30 April 2010

to sum up nothing.

To sum up this week in a few words: normal, almost boring, ordinary.

Anne Shirley said that:
"the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string."*

That's my week. Nothing exciting or sad or out-of-ordinary has happened.

Days like this, I savor every "simple little pleasure" like cold coffee and cat eyes and inspiring blog posts. Today, I enjoy the feeling of fresh mown grass under my feet and the sound of my dad's voice calling me Kates.** Days like today, I hate the strong wind that blows my hair in my eyes but love the rain its bringing. Today, I laugh at our out-of tune piano and wish that I could play it. I talk about paint colors with my mom and anticipate seeing my grandparents. I hug my cats and smile when my dog tries to lick my face. I read a book, losing myself in another world.

Nothing isn't always bad.

*Anne of Avonlea, pg. 161
** Kates is my favorite nickname, mostly because it's Daddy's special one.

26 April 2010

Rainy Days

It's been raining almost incessantly since Friday afternoon. There's something about the rain that makes me want to stay inside and curl up in front of the fire with a book, a cup of hot tea, and a cat or two. It feels cozy to be inside and sheltered while the weather is terrible outside. Sometimes, though, I love to be outside when it's raining. It feels so Dutch to be walking in the rain, with or without an umbrella (my favorite word in French.)* To me, rainy days are L.M. Montgomery days. There's just something so very Anne about curling up with a book while the rain is pouring down. And again, it seems so Anne-like to dance in the rain. But really what I meant is that rainy days seem like such good days to read Anne. I don't know why, but books like that are some of my favorites to read on days like today.

On a somewhat unrelated note, I'm in the middle of so many books right now. Tomorrow for school we start The Great Gatsby and How Should We Then Live. Besides school, I'm reading the Brothers Karamazov,** Northanger Abbey, and re-reading Paperdoll. I have Jesus Freaks I and II sitting on my bookshelf, barely started, and I can't keep those forever because I don't own them. As I'm sitting here, I'm contemplating starting Anne of Green Gables, and the only reason I haven't is because I don't know where it is. Someday I need to finish David Copperfield or at least attempt it. At least for now I have to read the Brothers Karamazov. I read the back, so I know what happens, but I want to finish it anyways.

*translated: parapluie (pear-ooo-plee)
**I actually spelled it almost right on my first try

22 April 2010

When All Else Fails, Drink Purple Tea

I felt so lazy this morning. Slept in, got up late, did not want to do anything. I thought about going back to sleep, but I knew I'd get in trouble. So I drank purple tea. Strangely, it worked.

Have I mentioned how much I love my youth group? Because really, it's pretty amazing. We had a lot of fun last night. In my last post I talked about Disciple Now, which is just a weekend where all of the people who are attending are broken up into small groups. Each group spends the weekend at the house of a family from church, and we have small groups and big sessions with everyone. Last night almost all of my DNow group was at youth group, and most of the time we hung out and played games. Like I said, it was fun.

Can chickens sense your fear? Yes, I know that horses can, and I think that dogs can, but can chickens tell when you're terrified of getting pecked? And it's a real fear. Chickens are scary. Scary and mean.

A few days ago, I found Gollum the Toad. He was super cute, in a slimy-Gollum-toad sort of way. I named him Gollum, but then I gave him to my little sisters and they named him Toadster. I thought they said Toaster, and I still think that Toaster is a much more clever and witty name for a toad than Toadster. Can you tell how photogenic he is? Was... maybe he's dead now?

I had a Juicy Drop Pop last night. Never again. Those things are yuck yuck yuck. During DNow we talked about Juicy Drop Pops, and everyone thought that Ali made them up. Last night a friend brought three to youth group, so I had my first Juicy Drop Pop. I also got some on my shirt, in my hair, and on the floor. Clearly too messy for me!

Exactly what's on my mind: Liz, one of the old leaders from youth group, wrote this today, and that's kind of how I'm feeling about this summer:

"As far as I can tell, life is a constant flow of hellos and goodbyes.

"I’m writing this in the union, sitting at a booth near the Jumping Bean with my friend Laura. When I get nostalgic like this, I find myself paying attention to details that I know will soon be gone. Is there a way we can live where we pay attention to those details all the time? Where we know that at any moment we will have to say goodbye to one person or place so that we can say hello to another? I want to live each day with anticipation of what God will do, even if that means saying goodbye. I trust that the goodbyes are worth the hellos – and vice versa."

It's a weird thought that this time in June everything will be totally different, and really, I can't wait.

20 April 2010

Processing Summer

On Sunday we got back from the best church event of the year, Disciple Now. Over the weekend while I was sitting in my small group and going through the book, my group started talking about this summer and all the events going on and how great it would be. One of the guys in my group said that for Serve (another big event) he was gonna request that "his DNow group" or "the Mob" (long story) be put in his Serve group. Our group was discussing how great it would be if we were all together for Serve and how much fun that would be. On Sunday night after the middle school youth group was over a lot of the leaders were hanging out in the Leaders' Room talking about two other trips the youth group is going on this summer. During the weekend my youth pastor announced sign-ups for summer small groups and talked about some other things that we would do this summer.

I hadn't really thought of missing so much this summer. I did realize that I would be missing Serve, hanging out with my friends, a big concert that our life group goes to, and a bunch of other things, but I just hadn't thought about how much time I would be gone and how many things I would miss.

Two months. It doesn't sound like very much time, just a few months, just eight weeks. But then I think of it in terms of days and hours and minutes, and all of a sudden it's huge. All of a sudden it seems like such a long time. I'll be away from my family for that long. I'll be away from my friends for that long. I'll be away from my church and my youth group for that long. I had never thought about how hard it's going to be leave my life behind for two months and go explore the Middle East.

The other day I was talking to my dad about how I was sad that I was going to miss so many things this summer. He told me that when I came back I would be talking to my friends and they would tell me how great Serve was or how great the trip to Daytona Beach in Florida was, and I would have so many amazing stories that I would be embarrassed to tell them because of how badly they beat the other stories.

True. I don't even like to talk about living in Europe because if I bring it up instead of someone asking me, I feel like I'm bragging about my experiences and I feel like people will think that I'm bragging about it. So I just don't talk about it unless someone asks me. Dad was probably right when he said that I'll be too embarrassed to tell the stories that I have to other people.

I think that this summer is going to be so cool because I'm going to the same country that my dad went to on his first trip outside of the country. It's been fun this past couple of months when I'm talking to him and he'll teach me something in Arabic. I try hard to remember everything, even though all I have down is "friend."

I love that my parents trust me enough to send me to the Middle East for two months, and even though I'll miss so much this summer, and even though it's gonna be hard to leave my family for so long, I absolutely cannot wait.

15 April 2010

Bloom Is Giving Away...

A Young Woman's Walk With God, by Elizabeth George. It looks great and I would love to read it! Bloom is taking entries until Sunday night, then announcing the winner on Monday.

14 April 2010

A Paperdoll and a Bride Collector

"I'd leave all the hurry, the noise and the fray for a house full of books and a garden full of flowers." Andrew Lang

Mail is a wonderful thing. Snail mail, that is. There's a certain feeling of excitement when my little sister comes pounding up the stairs and announces, "Katie, you've got mail!" Then again, sometimes the excitement isn't worth it when the letter that I've gotten is a birthday card from my dentist, or a letter from the bank, or an information sheet from youth group with stuff that I already know. But yesterday was different. Yesterday my little sister came pounding up the stairs and announced, "Katie, you've got mail!" Turns out, it was a letter from Ali. We've talked about how we never get any good mail and decided to send each other a letter sometime. Hers came yesterday. I got another letter from church with the details of this weekend's big event. Needless to say, I was way more excited about Ali's letter.

Yesterday was full of anticipation, because Paperdoll was supposed to get here. I waited all morning. The other book I pre-ordered came out yesterday, so I wasn't expecting it to come with Paperdoll.

When I came downstairs to eat lunch, the UPS truck was outside. (Funny story: the UPS man is scared of our German Shepherd. He's been known to put packages inside our car "so that the dog won't eat me." But yesterday my other little sister came tearing out of the house to collect the packages so there wasn't any reason to be afraid.) My heart started beating faster and I got really excited. Then my younger sister came inside with two packages.

Paperdoll and the Bride Collector had arrived.

This was a big deal. I never buy books. I always get them from the library or, often, borrow them from Ali's family. This time, though, I bought two books, one by one of my favorite authors. But I was more excited by the other, Paperdoll. I scarfed down my lunch and ran upstairs to read.

I stared longingly at my books, but finished my schoolwork before I read them.

When I was done, I had a choice: Paperdoll or the Bride Collector? Paperdoll is a "God book," and Bride Collector is just a novel... But I've waited so long to read Bride Collector... But Paperdoll is a God book.

So I ended up reading Paperdoll. It is, after all, a God book.

It didn't disappoint. I think that Paperdoll is, hands down, one of the best books I've read all year. It's right up there with Crazy Love and Do Hard Things. Just like my lunch, I scarfed down Paperdoll. Almost half the book is underlined, and some parts are double underlined. Natalie is so honest in it, and it's like having a conversation with her. Definitely a re-reader.

The Bride Collector, on the other hand, wasn't so great. It was good... but not great. Ted Dekker used almost the same plot as he did in one of his other stories. Yes, most of the details are different, but it's the same basic story as Adam. The Bride Collector was better than Adam, but it was still pretty predictable. If I had the choice now after reading the Bride Collector, I would have just bought up a bunch of Paperdolls and given them to my friends instead of getting the Bride Collector.

12 April 2010

Shot Shots*

Sore. If you look closely at the last one you can see the needle sticking in my arm. The big smile on my face was purely for the camera. It wasn't real.

When we were leaving I told the secretary that the last shot had hurt the worst. She said in a nice Indiana accent, "Yeah, that's the MMR. See that little baby out there? She'll be in here next and she's getting the MMR too, and here in a couple minutes she'll be screaming."

Thank you secretary. Good thing you didn't tell me that before I got my shots.

*thanks Daddy for the title that I kinda stole from your email :)

08 April 2010

Three Reasons For Summer To Come:

Big bags.

Big sunglasses.

Cute shoes.

That's the style this summer in my Middle Eastern country. Sooooo, I get to go birthday shopping with Grandma sometime soon. I can't wait for summer.

Turns out, there isn't air-conditioning at my summer family's house, so it's gonna be pretty hot. My mom thinks that it'll be upper 90s and low 100s: hot. But oh so worth it. :)

Around here, the weather is perfect! It's spring, complete with sunshine, warmth, growing things, and RAIN. (There's a thunderstorm right now as I'm typing. Thunder and lightning make my favorite kind of rain.)

So excuse me as I go read my Bible, and goodnight.

06 April 2010

She's Like a Beautiful Green Gumdrop

Thanks for all the happy-birthdays! It was a blast. Sadly, no rainbow. We did have rain, and there was a double rainbow, but I was inside reading my new Ted Dekker/Carl Medearis book (Tea With Hezbollah) and didn't see it.

Again, sadly, I didn't win Paperdoll, but now I have an Amazon card (Thanks Aunt Jenny!) so I'm going to buy it. So excited.

The title... we watched Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. My favorite part was when Theodore saw the girl and said, "She's like a beautiful green gumdrop." *sigh* It was really cute.

05 April 2010

In First-Grade...

Today I was riding in the car and out of nowhere I thought, I'm fifteen. It hit me that when I was in first grade, going to school in the Netherlands, the fifth-graders were the big kids. High-schoolers were scary, and I never thought about becoming one.

Now, I'm ending my first year of high-school, getting ready to travel halfway across the world this summer. First-grade me never thought about that. First-grade me was just concerned with learning Dutch so she could do her homework and make friends. Freshman me is trying to learn some Arabic and save enough money to go to the Middle East. I am so excited about this summer.

Just after I turned six, my family moved to the Netherlands. Looking back now, I cannot believe how little that mattered to me. It wasn't that important. I wasn't scared, I wasn't particularly excited, it just happened and I was fine with it. In late May I'll be getting on a plane and heading to the Middle East and it is such a big deal to me. So much has changed since first-grade.

01 April 2010


Hey all, Bloom! is giving away a free book! I really, really want it. It's called Paperdoll by Natalie Lloyd, who has an amazing blog which I love. And I would love to read her book.