My Bathroom Is a Portal To the 1980’s

By May 31, 2011Compassion

Decorating was not among the skill set God gave me. So I avoid it for as long as possible until talented decorator friends beg me to let them work their magic.

Our guest bathroom is one of the things I’ve been avoiding. I call it our portal to the 1980’s.

It has wall paper that even Laura Ashley would call “busy”. The window valance evokes thoughts of Mrs. Garrett, tight rolled jeans and Richard Simmons.

People actually laugh when they see it. And cringe.

I’ve long thought I needed to update it.

I need to remove the valance. I need to tear down the wall paper. I need to update the faucet.

I “needed” to do a lot of things…until today.

Today I stood in a home smaller than my 1980’s half bathroom.

If I stretched out my arms and held a cooking spoon in each hand, I could touch two walls of the home at once.

This is the point at which those of you interested in social causes will keep reading, and everyone else will probably click away or gloss over my words.

So I just want to take a moment to double dog dare you to read this entire post.

Ok, fine. I triple dog dare you.


Are you ready?

A Rose By Any Other Name

The home belonged to a spunky young mother named Rose Ann.

When Shaun asked her what she hoped her small 1 year old son would grow up to be, she replied, “Tall.” The room erupted in laughter at her unexpected and witty reply.

But the humor seemed out of place amidst her circumstances.

Her small home housed her family of four.

Instead of a carpet, we stood on contact paper.

Instead of climbing up stairs to their second story home, we climbed up old pieces of wood haphazardly nailed together that lifted us off the wet, slimey floor covered in trash.

Instead of another “home” beneath hers on the first floor, there was a bathroom. The bathroom everyone in the building used. Instead of a toilet, there was just trash and welll, …you know.

Instead of….

Instead of me telling you about Rose Ann’s home, let me show you. (And, yes, since you’ve been triple dog dared, you do have to watch the video. That’s the rule.)

It was so hard for me to fathom that we were not pretending…that this was Rose Ann’s daily life. It was her future as far as she could see.

It was just one day for me. Only about 25 minutes actually. But everyday she wakes up in that room. A room she could cross in a single step.

I met myself today

A few small changes in my story and I could be Rose Ann.

Why then? Why does she have to live like that?

Why do I have plenty while she has little?

How do I fix it all?

I don’t have all the answers.

But I do have this one.


And Now….A Throwdown with Kat

“She lived a small but comfortable life.”

I pray desperate prayers that no one ever says that about my life after I’m gone.

I want to live all out, full on, wholehearted and passionate.

When my time here is done, I don’t want to have anything left. Nothing held back.

That doesn’t mean I need to go be a missionary in the remotest parts of Africa. That doesn’t mean I need to sell all I have and live amongst the poorest of the poor.

No it requires something harder, something more.

It means listening to God and taking measured steps.

I was going to leave this as a nice little post about Rose Ann. I was simply going to gently, in passing, offer that link to the list of children who are awaiting sponsors, but instead I’m going to give you a throw down…

Because my blog isn’t called Inspired to Think About It.

I Dare You To Move…

I dare you to accept the fact that in light of Rose Ann’s situation, if you’re reading this post on a computer, you have resources to help others. Either time or money.

I dare you to believe that God wants to use you in powerful ways. We are not limited by small resources, we are only limited by small faith.

I dare you to trust that God can do more with a willing heart and empty hands than He can with a ambivalent heart and a million dollars.

And now I dare you to click here and pray for the first 5 children you see.

Pray for their health.

Pray for their faith.

Pray for a sponsor.

Pray and ask God if that might be you.

I triple dog dare you to move from “inspired” to “action.”

Read all of my trip posts here:
Day 1 – The Tears, They Were Aplenty…
Day 2 – My Bathroom Is a Portal to the 1980’s
Day 3 – Grab Your Passports! I’m Taking You On A Trip
Day 4 – What To Do When You Can’t Do Anything
Day 5 – The Power of Being Known

Leave a Comment



  • oh amanda says:

    Girlfriend. You are awesome. Inspiring.

    “A few small changes in my story and I could be Rose Ann”. Whew.

    Thank you for daring us to move.

    Praying for you every day!

  • michelle says:

    How, how can we stop at just 5?! There are so many children and I am in awe that God knows each one of them by name.

    I was struck by the difference in atmosphere between the 2 videos. The 1st one sounded chaotic with the child’s cries. The 2nd was so serene as they read the Bible together. Coincidence?

    Thank you for sharing this, Kat. These stories are so good for me. I think we’ll make special “i love you” cards for our little guy today.

    Praying strength for you and the team today. love, m

    • Kat says:

      Wow, Michelle, I didn’t even notice that difference until you mentioned it.

      That *is* very cool!

      I promise you, those cards, will be the highlight of his month…

      • Jennifer says:

        Wow – that difference IS so amazing…thank you so much for sharing those videos and being bold in your words. I too am inspired to take action and write letters to our little Victor and Nadia today. Continually thinking and praying for you during your trip!

  • Kristi says:

    Thank you sweet friend!!

  • Kelli says:

    You are inspiring! You threw it down and I must confess that I’m way to competitive to ignore a challenge. It’s on!

    Thanks for the challenge. 🙂

  • Matt says:

    I’ve had similar experiences. I very easily forget what much of the world goes through on a daily basis. Thanks for sharing your heart and I love you emphasis on calling people to action. It’s one thing to feel sorry for people, but it’s another altogether to help them.

  • I am a new reader since finding out you were among the chosen Compassion Bloggers. As someone who has a fierce passion for advocating for Compassion through my blog and in my day to day life, I have to say that I **love** your challenge. Sometimes, people do need a challenge to inspire them.

    A few weeks ago, I looked through ALL of the Philippines children on the site and prayed over them. Page after page of faces… I thank you for taking this step and sharing your words with your readers. I pray that there are some that are shaken by your challenge and rise up to make a move.

    Praying for your team in these coming days!

  • Marcia says:

    Thank you, Kat. This is so inspiring. Prayed for the children and seeking God’s leading. Who could stop at one? I think that would be the most difficult part.

    Thank you for sharing.

  • melissa p. says:

    thank you. sometimes we need to be dared. my kids and i watched. and prayed together.

  • Erin says:

    Wow–I can relate to this on so many levels–the 80s bathroom and not being a decorator and being inside the teeny, tiny home of an international. From my late teens and through my 20s, I took mission trips to Scotland, Puerto Rico, Peru, Argentina, China, Africa, and many other places. I lived in Costa Rica for a year. I pray I never forget the images I saw of the lives of those there. I am unable to “go” right now because my children are very young, but I can pray! Do you know if Compassion ever lets 2 families share a sponsorship? My husband is a teacher, and we are low-income, but I so wish we could afford the extra $38/month!

    • Cheri says:

      Erin – I’m not Kat but I have been sponsoring children with Compassion since 2003. Can’t believe it took me that long to find out about them since they have been around since the 1950’s. To answer your question yes a group or more than one person can go together and sponsor someone. You have to coordinate it with the other people and one person signs up as the main contact and the letters come to one of the homes and you would then share them. I work with some young girls in my church who are in middle school and high school. They call themselves J4Hope (jewelry for hope) they make jewelry and sell it to pay for their sponsorship. I will pray that God will lead a friend your way and if it is His will for you to share a sponsorship He will provide the friend!.

  • Erika says:

    Too often we feel so helpless, so we look away, but we CAN do something. We can DO SOMETHING! Thank you for this reminder, this challenge, this call to action. WE can do something!

  • Annie says:

    Thank you – I struggle with “wants” when there are so many needs. I needed a slap in the face to bring me back.

  • I was just at Emily’s Blog and was looking at her pictures. It brings back memories when I still live there. I’m sure it was a shocking if not humbling experience to see the living conditions of other people in a third world country like mine. Thank you for being there and making a difference in the life of my fellow countrymen. Every little thing sure counts a lot! I’m following your Journey.


  • Debbie says:

    Love the Double Dog Dare.

    We are Compassion sponsors and have been for years. We also are an adoptive family with five children, three of them from the Philippines. I’m sure their lives were very similar before entering the state run orphanage where they were when we brought them home.

    There is so much need in the world, so many children, so many women just like Rose Ann. I pray that she can keep her little one and that Compassion can help her to that.

    Thank you for making their blight more public.

  • Aimee says:

    Once again, an awesome post that really really touched my heart! *Thank You* Kat for sharing your heart… can’t wait to see what God has in store for the next few days!

  • Jill Foley says:

    What a great post and what a great challenge – thank you for both. God has been challenging me through Compassion for the past 16 years. Our Compassion family has grown, and grown and grown. We aren’t able to stop, because life is still pretty comfortable for us.

    I said it yesterday, but I’ll say it again – I’m so glad you are on this trip.

  • Jen says:

    Two years ago we began to sponsor a child our oldest daughter’s age. Today, while responding to your challenge and praying for several children, I found a little girl who lives there in the Philippines who was born on the same day as our second daughter. And now we sponsor her too. I only tell you that so you’ll know for SURE that your obedience is indeed inspiring people to action. Thank you for going, and sharing, and challenging. God bless you and all those you’ll have the privilege of meeting over the next several days!

  • Steve Jones says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. “Why then? Why does she have to live like that?” We all need to ask that question. “Why them and not me?” Because you were born in the Philippines, I know that means something even deeper, but oh that we all could have the guts to seriously ask ourselves that question. Thank you for digging deep today and putting the challenge out there for us all.

  • Marisa says:

    Prayers said. Thank you for the challenges you gave us through out your post. God bless you and those doing this trip!

  • Caroline says:

    Powerful post. Thank you so much for sharing it all. Praying for resources to sponsor a child and for Compassion and its ministry.

  • Joyce says:

    We started sponsoring our first Compassion child this past November, and what a blessing it has been! She is one of the younger ones so it is rare to receive mail from her, but she has become a part of our family. She has the exact same birthday as our older daughter. It has just been a blessing. I pray that these children will become a part of someone’s family really soon.

  • Sherron says:

    Ah yes, the triple-dog-dare! Way to go, Kat!

    I loved your post. I think we all need to be reminded that even if we’re not affluent by American standards, we have so very, very much. I think my favorite line from your post is this one: “I dare you to accept the fact that in light of Rose Ann’s situation, if you’re reading this post on a computer, you have resources to help others. Either time or money.” So true!

    I triple-dog-dared my Facebook friends to read your entire post. 🙂 And then I went to the link and prayed for all the kids on that page by name.

  • The sinister triple dog dare?! You know you used the coup de grace of all dares, right? 😉 {heehee} Well I accept your throwdown, Kat, and I dare *you* to keep writing such awesome posts, to keep inspiring us all to action!!! {and may I very humbly add “thank you.” 🙂 } Will keep praying for you all!

  • Emma says:

    This is awesome Kat. Thank you for going for and for sharing your words.

  • De says:

    Powerfully written. … “When my time here is done, I don’t want to have anything left.”

    I love how you took us from the immediate gut reaction of doing something big, somewhere, out there (which for many of us will likely never happen)… to the tougher response of disciplined obedience. Whew! Great post. Thank you.

  • Love this post so much!

  • Perfect time to show AND tell; you’ve lead us into a holy place, and your call to action? Will ripple for eternity.

    Praying for you and all :).

  • Melissa says:

    Hi Kat! I have read your posts over at Passionate Homemaking and am finally making my way to your blog. What a wonderful time to come over! I have been very blessed this morning by your post! Thank you and be safe on your trip!

  • I’ve been incredibly impacted by all the Compassion bloggers’ posts these last few days. You have all been on my mind constantly, and I have to say I wish I was there with you! We are a new sponsor family (since March) and I can only hope that one day I’ll have the experience of meeting our sweet Sarah. Thank you for your passion, your transparency, and your love for these kids.

  • Ann Voskamp says:

    and I’m all about taking dares…

    Thank you, Kat… thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • […] child’s living conditions (5 people; 1 room). After a visit to Rose Ann’s home, Kat realized that, with only a few changes in her story, she could have been in Rose Ann’s sho…. Stephanie shared about the ladder that gives children a way out of poverty. I urge you to follow […]

  • teressa says:

    Thank you for your post! I read & wept & cried out “God”! I am so moved by it & my soul is crying out thanksgiving to Him who is turning the hearts of His children back to Him & His business. Changing hearts to walk in His shoes….

  • Roberta says:

    Really makes you re-think everything I know. Praying for you first off that you may find serenity in this most trying situation and for acceptance for what you cannot control. Praying for all those children that they may know that they are loved. Fondly, Roberta

  • Roberta says:

    Kat…just had to share your links and videos today and hopefully we’ll get more kids sponsored! They say a picture is worth a thousand words…but I feel like a video is worth a million 😉

  • jeana says:

    I’m reading through Philippians with you and of course God is teaching me to long affectionately for others. This post left me in tears from Rose Ann’s home to every child needing sponcors. Thank you for your heart for others and for the dare.

  • Jenny says:

    I said goodbye to my fancy coffeehouse habit and said hello to sponsoring one of the first five children. I am smiling ear to ear tonight. Thanks for the challenge!

  • […] reminder that what we need is mostly what we want:  My Bathroom is a Portal to the 1980′s. Like this article? Share […]

  • Amanda says:

    Very convicting.

  • i read it all.

    i didn’t stop.

    thanks for helping me find myself [again] today.

    i don’t have all the answers, but i have one. well said.

  • Robin E says:

    This jolted me out of my self-pity at being such a home renovation loser…

    I’m taking your challenge, and as long as this is a throwdown…I hereby dare anyone who sees this comment to go a step further and take a look at Reece’s Rainbow Adoption Ministry. There you will see the faces of disabled children in Eastern Europe, consigned to life in poverty-stricken adult mental institutions at the age of 4 or 5 because there is no place for them in society. Choose just one abandoned child and pray for their health, safety, and especially for someone to come to their rescue and give them a home.

    Children in these orphanages all too often starve to death or die from easily treated conditions and common childhood illnesses because they are not considered a worthy use of resources. Adoption of a child helps build a culture of life at home and abroad. Pick a child and make even the smallest donation (price of the proverbial Starbucks…?) Tto help a family

  • Robin E says:

    Oops…that was supposed to be “to help a family pay their ransom.” Hope it’s ok to post this. 🙂 Now, on to picking 5 kids from the Phillipines to pray for…

  • […] on a trip to the Philippines. I followed the writing of Kat, Lindsey, and Tsh as they shared about a bathroom-sized home, mothers who don’t name their babies, and living in a putrid […]

  • […] the rest of my trip posts here: Day 2 – My Bathroom Is a Portal to the 1980′s Day 3 – Grab Your Passports! I’m Taking You On A Trip Day 4 – What To Do When You […]

  • […] all of my trip posts here: Day 1 – The Tears, They Were Aplenty… Day 2 – My Bathroom Is a Portal to the 1980′s Day 3 – Grab Your Passports! I’m Taking You On A Trip Day 4 – What To Do When You […]

  • […] all of my trip posts here: Day 1 – The Tears, They Were Aplenty… Day 2 – My Bathroom Is a Portal to the 1980′s Day 3 – Grab Your Passports! I’m Taking You On A Trip Day 4 – What To Do When You […]

  • Alizya says:

    Thanks for sharing your private life story. I am not married so i do not have kids but my brother is married and i like his kids like my own. they are as cute as your kid.

  • […] the rest of my trip posts here: Day 2 – My Bathroom Is a Portal to the 1980′s Day 3 – Grab Your Passports! I’m Taking You On A Trip Day 4 – What To Do When You […]

  • Jen5253 Range says:

    I heard you speak at the recent MomHeart conference in Dallas and found this blog series. After clicking the Compassion link, I found a little boy that has the exact same birth date as my oldest son. We sponsor a girl with the exact same birth date as my oldest daughter and it has been amazing at how much more compassionate and aware of needs vs. wants in her life, and she loves writing letters and sending pictures. So we are going to sponsor this little boy and I really look forward to my son sending him letters and drawings and also doing simple extra chores to earn money to send things like stickers, etc. and also hearing my son pray for him by name! Thank you for your post! You are making a great difference in lives around the world!

  • […] all of my trip posts here: Day 1 – The Tears, They Were Aplenty… Day 2 – My Bathroom Is a Portal to the 1980′s Day 3 – Grab Your Passports! I’m Taking You On A Trip Day 4 – What To Do When You […]