Monday, December 29, 2008

Honest to Goodness

My wonderful and much lauded cousin Martha nominated me for the Honest Scrap blogger award! Read her list here. I don’t have her gift for brevity, so please bear with me on this long post as I list for you “10 honest things about me that you possibly do not know.” And make sure you read to the end, because I may have nominated YOU for the same task!

1. I am a wannabe vegan radical. For some reason I fancy myself a total earth mother, who makes frosting with arrowroot powder and agave nectar and coconut milk instead of butter and sugar (like this blogger does), advocates fair trade and lives super sustainably by making my own clothes and recycling my toilet water and maintaining a compost pile. But alas, I’m just not. Texas de Brazil is my idea of a special occasion dinner, and that’s as un-green and anti-vegan as it gets. I do want to live in a teeny tiny energy-efficient home, and to really serve others in my community. I just ordered a book on Amazon called Irresistible Revolution, and I think it’s going to help me figure out how I can live like a radical in my everyday Jesus-loving life. I’m pumped.
2. I was an overachiever in high school. I was vice president of student council, president of the National Honor Society, a National Merit Scholar Finalist, member of Thespian Society, member of Quill and Scroll, Varsity cheerleader (I quit before my junior year), yearbook editor, newspaper editor, even a member of the vocabulary club! And I’m sure I’m leaving stuff out.

A SACS Lion from age 5

While I don’t look back on those days wistfully (as in, “those were the days”), I do have good memories of high school. On the other hand, part of me wishes I had done less, because I kind of got burned out for college involvement. And on that note…

3. I love the University of Texas and will forever bleed burnt orange, but I don’t think I had an authentic college experience. I graduated early, and didn’t get involved in much except Communications Council (for one year), a student magazine and a free speech group. I also got involved with my church, but not until pretty late in the game. And I worked all through college, so that limited my ability to do a lot. However, God allowed me to have an amazing friend-for-life roommate in college, so I’m grateful for that. I graduated with highest honors, but I regret not taking full advantage of those rare years of being an undergrad.

Me and some of my favorite Longhorns :-)

These next few kind of go together…

4. I sometimes wonder what life would be like if I were still single. Don’t misunderstand me – I’m so GLAD to go through life with Brad, and I don’t regret marrying him for a second. I want to be really clear about that. I thank God every day for him, and for orchestrating everything about our meeting, dating, engagement and marriage the way He did. One of my top goals in life is to be an amazing wife to Bradford. My point is, I always thought I’d be at least 30 before I got married, but I met the man of my dreams at age 20! Just for the sake of curiosity, I sometimes think about what life would be like if I were in Paris and working as a journalist, or living in North Africa and working as a Peace Corps volunteer. Truth is, I’d probably still be right where I am, doing exactly what I’m doing. But it’s funny.

"So happy togetherrrr..."

5. I want babies sooner than four years from now (but I’m going to wait). Brad and I adopted the “five year plan” when we got married. We want to travel the world and finish grad school before other obligations enter the picture. I’m totally committed to the five year plan, but I have a twinkle in my eye for my babies. I can’t wait to meet them someday (Oct. 2012! Ha!).

6. I think Jesus is going to come back before I have kids. Maybe it’s the Christian school influence, but I have ALWAYS thought the second coming of Christ would happen before the next big milestone. I remember being in first grade, and Mrs. McGann told my class that in third grade we get to take achievement tests. I remember thinking “Third grade?! That’s so far away! Jesus will definitely come back before then.” We also lived near the airport growing up, and any time I heard the roar of a plane taking off, I thought it was the rapture. I thought Jesus would come back before I got married, and now I think Jesus will come back before I have kids.

7. Sometimes I want to move back to San Antonio. As much as I’d like to think I’ve got my stuff together up here in Dallas, visits to San Antonio and Boerne make me remember how much I miss my friends and family. It will probably get worse once baby Gaultneys enter the picture, but I know the Lord has us here for a reason, and we have commitments in Dallas that will keep us here for several more years. I really do love Dallas, and I’ve made amazing friends here… I just wish it weren’t a five-hour drive to “home.”

A dreamy picture of SA's Riverwalk, which I have visited probably three times in my life.

8. I have a long memory, sometimes to a fault. The good news is, I will NEVER forget your birthday. If you ask me to pray for something, I will NOT forget to lift you up. However, it also means I know which of Brad’s Corps buddies came to our wedding and didn’t give us a gift. And it means if you ever gave me a backwards compliment, I made a mental note. I hate that about me. Oh well.

9. I’m jealous of blondes. Gah, who knows why this is? Some of my very dearest friends are blonde (Sharkie, Dubey-Lew, Meago, Meggo, just to name a few), and I don’t have any problems with them at all, but other than that, I have this weird jealousy of blondes. Maybe it’s because there really is some buy-in to the “blondes have more fun,” adage, especially in Texas. But I’ve made it clear to Brad that he is not allowed to think blondes are pretty. I understand him saying that Anne Hathaway is attractive, because good night, I even think she’s a sex monster. But Kate Hudson? Carrie Underwood? That girl who dances on the table in the Bacardi Mojito commercial? NO. Not allowed.

Screen shot of the infamous Bacardi Mojito commercial

10. I’m actually really shy. That surprises some people. But yes, I’m a definite introvert, and most of the time I’d rather read a book or watch Bravo TV at home than go to a party.

So now I would like to take a moment to pass the torch to some of my fellow bloggers (including a blonde): Abby, Meagan and Stephanie. I’m tagging you because I love you and can’t wait to see the 10 things you’ll write about. :-) Now get bloggin’!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

O Christmas Tree

I finally have a working cord for Brad's camera, so I thought it was time for a picture post. :-)

I love our dinky little Christmas tree. We got it shortly after our wedding last year. It's a four-foot, pre-lit guy, and we decorated it with these really beautiful ornaments we got for the wedding.

I like the way I wrapped presents this year: black, white, silver and red. That big tube in the back is not wrapping paper... It's an oddly shaped gift in a tube.

I think my favorite ornament is the funny pink bird at the top with the teal feathered tail. Many of you know my affinity for birds (not real birds -- just in decor, fashion, art, etc.). This was part of a really exquisite set of "ornaments for newlyweds." The bird is supposed to symbolize "happiness and joy." (Interestingly enough, a goldfish that came with the set is supposed to symbolize "Christ's blessing." ...?)

Brad and I started a tradition during our first Christmas together that we would make our tree topper each year. Last year was a lot of fun: a red paper plate cut into a star shape, lots of doodles, and some gold paint. This year was wood scraps glued together and bound with wire, with a message written on the back.

And here are a couple of pictures from our anniversary two months ago. Since I had never been in a limo, Brad surprised me and rented one. In the limo he also had our wedding cake, champagne flutes, wedding video, and a CD he bought me. We drove to a restaurant in Terrell, about 40 minutes outside of Dallas, where he and I first talked about marriage. What a romantic stud I married!

Having too much fun...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Restlessness (Warning: Long Post)

I’ve had this unsettled feeling in my heart now for several months. Like I want to move to Seattle, or maybe just Dallas’ Bishop Arts District; or go to grad school (more on that later); or start discipling middle school girls; or dye my hair fuchsia. Or buy a 9 mm and take concealed-carry classes (Oh wait, I’m already doing that. No seriously, I am.). Or maybe come home one day with my body all painted in henna paint à la Indian weddings.

So I think about all of these things but I still have this RESTLESS spirit, so much so that when I think about it my heart literally hurts. Like an aching for someone or something that I can’t identify. Like I'm grieving for something, really. It's not a depression, just a sense of loss over something I don't even understand. Talk about a state of confusion.

So I’ve prayed. Praying without knowing what you're asking for is hard, and even harder when you think you’re not hearing anything back. I have felt like the woman in Song of Solomon who searches for her lover but can’t find him.

I opened for my lover, but my lover had left; he was gone. My heart sank at his departure. I looked for him but did not find him. I called him but he did not answer. (SoS 5:6)
And it occurred to me… I’m not serving. I feel most alive in Christ when I’m serving him, and my top spiritual gifts are service and pastor/ shepherding. Maybe my lack of service is what’s causing this weird friction in my spirit. But what to do with this knowledge?
I sought godly counsel from an awesome, life-loving, astoundingly wise friend, who by the grace of God is also family. We’ll call her “Martha.” So Martha, irreverent as she may be, sat down with me over yummy, thin crust, European-style pizza yesterday in Southlake, and we cussed (a little :-), laughed about smoking on the sly, talked about motherhood (her) and future motherhood (me), and generally just had a mini heart-to-heart. Then I came out with it. “Martha,” I said. “What’s going on with me?” I gave her the back story, and she was blunt, as I hoped she would be (I’m paraphrasing):

“Hello? Did you ever think that this restlessness could be the way God is speaking to you, that he's trying to tell you to act on those sneaking suspicions?”

O-M-Goodness. No. Really, no. How could I not have realized that I wasn't just feeling crazy for the sake of crazy... He may be making me feel that way because I'm still not acting on his promptings. I didn’t consider that the Lord was trying to get my attention or affirm the longings of my heart by this aching feeling. But that makes SO much sense. ::: slaps forehead ::: Doh.

She had a lot more truth to speak to me, and I’m not giving her enough credit for her invaluable counseling abilities and insight, but I left feeling really validated – not only validated, but justified – over some of the nutty ideas that have been swirling. My heart and my head are still having a cage match with each other, and I have a lot of thinking to do, but today I really do feel a little bit better. I need to be in the Word for a while, and let some things marinate, but I think I can tell you more later.

I’m deeply grateful for Martha.

And for Brad, who encouraged me to apply for grad school, which I’ll be starting Jan. 22! It’s a professional program (code language for “I’m not quitting my job to go to school, don’t worry”), and I expect to go two nights a week. It’s funny how God works… in the middle of this season of spiritual frustration, I had to register for classes. I’m in a Master of Liberal Studies program, which will allow me to focus on art, French and writing (or as I call them, The Holy Trinity of Katie). But for this first semester, I wanted to have the same schedule as Brad so that we can carpool and spend an extra hour together a day during a time when we otherwise might not see each other a lot.

Well, I had to take a couple of required courses for my first semester, and the only other class that fit with the schedule wasn’t anything that fell into the aforementioned Trinity; it was a theology class.

Theology? Okay. I love Jesus, but theology is really Brad’s thing. I like Beth Moore and Max Lucado and John Piper… but theology?! But I clicked “register” and I’m in. And I have to wonder if God isn’t planning on teaching me something really significant through this course, which is called “The Spiritual Vision of Jesus.”

Think service might be a part of that vision?