Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Dog's Life: Part V...

Thank you for joining me here at The Dailies for another enlightening look into A Dog's Life.  Today, my dog Bailey, has a big announcement to share with everyone!

Me: So, Bailey, you have something that you would like to share with us, right!?  What's the big news!?!?

Bailey: Thanks for having me back again, Katie! Especially after I puked in your shoes the other day.  It's tough to come back from something like that.  Anyways....I have a pretty exciting announcement.  I didn't see it coming.  I wasn't expecting it.  BUT....I kinda, sorta have a new boyfriend!

Me:  Really!!!??  Wow, Bailes, that is so super exciting!  Who's the lucky dog?

Bailey:  His name is Zack Alkire.  You know him. 

Zack Alkire...I know him...

Me:  Aww, I love Zack!  He's such a good doggie!  But, Bailey, isn't he a little young for you?  He's only 3 and your 8 years old.  Does the age gap make it difficult?

Bailey:  The age gap has been a bit of a problem.  He has a lot to learn, but his youthful energy is actually what I like about him. 

Me: I kinda had a feeling that something was going on after I heard that you went on a trip to a waterfall together.  Kinda romantic!!

Romantic waterfall

Bailey: That is the trip that I finally stopped trying to bite him and finally gave him a chance.

Me:  That's...sweet. 

Bailey: I actually have some pictures of us that will explain everything if you don't mind taking a look.

Me:  Awesome! I love pictures, let's take a look!

This is one of the reasons why it's been so hard for me to give Zack a chance.  He's just comes on too strong!

I tried to play hard to get, but I still wore my BEST pink harness.  He totally knew I was into him...
He is so attentive and excited about me, that's he just so hard to ignore.  And there's just something about his eyes...
He went outside with me to make sure that I didn't get attacked by that pack of coyotes that live above our camp (true story!).  What a gentleman!
We have SO much in common.  We both love to eat grass....

....To sit in chairs...

....AND chew up sticks!  What more could a girl want?
But sometimes I still growl at him and show my teeth when he gets too close for comfort.

But my dad likes him, so that's a huge plus!
He makes me smile and that's what's really important. :)

Me:  I love your pictures, Bailey girl!!  You two seem to have a lot in common and you look really happy....except for that one picture of you growling.  Isn't being in love great!!!?

Bailey: Let's not get crazy now.  The "L" word is a little much.  I like him.  Let's just sit with that for awhile.  Let it soak in, ya know?

Me: Okay, okay.  I'm not trying to rush anything.  It's just that you two are so cute together!!

Bailey:  I didn't say anything to you about Tony, did I?  Nope. I just kept my muzzle shut and waited for you to figure it all out on your own.  I met the guy.  I like him, even though he doesn't even remotely smell like anything dead.  I dig his vibe.  He has a really great energy, ya know.  I didn't want to bite him, snarl, or bark incessantly at him; so that's another good thing.  You two are far better suited for each other than Zack and me.  But, I'm still going to give that speckled doggie a fighting chance.

This is Tony. He does NOT smell like dead things.
Me:  I'm really happy to hear that you "dig Tony's vibe".  He's pretty groovy, for sure.  I wish you and Zack all the happiness that Tony and I have.  You're a good girl and you deserve a good doggie.  What's next for you and Zack!?

Bailey:  Zack got sprayed by a skunk (true story!), so he's kinda out of commission right now.  Once he's allowed to come out and play again, I figure we'll head out on another adventure.  He's not a great swimmer, so I think I'll take him out on the river so he can learn.  I'm more of a country dog and he's  more of a city dog, but I think we're going to get along just fine!

Is that Moses? 

Me:  That sounds like a plan, Bailes!  I don't think it's a coincidence that you and I both found really great guys at around the same time.  I pray this gives hope to everyone out there who is faithfully waiting for the right one and feeling like it's never going to happen.

Bailey:  I hope so too.  Zack is my first boyfriend. I've been waiting all my life for this misfit mutt, so I know all about losing your patience. The right one is well worth the wait.  You don't want to settle, but you also don't want to get too overly picky.  Listen to me everyone, don't disregard someone just because they sniff your butt or pee on your dad's truck tire. Nobody's perfect.

Me:  Um....yeah.  That's some pretty sound advice there, Bailey.   Thank you again for sharing with us!

Join us next time for more compelling stories from A Dog's Life!


Love-sick puppies

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My True Bollywood Story: Part 2...

My True Bollywood Story
Part 2

I used to be one of those girls that always had a boyfriend.  It all started when I was13.  I went from fuzzy hair, braces, and Barbies at the age of 12, to the following year being a cheerleader, wearing makeup, and a having a boyfriend that played football.  It wasn't until I was 26 years old that I finally understood that I could exist outside of decorating someone's arm. 

After my last serious relationship ended four years ago, I've dated here and there, but overall this has been a time for Jesus and I.  Not because that was my goal, but because God knew better than I did about what I really wanted and needed.  If it had been up to me I would have gladly slipped my hand into another's instead of crawling into God's hands and letting Him redeem my life. 

I'm sure glad I didn't get what I wanted back then.

God has protected my heart each time I tried to make things work with someone in my own timing and effort.  My old life was such a stark contrast to this new life I now have with Jesus.  I used to have guys calling me all the time, asking me out, wanting to "date" me and "hang out" with me (I think the quotes are appropriate here).  That used to  make me feel wanted and pretty.  When I gave my life to Jesus, the calls stopped.  I would  be out with some girlfriends and all of them would get hit on accept me.  No one was giving me lines.   No one was coming after me.  No one was giving me winks as they sat next to their girlfriends. 

I didn't understand what was happening. 

I used to get my self esteem from whether or not a guy would hit on me or come after me.  When guys weren't chasing after me like they used to, at first I felt like there was something wrong with me, or that they saw in me all of the dark, awful things I always felt were there.  Maybe I wasn't smart enough, maybe I wasn't pretty enough, maybe I wasn't funny enough. 

I started to pray about it. 

That's when Jesus showed me that all those years that guys were hitting on me and I was beating them off with a stick, it was all because they were coming after me for all the wrong reasons.  They saw the weakness in me. My low self esteem was an easy target.  They saw what was on the outside.  They didn't see my heart.  They didn't see who I am in Jesus.  They didn't want to know my dreams or my hopes.  They didn't care if my heart got trampled.  They saw a pretty girl that they wanted to call theirs for a little while and then discard when they got bored. 

But after I started hanging out with Jesus and He started showing me who I am in Him, men started to treat me differently.  Without even trying or meaning to, I exude the light and innocence of God's Holy Spirit.  Men that have wrong intentions stay away from the truth revealing light of God. 

Once I realized what this shift meant, it made being single so much easier. 

Once I realized who I am in Jesus, it made it easier to say "no" to the wrong guys.

Once I realized my worth and my true beauty, it made it easier to wait.

People kept telling me about their "friend" I should meet, or try and get me to do eHarmony.  They would say to me, "Katie, you just need to get out there.  Just go to happy hours or parties with your friends.  You're never going to meet anyone if you have your nose buried in a book or sit in your apartment writing all day long."  Their advice made sense in a way.  It sounded like the right thing to do.

But God just wouldn't let me do it.

I wanted to.  I even tried to.  But I just couldn't.  I knew deep in my heart that I wasn't going to have to try to find a man.  I  knew that one day as I was out faithfulling living my life for Jesus that the right guy for me would come along without my "trying" to find him, get him, chase him, get his attention, etc. 

Some really great guys came along my path.  I gave them a chance, but no one felt "right".  There was always something that just didn't fit. The only thing that kept me going was that years ago God told me that my love story would be something that I would never ever be able to come up with in my own imagination.  And I have one crazy imagination. 

I was never interested in fairy tales and Hollywood romance.  Fairy tales don't even come close to the adventure that God has for each of us if we only allow Him full access to our lives.  Hollywood romance is so shallow.  I want real, messy, beautiful, redemptive, healing, crazy, selfless, painful, powerful, life-changing, uncomfortable love that can't be truly lived out the way that it was intended unless you both let the Holy Spirit lead you. 

Waiting for the right man is always easier when you know that God is writing your love story. 

As I said in Part 1 of My True Bollywood Story, Tony and I met via our Christian blogging community.  He  literally came out of nowhere.  I wasn't trying.  He wasn't trying.  God brought us together at the exact right time, and in the exact right way.

The way that Tony has been there for me has changed me.  I am not the same person I was four months ago.  His love has helped me to see God in ways that I wouldn't have been able to any other way.  Tony sees me the way that God sees me.  He has gotten to know my heart, my dreams, my pains, my hurts, my fears, my joys, and what makes me laugh until I cry.  He has been patient and understanding with me and I have struggled to let him in to a heart that has been broken many times over.  He has prayed with me and for me as I have faced some of the biggest battles of my whole life.  He has listened and empathized as I have shared with him the hardships and struggles I've faced over these last four months of transition. He has celebrated with me every time that God has shown up or worked a miracle.   He has pushed me to keep going and believe in myself when all I want to do is hide.  He has made me laugh or smile every single day no matter how bad his day or my day has been. He has supported me, believed in me, and trusted me as I have made decisions that effect both of us.  His unconditional love has made me feel worthy, respected, and loved even in my mistakes and weaknesses.  He has always made me feel respected, comfortable, and safe.  He has made me more...me.

And that is why I am moving to Florida in July in order to be with him....

Stay tuned for more details!



Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My True Bollywood Story: Part I...

You may or may not know this about me, but I LOVE Bollywood movies.  The over-the-top romance was funny to me at first.  Dancing through the streets, singing to each other, wearing crazy costumes, running to each other over bridges, running in the rain, running through fields of flowers.  There is a lot of running in these films.  Love gained, love temporarily lost, love found once again.  Yeah, it's hokey, but it spoke to that part of me that wanted at least some of it to be true; to be possible. 

I was a cynic when it came to romance and over-the-top ridiculous love.  That is, until I met Tony.

Ladies and gentleman, I bring you....

My True Bollywood Story
Part 1

I didn't know on December 21st, 2010 that a comment left on my Christmas blog would end up changing my life forever.  That day was the first time that Tony Alicea had stopped by The Dailies. 

Tony J

I knew who he was.  I had found his blog, Expect the Exceptional, through a blogger friend of mine, Kristin, at Messiah Mom.  I had read a few of his posts and commented once or twice before.  There are a lot of amazing Christian bloggers in the world, but Tony has such an unique way of writing to inform, teach, inspire, and encourage.  Any time I would read his posts I would feel challenged to be better, but also leave with the encouragement that I could do it.  The day he commented on my blog, my immediate thought was, "What is he doing over here at  my piddly little blog??"  I wasn't sure how he found me, but I was happy that he had stopped by.  It wasn't until my thirtieth birthday that things started to get interesting.  That was the day that Tony asked to be my Facebook friend and that is when the sparks started to fly. 

I knew from the beginning of our correspondence that something was different about the way Tony wrote to me than with anyone else, but I kept telling myself to forget even toying with the idea of us being anything other than friends.  He lived in Florida and I lived in DC.  I vowed never to meet someone over the internet, not even on match.com or eharmony.  I didn't want to like him, but I couldn't help myself.  I knew he liked me the day that he wrote this comment on my blog about quitting my job and moving back to WV. 

I tried not to think too much about Tony. God had asked me to quit my job in DC, uproot my whole life, and move back to my homestate of WV.  The last thing I wanted was to get a crush on some guy that lived a thousand miles away and get my heart broken while I am trying to find my footing in this new adventure God had called me to. 

But God had other plans.

Shortly after my arrival in the Mountain State Tony sent me a personal email with some encouraging words and Scripture.  This email started a chain of emails between us that started as a few shorts paragraphs and then becoming novels in length.  A few days later, Tony asked me if he could call me on the phone.  Forgetting the rule to play hard to get, I emailed him back within a manner of minutes with my emphatic 'yes'!!  The night he called me, we were on the phone for over four hours without so much as a pause.  We talked like we had known each other all our lives.  We quickly scheduled another phone date. 

Our second phone conversation was just amazing as the first.  It was during this call that Tony did something that made my jaw drop.  About three-fourths of the way through another 4 hours convo, he said this to me, "I am all about being up front and transparent about my intentions with you.  Look, Katie, I like you.  It's my intention to get to know you and pursue you."  Wow.  I sure wasn't used to guys doing that.  This declaration meant that I wouldn't have to call my girlfriends up and wonder aloud if and when I might hear from Tony again.  I didn't have to ponder if he was just a friendly brother in Christ trying to be an encouragement to me as I struggled through a super hard transition.  Nope.  I knew that he liked me.  Up front.  No guessing games.  Knowing that gave me the freedom to relax and just be myself.

After our second phone call, Tony asked me if we could Skype.  I didn't have a video camera on my computer and I had never Skyped, but I couldn't wait to talk with him "face to face".  The first time we ever Skyped was on Valentine's Day.  For the first few seconds of seeing each other on the screen all we could do was smile like idiots and blush. 

From the very beginning I felt different with Tony than I had with any other man I had ever dated.  His confidence and transparency allowed me to feel comfortable opening up to him not just about my past struggles and heartaches, but with my current hardships.  It was always easier for me to tell stories of victory and come out the victor of battles fought and won, but it has always been really hard for me to share what is currently going on in my life. Especially with a guy that I want to like me back.  But as Tony opened up to me, I felt comfortable opening up to him.  Each time I told him something that I was afraid to share with him and he didn't freak out or judge me at all, I felt more and more at ease.  He wouldn't just listen, he would pray with me and for me.  It wasn't long until we decided that we needed to meet in person.  Three weeks after our first phone call we made plans to meet in Washington, DC for a long weekend.  We chose DC because it was neutral territory and had tons of fun things for us to do. 

Waterfront in DC
I'll never forget how I felt when I saw Tony for the first time.  I pulled up to the curb to pick him up at the airport and he quickly hopped in my Jeep.  We only had a few seconds to stare at each other like geeks before the police officers were asking me to pull away from the curb to let someone else in.

That weekend was surprising and awesome for me in so many ways.  I could immediately tell that Tony was the real deal.  I was so surprised by how immediately we clicked.  I was super anxious about the whole "spending three days straight with someone I just met" situation, but just being around Tony made me feel relaxed.  He was always careful to make sure I felt safe, protected, respected, and comfortable. 

We're dorks
After that trip, we immediately planned a trip for me to come visit him in Florida.  I ended up driving down to see him with my Aunt Debbie, who has a place a few hours from where Tony lives.  I really dislike super long road trips, so spending 16 hours driving to see Tony was a true testiment to how much I wanted to see him.  Spending time with Tony and his family and friends was so amazing.  I left Florida with a newfound love for hot weather and straight roads...and a boyfriend.

Stay tuned for more...


Katie Mae

Friday, May 13, 2011

Dead Ends...

Some people hate going to the dentist, some people hate going for a routine check-up, some people hate getting their car inspected. 

None of that stuff worries me in the least. 

The one thing that gets my palms a little sweaty is....going to the hair dresser.

It doesn't matter if I'm going in for a simple trim or a haircut/three color combo.  I already know what the hairdresser is going to say once they get the chance to run their fingers through  my hair and ask, "So, tell me what you're wanting done today?"  Before they even get the question out of their mouth, they are already thinking about all the hair treatments, color correction, and major dead-end removal that my pathetic mane needs.

Let me take a moment to defend myself.  It's important that you understand something about my upbringing before I go any further.  I grew up in the country, okay.  In WV, we learn to color, highlight, cut, trim, and by-golly even Flowbee our dag-on hair ourselves.  Why pay tons of money to have something done that your third cousin learned to do after watching an infomerical non-stop because the TV got stuck on QVC and she couldn't find the remote?  Before I learned to drive I knew how to pull my own hair through a highlighting cap using a hand mirror. Don't act like you're not impressed!

Has your sister's best friend attended two days of beauty school?  Then she is more than qualified to cut my hair to look like Rachel from Friends.  Did you pass Chemistry in high school with a high D?  Then you can use the over-the-counter highlighting kit to bleach my hair.  Have you ever made one of those super complicated snowflakes out of folded paper?  Then you can trim my hair.


<---Better than that
In fifth grade I cut my shoulder length hair into a bob one day because my mom left me at home alone...with my father....and a new pair of scissors. 

After one very unfortunate incident where I fell asleep while getting my hair cut, my cousin Heather helped me correct the worst hair cut ever given to a human being.  People with naturally curly hair should never be given a fade.  Not even if they accidentally fall asleep while you talk to your boyfriend on your cell phone.  She stayed up with me until four in the morning trying to help me fix it so that I wouldn't jump off a bridge like I threatened.  We end up with something I could deal with, but I didn't shake the nickname Sharon Stone for awhile.  I always vowed to never do anything in my life that would leave me with Sharon Stone as a nickname. 

Me and Heather
I once turned my hair orange, a la Ronald McDonald, while trying to accomplish a "golden blond" look.  My mom ran out to get some brown hair color and my dad thoughtfully came up with ways that I could possibly work from home.

This may sound crazy to some of you, but I have a feeling there are some other country folks out there that will completely understand what I'm talking about.

Now that I have done the worst job on Earth defending my DIY hair care addiction, I'll tell you about going to the hair dresser yesterday.

First of all, I have been highlighting and coloring my hair myself for the last few years.  Hair care lay-people (ie...men) of the world think my hair color is usually pretty decent, but it only takes a profeesional stylist .0007 seconds to say, "So...you've been doing your own hair color, I see."  *Palms sweating

Second of all, I always wait waaaaay too long to get my hair trimmed.  I wait until we are in code red (aka...Hermoine Granger) territory before I decide to do something about it.  By that time, most of my hairs are split to the roots and short of shaving my head, I have to settle of them taking at least two months worth of hard-earned growth from my lovely locks.

Most hair stylists in WV are used to seeing home-made hair cuts and color, but when I was DC, the stylists couldn't believe that anyone in their right mind would ever grab a box of hair color off the discount shelf in Big Lots.  When asked who the last person was to cut my hair, I would lie and say their competetors salon name instead of telling them that I got bored one night and did it myself while drinking wine and watching a Netflix marathon of Parks and Recreation.  Every once in a while a miracle would happen and a stylist in a fancy-pants DC salon would say that whoever did my last color did an excellent job.  I would get myself all puffed up until I would, once again, turn my hair purple for a few days. 

I'm not even going to end this post with a touching Jesus Juke about trimming dead ends, or going to a Professionals for our needs.  Nope. I'm just going to leave you to picture me with purple hair.  Happy Friday.


DIY Hair Care Queen

Have you ever had a DIY home hair care disaster?  Are you from the country, and you like it that way?  Do you get nervous going to the salon?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


I don't like change.

I've never liked it.

But God doesn't really care that I don't like change. He's kept me in an almost constant state of flux over these last 5 or so years just so that I can get over my distaste for the unknown, let go of the reigns, and embrace the wild ride that is a life lived for Christ. 

I've always wanted to be one of those people that embrace change and run into the unknown with carefree abandon.  But that doesn't come naturally to me.  I've had a tough time giving up my time and space.  I like my space.  I like to do things my way.  I want to be in control at all times.  I go when I want, and I stay when I want.  My life. My rules.

But God doesn't follow my rules. My space isn't my space. It's His space.  My things aren't my things.  They are His things.  My time isn't my time.  It's His time.  My seeming control isn't mine at all.  He is the one that is in control.  My life isn't my life and my rules mean crap.

He reminds of these facts all. the. time.

Now I understand what Janis Joplin meant when she said, "Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose."  When we live our lives in fear of losing things or people, we are not free.   When we live our lives in fear of losing control or power, we are not free.  When we live our lives afraid of losing our lives....we are not free.   That tight grip we have on everything is using up all our energy.  Until we are willing to let go of all the things and people we cling to for comfort instead of Jesus, we will continue to exhaust ourselves.

All that being said....I am guilty of white knuckling some things in my life lately.  As each finger slowly loses it's grip and the control slips from my fingers into God's hands...I react as if someone is waterboarding me.   As I hang on by a finger, I feel as if everything is going to fall apart if I let go.  But, God whispers sweetly and softly to me that if I would only trust Him with my life and all of the things I fear...I will no longer feel like I am being slowly tortured....I will feel FREE!

My life is getting ready to change completely once again.  Every aspect.  Everything.  The next twist in this adventure will be a big one, but I wouldn't want to live life any other way!  Putting all of my trust in God releases me to freely live the adventure He has called me to live.

I feel like once again I am standing on that platform at the trapeze school.  I am leaning my full body weight out over the ground 40 feet below me, holding onto the trapeze bar with my right hand, and dangling my toes over the edge.  The only thing I have control over at this point is the bar on the platform I cling to with my left hand.  I have to decide.  Will I let go and grab the trapeze bar with my left hand and give total control to someone else, or will I refuse to let go because of fear?  If I give up control, I will be able to taste the freedom of flying through the air.  If I refuse, I will never understand what it feels like to let go and be free.  Just like I did that day at the trapeze school....I have decided to let go....

Change isn't easy, but Lord, I was born a ramblin (wo)man.



Do you look forward to change, or are you like me?  What are some freedoms you have experienced in your walk with Jesus?  Do you love the Allman Brother's as much as I do?  How about Janis Joplin?

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Dog's Life Part IV....

I may not be a mommy (yet) but I have experienced what it's like to be the "mommy' of a puppy.  It can't be that different, right!?  In today's installment of A Dog's Life, Bailey and I discuss how we first met and how hard it is to be disciplined sometimes.

Me: Thank you for joining me today, Bailey girl! I'm glad that we can meet out here in the back yard so that you can bark at our neighbors and snap at bugs that fly near your butt.

Bailey: It's my pleasure!  I always look forward to our talks.  You know that I don't get a lot of time off from work, so I thought it would be best for you to meet me at  my place of business.

Me: Um...so...this is your place of business?  I mean I know you "do your business" out here, but I didn't realize that you considered this your workplace.

Bailey: Of course I do!  My job never ends.  This back yard is where I "do my business", bark at potential trespassers, and bite at annoying bugs. Anyway...enough about work.  Let's get down to the nitty gritty stuff....

Me: Alrighty then!  I wanted to talk with you today about the day that I adopted you!  That is the day that I became your mommy!  Do you remember that day?

Bailey:  Oh man, are you going to be getting all sentimental on me!?  Well...I actually do remember the day pretty well.  I had been taken away from my dog mommy a few days before you got there.  I remember the first time I saw you.  You came over to my cage and you looked in at me and my brother and sister.  Your eyes welled up and you pointed to me and you said, "I want her!!"

Me: (wiping tear away quickly)  I remember that day so well.  There were so many dogs, cats, kitties, and puppies at the Cabell-Huntington animal shelter that day.  Each sad face had a story.  Each animal in desperate need of some love and a home.  I knew I wasn't leaving there that day without an animal in my arms.  It was just so hard to choose. I felt overwhelmed by the need.  When I walked by your little cage I saw you sitting in the very back.  You little tummy was all puffed up from the worm medicine they gave you.  You had eaten all of the dog food yourself and your brother and sister didn't get any of it. :)  There was just something in your eyes when I looked at you that said to me..."This is her!"  When they handed you to me, I instantly felt that I loved you.  You were only a few weeks old...probably too young to be away from your mommy.  I wrapped you in a towel and held you against my chest and your little eyes fell closed and you sucked your tongue while you had little puppy dreams.

Bailey:  I'm glad you didn't leave without me that day.  I have always remembered that you saved me. I just hope that my brother and sister got saved as well.  The reason I am so overprotective you guys and that I bark all the time is because I know that you saved me.  I know that if someone wouldn't have saved me, then I would have died.  I know how awful I acted as a puppy and it always makes me wonder why you didn't just give up on me and get rid of me.  I chewed your favorite shoes, I peed and pooped everywhere, I bit everyone and everything...I was completely out of control! 

Me:  I can't imagine our lives without you!  You are right where you are supposed to be.  Every puppy does the things you do before they grow up and learn how to act.  We love you even when you mess up or you do bad things.  Because we love you, we have to teach you and discipline you. 

Bailey:  Yeah, discipline kinda sucks.  Even though I'm supposedly grown up I still mess up and do bad things.  Remember what happened the other morning!??? 

Me:  I remember.  You stole an opened can of tuna from dad and tried to hide out in  my bedroom and eat it.  You knew you were doing something wrong and thought you could run away and hide.  When I came over to take the can out of your mouth so that you wouldn't cut yourself on the sharp edges you growled at me and tried to bite me.  Why don't you tell the rest of the story....?

Bailey:  Do you understand how yummy tuna is!!!???  I don't get that stuff on my special diet!!  It was like I won the lottery when dad walked away from the can for long enough for me to jump up and steal it.  I wasn't really going to bite you...I was just trying to get you to leave me alone so that I could have what I wanted.  You weren't scared of me at all and you reached right in my mouth even though my teeth were showing and you took it out of my mouth.  Then you smacked my butt and I rolled over on my back and showed you my tummy.  I knew that I was wrong for stealing the tuna, but I wanted it so bad and all you do is give me that gross dog food.  I realized after that incident that I can't scare you away by showing  my teeth or running away.  You were going to do what was best for me no matter what I did...because you love me.  AND that there are consequences when I try and bite you instead of letting you help me.

Me:  And do you understand why it was what was best for you?

Bailey:  Yes, I do.  I am only supposed to have certain food because I am on a special diet that keeps me healthy.  AND the tuna can could have cut my mouth open.  I wasn't thinking of either of those things when I went for the gold.  I guess you know what's best for me even when I don't think about it or don't care.

Me: I don't like punishing you, Bailey, but I have to sometimes.  You need to learn.  When I tell you not to do something or not to eat something, it's not because I don't want you to have fun.  It's because I know what's best for you and I want you to be around for a long, long time. 

Bailey:  Yeah...that makes a lot of sense.  I don't know why I try and hide stuff from you guys.  You can see everything I do.  I always get caught.  It's NO FUN AT ALL!!!

Me:  We aren't trying to ruin your fun.  We want you to be happy and have fun.  But your well-being and life mean more to us than your having a few moments of fun that could harm you.  All that we do is because we love you.  You are such a good doggie! *scratches behind Bailey's ear

Bailey:  You guys are pretty awesome.  I'm glad that I have people like you watching out for me.  I see other dogs that live tied up outside and never get any love.  That makes me sad.  They don't feel any freedom.  They don't feel what it's like to be loved no matter what.  They don't get to have any buddies that pet their tummies and bring them toys.  It's just not right.  I wish all the doggies in the whole world knew what it was like to have someone watching out for them and loving them.  It's so much more relaxing to know that I'm taken care of and loved.

Me: I wish the same thing too, Bailes.  Every doggie and every person deserve to know they are protected and loved.  It's my life's mission to make sure they know that as much as possible.

Bailey:  Me too! What do you think I'm saying when I'm barking so much?  It's just noise to you, I suppose, but my buddies know what I'm saying.  I'm telling them that as long as I'm on the beat...they're safe.

Me:  Yeah...safe from peace and quiet....

Thank you all for joining Bailey and I again today!


Katie and Bailes

Bailey's game face

Friday, May 6, 2011

Last Train to Doubtsville...

Vacations are pretty popular this time of year.  Most people go to Europe, take a road trip, or perhaps go to a nice beach.  I would love to do all that stuff, but for many reasons, I tend to travel to a well known tourist trap. Maybe you've heard of it.  It's a happenin' little place called Doubtsville. 

The cost of staying in Doubtsville is pretty high, so I always plan to just pitch my tent outside the city limits and only go into town occasionally.  But inevitably what happens is that the more time I spend surrounded by the dizzying lights and loud blaring sounds of the bustling metropolis of Doubtsville, the more I forget about my quiet little tent.  The people in Doubtsville totally understand me.  I feel like I fit in there.  I don't have to make as many decisions.  Before I know it, I am not only a resident of the town, but they have elected me Mayor of Doubtsville.  I wear my doubt like a banner.  I am known for my doubt and disbelief.  I change my last name to Katie McDoubterson.  I am the queen of Doubtsville!!!  Bow to me minions!!!

Wow.  That got out of hand pretty quickly. *sound of tiara falling to the ground

There is a difference between doubting and questioning.

Questions can be answered, but doubts just hang around your neck like a weight that only gets heavier.

Yeah, I totally have doubts.  But if I choose to sit in that doubt I will eventually be overcome by it.  Faith and doubt aren't best friends.  They don't even smile at each other when they pass on the street.  One is repelled by the other.  If Faith shows up in Doubtsville, Faith gets to walk the plank.  And the same goes for Doubt showing up in Faithsburg (I'll stop soon, I promise).  If Doubt shows it's ugly mug in Faithsburg, the townspeople send Doubt packin' faster than you can say "Pirates of the Caribbean 4 is a sure sign of the Apocolypse". 

We're all going to experience doubt at some point in our lives.  The key is to turn that doubt 'statement', into a faith 'question'.  God is faithful to answer you when you seek Him. 

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." Matthew 7:7 NIV
We may not always get the answer we thought we wanted and it may not come in the time we wish, but God will answer our questions. 

Doubt is a slippery slope.  At times in my life where I feel far from God and I'm struggling, the last thing I need is someone or something filling my head with more doubt.  I don't need more cynicism. I don't need more sarcasm.  I don't need more fancy intellectual debates. 

I need more faith.

"But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind." James 1:6

I am a chronic overthinker and worrier.  I analyze things until there is nothing left but dust.  I do this because I am afraid that if I don't prepare myself or figure it all out on my  own, then I am going to get hurt or let down.  My doubt and disbelief come from my need to control.  If I can understand it intellectually, then I can feel comfortable.  If I can't, then I feel out of control and vulnerable.  My cynical side wants to protect my scarred heart from any more dents and dings.  But my faith-filled side is taking a sledgehammer to the bricks of doubt and fear built up around my heart.  When we camp out too long with doubt, disbelief, hurt, pain, unforgiveness, etc, we are setting ourselves up to lose our way back to faith.  Part of taking up our cross daily is to constantly loosen our Chuck Norris ninja death grip on doubt and fear.  Turn our doubt and disbelief into a question and release it to God to answer you in His time.  He wants you so badly to know Him.  He wants you to seek Him. He wants you to see His character.  Doubt says, "I'll believe it when I see it."  But Jesus says  in Matthew 21:21, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen." 

I need to hear this message more than anyone.  I have been struggling with doubt lately.  I have to constantly turn my million-thoughts-a-minute self conversation into something I can give to God.  I have to stop turning my "prayer time" into "Katie's incessant self talk time".  I can't hear the voice of God over the din of my own mental chatter.  During this time of transition it's been so easy to worry over every opportunity or lack thereof as if somehow my taking the time to worry is somehow going to quicken God's perfect timing.  Thank You God that I have amazing friends, family, and Tony to encourage and refocus me on the truth of God's promise.  That's what we all need.  When we become the Mayor of Doubtsville, we need people in our lives that challenge us to lose the tiara and burn the "I'm Not Sure About This" t-shirts and take the harder road of faith.  We aren't made to walk that hard road alone.  If you see a friend with the weight of doubt hanging around their neck, grab their hand and turn them back to the God that can take that burden and replace it with His burden to Love.  Love is a lighter and easier yoke than that of doubt.

Love you,

Katie McFaithfullson

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The End of the Tunnel...

Almost Heaven, WV...
 Hey ya'll!!  I know it's been a while.  Thank you for joining me again after my little very long blog hiatus.  I know everyone is wanting to hear an update.  I can't promise that you will feel updated at the end of this post, but I'll try.

I decided long ago, never to walk in any man's shadow, if I fail, I succeed...oh wait.  That's what Whitney Houston decided.  Sorry.  She and I both have sweaty upper lips when we sing, so I get confused.  I decided that I would never blog just to blog.  I always want to make sure that everything I write pours out of me and isn't forced.  That is most likely just an excuse to not have to share the tough stuff, but for now that's the banner I'm waving.  

I want to tell you about all that I have been doing over these last three months, but I feel like I wouldn't be able to do it justice right now.  I haven't gotten paid, but I have been working.  I have been busy doing the work of my Father.  I have learned so much about myself over these last three months.  I know that one day I will look back on this time and covet what once was. 

I have been given the opportunity to learn how to trust God on a daily, sometimes moment-by-moment basis.  Learning how to live for your daily bread and nothing more is hard to do when you have a career plan and have always done a pretty good job of taking care of yourself.  Over these last three months I have learned to sit and wait on God.  This is the hardest lesson I've ever learned.  Praying for more trust is just as or more dangerous than  praying for  more patience.  And we all know what happens when we accidentally pray for  more patience.  I don't even want to think about it. :)

Each day that I lean on Him I learn more about His character, His promise, His voice, His discipline, and His love.  Sometimes people don't understand my decisions or why I do what I do.  They misinterpret my not having a paid "job" right now as being lazy.  I could try to explain myself, but instead I just let them believe what they want to believe.  My pride and selfishness have taken so many hits over these last few months that I am surprised they still get up off the mat for another round.  But they do.  They raise their hands up in defense only to have their leg swept from under them once again. 

Some days I feel close to God and some days I feel as far away from Him as the Earth is to the sun.  I feel like I gaze at Him from a distance wishing I could feel His warmth, but only feeling as if His presence has been eclipsed by darkness.  Some days I know with 100% certainty that I am walking in God's will and other days I feel like I have made all of this up in my head.  Some days I realize that I am living my dreams and other days I feel like I am just grabbing at straws in order to convince myself that what I am doing is the dream God planted in my Spirit.  Some days I seek God with all my heart and other days I hide my face from Him in anger like a spoiled brat.  Some days I feel like everywhere I turn I feel loved and encouraged, other days I feel lonely and distant.

But I don't give up.

I perservere.

I trust.

I rejoice!

God loves me.  He isn't a jerk.  He doesn't throw me into a maze and laugh at me as hit my nose off the walls as I frantically try to find my way to the exit.  He love me.  He doesn't plant a dream in my Spirit and then make it totally impossible to achieve.  He isn't a bully.  He doesn't send me into the desert alone.  He speaks tenderly to me there.  He loves me more than I can ever know.  Most days I feel like it's almost unfair all the blessings and moves of God that I get to witness.  If I keep my heart open and not let the lies of the enemy creep in, I see God everywhere. 

I am beginning to sense another big shift in my life.  I see the widening glow of the light at the end of the tunnel.  I run towards it with perserverance.  I don't allow myself to grow weary despite the distance.  I know that each step isn't just towards my goal...it is my goal.  Every moment counts.  Every experience whether I perceive it as "good" or "bad" is all a part of my story.  Even when I fail, God uses it for His glory.  I don't understand how, but I am sure glad that He does.  My fear of not trying is now greater than my fear of failure and that, my friends, is priceless.  If the worst thing that can happen to me this side of Heaven is to be alone, hated, starved, rejected, beaten and homeless, then I will at least truly understand what it is to take up the cross that my Savior so willinging took for me.  But today, by the grace, mercy, and love of God, that hasn't happened. So therefore I turn to my Abba, my Daddy, my Best Friend, my Counselor, my Helper, my Healer, and I praise Him and I thank Him for all I have when I don't deserve any of it.  I have parents, friends, and a boyfriend that love and support me every day no matter what.  I have a comfortable bed to lay my head in every night.  I have yummy food every day.  I have a dream and a purpose.  I am so amazingly blessed. 


Katie Mae

What are you thankful for today?  Shout it loud and proud!!

Have you ever wondered if you were following God's dream or your own?  What do you do when you feel far from God?