Saturday, February 11, 2012

Enjoying Winter

Michigan winters can get quite long. And cold. And dreary. And I often find myself hating the weather from January to March. Working at the barn is ten times more difficult when its freezing out and everything is buried in 3 feet of snow. At the beginning of this winter, I realized part of my hatred of winter might be partially because there was nothing I looked forward to about it. Nothing about my life becomes better once the snow begins to fall. I then decided I wanted to try and find a winter activity that I enjoy.

Since the last time I went skiing ended up with me on crutches and a torn ligament, that was  immediately out of the question. I've tried ice skating before. It was fun, but I got bored pretty quickly just skating around in a circle. Then I realized that I've never tried snowboarding! I've heard lots of horror stories about people that have gotten hurt, people that couldn't even stand up and of people going stumbling down the hill in every direction. But I decided that I wanted to try it, to take a risk and just put myself out there.

Earlier this week my sister, Lindsay told me that her friend Amy was coming to visit this weekend and that she wanted to go snowboarding. Lindsay didn't seem to excited about the idea, but I freaked out when I heard that they were going. Since Lindsay had never gone either and Amy had gone once nearly ten years ago it was the perfect opportunity! We were all going to be equally terrible and we could all try to learn together and laugh  at with each other!

When we arrived at Pando we were all feeling pretty nervous as well as excited. After renting our boards and struggling to get the boots on we began out trek to the "bunny hill" (although I'm convinced that "Bunny slight incline" would have been a more accurate name). I'm sure we were quite the sight as we struggled to determine which way of the board was the front and how to attach the boots to the board. Once we were all strapped in, thanks to the help of a nice dad, we had to conquer our first task, the tow rope. After some instruction by the same dad and lots of hesitation, Amy grabbed on and headed up! I was next but wasn't quite as good at the tow rope. In fact, I fell twice before even getting to the top of the "hill". The brave one of the group, Amy was also the first to go down the hill. Followed by Lindsay then I we all managed to make it down with all of our limps attached, but certainly not without falling! Within just a few short hours we all made vast improvement! Although we never moved off the bunny hill, I feel good about our accomplishments. To go from not being able to identify the front of the board to successfully making it down the hill without falling is pretty good, if I must say so myself.

Even though I have muscles that are sore that I didn't even know existed, I am so glad I went! Yeah, I fell, a lot. Yeah, I embarrassed myself, a lot. Yeah, I have a lot of bruises. I also laughed, a lot. And I smiled, a lot. And I had fun, a lot of it.
Lindsay, definitely the most natural! 

Amy shredding it up!


This was a pretty common place for me

falling off the rope...

the 3 of us

I did it! I went snowboarding and I can't wait to do it again!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


    When I hear the word "used" I instantly picture bad things in my head. I picture used, dirty, shrunken, faded shirts donated to the local Good Will,  I picture girls my age crying themselves to sleep at night because they were used by another boy, I picture the pain that usually comes with being used and the used, dull crayons that are left laying at the bottom of the art drawer. Recently, my perception of the word used changed. I know realize that sometimes being used can in fact be a good thing. That being used by God can be a life changing experience.
     A few short days ago, I was used in a very positive way. Looking back on that evening, I realized how nothing made sense that night. I had to go clean stalls at the barn and I was afraid that I wasn't going to be able to attend youth group that night but I wasn't terribly upset, I figured there's always next week, right? Well somehow time seemed to have stopped while I was a the barn. I cleaned 3 stalls in less than 40 minutes, a job that normally would have taken me near an hour and a half. When I got to youth group, I saw my friend there and I was pleasantly surprised, I never would have guessed she would have come to my youth group. When the message was over, I approached her and talked to her and that was when I noticed that things just didn't seem right. I hugged her and then carried on with talking to my other friends. Then I got home, logged onto Facebook, checked Twitter and all of a sudden felt an urge to text my friend, to ask her what she thought of youth group, to check in on her and remind her I was there for her if she needed anything. That nudge ended up being the Holy Spirit. Although I'm not comfortable sharing the details over the Internet where who knows may find them, God used me to help someone.  After lots of texts back and forth, many tears and praying, I said good night to my friend. She was going through even worse things than I had imagined and if I hadn't texted her, if God hadn't asked me to text her that one night I'm not sure if things would have turned out the way they did. Even my friend said herself "Katie, you are someone sent from God". At the mere age of fifteen, I never would have guessed I could have had such an impact on someones life. I am just truly amazed at how once I opened up and allowed him to, God used me for something so important, so good. I have no doubt in my mind that God was in control of everything that night . Everything was just too coincidental for it to have not been him.
   Have you ever been used in a positive way? If so, I'd love to hear about it!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

One Year, Pony

Dear Breena,

        So according to the calender, it was exactly 371 days ago that you became mine, but I am having a little trouble believing that it's been that long. It seems like just yesterday that I unwrapped the box holding your registration papers and came to the realization that you were officially and legally mine. Although when I begin to look back and reflect on this past year with you, I suppose maybe it has been that long...
       This year certainly hasn't been easy. We have faced struggle after struggle with each other. Some physical, some mental and some emotional. We've hated each other (well at least I know that I've hated you), we've questioned whether we were right for each other and we've learned how to really push each other's buttons. Of course there were days when I wish I had gotten a perfect push button horse that would have been much easier to figure out but given the opportunity, I wouldn't trade you for anything, not even an Olympic level eventer.
         But let's not dwell on the negative, we have also accomplished and learned so much from each other. You've taught me lessons that I will cherish and use for the rest of my life, the kind of lessons they don't teach you in school. Everyone has always said that its not all about winning but I never agreed with it; then I met you. With every horse I had previously ridden it was about winning. I rode my butt off everyday and trained as hard as I could to win. With you, it's not like that. I ride you because it makes me happy, because I love you, because it's fun. Sure we did win lots of ribbons this year, but it doesn't matter to me. Pony mare, you were always there for me. When every human being abandoned me, I could flee to you with tears streaming down my face and you knew how to make it better. Just by looking at me with your big brown eyes, sniffing my face and following me around you comforted me and made me believe that everything was going to be just fine. Even when our world literally collapsed I knew it would be alright, because I still had you.
        " In your life you will ride that one horse that turns your life around. Not because you won the most ribbons that season, or because you tried something new. It won't be because they got you through a hard time, it will be because they challenged you. The horse that makes you swear, want to give up, throw things and have moments that make you oh so thankful your coach isn't watching. The horse that gives you a run for your money, that throws you to the ground and doesn't blink. The horse that nobody else wants to ride, the one that people use as the definition of a "hard horse". That horse may not give you ribbons, but it will give you the most. I'd be nothing without that horse- I wouldn't be known as the rider I am, I'd just be another kid with ribbons on her walls. The challenges make you stronger, the hard horses make you better. I wouldn't be anything without those horrible rides, and I've never been so thankful. The hard horses are always the ones you'll remember."    Breena, thank you for being that horse for me. Thank you for allowing me to learn you like the back of my hand and knowing me like the tip of your nose. Thank you for every single thing you have done in my life, both the good and bad because they've shaped me into who I am today. 
        So here's to this next year, ponyface. I know that there is lots of change in store for us in these next 52 weeks but I can't wait to see what this next year brings and I can assure you as long as I've got you by my side, everything is going to be just fine. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

To be Pursued

      There is just something about being chased after that stirs the heart of nearly every woman and girl I know. Whether it be someone literally running after you, someone trying to get you to open up to them, or someone trying to get you to fall for them in every single way possible, being pursued makes the heart feel good. I think that if you peered into the heart of nearly any age girl, you could determine that it isn't all that difficult to find the reason why being pursued can make the heart skip a beat.
      Even if it's something as silly as someone from a  kiosk in the mall running up to you in hopes of getting you to buy their product I believe that every form of being pursued feels good. With only one or two people at one of the mall's many  kiosks, there's no way they can chase after every single person that happens to stroll by their stand but the fact that they chose to approach you, to pursue you, feels good. Another example that comes to mind is dancing. If you've ever been to any kind of dancing atmosphere you are probably aware of the often awkward situation of determining whom you are going to dance with, or you are captivated by the fear of being an outsider, of remaining on the edge of the dance floor questioning why nobody asked you to dance. When a young, charming male strolls up to you, grabs your hand  and asks you to dance, a sense of relief is felt throughout your entire body. Someone wanted to dance with you, they make you think you're special, they chased after you. Your heart instantly feels lighter.
          Now why is this? What is it about a woman's heart that needs pursuing? Well, when the current world population is over seven billion people, theres a feeling of being different and unique that every girl strives for. When you are being pursued, you become aware of the fact that you are indeed special. That someone seems something in you they like, something they're interested in, something they want to find more out about.
      Now when you feel as though you're not being pursued, it can be easy to slowly begin to believe the lies that society feeds you. The lies that you're not pretty enough, you're not skinny enough, your hips are too big and your legs are too long. Sometimes these lies are easier to believe then others.
        Whether you are in a relationship with another human being or not, you are in fact being pursued all the time; as you are reading this very word, someone wants you. God wants to have a relationship with you, he is chasing after your heart, he cherishes you and everything you are at all times. You are always being pursued by someone, even if it isn't the cutest boy on the dance floor that you are secretly hoping will ask you dance. God is pursuing you, and hey if the man who made everything anything wants your heart, I'd say that you most be pretty dang awesome.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Operation Beautiful

    Several months ago,  I stumbled upon "Operation Beautiful". The idea is to secretively leave sticky notes in public places, such as bathrooms, dressing rooms, make up aisles of stores and anywhere/everywhere where other women (or men, I guess..) would find your note. The notes are meant to speak truth into the heart and show love to women who may or may not receive much acknowledgment for how great they truly are. The sticky notes withhold positive, uplifting messages such as:
"You are Beautiful"
"You were made the way this way for a reason"
"You are loved" 
"You inspire me" 
       Ever since I learned about this movement, I have made a conscious effort to part take in it! But I don't carry a purse and sticky notes don't fit in the pockets of jeans very well, and if I'm being honest, I often forget or even if I remember, I usually try and get out of public restrooms as quickly as possible. Then just a few weeks ago, I realized that Lowell High School would be a perfect place to leave some post it notes. Every morning when I go into the restroom there are the same girls just tearing themselves apart as they plaster themselves with makeup. When I noticed the routine of my peers, I left my first Operation Beautiful note; It said "You are just as beautiful without the makeup". Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to take a picture of that note because I heard someone opening the door.   
       As silly as it sounds, leaving these sticky notes has almost become a "high" for me. I ponder new places to leave them and feel accomplished when I leave a new note (sometime I wonder if anyone ever notices me walking out of the bathroom with a look of pure satisfaction on my face). Ever since I got my new iPod with a camera, I have begun taking pictures of my attempts at a new way of loving others. Below are a few pictures of my notes.


On the door of a bathroom stall at school

On the main mirror of a school bathroom

In an Old Navy dressing room

       A few of my friends, Becka and Hannah have also starting leaves notes in their wake. It feels good to know that my friends and I are slowly helping other women, one sticky note at a time. So next you find yourself with a package of sticky notes, go ahead, do it. Become a part of Operation Beautiful. You can also find ideas and pictures of notes left all around the world at their website.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Rainbow Fish

       As I have mentioned several times on this blog (even more if you personally know me), high school is really quite the place. You can find every type of person known to man being held captive within the brick walls. I like to compare all 1200 students in LHS, to a big school of fish. Nearly 100% of these said "fish" are just along for the ride. They stay with their group of other fishies that are similar to them. So we have hundreds and hundreds of fish all going the same way. It's one large pack with several small sub-packs. Well I am an individual fish. The rainbow fish.
    To me, being an individual is incredibly important. Although it easy to get lost in the sea of 1200 other students at LHS, I try to swim the opposite direction of the rest of the fish. The fish that are just floating along with the current, getting pushed this way and that, getting caught on old tree limbs fallen in the river, or unfortunately the select few who end up being beached along the shore line. Nobody will ever go and pick these fish up and through them back into the water, they will just lay there struggling for their last breaths of air, very few will be able to fight their way back into the water. Most will just give up, lay there and begin decomposing. Within a few short hours, they will be completely forgotten, only serving as a reminder to the other fish of what could happen.  I swim up the stream. I"m the one fighting with every stroke of my fin, the one that is to determined to give up, the one that is pushing through the herd of fish coming at me in every direction. Sadly, sometimes I am the fish that is the underdog, the fish that is questioning whether it's worth it to keep swimming onward and see what's farther up ahead, the fish that stops for a breather and is pushed back. But I, I am the fish that no matter what, I am going to keep swimming. Just keep swimming. I don't care of if my fin is scraped by a large group of  "mean fish" headed straight for me, I will head right back towards them. For I believe in what I am fighting for, I have a purpose for swimming up the stream, I want to challenge the other fish, to make them turn around and see where I am going. And maybe, just maybe they will follow behind me, maybe they'll be curious as to what could be up there, there's no way I would being bothering to go through so much trouble if there wasn't something great up ahead, maybe I'll soon have a few fish behind me. After all, I am an individual, I am a different fish. I have God on my side. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011


       Do you ever feel like you just need to go out on a limb, put yourself out there and try something new? Well, recently I had been yearning for something new, something fresh, something to remind me that I'm alive. I've been struggling with feeling tired. Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally, I've been feeling burned out. I find myself going through the motions of my daily routine. Nothing new. Nothing different.

and then....

      I found it. The thing I have been searching for so long. The thing that has been right in front of me for well over a year.   Now why did I just come to this realization you may ask? Well to be completely honest, I have no idea. They say you won't find something until you start to look for it, maybe I just wasn't looking? Or maybe God just wasn't ready for me to have this new passion; maybe he was saving this precious discovering for a time when I really needed it. Like now.

Well,  know that I have created enough suspense, I suppose can now share what this new passion is. Drum roll please..........

More specifically, swing dancing. When I dance, the rest of the world slowly slips away. I forget about my ever growing pile of homework, my physical exhaustion, the day to day stress, I forget it all. On Monday afternoons at my schools swing dancing club, I am genuinely happy. Twirling around, my hair flipping, being dipped, spinning around on the floor just feels right. Now, I am in now way an expert, or even that good, but I'm okay with that. I'm okay with just spinning in whatever direction my partner suggests, following his lead. Dancing has brought me closer to the Lord, as well. Dancing has me to trust; I've learned that everything will end up okay, even if you take a wrong step, spin the wrong direction or you try and predict what's going to happen and your completely wrong. Even if you fall completely on your face, it will be okay. You just have to laugh it off, stand up, smile and you'll end up right back on the beat.

Unfortunately,I have been fighting off some negative thoughts too. I believe that when you find something that really makes you happy, or something that brings you closer to God, or both, that there is someone who doesn't like that. That he will try and do whatever he can to stop that activity. Whether that be by telling you that you're not good enough, you're too tall, you're too awkward, too clumsy, unnatural or fake. But thanks to my God, I can fight off at these false statements. I know that my God loves me. That I am good enough, that I can learn to dance will having a larger bend at the knees then most(and get huge thigh muscles) , that I can be graceful. Oh how I love my God.