Wednesday, October 31, 2012
I was aboard, settled in my seat with a book, hoping I would reach the final chapter before reaching the train's final destination - LA Union Station. After spending two nights in Redlands with my friend Jen, I was on my way back to LA.
My friend Marie had dropped me off at Riverside Station just after 5 - just in time to catch the train to downtown Los Angeles. We had spent the afternoon together, catching up on over a year of life. Marie is one of 5 California roommates I lived with in a near mansion home my final year in California, and I hadn't seen her since my extended visit the previous summer.
She and her sister attended a conference this past spring called Storyline - a conference I would love to go to, but can't, because it's complicated. It's not overly complicated, but complicated enough for me to forego signing up for the February conference. Still, I recommend this conference for anyone and everyone else. Because the conference is about living out greater stories with our lives, and I think we all have the potential for more than what is currently in front of us. But we have to awaken the more in order for it to come to life. And this conference does just that.
Click here to register: http://www.mystoryline.net/conferences/
I asked Marie if anything specific came out of the conference for her and she started telling me about how she's working towards starting up a microfinance company to help empower women in the developing world. She wants to devote her efforts specifically towards helping women because women tend to apply their earnings towards their families' well being, while men in the developing world are more likely to squander their earnings.
I find it fascinating that women have had to take on the Genesis "curse" of both man and woman.
Not that I'm at all opposed to females earning an income; I'm a huge fan of it, actually. It just seems in an ideal world, it should complement, or provide short term relief in times of economic hardship with job loss, rather than be the primary financial source for a family.
Then again, I know more than one happily married couple who have arranged life as such where the husband stays home with the kids, and the wife is bringing in the income. But in those situations the men are actively staying on top of home life responsibilities.
And I write this as a single, woman in her "early" thirties - what do I know about the economics of marriage and family? Except that when two people synergistically work together there is a more that cannot be obtained as a wandering, free floating agent.
Ah, the craving for more - it never goes away, does it?
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
"off to penn station - booking it out of this city before hurricane sandy hits - see you soon LA!"
I had initially booked a flight for a Tuesday afternoon departure, but after my mother caught wind of Hurricane Sandy and she passed her concern onto me, I considered it might be a good idea to look into an ealier flight.
And so Friday evening, I called US airways,
(watching the weather on television has always been my mother's favorite...)
But when I boarded my plane Sunday morning I didn't consider my storage unit Chelsea, and the fact that it's underground....
Nor did I consider my car might be swept away from where I parked it in Queens.
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Instead of watching the display over the Hudson with him, I spent the evening out at the Hamptons. Don't get me wrong; I enjoyed my time outside of the city with fun friends, but I also regretted not being with him that night.
I texted him, after a drink or two, and then fessed up to a friend, "I'm starting to make poor texting decisions." She laughed, and we both set our cell phones aside to join the dance party in the living room.
I suspect my friend Thomas, pictured down below, may have also made a few poor texting decisions that night. Either that, or he got a really high score playing some video game - perhaps Tetris.
After that evening I determined I would say something to him, before my departure back to Michigan. But my determination was thwarted when I ran into him a couple of days later at a subway station. He was out on some date with some other girl.
With the "signs" not showing any favor, I left the city, leaving no hint in his mind that I might actually have feelings for him. Besides, I argued, he and I were a horrible match on paper. Feelings are feelings; I'd set them aside - like I have numerous times before.
But the communication, although minimal, continued over the summer. And when he texted in August, "i miss you. a lot." I pondered more deeply the possibility, that maybe it would be worth it - to say something or, as the band Mae sings, "Say anything... I'm caught in suspension."
Yesterday we met up in a certain New York park. He greeted me, "Hey there pretty lady... " reassuring me with his words, and a warm, welcoming embrace - it was time to risk my heart.
Some things in life are worth risking.
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
I fumbled with my phone, rereading a text message my friend Steve had sent earlier in the evening - one that inquired if I would be joining him and a few others for a bite to eat following the service. Steve asked again, in person, on my way into the church. I told him I'd drop by for a bit, not going into detail about my departure from the city.
I sat for a few more moments, in the sacredness of my goodbye to a church I've grown to love.
As the chatter down below moved towards silence, I picked myself up off the ground, and moved towards the stairs, taking each step slowly, feeling the impact of my body against the wood boards.
My friend Ray East greeted me on the base step with a warm hug, and enthusiastic words to see me. He continued on, going into how a former student of mine expressed to him how much she enjoyed meeting up with me recently. As he spoke the tears well up once more, cluing him in. I wasn't okay.
"Ray," I quivered as I spoke. "I think I'm going to have to go back to Michigan. I'm not well enough to stay in New York."
And then Ray, who is the most discerning, humble, and encouraging man I know, rested his hand on my shoulder and spoke over me, and prayed over me such a way, that finally made me believe...
I AM GOING TO BE OKAY.
I AM GOING TO GET THIS THROUGH THIS.
MY BODY AND SPIRIT WILL BE HEALED.
Ray believed for me. Ray had faith for me.
He instilled in me the confidence I so desperately needed.
I WILL BE HEALED.
"Katrina," Ray explained, "I had migraines for 5 years, and thought I was going to have to go back to the Bahamas and have my mom take care of me the rest of my life." (His family is from the Bahamas, I internally noted - not quite the same as returning to the depressing winters of Michigan.) But I'm healed, and I'm here in New York." Ray went on to reassure me, I would be too.
Someone was waiting to Ray's far right. I apologized for holding up Ray on their way out. I had taken only 2 or 3minutes of their time, but it was perhaps 2 or 3 of the most crucial minutes of my life.
As Nate and I walked over to join the others for dinner, my plans to "responsibly" step down from my leadership position along the way, shifted.
Nate insisted, "You don't need to leave New York. WE'LL figure this out. WE'LL help you find places to stay until your housing situation gets worked out."
I've never been so grateful for such stellar brothers of Christ. Living life single is already hard enough, but to have quality men from my church step in for support and reassurance makes me an even greater fan of the local church.
I'm not alone. I'm part of a body - my local church body. When I hurt, the healthy parts pull me up and into the life stream, so I too can get the oxygen I need.
a former coworker/cubicle mate, author of The Life of Manny, professional life coach, elder at my church whose awesomeness was first mentioned to me by Scott Harrison a month before meeting him in person, who I still need to set up with my good friend Amanda from Portland
Monday, October 22, 2012
I crammed the remainder of my possessions into my trunk and as I did, the owner of nearby parked car requested a jump start. I offered up my battery without any hesitation. I was already plenty late to my Sunday night church service; another 15 minutes wasn't going to hurt. Besides I wasn't going to hear the sermon; I was going to say a few fare wells and help my small group co-leader identify a replacement for me.
I drove South along the Hudson to W 22nd Street, determined I would hang with people from church for a bit, then start my drive back to Michigan, pausing in Pennsylvania to get some shut eye for the night.
I arrived in Chelsea shortly after the service finished. As I crossed 8th Avenue, a couple of girls called out my name. They were students I had worked with at The King's College. They caught me off guard, and my interaction, to my regret, was minimal as we passed each other in the street.
At the church I found Nate, my small group co-leader and told him the news. "Nate, I don't think I'm well enough to stay in New York." I teared up as I spoke. Nate was working the visitor's table, and couldn't leave his post. I told him I'd find him later and entered the sanctuary, trying to find the guy who reached for my hand the previous Sunday. But instead of finding him, I found another student I had worked with at TKC; I pulled myself together for some chit chat and then pulled upstairs to the balcony, away from the crowds.
I couldn't keep face.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
I've been subletting from a friend who has been touring with singer/songwriter Regina Spektor the past two weeks, buying time, hoping my fall housing issue might be resolved. But I've waited patiently for a month now and I still have not yet been given a conclusive answer.
So as Regina and my friend return to the city this evening, I must go.
But go where?
As I pack up my car, I have absolutely no idea where I am headed to this next week.
Saturday, October 20, 2012
The good news is I met a doctor Thursday evening. His pick up line: "Excuse me, I couldn't help but notice you have a flip phone..."
Perhaps it's time I get a second medical opinion. :)
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
A number of years ago one of the students I worked with told me, "You're the most radiant person I've ever met." The gal who spoke the words claimed atheism, yet she came to Young Life club every week and often listened to me talk about Jesus. I was encouraged by her words because I knew the radiance she spoke of stemmed from a life of following Jesus. I trusted the time I spent with her planted seeds of hope and curiosity within her.
|Reclaiming Radiance * Katrina Blank|
But a few years after she spoke of my radiance this same girl witnessed me being treated poorly. As I allowed myself to be disrespected by someone who she knew claimed to be my friend as well as a Christian, this girl lost all respect for me. I've never been the same in her eyes because I didn't stand up for myself. She watched her "hero" be trampled upon in my "refusal" to claim my value as a human being, made in the image of God.
I later wondered if she lost all wonderment in Jesus that very night as I failed to value myself the way Jesus does.
I mention this story because I discovered today that it is likely that some of my ongoing health issues are related to how I've let others treat me. My counselor told me concerning one particular instance, "You should be angry. You were treated poorly."
But rather than being angry, I extend grace and my physical body, rather than the responsible party, receives the message and impact that how I've been treated is not okay.
One step closer to wholeness and healing - no more mistreatment of me. For too long I've "valued" keeping the peace at the expense of my own dignity.
* Please note, in July 2013 I would learn that oxygen deprivation was also a contributing factor to my poor health. After years of running and being a woman, my ferritin level (i.e. iron stores) had dropped so low that I was no longer receiving enough oxygen for my body and brain to function properly.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
My interaction with Anna this past September was minimal, but in December she was well enough to hold a conversation. She remembered my name after I prompted her with a clue. "I'm Dick and Bettina's daughter."
"Katrina!" She proudly exclaimed. Anna's memory at that point in time wasn't the greatest, so even I was amazed she was able to recall my name correctly.
I told Anna about moving to New York and working in the Empire State Building. And then she wanted to know if there was a man in my life and insisted I invite her to my wedding. I regret I won't be able to invite her to my wedding, but I trust she's enjoying the celebration of being in the presence of our Lord - a far grander celebration than any earthly wedding feast.
Monday, October 15, 2012
I think I need to go to Central Park, and throw some rocks in a pond - to simply watch the splash they make, and the ripples that extend out as a result of their impact. And as I watch I'll resist the temptation to get overly contemplative about life.
Or perhaps I'll curl up on the couch this week, with some bubble wrap, and go to town, popping the air out of the bubbles. And not feel guilty at all for ruining perfectly good packaging.
And if I was back in the Midwest, I'd build a fort in the basement with my niece and nephews, and crawl inside and read them a book. Preferably my favorite book - Go Dog Go! - but of course, I'd let them choose.
Kids are great - offering a perspective on life that forces us to rethink our daily pressure to excel and achieve.
One of my Prof's at Fuller, Chap Clark, once pointed out to our class that 3 verses away from the frequently recited passage about coming to Jesus for rest, is a verse that talks about what is understood through the eyes of a child.
Matthew 11:25, 28-30
25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
It is when we set aside the worries and concerns of being "grown up" that we are able to receive the rest for our souls that we so desparately need.
Sunday, October 14, 2012
The lyrics "sound" much better on my guitar than on my screen. The words here are flat, and noticeably amateur. But I don’t claim to be a song writer, so I’ll stop the disclaimers and let you read what should be sung.
We try to ask the question, "Where is this going?"
But failing to have the answer, we just hold on close
Close to ending everything, while moving right along
My problem is identified and maybe I'm wrong
I don't want to go to bed without hearing your voice
Holding the phone with hope you know I wait
I wait for you to call
But this time circumstance leaves me
You leave me
Can't you see you've left me all alone
I know you feel the same, by the look in your eyes
Our friends can see it too, why bother to deny?
Denying won't do anything, the feelings are still there
To say good bye forever, is a thought I cannot bear
Tonight I'm one step closer to writing a song with a line I've been wanting to use for years:
Words may slip, and so might I
I slip your hand into mine
He reached for my hand tonight not realizing the implications of his simple, playful gesture.
You see, the second month of this year he told me he finds me to be an attractive woman. He went on to describe qualities and characteristics he sees in me, affirming my gifts and my character. He made no mention of my physical appearance - not because he doesn't think I'm pretty, but because ultimately, in today's post modern, porn dominated world, it isn't the external that attracts a guy to a girl.
A week later, in the third month of the year, another man arrived in the city. During his brief stay he unexpectantedly swept me off my feet, and I "forgot" about February. March showed a tremendous amount of upfront interest that kept me wondering and hopeful for months. But I think he was only attracted to the physical me, or the idea of me. So when I wasn't in front of him anymore, he forgot me. I supsect he wasn't attracted to my spirit, and so his attraction for me was short-lived - or so that's my theory. But I also suspect, if he took the time to get to know my spirit, he would be amazed to have found someone who understands his spirit. And we'd both feel known and understood a bit more.
Saturday, October 13, 2012
Friday, October 12, 2012
Marc's instructions to me to get to his place, "Get on the little, short bus."
Thursday, October 11, 2012
But a musician named Micah did, and he played an acoustic set. And as he sang his songs, my thoughts returned to the memories of that particular "venue" over the course of the past year and a half. I was surprised, actually, how many memories were contained in that one room - from worship nights, to an epic Halloween party, to Sunday night post church dinners. This home has been one of the most meaningful locations for me during my time in New York City.
|Spring 2012 * Young Oceans Concert * Eric Marshall|
I'm thankful for the space - and for the hospitality of the two generous men who so frequently open up their home and invite others in. Space like this is rare in New York. And even rarer are people with such space extending such gracious hospitality. Thank you Travis and Andrew.
|Young Oceans Concert in Soho * Spring 2012|
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
some stories are like wine, needing time to mature before opening up and sharing... richness comes with time, so does healing #WriterLessons
The book I'm working on includes stories of the past - like ones up until Aug 2010. What's fascinating, is by the end of 2010 I thought I had finally "arrived" at a place of success and safety, only to be swept back up into a tornado less than a year later. In this, I've realized, there is no arrival point, but rather life is an ongoing series of trials and events, and victories and celebrations.
At the beginning of last week I e-mailed the following to a friend:
"Living out of my car as a homeless, couch-surfing, vagabond, isn't a good situation for me to be in with my health being as such. And it is difficult to write and job search in such circumstances. Today I found a decent deal on a short-term sublet that I'll be staying at from this Friday, Oct 5 until Sunday, Oct 21. Only a few more days of praying for couches to sleep on; I'm thankful."
Yesterday I tweeted:
the # 1 adjective people use to use to describe me is "random." this year the word shifted to "strong." almost through the storms
My health has been poor for nearly a year now, and over the summer my health got progressively worse. My parents watched me in my weakness and pain - through my fatigue episodes, and nauseating migraines. The silent tears of July turned into wailing by summer's end, and my parents begged me not to return to New York.
My sister told me on the phone just last week, "Mom and Dad are worried that you're going to die of a brain aneurysm or seomthing and that they're never going to see you again."
That's when I got scared. Because over the course of the past several months I've felt my body being destroyed. And I wondered if satan would win my body, because he knows he can't take my heart.
But that's part of the reason I knew I had to get back to New York. I needed to be reconnected to my body - my local church body. For some reason I knew that if I could back to my church, the healing would begin.
And it has... I'm still not fully recovered, but I know I'm getting there, and it won't be long now before I'm walking in the fullness of who God intended me to be - healthy and whole.
A few days ago a woman who attended the fall conference I coordinated wrote me the following message:
I'm ready to dream again... just need my body to cooperate with me. Praying for soon.
Monday, October 8, 2012
Excited to judge tryouts for the Women's Club Cheer Team - started 15 years ago by an awesome person named Katrina!! — with Katrina Blank at Central Campus Recreation Building.
And I commented:
looooooove this! funny, back in 1997 the person i spoke w/at the UM's athletic department said i couldn't start this group, so i called up the lions, hoping to get a pro team started... they said no too. but then i learned, if you get 5 signatures, you can start ANY group on on Michigan's campus - cheers to overcoming obstacles in making your dreams come true! :) often times our noes in life are our answers en route to finding our yeses. tears, prayers, and a good friend named Emily Cheng Nelson also helped bring about this group. thrilled to know it still exists!
Erwin McManus claims we're all made of the same stuff. But I'm starting to question this claim. Because reflecting back on my college experience, no one "taught" me to take initiative, but rather, I just did. And I don't think it's "normal" to go after something like I did, and to continue to go after my "dream" despite such opposition. Most people would have given up if not at the first no, then at the second. But for some reason, I refused to take no for an answer.
Granted, the "cause" I fought for in college was seemingly trite, but I loved cheerleading enough to not let it go to the wayside, simply because I was 5'8" and much too tall for the coed team.
And so 15 years ago I created what today is this:
But I mention intiative, because although it may not be as natural for eveyone else like it is for me, it's still within each and every one of us. I suppose that's where Erwin is correct in his claim. The potential to take initiative is there, but some people are more apt than others to step forward and pursue possibility.
So what is it that holds us back from making our ideas a reality?
Sunday, October 7, 2012
"I want to be with someone who values me - someone who is thrilled to be with me and doesn't take me for granted."
"That's it?" He questioned.
My answer seems to change every 3 to 5 years, but this is where my answer currently stands. And this answer has nothing to do with the guy himself, but rather it's about how he views and treats me. If a guy cherishes me, I'm hooked.
"Oh, and I want to be with a guy who follows through with his word."
"You mean, a guy who has integrity?"
"Yeah, a guy who has integrity."
Integrity isn't actually what I meant, but it was close enough. I literally meant follow through, and for the times when he doesn't hold to his word, an apology is all I need to know he still values me.
I considered this Friday night car conversation more deeply on my Saturday run, and finally everything about the pursue rules made sense to me. I've always, only heard them explained in context of what a guy needs - they need to pursue a girl, and if you're too readily available, they're wired to lose interest. He has this "stupid" need to pursue. So I have to be passive, sit pretty, and hope some guy, who isn't creepy, will have the balls to ask me out.
But I finally get it. And I get why I need him to pursue me. Because first and foremost in a relationship, I want to be valued. And if a guy isn't willing to pursue me, ultimately it is unlikely I will ever feel valued and treasured in relationship with him.
I'd like to say, done. Time to let the guys pursue. But the problem I've encountered over the years is most guys don't feel like they're good enough for me OR they don't feel like they'd stand a chance with me. And so they drop the idea before the possibility is even explored. And so we're all left on each others radars, with minimal interaction, missing what we don't know.
Saturday, October 6, 2012
Bethanie and I were less than impressed with the display because we didn't realize it was a real person in the middle of the electricity display. We simply thought it was some robot.
Ha! So instead of taking pics and being intrigued by David Blaine's "show," our interest was diverted to the fireworks show that started up over the Hudson.
Friday, October 5, 2012
According to Wikipedia and Dictionary.com, my existence has become that of a Vagabond.
Today I moved into what will be some sort of semblance of home for the next 16 nights. A 2 and 1/2 week stay any where is a far cry from home, but at least it's a consistent place for me to sleep and write for a decent time frame, and for that, I'm especially grateful..
On my afternoon run through Central Park, the song Home by Mumford and Sons, came on over my little AM/FM radio.
As I listened to the lyrics, "Settle down, it'll all be clear" I couldn't help but wonder if perhaps that is what God is asking me to do here in NYC. I've told many I'm thinking of moving back to LA in after the New Year, but now, I'm not so certain...
Lyrics to Home :
As we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave is stringing us along
Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home
Settle down, it'll all be clear
Don't pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found
Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home
Perhaps my time in NYC is intended to be more than a 2 year stint. Perhaps it's time to make this place my home.
Acoording to Wikipedia
A vagrant or a vagabond is a person, often in poverty, who wanders from place to place without a home or regular employment or income. Other synonyms include "tramp", "hobo", "schnorrer".
According to Dictionary.com
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Today I hung out with a friend of mine who has been on several dates with a celebrity I use to watch on television as a little girl. The show: Who's the Boss. Yep, my friend has been out with Tony Danza on more than one occasion. She says he's a great guy, but like George (age 51), Tony (age 61) is probably a bit too old for anything substantive to form between the two of them.
|Charity:Water Ball Dec 2011 * Katrina Blank and Kari|
After hanging out with my friend Kari, and meeting her new, attractive guy roommate, I picked up my friend Sally Ann from the Times Square area. Sally Ann is a model, an opera singer, and always a good time. She and I drove up to the 180s, where we stopped in at a friend's birthday party, before heading back to her place to crash for the night. Sally Ann and I met on a ski/snowboarding trip to Vermont a couple of winters ago, and we bonded further over a Halloween Party in Soho last fall. You'll be able to read all about that night, along with my dating life for my first two years in NYC in my second book titled My Second Hottest Guy Friend.