Just a little blog about me and mine.

And I Believed, A Christmas Story October 21, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Katie @ 9:52 am

I mentioned my Theology on Tap writing class in an earlier post, and this is our assignment for week 1. Take one specific memory about going to church during the holidays—where you didn’t hear anything said because you were thinking of what Santa might have brought. Or, write about what your family did to prepare for Christmas, and what those traditions looked like. How have they shaped you? Your understanding of what you believe?

Here’s what I wrote (editorial note: I’m torn in wanting to add a whole second section where I unpack the story, but I also kind of like the mystery of just ending it without theologizing or sentimentalizing about what it all means).

And I Believed, A Christmas Story

I was by this time too old to believe in Santa. I had heard the rumors. I had friends with older siblings—siblings who teased us for still hoping that Santa was real. I even had some concrete proof: Santa didn’t like egg nog, and surprisingly, neither did either of my parents. But I couldn’t quite not believe. Not yet.

So that year, I devised a plan. Santa’s reindeer—if they really did have to get Santa all around the world in a single night—might get hungry. But everyone just leaves out food for Santa. The reindeer are normally forgotten, relegated to a single carol and even then it’s really just Rudolph who gets most of the attention in that song. But not that year. Not at my house. Beside Santa’s milk and cookies I left a plate of carrots out for the reindeer. I didn’t tell anyone about my plan, not even my parents. I knew that if Santa and his reindeer were truly real, the reindeer would eat the carrots on Christmas Eve.

I woke up early that Christmas morning, but like every other Christmas I remember, my parents were awake before me. I rushed to the front of the house and headed straight for the fireplace to inspect the remnants of milk and cookies—and carrots. The carrots were gone!

Much later that day, after the stockings were emptied of their candy and the paper removed from the presents and was burning with flashes of red and gold and green in the fireplace, I was playing outside with what is now a long-forgotten toy. Then I saw something in the grass. Little bits of carrot everywhere. By the chimney, in the grass and down the driveway.

And I believed.


Dog-Like Faith October 13, 2009

Filed under: pets — Katie @ 6:31 pm

I do my best to resist posting photos of my dogs on facebook and my blog every day, but sometimes I can’t help it. Without over-sentimentalizing anything, I think I learn a lot from my dogs–and not just how they force me to learn patience. They show us how to be loving and devoted, and how to be excited by small joys in life. (We’ve also learned how to clean red clay out of everything, how to dispose of dead rats, and how to fit 2 adults and 2-40 pound dogs in a queen size bed.) When we first got both of them they would startle fairly easily, but they’ve become less fearful and more trusting the longer they’ve been with us.

Last night, I looked over at Oliver sitting in one of our chairs and saw this: (we actually see this pose quite often, here’s O’Malley doing it too)


That’s such expectant hope. He knew if he waited long enough someone would come along and rub his belly. He was also prepared–legs up in the air and his big turkey-like chest sticking out–so when someone did notice him and walked by, he’d be ready.

What if we took that own posture? Figuratively of course, although I’ve had days where literally seems like a good idea too. Expecting good things. Being prepared for good things to come our way. Trusting that we are safe. Knowing that we are loved.


Gettings Things Done-Wally B Style

Filed under: books,theology — Katie @ 3:29 pm

Over the weekend I had a chance to meet and spend some time with a hero of mine, Walter Brueggemann. He is an Old Testament scholar, all around nice guy, and the author of 62 books. 62, can you imagine?! His book The Prophetic Imagination did whatever the theological equivalent of rocking my world is. It showed me how things could be different than they are, and gave me hope that we might be different. I brought my copy of this book with me to the conference, and in a quiet moment I asked him to sign it. While the two of us were there alone just chatting about politics and his new home town of Cincinnati, I asked if I could ask him a question I’d always wanted to ask him. Of course, he replied.


“How do you write so much? Tell me more about your work habits and how you seem to get so much done.”

I know from my seminary friends and colleagues that we’ve all wondered about this. He’s prolific, to say the least, and not only has he written a lot of books, he’s written a lot of really meaningful, insightful, thought-provoking and well-written books.

His reply? Just do a little bit everyday. As he elaborated, he shared that the always writes longhand since he doesn’t type fast enough to keep up with his thoughts. Then, he said if you write 8 pages every day, over time you’ve written a lot of pages.

On one hand, that sounds pretty simple. 8 pages a day seems manageable, right? But wait, I just spent 30 minutes writing a single paragraph! I’ve learned over time that when I write I average 2 pages an hour, so 8 pages would be 4 hours, of if you consider he writes longhand, that’s closer to 4 typed pages for 8 handwritten ones–a mere 2 hours a day, everyday I would need to spend writing. Yikes. (I definitely spend 2 hours most days either watching tv or goofing off online, I don’t need anyone to point that out).

It’s also clear that Brueggemann is also incredibly well read–ask him a question and he’ll answer with a book you need to read. There have been times when I felt like a really good writer, but it was an intense process, never sustained over a long time. Let’s be honest, mostly done between the hours of 11pm-3am in coffee shops the day before a paper was due. And in addition to the time set aside to write, it also took a lot of time to read and prepare. But to do that everyday? Over 40 years? So maybe it’s not so simple after all.

What I do know is that it gets easier the more you do it. My brain thinks faster, my hands move on the keyboard more accurately (that was real cute about WB writing longhand–but I can’t read my own handwriting, and no one else can either), and it’s easier for nice sounding phrases to come the more I work at writing. I think I have some talent for writing and this gift has been affirmed by teachers and professors over many years, but I certainly have less skill at doing something useful in my free time without a grade-imposed deadline (Hulu anyone?).

So starting tomorrow I will be intentionally cultivating my interest and ability for writing a little more by working through Anne Lamott’s book Bird by Bird with my friends in St. Mark’s Theology on Tap class. We’ll be writing, blogging and sharing our stories with one another through this journey. I thought about starting a separate blog for this but decided against it. So, whatever comes from those exercises will be posted here, and whatever else ends up here will get shared with them. I hope they like pictures of my dogs and are dying to know what I cooked for dinner.


State Fair and Cotton Candy October 5, 2009

Filed under: family,fun — Katie @ 8:01 pm

This past Saturday we took my cousin Dee to the North Georgia State Fair. I haven’t been to a fair since I was a kid, and haven’t even been on any carnival type rides since going to Six Flags in college, but when I heard the fair was in town it sounded like fun. We always say we should go to one of the strange little fairs they have in parking lots sometime, but this was probably much more fun and safe.

After paying for admission, and parking, we bought a package of ride tickets. We had seen a schedule of some free shows, we we toured the grounds and decided to wait for the shows to start. We visited the petting zoo and saw baby ducks and baby chickens, along with some beautiful Japanese Silken Chickens. We fed goats and petted an emu, and PL told me I couldn’t have a baby chicken for my birthday, even though I begged and whined a little.


Then it was time for some of the shows to start. First we saw The Penguins of the Arctic High Dive Show. It was people dressed in penguin costumes performing diving and acrobatic tricks. I was a little embarrassed for the actors (ok a lot since they had to dance around a little and flap their penguin wings), but as the show went on was also impressed by their athleticism. I guess there isn’t a professional high diving circuit, or even a diving version of the ice capades for retired divers to join, so this was it. Next we saw a BMX bicycle stunt show–totally the kind of thing Dee loves, and we actually all enjoyed watching it too.

Next were some rides. I’m not scared of rides, but I tend to get a little motion sick, and PL tends to be scared of rides, and we were a little too overeager in selecting our first ride given these factors. It was called the Ion and had a bit too much spinning around–PL had to keep her eyes closed and I got a little queasy, but it still was fun. Dee didn’t want to ride this one with us. We then took Dee on a slightly less scary ride, and I got seated with an 8 year old girl while Dee and PL sat together. The little girl was really sweet though and didn’t throw up on me, which is even better. Dee then had some funnel cake, and we had a few bites but were still not brave enough to eat and then ride. Next up were the bumper cars, and we got some great photos of all of us:




We also went on a tall slide which seemed to for kids or for adults with kids on their lap, but it looked like fun we we went on it anyway. Next up was the Ferris wheel. Somehow PL had never ridden a Ferris wheel before and we all enjoyed it–especially since we could all go in one car together. It was actually a pretty cool Ferris wheel-it was designed by the same folks as the Seattle space needle for the world’s fair there in the 1960s. PL tends to be afraid of heights, but I really like to be on top of tall things for the view, so being able to see everything seemed to not make her too scared. (I still doubt that she’ll ever get on our roof to help me clean out the gutters.)



Last but not least, PL and I rode the Tilt-a-Whirl together, which was a ton of fun and really seems like one of those really “couple-y” things to do. Once we spent all of our ride tickets and were done for the day, I got some cotton candy, perhaps my favorite food ever.

We ended up spending a really long time there (not to mention having spent a lot of money!), but it was a great day. On the way back home, we even saw the famous Big Chicken. PL had never seen it before, so she made me take a picture. If you’re not from the Atlanta area, the Big Chicken is a local landmark–his beak opens and closes and his big beady eyes spin around.



Oliver’s Big Day October 1, 2009

Filed under: family,pets — Katie @ 1:50 pm

Today, October 1st, marks the 1 year anniversary of our dog Oliver coming home to live with us. When O’Malley had been with us a year, last March 1st, I made a little blog post in his honor. So to be fair, I should also commemorate in a small way Oliver’s time with us so far.

Here’s a photo I took of Oliver this morning making himself nice and warm in our bed:

Even though Oliver looks a lot like O’Malley, he has a very different personality, and in the last two months especially we’ve noticed he finally seems at ease and at home with us. Just this week he laid down in PL’s lap in bed, something we don’t think he’s done before. He’s a very timid soul, prone to being a little jumpy with noises or fast movement, but he’s also incredibly sweet. I can’t imagine how either or our dogs ever ended up as strays and can’t imagine them ever being in a place where they weren’t adored since they both want so much attention. Even as we brought Oliver home we weren’t sure if it was a smart decision to get a second dog, but we just went with our gut, so to speak, and got him anyway.

He’s such a great dog-so laid back, so lazy, and so sweet. He has sad eyes, so tends to get whatever he wants. He’s not as quick to learn as O’Malley but he’s also calmer so he doesn’t need to sit or do down quite as well since he’s so mellow. His new favorite thing to to (thanks Keira and Aggie!) is to pull the filling out of his soft toys. He doesn’t eat it at all, just sits there and pulls it out and spits it to the side and goes in for more. He’s also a surprisingly fast runner for a dog that’s so lazy most of the time, and loves to chase and be chased. And while he’s learned he does like to snuggle in bed and lounge on furniture, he’s definitely a country dog–jumping into lakes and rivers with no hesitation. Oliver definitely found a good place in our family, and we tell him all the time that we’re happy we found him.

And here’s Oliver lounging in a river, with his happy face: