Kate Motaung

Why Can’t I Find My Place at Church?

Finding My Place at the Five-Minute Friday Retreat I sniffed my pits before closing my car door and heading towards the place where we would register. I shrugged. Without facing the registration process, I wouldn’t receive a room key for the retreat. And until I had that room key in my hot and sweaty hand, I couldn’t shower. I’d have to go in smelling slightly ripe, covered in grime (birding is dirty business), and wild-haired. Once again, I found myself…

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The ‘Other Lessons’ that Inspire (aka, When We Don’t Get What We Want)

A Journey to Inspire Me The boat rocked back and forth as it rose and fell with the swells of the ocean. The deep blue of the water vied with the sky for my attention. On the horizon, thunderheads piled up between us and the receding shore line. I couldn’t wait to discover the secrets of the open ocean and let them inspire me in some creative way. The hot wind whipped my curls into my eyes. I didn’t bother…

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Rug Burn, Aching Joints, and other Hazards of Play

How to Play with a Baby “What happened to your knee?” my daughter Laura asked. I glanced down and noticed a red, raw spot on my left knee. “Carpet burn, I guess,” I answered with a shrug. “Abel and I have been racing up and down the hallway.” “Oh, you poor thing!” “Naw,” I replied, “anything to hear his cackle!” Therein lies the truth. I’ll do anything to get a two-toothed grin, a chortle, or a cackle out of my…

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To Receive a Blessing, be a Blessing!

Confession Time In the effort to practice full disclosure, you should know that I think of myself as a rather selfish person. I get single-minded in my plans and goals. Often, I only want to do something if I can see how it will benefit me in some way. I worry more about the blessing I might receive than blessing other people by showing up. I don’t enjoy visiting extended family members because I can only see the negative: The…

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Things I Didn’t Expect to Learn from Running a Marathon

My apologies to my FMF friends. I only had four lessons typed up at the end of my five minutes, but I kept on writing.  I won’t deny that I like unusual challenges and have a quirky sense of humor. So you won’t wonder at one of my choices for ‘fifty fun things to do in my fiftieth year’—run a marathon. I expect the majority of the population wouldn’t classify running for 26.2 miles as ‘fun.’ After completing my first…

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A Car, a Truck, and a Lesson in Truth

The Scenario The truth? I feel a little sheepish and petty tonight. It all started when I realized that tomorrow we’ll have our last assembly of the school year. Which means that I had forgotten to print out the certificates for reading goals. I generated the certificates and left them to print while I checked our cupboards for supplies. Each student that earns a certificate gets invited to our house for a banana split after lunch. And the one black…

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I’m a Stand-in Mom for Other Mothers

A Stand-in Mom for Other Mothers Before I married, I used to think I wanted to marry a man with the last name of Baker and have 13 children. Instead, I married a man named Ojeda and we decided early on that as teachers, we could only afford two children. These days my refrigerator holds certificates and graduation announcements from my kids from other mothers. After teaching for close to 30 years, I have a lot of children. Sure, Pedro…

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The Darker Side of Should: When to Eliminate it

The Friendly ‘Should’ I used to use the word ‘should’ all the time. It felt benign and friendly. “You should put your toys away before supper time,” always sounded kinder than, “Put away your toys before supper.” Telling someone what they ‘should’ do sounded so much nicer than telling them what to do. It allowed me to hide my bossy nature from the world (or maybe just deny that I HAVE a bossy side). And then our daughter entered the…

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The Rest of the Story: More Adventures Await

More Trouble and Destination Disappointment There’s more to last week’s story about my misguided adventure with a busload of students. After negotiating through an additional seven miles of bumpy dirt road, we came to a water crossing within sight of a paved road. This time, I stopped the bus and the boys hopped off and built up the banks of the road with more rocks BEFORE I attempted to drive over. When we finally turned onto a paved road, the…

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The Simple Antidote to Not Enough: Praise

Feeling Like I’m Not Enough I wander along the road in the desert, feeling off-kilter and slightly out-of-sorts. Maybe my feelings of discontent come from wondering if I have enough. Will I have enough time to fit everything into the day, enough money to pay my taxes, and enough patience with my spring-fever-filled students? I long for assurance that I will make it through this quarter, that I will have enough to meet my needs, that the hummingbirds will actually return,…

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