Kate Motaung

How to Turn a Burden into Blessing

A Turn in the Trail The trail twists and makes another turn, I lift my eyes, hoping to see the narrow, wooden building perched on the edge of a cliff. Three-mile resthouse seems further away than the sign had promised when I left Indian Garden. I leaned on my hiking poles, hoping to ease the load on my legs by doing some of the work with my arms. When the building came into view, I heaved a sigh of relief…

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How to Release Racism From Your Life

Release. Relinquish. Give up. A furor on the campus of a small Christian university has brought home, once again, the power of ignorance to hurt and shame others. The scenario? Five students with facial masks (apparently charcoal masks), had their photo snapped. The owner of the phone posted the photo on Snapchat and added the university’s logo filter and the hashtag #PrettyHurts as well as the word Wakanda. Racist or ignorant? Overt racism or an innocent moment wrongly interpreted by…

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What Happens When You Settle for a Theory Without Investigation?

Never Settle for a Lack of Knowledge The whole Flat Earth Theory started me thinking about how, throughout history, people have espoused theories without testing them for truth—and ended up hurting other people. Take the theory that North America only had a few people living on it in the 1400s and needed a new race to settle and tame the land. I learned that theory back in grade school, and nothing in my high school or college classes taught me…

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Five Routines to Deepen Your Spiritual Life

Routines Build Relationships Face it, without routines in relationships, the relationship would slowly dry up. Back in the days before Internet, when Pedro and I first started dating, we wrote to each other on a daily basis during the long summers we spent apart. Those letters represent a routine of communication that built our relationship. We didn’t write flowery poems or repeat the same sentiment over and over again. We just shared with each other how our day had gone,…

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The Perfect Prescription for Tired

What Wears Me Out Tired creeps into my bones. Projects. Meetings. Frustrating reports that I have to do and re-do because the manual doesn’t give clear instructions. Grading papers. More meetings. Preparing for classes, but always just one step ahead of the students. Did I mention meetings? People wear me out. Cold, dry days and freezing, dark nights march across the calendar. An occasional stunning sunrise breaks the monotony. Pink and gold fluffy sunsets yield no rain, though. The lawn…

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Regret is the Piranha in My Soul

The Piranha of Regret Regret eats away at the soul, nibbling tiny piranha bites from memories. Unlike the murky waters of the Amazon, though, regret lives solo in the fish tank of our souls. Woulda, shoulda, coulda, form relentless chanting as we shake our memories over the tank. Envisioning different outcomes if only we had noticed sooner that our daughters sliced in pain. Surely, we could have orchestrated other outcomes by better vigilance and deeper understanding. A kinder word, a…

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Beauty Lurks in Unexpected Places

Beauty Lurks Beauty lurks in unexpected places hoarfrost springs from a shriveled red berry beneath a subzero sky Beauty hovers at wood’s edge speckled fawn twitching elegant ears, blinks slowly in dappled sunshine. Beauty hides behind dark clouds sunrise stretches fingers out across the water filled with snowy geese. Beauty peeks from angry eyes, of a girl too young to carry life’s burdens on slender shoulders, itching to escape Beauty manifests hope as a young man reaches out a hand…

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Why is the World So Full of Violence?

Why is the World So Full of Violence? The second month of 2018 has only reached its halfway mark, and already five schools have come under attack. Gun-wielding people bent on violence and destruction steal the innocence of children and communities. Why? I confess that as a teacher who works with traumatized children, I often wonder if when this could happen to me. They say that hurt people hurt people. And traumatized people traumatize people. I wonder what I would…

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The Things that Motivate Me to Leave My Comfort Zone

Can a Bird Motivate Me? “There’s a rare bird in Anchorage,” I said. Pedro rolled his eyes. “It’s a hawfinch,” I explained. “They live in Europe.” Pedro may have sighed AND rolled his eyes. “I suppose you want to go look for it?” I grinned. “Absolutely! While you hang out with Laura, Louis, and Abel, I’ll just pop into Anchorage and pick up some things at Costco and look for the bird.” “What about the weather?” he asked. “No snow…

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What If? A Different Kind of Story

What If? If Jesus came to earth as a baby now, how different the story would be. Jesus, born to an unwed mother living in the projects. Would Mary post a selfie on Instagram with the hashtag #youwontbelievewhatjusthappenedtome #imagonnaglorifythelord just moments after Gabriel leaves her tiny, top-floor apartment? Imagine Mary trying to convince her family these days that the “Holy Spirit overpowered me, and I’m pregnant with the Son of God.” Nope. Not a single soul would understand. In a…

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