Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A moment to recognize.

"He comes to us in the brokenness of our health, in the shipwreck of our family lives, in the loss of all possible peace of mind, even in the very thick of our sins. He saves us in our disasters, not from them. He emphatically does not promise to meet only the odd winner of the self-improvement lottery. He meets us all in our endless and inescapable losing."
- Robert Farrar Capon

It is not my story to share, but as a member of this heart home of mine, I truly cannot continue blogging about life without first taking a moment to recognize... 

All I can say is that what Capon says is true.
God meets us in the darkness.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The truth about the tooth fairy.

Tonight, Charlee and I were talking about losing a tooth, and what happens.

I told her I could remember my first lost tooth. The discussion went a little something like this...

Me: So, I was like 6 years old, and I was in school, in the library. We were looking at books, and suddenly my tooth wasn't in my mouth any more! And guess what happened? That night I put it under my pillow, and in the morning, do you know what was there?

Charlee: A candy?

Me: Nope! Money!! And do you know what? Who do you think put it there? (Dramatic pause...and hushed voice) Do you think it was the tooth fairy? 

Charlee: (leans in and whispers)...Kathleen...I think it was your parents!

This dear child must think I don't know much about the world.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


If any of you have ever played Hoopla, you'll appreciate this one at a whole other level...

Today during lunch with the kiddos, Jane started talking about someone she met at a friend's house, and described him as "scary". Bodhi quickly replied to say he wasn't scary. I asked Jane why he was scary (she had no real reason...), while Bodhi tried to explain who this boy was to me.

Bodhi: Yeah, he's like older than me, but he's not a grown up.

Me: So how old is he...is he like Charlee's age? Or is he like Kyla's age? Or like Joey's age? Or like Reuben's age? (I had a few examples to work with...)

Bodhi: No, he's not like any of them.

Me: So, how old do you think he is?

Bodhi: Well, I don't know...maybe 8? or 10? Ok...Kathleen, I know! He's bigger than a bird....but smaller than a dinosaur.

Me: OH! Well.... that definitely... helps.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Seasons collide.

How do you recover from an almost four month blogging hiatus?

You just start typing.

Before I get carried away, I want to first state: I AM FINISHED!

I can't go any further without saying I didn't accomplish it on my own.

I want to share here a small section of my acknowledgements (if you want the full version, along with my other 82 pages of sweat and tears, just let me know and I'll send you the e-copy in all its glory):

To those who rang the cowbells for me: I hear them!  Thank you for your emails and facebook messages, your gifts, your survival kits (I am talking to you, Lana), and your many text messages.  With each one I felt a burst of energy and creativity.  As cheesy as it sounds, your love was inspirational.  Thank you.  (And a special thanks to those lovely ladies who rallied my cheerleaders together. You know who you are). 

I have had a lot of people ask me lately if I feel like a new girl; if I don't know what to do with myself; if I have fully grasped what it means to not have to come home and read, write and study each night. 

My answer to all who have asked....

Not really.

You see, I happened to (well, I planned to...) finish my masters' degree with a full day to spare before the chaos of a new college year started. I handed in the final paper at 11:58pm on a Saturday night. I had one glorious Sunday free. And then, the student leaders arrived for training on Monday. 

And I have been running ever since. 

This semester is kicking my butt. 

And so, before I get to celebrate the fact that I'm done with one season, I am fully invested in the next.

It can get overwhelming. 

That's why I'm reading this a lot:

And that's why this song is on repeat:

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

a public service announcement....of sorts.

Those of you who know me, know that I like spending time with people.

I like to interact.

I typically love to drink coffee, go to the park, have an adventure, watch a movie, wander aimlessly around a store, drive until I get lost, or plan a trip...with you. My friends.

You give me much joy.

The last two years, while I have been pursuing my graduate studies, I have had to sacrifice some of these things I love. What I have felt the most: my time with my friends. 

I feel it is only fair to alert you all that for the next 8 weeks, it will be even worse. 

You are my public. 
This is my announcement.
(Service somehow fits in there...)

For the next eight weeks, I am going underground.

Perhaps not literally.

(Well...yeah...not literally. I don't really like dark confining spaces. And it would require a lot of digging that I don't have time for.)

But this is the deal. I have eight weeks to write the largest paper I have ever written in my life. Recommendations from my advisor, revisions by me, included.
Two week on campus course, included.
Regular work...included. 
And I know it's possible!

So...if I don't provide regular response time to your text, email, or phone call... 
If I forget your birthday...
If I seem forgetful in general...
If I don't blog...
If I disappear from facebook...
If I seem "un-Kathleen-like"...

...It's because I'm underground.

I hope you all understand. 
And I hope you know I love you all.

Thanks for cheering me on...it means the world to me.

When this is all done...let's celebrate together...I will look like this:

(Happy 3rd birthday Jane...hard to believe this pic is already 2 years old!)

Monday, June 18, 2012

lots of love for the undersea animals.

Bodhi, having just kicked the vacuum cleaner by mistake (one of those "FOR THE LOVE" kinds of moments...), is consoled by his parents on the couch.

Gary: "Bo, I hate stubbing my toe."

Bodhi: "Dad, do you hate....sea turtles?"

"Um, no Bo, I don't hate sea turtles....do YOU hate sea turtles?"

Bodhi: "No Dad...I love all the animals that are under sea."

...Just call him Jacques Cousteau.

And read the best of the Bo moments here....

Thursday, June 07, 2012

The happiest place...

I've been thinking of how to describe our trip to Disneyland. 
And...I'm at a loss for words.
I think these pics should cover it...with captions, of course.

If you don't know me...and somehow stumbled across this blog, I need to preface this post with the following notes:
1. I live with one of the best families on earth. They have three kids. I am "auntie".
2. I work full time and am finishing up my masters degree this summer. I may be slightly "losing it" and therefore my captions might reflect that.
3. I love Disneyland.
4. Disneyland is like, 100x, no...200x better with kids. Simply cause they are hilarious.

And now you are caught up. Enjoy!

 This was taken approximately 30 minutes from our house. 
You'd think we had been in the car for 15 hours by Charlee's expression....that was yet to come.

 Jane. Age 2.86. Wins cutest face.
 In 'n Out. Lemonade Sharing. You should try it...all the cool kids are doing it.
 We arrived. We survived.
Here's to rental vans with DVD players.
And Carleigh...the "entertainment coordinator"...
 Note matching tees. I highly recommend brightly coloured matching tees at Disneyland. It was incredibly helpful...However, with this particular tee we soon discovered other moms had also found it at Target, had the same brilliant idea, and therefore there were many children who, from a side glance, looked like Charlee, Bodhi, and Jane as a result. I was convinced for approximately 2 seconds that Bodhi was being carried away by a stranger. I got over it.

 Thank you Thunder Mountain for making Carleigh and I giggle the whole time.

 There you have some of my favourite people in the whole world.
At Disneyland.
It really was the happiest place on earth.

 And we got to play with Grandma Jo and Pappa Walt! Double bonus.

Ok, so sometimes a nap would have been helpful.

The next three photos are my most favourite. 
(Princess Parade...or could you guess?)
There was awe... 

...and wonder...
 ...and then plain-freaking-out-joy. (hence, blurry face.)

 We also spent some time in California Adventure...we may have "cheated" through the adventure park and claimed badges that the kids didn't actually earn.
Don't tell them.
Or that girl.
 Why does this just make me smile?

Gary and I rocked the Toy Story game - but Pappa Walt beat everyone.
I secretly wonder if he had a practice round that we didn't know about.

 I love the awkwardness of this photo.
The kids were so excited, they didn't really know what to do.
It kills me.
 Three words.
World of Colour.
Three more words.
It will rock your world.
 Honestly. I believe Carleigh's words were: "It's like the Bellagio...but on steroids".
 Something about the "old faithful" rides really makes me sentimental at Disneyland.
I don't really know why, because it's not like I was there when they first built them.
But...I have a sentimental place for this one.
Except I heard a story about someone once who's ride got stuck and they had to listen to the "It's a Small World" music for an hour or something ridiculous like that. Believe me...I wouldn't feel so sentimental about it if I had had that experience.
But I haven't.
So I am.

And this is my favourite part of that ride.
I'm a little biased. 
Feliz navidad! (oh, wait...)
 Is waiting in line for 75 minutes worth it to watch Charlee and Jane meet princesses?
Yes it is.
(Although, note to Ariel...get some tips from Belle. She rocked it.)

 She was the only one Jane would go to...
Can't you tell, Jane was so happy to see her? 
Oh Jane...
 And Tiana made a good show as well. 
Although the girls didn't know who she was....but she was a princess, and that's all that matters when you're 5.

Also...fyi...Aladdin musical show in California Adventure...totally worth it!
It's a 40 minute musical based on the movie.
The genie...was not Robin Williams.
But he was dang funny! 

2 seconds after I said, "Bo, show me your cool dude pose!" 

Oh Jane. 

Charlee's new love. 

We tried to hit the coast on the way home. It was a great idea...God just decided it wasn't gonna be warm yet. So...beach day still happened. And the kids loved it. 

...and the grown ups bundled up. 

SAN FRAN! (Bet you didn't see that comin'!) 

"My kids"
So so so thankful I got to have that experience with them. 
(Especially so, now that I have blog post evidence.... ;))

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

it's the little things...

So it's been a month since we took off for Disneyland with the kids.
I owe you all one totally awesome blog post about that.

In the meantime, delight in the mind that is Bodhi...

At dinner two nights ago...

Bo: Hey, Kaleen, when'd you get those dots all over you?

Me: Um, you mean my moles?

 Yeah (chuckle), your moles! When'd you get those?

Well, I've had them for a long time, bud.

No, I mean how'd you get those?

Well, when you get a bit older, you get moles.

 You mean, I'll get moles? Cause I want to get moles just like you!

Well, actually Bo, you already have a couple (she points to one on his chest)

 Woah, I have a mole! (both fists in the air)... YAY MOLES!!

I have never felt so validated...trust Bo to find the beauty in moles.
Thanks dude.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

literal vs. metaphorical...

I'm currently writing a final paper for my class...

...which means it's time to blog a Charlee story.

Friday night Charlee was pretty sick. Seems she was hit with some sort of 24 hour bug. So, Saturday morning, when I came upstairs, I found her perched on the couch with a big blanket and about a dozen books, and a large bowl...just in case. I snuggled up to her and soon Bodhi and Jane joined us.

Eyeing Bo's bowl of pretzels, Charlee asked me if she could have some. Seeing as Bo had the last of them, I asked him to share them with her, but also reminded Charlee to not take too many, as she hadn't been able to eat anything yet.

As she shoved them into her mouth rather voraciously I gently reminded:

"Go slow, Char, you're not feeling 100% yet..."

And then I looked up.

And saw her moving in slow motion around the room.

And then had to explain that that wasn't exactly what I meant...but it is what I said.

Friday, May 25, 2012

the latest and greatest...

I'm so behind in blogging it's not even funny.

Not even chuckle-worthy.

But this is...

Charlee: (sitting on my lap, jumps up and points and shouts) Kathleen! It's a spider! It's a spider!

Me: Oh, I see it, it's just a little one! Are you gonna squish it?

Charlee: Kathleen. You do not squish God's creation.

And that's how I was bested by a five year old.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

so much to post...so little time.

A quick wrap up of the last few weeks (some of this has been covered...but let's review for fun...and don't worry, I have a ton of pictures to catch up on...some day soon):

1. Witnessed Marvin and Estela get married...and wore a matching dress with Carleigh for the event (also "winged" putting together bouquets - add that to the resume?) It was a bittersweet wedding, knowing that deportation date is coming.

2. Hired a new team of commuter leaders for next year. Got a FULL team. God really blessed the work that this year's team did (a full team is a first in many moons). Got a little misty-eyed knowing there was only a few weeks left with this year's team...

3. Biked around Stanley Park with part of Wedding #2's bridal party. First time biking around Stanley Park. First time being a bridesmaid twice in one year.

4. Read some books. Wrote some papers.

5. Fun night with M and E at Castle Fun Park. Found out how good Carleigh is at shooting stuff. Made me remember she's American...and then watched Bodhi figure it out really fast. What is with boys and games?

6. Watched Canucks lose. And then lose (Lana joined us to cheer...and then joined us in our commiserating). And then lose. And then win! And then lose. I don't know if it's better to be out the first round than the last. I'm still not sure.

7. GRAD! Handed out gowns and caps...walked them in....walked them out...took back their gowns...went to the banquet...emceed with the valedictorian... embarrassed myself in front of 550 people (you know when words come out, but they're not what you meant? yeah, that happened. I inadvertently insulted the entire catering staff. Thankfully they knew the heart of what I said....or rather, meant to say.)

8. Went to see Ingrid Michaelson in concert. Wow. Okay first of all, she should be far more famous than she is because she can sing like no other. Second, I'm totally not 20 anymore. 10pm start time? Are you kidding me?

9. Bought an iphone. Oh gosh.


Somewhere in amidst all of that, I got to take Charlee on a date night. It was pretty great, because she actually initiated it (heart melt).

And so, I picked her up from art class, to which she dramatically announced in front of her class: I just KNEW you would come! And then we walked over to White Spot and had dinner together. We talked about school and art; we talked about Bodhi and Jane; we talked about our special friendship (and she was sure to say more than once: "Today is the first day you're picking me up from my art class, Kathleen!"). I felt pretty blessed.

And then...we also talked about this little incident, and also a little bit about our upcoming trip to Disneyland. And this is how it went. Please enjoy.

Charlee: Kathleen, I don't EVER want to get married.

Me: Really, Char, why not?

Charlee: Well, cause I don't want to have a baby. Cause I will push...and push...and it will hurt!

Me: Oh, I see.

Charlee: And, really, Charlee is NOT a mom name, Kathleen.

Me:  Really, Char? Well, what would be a mom's name?

Charlee: Um...well...Emily. Emily is a mom's name. (It should be noted that I don't believe Charlee knows any Emilys who are moms.)

Me: So, Char, what do you think about Disneyland? What are you gonna talk with the princesses about?

Charlee: Well, I'm going to say "hi" to Cinderella (cue fluttering eyelashes), and I'm going to tell her, "you are SO pretty, and I like you, and I make up songs, just like you do!"

Me: That's great Char...who else will you talk to?

Charlee: Um, let's see...well, I have a question. Is Sleeping Beauty always sleeping?

Me: (Muffling my chuckle) No, Char, she's awake. You can talk to her.

Charlee: Okay, well, you know that girl who's brown and green?

Me: (trying to imagine who the heck she's thinking of...) Um, do you mean Jasmine?

Charlee: No...the brown girl with the green...Well, anyways, I'm gonna tell her "You shouldn't kiss frogs! It's not a good idea!" (This kiddo hasn't seen the movie...)

Me: Oh, but Char, she kissed the frog and he turned into a prince! And now they're married!

Charlee: Oh, I'm not gonna do THAT! Cause then...I'll have to push and push and it's gonna hurt! And I'd have to change my name...

I do solemnly swear this story will be told at Charlee's wedding.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

a shout out.

If you are single...you will appreciate this video.
You will chuckle, because it sounds familiar.

If you are married...enjoy this fun video.
And please, please, please, do your single friends a favour:

Simply remind us we are loved.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

the words.

The one thing about Pinterest that I love (okay, there's more than one...) is the crazy amount of print and text images it provides me with. 

I *might* have a slight obsession with really good quotes. 

It started around the age of 13 when I read: 
"faith is the bird that feels the light and sings while the dawn is still dark" 
(Rabindranath Tagore)

This quote gave me another picture for faith that expanded upon what Scripture had been telling me already.
At the time, I think I drew a sad picture of a butterfly (because I couldn't draw a bird), and repeatedly took it out of my "treasures" box to recite along with my memory verses. (I was 13 after all).

I guess I have a thing for words. 
I may not be able to draw or paint or sculpt or even sketch...
(as friends can attest to from our Cranium game nights...)
but I love words.

I love the way a string of well-placed words can convey an image so spectacular, that in your heart it finds a home. 

A good book has the ability to draw you into its pages and make you believe you are living the story; you are not merely an observer, you are a participant.
A good quote will stick with you for 17 years (that's right...I just typed that above quote from memory, and yet I can't remember my license plate number).

I think I inherited this love of words from my Grandma Olive. 
I still have a number of her letters tucked away in a box carefully placed on my shelf.
Her "Dear Dolly" letters are what I call them. (Nicknames seem to run in the family...and no, you can't start calling me that, unless you are Myles Shaw and claimed the right to it when we were in college.).

Grandma's book of poetry has a spot on the bookshelf. 
Every once in a while, I find time to read through it.
Grandma wrote from a lens of faith; Scripture was part of the "breath" of her words. 
It was evident her Bible reading was more than duty.
Occasionally, I quote her words in my papers for school.
When I do, it reminds me of something else I love about words: 
the window they open to the past, and the potential they offer to bring about change for the future.

And so. 
Here are my latest favourites.
And yes, I might have them memorized.
But no, I did not draw a butterfly to go with them.

(image via)

Proverbs 31:25
(image via)

(image via)

"it doesn't matter if the journey is long when the destination is your heart"
(image via)

(image via)


(image via)

Monday, April 09, 2012

I'm in love.

...with sunshine.

Saturday I spent with a dear friend who I will stand beside as she marries her best friend in July, along with two of her other good friends who will wear the same dress as me. And we had fun.

There is something about a day full of sunshine, cruiser bikes, Stanley Park, and amazing food, that makes a girl's heart just full.

So, here's the deal, the best girls' day in Vancouver when the sun is shining is completed by doing the following (and can be modified to be a date day...just sayin'):

Step 1:
Rent 1 speed cruisers from Spokes and try your best not to run into the girl in front of you (Sorry Steph!) I have to admit, I kept staring off at either the mountains or the ocean, and as a result kept getting too close to the person in front of me, or way too far behind.

This also made me very excited to get a bike rack and take my own bike on adventures this summer. Pictures to follow.

Step 2:
Coffee at JJ Bean. Enough said.

Step 3: 
Manicures/Pedicures at Harmonie Day Spa on Robson St. These girls were so sweet, and service was really good - they honestly have the best green tea I've ever drank in my life.

Step 4:
Dinner at East is East on W. Broadway. OH MY WORD. Okay, you know things will be good when you're handed the best chai tea in the world upon entering. Even if you live 1000 miles away, you should probably make the trip to Vancouver to eat this food. Yes, it is honestly THAT good.

Step 5: 
Return to a living room to digest, laugh and watch a movie that makes you laugh a good ol' gut laugh

And there you have it.

The best use of a sunny Saturday in Vancouver.
(Version 1.0)

Sunday, April 01, 2012

on repeat

...reading a book...writing a paper...can't stop listening to this:

(warning...cheesier than I usually like, stylistically speaking, but hey...cheese is good.)

Friday, March 30, 2012

a short note...

...just to say this:

Less than 12 hours after my last post, I awoke with doom...my body was rejecting me as its host. The day was spent trying to convince my stomach that it wanted to keep its contents within me. I lost the argument, and succumbed. Here's to a bucket by the bed, dashing to the bathroom, and more than 24 hours in which I only could keep down water...and eventually ginger ale (which Carleigh lovingly went out and bought for me...because whether or not it actually helps, my brain believes it does...ginger ale is my flu placebo).

So...maybe I did have the chilly pops after all.

That's what I get for mocking it.

Monday, March 26, 2012

She might not like bones but...

I crashed on the couch when I got home...hard (sadly Carleigh was left to herself in the kitchen...sorry Car).

So, Jane picked up her doctor's kit and went to work on me. She doused me in imaginary cream, fed me a multitude of "pills", and gave me about six shots. She also tested my heart beat...out of my nose.

And then Charlee got in on the action.

With a flip chart in hand, she walked up to me and inquired as to my condition.

Charlee: Do you have a headache? A back ache? Do you have sneezels? Or chilly pops? How about chicken pox?

Me: Oh! Well, I don't think I have the chicken pox...but I might have the chilly pops.

Charlee: Oh yeah, that's bad.

Some like it hot...

Tonight at dinner.

Carleigh: (sharing a lovely story about a couple we know who are missionaries in Africa...)

Charlee: Hey! I love Africa!

Jane: Me too!

Bo: (diving into his chocolate cake...)  Not me!

Forensic anthropologist. Not in Africa. (The clues are building).

Friday, March 23, 2012

the hip bone's connected to the...

I was having a snuggle with Char, Bo and Jane on the couch two nights ago, as we looked through their Usborne Human Body book (which I will admit is the coolest flap-book I have ever seen...if you want to buy one, I happen to know a certain Usborne lady...)
Anyways, there is a picture of a body and the first flap opens to reveal the muscles, and then the flap under that one reveals the bones. As I opened the flaps, the kids' responses were hilarious.

Char: "Oh, that is di...stug...sting"
Me: "Dis..gus..ting?"
Char (hiding her face in her hands): "Yeah, that is di...stug...sting!"

Bo (leaning over my shoulder with a slight grin): "I think it is adorable"

So there you have it.

Char will likely not go into medicine.

Bo might end up working as a forensic anthropologist...the irony is, after hearing the name "Bodhi Jones" (a Vancouver musician), I tend to call Bo, "Bodhi Jones" from time to time (to which he says, 'that's not my name, Kaleen!'). But, shorten Bodhi Jones, and you get...Bo..nes. Coincidence? I think not.

And that, my friends, is how my brain works.
No flap book necessary.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

every day...

Last night, hanging out with my dear friends Kirsten and Malcolm, they asked me about my "kid stories" and noted I hadn't blogged any recently.

This is true.

Sometimes I forget the daily stories that pop up living with these three rambunctious kids...other times I just run out of time to write them...and sometimes I wonder if they're truly funny, or just funny to me. Every day I live with this family, I marvel at the amazing gift it is to live here.

Anyways, here's the latest from dinner tonight...enjoy :) (And, writing this post makes me realize I haven't taken any recent pictures. Sorry...that will need to be taken care of soon, right Corinna? :))

To set the scene for you: Jane (2 1/2 years) is exhausted. She bursts into tears at the beginning of supper, which ends up with a trip to the bathroom to get herself sorted out with her mom.

Bodhi looks at me and says: Every day, Jane cries. And every day, she wants to be a princess. And every day, she wants to drink her milkie on the couch. Every. Day.

Me: So, Bo, what do you like to do every day?

Bo: Um, well, I like to play trains...every...day. And...I like to play cars...every...day. And... (long mysterious pause, looking off to the side...and then turning back to face me)...train tracks. I like train tracks every day.

Me: Well, yes, that's true! Charlee, what about you? What do you like to do every day?

Charlee: Um.....I like to....(SCREAMS a very girly shriek at the top of her lungs)...do that. Every day. 

Me: Oh, really? I didn't know that!

Charlee: Well, actually, maybe only on Saturdays.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

March Madness

Today I ran into my friend Laura who, in an incredibly timely manner, reminded me that it is best if I not make any life decisions this month. (I truly thank God for His understanding me so well, as to send her my way today).

That was the best thing I could have heard from anyone...but especially her. She is a sister who works in the same field as I do, and gets it. March Madness does not just apply to college ball; it also applies to anyone who works in Student Development in the college setting. This is the month, when, in addition to our regularly scheduled programming, we also interview lots of students who desire to be student leaders. Times these by an hour each, and my 32 hour work week suddenly is not nearly enough time.

My own personal March Madness has also involved grad studies, a wedding (not mine), credit card fraud (mine...as in done to me, not by me)...and...as of today...a spam filter that approximately 100 explicit spam email messages made its way through on my work email today.  

(Dear spammers, While you apparently think I'm interested, I don't actually want breast enhancement...and no, I don't need to order large quantities of viagra...thank you very much for your explicit instructions of what these will do for me and my supposed loved one, in case I was not aware. If I could wash my brain with soap, I would do so now, and send you the bill.)

 I watched a surf movie on the weekend in which the surfer chick gets pounded by the waves, over and over. She comes up for a breath, only to see the next wall of water about to push her under.

This week...I have felt like the surfer chick. (But not as cool...maybe I'm more like a girl with a dinghy.)

From experience, I know the waves will calm, and there will be some smooth sailing again. I also know I'm not alone, and I have friends who are right beside me in those same waves.

But right now, all I can see is that wall of water about to fall again...and so I take a deep breath...and make no significant life decisions until it passes.
Thanks Laura. You were a God-send today.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The moment you would rather not repeat.

An hour at immigration today made me realize:

1. I never want to have to do the job where you tell people they can't stay here...

2. When you know someone's story and their heart, they are no longer a statistic. It's harder to explain to a person why they cannot stay in Canada, than to a statistic.

3. On Him we have set our hope. And hope, my friends, is powerful.

4. People can steal your heart and become part of your family when you let them. And for that reason, you will you cry when you are told their deportation date.

Here's to hope.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

daydreams of a five year old.

Right now, I should be blogging about the most amazing trip to Costa Rica.

Right now, I should also be:
1. doing laundry
2. doing homework
3. post-trip finance catch up
4. sleeping. cause I'm way behind on that too.
5. reading some documents from work that I just didn't get to today

But, let's be honest.
I've been running since the airplane landed in Seattle on Monday night.
So...instead of all of the above things, I am choosing to write about Charlee, Bodhi, and Jane.

Because...let's be honest...they are way more entertaining than any of the above things.

And blogging about Costa Rica actually requires me to figure out where I put my camera, along with the cable so that I can download my pictures. I have not yet unpacked (as point 1 notes). And, as point 4 explains, I am lacking some vital energy to actually figure that out.

So enjoy.
My promise to you is that I will get that sleep, and I will find that camera, and I will post that blog about a real soul-filling trip...later.

The most amazing thing about leaving one home is coming to another. I am blessed to have many heart homes. Costa Rica is one...and it also feels awesome to arrive at my house and have little children tell you how much they missed you.

They always look like they grew up a lot in the week you were gone.

I asked Charlee to check in on Zane (our teenager friend who Carleigh works with throughout the week) who had wandered downstairs. Her response when I asked what he was up to? "Oh, he's just chillin' down there". Awesome.

Tonight, as Bodhi overheard Jane crying in the bathroom (victim of an earache), he got up from the dinner table and told me, "Kaleen, I'm just gonna go tell Jane that crying doesn't help anything..."

And Jane, with fingernails like knives, loves to now "tickle" my face...it's precious...and I think I might be bleeding a little bit.


Daydreams of a five year old...

Gary has been away this week, and often when he leaves on business (like, 4 times a year), Carleigh and I will treat ourselves one night to fast food. Tonight was A&W or "Chicken and fries..." as Jane-z likes to call it.

We sat at the table. Jane went down hill rather quick with an ear ache. Bodhi was wiped out from a day of intense testosterone play time with his buddy Ollie. So while the two youngest went to go watch Diego with fluffy pillows, Carleigh and I chatted about our days, and Charlee worked on her cheeseburger. Slowly. Very very slowly.

At one point, Carleigh and I realized Charlee was in her own little world. Carleigh asked her to take a bite of her burger, to which Charlee "woke up" and with a big smile on her face, said,
"Mom....I was dreeeeaming"

Carleigh: "You're always dreaming, Char! What was it this time?"

Charlee: "I dreamed I was in Africa, and a car asked me to marry him"

Carleigh: "Um, what? You were in Africa and a car asked you to marry him? Like a Lightning McQueen car?"

Charlee: "Yup, but not like Lightning McQueen. Like Finn. "

Carleigh: "Oh, Finn, from Cars?"

Charlee: "Not Cars....(gives her mom a look like she's a sullen teenager and her mom has no clue at all)...Cars 2."

Carleigh: "Oh, yes, of course. Did he have an accent?"

Charlee: "Nope. He asked me to marry him. That's just silly....and.....(dramatic pause and looks at both of us).... I just made that last part up!" 

Saturday, February 04, 2012

another step...

Sharing dinner with dear friends last night, they shared how impacting my last blog post had been. As we discussed it and our weaknesses together, they shared with me the Litany of Humility, a prayer so very very rich. May it provide new perspective for you, as it did for us:

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

A few tears on the page.

...in an attempt to be honest with myself and others, these are the tears on my page today. 
I know you have your own, too, so I hope by sharing this, you'll simply know you're not alone. You're not the only one who thinks these things. You're not the only one with your struggles. But I also know it sure feels like it some days...

Some days I feel like I'm a hot mess.

Today could be classified as one of those days.

Oddly enough, it was a good day: I had some encouraging talks about life and faith with a couple of my student leaders; I got to share about Costa Rica with a group of students who are about to go serve there; and I had a visit with a good friend who dropped by that warmed my soul. I also realized that in one week, I myself will be in Costa Rica, visiting my friends, eating rice and beans to my heart's content.

But even with all that good, the day also included a few tears in the kitchen.

Because while life is beautiful, I am so very, very human.

I struggle with any of the following at any given hour, and this list is not exhaustive. It's simply what I can acknowledge right now.

The tears come when I struggle with:
  • bringing my focus to the present
  • having the "answers" 
  • being single
  • realizing I'm 30, yet still have moments where I wonder, "where do I fit? Where do I belong?"
  • procrastinating on important tasks
  • coveting others' blessings, others' stories, others' abilities...
  • desiring affirmation and recognition
  • finishing well
There you have it.
The ugly honest truth.
The stuff that rises to the surface, even when it's been a "good day".

I could blog pages and pages about each bullet point.
There's a lot of selfishness deep down in my heart.
There's a lot of lies trying to convince me I've been passed over, forgotten, unappreciated....

And the hardest realization of all?

I haven't let it go.

Because sometimes it feels cathartic to shed some tears for your own woeful self and believe you are the only person in the world who feels this way.

Because sometimes it foolishly feels like it's the one thing I can control.

And...as I have said before...it is easier to go there, to let myself believe the negative thoughts, than to do the hard work of choosing joy. Not happiness...but joy.

Joy involves believing with a tenacious confidence that God is in control of life, though the immediate evidence might suggest otherwise. (Tim Hansel)

A joyful heart is one in which something new is always being born, even when sadness and death are all around. (Henri Nouwen)

So may this post serve as my most recent reminder...

The hard work is worth it.
I am not alone.
And sometimes...I just need to eat some protein and go to bed.

Friday, January 20, 2012

the ticking crocodile.

Warning: This blog post is the result of what happens when you abandon your blog for a month. The "I-should-blog-that"'s pile up. So here it is...grab a cup of tea, and enjoy.

Lately I have been thinking about Captain Hook and the ticking crocodile.
(Ever thought about how profound the story of Peter Pan is?)

I realize what my mom often says is entirely true: the older you get, the less you realize it. You still feel the same inside. And so, with that in mind, I want to share a few ways in which I know time is ticking onward, whether I embrace it or not.

"Kathleen, look at my big musk-els! Don't I have such big musk-els?"  

One of the most obvious indicators of time is this chica...

And now:
I bought this dress for Charlee one of my last summers in Costa Rica.
She put it on a few days ago, and I had to laugh. It was a reminder that
a.) I have not been to Costa Rica in a long time, and
b.) she's grown so much.

Not only in stature, but she has also grown in her ability to explain her thoughts, to reason and problem-solve, to dream, to understand humour and develop her own great sense of timing. I am privileged to have seen the development, to have witnessed the transformation. And now, as she grows to understand her relationship with her Creator, to hear the sincerity in her prayers...the use of words that aren't just formulas...she prays the things she knows she needs. Carleigh recently wrote about this on her own blog...

I keep looking at the kids and thinking about what type of students they'll be when they come to Bible college.
It's a pretty fun game to play.

"Am I really getting paid to have this much fun?"

Speaking of fun and Bible college students, I am already over half way through my first year as Associate Dean. Just before school started up again last week, I had my commuter hosts (student leaders) over for a dessert and games night. While we savored chocolate fondue, I explained to them how this games night would be unlike any other they had ever experienced. It would be epic. (And, inside I prayed to Jesus that they would actually enjoy what I had planned). 

Before Christmas, I had the blessing to join Carleigh's family for early Christmas. Her parents are incredible hosts, and put together a games night for all the siblings which I got to participate in. It was a competition, with five levels of various activities with red cups, points awarded with each round, and a first prize "cup" for the winners to take home. And so, from this experience, I was able to fashion games night for the students. It was a great night. They played a version of beer pong (minus the beer, don't worry!!), a "minute to win it" team-effort-build-a-tower-tear-it-down challenge, and the finale...marshmallow gun shooting range (to knock the cups over for various points). 

As you can see, the competition was fierce:
And some had an amazing marshmallow gun technique:
The night reminded me how much I love my job, and also the fact that I had one more semester with this group of fine leaders...so I better cherish the time.

"It was a different generation, one with class, and matching china..."

 Back in November, my parents came to Abbotsford to help me celebrate my 30th birthday (another shocking declaration that time is passing) and I took them for an afternoon venture to Fort Langley, where we wandered around the Antiques Emporium for a while. We ended up reminiscing about china patterns and how they've become a thing of the past...and if you've ever thought about selling your grandma's china, you might as well hold off, cause the Antiques Emporium has most of it already...

But as we poked through, I found something of great significance:
These two china sets represent my heritage. 

On the left, Grandma Doll's "silver maple" and on the right, Grandma Davies' "petit point". Something about the two sets, on display side by side made me stop for a minute and think about time. I miss the presence that these two women had on my young life when they passed on to the next, and in many ways I wonder what life would look like if they were still around today to invite me over for tea on "silver maple" and "petit point".

"For some, maybe it feels as though time has stopped and forgotten them..."

This last week, we've had our share of snow (If you're from Saskatchewan and you're reading this...please just remember, this is totally abnormal for us. And we're not built for this weather. You are, and I congratulate you for it, honestly. Our city only budgets for like, 2 days of plowing. I'm 30 and I finally own the necessary clothes to walk outside in the cold and not freeze. So, now you have your context.)

Not only did it snow. The temperature also dropped more than 20 degrees. With wind chill it was minus 24. MINUS 24. (that's celsius, my American friends...which means it was minus 11 farenheit...now you have your context.)
 Don't get me wrong, it was beautiful....
 ...but considering our un-preparedness here for snow, and the fact that I had been rear-ended the week before, I was pretty nervous out on the roads. 

Tuesday night when I got home from work, I knew I needed to go out later that night, in the minus 24, and get groceries for work. I asked Carleigh if she would come with me, just for the sense of security that would provide me. She agreed, and we decided to bring Charlee with us for the ride. 

We were leaving Costco when I turned a corner and saw a man standing at a stop sign, panhandling. 

"You have GOT to be kidding me!" I shouted. 
I stopped the car.
I opened my wallet.
I pulled out the cash I had - $10 - and told Carleigh,
"I don't care how he uses this money, I just want him to get warm...no one should be out here right now"
I opened the door (my window was frozen shut) and handed the shivering man his money, and he mumbled "thanks ma'am" as he ran towards Tim Hortons. 

We drove on towards home.
Charlee piped up from the back seat, "What just happened, guys?"
Carleigh explained to Charlee the scenario, and the little one went silent.

Carleigh asked her what she was thinking.

"He's like....he's like a wild horse", she replied.

Carleigh and I looked at each other.

"What do you mean by that, Charlee?" I asked. 

"Well, he's like a wild horse. He has to search for his food. And he's out alone, looking for shelter. He's like a wild horse that doesn't have a home."

And it made sense.

That night I thought about the fact that for some people, time must seem like it has stopped and forgotten them. Kept them stuck where they are at. The scenario they find themselves in is likely not something they ever imagined. And for those, I dream and hope and pray for new seasons. New times, where the ticking crocodile is a hopeful presence.