Tag Archives: truth

the truth will set you free.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”

These words took on new meaning for me during the past month. In the midst of loss, I celebrated life.

The day after my uncle died, I was supposed to attend a birthday party for a dear friend of mine. I had gone back and forth throughout the day, not sure if I was up to being in a room full of people and not confident that I could hold myself together for the event. Puffy eyes and all, I pulled myself together and showed up. There were some tears, there were some hugs, but most of all, there was love. The room was filled with people who gathered to honor the beauty of life lived together. One of my favorite parts of the evening was when people shared stories of how they met the honored guest and what she meant to them. It was a timely reminder that what matters most is that we communicate our love to others in a way that can be understood and felt, not simply assuming that they know how we feel about them.

Later that week, my brother made the trek to Oklahoma to help me celebrate the big 3-0. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect – no one knows my relationship with and love for Unkie better than Dave. We reminisced and laughed and grieved and did things that we know Unkie would want us to do. It was a joy to spend time with him – and a comfort. I lucked out in the big brother department, for sure.

One of my favorite moments of Dave’s visit was when I introduced him to some of my dearest Oklahoma friends. It meant so much to me to have so many of the people I care about most together in the same room. I can’t imagine what this time would have been like without the friends who have mourned with me and celebrated with me, seemingly simultaneously. My heart is still broken, but it is full. So many things bring memories of Unkie to my mind each day. I try to turn them into grateful thoughts, but sometimes all I can think of is how much I wish I could hug him again. The ones we love never truly leave us.

I’m learning more and more each day the beauty of a life lived with others, for better or worse. For so long, I’ve struggled with the self-imposed pressure of appearing that I have it all together and that I can handle whatever comes my way. And that’s exhausting. Our vulnerability is one of the most precious things we can share with others, and it can be terrifying to offer it without knowing how it will be received or responded to. But the only way to cultivate genuine relationships is to be honest, even when it’s not pretty. Especially when it’s not pretty. We’re all just trying to make it through the day. Sometimes we just need a little grace, a kind word, and a reassuring hug to remind us that we’re not in this alone. Thank goodness for that.


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truth. and lots of it.

For lack of originality and creativity at the moment…let’s see how well you know me.




001. Real name – Kristen Elaine Ortendahl

002. Nickname(s) – KO, Kris, Tiger, Goldilocks, Krissy (the family never seems to drop the baby name…)

003. Zodiac – libra

004. Male or female – female

005. Elementary – Eagle Street/Fredonia

006. Middle School – Fredonia

007. High School – Fredonia (I’m sensing a trend here…)

008. Hair color – light brown

009. Long or short – more of a middle length…

010. Loud or Quiet – quiet (at least most of the time)

011. Sweats or Jeans – sweats

012. Phone or Camera – almost always have both with me.

013. Health freak – nope.  healthy-ish.

014. Drink or Smoke? yes to the first.  no to the second.

015. Do you have a crush on someone? I guess you could say that.

016. Eat or Drink?  really?  this is a question?  of course.
017. Piercings – four of ’em.  two in each ear.
018. Tattoos – not one.



019. Been in an airplane – yes
020. Been in a relationship  – yes
021. Been in a car accident – a bus accident.  and a car/lawn mower accident. 
022. Been in a fist fight – no.

023. Been on stage – yes.  dance recitals galore.

024. Pulled an all-nighter – yes.


025. First piercing – the first set in my ears.  I was 3 or 4.  I screamed.  a lot.  so my brother held my hand and I was all better.
026. First best friend – hm…I had best playmates when I was just a little sprout.  the first true best friend was a girl named Hilary Sarah (Brautigam) Sahli. 
027. First award – student of the week in kindergarten.  what a triumph.

028. CD owned – mariah carey. butterfly.


029. Last person you talked to – Ben Becze aka “co-worker Ben”
030. Last person you texted – first officer brown.
031. Last person you watched a movie with – the lovely sara brubaker.
032. Last food you ate – a brownie sundae (case in point: NOT a health freak)
033. Last movie you watched – he’s just not that into you.
034. Last song you listened to – georgia on my mind.  ray charles.
035. Last thing you bought –  I used $2.50 in quarters to wash my car.

036. Last person you hugged – a boy named Ben.


037. Food  –  ethnic food.  chinese, thai, italian, mexican…  and good ol’ comfort food.
038. Drinks – tea.  fresh-made lemonade.  red red wine.
039. Clothing – classic with a twist seems to be my style.  red shoes make me very happy. I wear a lot of black and neutral colors.
040. Flower – tulips.
041. Sport – basketball.

042. Colors – orange. and purple.  but not together.
043. Movies – dead poets society, good will hunting, gladiator, a beautiful mind, the holiday.  those are consistently in my top ten.
044. Subjects – I was a math nerd for a long time.  now it’s more the arts & culture, sociology, psychology, history.  a little bit of everything.  I’m committed to being a life-long learner.

check all that apply
In 2008, I….

045. [x] kissed someone
046. [ ] celebrated Halloween
047. [ ] had your heart broken
048. [x] went over the minutes/texts on your cell phone
049. [ ] someone questioned your sexual orientation
050. [ ] gotten someone pregnant
051. [ ] gotten pregnant
052. [ ] had an abortion
053. [ ] done something you’ve regretted
054. [ ] broke a promise
055. [x] hid a secret
056. [x] pretended to be happy
057. [x] met someone who changed your life
058. [ these are called mental health days ] pretended to be sick
059. [ ] left the country
060. [x] tried something you normally wouldn’t try and liked it
061. [x] cried over the silliest thing
062. [x] ran a mile
063. [ ] went to the beach with your best friend
064. [ ] got into an argument with your friends
065. [ ] hated someone
066. [ ] stayed single the whole year


067. Eating – nothing.  I just ate too much for lunch.
068. Drinking – water.
069. I’m about to – work work work.
070. Listening to – pandora. 
071. Plans for today – work. class. blue marble. sleep.
072. Waiting for – may 14th (aka graduation day).


073. Want kids?  yep.
074. Want to get married? yes’m.
075. Careers in mind – ha. that’s the question of the moment.  something with education.  something with people.  something that matters.



076. Write with both hands? it’s not as pretty with the left.

077. Blow a bubble?  yes.

078. Speak a different language? not fluently.

079. Cook? yes.

080. Play a musical instrument? the bassoon.

081. Dance? I guess you could say so…everyone can dance.

082. Sing? same as above.


083. Lost glasses/contacts – contacts.  but when it jumps out of your eye, I don’t know if that counts as losing.  that’s more like abandonment.

084. Snuck out of your house – no.  never really needed to.
085. Held a gun/knife for self defense? no.

086. Killed somebody? I kill bugs that wander into my apartment.  I have to use enough paper towels so I can’t feel them squish.
087. Broken someone’s heart – perhaps.  but usually I’m on the other side of that deal.
088. Been arrested – nope.
089. Cried when someone died – yes.


090. Yourself – most of the time.
091. Miracles – yes. 
092. Love at first sight – no.  maybe intrigue at first sight.  love takes a bit more.
093. Heaven – yes.
094. Santa Claus – I believe in the spirit of ol’ St. Nick.  it embodies something that is good, loving, and focused upon bringing others joy.
095. Sex on the first date – no, thank you.
096. Kiss on the first date – depends.


097. Is there one person you want to be with right now? I would like to see some of my oldest, dearest friends.  I’m starting to dislike geography with regards to the configuration of the United States.  some people should always be within reach.
098. Are you seriously happy with where you are in life?  I’m a work in progress.  and I trust there is something more to be hopeful for.  where I am right now is proving to be a bit of a crossroads.
099. Do you believe in God?  yes.
100. Do you believe in happy endings? not is the Disney sense where everything is “happily ever after” and without struggle.  but yes.  all depends on your perspective and commitment, I guess. 


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