for the love of sunrise.

When I think of all my “favorite things” in life, I realize there are many.

I love mid afternoon coffee and a little bit of chocolate.

Snuggly babies dressed in cozy fall outfits.

Fresh flowers, thrown into a beautiful bright bouquet.

Handwritten notes from friends. and handwriting notes to friends.

Learning about people- who they are, what they love, their hearts.

As you get to know me this month, you will catch even more of the things I hold nearest and dearest…the list just keeps going…

But today I was, again, struck by one forever love of mine- the sunrise.

When I still lived at my parents home I would wake up early in the morning to take long runs on country backroads. I loved the rest I felt in these moments; running amidst fields and trees, down the stony orchard lane, chasing the sun as it rose bold and beautiful each day.

When I moved into the city I felt this great loss. Suddenly that rest I found at daybreak was replaced with tall buildings and dodging trash cans. The air didn’t feel so fresh, and I told Brent “the city makes me hate to run.”

Slowly but surely I have trained myself in the ways of city running. Go where the green lights take you, watch your step on uneven sidewalks, and don’t breathe for 10 seconds when the trash truck blows past you (not sure that one is good for my lungs…). Beyond the practicals, I have found it a joy to search for a spot of sunrise in the city. There are certain locations where I know I’ll catch it, and I love to begin my runs so that I end heading into the sweet glow of morning. I see glimpses over the Lime Street cemetery, down the wide expanse of Walnut Street, when I branch out and run down Broad Street and by the river.

Even when the fiery streaked sky is peeking through buildings it brings hope to my heart and a fresh perspective to my day. The sweet encouragement of morning sun has, by no means, been lost in the city. It just takes my perspective shift, and stretches me to seek beauty in the unassuming.

and someday- i’m sure I’ll experience moments where I reminisce those sweet city sunrises.
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 {sunrise in ronks}

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a moment in time.

 only a snapshot of my sweet last evening

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“you’ll need coffee shops and sunsets and road trips.

airplanes and passports and new songs and old songs,

but more than anything else.

you will need other people

and you will need to be that other person to someone else,

a living, breathing, screaming invitation to believe better things.”

 -Jamie Tworkowski

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{Jeremy Hess Photographer’s team dinner at the Buckwalter cottage}

when trusting is too hard.

sometimes life doesn’t feel fair. or right. or how we plan. sometimes you don’t blog on the fifth day of a 31 day challenge because you just feel tired, and all the good words seem dried up.

and then morning dawns new, after short night’s sleep, and you’re reminded. just trust.

when the going get’s tough, and the tough won’t get going, just trust.

and even when you do not feel like you’ve got it in you.

you have to trust.

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-and finally He said to me, “My grace is enough to cover and sustain you. My power is made perfect in weakness.” So ask me about my thorn, inquire about my weaknesses, and I will gladly go on and on—I would rather stake my claim in these and have the power of the Anointed One at home within me. I am at peace and even take pleasure in any weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and afflictions for the sake of the Anointed because when I am at my weakest, He makes me strong.-

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 {The Voice}

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marriage.

marriage

This afternoon and evening were spent celebrating two wonderful people becoming one. Joshua Tucker, one of Brent’s closest friends and longtime roommate married the girl of his dreams, and it was so sweet. Josh & Kelly are relaxed, laid back, and love their family and friends, all of which was evident in this beautiful wedding.

Today took me back a year, to when Brent & I said we do. In the moments leading up to our big day, I was slightly overwhelmed, busy arguing with my fiancee over (in retrospect) nothing, and expending all of my energy trying not to be stressed.

If only I knew where the future would lead us. How in just one tiny year so much could change. How we would face bigger decisions, more intense fights, the most challenging moments, and a deep love that only two people so committed could feel.

Looking up at my husband in the wedding party brought tears to my eyes. He beamed back at me and my heart felt so full.

This year has not been easy. I was naive to think that marriage would be.

But the Lord has carried me to places that I never could have dreamed, and He continues to, with Brent by my side.13_Katie&Brent_1542

this city.

I have been known to proclaim, very loudly, enthusiastically, and on more than one occasion,

OH I JUST LOVE THIS PLACE! LET’S LIVE HERE!”

Seriously. These words come out of my mouth wayyy to often. And probably more than I actually mean 🙂 Strolling through Central Park on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Exploring the ins and outs of Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia. At pretty much every beach i’ve ever been to. Believe it or not the only trips where I probably haven’t exclaimed this proclamation have been overseas, when I dealt with horrible bouts of incurable homesickness.

But on most days, I love to explore new places. There is something in my heart that practically bursts at the discovery of a hole-in-the-wall book shop, or a homey cafe.

However there is something about Lancaster. About the crisp, cool nights of Fall- filled with pumpkin fields and apple orchards. About the chilly Winter season- bringing fresh, icy air and the smell of wood piles burning. About Spring- magestic cherry blossom trees spotting the countryside. And of course Summer- those warm, muggy nights made of  flashing fireflys and fresh dairy ice cream.

Living in the city has been different for me. I grew up in a location I thought was the perfect mix between suburban and rural. Backroads to run on, but not too far from Target.

However, I have grown to love the city- and what each season brings.

Winter, with it’s sleek and sparkling trees creating a bright wonderland. Spring, with the hustle and bustle of a city alive again. Summer, with it’s sweet evenings at the creamery, or sprawled out on a blanket in Musser Park. And Fall- a chill in the air that calls for blankets and sweaters…and trips downtown for hot apple cider.

Today was one of those days…when my eyes were reopened to what was in front of me. As much as I dream of the future, of a sweet old farmhouse with character, and a backyard made of wildflowers, I am cherishing today. Of love and of laughter over hot drinks. Of market mornings, and restful afternoons, and strangers becoming friends.

this city. it’s where we are now, and it’s what I will cherish.Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

community.

there’s something so cozy about nearest & dearest. I’m definitely a words girl, and that phrase brings warmth to my heart. as I thought of different areas in my life that I hold in close regard, I felt community continuously coming to my mind.

community. something I love and long to live out. doing life with those closest to us. openness and heart sharing that creates strong relationships. the beauty of going deep, being real, and loving through it.

for me, the defining moment when I came to realize how beautiful community demonstrated truly is, was during the loss of our sweet little one.

it brings tears to my eyes when I think of the love that Brent and I felt. I envision the arms of the Father, holding me tight. And within those arms a warm and cozy blanket, soft and comforting. this is community.

 bouquets of radiant wildflowers.

fresh pumpkin cookies.

lovingly chosen gifts tucked between the doors.

handwritten notes and caring messages.

the warmth of a hug, the tears of a friend, the love of our families.

through the community that surrounds us, I have now experienced the Lord revealing Himself through His people. I can identify with the importance of carrying the Father’s heart.

if there is beauty from what sometimes feels like ashes, it is that I have found and experienced the deepest sense of community, and the greatest wave of love I have ever felt.

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things nearest & dearest

31 days: a writing challenge.

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The idea started with one of my favorite writers and bloggers, the nester. 31 days of blogging, one topic, and a new post each day. The goal: challenge your writing, grasp each moment, and for me- to go deep in your heart. Yesterday my friend Heather told me about this challenge she was planning to join, along with thousands of women across the country who will be linking in to write31days. The concept is a mix between networking and inspiration, a push for growth in writers.

Strange as it may sound, I wrestled with the idea. Do I have enough to write about? Do people even want to read what I have to write? What topic should I choose? And if anyone stumbles across my blog it’s really not that cute… I would settle on something, weigh it back in forth in my mind, then go to the drawing board again. I knew I wanted to share about real life and push myself to go deep, creating a place of intimacy in sharing my heart. The image that kept coming back to my mind was you and me, around my kitchen table in our cozy fall sweaters, cups of steaming hot coffee in hand, sharing our hearts. My dream is for people to know I get it, to feel my love for them. I want to share what’s closest to me in hopes that maybe you can relate. Not only the places I go and the things I do, but the lessons I’m learning in the process.

So envision this as my daily coffee date, sharing things nearest & dearest to my heart.

I’ll see you tomorrow,

xo Katie

September Aventures

This month has always been one of my favorites. The weather is usually that perfect in-between of cool, crisp mornings, warm, sunshine-y afternoons and cozy evenings all in one day.

Anticipation of October, the heart of fall.

Apple picking.

Soft and subtle color changing.

Cinnamon scents that remind me of home.

The beginning of this month brought the most unanticipated of hardships; something that I’d never felt before. But following those first few weeks I have experienced a healing so true to the Lord’s heart, filled with family, friendships and experiencing beauty in the things I love.

Here are a few snapshots capturing some of my September adventures-

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The Terrain at Styers and Longwood Gardens

My mom gave Brent & I two tickets to Longwood Gardens- I was so excited because I had never been there before! We decided to make it a day and Brent took me to one of my favorite places, The Terrain at Styers. Terrain has done an amazing job of creating an atmosphere that invites inspiration. I loved experiencing the first subtle touches of autumn; mini white pumpkins, wheat, and dried flowers in bright red and orange hues. We ate lunch in the cafe, and after my delicious wheatberry salad I indulged in a white chocolate pumpkin latte. It was heavenly, and I again came to the conclusion that trips to Terrain do not disappoint.

My favorite part of Longwood was definitely the wildflower fields. Brent and I walked through the hills and valleys of these bright yellow buds and I felt surrounded by beauty. The sky was clear blue that Sunday, and in the midst of a pretty raw week I felt so much peace.interior
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Hiking on the Appalacian Trail

Last weekend Brent &  I spent Saturday hiking with some friends on the Appalacian Trail. Our friends were camping, so we decided to hike into the site with them, and then hike back out. We, or at least I, forgot that we were doing in one day what they would be doing in two. Approximately 12 miles later I felt exhausted, accomplished, and very sore. Brent said, “I thought you like hiking.” That was when I realized that Chickee’s Rock may have been the depths of my hiking experience prior to this.

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{I survived!!!}

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Visiting Carolyn at Eastern University in Wayne, PA

I mentioned a few posts back that Carolyn started her college career at Eastern University this fall! I miss her dearly, but am practically ecstatic that she chose a school in one of my favorite areas. The little town of Wayne is in walking distance from her dorm, and the best part is it’s a beautiful walk, especially with yesterday’s weather! We had so much fun looking at all the gorgeous homes in neighborhoods attaching Eastern’s campus to Wayne. Once in town, Carolyn & I ate lunch at this fun little place called Elegance Cafe. The cafe offered a variety of homemade salads and breads, and reminded me of Brent and my favorite market stand here in Lancaster, The Goodie Shop. I ended up with a delicious avocado chickpea salad and my favorite, caprese. We followed lunch with a trip to Carolyn’s fav place in town, a coffee shop of course. The Gryphon provided us with just the fuel we needed to finish our day out shopping. Energized on pumpkin spice (what else) we hit thrift stores with some great finds, the Gap downtown which had amazing deals, and of course Trader Joes for my monthly grocery trip.

It was a refreshing and much needed sister day, and I realized how lucky I am to have a sister who is one of my best friends.

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This September has not been perfect, the blue skies haven’t always been easy to see, but this morning as I journaled my heart felt overwhelemed with the moments and experiences I’ve been blessed with in this season. I have felt love abounding and grace dawning with each new day. Another month of memories for me to cherish. Time expanded and rest created where I couldn’t forsee it.
With October will come more excitement, and more moments I’m sure! Brent and I purchased our first home and will be moving on November 1, so I’ve begun planning my “packing days” already!
But today I am thankful for September’s adventures.

and if not, He is good.

 come out of hiding, you’re safe here with Me. there’s no need to cover what I already see.

you’ve got your reasons, but I hold your peace.

you’ve been on lockdown, and I hold the key.

cause I loved you before you knew it was love

and I saw it all, still I chose the cross

and you were the one that I was thinking of

when I rose from the grave.

now rid of the shackles, my victory’s yours.

I tore the veil, for you to come close.

There’s no need to stand at a distance anymore

you’re not far from home.

I’ll be your lighthouse

when you’re lost at sea

and I will illuminate

everything.

no need to be frightened 

by intimacy.

no, just throw off your fear

and come running to me.

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Three weeks ago I wrote this phrase, in curvy bold script across the crisp pages of my new journal-

and if not, He is still good.

It seemed so poetic, truly words to remember in the midst of crisis. I felt this unexplained need to set them aside, tuck them away for someday when I could share them with someone, or reread them and remind myself.

He is Good. He is Good. He is always Good.

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One week later I lay curled in a ball amidst down comforter and mounds of pillows, holding the same journal with shaking hands, rereading the page over and over.

he is…

he is…

through blurred eyes and a hurting heart the rest of the phrase lingered on my tongue. I just couldn’t muster up the strength to say it, and mean it.

We lost our first baby.

How is He good?

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cause I loved you before you knew it was love

and I saw it all, still I chose the cross

and you were the one that I was thinking of

when I rose from the grave.

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Through hurt and pain, and a journey so unfamiliar, the Lord is revealing himself to Brent & I in ways I cannot find the words to describe.

I cannot lie to you and say that my heart is completely healed of all hurt, but do I dare say that I have truly believed and felt the phrase that the Lord inscribed on my heart for this very moment..

and if not, He IS still good.

In the midst of the whirlwind that is these past weeks, I came across this in another blog

-I must see the trail of grace behind me before I strain to see the horizon of hope that lies before me.-

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The here and now does not feel good, when I trace the Lord’s hand in our lives. When I experience his love revealed through the relationships in our lives. When I cling to His promises at the most raw state.

it is then and it is now that I believe

He is still good.

 

 

 

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Out of Hiding (Father’s Song) by Steffany Gretzinger 

so long summer.

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This summer was the best. Besides the fact that it was our FIRST MARRIED SUMMER, Brent and I dubbed this ‘the summer of caprese and mojitos.’ I feel like the name is pretty self explanatory.

Some of my favorite memories of summer are-

1. BEACH TRIPS. I’d be remis if I didn’t mention all of them. specifically this last one!

2. Fresh fruit. I love my walks to market for whatever is in season, and we finally got to pick peaches, something we’ve been looking forward to all year!

3. FRESH FLOWERS. (seeing a theme with fresh?)

4. Attempting our own city garden. And failing miserably at it. Who has time to water plants anyway?

5. Summer nights. I loved the cool nights that this awesome summer weather has brought, specifically when they were spent in the park with a blanket and a book.

6. ICED DRINKS. Seriously I’m gonna be sad when I am too cold to drink iced coffee.

7. Sunshine.

8. BBQs and PARTIES and FRIENDS and all the hustle and bustle that summertime life brings.

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“The end of August is the New Year’s Day of summer.

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One of my favorite writers and heart sharers, Myquillyn wrote this in a recent post on her blog nesting place and it totally resonated with me.

There is this absurd excitement that rises within me at the thought of Fall…crisp mornings, cool evenings, boots and of course oversized sweaters. Everything pumpkin, fair season, the best apples you’ve ever tasted.

Last night we purchased our first of many #PSL for the season. (don’t let the infamous hashtag throw you- this translates to Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes<3). The occasion? Well besides the fact that I’ve been practically on the edge of my seat with visions of Starbucks floating through my brain since early August, we were CELEBRATING Brent! With my favorite drink, how fitting. (I think I’ve mentioned how I’m really good at selflessness before).

Today is Brent’s last day working for and owning Revolution Builders. Tuesday he will begin working with his dad’s new home building company, Brentwood. When this change was originally brought up, I could hardly believe we were discussing it. I was pretty sure i’d hit my threshold for change somewhere back around engagement…or marriage…or graduation…but who am I to decide that? As exciting as the thought of working with Brent’s family was, there was this part of me that just wanted to stay put for two seconds. After all, Brent had only bought into Revolution when we started dating two years ago- could life really be changing again?

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As I sit here on this Fall-like morning, cup of tea in hand, and reminiscent of the summer…the year really, I am continuously reminded of God’s faithfulness to us. As we end our August, thoughts of fresh starts in mind, I think I’m more ready than I may feel sometimes.

I’m ready to celebrate; where we’ve been, where we’re headed, celebrate with friends and the changes they are going through, with family and the stages they enter into.

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So goodbye to summer nights and trying to garden, sunshine at 5:30 AM, and white pants -if we’re getting technical.

Fall- I think i’m ready for ya. And everything you’re gonna bring.

xoxo Katie