Getting Lost in Louisville

This is one of those posts in which I try to make up for lost blogging time by mushing a bunch of mini-posts together. (Mini-posts are becoming my M.O.) Here are some snippets of my life lately:

1. I have a job!

Lovin’ my cute desk and my   November wallpaper  . It is an accurate description of how I feel about my new job.

Lovin’ my cute desk and my November wallpaper. It is an accurate description of how I feel about my new job.

As part of my ongoing attempt to be a grown-up, I have taken a job. I am the marketing coordinator for a company that is based in West Virginia and has additional offices in Louisville and St. Louis. This job is roughly 1000% better than I expected my first job to be. My day-to-day is a mixture of writing, design, editing, planning, and teamwork.

I have this idea that God looked down at me and rubbed his chin and said, "Hmm, Kate needs a job in Louisville. How about I give her THE ABSOLUTE BEST JOB FOR HER IN THE WHOLE CITY?"

I hope to blog more about my job soon, mainly to offer hope to the frazzled, weary students who are too frequently told, "This is the most freedom you'll ever have! Enjoy it now!" Take heart! That's hogwash.

2. I have roommates!

Roomies Jamie, Rachel, and Becca + their froomie Liz (who moved out to get married but who is still an honorary member of the house) and   moi

Roomies Jamie, Rachel, and Becca + their froomie Liz (who moved out to get married but who is still an honorary member of the house) and moi

I live with three other girls in a big ol' house in Louisville. Having just moved out of a house with three girls whom I adored in Columbia, I considered living with three girls to be my dream arrangement, and that is exactly what I ended up with.

I'm pretty sure that when God was rubbing his chin about my job, he also said, "And she needs roommates, so how about I put her in the ABSOLUTE BEST ROOMING ARRANGEMENT FOR HER IN THE WHOLE CITY!?"

Two of my roomies are moving to Boston in the spring, and I'm already sad about it.

3. Louisville is super confusing.

Well, hello, giant man at the mall.

Well, hello, giant man at the mall.

I got lost literally every time I left my house for the entire first week that I lived here. Now, having lived here for almost four weeks, I can say that I only get lost about 40% of the time. I blame my lostness on the fact that we fell back to EST three days after I moved, so I've done a large portion of my new-city-navigating in the dark.

4. I picked the right time to move...

because Louisville just got an H&M! Who wants to make a weekend trip to stay with me and shop at H&M!?

See that cute leopard scarf I'm wearing up in that picture above? Yeah, FIVE DOLLARS at H&M. It's bad stewardship not to buy a $5 leopard print scarf.

5. I still miss Missouri.

My heart hurts just to mention it. I can't wrap my head around the fact that I've been gone half a year. I remember visiting Columbia when Jane moved there in August, and I cried to my small group and said I needed a job and friends in Louisville, and I know they have prayed for me. I still feel the effects of my church there in so many ways.

When people ask me where I moved to Louisville from, I never know what to say. I think I say Versailles half of the time, and I say Columbia half of the time.

6. Versailles is only an hour away. 

You know what's nice? This year I will drive ONE HOUR home to Versailles for Thanksgiving instead of EIGHT HOURS. I have this personal goal to feel as though I live in both Lexington and Louisville, and I have three trips home planned for the next month, so I think I am succeeding at this goal.

7. I'm going to Sojourn. 

I'm getting plugged in, and I've joined a small group there. I like Sojourn because the gospel. It feels so overwhelmingly large at this point, but yesterday morning when I walked in, I found that one of the girls from my new small group was waiting for me in the lobby, and that just warmed my heart so much.

8. This is definitely a seminary town.

Approximately 80% of the people I've met in Louisville (and 100% of my roommates) either currently attend or have graduated from Southern Seminary. It is 70% intimidating and 30% fascinating.

It is not uncommon for our conversations to involve references to Wayne Grudem, John Calvin, complementarianism, heresy, and Albert Mohler.

(Addendum: I wrote those last two paragraphs of this blog on Saturday, and then Sunday I had lunch with my three roommates, and our lunchtime conversation culminated with each of us explaining how many points of T.U.L.I.P. we held to. There may also have been a copy of Systematic Theology brought to the kitchen table. It was like A CARICATURE of a conversation that seminarians would have. LOLOLOL.)

9.  I speak in abbrevs too much.

I never realized how ridiculous it sounds when I say BRB, JK, LOL, and IDK (and hashtag) until I caught myself saying them in the office. But part of my job is handling social media, so it's just fitting, right?

10. I am in room-decorating mode. 

My bedroom looks way too much like what I imagine nuns’ bedrooms look like. GOTSTA get some color.

My bedroom looks way too much like what I imagine nuns’ bedrooms look like. GOTSTA get some color.

Remember how in my very first post on this blog back in 2007 (!!!) I said that I had ordered a hot pink bedspread for my dorm room?

Well,I had that bedspread (and matching hot pink and lime green decor) all through college and grad school, and I got a little hot-pink-and-lime-green-ed out. I know you are all shocked.

In thinking about decorating my new room here, I realized I wanted white. All white. It's so calming and peaceful and clean. So I bought a white bedspread. And, y'all, I highly recommend. It makes me feel as though I'm sleeping in a marshmallow.

Unfortunately, though, a white bedspread + a white desk + a white chair + a white dresser = a room that looks far starker than I'd expected. So I'm on the lookout for coral and gray accents, but I'm having trouble finding them, seeing as it is NOVEMBER, and retailers aren't crazy about the coral this time of year. If anybody knows where a girl can order a coral throw and some coral pillows up in here, let a sister know.

11. My legs are still cranky. :(

Oh, my heart.

Pink skin and taped knees after a chilly run. When you see runners happily jogging down the road, please think of me and pray for my little aching knees. :(

Pink skin and taped knees after a chilly run. When you see runners happily jogging down the road, please think of me and pray for my little aching knees. :(

Many of you know that I've slowly been returning to running after several years of being sidelined by chronic leg pain.

That old pain that I dealt with in high school and college is almost completely gone. (PTL!) But in trying to get back into running, my knees (which had never before been the problem) have given me a lot of pain on and off. Right now, the pain is on. I wrapped up five more weeks in physical therapy this summer before my move, and I'm not sure how much it really helped.

(Interjection: Does anyone know a physical therapist I could marry? That sounds like a joke, but I'm kind of serious. I just need my own personal PT who's stuck with me for the rest of his life. I've been through ten in recent years. At least give me an honorary doctorate in physical therapy. Something.)

When my knees feel good, I'm so hopeful about how far I've come and about my plans to run until I'm 100 years old. But when my knees hurt, I just want to curl up in a ball and weep. I so quickly revert back to that little 15-year-old girl who had too many doctors tell her they didn't know what was wrong. My head knows it's a different injury, but my heart doesn't.

I just want to run. I just want to run. These years of leg pain have been my greatest sadness.

12. The Lord is good.

Even when I am in pain.

Anticipating life in a new job and a new city was horribly frightening to me, especially before I knew where I'd be working and whom I'd be living with. I wrote a blog post about my fearfulness, but it was a million years long, and I never ended up publishing it. I may still post it after the fact.

I prayed all summer for a job and for roommates, and the Lord one-upped my prayers by giving me crazily more than what I had asked for. But I have prayed for nine years that the Lord would heal these legs so I could run again, and the Lord's answers have mostly been confusing. Why bother healing me the first time if you were just going to let me get hurt again, God? I ask that question a lot.

But this is what I know: I know that God has always provided for me. I know that he has provided the aforementioned job and roommates as well as every other blessing in my life. I know that he always has more provisions up his sleeves. (Does God have sleeves?) I know that he loves to heal and that he has the ability to heal my legs with a word. With a thought. And I know that if he isn't doing it, he must have a really good reason for not doing it. He withholds no good thing from me. So I will keep praying, and I will keep crying, and I will keep running on the good days, and I will keep hoping and expecting that the Lord has something good up those figurative sleeves of his.

13. This song is on repeat. 

I heard this Matt Maher song on Pandora recently, and I've been listening to it on repeat ever since. I went to go get the YouTube link for y'all to listen to it and realized he RECORDED IT WITH AUDREY ASSAD. Hello, she is my favorite singer! (Last night I actually dreamed I met Audrey Assad and hug-tackled her and said, "Your music changed my life!")

"My one defense / my righteousness / oh, God, how I need you"

14. You should go see About Time. 

It is so good on so many levels. I knew basically nothing about this movie before I saw it. (Didn't even know it was rated R until I was already sitting in the movie theater ... oops.)

Anyway, the trailer doesn't do it justice, but, y'all, this movie is so good. I am not normally a movie crier, but there were tears streaming, STREAMING, down my face by the time the credits rolled on this one.

I hated   Love Actually   and LOVED this movie.

I hated Love Actually and LOVED this movie.

I know what you're thinking: Rachel McAdams is on the cover, so the whole movie is probably about an unrealistic Hollywood touchy-feely romance, and she probably gets cancer and dies. You are so wrong. SO WRONG. On both counts.

This movie is about the man on the cover. (No spoilers here.) He learns that he, like all the other men in his family, can travel backward in time. I want you to pause with me right now and contemplate how you think this story will go. A man in a movie can go back in time and undo or redo things. I'm pretty sure that Adam Sandler was in a movie in which he could control time, and all I really remember from the trailer is that he used the power to slow-mo the lady jogger on the road and fast-forward his wife's talking. Eww. But that is a pretty typical Hollywood portrayal of men, right? If they're not totally unrealistic, perfect dreamboat Ryan Goslings, then they're lazy, selfish, and immature Adam Sandlers.

But the guy in this movie was just a normal, hard-working, nerdy guy who was faithful to his wife and loved his children and used his time traveling almost exclusively to love his family better. CUE TEARS. My friends and I all came out of the movie just really wanting to get married and have a million babies. For real. How often do Hollywood movies portray love as something that requires selflessness rather than something that justifies selfishness? LIKE NEVER. But this one does, which is why it is my new fave.

Anyway, go see this movie. I want to see it 10 more times.

p.s. It was rated R for legit reasons, so you may want to read a more detailed review before buying tickets, but I think the good stuff is redemptive enough that the movie is worth watching.

15. I will blog more soon. 

Now that I have verbally vomited my every thought onto the internet, it's time for me to sign off. I've gotten out most of the blog posts that piled up in my brain, but not all of them. Hashtag winky face.

New Year's Hope

I'm not big on New Year's resolutions, but I am big on hopeHope is a word that I cling to as my own. It has come to define my life in so many ways. Hope in the Lord's promises has given me strength and peace and resilience when I most needed it.

(This hope and this hope and this hope and this hope, among others.) 

And my hope for this year is the same hope I've had for the past several years: I hope to run again.

For the first six years after my legs started hurting, I would try running a few times a year. I would test my legs — out of curiosity or impatience or upset — and see how they reacted. And the reaction was always an increase in pain, a week or so of punishment for my indiscretion. But I've run more in this past year than in the previous six combined. I've hit the road — or the dirt or the treadmill — and felt mostly just the pain of normal muscle soreness, not of injury.

Since I've been home, in fact, I've run four times. I didn't run long, and I didn't run fast — for the record, I was never fast — but I ran, and my legs and back mostly cooperated. And that is a huge step forward.

During the first of these four runs, I looked over from the treadmill and saw a guy I went to high school with but haven't talked to in a while. I remembered a picture that was taken of us at church camp in 2005. We were in the rain, and I was in my wheelchair. I hadn't thought about this picture in years. (It was pre-Facebook, you know?) How funny, I thought, to look over and see him now and remember that moment and those wheelchair months, which seem so long ago, as I pound away on the treadmill.

And then a few days ago, I was looking through old pictures and came across the same one. It's so funny to see that little me and think of all that has happened since then. So many doctors and physical therapists and misdiagnoses and tests and tears and painful months. And, at the same time, so many reassurances that the Lord would heal me.

I'm closer than ever to having that hope realized — not realized as in understood but realized as in fulfilled.

It's scary to put this all into words. It seems like whenever I tell someone I'm doing better, I start doing worse again. The pain is not gone yet, and I know that it might not be gone for months or years to come. But it's not like it used to be. It doesn't control my life anymore.

And I'm more hopeful than ever that I will return to running for good. There's no way for me to sum this blog up neatly at this hour. All I know is that He who has promised is faithful and that this gives me hope for a new year.

Reflections on a Decade

So I've known for weeks that 2009 was coming to an end, but I only realized a couple of days ago that so is an entire decade. It still feels weird to have gotten to an age at which I can even remember something that happened 10 years ago. I do, though. I pretty clearly remember the whole freakout surrounding Y2K. We had a whole freezer in our basement full of bottled water and canned vegetables.

Since I can remember the whole decade, I might as well, right? So here is my decade in review: the Oties according to Kate.

2000.jpg

2000

Loved: borrowing friends' Backstreet Boys' Millenium CDs to listen to on my discman, Crazy Bones, Pokémon Moments: graduating from elementary school, my cousin Courtney's wedding, starting middle school Thought that: jean jackets went with everything

2001.jpg

2001

Loved: that George W. Bush ousted Bill Clinton, The Princess DiariesMoments: September 11 Mmm, that's all I remember.

2002.jpg

2002

Loved: Harry Potter books, track and volleyball, Aeropostale Moments: Getting braces, my cousin Kyle's wedding Thought that: John Mayer was overrated Hated: science class

2003.jpg

2003

Loved: Clay Aiken/American Idol, track, A Walk to Remember, running with my dad Moments: Getting braces off and ears pierced, graduating from middle school, switching to the local public school (where they gave all the students iBooks), finding out the whole fam was moving to who's ever heard of Kentucky, getting my own iBook, seeing Clay Aiken live Thought that: Clay and I were destined to be together

2004.jpg

2004

Moments: surprise going-away party, moving to Kentucky, realizing I liked Kentucky better (thank you), running cross-country, getting hurt, seeing Clay Aiken live again...and again Loved: Kentucky and all it entailed, running, my iBook, CIY, IchthusHated: Honors chem as a freshman (Good one, Pennsylvania!), Napoleon DynamiteThought that: 4-6 weeks meant 4-6 weeks

2005.jpg

2005

Loved: that George W. Bush stayed president, MySpace, YouTube, Spanish class, CIY, doing stats for the cross country team Moments: physical therapy, being in a wheelchair, turning 16 (in said wheelchair), getting my driver's permit, my cousin Brady's wedding Thought that:trucker hats were genuinely kind of cute

2006.jpg

2006

Moments: getting my driver's license, more physical therapy, prom (dress, hair, date, DRAMA), starting senior year, trip to Betsy's houseboat, WCHS cross country at state Loved: MySpace, Facebook, cell phones, CIY

2007.jpg

2007

Loved: Spring break, senior trip, doing class publicity, new Asbury friends, The OfficeMoments: deciding to go to Asbury, prom again (dress, hair, date, DRAMA again), graduating (got to walk first out of a class of 260-ish because of my last name!), seeing Harry Potter at midnight, tearing up at the end of the last Harry Potterbook, working at the Stewart Home, starting college Hated: the ACT, skinny jeans, AP calc

2008.jpg

2008

Loved:David Archuleta, Twilight, the mall Moments: becoming an Asbury Ambassador, trip to Western, visiting MC and Lola's houses, freshman formal, working at SHS again, meeting David Archuleta with Becki, going to the UGA vs. UK game, trip to SCAD with Jack and my mom, traveling to see Duke docs...to no avail Hated: the caf

2009

Loved: my jobs (daycare, admissions, PR), Kris Allen, blogging, Gilmore Girls, small group, babies, graphic design class, GleeMoments: new physical therapists, trip to Eastern, getting to introduce Jack in chapel, another houseboat trip, visiting Tay's and Jenelle's houses, homecoming, another new physical therapist, meeting Needtobreathe with LindsHated: studying

2009.jpg

So there it is, my decade in review. I'm sure I'm forgetting things, but I suppose that's what I get for trying to sum up 10 years in one sitting. It's been a good decade for sure–one punctuated by a move, an injury, an obsession with American Idol, graduation and school transitions, and relationships with my friends and family.

I can only hope that the next decade will be as good. Will it bring healing? A college degree (or two)? A husband and babies? More time with my lovely friends and fam?

Here's to hoping!

Tonight's menu: salmon, asparagus, corn on the cob, electrocution.

I, being the brilliant person that I am, did something moronic today. I was using a TENS unit, or a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation unit, which my physical therapist lent to me a few weeks ago to block pain messages from my legs to my brain by sending my brain electricity messages instead. If I understand correctly, muscles can develop "muscle memory" and automatically send pain signals to your brain when they do motions that have often caused them pain. A TENS unit is supposed to override those signals and break muscle memory.

Twinstim
Twinstim

Today, I was sitting at the dining room table eating dinner with my family with my TENS unit on my left leg. All of a sudden, one of the four sticky electrodes unstuck itself from my leg and landed on/stuck itself to the carpet. I've never had an electrode unstick itself from me before.

Here comes my stupidity. I picked up the electrode to try to reattach it to my leg. Let me just tell you that legs can handle more electricity than fingers can.

Whenever I turn the electricity too high on my leg, it starts twitching, and my fingers did the same thing. They started twitching when I grabbed the electrode! I couldn't control them, but the thing was–duh–stuck to my fingers! Then, out of instinct, I guess, I tried to grab it off with my other hand, but then both my hands were twitching and uncontrollable and stuck to the electrode. It soon fell off, and I turned off the TENS unit before picking it up again and sticking it back on my leg.

I then resumed eating my corn on the cob and felt dumb.