary to let go and trust, when I try to keep myself safe and hold onto things...I can't fly...I can't soar...I can't feel the exhilaration that comes from leaping into the unknown and leading with faith and not sight.  Trust has been an issue for me for a long time.  You can always play it safe and only do things that feel safe and comfortable, but then you will never know what it feels like to really and truly trust.  God knows that it isn't easy for us to let go and turn control over to Him...but He also knows that life is easier and more fun when we do.  We can white knuckle the bar that keeps us from taking a leap of faith, or we can let go and let God show us that He is holding us up.

I never would have known what it felt like to soar through the air if I wouldn't have taken all the steps necessary to get myself up on that platform and lean out to hold onto that bar.  Even though God is guiding us, supporting us, and holding us up....we can't sit around like bumps on a log.  We have to make a move.  God loves us all so much that He has given us free will.  The instructors at the school never would attach a bunch of ropes to you and force you to go up and off the platform if you didn't want to.  And likewise, God will not force you.  Faith means that even though there are things out there that you don't understand or know....you still believe that God will hold you up and keep you in His arms.  What fun would life be without a little mystery?

Fear is one of the ugliest and most damaging things in this life.  It keeps us trapped in prisons that we have the key to.  It keeps us from placing our toes on the edge and leaping into the unknown.  So today...because I love you....I am telling you to go take a flying leap.

Be like Peter when Jesus asked him to get out of the boat and walk out onto the water.  Take that step of faith while keeping your eyes on Jesus.  Peter began to sink only after he looked down at the water raging around him, and stopped focusing on Jesus.  Jesus will not let you go.  He will not.

I know it's a busy time of year, but in the new year, take a minute and think....are there steps you need to take toward the unknown?  Are you stuck on the rickety ladder?  Do you have your toes on the edge, but you're too afraid to jump?  God didn't create us to live in fear. Join the adventure that God has in store for you.  

And for my next trick....

I'm fixin to practice what I preach.  STAY TUNED!!!!!!

Merry Christmas everyone!


Supa Fly

Gal 5:1 - "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."

Check out some more pics if you want:

Reaching for that bar is way harder than it looks in pictures.
Kirk the trapeze pro.
This is how you flip off of the net.  BOOTY SHOT!!!
Seconds after my first fly.  Still high on life...and adrenaline I suppose.
Back flip dismount
Man, that ladder was freaky.
Your prize for looking at every picture. YAY!!!!!!!!!!
 Merry Christmas and God Bless!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Dailies 2010 Christmas Special....

Dear Everyone,

Merry Christmas!!!  2010 has been such an amazing year.  I feel like God has brought me to and through some challenging and awesome places this year.  I have learned so much from my readers as well as some truly amazing bloggers, like Knox , Jon , Alise, Kristin , Jeremy , Bryan , Matt , Jen , Jamie, MPT, Rachel, Hemant (look at me....giving props in my Christmas blog to an atheist), another Matt, Mike, Sharideth, and Tamara...just to name a few.  Thank you to all of you for sharing your words and your hearts.  You've challenged me more than I have ever been challenged in my life. I've laughed, I've cried...I've grown closer to God.  Thank you.  And thank you to everyone who reads my crazy thoughts and random ramblings.  I can't tell you how much your support has meant to me.  

My prayer this Holiday season is that we love one another.  I know it sounds cliche, but I really can't think of a better gift.  I love Mike Foster's idea of giving "scandalous grace".  Let's shock the world with our love and grace.  Let's show mercy instead of judgment.  If someone wants to say Happy Holidays...so what!....let them say it.  There are quite a few Holidays going on right now, and believe me, God can handle the competition.  There are so many chances to show God's love this Christmas.  Let's not squabble and fight over these little things.  God doesn't need us to defend Him.  He needs us to be His hands and His feet.  He needs us to speak life and love into the world.  

Jesus came so that we could have life.  He came so that we wouldn't be dead in our sins.  He came so that we would be able to know love.  Let's honor His sacrifice by loving the people He created.  Pray for the people that don't have a family to eat Christmas dinner with.  Pray for the little children that will be spending Christmas on the street.  

Let this be the year that you let go of past hurts and forgive.  Let this be the year that you hold your family a little tighter because you are so thankful to have them.  If you really want to make this season about Jesus, then do as He does....love, forgive, accept, encourage, heal, spend time with, laugh with, show mercy to, be graceful to, and care for each other.

I am so thankful for all that I have.  My deepest love to all my friends and family.  You complete me.

Merry Christmas!


Friday, December 10, 2010

Coffee Debacle #1....

I have a love/super love/hate/mega hate relationship with coffee.  It's one of my most complicated relationships of all time.  Even more complicated than my relationship with Splenda or the gym in my apartment building.  I've found myself many a 'mornin looking at my hot mug of life elixir saying, "I wish I knew how to quit you!?".  I try to go on with life sans coffee, but the story always ends the same.  Me, in closet, rocking back and forth, eyes red, hair unkempt, hoping and praying that Greg from Bruegger's Bagels shows up and hands me a hot cup of Christmas-blend coffee so that I can get it together and work on those TPS reports. He never shows up, which is probably good; my closet is way too small for Greg, me...and my frizzy hair.  (Did everyone catch the Brokeback Mountain and Office Space references in this paragraph?  They said it couldn't be done.  But I did it.)

Anyway, I thought I would be clever this morning and make some Southern Comfort flavored coffee (I got it in a gift basket) in the little coffee maker in my office.

Here is a short list as to why this was a bad decision:

1) There isn't actually any alcohol in the coffee (bah humbug)...however, my office now smells like the floor of a frat house or perhaps what I believe the breath of Meredith from The Office would smell like if she were to switch from her preferred cocktail of vodka and hand sanitizer and branch out.  Each time someone walks in my office I am wondering if they are going to come back with security and have me escorted out of the hospital. 

2) This is most likely not super shocking (unless you're the one drinking it), but the coffee ended up tasting like a potpourri of stomach acid, ham and cheese hot pockets, and maple syrup.

3) I found myself drinking a nice warm glass of puke flavored caffeine-water because I live by the mantra of "waste not, want not".  However, I feel that in the future I will make a caveat to this rule.  The revision will read as such: "Waste puke flavored coffee, because you want not...to puke."

I thought I should share this with you all so that you don't make the same mistake I did.  I tried to spray some lavender room spray, but now it just looks like I am trying to cover up the fact that I am drinking SoCo at work. At this point, there isn't much I can do, but just play along and put a lampshade on my head and hit on the delivery guy from Staples.

Happy Friday!

Hearts and Loves,


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Skating On Thin Ice....


I went ice skating last night for the first time since I was 16 years old (ya know, the age when it doesn't hurt when you wipe out on a solid sheet of ice).   A group of us gals went to the National Sculpture Gallery ice rink (pictured above).  I don't typically jump at the chance to get frost bite and fall on my booty in public, but a girl's-only skating adventure just sounded like too much fun to miss.  I'll be honest, the promise of Christmas music and pretty Christmas lights were enticing, but it was the hot chocolate with whipped cream that ultimate sealed the deal.

We all laced up our rental skates and one by one shot out into the crowd of people.  The 7p - 9p time slot was completely sold out and the ice was packed.  I waddled over to the rink entrance and looked around to see if there was anyone I knew that would go out on the ice with me, but I didn't see anyone.  As soon as my skates hit the ice I felt like I was going to fall, but I grabbed onto the rail and pushed myself along for a few moments until I got used to the feeling.  After a few minutes, I let go of the railing and slowly made my way into the crowd.  I had to go fast enough to not get run over, but I felt so off balance.  I bent my knees and stuck my butt out like Dana told me, but I still had my arms flailing at my sides because I still felt like I was going to fall.  

After a few minutes the sheer terror I felt had subsided and I was able to look up and see the beautiful Christmas lights.  The DJ was playing Christmas songs.  Everyone was smiling and having a great time.  One of the things I noticed was that almost everyone was holding onto someone else.  There were couples skating together, friends skating together, mothers and daughters, fathers and sons....etc.  If someone fell, there was someone there right away to help get them back up on their feet....even if they didn't know each other.  People passing, children laughing...meeting smile after smile.  :)  It was so touching and beautiful.  

I kept skating around and around the rink by myself trying not to fall over.  I was just about to give up and go sit down because I was afraid that the odds were that eventually my off balance flailing arms were going to take down some poor innocent child and then I am going to feel horrible.  Just as I was about to leave, my sister-in-law, Dana, skates up beside me and grabs my hand.  She smiles at me and I instantly notice that I feel balanced.  I was all-of-a-sudden able to skate faster and take the corners more easily.  We start chatting and laughing and then more people join hands with us.  When one person in the group would start to stumble, we would all work together to get them back on track.  If someone fell down we would all work together to get them back up as quickly as possible.  
Skating alone felt off balanced, but skating with someone helped keep me on my feet.  

This experience only solidified something I have been feeling lately.  I feel like I have been trying to skate alone....for a long time now.  Sure, I was able to get around the rink without falling, but it took a lot of focus and strength...and flailing.  Support, community, and someone to skate through life with isn't just important....it's essential.  God didn't make us to be alone.  He didn't create us to be people that should face life, and all of it's hardships, alone.  We are more balanced when we have someone there that we trust, holding our hand.  

If I would have climbed on Dana's back, then we all would have fallen down.  I don't want to be carried through life.  We need to be able to stand alone sometimes.  But it is equally as important to allow someone to walk (or skate)  beside you, so that when you start to stumble and fall, they will be there to keep you upright.  And if we do fall and wipe out royally....which we will....they will be there to get us back up on our feet.

A friend of mine recently wrote on his Facebook page something that he realized while working over Thanksgiving away from his family.  He said that relationships are the most important thing in life.  Relationships with God, Family, and Friends.  What could be more important?  I know people say this all the time, but for some reason when I read this, it hit me.

Does a job title love you even when you are grouchy and mean?  Does your paycheck show up at your door with chicken soup when you are sick?  Does the expensive car you drive wrap it's arms around you when you've had a rough day?  Does the flat screen TV you have call when you go on a road trip to make sure you got there okay?  The answer, my friends, is no.  No to all of it. 

God uses people to love us.  He uses the arms of our mother, father, sister, brother, best friend, girlfriend, husband, etc in order to hug us.  He uses the loving words of a caring friend in order to guide us.  He shows us who we are through the eyes of our friends and family.  There is nothing more precious than Love.  Without love, nothing matters.  All of the "things" we strive for will rust and turn to dust, but love will last for eternity.  

Do whatever it takes to surround yourself with love.

You weren't made to skate alone.



Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thoughts From a Muggle....

I just watched the new Harry Potter movie this evening.  I hadn't read the Deathly Hallows since it came out about 3 years ago, so I am sure that the movie strayed away from the book a good bit...as most movies made from books tend to do.*  But, I still loved it.  There was one line in the movie that has had me thinking all evening.  As in all the other movies, Harry has a mission, but it isn't easy.  At one point, emotions get high and Ron frustratedly asks Harry, "Don't you ever get frustrated that Dumbledore told you that you need to destroy all of the horcruxes, but he didn't at all tell you how?  Doesn't that bother you, mate?" (paraphrased....I didn't take notes like the lady sitting in the row in front of me.  True story.  There was even one lady that brought her book with her and followed along.  I wish I was joking.)

This made me think of how I feel about God and the job He has given me to do.  I'm still alive and kickin' so I must still have a purpose.  The hard part is that God didn't really give plain instructions on exactly how to achieve this task.  Sure, I have the Bible and have the general instructions to follow Jesus and do what He would do.  I got that.  (And by "I got that" I mean, I understand that is what I am supposed to do, however I don't really do it very well.  Just wanted to be clear). But what about me specifically?  What am I supposed to do to complete my, Katie McNemar purpose with the days that God has given me?

Throughout all of the Harry Potter books, Harry has never felt prepared or worthy of the task he has been given.  He almost accidentally does things right.  He will have no clue what to do and then one of his friends will show up out of the blue talking about gilly weed and then, BAM! he's back in the game.  Or he finds himself face-to-face with Voldemort right after He Who Must Not Be Named just killed Edward Cullen (aka Cedric Diggory) and has no idea how he is going to get out of this mess and then his deceased parents come to the rescue via his wand (still don't understand that part).

I find that my life is the same way.  I will be in a situation where I know I have to do something, and I have to do it fast, but I have no idea what to do or how to do it.  I'll feel totally helpless; sitting at my desk wishing that my black sharpie was a wand so that I could expecto patronus my way out of this corner I find myself in.  But instead, I get a random phone call from someone that has the wrong number, but just so happens to be the key to all my problems. 

God may not have given me a point-by-point instruction booklet on how to live out my purpose in life, just like Dumbledore didn't tell Harry exactly how to complete his mission, but despite my inability to do the right thing or feel prepared in any way, He is still able to guide me and show me the way down the narrow path.  In general, things in my life always find a way of working out.  I might feel like everything is horrible and that I will never figure it out, but God is using little imperfect me even when I feel like I can't go on or that I'm not cut out for the job.  In fact, it seems to me that God likes to use people that feel like they aren't cut out for the job and have no idea what to do.  I believe He does this because it is these folks that are willing to lean on Him and others instead of feeling like they have all the answers and can go it alone.  We are strongest when we lean on Him and allow others to walk along side us.  So here is a list of ways that Harry Potter relates to me and/or my life:

1) Hermione and I both have uncontrollably frizzy hair.  Honestly, it's like Yahoo Serious ova here.
2) Hermione and I also have a knack for falling for guys that are clueless gits and have no idea that we like them and then go off and make out with the Lavender Brown's of the world (i.e. annoying girls that fall all over them, treat them like they are king of the world, yet only stick around for a little while until the newness wears off and then go off and find another guy to fawn all over.) (Do I sound bitter?  I'm not. Really I'm not.  Okay maybe a little.)
3) I share the same haircolor as the Malfoy family.  It is an unfortunate coincidence.  Blonds apparently don't have all the fun....especially when they are has-been death eaters.
4) Even when I try to turn back from my purpose, I am somehow lead back.  I feel like this happens to Harry all the time.  The only times that he gets the guts up to do things is when he has his friends backing him and he is out to save someone other than himself.
5) Dumbledore only tells Harry certain things and certain times in order to protect him and keep him safe.  I feel like sometimes I want to know exactly what's going on, but God knows its best that I wait.
6) Harry and I both wear glasses.  Just like Harry, I don't really "have" to wear glasses.  I could wear contacts or get lasix done, but I don't want to.  Harry could do some kind of magic somethingorother and fix his eyesight, but he doesn't.  (I mean, they can regrow bones, so I am guessing they can work with eyeballs).  I wear my glasses because they are more comfortable, and also do disprove the saying that "guys don't make passes at girls who wear glasses".  Ah contraire mon frere, guys DO make passes at girls who wear glasses....I am living proof.  Wink!
7) Because of a sacrifice of love, Harry was able to live and fight against the darkness that wants to destroy the world.  Because of Love's sacrifice I am able to live and fight against the darkness that wants to destroy the world.

I am sure there are a million more parallels I could draw, but this list will suffice for now.


Frizzy-Haired Glasses-Wearing Katie

Have you seen the new Harry Potter movie? If so, what did you think?  What are some similarities you have with any of the characters or situations in the books/movies?

*If you've never read any of the books or seen any of the movies, then this post might be slightly confusing. However, I think you'll be able to get the basic premise which is this: I don't know what the hell I am doing.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I'm Thankful for.....

I haven't been blogging much lately (side note:  as I just typed the word "blogging" I accidentally typed the word "clogging" and seriously thought about leaving it.  It's true; I haven't been clogging much.)  I'm sorry to rob you of my deep insights about shampoo and conditioner stock piling, and my theory regarding jeans shopping, but sometimes you just gotta get your head on straight.  God has most certainly been moving in my life and in the lives of my friends and family in a big way and seeing as how Thanksgiving is coming up, I thought I would write a blog about the things that I am thankful for (example: I am thankful that I can end a sentence in a preposition if I want to). Here is my list in no particular order:

1) I am thankful for my job.  It can be overwhelming and difficult at times, but seeing the results of all the hard work makes it all worthwhile.  I have an amazing team of residents and attendings who support me, help me, and appreciate me.  Not everyone can say that, so I thank God that I can.

2) I am thankful for my Mom and Dad.  My parents have supported me and loved me even when I don't "deserve" it....especially when I don't deserve it.  I can't imagine how hard it was for them to let me fall sometimes, but they did; because they know that sometimes we have to figure out how to take a fall, get up, and dust ourselves off.  They've always given me what I've needed and have worked hard to do so.  I didn't appreciate any of it when I was younger, but now that I am on my own, I certainly appreciate it now.  When I have called them crying because I get tired of pushing through life on my own, they are there to remind me that I am never alone....they are there...they are "my people", as my mom likes to say.  I won't ever be able to pay them back for all that they have done for me, so I will do the only thing I can do...follow Jesus.

3) I am thankful for my brother, Kirk, and his wife Dana.  I just freakin' love them!!!!  They have always been there to put a smile on my face, cook me dinner, or listen to me talk about myself for 3 straight hours (true story).  Watching them fall in love and live their lives for Jesus has been such a blessing to me and to so many others.  I don't know anyone that can resist falling in love with them.  They are that legit.  To this day the only two people that can bring a tear to my eye at the very thought of them are my brother and my dad.  They are just so very important to me and my heart is so tender towards them.  These are my guys.  (tear)

4) I am thankful for my best friends Wajhma, Julie, and Heather.  Heather and I have known each other since birth.  She is my cousin, but honestly, she is  more like my sister.  She has been there for me when no one else was.  Through everything she never judged me or lost her patience with me.  Even that one time when we were living together and I forgot to pay the electric bill and she came home after an awful day at work to a dark house and spoiled food.  Watching her be a mommy has been totally mind blowing for me.  Her little mini-me Kylie is so completely adorable.  She and her husband Roger started dating when we were 16 and they have been best friends ever since.  Even when they would break up, we all always knew that one day they would find their way back to each other. Julie and I met in college at Marshall University.  We weren't really very close until after college when her best friend, Tiffany,  was killed in a car accident and I was the last person to talk to Tiffany.  After Tiffany's funeral Julie started calling me and asking me what Tiff and I had talked about the night she stayed over at my house.  Through these conversations, Julie and I became long distance best friends.  She was living in DC and I was living in Morgantown, WV.  When I called off my wedding and had no where to go but knew I had to go somewhere, Julie offered her couch.  A few weeks after calling off my wedding, I had quit my job, found a new one in DC, left my family and friends, and moved to DC to live on a couch. It was crazy, but Julie made it one of the best experiences of my life.  She and I have so many amazing memories and we are certainly not done making more.  When Julie was trying to move back to WV and needed a place to stay, I offered her my couch.  We are some couch-livin' fools!  She is that friend that will always be honest with you even if it's not what you want to hear.  She is a straight shooter and would do absolutely anything for her friends and family.  She is self-less and strong, and I hope that one day I grow up to be just like her.  Wajhma and I have been best friends for 3 1/2 years.  I have told Wajhma things that I have never ever told anyone or even said out loud to myself.  We met at a time when we both needed a friend. God didn't just give me a friend, He gave me a sister.  On the surface it might seem like we couldn't be more different; she is from Afghanistan and grew up in California with her four sisters; I grew up in WV with Kirk.  I am Christian and she is Muslim.  I say po-tay-toe she says po-tah-toe (just kidding).  But what we have found over these last few years is that we have way more in common than we have differences.  Even though it might seem like we have completely different lives and beliefs, we are really so much alike.  We both love God and see Him in everything.  We both want love, peace, joy, and happiness but understand that life's hardships are a necessary part of growing.  She is always willing to listen to me no matter how busy she is, or how late at night it is (like 10pm...I'm not a rock star).  Anyone that meets her first notices her smile and the joy that radiates off of her without thought or effort.  She has taught me to work hard and keep on pushing through even when things get rough and seem to dead end.  Through her friendship, I draw closer to God.

5) I am thankful for my life.  One of my favorite verse in the Bible is Joel 2:25 where God promises to restore the years that the locusts have destroyed.  I believe that God is restoring those years right now.  As a kid, I would have never ever imagined in my wildest dreams that I would be living in Washington, DC...the capital of the world.  I would never allow myself to dream because I didn't want to be disappointed.  But God knows the desires of my heart even if I don't.  He's the one the gave those desires to me.  I spent a lot of my life weak and sick.  Even leaving my house seemed like a Herculean task at times.  But I am not that sick little kid anymore.  God has brought me through trials and hardships that strengthened me and prepared me.  When you trust in Jesus, what is there to fear?  I may worry and stress sometimes, but deep down, I know that because Jesus lives in me, I can do anything.  I was born for a purpose and I am seeing my purpose unfold every day.  I tend to lose sight of how blessed I am to even open my eyes each morning, but God is good to remind me of all I have.  I pray that God continue to use me for His will and reveal Himself to me more and more every day.  He holds my hand as I tackle difficult questions of faith, and periods of doubt and misunderstanding.  He lets me fall, but He is always there to pick me back up.  Just the thought of life without Him brings a brief memory of the pang of the emptiness I used to feel all the time.  I pray to never feel that again.

6) I am thankful for forgiveness and grace.  Lord knows that I need both.  I don't like being a jerk, but sometimes I am.  It's true.  My mom is probably nodding in agreement right now.  I make a lot of mistakes. I'm far far far from perfect.  Without grace I would be lost.  We are all lost without grace.  It's easy to forgive people and show them grace when they make little mistakes and quickly apologize, but what about the people that spit in your face and then light a bag of dog crap on your front door step? (That never happened to me, but I imagine that would really suck).  Grace is forgiving people that don't deserve it.  Grace is giving people 30 chances when everyone else gives up.  Grace is looking past the hurt and emptiness that cause people to do you wrong, and you see that they are just like you...human.  This Holiday season, I am asking you to forgive someone that doesn't deserve it and never will.  Be kind to the person that is always unkind to you.  This is God.  This. Is. God.

7) (ending with a Holy number!) I am thankful for my readers.  I have made some amazing friends through writing this blog and I can't tell you how much it means to me that you all stop by and take a peak into my brain (that sounds weird, but whatever).  I love writing and I love sharing my life and my heart with people.  Thank you for laughing and crying with me.  I love you man!




What are you thankful for?  Are there people that you need to show more grace to?  Who is your best friend and why?  Do you like the Holidays or dread them?  Tell me all about it......

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Spring Cleaning...

I like to do my Spring cleaning in the Fall. 

Saturday was my Fall cleaning day.  I opened up all the windows in my little studio apartment to let the autumn breeze in, and cranked some Christmas music from Pandora.  There is just something about Christmas music that makes me so freakin happy.  I love it! I love it! I love it!  However, I can't listen to Christmas music or watch any Christmas movies unless it is after Halloween and before March.  Anytime outside of that window, watching anything to do with Christmas just seems depressing to me for some reason.  Is that just me!?  Probably.  (The only caveat to this rule is the movie The Holiday.  I watch it way way way too much.  But I love it, and I'm not much of a rule follower, even when it comes to rules I make myself.)

But I digress....

Since my studio apartment is small (and adorable) it's pretty easy to keep it clean and picked up.  I am not a neat freak by any stretch of the imagination, but my soul always feels more settled when my residence is in some state of clean.  I hadn't done one of those "moving furniture" type cleanings in quite some time (I am making this statement vague on purpose), so I decided that yesterday would be the day. 

Growing up, we cleaned our house from top to bottom every. single. weekend. (and in between as needed).  As soon as Kirk and I were big enough to carry a dust rag, we were expected to participate in child labor house cleaning.  I was usually responsible for cleaning the bathrooms and dusting; occasionally when my dad was able to weasel his way out of vacuuming, I would have to do that as well.  (Something about having job....I don't know...it sounded like a cop out to me.) 

What I'm about to say might sound weird, but I'm just gonna say it.....I love cleaning bathrooms!  Seriously, I love it.  I especially love cleaning bathrooms when I am stressed out.  Maybe all of the scrubbing releases some tension, or perhaps its just the fumes from the mold and mildew cleaner....but after I clean a bathroom, all feels right with the world again.  So, if you see me arm deep in a toilet bowl, you'll know...Katie must be stressed out.  Don't get me wrong, cleaning bathrooms isn't just for when I'm stressed.  Sometimes when I'm super stoked and loving life, I'll just feel this need to take a toothbrush to my shower grout, or maybe even attack some hard water stains or lime deposits....who knows!?  It makes me happy just typing that.  If you no longer want to be my friend or read this blog, I understand.  But just know, that if I lose friends and/or readers it's only going to send me right back into my bathroom to scour for hair stuck on the tiles and moldy shower liners.  If you are still with me, thank you.  For your dedication, I would like to offer to clean your bathroom.  I'm coming into a really busy season at work, and I'm going to need more bathrooms to clean or I'm not going to be able to relax. 

What's really sad (or awesome, depending on how you feel) is that I don't get grossed out by cleaning bathrooms at all.   For example, one time I cleaned a guy's bathroom that I was dating without asking him or telling him I was going to do it.  Let me explain...

We had only been dating for a few months, but every time I came over to hang out at his place I would dread going to the bathroom.  The rest of his place was really clean, but his bathroom was just....it was just wow!.  I grew up with boys, I know about their innate ability to pee all over the entire bathroom even though there is a clearly marked target for them to hit.  One of the only times I can remember really cussing in front of my parents when I was a teenager was the 100th time I had sat on a peed-on toilet seat because my brother was too lazy to lift the seat.  I came running out of the bathroom screaming "I swear to all that is good and holy that if Kirk pisses on the seat one more time, I'll make sure he has a reason to sit down to pee for the rest of his life.  How hard is it to lift a freakin' toilet seat!?  He has the dexterity to flush the toilet, and yet can't seem to use his fingers to lift the seat!?"  But anyway, I'm getting away from the boyfriend story. 

So, I go in his bathroom one day and while I am enjoying a totally non-peed-on toilet seat, I move the shower curtain aside (my version of looking in someones medicine cabinet...which I also do, so never mind) to discover that his shower is covered in black mold.  It took all I had in me not to scream like I was in a horror movie and had just opened the door to a room in which the bad guy had been patiently waiting to hack me to bits.  I quietly sneaked out of the bathroom and into his hall closet where his cleaning supplies were, grabbed the supplies and brought them to the bathroom, shut the door, and started cleaning.  Seriously...I didn't even know this guy that well.  Who the hell did I think I was!?  Well, I was someone that cared enough to not want to see someone get pneumonia from the mold growing in their shower...that's who I was.  After about 15 minutes, he knocked on the bathroom door and asked me if I was okay.  I didn't realize I had been gone that long.  So, I reluctantly opened the door with the X14 in one hand and an unfortunate hand towel (I couldn't find anything else) in the other.  He was obviously a little shocked.  I mean, who would ever imagine that the girl they are dating would leave the comfort of cuddling on the couch watching Crash (yes....I was able to pull myself away from the movie Crash in order to clean a bathroom.  I completely understand if you are currently planning to stage an intervention for me....most likely in a place without a bathroom) to clean a shower (and sink).  He looked at the hand towel, then me, then the X14, then me, then his hall closet, then me, then his shower, then me.  Then he silently shook his head and walked away without saying a word.  Guess what I did!?  You guessed it.... I finished cleaning his bathroom.

There are things that I loathe when it comes to cleaning.  For example, I hate doing dishes with a passion so intense that it would put a Spanish Soap Opera to shame.  If I didn't love Earth so much I would use disposable plates and silverware for every single meal.  I would get rid of the sink altogether and just add in another little mini-fridge.  I would rather dust than do dishes and I HATE dusting.  This Saturday, I found some dust bunnies so big that Earnest P. Worrell would gag, you know what I mean, Vern!? (If you don't know what I mean, then I suggest you hit the Wikipedia, and I suggest you hit it hard.)  Seriously, I moved one of the chest of drawers in my closet to find a dust bunny that had collected all of the items that I had fallen behind the drawers and was holding them ransom.  There were hair ties, receipts, price tags, earrings, buttons, and other random items all balled up in this massive dust bunny.  I made a tough decision and just threw the whole mess away whilst screaming like a girl at the utter yuckiness of what had been living in my closet.  And don't even get me started on what I found under my bed.  It gives the phrase "Sleeping with enemy" a whole new definition.  I'm surprised I don't have the black lung after some of the dust bunnies I found under there.  Some of you are probably thinking, hey Katie, why don't you just clean under your bed more often and you would have that problem. And to that I say this:

1) I do clean under my bed, but living in downtown DC means that you are in a constant battle with dust and debris.  Even with the windows closed all the nasty dirt from the city somehow finds its way into my humble abode.  I blame global warming. Al Gore has me blaming it for everything anyway, so.
2) More importantly......I don't want to.

When you live by yourself, if you don't clean, no one else will.  I don't have any kids to con into clean it for me. Unlike my dad who would purposefully mess up all jobs given to him by my mom so that he would never ever have to do them again....I have to suck it up and grab the Swiffer.  (I am of course referring to the red t-shirt/ white laundry incident of 1994.  I'm sure you heard of it.  One of his lesser known evil genius plans was to somehow devise a way to melt all of the Tupperware in the dishwasher so that my mom would never let him near another dish again.   I have so much to learn from him.)

I hope you have enjoyed yet another random rambling blog.  There is a lot of awesomeness and craziness going on in my life right now, so instead of blogging about stuff that matters and could touch hearts and change lives...I'm going to skirt the issues and blog about toilets.


Katie, Queen of the Scrubbing Bubbles

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Random Saturday....

Do you know what time it is???

This is what I look like when I try to be flirty.  I know....overwhelming awesomeness.



Let me start my random ramblings off with a short list:

1) I love making lists.  I make lists in emails to my friends.  In business emails.  And in blogs.  Lists are awesome.
2) For reasons I don't understand or want to try and figure out, I have a crush on Ron Swanson from the TV show Parks and Recreation.  Is it the stache? Is it his woodshop in which he makes harps and canoes (small bit of trivia...Nick Offerman, who plays Ron, actually makes canoes in real life.  Also, he is married to actress Megan Mullally.  Okay I'm done.)?  Could it be his affinity for guns and explosives?  How 'bout the fact that he basically doesn't work and just sits at his desk playing online scrabble with one eyebrow raised?  I don't know the answer.  All I know is that I have a crush on him.  Let the psychoanalyzing begin!
Ron Swanson love brunettes and breakfast foods.

3) I watched a documentary called Foodmatters and now I feel like I'm eating badly even when I get an organic spinach and quinoa salad from Whole Foods.  This documentary really pushes the raw food and/or vegan diet.  I watch what I eat most of the time, I love veggies and fruits, and used to think I was doing pretty well....until I watched this.  I've been much better about taking my vitamins and such since watching this, but I love steak you guys.  I don't eat steak very often, but I love it.  I'm sorry cows, but I love your cow meat.  I want to eat better, but if I can't even cook my carrots without feeling bad, then I am just going to have to say fagetaboutit to the raw food diet.  Also, while eating a Z Burger I decided that I can't be vegan. 
4) I broke up with my gym.  Yes, I did.  I've known for quite some time that it just wasn't working out (pun intended), but I just didn't have the guts to face Graham, the hottest gym manager/personal trainer that has ever existed in the history of gyms and managers.  When I walked in there I started telling myself that things weren't that bad, I could make it work, maybe I should give it some more time, maybe I am just being too picky....but then I pulled myself together and moved forward with the breakup.
Here is my conversation with the extraordinarily gorgeous and fit Swedish lady that works at the front desk of my gym:
Swedish lady: Hi! How are you today? (smiles) How can I help you?
Me: Hello! (big smile)  I'm fabulous, thank you.  (I nervously begin to tuck my hair behind my ears) I, um, well, I want to cancel my gym membership. (big smile that says, "don't hate me I'm cute")
Swedish lady: (still smiling) Oh, okay, sure.  May I ask why? (still smiling, probably because she doesn't think I have a big enough pair to face Graham.)
Me: (long pause) (sweaty hands) Yes, yes you can ask why. Ummm....(another long pause)  It's not you...it's me.  It's just, I don't know...it's just not working out. (I was so nervous I missed the pun)
Swedish Lady: (giggles) (she did not miss the pun)
Me: No seriously though, I'm just not feeling it, ya know. (blank stares from the Swedish lady) (long pause) (more hair tucked behind my ears) I've just decided that this gym just isn't....um...my style.  Yep. So, I'd just like to cancel...thanks.
Swedish Lady: (FINALLY not smiling anymore, however, she is definitely looking at me like I'm crazy) Okay, let me send an email to the manager.  I can't cancel your membership, he'll have to do it.
Me: (No longer smiling because I finally realized that I am going to have to face Graham after all) Oh, yeah.  That sucks. (I can be quite eloquent)
Swedish Lady: (polite smile.....that she gives non-gym members, I'm sure) Okay, so I'll let him know to call you and he'll take care of it.  Have a great night.
Me: Sweet!  ( big smile) Awesome. Great.  Thank you. Thanks. Okay, bye.
I felt great walking out of there. I did it.  I told some random Swedish lady that I've never met that it wasn't her, it's me.  It felt good.  And, as luck should have it, the manager that contacted me wasn't Graham the Hotty, it was his manager, who could potentially also be hot, but I've never seen him, so.  Now, I will join a gym that I feel more comfortable in.  I am done staying with a gym just because I should like it.   So what if you have cucumber flavored water!?  I like (filtered) tap water.  Your gym is so clean that you clean the machine while I'm still on it!???  Big whoop!   I want a gym full of loud and dangerous weight dropping, sweat covered equipment that probably only gets wiped down at the end of the day, gym employees that don't look like super models, personal trainers that don't talk to you unless you pay them to, and so many people there that no one will notice when I only do one set of biceps and then leave to go get an ice cream cone.  I like my space.  That's how I roll.

Okay!  List time is over.  I could go on, but I think I've given you all enough to ponder.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Love and Hearts and Puppies,