Tuesday, April 14, 2015

11 years ago...

[A recent prayer request from a senior in high school reminded me of my difficult time not that long ago, when I was a senior in high school and my mom was diagnosed with cancer. Please pardon my terrible Spanish...I honestly didn't even speak Spanish back then and I definitely never prayed in Spanish.]

February 2nd, 2004

I have to admit that I am scared beyond belief. I am so afraid that tomorrow the doctors will say that Mamá has _____ time to live. Lord, that makes me want to live my own life to its fullest and also to forget about school and to just spend time with Mom. Maybe I am overreacting since I don't know any info yet but I am at least being honest. Please give me faith to believe in you in a time like this; please give me the grace to not explode on my friends; and please give me a blatant reminder of your love for me and your love for Mom.

*Refer to Hosea 13:14 
[I will deliver this people from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction?]


February 3rd, 2004



I am so torn apart. I am sad, depressed, angry, spiteful, rebellious and more than anything want to start cursing. I want so badly to turn into a "bad girl" and to stop feeling the pain. But in my heart I know that all of that is wrong, but sometimes I wonder what is holding me back. I want to rebel and talk back to my parents; I want to punch my brothers; I want to yell "F***" as loud as I can; I want to not care about anything; I want to forget about school and to not do any homework...As I said, I don't want to feel the pain. And the inevitable question...


Why is my Mamacita diagnosed with AML - some sort of leukemia. Lord, I did pray for your will to be done no matter what but I do have to admit that now that this is closer to reality it is SO HARD!!! 18.7% chance of making it through the next five years. I know that means that only one out of five people with this CANCER survive. SOBREVIVIR - to survive. I just looked up this word a few days ago. How appropriate. :(

Lord, I may be overreacting, but...I want Mom to make it to my graduation. I want her to see her grandchildren and great grandchildren and great grandchildren. I want her and Dad to have a 50 year wedding anniversary. I want to confide in her when I believe I have met my future husband.

Oh, Lord, I am so heart-broken. Mom will probably still be in the hospital during my eighteenth birthday on the eighteenth of February. I will become an adult without...well, I don't want to actually say it.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

preparing to return to work [six months ago]

journal entry from six months ago

Sunday, October 12th, 2014
home in KCK

"Lord, thank You for bringing me to this point. I spent so much time worrying about health insurance, having a job, going crazy without working, etc. Now it's been 8 weeks since my surgery, and I'm going back to work tomorrow. Those first moments after surgery at my parents' house felt like they would never end --I do not have the strength to make it through, but You were my strength. Even on those incredibly difficult mornings when I didn't want to get out of bed.

I'm nervous about tomorrow (how people will look at me, what questions they will ask me, etc.). Thankfully, I am no longer scared about over-working. I am still Kathleen, but I am the new, improved Kathleen. Jesus, You are (still) my first priority. My health is my second priority, including healthy boundaries. My relationships (family, friends, community) come next. My worth is not based on my accomplishments, or how I perform at work. My worth is in the price that You paid on the cross. My victory is in You.

Please give me discernment tomorrow and in the coming days -- how to answer people's questions, how to keep some details to myself, how to integrate my role into a part-time schedule.

As I look ahead, I feel fear. Fear of failure, exhaustion, depression...But Your perfect love casts out all fear. The future is not guaranteed, so I will just do my best to draw near to You each day and to bring You glory, one day at a time."

Saturday, April 4, 2015

moving back home [six months ago]

excerpts from my journal, six months ago
Saturday, October 4th, 2014; 8:24am
Olathe, KS

"Lord, thank You. I can't say it enough. I know that this season or trial isn't necessarily over, but I feel great, and I'm so excited to have this chance to start over. There were so many times this summer and even right after surgery that I didn't think that I had the endurance to make it any longer. I was so tired and fed up with feeling terrible. I had lost hope. Many days blurred together, and it felt like the struggle would never end. But You were always there for me.

I have been so blessed to be able to live with my parents for four months. I was frustrated, while journaling, to not be able to write that I was back in KCK. It was so hard for me to not know when this could be a possibility. I had to wait and see how things would go. I was so tired of waiting (even of 'resting'). But the time has arrived. I move back to KCK today. I have no idea what the future holds, but I choose to trust You. You will continue to be my strength, and You will continue to give me the grace to make it through each day.

Please help me not to lose sight of You and Your faithfulness during this time. Please help me to not be terribly disappointed when situations do not meet my expectations Help me have grace for myself when I 'mess up' or do not accomplish everything that I wanted to. [...]"

Friday, March 20, 2015

6 months ago...still relevant today

excerpt from my journal, six months ago:
Friday, September 19th, 2014
somewhere on the road to recovery - Olathe, KS

"Lord, I don't know what to do, but my eyes are on You. It took a couple of hours to get out of bed this morning, even though I was hungry and knew I needed to take care of myself by eating breakfast and taking my morning meds. I don't want to be too hard on myself and say that I'm failing - the truth is that I'm scared. I'm scared of trying to move back home, of not being ready for work, of falling back into my old ways of being too busy/without margin. [...]

Dad says that I just need to trust now. Yes. How do I keep struggling with the same thing over and over and over again? [...]

Lord, I choose to trust You even in difficult times like this. It seemed so simple to trust You with the surgery. I obviously had not really considered how difficult the recovery could be for me. It almost seems ridiculous to me that I'm struggling so much with recovery. You got me through this summer somehow and through the surgery and through almost 5 weeks of recovery, so why am I freaking out now? You will not drop me now. [...]

Lord, please help me. I want to be able to 'not worry about tomorrow.' But I'm so weak and prone to worry. Michael came by and reminded me to be thankful. So let me choose to praise You, even when I don't feel like it.

Lord, thank You for my family who is putting up with me during this difficult time. Thank You for my brothers who are also my friends. Thank You for all the people who prayed and are praying for me. Thank You for all the encouraging cards and balloons. Thank You for how accommodating Donnelly has been. Thank You for showing Donnelly favor with enrollment this fall. Thank You for the significant progress that I've seen since the surgery. Thank You for the healing work that You are performing in my skull and in my brain. Thank You that Your mercies are new every morning. Thank You for never leaving my side."

checking in with 2015 goals

Some goals (in no particular order): [written on January 3rd]:

Revive this blog [working on it!]
Read at least one book per month (goodreads) [no progress with this]
Do more art [check]
Finish reading Bible (last year I got more than halfway through the ESV) [basically no progress]
Continue learning French and planning for France trip (April 2016!) [haven't worked on this in a while]
Teach ESL [hoping to do this in the summer]
Learn Nepali [Ashish is sending me the Nepali word of the day]
Help my mom launch a blog and youtube channel [I've had a lot of health issues preventing me from spending time with my mom]
Sundays: family, friends, church. No errands, chores, or work. [check-mostly]
Go to Guatemala for mission trip & vacation (October 2015) [planning on it!]
Make new friends [check!]
Learn how to dance [working on this]
Work on personal projects [kind of...]
Go on at least one date (any takers? haha) [check!]
Get involved with Young Latino Professionals and Hispanic Chamber of Commerce [check!]
Exercise at least three times per week [does walking to work count?]
Switch to organic, natural food & other products (makeup, household cleaners, etc.) [check]
Run at least one race this year [planning on the GCI 5K in May...]

Saturday, January 17, 2015

new life

I was just thinking, I wish everyone could experience this gift of new life that I've been given...and then I realized, everyone can! So much of life is about how we react to situations and the attitude that we choose. Each new day is a gift. Each moment, each breath. When we start to view life as a gift, we start to practice gratitude. And gratitude has the power to change our lives. It colors our life and our experiences. Challenges and trials become opportunities. And these opportunities, no matter how painful in the moment, can become catalysts for lasting transformation.

Saturday, January 10, 2015


In preparation for the New Year update card that I'm sending out, I've been spending quite a bit of time reflecting upon this past year. 2014 was an intense year: intensely challenging & painful, but also intensely rewarding & liberating.

This year I hope to challenge everyone to join me in making a conscious effort to practice gratitude. Tag your pics and posts: #practicegratitude 

Gratitude is contagious and meant to be shared.

Monday, January 5, 2015

two thousand fifteen

Some goals (in no particular order):

  • Revive this blog
  • Read at least one book per month (goodreads)
  • Do more art
  • Finish reading Bible (last year I got more than halfway through the ESV)
  • Continue learning French and planning for France trip (April 2016!)
  • Teach ESL
  • Learn Nepali
  • Help my mom launch a blog and youtube channel
  • Sundays: family, friends, church. No errands, chores, or work.
  • Go to Guatemala for mission trip & vacation (October 2015)
  • Make new friends
  • Learn how to dance
  • Work on personal projects 
  • Go on at least one date (any takers? haha)
  • Get involved with Young Latino Professionals and Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • Exercise at least three times per week
  • Switch to organic, natural food & other products (makeup, household cleaners, etc.)
  • Run at least one race this year

Friday, January 2, 2015

I'm lost without Your creative spark in me.

--Rend Collective Experiment, "Dry Bones"

Monday, October 8, 2012

a reflection on two years

[This post was written in July 2012]

A little over two years ago, I was commuting from JoCo to KCMO everyday for work.  Through my job, I had the privilege of getting to know many wonderful Latino families on both sides of the state line.  I remember a conversation I had with one Latina mom that would end up becoming a turning point for me.  I asked her how long her family had lived in Kansas City.  She answered and asked me if I lived in KCK or KCMO...I hesitated before admitting that I lived in JoCo.  I could feel a wall begin to form between us.  Despite my Mexican heritage and years of studying Spanish, I could not relate to her.  We lived in different worlds.

Around the same time,  I began volunteering at LIT (Leaders in Training, Mission Adelante's after-school program).  It didn't take long for my heart to grow fond of the children and community.  On February 15th, 2010, I wrote:
I am a passionate person. If I commit to doing something, I will do it whole-heartedly. I will give every ounce of energy I have to do the best that I can do with the given situation.
I have recently committed to spending 2.5 hours a week with a great group of kids. Just 2.5 hours. During these 2.5 hours, I try to make myself completely available. But when the time is up, I struggle to walk out the door and leave the neighborhood behind. 
These kids have my heart and they don't even know it.
Within days of writing this, I had coffee with Megan, the director of children's ministry at Mission Adelante, and I shared my heart and some tears with her.  She told me about a great place to live and promised she would try to find me a roommate.  A few months later, I had moved to KCK with Molly, my new roommate and friend!

Today--just two years later--I live, work, go to church, and volunteer all within a one mile radius.  This community is no longer a volunteer opportunity or work assignment.  It is my home.  These are my people.  I may still lead a very different life from that Latina mom, but now I'm just down the street. :)

Sunday, October 7, 2012


  1. to remain, abide
    1. in reference to place
      1. to sojourn, tarry
      2. not to depart 1a
    2. to continue to be present 1a
    3. to be held, kept, continually
    4. in reference to time
      1. to continue to be, not to perish, to last, endure 1b
    5. of persons, to survive, live
    6. in reference to state or condition
      1. to remain as one, not to become another or different
"If, in our orthodox Churches, the abiding in Christ, the living union with Him, the experience of His daily and hourly presence and keeping, were preached with the same distinctness and urgency as His atonement and pardon through His blood, I am confident that many would be found to accept with gladness the invitation to such a life, and that its influence would be manifest in their experience of the purity and the power, the love and the joy, the fruit-bearing, and the blessedness which the Savior connected with abiding in Him."

-Andrew Murray, Abide in Christ

Saturday, October 6, 2012

"Feelings should inform our actions or emphasize them, not direct or power them. Feelings are like 3-year-olds. It's okay to have them in the car, good or bad, loud or quiet, nice or nasty as dog's breath. JUST DON'T LET THEM DRIVE."

-Michelle Jones

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

reflections on reconciliation

I just came back from a conference about Christian community development. This year’s theme was “Reconcilliation.” I left with a heavy heart. Our world is so broken.

Although I’ve been exposed to many different cultures in my life, I realized that I’ve allowed my upbringing to shape my view on church. What does a multicultural church really look like? How do we really allow others to come as they are instead of asking them to fit our mold?

What does justice look like? For the immigrant? In education? In health care? In politics? What is my role in all of this?

How do I reconcile my calling with my skin color? Am I always going to be viewed as an arrogant white/American person who is trying to save “the under-privileged?” How can I serve while truly showing the love of Christ and protecting the dignity of those served?

We live in the tension of the now and not yet. But I want to see the Kingdom of God here on earth.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

“We see in the homies what they don’t see in themselves, until they do.”

This quote by Mark Torres, S.J., could sum up the book Tattoos on the Heart. I believe that God has blessed me with a similar opportunity to be involved in the lives of youth who are full of creativity and potential and insight. They usually dismiss my compliments, but I hope that they are allowing truth to take root in their hearts, the truth of who God has created them to be and how He looks upon them with so much affection.

Although I don’t agree with all the theology of the book, I would definitely recommend Tattoos on the Heart. The stories are a testament to the transformative power of God’s love. I laughed and cried through each chapter, and I am challenged by the longevity Gregory Boyle’s commitment to the people of East L.A.