BigKath: Just in case you were wondering, "bigkath" is made up of the first part of my last and first names and has nothing to do with my size. :o)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

From Bach to Beiber . . . The Opportunity of Diversity!

I like to think of myself as a well-rounded person. I not super good at any one thing . . . but I am "sort of" good at a lot of different things. For example, I'm not a concert pianist (I wish!) but I really enjoy playing the piano. I'm not an amazing dancer, but I love dancing (all different kinds: latin, ballroom, tap, clogging, country, etc.). I'm not amazing at sports, but I like playing everything from basketball and volleyball to frisbee and badminton.

I am also trying to be more well-rounded when it comes to being open to new things, ideas, and perspectives. As I have become more open I have learned to be more appreciative of different things. It is amazing what happens when you are always looking for the good.

So tonight I went to a classical music concert. It had a wonderful variety of pieces from a Mozart string quartet, a beautiful Brahms piano solo, violin and cello solos (I'm going to play the cello someday!), a Bach prelude, vocal pieces, and the INCREDIBLE Widor organ piece (one of my favorites!) Toccata from Symphony #5. It was very well done with excellent performances from the students in my stake. Good music always brings the Spirit powerfully into my heart. I love classical music!

After the concert I went to opposite end of the musical spectrum and joined a Justin Bieber birthday party. :o) The music was loud with a hundred people people dancing, screaming, and having a great time in a small room of a house. You couldn't help but move your body to the beat of the music!

As I contemplated the musical diversity I experienced today, I realized how grateful I am for variety! I love music. It is a HUGE part of my life and I am very musically minded. Lately, I have become more open to appreciating different kinds of music. I am so glad that there are different kinds of music. It makes life so much more interesting!

I am learning to embrace the good in all things and not reject something out of pure ignorance. As long as something is good and doesn't cause me to lower my standards, I can embrace it, learn from it, and enjoy it! Diversity is gift. It is an opportunity to learn and gain experience in order to be better able to connect with people, love them, and serve them.
Picture: My cousin Brittany and me at the Bieber party.

For those who think Classical Music is boring . . .

Duetto buffo di due gatti
by Rossini
"Humorous duet for two cats"
I heard this piece performed and LOVED it! I was laughing so hard! :o)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Being Yourself

Yesterday I went to a piano performance at an assisted living home. The pianists were were excellent and played some incredible piano duets by Debussy, Rachmaninoff, etc. But the most memorable part of the concert was not the performers, but the audience. Maybe a dozen silver and white haired ladies were scattered about the room patiently, but not so quietly waiting for the performance to begin. The performers were setting up and went to take the giant flower arrangement off of the piano so it wouldn't rattle around while they played. This created an uproar from the audience. "No! Don't take those flowers off. If you take those off I'm leaving!" So they left the flowers on the piano. When they started playing the piano the not-so-quiet comments began: "Too loud!" "Oooh, they're good!" "Are they sisters?" "We've had piano performances all week." One man said to his wife, "If this is bothering you, we can leave." There was one lady on the front row with a big smile bobbing her head to the music, having a grand old time. And then two seats down was a lady plugging her ears.

I was smiling and giggling inside as I sat there listening to the music and to the ongoing conversations around the room. I contemplated living and getting old. As people age they seem to revert to childlike ways: not worried about what other people think, saying whatever is on their mind, comfortable with who they are. There is something to be learned from this. We often are too concerned about what is proper, what others might think, always comparing ourselves to everyone else.

I need to be more like these elderly sweethearts. Not necessarily shouting out in a performance. But not being afraid to be myself, my own person, and not comparing myself to others.

1. Me and my Grandmother Babcock in 2005 before I left on my mission. She died while I was gone.
2. Me (with my pudgy post-mission face) and my Grandpa Bigelow in 2007 before he died that year.
All of my grandparents have passed away. I love them an miss them, but I know I will be with them again. If you are reading this and your grandparents (or parents) are still alive, please don't take them for granted. Spend time with them, learn from them, love them.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Conquering Social Fears

I went to my stake Valentine's dinner/dance. And I have many things to be proud of as far as conquering social fears goes:
  • I initially went by myself. (That takes guts. I don't like big crowds of new people where most people are already with their own group of friends.)

  • While driving there I made the goal of talking to at least 5 new people. I at least tripled that! I talked with a lot of new people.

  • I had some extremely awkward moments talking with new people. But in the words of a friend, "It build's character!"

  • I stayed for the whole activity! (6:45 - 11:00 p.m.)

  • I sang Karaoke for the first time in my life with my fabulous roomies!

  • I joined a group of ward friends and attempted to "dance." (I really dislike the way young people in the U.S. dance, a.k.a. jump up and down and act all crazy like. It makes me really uncomfortable. But I tried! Maybe someday I will be able to just let loose! There is a crazy side of me somehwere deep down inside.)

  • And last but not least . . . I survived! I went. I made an effort. And it didn't kill me!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Conquering Graduate School (a work in progress)

"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." - Ether 12:27Whenever I hear someone say, "I like graduate school. It is so much easier and better than undergrad." I have two reactions. First, I want to ring their neck. And then I want to plop down an cry. Because my program is the hardest thing I have ever done.

Me in my "element" as a graduate student
 I am in the Speech-Language Pathology Master's program at BYU. I ask myself every day, "Why am I doing this?" And I haven't come up with a very motivating answer. But because I haven't been able to find better alternative, I continue to move forward, with faith and hope that things will get better.

I often wish I had gone to U of U (which is where I wanted to go initially, but I felt like I needed to come to BYU which was the LAST place I wanted to go).

One of the hardest things about my graduate school program is the constant feeling of panic and confusion, never knowing what is going on or what I need to be doing.

So why am I doing this?

  • Education is never a waste of time and I don't have anything else to do. We are encouraged to get as much education as possible.
  • Nothing else worked. I considered and tried so many educational/career paths: music, photography, child development, psychology, social work, nursing, child life specialist, autism aide, pipe organ building, Spanish interpreter, and so much more. But all were "dead ends".
  • Speech Pathology was one of the the paths I tried and I haven't hit a dead end yet. I told Heavenly Father that I would move forward with faith and take a step into the dark, trusting that if it wasn't right He would stop me and I would be guided to the right path. I'm still here, moving forward . . . hoping that someday the lights will come on.
I must be in this program and this field because it IS hard for me. I am being forced to face some of my greatest fears and weaknesses. It is a refiner's fire: an opportunity that Heavenly Father has given me to grow and become stronger. Maybe I would have been happier at a different school, or a different career. Maybe there would have been an easier option. But this life isn't about finding the easy way out. Heavenly Father doesn't usually let me take the easy path. He wants me to struggle, learn, grow, rise above, and become the best Katherine I can be. Because this is what brings true joy in the end. The trick is being happy and hopeful during the journey. That is what I am working on. (Any ideas?)

My roommates, Jeniel, Rachelle,
and I (dressed up for Harry Potter).
 I have been looking for tender mercies and possible reasons that I am at BYU. The biggest tender mercies I have received have been the people I have met. I love my classmates! They call us a "cohort". There are 15 of us and we have been like a family since day one. We are all in the same classes, same room, every day. We are the perfect mix of personalities which helps keep us all sane. I LOVE my roommates! I have lived with Rachelle for a couple a years and she has been a great blessing in my life! It has been blast to get to know Jeniel who has helped me balance school and play, reminding me to look for the good and choose to be happy.

The "cohort"

Monday, February 7, 2011

Conquering Snowboarding!

When I was about 13, I went skiing for the first time. My dad took me straight up the lift, and to make a long story short, after attempting to ski down the slope and getting scared and humiliated, I ended up taking off my skis, walking down the mountain, and sitting in the car the rest of the day. My 13 year old pride was crushed. I was embarrassed and angry with myself. Needless to say, it was bad experience.

So when some friends started talking about going snowboarding, I was apprehensive, but I wanted to overcome my fears and just DO IT! And I did. I'm not going to lie, I prayed a lot that I would be humble and teachable and that I wouldn't get overwhelmed emotionally. I had to let go of my pride and let someone teach me how to do it. I also had to let myself fall and get up again, knowing I wouldn't and couldn't be perfect at it right away.

It was hard not to compare myself to everyone else. They all seemed to be able to snowboard so much better than me and were learning so much faster. But as soon as I started thinking about this, my own confidence would drop and I would crash harder and more often. So I would tell myself as I started picking up speed on the slopes "Yes, Katherine. You can do this!" It was a mental game.

I crashed a lot. :o) But I was not about to give up! And I had a blast! The second time I went snowboarding, I was trying to learn how to turn and carve so I fell a lot harder (thankfully I was wearing a helmet!) I got a 7-inch bruise on my rear end and it was the coolest bruise I have ever had! And I couldn't even show it off (no one wanted to see it . . I wonder why :o). I still have a lot to learn in order to be good at snowboarding. But I will get there little, by little. And now I want to learn to ski as well!

I'm so grateful for the encouragement of my friends who have helped me overcome this fear! I wouldn't have been able to do it alone!

Picture: Me and my great friend, Jeniel, who helped encourage me to conquer snowboarding!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Conquering My Fears!

This has been the year of conquering my fears! I have been a "first timer" for a lot of things lately. Some aren't exactly "fears" but they are things that I have never done before. Doing things for the first time causes some fear because I have to swallow my pride, humble myself, and be teachable. Some of these things have been a real struggle for me. And some have been just for fun (to help me get through the harder things). This is just the beginning of a list that I hope will continue to grow as I learn and accomplish new things.

First year of graduate school
First time snowboarding
First real blog
First time seeing all the Harry Potter movies
First time driving a manual transmission car
First time tap dancing
First time writing a prospectus/thesis
First time watching all of "My Fair Lady"
First time giving speech therapy to real clients
First time reading the Narnia series
First time giving a presentation in a graduate class
First time singing Handel's Messiah

Other things that aren't "firsts" but that I have been doing and trying to improve:
Basketball with the ward (this can be pretty intimidating)
Piano Duets
Talking with and meeting new people (overcoming social fears)
Organizing and participating in social activities (watch a BYU game, cook dinner, game night, movie night, etc.)
Playing guitar
Learning to WORK hard and PLAY hard.

Next "fears" to conquer:
Rock climbing
Being more optimistic and outgoing
More consistent and meaningful scripture study
Expand circle of friends

Why a Blog? To Build God's Kingdom!

I know people who are way into blogging. I also know people who are very anti-blogging. I always enjoyed reading other people's blogs but never felt the need to have one myself. But my perspective changed after attending an institute class which focused on using positive media to help spread the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ to all the world. This is just one way that I can show the world (or the few people who might read this blog) who I am: that I am a daughter of God who knows that the purpose of this life is to learn and become like Him. And that this is only possible through our Savior, Jesus Christ, who loves me so much that He made it possible for me to repent and overcome my weaknesses so that I can be clean and have joy and happiness now and for eternity.

My perspective on the media and technology in general has changed. It used to be that I would resist new technology for as long as possible (like getting a cell phone, for example). And when I finally gave in (because technology has a way of forcing you to keep up whether you want to or not) I would feel guilty about getting a new phone, or facebook page, etc. But now I have realized that so much good can come from these things. I need to embrace them and use them for good.

Yes, it is true that much negative and evil can come from the media. One can become addicted to facebook or social networking while forgetting to nourish real live friendships with real conversation and quality time. One can become overly competitive with their blogs, comparing their lives with the lives of the other bloggers who have cuter kids, more creative meal ideas, and better photography skills. And not to mention all of the immoral and evil things in the media today.

But I am the one who decides how I will use and participate in the media. Therefore I am deciding to use this blog and other forms of media and technology as tools to help serve Heavenly Father's children and build His Kingdom. I will do this one post, one text, one phone call, one email, one chat, one video, one kind word, and one smile at a time. These things may not go much farther than the minds and hearts of my friends and family. But by sharing my thoughts with the people I know and love, they in turn might share their thoughts with the people they know, and thus begins a chain reaction. This is how the world can be changed and influenced. This is how the message of Jesus Christ can be spread to everyone who wants to hear it.

So please read the things I have to say. They are well thought out and straight from my heart. :o)