Category Archives: Personal

Sometimes I get stuck in a rut.

Sometimes I get stuck in a rut. It’s often based off of what I think I should be. Or who I think I should be. Or what I think I should do. Or who someone else thinks I should be.

  • I should be skinnier.
  • I should be trendier.
  • I should be Godlier.
  • I should be a better mom.
  • I should be a better housekeeper.
  • I should be a better wife.
  • I should work out more so I can have a hot body. {It’s okay to laugh. I did.}
  • I should play with my kids more.
  • I should not eat that chocolate so I can have a hot body.
  • You’re too conservative. Boring.
  • You should work more.
  • You should work less.
  • You should have a hot body.

I get so tired of who I SHOULD be that I forget about who I AM. And sometimes it’s the smallest little things that bring me back to reality.

This morning I took the boys to the Children’s Museum for the member’s preview of their new Transformers exhibit. (Which is amazing and fun by the way. You should totally go.) The boys and I had a blast together. And then after a late lunch because we were at the museum for so long, I finally got the boys down for a nap and sat down to relax for the first time all day.

Then I hear Lucas in the bathroom “Mommy, will you wipe me?”

It really is the best part of being a mom, am I right?

So I begrudgingly walk upstairs and wipe his butt and as he’s walking out of the bathroom he turns around, flashes a sweet and sincere smile and simply says “Mommy, I love you.”

Photo credit: Eric Learned

Photo credit: Eric Learned

See there aren’t many times right now in parenthood when I’m super excited to be a mom of four kids ranging in ages from almost 13 to almost 2. (Yes, I have two kids who are entering horribly scary ages AT THE SAME TIME.) It’s hard and tiring and NOT fantastic most of the time. I feel like escaping to something easier more times than I’d prefer to admit.

But here’s the thing: this is real life. Real (often tough) relationships with real people. (Kids are people too, right? I have to remind myself of that a lot.) Living fully in mercy and truth. And I love it. I love my community and the girlfriends who I can turn to when this real life seems too much to handle. Because the alternative to me is just sad. And lonely. And I can’t imagine more sadness or more loneliness than I already feel during rough times. (Like the whole month of stupid February in Indiana.)

So today I remind myself to be happy with who I am, rather than who I should be. Because I’m making a difference and I’m important. And it’s okay to want to add parts of those other things to my life as long as I don’t get lost in them. As long as I hold tight to the truth of who God has created me to be.

And it’s almost Spring. I remind myself that it’s almost Spring and that gives me hope of life again. 🙂

 

SPOTLIGHT on local non-profit JabuAfrica

I’ve mentioned lately that I’ve been struggling to write here, primarily because I feel like my brain is scattered and I’m not sure how to share all of that mess. But what has happened in this absence is my desire to better use this “platform” for good. I’ll still be writing about what I’m thinking and feeling, but I’m going to narrow it down to a few things: my community, my parenting (choices and struggles) and my passions.

One way you’ll see this new focus is in a new monthly series about organizations that I think are doing amazing things. It’s called SPOTLIGHT and first up is an organization near and dear to my heart: JabuAfricaJabuAfrica_RGB.1.2

A little tidbit about me: I’ve always wanted a brown baby. Always. Like, I can’t remember NOT wanting a little brown baby. The night before I got married (to a white man), my mom said to me, “Katie, you know you’re not going to have a brown baby biologically now, right?”

Another little (more important) tidbit about me: I have a HUGE passion for kids who grow up in less than ideal conditions – physically or emotionally. I imagine the differences between the hearts of my children (who aren’t parented perfectly for sure, but who have more than basic physical necessities and are loved through and through and are told and shown that every single day) and those kids who are never hugged, told they’re loved, tickled, laughed with or feel complete joy from a parent.

One more tidbit: I’ve always felt a pull towards Africa. I can’t explain it. My close friend Sarah Castor sums it up perfectly. She writes “There is a Congolese proverb that says, ‘You can outrun what chases you but not what is inside you.’… For whatever reason, my heart has always been pulled there…” This resonates within me exactly.

There is such amazing beauty in the African land.

Photo credit: Sarah Castor

Photo credit: Sarah Castor

There is also extreme generational poverty like nothing I’ve seen.

Photo credit: Sarah Castor

Photo credit: Sarah Castor

In comes JabuAfrica. Sarah (and her husband Dave) adopted three boys from Africa. Their sons were born in South Africa, Ethiopia, and Democratic Republic of Congo respectively. And it was out of their adoption journeys that she founded JabuAfrica to work as a partner walking alongside initiatives that empower Africans and provide the resources for leaders to rise up and lead their communities.

I love what Sarah says in this: “It was my love of Africa that led me to adopt but it is now my deeper love and understanding that motivates me to empower families so that poverty does not determine a mother’s story, a father’s story or a child’s future.”

I love that so much. And that’s exactly what JabuAfrica and it’s partners are doing: empowering families. It’s what we all want, right? To feel empowered to make the best choices for our families? The thing is, we already have a million legs up simply by living in the US.

Last year, I was given the amazing opportunity to hear about with JabuAfrica is doing with one of it’s partners, Giving Back to Africa. I was speechless and my heart was filled while listening to and seeing the impact the programs are having in the DR Congo. PLEASE take the next 7 minutes and watch this video to see how they are helping the Congolese people take control over the future of their people.

There is so much more I want to tell you. More about JabuAfrica and its partners. More about Sarah and her love that is completely contagious. But you can read all about it on their website. What I really want you to do is get involved. I did because I was giving to a big international organization and I was seeing reports after reports about how little money actually goes to those programs and even more so, programs that were actually empowering its people. Since I personally know Sarah and her heart, I know my giving is being used in the best way.

How can you get involved you ask? Sign up for updates from JabuAfrica through their website. Donate if your heart is in this like mine. Go to their big fundraising event in July. (I’ll totally be there and I’d LOVE for you to join me! And it’ll be FUN. I promise you that.)

And ask me about it in person. I’d love to share more with you. And hopefully one day I’ll be able to show you my own pictures of Africa and share my own stories of the people. Once Sarah agrees to take me with her on her next trip. 🙂

One shade of who gives a #*&@

I have NOT read any of the Fifty Shades of Grey books. I didn’t read any of the Twilight books either and when my writer-friend Shireen told me how poorly she thought of the 50 Shades books (because of how crappy they were written, etc. and NOT because of the sexual nature) I just never had the desire to read them.

So what I’m about to say is based solely on my personal interaction with friends. I haven’t read reviews of the movie or read a single article about it either. But here’s what I’ve got to say: Who cares what two CONSENTING ADULTS do in a sexual relationship as long as it’s, again, consensual between two adults and legal? (I throw legal in there so no one can come out and talk to me about bestiality, child sexual abuse, etc.)

shades

Whether or not you agree with what she (I don’t even know her name) does with Christian Grey, or lets him do to her, is not the point. If it’s agreed upon by two adults, under terms they set together, and they both feel safe within the agreed-upon situation, why do you care about it? It’s THEIR choice. Not ours. (I mean, I guess if you want to get critical, it was the author’s decision, because remember, this is a non-fiction book we’re talking about.)

If you want to talk about Grey controlling her, let’s talk about control. In every single sexual interaction between two people, someone is in control. In the standard, most common mission sex position, someone’s on top and someone’s on bottom. If literally being on top of someone doesn’t signify control, I don’t know what does. There’s always some level of control in a relationship. And that’s okay as long as you’re on the same page with your partner.

I’m sure this woman has self-esteem issues from what I’ve been told. (Don’t we all?) It sounds like maybe Christian Gray takes advantage of his “age and experience” and her lack-there-of. (I’m not entirely sure I care since she willingly walked into this relationship as an adult knowing her own age and experience.) I’m sure I won’t let my kids read the books or watch the movie. (Especially since they are all too young and not the target audience.) I would probably not do things I’ve heard they do sexually in the book/movie. (It just doesn’t turn me on.) I also won’t go see the movie in the theater. (Because honestly it makes me uncomfortable sitting with a 100 strangers watching graphic sex scenes.)

BUT. (And this is a HUGE butt. Kinda like mine.)

(See what I did there?)

Here’s the deal: We all have the freedom to enter into grown-up relationships. OR NOT. And what you chose to do sexually within the consenting boundaries of your marriage (okay, or whatever relationship you’re in) is YOUR choice only.

So be all gung-ho about non-consenting sexual abuse issues. But don’t knock someone down or tell someone they’re wrong because they’re turned on by something that you don’t understand. Especially if you haven’t even read the non-fiction books.

(This is all about a non-fiction book series for adults that NO ONE is required to read, right? Geesh.)

 

on being real and genuine. and not stupid.

I know it’s been quiet around here.

It’s been intentional. Kind of.

I can’t really write what I feel lately. I’m feeling things too much, too raw, to write it out because then I’ll probably share way more than any of you are paid to read since you’re not my therapist.

I’m struggling with this stage of life that I’ve been in for too long. And there’s no “light at the end of the tunnel” moment in sight. Life is hard and I’m trying hard to live it rather than be stuck in it. But that’s hard too.

But I also want to maintain some balance here. Not only complain, but encourage too. That’s why I started writing: because it helps me and because I hope it’ll help you. But sometimes I write and don’t publish because it’s just to help me and those “letters” (because they’re more like letters than posts) aren’t really meant for anyone else to see. I imagine they might help someone but they’re too personal to share for the other 99% of you that it won’t help.

I kinda just want to live in one of two fantasy worlds right now. One would look like this.Fantasy World One

My family would live right on the canal in downtown Indy. The canal would be our backyard. The kids could just go feed the ducks and ride their bikes around the canal at anytime. It’d be perfectly safe with no strangers and the kids would never fall in the canal because this is my fantasy world.

My other fantasy world would be me with no kids. It’s okay. Pick up your chin and let me explain. Of course I love my kids and I wouldn’t ACTUALLY want them gone. It’s just that I’m tired. Physically and emotionally. Having four kids (which I totally understand how it happened thank you and that I’m blessed and that I’ll look back on this time and miss it) is kind of wiping me out right now. They’ve been sick and mouthy and sick again and again. Until the end of last week, I was having several really horrible tension headaches every single day for over three weeks. And I still had to parent my kids. There are no breaks when you’re a mom. None.

See? This is why I haven’t written. Because I’m not sure this will encourage anyone. Pregnant? Well don’t read this. I’m sure I could do the same with marriage. In love? Engaged? Well if I write about marriage at this point you won’t want to read that either.

Here’s the thing. I obviously wouldn’t want my life without my kids or my husband. But sometimes it would just be nice to be alone and have NO responsibilities. (Or someone to do them all for you at the very least. Like a husband that was also a maid, cook and nanny.)  To just run away for awhile and only take care of myself.

So what have I been doing the last two days to combat this inner crap running around in my head? Listening to Lead Me To The Cross (I prefer the version by Francesca Battistelli). This is the part that I’ve been hearing the loudest right now:

lead me to the cross
where your love poured out. 
bring me to my knees, 
lord I lay me down.
rid me of myself,
I belong to you.
lord lead me, lead me to the cross

This might not be your thing. And that’s totally ok. All I ask is that if you find yourself feeling stuck or lonely or uncared for (I don’t even think “uncared” is a word but I don’t care), don’t do something stupid. Don’t do something that’ll keep you stuck. Talk to a supportive friend, not one who will pull you down farther. Get off Facebook if you’re lonely and it’s making it worse or connecting you with someone you shouldn’t be connecting with. Write. Write and throw away your thoughts. It helps me. (Most of the time at least.)

I don’t know the point of this post. I’m not sure I started out writing this to actually publish it. I just wanted to keep it real I guess. To *not* write right now would feel less genuine than writing a crap happy holidays post.

Anyways, don’t do something stupid. And be real and genuine. That is all.

reflections and changes

Today I saw myself in the reflection of the car window. This isn’t something new. Obviously. But what I saw made me realize that I had been living the days of the last month in a complete fog. Not reflecting on what I was seeing, hearing or feeling. I was just doing.reflectionI stopped writing. I stopped choosing to love. Not intentionally, but I just got… sidetracked. October got busy. Days and nights and weekends were full of scheduled activities for the kids. Adam and I were leaving for a 6-day trip to London so I had to get things done at work, childcare planned, directions, phone numbers, medical release forms written and signed. Adam was working through his busiest month of the year at the office.

And then we left for six days last week on a whirlwind trip to London, with a day in Paris thrown in because when will we ever have the chance to go to Paris if we don’t go now? (Our trip is a whole post for itself. That’ll come soon.)

But then we came back this last Tuesday night and I swear I can’t hardly remember what’s happened the last 2.5 days since we returned because reentry is a bitch. Let me say it again: REENTRY IS A BITCH. Being on that kind of trip, for that long, with no responsibilities, just walking and touring and more walking around an amazing and beautiful city full of grand sights and rich history is stupid hard to come home from. Eating and drinking and laughing with 21 other people for six days? Not doing dishes or making your bed or being woken up in the middle of the night or tending to a crying child for six days? Those were good days…

Don’t get me wrong. I missed my babies like mad. But not the responsibility of being an adult that comes with real life back at home. That I could live without for a few more days…

See, reflection is tough. Sometimes it’s really good. Really, really good. Like reflecting on a wonderful trip to London. But when you really see yourself for the first time in a month? Tough. It’s just hard to see your reflection and not really know who you’re looking at. Going through the actions of being a mom, a wife, yes. But I feel like maybe I’ve lost a bit of ME in that time. I’m not sure exactly why. I think maybe I’ve taken a step back and have just watched life play out in front of me rather than being an active participant in it. I just haven’t felt like playing I guess.

Sometimes when things get hard it’s just easier to step back and watch because you don’t have the energy or desire to do anything about it.

Sometimes you realize you need to change those things but don’t know how. Or don’t want to admit how.

Sometimes you realize you need to change those things but don’t want to because it feels comfortable and because you wonder if maybe the pain of figuring out why it’s hard isn’t worth the change.

And sometimes you write a post that makes you realize that that’s exactly when you need to change those things the most.

So here’s to making hard changes. Cheers…

 

 

confessions

Today I shared on Facebook that “I shamelessly admit to loving Enrique Iglesias’s new song “Bailando.” And I first heard it on Radio Disney with my girls. So there.”

So I thought I might as well fess up my whole new gym playlist I created on Spotify last week since it includes several more songs I could “shamlessly admit to.” And since apparently I didn’t ask the right questions when the cable guy came today, I’m hanging out by myself while Adam’s on the phone trying to figure it out…

Here’s my dancey little list of songs I work out to now (in no certain order). And do dishes to. And fold laundry to. And make dinner to. You get the picture.work out songs

  1. “Really Don’t Care” by Demi Lovato : Man I wish this song was out when I was in high school. It is a great break-up moving on song.
  2. “Love Never Felt so Good” by MJ and JT : I mean, MJ and JT. Nuff said.
  3. “Not a Bad Thing” by JT : Will someone please pay him to sing this to me for my birthday?
  4. “Bailando” by Enrique Iglesias : I can’t stop doing the two Latin dance moves I learned from a Columbian friend at my first job out of college. This song makes you move.
  5. “Shake it Of”f by TSwift : “It’s like I’ve got this music in my heart saying it’s gonna be alright.” Girl, I can’t control my shoulders when this song comes off. I really love it. And Lucas thinks he can break dance after watching the video, so it makes the song even better.
  6. “On the Floor” by JLo : You know my obsession with JLo, right?
  7. “Suit & Tie” by JT : Noticing a trend here?
  8. “Take a Walk” by Passion Pit : Seriously one of my new favorite songs at the suggestion of a great friend. Like, you have to go listen to it now. It’s so great.
  9. “Little Secrets” by Passion Pit : Another great new find to me with a fun tempo that keeps you moving.
  10. “My Love” by JT : An oldie but goodie. Oh, so good. Maybe one of my favorite JT songs of all time.
  11. “Love Runs Out” by OneRepublic : I saw them in concert this summer thanks to my mom and it made me love this band. (Along with The Script who opened for them. Amazing live music, these two bands.)
  12. “Don’t Stop the Music” by Rihanna : I’m generally not a big fan of Rihanna, but this one reminds me to keep going.
  13. “Timber” by Pitbull and Keisha : I seriously about barfed when I found out that Keisha was the one singing in this song the other day, but oh well. I love the song and it reminds me of one of my favorite routines from Zumba.
  14. “Let it Go” from Frozen : Because Let it Go from Frozen.
  15. “Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis : I feel like their music reminds me of good rap music that made me love it when I was a teen rather than most of the crap rap they make now.
  16. “White Walls” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis : This song just makes me feel cool when I listen to it. Let me pretend.

What’s on your work-out playlist? As much as I’m listening to these, I’m sure I’ll need some additional songs soon.

And if you live in downtown Indy and want to join me at the gym, I’d love a partner. 🙂

(a different kind of) porch party

Oh boy, here it comes…

I’m angry. Like really angry. Like really, really angry.

I’m involved in a conversation online that I should never have entered. I take that back. I’ve been steaming about it for awhile now and I finally said a tiny bit of my opinion and it’s spiraling and I’m starting to shake.

Here’s the final straw that made me enter the conversation about this ongoing issue I’ve been seeing consistently in our neighborhood online group recently:tipping point

I know there have been quite a few break-ins throughout our neighborhood. (We were one, remember?) I know that crime is crazy in Indianapolis right now. I read it. I see it. I feel it. I feel a pull at my heart that the people in my city don’t value life right now. That they don’t respect others in (and out of) their community. I feel it hard.

I understand being on edge. I understand feeling hypersensitive. Shoot, I called 911 Saturday night because we thought someone was breaking into our house when it turned out to actually be a huge raccoon scaling up the downspout to our 2nd story. (For what, we have NO idea.)

But let me tell you this. If you, FOR ONE INSTANT, think that profiling the people that look different than you isn’t just as harmful to our city, you are VERY, VERY WRONG. (If I could bold that more I totally would.)

Be alert. Watch out for your neighbors. But calling the cops about a “black man walking down the alley looking through trash cans” and posting about it to the ‘hood is going to far. It’s not illegal, first of all. And you’re throwing it away, so who cares?! I mean, obviously you, but COME ON.

And you keep seeing “homeless people” walking around the ‘hood? You must have good conversations with them if you find out they’re homeless. Oh, you don’t actually KNOW they’re homeless, you just think they LOOK homeless?

And freaking out because a pick-up truck is just sitting in the alley in the middle of the day and there’s no driver in it and now you feel scared and want people to make sure all their doors are locked? Hmmm…

If you moved to the north side of downtown because you thought it was all cool and hip and wealthy and white and perfect, you should have done some more research. It *is* cool and hip (and often wealthy and white) but it’s also extremely diverse and different and totally UNPERFECT. Which is exactly why we’re here. Don’t ruin it for us by freaking out every time someone walks on your public sidewalk.

So I’m checking out of this neighborhood online group. And I’m just going to talk to people at the park. And on walks. And while I weed my front flower beds. porch party

Oh, and on my porch. Where I’ll sit and drink if I want. And because I look like you, will never have the cops called on me. It’s way more fun than reading people freak the freak out over people who look different than they do.

 

I had intended to write this beautiful post about community and the city-wide porch party that took place on Sunday, but this is what came out instead. Oops…