Monthly Archives: April 2010

Don’t judge a book – or an all-girl’s school – by it’s cover.

This school has so many traditions. Seriously, every time I turn around, there’s another event that’s been going on for years and years. And even though I kind of make fun of it at times, I actually like it. There is a sense of community here (and at the college) that I have never experienced before. While I would not have wanted to attend an all girls high school or college – I loved me some Appalachian State – I can definitely see the appeal. After spending the past eight months here at the high school, I see why it draws girls in. There are so many fun things to be a part of – especially as a senior. Girls wait four years to experience the Ring Banquet, Smush Cake, senior priveleges (like no study hall and having a car), Senior Vespers, and much more. Yes, there are things about the school that aren’t perfect: I’m not a fan of girls being away from their parents at such a young age and I’m a believer in co-education. But I bet every girl here would say they prefer an all-girls learning environment to one with boys. Go figure.

This weekend is another example of the traditions that leave me shaking my head and feeling like I’ve stepped onto the set of Mona Lisa Smile. It’s reunion weekend and alumnae from many years past are here to celebrate. It’s really like one big party. I like that the classes of 1950 and 1975 and 2009 get together for pictures and dinners and just good ol’ fashioned girl time. Girls and women really want to come back to visit. Every time I go back to MAHS, I groan and think about how glad I was to leave. Not the case here. Of course, you always have your girls that can’t wait to peace out and will probably never participate in any of this. But I have a sneaking suspicion they’ll want to come back at some point and they’ll speak of their time here fondly.

The kick-off to reunion weekend was Founder’s Day on Friday afternoon.

It was a beautiful afternoon as we watched the seniors from the academy and college march in, along with the faculty. The guest speaker was great (and brief, thank goodness) and I listened with a smile on my face as the voices of the glee club wafted up through the amphitheater. It was fun listening to everyone join in for the alma mater (which everyone knew but me) and it made me laugh that some of the girls made up a rap with hand motions to the song to help them remember the words.

This place seems so foreign to me at times and I am constantly humbled by it. It’s so easy to look at something like this and judge it, but like everything in life, you really have to get to know it from the inside to appreciate it. I am so glad I have the chance to discover what’s inside this place. It really has opened my eyes to a whole other world and I will be forever changed because of my time here. If I have a daughter someday and she wants to go to a small all-girls high school or college, I just might consider it. At least a little more than I would have before. With community and nurturing like this, what could be so horrible? I liked having guys around (I mean, kind of, at times) and cheering and socializing at football games. But at the end of the day, the women that leave the academy and college don’t miss that because they have something that is hard to find at a public school – sisters for life.

They say not to judge a book by it’s cover. After years of putting many things back on the shelf because of how they looked on the outside, I’m finally learning to open up and discover what’s inside. And who knew, but I’m finding things I didn’t even know I was looking for. What a tremendous gift and an exciting adventure.

“Oh who can tell, save he whose heart hath tried.” (Lord Byron)

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Trying to enjoy the gift of the Present

I usually wait to blog until I feel inspired or have something inspiring (or so I think) to say. But I don’t have that today. Just wanted to check in and say Hi.

Life has been full in the past week. I hesitate to say “busy” because I just hate that word. I hate being busy and I hate that when I say I’m busy it’s because I want people to think I’m well-liked and important. And honestly, I can’t say I’m too busy – my good friend Alexis, who is a full-time teacher AND mother of toddlers, would balk at such a claim. So, life has been full. Which is good! It means I feel sort-of/semi-settled here in Winston. Who knows how long I’ll be here, but I’ve learned that we must bloom where we are planted, no matter how long the season. Because as much as I try to predict God’s plans or figure out His motives (yeah, I do that – how dumb am I??), there is really NO way of knowing what He’s up to. So I might be in Winston another year, another 10 years, or only just another few months, I dunno. But I think God wants me to invest in people and life while I’m here.

And that’s something I’ve been thinking about lately, the need to be present in our daily lives. I’m a big dreamer and so I constantly live in my imagination. I’m telling you, it’s a lot of fun in there and you wouldn’t want to leave if you were me either. I love creating alternate realities for myself and imagining my life in New York City or Africa or India or Seattle or on a ranch in Montana. Some days I’m an actress and rubbing elbows with Leonardo DiCaprio at the Golden Globes; other days I’m a famous musician or author, being funny and charming on Ellen as I promote my latest album or book. I spend a lot of time in day dreams. Not all the time, mind you – there are certain times when I’m out of it more regularly, and other times when I’m all in. I think the dreams come when I get restless, which makes sense. Anyway, at the retreat this weekend, I felt a nudging from God every time my eyes glazed over and I stared off into space that said, “Kate, come back…be present.” He wants me to look at what’s going on around me, because all I’m promised is today! And days can go by in a blur when I’m not focused on reality. And I don’t want to be so worried about the life I could be living that I miss out on the life I am living. And it’s a pretty stinking good life.

I’m trying to be present here at school. It’s hard because I’ve had a lot going on so I feel like I haven’t spent a ton of time with girls lately. But on Monday night, I went into the room of two girls I really love and spent about an hour with them. It was lovely. We talked, we laughed, we stared at pictures of Zac Efron on the wall. When I went back to my room, my heart felt so full. I just love these girls. I’ve missed them. Tomorrow I’m going to a soccer game which will be lots of fun. The school year is almost over, but hopefully I can squeeze in some good solid hang out time before everyone disperses for summer vacation.

Ok, back to reading my Doc Jenson LOST* recap for the week and then reading my book. FYI – I’ve put down Love in the Time of Cholera for the moment…I know, I know, I hate my inability to finish things, but I’ll pick it back up soon. It’s just dense and I got distracted! Anyway, I’m reading the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers. SO GOOD. I’m on the second one which has had a slow start, but I’ll power through. Good ol’ Francine never disappoints.

Enjoy the spring sunshine and rain! And be present today. It’s the best present you can give yourself (see how I did that play on words there?? hehe).

Hey, turns out I did have something inspiring bubbling below the surface. I love blogging! Ok, seriously, I’m going. TTFN.

* I love Jack Shephard!

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Let Us Sing

I just had a great weekend in Montreat, North Carolina – a place that I would argue is one of the most beautiful places on earth. I was on a women’s retreat with my church and it made my heart so full to be around all generations of women. I made some great new friends and I even picked up some babysitting jobs (hey, I do what I can). The fun part was getting to hang out with some girls in my small group and also girls in my sunday school class that I haven’t spent time with before. There’s just something about being with people for 48 hours that binds you together. Lots of laughter, lots of food, lots of worship, lots of talking, lots of card games and bananagrams. And of course, a lovely afternoon nap, followed by a walk outside…

Nothing can capture what a gorgeous day it was yesterday. The sun was shining, the wind was gently blowing. I sat by the lake and watched the sun glisten off the water and I just felt so alive. I was also a tad nostalgic because the last time I was at Montreat was with my brother Will for our friend Katie’s wedding, back in ’03 I think. My mind drifted back to younger days and I was thinking about what a beautiful wedding it was. It was the first wedding I had been to where the couple truly loved Jesus, and we sang ‘Shout to the Lord.’ I couldn’t believe we were singing a praise song at a wedding and I hadn’t even heard it before. But of course I loved it. And last night during our session, guess what song was part of the set? I sat back, smiled, and sang my heart out.

I think it was God giving me a hug.

And telling me that He has my past, is here with me in the present, and holds my future in His hands. As I wrestle through this season of searching for my heart’s true desires, I cling to this hope. Nothing compares to the promise I have in Him.

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Rain, rain, don’t go away

“So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord. As surely as the sun rises, He will appear; He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth.” (Hosea 6:3)

It’s been raining a lot tonight. I mean, A LOT. And I’m not always the biggest fan of rain – it’s kind of a love/hate relationship. I love rainy days when I can sit inside with a hot mug of tea or coffee and watch movies or read. I hate rainy days when I have to drive or walk outside. It just makes everything more complicated, am I right? I’m usually like, “UGH, enough already.” And usually a little annoyed that rain messes up what I want to wear – it’s hard to feel cute with a sopping wet rain coat and frizzy hair.

But when I start to shake my fist at the clouds, I think of the verse above. As much as I get depressed by gray skies and puddles, I know that rain has a purpose. The rain must come down in the spring so that things will grow. If we want the beauty of the season, we have to accept the means by which it becomes beautiful. We do live in a beautiful place and that beauty comes from having a wetter climate. It rains a lot here, but oh man, it’s so worth it. Now that spring is officially underway, I’m left breathless by the leaves budding on the trees and flowers popping up everywhere. So, I guess I can handle some rain every now and then, even if the effect it has on my hair does make me a little grumpy.

But that verse isn’t really about why we need rain, it just gives illustration to a simple fact: Like the rain that comes every spring, so God will come when we seek Him. It puts into words beautifully our relationship with the Father. If we press on to know Him, He will come. Just like the dawn, just like the rain, we can count on Him. Gosh, that’s so beautiful it takes my breath away. He is so romantic, that God of ours, and He longs for intimacy with us. He wants us to reach out for Him because He is right there, waiting for us.

So, the rain reminds me that the earth needs it to make things grow…and it reminds me that it will always come, just like God will always come when I call. When I look outside during a storm, I want to remember that the Lord will just as surely come like a storm into my heart. A good storm. I can’t stop the rain from coming and I can’t keep Him from showing up in my life. And I really don’t want to stop either of them. Come rain, come Jesus. Make me grow.

Oh, that we might know the Lord – Oh, that we might know the Lord – Let us press on to know Him – Let us press hard into Him – Then as surely as the coming of the dawn – He will respond – He will respond. (from the song Hosea, by Shane Barnard…download it)

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Happy Birthday to my youngest sister, Charlotte. I lub you, Binks. 🙂

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