Sunday, April 29, 2012

Flower Market

Post church dinner conversation with a friend...
topic: church dynamics... where single women abound, and men are no where to be found

me: someone told me they feel like our church is like a meat market
my friend: it's not actually a meat market market; it's a flower market
me: a flower market?!
my friend: yeah, it's all women

My friend continued on, brainstorming ways to improve our church.  "If the hospitality team turned into a match making service..."

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Called to Someone

This afternoon I attended a women's event put on by my church.  I anticipated the programming content to be cheesy, yet despite my skeptism I chose to go for the sole purpose of connecting with other women at my church.

And to my surprise, the content was substantive and not the same 'ole same 'ole of what you'd expect for a women's gathering on identity and who we are in Christ.

In fact, I was impressed with the speaker who didn't focus so much on body image, as she did on the pressure to excel in all areas of life in NYC.  She cautioned the us to not wrap our identity up in the work that we do, or the man that we date/marry, or in security.

My favorite line:

"Nothing is guaranteed for anyone in this life - and nothing is permanent." ~Esther (not the one from the Bible, but rather our speaker for the afternoon.)
I shared with the NYU students sitting at my table a quote that is pinned up on my cubicle at work. - You are called to someone not something.

This evening I found this quote on Michael Perry's Blog.

“God’s will is more about who we are than what we do or where we go. Being always precedes doing.” Enoch Olson, SpringHill’s Founding Director

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Excuse #239 as to why I have not yet finished writing my first book: E-MAIL 

After a lovely end of the year banquet with my TKC TenBoom girls, and a visit with a friend down on East 6th street.  I e-mailed. 

I had to send out several this evening - one clarifying my use of the word fling,  A person from my church recently e-mailed, expressing concern about me stating that I had had a fling with someone we both know. 

Here is some of what I wrote:

When I say that I had a fling with someone I mean that I was seeing a guy for a while (i.e. hanging out, going on dates, getting to know each other, etc.) and that after a time period (perhaps a few months), it didn't pan out to be a long-term relationship with the potential of marriage.

So yes, he and I hung out for more than just a few dates, and there was momentum towards a relationship, but for various reasons (that I won't go into) things never panned out. However, we continue to appreciate each other as brothers & sisters in Christ. I don't think making the claim that you spent time getting to know someone and exploring possibility of a relationship is a bad thing.
If, however, you understand the word to imply flippant sex and/or flippant make out sessions, I could understand why you might be alarmed. And to clarify, that isn't/wasn't the case.  He and I cared about each other and we still do.

But you bringing up this concern has made me consider why I use the word fling to describe 4 almost relationships. And last night I realized I use the word because I picked it up from one of my first near boyfriends. I was 18 and this guy Ken and I worked at the same summer camp. On a hayride that followed 4th of july fireworks, he reached out to hold my hand and he whispered into my ear, "So is this going to be fling, or is this going to be something more?" Ken and I dated that summer, but we parted ways in August, and never became anything more.

So that was my fling e-mail.  Taking time to write it seemed to be a misuse of energy when I have a zillion other things on my plate... things such a conference I'm planning.

This is the most recent e-mail in my Sent Box:

Subject: June 9-10 Renovatio Communitas! Part 2

Mark your calendars! 

Saturday, June 9th – Sunday, June 10th we will be convening for our second Renovatio Communitas! gathering in Owosso, Michigan.  Dr. Lance Wallnau, founding teacher of the Seven Mountain Mandate, as well as Kelly Monroe Kullberg, founder of the Veritas Forums will be joining us for this two-day event.

Conference schedule and registration details will be sent out at the end of the month.  Please hold off on conference inquiries and RSVPs at this time.  Instead, save the date and pass word on to others who might be interested in joining us.

We hope to see you in June!

Your Steering Team,
Gordon Pennington, Amy Hawkins, and Katrina Blank

Monday, April 23, 2012

Back to the Bowery

Tonight my roomie and I headed down to Soho to hear a band called Michael Mames and the Branches play at a venue called the Bowery.  My family friend Gordon Pennington insisted that we go, and so we did; however, although I respect the ambition of the group, their music might need more time to develop.  In writer terminology, they are still trying to find their "voice."  I rank the group a 3 star out of 5. 

And then we returned home for late night entertainment with a Hollywood actor (also a friend of Gordon's).  Although, I think I am the one who did most of the entertaining.  He laughed politely at my jokes, but it's hard to know for certain whether or not he found them to be funny.

His name is David Oyelowo and we talked about traffic in Lagos, Nigeria, the time I almost ended up at Michael Bayes home in Miami, the definitions of fling, as well as one's understanding of hooking up.  And we chatted about his family - 4 kids.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Speaking at the ESB

On Saturday morning I spoke at the Empire State Building immediately following Dinesh D'Souza.  I spoke on important matters pertaining to living in student housing at The King's College - I think I changed a few lives.  (Insert Sarcasm, please!)  I

Saturday afternoon I started to dream about the future and what it might hold.  It involves more speaking, but the kind that will change lives, not the kind involving roommates, laundry, and housing deposits.

Tonight I found myself back at 88 Crosby Street with about 40 other people.  And several of those 40 people were single, attractive men within my age, height, and faith range.

I wanted to get to know them (or at least a few of them), and yet, at the same time, I wanted nothing to do with them at all.  Perhaps I'm jaded, or perhaps it's the self defense mechanism of not wanting to encounter more disappointment and heartache.  I'm not sure.  But this "game" is tiresome at the age of 34 - meeting interesting, intriguing men isn't as grand as it once seemed.

It too is a speaking performance, but at this point, it's talk I'd rather not give.

Friday, April 20, 2012


An acquaintenance friend of mine recently wrote to me in an e-mail, "All things are in transition." 

The same is true for me.  And I don't necessarily mind transition, but I do mind not knowing where this transition is going to lead me. 

Most likely I'll be back in Michigan this July and August, sailing Sand Lake and writing.

But beyond that?

Okay, so I'll admit it.  As much as I trust God, I'm terrified. 

The only hope I have, is being reminded by my skydiving adventure, that when I landed, I landed standing up, with my 2 feet planted on the ground.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Special Mission

My special agent friend keeps trying to convince me that I should go into special agenting.  I've given the idea some serious consideration (just like I've given some serious consideration to selling my eggs, or becoming a surragate mother); however I fear I wouldn't be a very good special agent  I think I could pass all the physcial fitness requirements, and even the car test, but the shooting?  I never excelled at the riflery range at camp when I was a kid, so I'm skeptical...

But why I bring u 

Tonight at the Empire State Building we discussed an upcoming special mission that I'm a part of - which, to be honest, I didn't realize until tonight how special (and somewhat secretive) this mission actually is...  Several years ago I went on another special mission in east asia.

and secretive, until someone used the word

After looking it up on

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Millers

This week I'm hosting Brooke & Jason Miller in my midtown apartment.  Yea for another round of visitors! 

Jason and I worked together at California Baptist University for the 2005-2006 academic year.  I still remember my conference call interview with him and the other RDs.   They offered me donuts. 

Although I attempted to make Jason my boss this academic year at The King's College, he ended up as the runner up candidate rather than being offered the position.  Instead, he now works at Rock Harbor in the OC and his wife Brooke continues to practice law.

Tonight Jason and I got talking...

Shannen and I have hosted nearly 50 people since I moved to NYC 2 years ago.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Book

A former student of mine recently asked me how my book is coming along.  My response: slowly, but surely.

I'm currently reworking the overview of my book, so this is far from final, but here's the blurb that will soon appear in the Empire State Tribune:

Meanwhile, from our Student Development team, Resident Director Katrina Blank is writing a book called I Hate Books on Christian Dating – I promise this isn’t one.  So no, the book isn’t about dating, but rather it’s about trying to make sense of who God is after years of being bogged down by religious messages.  In this memoir Katrina wrestles with God, rediscovering who he is and learning to trust him again.  Filled with humor and raw honesty, this entertaining read is geared for twenty - and thirty – somethings who are questioning God, his voice, his character, and what is and what is not true.

Katrina anticipates finishing the book this year and then touring with it to college campuses across the US fall of 2013.        

Monday, April 16, 2012


This month two people called me strong, and another - my mentor friend Kim McManus - called me courageous.

But today, I'm insecure.

Insecure in my future
Insecure in my job (= home & finances)
Insecure in my New York "friendships"
Insecure in my most recent guy "drama," which has quickly subsided to be nothing more than a mysterious encounter coupled with some wishful, chic flick thinking.
And insecure in my academics as my professor confirmed today the F on my transcript, in what was supposed to be my final grad school class.  The prof also told me, "You are an excellent writer and a creative thinker," and so I'm oddly encouraged because to me, that evaluation is far more important to me than my ability to reguritiate and critically interact with the BS presented by systematic theologians.  For me, systematic theology leads not to God, but rather to a migraine headache as we try to force a mysterious God into the confines of human words and arrogant understanding.

In Yaconelli's book Dangerous Wonder, he quotes a book from the 80s called The Myth of Certainty. 

"The goal of faith is not to create a set of immutabel, rationlized, precisely defined and defendable beliefs to preserve forever.  It is to recover a realtionship with God."  ~Dan Taylor

Later on in Yaconelli's book we read, "God does not shrink when we know Him, He expands" (136).

Funny, how I can jump out of a plane with no qualms at all, yet...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cute, Old Couple

According to the stats, 50% of all marriages end in divorce.  This percentage is no different for couples who identify with the Christian faith than those who do not.  However, my wise friend Ray East shared with me that only 1 in1,200 married couples who pray together on a daily basis get divorced.

My parents are still together after 44 years of praying together most every day.  Today we ventured into Central Park - and they were THAT cute, old couple, that our society is seeing far fewer of in today's world.

As MC Hammer once sang, "We've got to pray just to make it today."

I once heard it said, "The greatest gift you can give your children is a healthy marriage."  I'm thankful for my parents and for the gift they have given to me.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

HaHa, as in Funny

I got in a discussion some time ago between the use of Ha Ha in texting and messaging vs the use of LOL.  A guy friend of mine (I think an ex-boyfriend or fling), insisted that Ha Ha is more manly than LOL. 

I had another ex-boyfriend/fling insist that drinking out of a straw is less manly than picking up a cup and drinking directly out of it.  Typically he'd still use a straw when eating fast food, but whenever he was presented with a straw in a sit down restaurant, he opted out of straw usage for the sake of manliness.  And wow - was I impressed by his ability to raise and lower that heavy glass of soda up to his mouth and set it back on the table again. 

But back to funny. 

Recently I coworker of mine (Ray East) shared with me that the average child laughs about 400 times a day, while the average adult only laughs about 14.  I shared this fun "fact" with my parents on our taxi ride home this evening and my Dad insisted that he and my mom laugh much more than the average.  He continued on, pointing out that Zach (my brother-in-law) noticed that about our family - we laugh a lot.

The question now I'm wondering, is it nature or nuture, that my brother, sister, and I also laugh more than the average adult?

I remember going to see the movie Titanic with my brother when it first opened in theaters years ago.  My brother, who is/was voted class clown by his classmates, provided additional commentary as we watched the movie.  In leaving the theater, I remember being particularly confused - trying to understand why so many of the movie viewers had shed tears throughout the film.  With my brother feeding me lines throughout the film, I left feeling like I had watched some sort of romantic comedy rather than a romantic tragedy.

Anyway, all that to say, my family is funny, we laugh more than the average, and humor is one of my core values.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Special Brownies

Over dinner this evening...

Me: Mom, what do you think of when I say party brownies?
Mom: High school - and the brownies I use to make for you.
Me: Mom, do you know what special brownies are?
Mom: You mean the kind with applesauce?

Dad returns from the restroom.

Me: Dad, do, you know what special brownies are?

My parents are here for a visit this weekend. Neither of them have been in the city since the 1960s. And when my roommate asked them what they want to see when they're here, they said me. :) And so yes, they are seeing me, but I'm also seeing to it that they are experiencing much of the greatness that New York has to offer.

And this evening, although it's the opening night of Blue Like Jazz, rather than watching it, we went to a Jazz club in Greenwich Village where my dad was mesmerized by the music, and my mom was mesmerized by her key lime martini.

After I put them to bed, I headed out to Brookyln for the final hour of an event...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Canning 1, 2, 3, 4

"Our personalities reflect our relationships with God." ~Sophie

Sophie is a sophomore at The King's College where I work as a Resident Director.  And it just so happens that Sophie is on my team of students I'm taking to East Africa this May. 

This evening on our class break Sophie and I got in a dialogue about how we all experience God a bit differently, and that we shouldn't expect our relationships with him to all look the same.

The conversation stemmed from a teaching time with an evangelist trainer, who left my East Africa team feeling less than satisfied with his presentation of presenting the Good News.  I felt bad, actually, that even I as the leader faced inward opposition as I listened to the man insist on the "traditional" methods that in today's world are ineffective and outdated.  As Os Guinness stated a few months ago, "Any method that goes 1, 2, 3, 4, needs to be canned."  Os pointed out that Jesus' interactions with people varied significantly as he met each person where they were at in life.  With Jesus, there is no cookie cutter method, or way to be a Christian, yet for years the church has tricked people in saying there is only one way to be a Christian.
My debrief time with the team was short, I only asked for the positive, since we didn't have time to hash out all the ickyness felt by my team.  This, of course, is a mistake as a team leader, but with the clock quickly ticking away, I honored time rather than honesty.  Of course I hope to return to the dialogue in a future meeting, but sometimes a delay in debrief is less than effective because by then people have forgotten or are indifferent to what the situation or conversation is or was.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Parent Packing

Tonight my parents are packing for New York City.  It has been at least 50 years since either of them have stepped foot onto Manhattan Island.
Over the phone this evening, I requested that my dad bring along his saxophone. 

To which my mom replied, "Why do you want him to bring his saxophone?"

                Because I want him to play it in Central Park…  (& It would be a great photo opp!)

My mom responded, "You better check the city ordinance to see if that’s allowed." 

Like I said, it has been a while since my parents have visited the Big Apple.  I think they're in for quite a surprise. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Monday, April 2, 2012

Almost Something More Stories

Last night I wished I could speak Portuguese. 

Tonight my Special Agent friend called to tell me that he just returned from Brazil.  He doesn't know Portuguese either, but for this trip he didn't need it.  Instead, he wished that he knew how to speak Norwegian.  Because he ended up on a rockclimbing excursion (that I like to think I help inspire) with a fabulous Norwegian woman.  My Special Agent friend shared with me he'll probably never see again, not because he doesn't want to, but rather because of the realities of life's circumstances.

It was one of those almost love stories.

We all have them, don't we?  Those times (which is seldom for me) when there is some sort of initial chemistry, but for whatever reason it just doesn't pan out to being anything more.  Someone loses interest, someone moves away, someone gets bored, someone is actually just super charming and is able to create that chemistry with nearly every person of the opposite sex (and sometimes the same sex too.)

It's confusing, actually, and disappointing as well.  But thankfully by now I've had enough of those "almost" something more stories that I've learned to be less expectant.  It's not that I'm jaded, but rather I'm cautious in my hopefulness.  Which, for me, is a good and healthy thing. 

And, right now, as life might have it, I'm hopeful once more. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Tonight I wished I could speak Portuguese. 

Not because I'm making plans to travel to Brazil - at least not anytime soon - but rather because this evening as I was picking up some groceries (i.e. Peanut M&Ms, Bite Size Snickers, & Hersey's Hugs, etc.) from the K-mart on 34th Street, I stumbled across a little boy (age 3 or 4) who was in tears. 

He sat on the edge of a bottom store shelf, and a girl, who appeared to be his sister (age 5 or 6), attempted to console him in a language that I identified as not English, German, or Pig Latin. 

I suspected they had somehow lost their mother, but when I inquired about the whereabouts of their parents the little girl responded by saying, "We don't speak English."

So I tried Spanish.  And that didn't work either.  The girl responded by saying, "Portuguese."

So I tried one last time to inquire in English, "Do you know where your mom is?"

"Ma."  The little girl replied, and both she and her brother shook their heads yes.  And so I trusted that "Ma" was in the nearby vicinity and had place her son and daughter in "time out" as she was picking up a few other items a couple of aisles away.

I walked away with hesitancy, and now reflecting back, I wish I would have stayed with the two until Mom returned, because New York is not a city (no city is), that you should leave your kids unattended.


Tonight my church celebrated its first Sunday evening service with kids programming.  We had a total of four kids present, but as we continue to grow as a local parish, we are hopeful that the number of kids in our church body will also grow.  I'd volunteer to contribute, but I haven't quite yet found the right sperm donor.