Monday, February 28, 2011

A Dog's Life...

Welcome to The Dailies very first interview!  Today, I will be interviewing my dog, Bailey. 

Me: Hi, Bailey!  Thank you so much for letting me interview you today.  You're such a good girl (rubbing belly)! 
I'm going to start with an easy question.  Why do you wag your tail?

Bailey: Believe me, the pleasure is all mine.  I'm a big fan of The Dailies.  Super big.  Thank you for letting me sit on the furniture so we can talk.  To answer your first question, I wag my tail because I am excited or happy. Pretty simple.

Me:  That makes sense.  I wish humans were that easy to read.
I've noticed something that I wanted to talk with you about.  I notice that when we leave the house, you get really anxious.  Why is that?

Bailey:  Well, I get anxious because it's my job to protect you guys and when you leave the house, I'm completely out of control.  It makes me worry a lot. 

Me:  What do you do while we're out?  What do you think about?

Bailey: Well, I pretty much think that you're never coming back and that no one will feed me or pat my tummy or walk me ever again.   I don't really do much.  The stressful thinking takes up a lot of my time.  Because I'm so nervous I don't really eat if there's no one around.  Sometimes I watch out the window or I fall asleep waiting for someone to get home.  If I hear a car that sounds like yours or I hear a door slam I always look out the window to see if it's my family.

Me: But for the last 8 years that you've been alive, someone has always come home and fed you, walked you, and pet your tummy.  How many times do we have to show you that you aren't going to be left alone?  Why don't you understand that yet?

Bailey:  Yeah, I guess that's true, but since we don't really speak the same language it's really hard for you to reassure me in a way that I understand.  You know what you're doing, but I don't.  Because I'm just a dog, my understanding is limited.  Yours is not.

Me:  This morning it was thundering and you got really scared.  You have a lot of things that you are afraid of, don't you?  Why do you get so scared of things that can't really hurt you?

Bailey:  I noticed that you all don't run into the closet with me when it's storming or there are fireworks going off.  My question to you is: What the hell is wrong with you?  Why don't you get in the closet with me?  I keep trying to get you all in there so that I can protect you, but all you do is laugh at me and go back to your lives like nothing is wrong.  The real question here is...why are you guys so dumb?

Bailey, trying to tell my dad that it's time to leave.

Me:  The reason we don't crawl in the closet with you is because we know that we are safe.  Thunder can't hurt you.  And by the way, we don't need you to protect us....we are the ones that are protecting you!

Bailey:  I don't know how to say this in a nice way, so I'll just say it.  It's a little disconcerting that you all are supposed to be the ones protecting me when you people are too dumb to protect yourself from thunder and fireworks. You actually go outside to watch fire in the sky.  That's just super super dumb.  And let me also add that multiple times throughout the day I have to remind you that I need to be fed, walked, and let out to do my business.  If I wasn't here to keep you all in line, this whole house would be a complete disaster.

Me:  I guess that's why you bark every time someone walks by our house; because you think they are trying to get near your territory.  You probably feel like if you don't sound intimidating and scary, then people will hurt you or your family.  I know you don't understand this, but we are always thinking about you, worrying about you, loving you, and doing all we can to protect you.  You don't have to worry.  You don't have to bark and try to sound scary. 

Bailey:  Man, this is getting a little too deep for me.  I'm a dog.  You're a human.  You understand things better than I do. 

Me:  That's kinda what I have been trying to say.  I guess there's really no way to resolve this issue.  There's really no way that you can possibly understand my ways and what I am doing when I'm not at home.  I just wish there was a way that you could trust that you are taken care of and that you don't have to worry. 

Bailey:  Yeah, I guess it is pretty hard for me to understand your ways.  I probably won't be able to change that much.  I mean, I am a dog.  But I do promise one thing.  Any time you walk through the door, I am going to be SO happy.  I am going to be wagging my tail and jumping up at you because I miss you so much.  You could be gone 5 hours or 2 minutes and I'll still be just as happy to have you around.  When you're around, I feel safe, secure, relaxed and happy.  But, if I feel like there is an enemy nearby, you better believe that all the hair is going to be standing up on my back and I'm going to bark until I feel like they got the message.  Even though I know that you are my master and that you are the one that provides for me, I am going to do my part to make sure to protect what I love.  I bark because I love.

Me:  Awww, Bailey!!! That is SO sweet!  I love you too!  I appreciate your excitement to see me, and I appreciate your protecting what you love.  If I had a tail, it would be wagging right now. 

Bailey:  I'll wag enough for the both of us, believe me.  And since we're talking about deep stuff here, I just wanted to say something I've been meaning to say for a long time.  I'm really really sorry about those J. Crew heels that I ate of yours when you first got me.  I am also sorry about peeing on your favorite jeans right before you were leaving the house a few years ago.  I'm just going to keep this short and just make a blanket apology for all of the things I ruined when I was a puppy. 

Me:  Oh, Bailey.  That stuff has long been forgiven.  I don't love any of those things more than I love you.  I did have to punish you at the time because you needed to learn not to be destructive.  But none of that stuff is remembered. 

Bailey:  Ok good!  Since you're being so forgiving....there is a carpet situation I've been meaning to bring up.   Hey, even old dogs make mistakes sometimes!

Me:  Thank you for letting me know about the carpet.  I forgive you.  Now go....and pee on it no more.

Bailey:  Did you just use some variation of the Samaritan woman Bible verse on me?

Me:  Um....yes.  Yes, I did.  How did you know that?

Bailey:  I listen when you read your Bible out loud.

Me: That does explain it.  Well, Bailey, I have one last question for you.  If you could have anything you wanted right this second, what would it be?

Bailey:  A steak, a burger, a hot dog, any kind of cheese, go ahead and throw in some brussel sprouts...they're nice a crunchy, brownies, french fries, no more baths, no more leashes, no more collars.  That's it for now.  I'm sure I'll think of more.

Me:  Well, I sure am glad that you don't have the ability to get all of that stuff for yourself or else you would eat yourself sick.  Didn't you know that chocolate is bad for dogs?  Brownies could kill you!  And by the way, if you were let off of your leash, you would most likely run into traffic.  And that collar is helpful because, when you're lost it tells people who you belong to so that we can get you back.

Bailey:  You run out in front of a few cars and all-of-a-sudden you are incompetent.  Jeesh!  But, I know what you mean.  When I have the collar and leash on, I feel more comfortable and protected.  I tend to get freaked out and lost when I am out completely on my own with no one guiding me.  The Coach collar is a little much though. I mean, seriously.  I roll around in dead things.  Can we not go with something a little more rugged?

Me: The Coach collar was my mom's idea, not mine.  I'll see what I can do about getting you into something that is more fitting for

Bailey: Thank you!! That would be great.  I really appreciate it.  And thanks for all the extra treats you give me for no reason.  That always puts a little extra wag in my tail.

Me: It's my pleasure.  Seeing your tail wag is the best thing in the world!  Well, thank you for hopping up on the couch and talking with me this evening.  I'll let you get back to watching reruns of Empty Nest.  I know how much you love Dreyfus.

Bailey:  Thank you for caring about what I have to say.  You're the prettiest, nicest, most bestest owner a dog could have.

Me:  Thank you, Bailey!! You didn't have to say that! (wink)  I hope to have you back to The Dailies soon.

Bailey: Any time.  Now when are we going to talk about that treat situation you mentioned before the interview??

Well, folks.  Thank you for reading my one-on-one with my dog Bailey.  She's a really special little doggie.


The Bailey Whisperer

Monday, February 21, 2011


I was in the back yard with my dad the other day. We were sitting in the sun on this unusually pleasant February day.  The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and the snow had melted away.  My dad and I have been hanging out a good bit lately.  We talk about all kinds of things.  We retell old stories, we discuss politics (and by "discuss" I mean, I stay mostly silent while he rants), we talk about the future, we pick on each other and laugh our heads off.   Moments like these have been few and far between for us over the years.  My dad isn't much of a phone talker, and to be honest, neither am I.  My mom and I used to talk on the phone a lot, back when I didn't live in the next room.  Our conversations consisted mainly of her telling me the goings on around the town of Buckhannon, and I would say things like, "oh yeah?" and "mmm" and "okay, I gotta hop off here".  These phone convos with my mom weren't based on content, believe me. She didn't seem to mind that I didn't talk much.  These phone calls were her way of making sure I was home safely without saying that is why she was calling.  And my grunts in response were my way of saying, "I'm fine".   Some days I would receive a rare call from my dad.  Most of the time he would call when I was at work and would leave a message on my voicemail if I didn't answer.  I save every one of them.  When a man a few words speaks.  You treat every word like a precious stone.

Sad little tree
This particular day our conversation fell on the topic of this sad little tree in our back yard.  As you can see from the picture, it's sparse at best and half dead at the worst.  When we first moved into this house 16 years ago, that tree wasn't much better off than you find it now.  It was a little bit bigger than what you see now, but it was growing totally out of control and was in desperate need of some trimming.  It looks more like a dogwood bush than a dogwood tree.  My dad trimmed it back pretty far that year.  That first Spring so little buds appeared on it that my dad thought he had accidentally killed it.  But I remember him saying that he wanted to wait one more year before he dug it up.  The following year, a few more buds appeared, but man-o-man was this sorry tree a sight.  I was almost embarrassed to bring people into the back yard.  As the years went by, the tree continued to grow back bit-by-bit.  My parents eventually had their whole backyard transformed into this beautiful garden oasis.  They planted all kinds of gorgeous flowers and shrubs.  My dad and my brother built a 6 foot deep coy pond with a water fall.  Many weekend nights were spent in that back yard with friends and family.  I thought it was a little strange that at the center of all that wonderful landscaping was this sad little tree. 

I asked my dad why on Earth he never just dug it up and planted a new tree in it's place, he said this to me, "Well, I thought about it.  Each year your mom and I discussed getting rid of it and planting something new, but each year we decided to wait.  And each year it blooms.  When we first trimmed back all the dead branches, we thought we had killed it.  But you see, this is an old tree.  It's roots go down far and extend out all over the yard.  It can take a trimming.  We've done a lot of damage to it by putting brick around it and smothering the roots.  I'm sure some of the chemicals we've used to keep the brick clean have seeped into the soil and hurt the roots.  But...each year, it stills buds.  It looks dead, but it's not.  Nothing has killed it yet, so I'm certainly not going to be the one to do it.  Even though it looks bad in the winter, when the Spring comes, the blooms make it look full again.  It's a good tree."

If I had to quit my job and move home only to hear my dad say this.  It was all worth it.

No matter how bad things have gotten in our family or for us as individuals...we don't give up.  Our roots are deep.  Even if on the surface we don't look too pretty, and we struggle to keep blooming, beneath it all...we are rooted. 

Birds nest in the sad little tree
This last week, God has been showing me, over and over again to NEVER give up on the desire He has placed on my heart.  Don't give up.  Don't give up. Don't give up. Wait one more year.  Even if your dream isn't in full's not dead. Even those things that seem impossible...they will bloom.

As you can see, the tree is already starting to bud.  Another year is coming that we won't cut down this sad little tree.  Another year it will stand proud in the middle of our yard; half of it blooming, the other half waiting to bloom.  I have respect for this little tree.  It shows me that appearances aren't everything.  All I can see is what is on the surface, but there is a deep and mighty root system below this sad little thing.  Would you be so bold as to place your nest in this dead looking thing?  I suppose the birds know better than I do the strength in this old ugly thing. 

I look forward to another day of talking to my mom and dad.  The more I know about my roots, the more certain I am in how strong they are.  The more I learn about where I come from and who I am now, the more I am able to stay grounded in my faith and hope.  Some may say it's the fighting Irish blood coursing through our veins that keeps us going, but I know the truth.  It's the blood that Jesus shed for our lives that keeps us going.  I know this because I know what it's like not to have that life blood.  I know the difference.  My root is in His word.  His love and grace has allowed me to be grafted into his branches.  As long as I stay attached to His root, I will not be chopped down.  Because when we are grafted into His branches, our lives will bear His fruit.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23



Friday, February 11, 2011

Ski School Dropout....

My best friend, Julie, (the one that guest posted for me here and here...seriously, read these if you already haven't; they will change your life), called me the other day and asked me if I wanted to come up to Davis, WV and hang out with her this weekend.  She told me to bring my snowpants just in case we decide to pull ourselves away from a good book and a fire and go cross country skiing.  Although I grew up about an hour away from three awesome ski resorts, I loathe skiing.  I have tried many times to learn and every single time I have failed...and failed fabulously (not miserably...even when I fail I do so in a fabulous way).  Julie on the other hand has been doing ski patrol since she was 16 and even when she was living in DC would drive almost 7 hours every weekend the slopes were open so that she could ski. 

She's been trying to get me back up on a pair of skis for about 7 years now, but so far my empty promises to do so have gone unchallenged.  Julie hasn't asked me to officially "go skiing", but cross country skiing is scary enough for me.   The way she got me to agree to go up to Davis was to make it seem like we would be staying inside, laughing over a glass of wine in front of a roaring fire....but my suspicions are that she is going to somehow get me on a pair of skis.  Oh the humanity!

If you can't laugh at yourself, then....I don't know, I suppose you should laugh at other people!?  I can't remember how that saying goes.  Anyway, to give you all a nice chuckle I thought I would tell you the story of the last time I went skiing.  I think it will explain why that was the last time.

Blackwater Falls, WV - Tucker County

Picture it, Timberline Ski Resort, 1999....

Timberline Ski Resort
My parents took Kirk and I skiing against my begging and pleading to do otherwise.  We stayed at Blackwater Falls Resort and set out in the morning to hit the slopes. Kirk was a pretty good skier, so I thought that skiing with him might be helpful.  It was cold as all get-out and there was a frostbite warning issued that day.  Kirk went with me to the bunny slope to get warmed up.  I did pretty well, so we decided to give an intermediate slope a try.  I did pretty well on the intermediate slope, but I still just felt like I would be more comfortable on the bunny slope.  I could tell that my brother, who was 15 at the time, was getting totally bored hanging out with his ski-challenged sister so I told him that I would go to the bunny slope by myself and meet up with him later.

Before I continue, I feel like I should give a little background as to why I was so afraid of skiing.

The first time I went skiing I was in 8th grade.   I went with some guys I grew up with.  These guys were really good skiers and they were a little older than me, so I tried to impress them by following them onto an intermediate slope right off the bat.  When we got to the top of the slope the guys tucked their ski poles under their arms and shot straight down the mountain.  I didn't know any better, so I did the same.  Apparently, I should have cut back and forth.  There happened to be a lot of fog on the mountain that day, so I ended up not being able to see a turn on the run and wrecked into the woods.  When I opened my eyes I saw branches.  I had knocked my head against some fallen tree branches and cut my forehead.  The branches were stuck around me so I had a hard time getting up.  I don't know if I was knocked out or not, but I do know that I was shaking when I finally realized what had happened.  The guys came back down the mountain when they realized I wasn't behind them.  My friend Andy felt horrible.  I begged him not to call the ski patrol, so he carried my skis and slowly walked down the mountain with me step-by-step.

That sucked.  I didn't go skiing again for a few years.  I went  few times after that with friends, but I didn't really ski any hard slopes and spent most of my time trying to look cute in my snow suit sitting in the lodge.

Now, back to the story.

I was happy to ski the bunny slope over and over again while my brother showed some black diamonds who their daddy was.  After about an hour, my brother came to find me.  This time he showed up with one of my friends that he saw on the slopes.  He told Jake I was there, so they both wanted to come over and say "hi".  It was seriously freezing and....I had to pee, so I was getting ready to go into the lodge.  Kirk and Jake said they would ski one more bunny slope run with me, so the three of us hopped on the lift.

It's also important for you all to know that I used to be completely mortified of heights.  Another reason I like the bunny slope was because the ride to the top of the slope was shorter. We were about halfway to the top when the lift stopped.  It's pretty common when you are on the lift for them to stop occasionally, so we didn't even notice it at first.  Because of cold air (frostbite warning) being on the lift for any amount of time was almost painful because you didn't have the protection of the trees to keep the biting air off of you.  After about 5 minutes, I started to wonder aloud what was going on.  I was sitting between Kirk and Jake and they were just chatting away, thinking nothing was wrong.  Then 5 minutes turned into 10, and 10 into 15.  At the 15 minute mark, Jake and Kirk finally started to wonder what the deal was as well.

In case you forgot....I had to pee before we got on the lift, so at this point, I was getting a little antsy.  At the twenty minute mark we saw something that made my stomach turn.  From both ends of the ski lift, ski patrol was slinging ropes over the lift cables.  They were too far away at that point for me to see exactly what they were doing, but I know whatever it wasn't good news.  At some point a ski patrol dude started walking up the mountain telling everyone to kick off their skis and snowboards, and throw down their poles.  My brother yelled down to the guy and asked him what was going on.  He told us what we already knew...the lift had completely broken down.

I tried my very VERY best not to have a panic attack when they told us that they will be lowering each person down with a rope with a board attached to it to put under your butt.  But, with the extreme cold, my desperate need to pee, and my fear of heights, I couldn't keep it together.  Jake and I knew each other pretty well, but not well enough that I trusted that he wouldn't tell everyone that I flipped out.  However, that didn't stop me.

We were one of the last people to be lowered down off the lift.  As I watched people swing out off their lifts, I got more and more panicked.  At one point, I really thought I was going to have to pee in my snowsuit.  I took a good 15 minutes trying to convince myself that no one would know because my snow pants were so fluffy, but the fear of humiliation won out, and I held it.  My brother thought it would be funny to go all "Dumb and Dumber" on me and say, "Just go man!".  Laughing was the last thing I wanted to do right then.

The real trouble came when it was our turn to be lowered down.  Kirk and Jake said they would help me go first.  The ski patrol dude had to throw the rope up about 5 times before we could get it because we were about 40 feet up in the air.  Once the rope was over the cable, you had to open the door of the car, lean out, and grab the rope.  Because I was in the middle I was the best person for the job, but my fear of falling 40 feet wouldn't let me do it.  When the car door swung open....I started crying.  Like, hard.  Jake finally decided to try and see if he could lean out without causing me to slide out of the lift.  I held onto the top of the lift with no gloves on to make sure I had a proper grip, but the metal was so cold it was burning my hands.

Jake got the rope with the board attached to it and pulled it into our car.  We looked at me and said, "Okay, Katie, you're gonna have to get the board under your butt somehow so that you can swing out and let them lower you."  Through frozen tears I let go of the car, grabbed the board, and as Kirk and Jake held me in place, I slid it under my butt.  Once it was secure, the ski patrol dude told me that I had to swing myself out away from the car.  I had long since decided to forget about being composed, and with a scream, I flung myself out onto the rope 40 feet above the snowy ground.

Kirk and Jake quickly joined me on the ground and we all walked back to the lodge.  My parents were worried sick because no one had made an announcement that there were any issues with the lifts, so they didn't know what had happened.  I didn't have time to hug or explain...I ran into the lodge and peed for 10 minutes.

After that day, I didn't go skiing again.  I know it really has nothing to do with skiing itself, but that experience was enough to traumatize me for a good long while.

BUT, I really don't like giving up.  Never say never!  I am sure that these six 6 feet will find themselves in a pair of ski boots one of these days.  Maybe that day will be tomorrow.  I did beat my fear of heights already by going to trapeze school, so anything is possible.

How about you all?  What are you most afraid of? Ever been stuck on a ski lift?  Ever peed your pants?  Talk to me....



Wednesday, February 9, 2011

She's Gone Country.....

I went back out to the camp today to chill.  I brought some books with me, a few DVDs, and of course.... US Weekly.  What!? I had to!  I had to find out if the cover was correct and that Scarlett and Ryan Reynolds are really getting back together.  Sorry ladies....looks like they are.  And by "ladies" I mean "Katie McNemar".  

I intended on staying at the camp again and coming back into town tomorrow morning.  I even took my dad's rifle with me this time so that I wouldn't be so scared sleeping out there all by myself.  (US Weekly and guns, that's just how I roll).  I thought I was going to have a quiet day and evening at the camp, but God had a different plan....

As I was watching an episode of Saturday Night Live starring my doppelganger, Drew Barrymore, I heard a knock at the door.  I'll be honest.  It scared the living crap out of me.  I didn't hear a car come up the driveway, so I wasn't expecting to hear a knock.  My dad is constantly asking me not to go out to the camp by myself because he is afraid something will happen and I will be too far away from people to get help in time.  I always tell him that he worries to much, and that he needs to just relax and trust that I will be fine.  But when I heard that unexpected knock, my first thought was...should I answer the door with the shotgun???  It's not loaded or anything, but that's what women in westerns do and it seems to be pretty effective.  I would say something like, "Who the hell are you and what are you doing in these here parts!?  You got ten seconds to get off my porch or I'm gonna start shooting.  So SCRAM!"  Don't worry, I immediately decided against it.  As I turned the corner I see the face of my dad peeking through the window.  At that point I almost wished I would have answered the door holding the gun.  That would have made him proud.

He tells me that he was "in the area" (20 miles from our home) picking up a chainsaw from some dude that worked on it for him, and decided to stop by the camp and say "hi".  He and his buddy Bailey, our dog, came in and sat down for a bit.  My dad built a fire in the fireplace for me. I never build a fire when I am out there by myself because I truly have no talent whatsoever as a firestarter and usually end up smoking the place up and/or burning myself and others.  So there we were, sitting in rocking chairs in front of the fire.  A view of the roaring river in front of us.  Just chatting and laughing.  Bailey hopped up the rocking chair with me and took a little tiger snooze.   

He and Bailey were there for about an hour and then decide to head back to town.  I say my goodbyes and head back to my spot by the fire to continue my education in celebrity plastic surgery, when I hear the door open again.  It's my dad.  He looks at me and says, "We've got a problem."  I follow him outside to see that his front driver's side tire is completely flat.  I walk over and look at the tire to find a small gash in the tire wall.  There was no way to patch it.  He tells me that he is going to have to call someone to come out and change the tire for him because he doesn't have a jack.  As he is turning around to go back inside, I tell him that I have a jack and a tire iron in the Jeep, so we should be able to change it ourselves with no problem.  (Truth be told, I love doing this kind of stuff!)

Flashback moment:

When I was 15 my dad taught me how to change my own oil, my own tires, clean my battery, check my oil, etc just so that I would always be prepared to handle things on my own.  He also bought Kirk and I standard vehicles so that we would learn to drive a 5-speed and be able to drive any vehicle.  Smart dad.

End of Flashback

The first thing my dad wants to do is make sure we can lower the spare tire down from under his truck.  We quickly find that the tire is rusted on.  He's never used it the entire time that he's had the truck.  He and I are both crawling around on the ice covered ground trying to figure out a way to get the tire off.  Just as we were about to give up and call for help I realized that my spare tire for my Jeep is the same size tire so I thought that might work.  Our next move was to get the truck up in the air so we could get the tire off.  

As I was holding the lug nuts I had a flash back from A Christmas Story and yelled out, "OH FUUUUUUDGE".

We finally got the tire in the air and the lug nuts off, but lo and behold, the tire was rusted on and we couldn't budge it.  We thought we'd been beat.  We went inside to call a guy down the road to ask for help, but he didn't answer.  I remembered that the last time I had a flat tire the same thing happened and Kirk took care of it for me.   So I called Kirk for advice. He told us to fill up the tire all the way and then start kicking the crap out of the tire until it pops off.  For a little background, I need to tell you that although my dad used to be a karate teacher, he has had two hip replacements surgeries and can barely get up and down, not to mention walk very far.  Kicking this tire off was going to be a chore.  But, we really had no choice but to try, and honestly, I was just excited to kick something.

Dad and I both take turns kicking the crap out of that tire, but it wouldn't budge.  So, my dad did what any normal red-blooded WV redneck would do.  He took the Hammer of Thor to it....

By the Hammer of Thor this tire will come off!!!
That's all it took...a few swift hits with the flat end of that bad boy and the tire popped right off.   Phew!  And believe me, I did way more than take pictures.  My hands were already getting blistered from working the crank on the tire-jack, so I was hoping that we were just about done.

Bailey was no help at all.  She couldn't tell the different between and box-end wrench and socket wrench.  Dumb dog.
But, as I wheeled my spare tire from the Jeep over, we realized we had another problem.  The hubcap on my Jeep tire wasn't built for a truck with lock-in hubs so it wasn't going to fit.  We were both frustrated.  We had gotten so far only to be foiled again.  DRATS!  

I thought my dad was going to give up, but it was him that said, "well, lets work on getting that spare down again". So we did.  He and I worked together and got the rusty spare tire lowered down.  We were both freezing and filthy, but as soon as he said, "It's moving! I can't believe it!"  I yelled out, "Hallelujha, PRAISE God!"  and then did a little happy dance.  The spare needed some air, so we hooked it up to an air pump and went inside to bask in the glow of our glorious win!  We did it!!! At every turn it seemed impossible, but with the two of us working together and encouraging each other...we did it!!  I decided to leave the camp and follow my dad home to make sure he didn't have any complications.  He was parked behind me so I hopped in my Jeep and pulled out of his way.  

It's pretty blurry, but....I had to post it anyway.
I was so happy that everything had worked out.  As my dad was tightening up the lug nuts I said, "You see Dad, God was looking out for you.  If you would have gotten on the road with that gash in your tire, it might have blown your tire and you could have wrecked."  He agreed with me and told me it was a little odd that he had driven a little out of his way to come see me.  

I was sitting in my Jeep waiting for my dad to pull in behind me when I thought I heard some clicking sound.  I opened my door and discovered that the clicking sound was my dad's starter.  Now my dad's truck wouldn't start.  I couldn't believe it!  We worked all that time to change the tire and now the truck won't start.  What's up with that!?  I started praying with all my might that God would start his truck so that I could end my blog saying that if you keep trying even when it's hard, things will work out for you.  But, it didn't start.  

The next problem was....his truck was blocking me in.  So, as the sun was setting in the hills behind us, we did the only thing we could do.  We pushed the truck out of the way.  And I'm not talking about some perfectly flat surface.  The place we park our cars is made of rocks and is slightly uphill.  I honestly didn't know if we could do it.  So we worked together to make it happen.  We would rock it back toward him and as it rocked forward we would push with all our might.  I was seriously afraid that my dad might have a heart attack or something.  It was hard work.  BUT, we did it.  We pushed it out of the way and were able to get the Jeep through.

We were both frustrated at first that things didn't work out, but then we realized...they actually DID work out.  If my dad hadn't stopped by to see me then he could have broken down or blown a tire while he was driving on icy roads and hurt himself and/or someone else.  It was a blessing from God that I was there to help him change his tire and had the equipment to do so.  One less thing to worry about.  But the real gift from the whole experience came from our ride home together.  As we took a slow drive home, we had an amazing conversation.  One of those conversations that makes you never want to quit talking.  The best part of all of it was that we worked together.  We were a team.  We didn't want to give up if we didn't have to.  It felt good.

(insert applause here)


And for those of you that don't appreciate a good tire-changing story, I give you this:

Justin Bieber: brought to you by the Buckhannon Main Street Antiques and Collectables storefront

And for those of you that don't have Bieber fever, I give you a picture of a train:

The train went by while we were changing the tire.  CHooo choooo!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Way We Were...

There are so many pluses to living in back in Buckhannon.  I now sound like one of those people that say, "When I was your age I had 3 jobs, went to school full time, walked up hill to school both ways in the snow with no shoes."  Except I say, "When I was in DC....". 

I went to the grocery store with my mom last week to get food for the three of us for a week.  First of all, the cashier looked at us, in the eye, smiled, and talked to us.  She was happy and nice.  I approached with caution.

As our cart full of groceries were rung up, I winced thinking of the total and hoping that another mouth to feed wasn't too much of a burden.  And then the total....$137.  I almost kissed the cashier!!!  I couldn't believe it.  I would spend $100 on myself filling two bags that I could carry myself, and that would only last for a week.  I wish I would have moonwalked out of the Kroger, but I didn't have my fuzzy socks on (it's a scientific fact that you have to wear fuzzy socks on hardwood floors in order to properly perform the moonwalk short of being the King of Pop himself.  It's been laboratory tested.)

Another awesome thing about living here is that I can go to the gym at WVWC and it only costs $10 a month.  That's right....$10.  It's just the kind of gym I like.  Dirty and loud.

As I was running on the treadmill today, I had a flashback to the last time I remember being in that gym.  When I was a little girl my dad taught karate, gymnastics, and women's self defense at WVWC, so my brother and I were over there with him all the time.  We would run around in the green room downstairs, we would watch him teach classes in the mirrored room (we had very logical names for these locations), or we would watch him work out in the gym.  As I got older, he would let me work out with him.

When I was in seventh grade I joined cheerleading.  I wasn't very good at doing gymnastics without a spot, but after my freshman year of high school I decided to try something even more difficult.  I quit the cheerleading squad and decided I was going to try out for soccer.  Why not!?

I had a few months to prepare myself for tryouts.  In order to get on the soccer team you had to run 1.5 miles around the field in 15 minutes wearing soccer cleats.  I had never run in my life so I had to get to work.  So I go to my dad and ask him to train me.  He gives me a workout to do in the gym at the college and then I would go outside and run around the track as he timed me.  One of the first things that had to change about my lifestyle was that I had to actually eat food so that I would have energy.  Back in my cheerleading days all I would eat for an entire day was donut sticks from the vending machine at lunch and then a salad from Wendy's for dinner.  That's it.  So with my new intense training schedule I had to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  I remember hating it, but doing it anyway.

By the time that tryouts came around, I was ready freddy.  I got on the team.

But that was just the beginning.

What I didn't consider before was the fact that basically all of the girls on the team had been playing soccer and developing their skills since they were kids.  I played soccer as a kid for one season and then dropped out.  If I remember correctly, I quit because of massive amounts of embarrassment brought on when my dad interuppted one of my games to make me tuck my shirt in.  (I was the only girl on the team and I wanted to fit in with all the boys that had their shirts untucked, but my dad didn't think that was lady-like...I don't really get it, but whatevs).  Anywho, I quickly realized that if I was going to be taken seriously I needed to actually learn how to play soccer...novel concept, I know.

I was horrible with touch on the ball.  I just didn't have the graceful foot work it took to be a good player.  The one thing I was good at, was sitting on the bench and cheering for the team. :)  Those cheerleading skills did come in handy.  But, as a rule, every player got to play at least 30 seconds of every game no matter what.  It was always a little disheartening when it was a close game, but there would be only a few minutes left on the clock and Coach Bush would realize he hadn't put me in yet.  He would look at me like, "Please, don't mess this up!"  and then would yell, "McNemar!!!! Get in there!"  I remember one game we were playing against Lewis County (the worse team in the district).  I actually got to play an entire half.  The highlight of that game was that I got an assist.  It was a complete accident, but it still counts.  I was running down the field at full speed and Shayna Williams was running parallel to me.  Someone downfield passed me the ball and it accidently bounced off my leg and over to Shayna for the goal.  I was so excited!!! Until later in the game when I got clotheslined by a girl that gave herself the nickname Butch.  I was running full steam again down the field.  Other than my cheering skills I was also pretty good at running through people without stopping. I was short and fast.  Butch had the ball so my plan was to run right through her and take it from her, but she must have known because as I ran at her she held out her arm and bent down low just in time to have me flying through the air.

The other girls knew I was trying my best even though I sucked.  They didn't treat me like a cheerleader, which was awesome.  They helped me any way they could.  Unfortunately after losing my third toenail, and suffering from a mean case of shin splits, my doc told me I couldn't play anymore.  Honestly, I was relieved.  I knew from the beginning that I was sucky, but I didn't want to give up.  At the beginning of every game when we did the warm-up routine as a team with the stands full of parents and friends, I got so pumped up that if I would have had wings I would have flown.

As I was running today, I thought about why I ever thought I could try out for one of the states best high school girls soccer teams with zero experience and/or talent.  But, I didn't like people telling me that things are impossible or that I couldn't do things.  This wouldn't always prove to be a good motivation in my life, but in this instance it was.  I may not have become the star player, but I tried.  I may not have scored a goal or gotten to play a full game, but I tried.  I gave it my best.  That's life.  If you feel something stirring in you, but you're afraid that you don't have what it takes, so what!?  You gotta try, or you'll never know what you could have done.

Whatever I end up doing, and wherever I end up going, I'm going to do my best and try.  If I fail, it's only because God has something better for me.   I truly believe with all my heart that you can't fail at something God has anointed you to do.  It might end up looking different than you thought, and instead of fireworks, maybe you get a small flame, but that's okay.  Sometimes Jesus had a multitude following Him, and sometimes He was alone....but the whole time He was doing the will of the Father.  Even though there were many people that did not accept Him, and still don't, He did not fail.  He was denied by and let down by the people closest to Him, but He did not fail.  He willingly gave His life, so that we could all live....and He did not fail.

Being here has reminded me of just how far I've come.  I am really proud of the woman I am today.  I'm going to mess up and fail, but my God will not.  AMEN!



A Time of Peace....

As I was walking out of Christopher Hall, on West Virginia Wesleyan College's campus this evening following an amazing night with the WVWC Fellowship of Christian Athletes, I realized something.

I'm happy.

Deeply happy.

And it's not just your average happiness.  Feelings of happiness come and go.  It's the peace I have now that is the most amazing.  It's the peace that comes from the Holy Spirit.  The peace that defies all earthly understanding.  I don't understand it, but it's real.  It's so close I can wrap it around me like a scarf.

God has given me the most amazing gift, and I think I am just now realizing just how great it really is.  He has given me the gift of living each day one at a time.  

I don't know what tomorrow is going to bring.  My old agenda of non-stop emails, phones calls, and faxes, is gone.  Now I get the honor and privilege of taking my 89 year old Grammy to her doctors appointments and chat with her about old times.  I get to run errands with my dad and go to the gym with my mom.   I get to spend time with my family.  I get to face the ghosts of my past and lay them to rest for good. 

I am at peace.

I feel like I "should" feel like I need to be doing something else right now.  But I don't.  I feel like I am right where I am supposed to be, doin' exactly what God wants me to do.

I went out to our camp on the river on Thursday night and stayed until Friday evening.  Just me, God, and the river.  I spent all of Friday in prayer.  I got to sit in God's lap and let Him speak to me. 

The message I am hearing over and over again is the same no matter where I go:

God wants us to realize who we really are in Him.  He wants us to stop talking about a change, and make one.  He wants us to believe that what He says in the Bible is true and live accordingly.  It's time to stop living with one foot in the old and one foot in the new.   We need to realize the power we have.  Not for our glory, but for His.


Katie Peacetrain McNemar


Thursday, February 3, 2011


Being back in my hometown is surreal.  Even though I have come into town at least every 4 months (or more) since I left when I was 18 to go to college, there is just something different about having all your clothes hanging in the closet.  I've spent more than half of my life in Buckhannon.  There are lots of memories here.  Some of my best memories are here....and so are some of my very worst.

I spent about an hour just driving around yesterday.  As I passed by familiar roads, schools, stores, and houses I feel almost like I am remembering a dream I once had or maybe recalling a story I heard someone tell about a girl named Katie that used to live in this place.  I think I feel so out of place right now because I am truly not the same person I was when I lived here 11 years ago.  Not one thing is the same about me except my smile, laugh, and my need to give everyone big hugs.  I have been changed from the very core, and in a way, it's really hard to take a look back at my old life.   It's hard remembering how I used to feel inside. It's hard to remember things that happened in the past.  Even though I never really forgot, seeing things or people, make me remember in a more real way.

Everywhere I go has a memory.

I forgot how much pain I felt when I lived here.  How empty I felt.

Honestly, I don't want to remember.  I don't want to feel it.

I want to be here, whether it be for another day or another month, and be able to look at everything as though it is all new to me.  I don't want to drive past something or talk to someone and have to relive my past.  I don't know if that is the right way to think about it or not.  I feel like I have already faced my past hurts and pains.  They are already healed.  There are some things or people that aren't going to change even though I have, and that should be okay.  But maybe I am wrong.  Maybe I am here to face these things...again.  I don't really know.   

All this makes me think about scars.

Jesus has scars on His hands and feet from the nails He took for our salvation.

Even though God raised Him from the dead, He left the scars as a reminder of Jesus' sacrifice.  When people saw the risen Christ, it was the scars on His hands that allowed them to believe it was really Him (John 20:19-31).

I suppose it is by my scars from the wounds of my past that show that I am a new person in Christ.  My wounds used to open.  I would try and cover them on my own, but the healing was only skin deep.  When I met Jesus, he opened my wounds and healed them from the inside out.  It took time and it took a willingness to allow that pain to come to the surface again, but it was worth it.

The feelings I feel now as I look at my old life are like hearing a sad story about someone else's life.  I suppose that is what I am feeling as I go around and revisit my past.  Maybe I am just sad for what the Old Katie went through.  It's almost like mourning a death.  I mourned my old life years ago, but I never visited the grave.

This is all for a purpose.  That much I know.  This experience is making me all the more thankful to God for all that He has done for me. 

Buckhannon is a wonderful place, and I don't want any ghosts haunting me while I am here. 


New Katie

"See! I will not forget you. I have carved you on the palm of my hand." (Isaiah 49:15)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Walk By Faith....

As I was preparing to move from DC to WV, I had a few things that were stressful: getting things taken care of at work before I left, packing up my apartment, renting a UHaul, saying goodbye to my friends, etc.  But nothing was more stressful to me than worrying about driving through the mountains of Garrett County Maryland.  I could be wrong, but I am pretty sure that even in the middle of summer there is still snow on the tops of those mountains (or as folks who live in the Rockies like to call them...hills). 

I don't know what happened to me.  When I was younger and living in WV, ice and snow didn't worry me one bit.  After moving to DC things changed.  All-of-a-sudden I forgot how to drive in the snow and on the curvy country roads I grew up on.

As we were packing up my UHaul, I didn't worry about the fact that my apartment building didn't schedule my moveout and therefore I found myself surrounded by snotty DC college kids wanting the loading dock.  No sir.  That didn't bother me one bit.  I worried about the snowy drive to WV.

Leaving DC, the roads weren't too bad.  I don't know what the people of MD make their blacktop out of, but it always looks icy and slick to me.  The salt on the roads leave shiny white streaks everywhere, and all I can think as I am driving is that they are ice patches and I am going to hit one of them and lose control.

My dad drove the UHaul.  My mom drove her Jeep.  I drove mine.  We had a nice little caravan goin'.  Normally I drive pretty fast, but in the winter I drive super slow.  As the McNemar caravan winds up the mountains, I become more and more focused on what I think is ice on the roads.  The temperature gauge in my Jeep climbs down into the lower 30's and I start to panic.  My hands grip the steering wheel so hard that my fingers turn white.  The speed limit is 65, but I am going 50.  My mom calls me on my cell phone and asks me where I am.

Mom: "Hey Kate, everything okay?"
Me: "Um, yeah."
Mom: "Where are you? We can't see you?"
Me: "I'm, um, I'm right behind you all.  Don't worry, you all just go ahead and I'll catch up later."
Mom: "Well, honey, what's wrong!? You need to keep up with us so we can travel together."
Me: "I'm trying to keep up with you, but you're drivin' like you're in the Daytona 500.  Are your feet made of bricks!!?  You're takin' the turns like your in the General Lee!  I'm just tryin' to stay on the freakin' road back here.  Me and this guy from Georgia feel more comfortable at 50mph."
Mom:  (long pause) "Honey.  Why do you think you're going to go off the road?"
Me: "Look, I know you think I'm crazy, but I feel like I am going to hit an ice patch, flip my car, hit the side of a mountain, and die in burning fiery explosion like you see in movies starring Jason Statham. Pretty simple."
Mom: "Who's Jason Latham, Lanham, Stanton...!?  Nevermind...doesn't matter.  Kate, I know that you think the shiny white patches on the road are ice, but they aren't, honey, I promise."
Me: "Why are you leading the caravan if you don't even know who Jason STAtham is?  Oh my gosh, we're all gonna die"
Mom: "Honey, please calm down.  Seriously, I know you feel out of control, but you are going to just have to trust dad and I right now. Okay.  There isn't any ice on these roads.  You have your car in all-wheel drive.  You are driving a Jeep.  You are going to make it, okay.  Listen to me.  I need you to drive faster and keep up with us because once we get to the other side of this mountain there may be snow.  I want to get through here before the snow hits.  The only way we are going to be able to do that is if you trust us and put the pedal to the medal.  We aren't going to go ahead of you, so you better just get movin'. K!!?"
Me: "K.  I'll try.  But if I crash, and survive the 500 foot fall off the side of a mountain.  I'm comin' for you.  So you better just save up to buy me a new face, okay."
Mom: "Okay, honey.  We'll buy you a new face if you crash.  Are you ready to do this!?"

So I did it.  Reluctantly I drove faster and kept up with my parents.  As we were coming down the mountains into Morgantown, WV, as few snow flakes started to fall.  That's when I knew that we had missed the snow.  As we got closer to Buckhannon the temperature gauge climbed all the way to 40 degrees.  Snow started melting off my Jeep and all was well with the world.

I really thought that the roads were covered with ice.  I couldn't convince myself otherwise.  My fear caused me to become tense and slow down for no reason.  That is why the Bible tells us to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor 5:7).  We can't always trust our feelings or what we see.  We have to have faith that God will not let us fall.  God has a purpose for me, or else I wouldn't be here.  He can take me any time He sees fit, but I have no control over when that is.  I need to be cautious and seek His guidance, but I don't need to fear things that aren't real.  Our enemy seeks to steal, kill, and destroy our lives.  His greatest victory is when we live our lives in fear and turn our hearts from Jesus.  When we let fear slow us down....he wins.

Let's put the pedal to the metal.  Let's live our lives free of fear!  In my life right now....all I see are shiny white patches like look like ice....but that is only a false alarm.