My name is Kathryn Lynn Devries and I am 15 years old. I’m a sophomore in high school. I moved to Elko, Nevada at the end of my eighth grade year because my dad got a job at the mines. He was a geologist. I miss him a lot. He died two years ago in a car accident. We used to go hiking in Lamoille Canyon, and my dad and I collected rocks together. Mom’s too busy to go there very often anymore, and she doesn’t care much for rocks.
My mom is a part-time Administrative Assistant for Child and Family Services. She loves kids, but I was the only one she could have. She took in twin boys who were aging out of the foster care system last month. Their names are James and John Calvert. They are tall, loud, and annoying. They spend a lot of their time playing the Xbox when they aren’t looking for a job. I hate it.
Before they moved in with us, I had my own room. Now I have to share a room with my mom. I am glad she is helping them, and I try hard not to resent them because of it, but it’s hard. I feel like everything is being taken from me. I know they need it more than I do, but I sometimes wonder why it has to be me to give up everything. I wish they would just get a job and move out already.
What do I look like? Well, I’m about 5’3” tall with plain brown hair and green eyes. I weigh about 115 lbs, and I have pale skin with plenty of freckles. When I was little, my mom called freckles angel kisses. I just wish the angels would stop kissing me so often! My hair is long and has a slight curl to it. It didn’t used to, it used to be bone straight.
I love to read. In fact, if I had my choice I would do pretty much nothing else but read. Books are my best friends because in books you can go places you can’t go in real life and do things you can’t do. Before we moved here to Elko we used to have a lot more books than we do now, but the prices were so high when we moved here that we could only afford to buy a 2 bedroom house. I miss our old house in Texas. All of my family and my friends were there.
I like going to school, and I love science. I especially like chemistry. Someday, I think I might be a geologist like my dad. English is my second favorite subject but only because it’s so easy for me. I write all the time. I write in my journal every day. I have journals going all the way back to when I was 12! Sometimes, when I get really lonely for my dad, I take those journals out and I read them all over again just to remember what it was like when he was with us.
I don’t have any real friends and I don’t have a boyfriend. I spend a lot of time alone. I think that’s why Mom took in James and John. I think she’s hoping that they’ll “push me out of my comfort zone” as she says and help me connect with more people. I wish it were that easy. I am lonely, and I do wish I had some real friends, the kind you could call on the phone and hang out with after school. I just don’t know how to make those kinds of friends.
There is one boy at school that I really like, but he doesn’t even seem to notice me. His name is Kevin McConnolly. He plays basketball and is very popular. His dad is the coach at the high school. I wish I knew him better, but I don’t know how. Kevin’s everything that I’m not. He’s smart, popular, funny, and good looking. He has about a million girls that are always around him. I would love to be one of those girls, but I’m not.
Sometimes, I wonder why I was born. I don’t seem to fit in anywhere. My mom says I’m multi-talented. I know I learn faster than other people do. Everyone tells me how smart I am, but what good is being smart if you don’t know what to do with it? I just feel confused most of the time. I’m trying to figure out who I am and where I belong, but I feel like a square peg trying to fit myself into round holes. It really doesn’t work. I envy kids like Paul Kremer. He’s so good at math. He’s in my grade but he’s already taking calculus! I wish I were that smart, then maybe I would know what to do with myself.
This year, I’m taking English II Honors, Chemistry, Geometry, Art, and World History. I like most of my teachers, even though I’m just getting to know them all. It’s only the second week of October but I feel pretty confident about my grades. The only class that I sometimes have trouble with is art. Nothing I do seems to please that teacher. He always marks my stuff down, and he doesn’t explain things very well. I hide my drawings from my mom because I’m too ashamed to show them to her.
The rest of my classes are easy, even though I have to write a lot for English Honors that doesn’t bother me. I’m good at writing. I do a lot of it in my free time so that’s not a big deal. I guess my hardest subject is geometry, though even that’s not too bad. Math and I don’t usually get along all that well, but I’m doing okay with it this year.
My mom and I used to go to church when I was little, but we don’t go to church anymore. I can’t remember when the last time we set foot in a church was. Even at my dad’s funeral, we just went to the funeral home and the director had a minister friend of his read the passages from the Bible. If there is a God, I’d sure like to sit down and have a talk with him. He’s got a lot of explaining to do. I’m pretty angry with him for taking my dad away. Doesn’t he care about me? Doesn’t he care about my mom? I don’t care what they say. I don’t think a God that loves you would let someone hurt like this. It’s just wrong.
What do I want out of life? I don’t know. That’s kind of a big question. Someday, I think I’d like to be married and maybe have a couple of kids. I wouldn’t want my kid to grow up lonely, and a brother or sister would be a friend for life. I always notice those kids who have brothers or sisters and even though they say they don’t like them, they seem to be happier when they’re around. I wish I had one, just not one like James or John. They’re too annoying.
I think when I graduate high school I want to go to college, but I don’t want to leave home. There’s a good school right here in Elko. Great Basin College has a geology degree they offer and some scholarships for it, so I think I’ll stay right here. I don’t think my mom would want me to leave anyway. She’d be too lonely. Maybe I can get my geology degree and work at the mines like my dad did. Then I could teach my kids to like rocks the way my dad taught me.
My best memory from childhood is the summer our family went and visited Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. We took the tour deep into the caves and got to see the stalagmite and stalactite formations. It was pretty amazing. Then we waited outside at sunset and watched the bats fly out of the caves to go find food for the evening. We took that trip the August before my dad died. Dad didn’t even tell us we were going. He just came home one night and packed us all up, then we loaded up the car and headed out. He wouldn’t even tell my mom where we were going. She’d wanted to visit those caverns since she was a kid. I never saw her look so happy as the day that we got there. She was so surprised, and Dad was so pleased with himself.
We have a couple of cats and one dog at my house. The two cats are Kibbles and Bits. I found them when I was mowing the lawn last summer. The two kittens were crying so loudly that I could hear them over the sound of the lawn mower. I tore my favorite shirt climbing over a barbed wire fence to get to them. They didn’t like that one bit. Kibbles was hissing and spitting at me, trying so hard to protect little Bits from me. They were so tiny and undernourished. I tucked them into my shirt and made my way home to give them a bath. We advertised all over the neighborhood, but nobody claimed them so Mom said I could keep them. They keep me company when I get really lonely, and I love to watch them play with each other.
Bones is my German Shepherd. He’s getting older now, his muzzle is all grey. He was dad’s favorite dog. Dad named him Bones because he dug up a fossil in the backyard on his first day with us. Bones is really smart. Mom says he has to stay an outdoor dog because he’s so big and everything. We don’t have fleas here in Elko like we did in Texas because the flea eggs don’t hatch at this elevation, but she doesn’t want ticks and other stuff in the house. Plus, Bones wasn’t neutered as a puppy so he still sprays stuff with his scent which can be kind of gross inside the house.
After Dad died, Bones got really depressed and stopped eating for a long time. I knew how he felt, and every day I would just go outside and sit with him. We made each other feel better. Now he follows me around whenever I’m outside just like he used to do with Dad. Mostly, we just sit with each other because he’s got arthritis and can’t play like he used to but he loves to be petted still. Mom says she might have to put him to sleep soon because of his arthritis pain, but I don’t think that’s a good reason to kill a dog. I don’t know what I’d do without Bones.
If there’s one thing about me that most people don’t know, it’s that other than reading, I like to design clothes. I make my own. Mom taught me to sew and I even have my own sewing machine. I make all kinds of clothes and hats to wear. I love the feel of new fabric, and I’m so glad we got a new JoAnns last year. I’m hoping that when I turn 16, Mom will let me get a job there. Then I could afford to buy more fabric and maybe even be one of their instructors. Someday, maybe, I’ll go on a show like Project Runway. I bet I could out design half of them. Mom says I have very unique tastes in fashion and clothing.
Another thing people don’t know is that I like to design my own fabrics. Mom bought me some design software, and I like to come up with new fabrics. She jokes with me that maybe someday I will have my own line of fashions, and that I’ll be the most fashionable geologist the world has ever known. I know, that’s all kind of girly, but I like the creative aspect of it. I love being able to design clothes starting with the very fabric itself and working all the way to its completion. I guess I kind of like being original and unique.
Thank you for reading I am Kate. If you enjoyed this, you can continue on to read Chapter 1: The Invitation from my Nanowrimo novella: The Chosen.
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