Monday Inspiration

Some fresh inspiration on a Monday afternoon, take three.

Life is a little bit crazy…and it is hard to believe that summer is practically coming to an end (unfortunate) and that my other favorite season is right around the corner (fortunate).

A little mini life update:

1. One week from today is our ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY! And what a crazy year it has been.

2. My little sister leaves for her first year of college this week, so that feels kind of bittersweet. Luckily there is a Trader Joe’s in dangerously close proximity to where she’ll be located…so the sweet may outweigh the bitter on this one.

3. Brent is switching jobs! Another bittersweet thing for us, but totally the Lord. He’ll be working with his dad doing new home construction and we are very excited!

4. Life is crazy and busy and I am still learning to manage it all… I found this quote today and immediately set it as my desktop background-

2014-07-28-david-duchemin-blog-exclusion-02

{the girl with a reputation of saying yes to everything is learning this in a very big way.}

And now for your (or at least my) weekday inspiration-

food

food

 My favorite afternoon pick-me-ups are ever changing. This week I am loving fresh strawberries with gorgonzola and fig balsamic drizzled on top. It is seriously so yummy. Also, in an effort to curb my spending habits (specifically in the realm of coffee shops) I have been making my own iced coffee! I have found that making a pot of super strong coffee (typically 4 cups of water to 6 TBSP of grounds) is the perfect balance when dealing with watery iced cubes. I love using the Square One coffee, and the blend we have at work is awesome! I have also recently discovered honey + whole milk in coffee and it is the highlight of my afternoon these days. 🙂

decor

decor

 I’ve been putting these fresh berry boxes to good use all over the place. This particular one acts as an organizer for all my random crafty stuff, and is the perfect accent to brighten up my desk with a touch of summertime.

hair

beauty

I have discovered maybe the best invention when it comes to beauty products. Organix is one of my favorite over the counter hair-product brands, and their moroccan sea salt spray is just perfect. It smells delicious while giving you the saltwater beach-y texture that you crave in the summer. I love that it helps me create the wavy look without looking stiff like mousse or gel can tend to do.

shoes

style

The perfect brown leather flats. I really thought nothing could beat my last pair (steve madden compliments of goodwill) because they fit perfectly, were worn in to perfection, and then suddenly fell apart (the reason Brent says ‘don’t get attached to shoes from goodwill’). I stumbled across these tobacco colored leather beauties at Nine West in Tanger Outlets and I swear I’ve never worn a more comfortable pair of flats. They are structured enough to support my feet but not so stiff that they cause blisters (a problem I often run into with the backs of new flats). The best part- they match everything!

journal

heart stuff

Only $4.99 at HomeGoods, this journal is my new “share my heart” spot. I love the watercolor smeared look of it, and I love the crisp clean pages! My previous journal had some very sad but major water damage (candle holders do not always work interchangeably as flower vases, and do not sit books underneath them. especially when filled with water. decorating fail.) but it works out well because this one is about to capture the newest season of our life- year two– and the most recent happenings amidst craziness!

Eventually some of the words on those pages will end up on my little blog, but in the meantime I thought I’d keep you posted on life in the Hostetter home, and encourage you to ENJOY THIS WEEK! Monday is just the beginning!

So make yourself a tall glass of iced coffee, experiment with beach-y waves, and choose today that each day will be joy-filled.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

that it will never come again, is what makes life so sweet.

{emily dickinson}

You Are Worth It

The past few days have been a blur.

Some friends and I put together a spontaneous closet sale, which turned out to be a HUGE success! The amount of old relationships I got to rekindle and new ones I got to make amazed me, and all the socializing felt like my own personalized version of heaven!

        photo 2         photo 1

photo 3

{love some of my very best friends in one picture!}

Combining my passions for shopping, fashion, girls/women and planning gave me SO much life, and as I’ve replayed how the event went (and mentally began to plan the next one) I’ve felt my heart stirring to blog on a topic that is so real in my life- and maybe yours too.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You are worth it.

I’ve shared my journey with self image before, with perfectionism, eating, and my perception of beauty. One thing I really prayed in planning for the closet sale is that it would be a fun, social event that girls would enjoy, and that looking in the mirror and trying on clothing would bring life not lies.

Trust me, I know what the mirror can do. You know why it was so easy to sell my clothing? All I had to do was grab piles from our bedroom floor, leftover from weekday mornings when I practically threw tantrums over how I looked.

Well I guess I didn’t like these, or I would have worn them, so might as well sell them.

How many of us have been in this position? Something is SO cute on the rack, in the catologue, and even when you lay out an outfit Thursday night. But when Friday morning comes and you slip into that adorable dress, you realize that it clings a little tighter than you want, that the color looks better with your bedroom chair than your skin tone, or that you simply do not like what you see. You end up in so many attempts at “the perfect outfit,” that soon your hair is messed up, your deoderant has landed on a hem somewhere back at outfits #4 or 5, and your confidence is crushed. As unfortunate as it may be, your mood has been defined.

You would be hard pressed to find a woman who has not experienced this very thing at some point in her existence. And for those who haven’t, I applaud you. You are not missing out.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’ve often rambled to my husband the thoughts I have about a certain fashion phenomenon. That something can look SO cute in a store, or even on some other girl, but then you bring it home and it suddenly becomes this sad piece of fabric, collecting dust in your closet. I’ve (more recently) come to the conclusion that I’m blaming the wrong thing.

This may not be the clothing’s fault. Or even the company who created it.

How often do I choose to make a purchase on a “good day,” and then 24-hours later hate what I see in the mirror? How often am I just unhappy with me, with my number size or my heighth or the tone of my skin, with my peeling sunburn or the “extra weight” I percieve? How often do I throw fits in the morning, not because of the clothing, but because of my lacking confidence?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As I think of the women I admire most in life, I realize something- They each know their value and they each recognize their worth.

I am not just attracted to the clothing they wear or the style of their hair or the way they always look just right. I am attracted to the deep seeded confidence I just feel when I’m around them. A confidence that creates comfortability, a knowledge of who they are in the Lords eyes, that they have so much to offer, and that they can invest in other people, in me. To look outward instead of inward, and value so much more than the material.

I am no pro at getting rid of this warped sense of beauty that is so easy to grab hold of. In fact, all I can tell you is that even in marriage, when you have been chosen and you know your husband loves you, it is a struggle. But I am a firm believer that being aware of the root of a problem helps majorly in then taking hold and uprooting, and I know that fighting your own thoughts does make a difference!

 I often think about someday, when we could have a little girl, and it brings tears to my eyes.

If  there is one thing I want her [and YOU]  to know, it is this.

9e6ed5030af60e54540ca79f01feec4c

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

xoxo Katie

Monday Inspiration

 

 

 What’s on my mind this beautiful day…

Blog Collage-1403547721395

This weekend my mother-in-law surprised me with the most enormous bouquet of flowers ever.

Not many things bring me joy like fresh flowers do, and I had so many I created multiple arrangements with more to share!

My current favs are hydrangeas and garden roses. I’ve never loved roses but those pastel pinks totally inspire me.

securedownload

Saturday we got to celebrate the marriage of one of the sweetest girls I know and a member of my Wednesday night dinner club!

Court & Nathan’s wedding had the most elegant and laid back style, and there were so many friends to spend time with. It was the perfect night!

securedownload-4

Yesterday Brent and I went on a countryside run near his parents home.

We ran 5.5 miles, which totally shocked and excited me because I’ve definitely being feeling a little “out of shape.”

I’m so thankful for a husband who loves me enough to slow down to my pace and stick with me on runs like that one.

The weather was truly beautiful and I loved coming home to see the evening light shine through the trees onto the brick wall of our apartment.

securedownload-1

We ended the weekend with a delicious fresh & local dinner, (recipe compliments of Martha Stuart herself) and watching the World Cup with friends. (Although I couldn’t really tell you much about the game since Amber and I took a walk that lasted for it’s entirety haha!)

Lately I’m learning to see the beauty in little things, and to truly enjoy moments for what they are. Our days are hardly perfect, but I find that when I focus on the pieces that I love I can cultivate thankfullness within my own heart and that of my husband, and those around me.

So here’s a recipe for you to try as you begin your week-

I really do love Martha Stewart…

A quote to inspire you-

3d35802693705d8b1e08c3d5c0a4c792

And a post to help you remember that Mondays aren’t so bad when you’re counting your blessings 🙂

LOVE YOU ALL!

(and sorry for the awful iPhone pics. Maybe I’ll get a camera someday!)

xoxo Katie

A Vow to Be Selfless

Two weekends ago we were at the wedding of some more dear friends of ours. (I may or may not start off every blog from now until December with this phrase. Like seriously, we’ve got one tomorrow. I’m in heaven.)

Anyway, we had the privilege of sitting next to an awesome couple who I have gotten to know through Brent’s family. Paul & Anita Keagy of JoyShop Ministries are just amazing, and you should definitely check out Anita’s story!

As we were waiting for the wedding to begin, Anita turned to me and asked how marriage was going (as is often the question when you’re almost a year in and don’t have kids to talk about 😉 ) I said great and smiled and talked about how much I just love marriage and adore Brent and blah blah blah and she goes, Marriage is hard isn’t it? I kind of looked at her and was like, “Well yea, it is…” and she continued, When you’re so used to looking out for yourself, and then you’ve got another person to work with, it just shows how selfish you are. I thought about what she was saying, and immediately my thoughts jumped to the evening before, when we were laying in bed, all settled in and the little dresser fan was perfectly positioned toward my face- Brent goes “Can you turn the fan towards me a little?” I, of course, responded in model wife fashion.

 “I don’t wanna turn the fan towards you, I’m hot. And I definitely don’t want to get out of bed to do it when you have two legs and can do it yourself.”

Contradictory to my words, I then slouched out of bed and made the 1/2 step journey to reach the fan (I really didn’t even need to get out of bed to do this difficult task), moved the fan an inch to the right, AND survived in the process. Pretty good right?

If it wasn’t obvious to you before this story, I am guessing it is very obvious now that I

a) am a drama queen

and

b) could win an award for my selfless attitude as a wife, and just a human being in general.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

But seriously- Selflessness is an area I find myself really struggling in when it comes to my relationships, and it is totally amplified in my marriage. It is easy to put your best face on for lots of people, but when it comes to your full-time roommate it gets a tad bit tedious.

“You need to ration those fresh strawberries to last our whole week of groceries.” (but I can eat them all if I’m hungry enough)

“UM, did you just drink the last of the filtered water? That was mine.” (as if we are experiencing a major drought here in downtown Lancaster.)

“That is not the movie had in mind…” (but I literally said in my vows we wouldn’t always watch chick-flicks)

or my current fav:

“Why don’t you wash your own baseball pants?”

(I made this comment right before a church softball game when Brent realized he had to wear dirty pants. We got there and I literally hear someone go, oh wow-that guy has already slid and they’re only warming up. he’s pretty intense.)

Nope, he just has a wife who didn’t wash his pants.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As you can see, I have identified my “area with room to grow” for the week, or maybe for life. Marriage is fun and beautiful and I love it, but I’m also really bad at being a selfless person. By nature I care a lot about me, but my heart is to care for others, and totally to care for my husband. It takes a very conscious decision on my part to say yes I will go get you a glass of water or, yes I will make mashed potatoes which I don’t like or, fine I will watch that movie with fast cars and lots of explosions.

But I chose Brent on August 18, 2013, and when I gave him my heart on that day I promised to give him my heart again and again. To choose him over and over- I verbally stated I would make steak when I wanted vegetables, that I would watch action when I wanted comedy. I promised, and as my vows are being put to the test each day, I am realizing the conscious decision it takes love, to forgive, to choose selflessness.

Again, and again, and again.

{forever}

13_Katie&Brent_0400

ddf1811a53af859b0c4ea4d2cd2bcec6

Happy 9 Months of Memories

This weekend has been all about love. Brent and I kicked off the wedding season by witnessing our beautiful friends Travis & Kristin say i do on a perfect Saturday evening. All I kept saying was, love this, love this, I love this. On the way home I asked Brent what his favorite part of the wedding was, and follwed with, “Did you know I just love weddings?” I was met with, “Well if I didn’t know before tonight, I definitely do now.”

photo 2

 

photo 1

Today I celebrated the marriage of our sweet friends, Chad & Kate, through their perfect bridal shower at Commonwealth on Queen. Just more opportunity for me to gush over details and talk about Kitchen Aids and bridal bouquets (two topics that I enjoy a little too much). You can only imagine how close my head will be to exploding when my own sisters start getting engaged.

photo 3

Today also marks exactly nine months since Brent & I said we do and chose each other forever. I realized, as I listened to the words shared at last nights wedding, how much that committment meant. As I listened to the promises made, and thought back to our own vows and promises, the reality hit me- marriage is no picnic, those promises are no small feat to accomplish. At the same time, I have adored this almost year of marriage, and am humbled to be Brent’s wife, to love him, and to keep my promises to the best of my ability.

At 5 months Brent & I blogged the things we’d learned so far. Tonight I want to share some of the things I love most about my husband. In honor of 9 months, and remembering how lucky I am.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

-I cherish our evenings, whether watching a favorite “together show” (currently 24) or reading seperately but still together. I love the moments as we’re falling asleep, me talking and talking and talking and talking… unaware that he has been sleeping for an hour.

-I love when I’m crying, sometimes with purpose, sometimes for no reason at all, and Brent fakes a sad face and starts “crying” with me. And then I start to laugh. (or dramatically sigh and pout, which only makes him laugh harder).

-I will admit to the fact that half the times we run together I get mad because he is pushing me to run faster (which is really what I’m begging for) so I try to run ahead- only to result in a sprinting match.

-One of the things I appreciate most about Brent is his humor. He is weird. And I laugh at him all the time. When he’s imitating me he gives me these weird voices that only he can do, when he’s in a super good mood he sings so loud the neighbors hear him, and when he’s working out he likes techno music. He laughs at my (often pathetic) jokes, and takes me very “seriously” at times when I’m being dramatic, only to be followed by a dry comment that brings me back to reality.

-I married a super talented chef, not even kidding. His love Food Network and fresh, quality ingredients makes for fun weekends and delicious meals. He is also oddly talented at cutting fruit (I have his mama to thank for that). I promise, his fruit salads do not disappoint.

-Brent has diligently, throughout our marriage so far, agreed not to encroach on my spaces. By this I mean, he does not open the door to my closet and openly judge me for the disorganized mess he sees. He is super organized. I on the other hand, the primary driver of our car and caretaker of our home, am only organized in places people can see. Do not open drawers, do not look under the bed, do not ask me for a ride, and stay away from my closet.

-Brent loves me well. He is a romantic, and he takes note of what I enjoy. He writes me letters, shares my passion for good food, knows my obsession with fresh flowers, and appreciates (when in the mood) my love for shopping, big cities, new people and frozen yogurt.

-Brent’s got style. He puts up with my clothing drama in part cause he gets it, but also cause he’s just really nice like that. I love his fashion sense, and he has picked some of the cutest stuff I have, for real.

-I love that Brent talks things through. I realize more and more that he isn’t naturally a verbal processer, but when it comes to me needing advice, needing to work something out, or us disagreeing he has grown so much in that. As evidenced by my many tales of drama and imperfection, we have our share of disagreements. I feel blessed with a husband who leads me in working through them, and getting to the root of the issue (as opposed to my potential for emotional blow-ups). Brent is steady, and I love him for it.

-No one knows me like my husband. Not only did we go through some of the worst times in my life together, graduate high school together, and date on numerous occasions in the past five years, he makes an effort to know me. He invests in me, in what I love, he affirms me, he cherishes me.

He challenges me to be myself.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Nine months seems short and long all at once. Nine months flew, and I have already met challenges I’ve never faced, and felt parts of this journey I never imagined. I guess you could say that this love and wedding centered weekend made me reminiscent.

It made me realize not only how much I love love, but how loved I am.

photo 1

let me take a selfie.”

photo 2

Told you Brent’s got style.

photo 4

Most handsome date I ever had ❤

photo 5

No fruit salads today, but he did create this. #YUM

aad7e20a96ae067e7b89e20a0d248d13

On Sunshine, Springtime & Learning to Dance in the Rain

Tonight we took a walk. In our house, a walk is not a walk unless it leads to a snack. Brent introduced this concept, when he turns left out of the drive I know we’re headed downtown, therefore we will inevitably stop somewhere and get a little something. So here I sit, eating my sunshine cookie from Cafe18 (the only way to eat cookies guilt free is when the ingredient list includes flax) and thinking how thankful I am for our walks.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’ve decided that springtime in our little city is super cute. Our neighbors have this tree that flounces out over the cars in our lot, budding beautiful white blooms, and then fluttering them down onto my front window (although they look a little too much like snow this late in the game.) The sunshine streams into our kitchen at 6 AM, making it 10x easier to get up, work out and go places (or at least, you would think). FLOWERS, fresh FLOWERS blooming all over the place and making my home feel that much homey-er. (Oh and I’m finally keeping some succulents alive!)

photo 1photo 5

photo 4~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There is something about the sunshine that makes me come alive, makes me feel unexplainably happy and ready to face any day. I swear, the day goes from a 0 to a 10 in .2 seconds when there’s sunshine in the forecast (sorry for all the numbers hurting your head in that sentence 🙂 ). If I could have sunshine every day, I’d take it.

Unfortunately if I’m relying on the sun alone then I practically don’t function on those rainy, cloudy days. If I have the perfect atmosphere, the perfect surroundings and experience then I am amazingly, wonderfully bright and cheery. When a cloud slides over that sun, or drop of rain lands on my windshield…it’s all over.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Last week Jeremy Hess Photographers had a team picnic. The weather was beautiful, menu planned, decor collected, pretty much a table set for perfection. I woke up with the thought, am I having high expecations? (a major tendency of mine) and answered myself with, nope, can’t see what could go wrong tonight.

Well first, let me tell you that one girl cannot wrangle 22 helium filled balloons into a Jetta all by herself…or, let me rephrase, one girl shouldn’t have to wrangle all those balloons into a Jetta without some help. Guess what, this girl did. So if you ever search “How Many Blondes Does It Take To Get A Balloon In A Car,” the answer is -one but it takes 15 minutes-, and the videos/photos that anyone witnessing this should have taken of me…those could be totally embarrassing.

Due to all of the balloons attracting to my hair like magnets, I had something similar to a loofah sponge attached to my head by the time I arrived at the studio. And the day progressed from there…

By the time we had arrived at Jeremy’s house, set up the lights, decorated the table, and prepared our food, it was raining…nothing this loofah head couldn’t handle, but definitely raining. Drizzling on and off, our party eventually ended up in a soaking mess of craft paper, tulips and red solo cups. The perfect picture of expectations gone awry.

Parties that end like this could easily end in tears, but I look back at that night in amazement.

It was beautiful, messy, kind of overwhelming, muddy, joy-filled, memories, community, family.

We had fun. It was not perfect, there was no sunshine, but we had fun.

As the night drew to a close, my mascara was dripping, my hair was sopping and I was chilly. However, we still had 22 helium filled balloons to get rid of, and the efforts of Katie that would not be in vain.

I think that maybe the best moment of the party was the end. We grabbed the balloons from the trunk (much more smoothly than any previous transfer of location) and ran out to the front of the house.

There, beneath the twinkle lights, amidst the mess, and after the storm, we released them.

photo 4photo 3

photo 2

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sunshine is fun, and springtime is beautiful. But you know that cliche, “dance in the rain“?

Yea well, I think I’m learning that too.

3ef6f32bc659507eda47b0bbedaa4cca

just be YOU.

I feel like it’s been an eternity since I’ve written anything, (besides bills and sticky notes), yet the past month has truly flown by. Working full time has been a major adjustment, since all of my life I’ve been a full-time student and part-time everything else. While there are so many things I love about my job (the studio, the people, the industry), I’ve struggled to keep up with daily tasks like laundry and cleaning and getting a meal on the table each night. There have definitely been moments where I’ve thrown my hands up and said, in a less than pleasant tone, “WE’RE WALKING DOWNTOWN TO EAT.”

But overall, we’re doing well.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

One thing I’ve noticed in this transition is my lack of creativity, or at least exhibiting it. While the atmosphere I work in is one full of creatives, I haven’t crafted, decorated, written, or even organized my closet (if some would consider color coding a creative outlet) in quite a while. Brent’s been practicallly begging me to do a craft, or write a blog, or something therepeutic for the sake of both our sanitys. As I begin to list the things I haven’t been doing in exchange for a whole lot of new things I have, I realize more than ever the importance of being true to me,

true to yourself.

Image

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When I was six I knew who I was. I liked the color pink, a lot. I refused to wear practically anything but a Minnie Mouse dress with built in shorts. I collected dolphins, stamps and postcards, and I prayed for braces, glasses and a broken leg (so I could wear a hot pink cast of course). If you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I’d say a ballerina…or an actress..or a singer…

When I was 12 I wondered who I was. My body was changing, my friends were changing, and I found my self confidence in choker necklaces and oversized t-shirts. I liked to read and I loved the Colonial Era. I collected American Girl dolls, and was hopelessly homesick on every adventure I went on (Chicago, NYC, Costa Rica).

When I was 16 I hated who I was. I felt awkward in my own skin, compared myself to everyone around me, and spent my Dutch Wonderland pay checks on anything considered “cool.” I woke up two hours early just to perfect my appearance for school, and believed that winning the yearbook’s “Best Dressed” superlative was the best thing that could ever happen to me.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I am 22 and I’m remembering who I am. I believe now, more than ever before, that it is crucial to know and be true to who you are, who you were created to be. If I shut down the part of  me that was made to love life, enjoy beauty, be creative and find joy in each day, then I am putting my head down and saying “I just have to get through another day.

Who really wants to live like that?

More importantly, Who really was created to live like that?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As life evolves there will be seasons: of rest, of craziness, of school and work and marriage and babies and all those beautiful things that may come. Do not lose your identity in any of it. Do not attach yourself to that moment you are in, because the moment may past, and you will be lost.

I am learning that, as much as I am a full-time wife, holding a full-time job, and living out practical responsibilities, the Lord has created me for things that I need to thrive.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I am 22 and I love where I’m at. I am married to my best friend. I love to bake and cook and shop and decorate. I am relatively neat, but behind closed doors (aka. my closet) you will find a disaster. I cry a little too easily at most everything, brush my teeth like 19 times a day, and in a dream world i’d be in bed at 9 every night. Crafts are my favorite, and writing makes me feel alive. I’m a person of atmosphere (for instance I have music going, candles lit, twinkle lights on and a mug of honey laden tea by my side) and I clean when I’m stressed. I am a coffee drink addict, (but I think I just like holding something).

I was created to truly live and to truly love, and I don’t want to lose that.

Image

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So take it from me, a girl who is finding herself overwhelmingly busy and choosing her hardest not to drown in it. It could be so easy to succumb to life’s craziness. But I have been asking the Lord to remind me who I am, to help me carve out time for the things and people I love, and to do my very best to live above the pressures real life just brings.

I want a fresh perspectiveinspirationa nudge in the direction of joy.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

p.s. A little Hostetter update: We not only have not-so-baby-anymore chickens, we’re growing LETTUCE on our concrete slab of a porch! Who says there’s no such thing as urban farming?

ImageImage

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

xoxo LOVE YOU ALL!

Image

perspective.

Some days I feel like my head is in a cloud. Not a pretty, fluffy, dreamy cloud. More like a dark, dense, stormy one.

Some nights I tell my husband, Brent- I wish it was just you & me on this earth becuase everyone else stresses me out. And other nights I think, I wish it was just me on this earth, ’cause even Brent stresses me out.

Some days it feel like I’m fighting just to get ahead, to pass myself and my grouchiness, my negative attitude and my complainy heart. I just want to go to bed and wake up with a clean slate, erase these feelings, this day.

perspective.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

These past few weeks have been some of those weeks You know when you respond to “How are you?” with “Oh you know, it’s been one of those days.” ? Well multiply that day by about 12 and you’ve got me lately. Or at least my perspective on the situation.

When I allow my thoughts to spiral in a path of negativity suddenly life is a mess dotted with a few spots of beauty, rather than beauty dotted with a few spots of mess. I’ve recognized that the most dangerous thing with my thoughts is when I lose sight of reality because I’m so bogged down with details that I think I percieve.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Something I’ve dealt with throughout my life, and now more then ever in my marriage, is perspective.

“Are you sure the teacher was yelling at you, Katie, or was she speaking to the class?”

“Did your sister insult you, or was she just being matter-of-fact?”

“Did I say I hate you? No. I’m simply disappointed.”

and the list goes on…

In my marriage it looks even uglier…something more like…

“I don’t love that color on you.”

He thinks I’m so ugly.

“This isn’t my favorite meal you’ve made.”

He thinks I’m the worst cook that ever walked the earth.

“I wish you would organize your closet.”

He’s wondering what he got himself into, his wife is a messy disaster.

(Ok so, that last one may be true… 🙂 but you get the picture.)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As I’ve grown, learned to know myself and my tendencies better, there has been a consistent pattern to fight against.

warped perspective.

My natural tendency is not to hear what people are saying as it is, but to interpret what I believe they mean. Not to trust that they are being honest, saying it like it is. It is not to see life as a reality, but to worry about everything I’m doing wrong, everything that could happen.

If you can relate, then you know, this can be paralyzing.

But this is no way to live. In fact, this has got to be one of the worst ways to live. Living in assumption of the untrue, allowing days to pass unaware of the depth of beauty to be found.

perspective’s got the best of me

but what if I flipped it?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thank God, perspective is a choice. Just as I allow my mind to fly one direction, I can redirect it to reality, to truth, to blessings and joy and the fullness of life as I live it, not simply as I see it.

1. Be transparent. When you’re living in a big cloud, transparency seems practically opposite your natural tendency, but oh how refreshing it is to share. I experienced this even today, with a much needed phone call from a friend.  Often times a reality check and some encouragement is all I need to let go of stress, anxiety, whatever is weighing me down in the moment. And if you think you’re alone in the journey, you’re wrong. Each of us feels it at some point, whether it’s the struggle for contentment, the fear of people, or the disjointed view of a situation. We all need reality, and journeying together is way more fun then traveling alone.

2. Shut it down. For me, it’s become a conscious decision, sometimes daily, to be positive. To choose joy. To open my day with prayer and allow the Lord in so there’s no room for all the junk I can soak up, even unknowingly. Throughout my day if I’m keeping up communication with Him I feel so much more refreshed then when I stuff my emotions.

3. Readjust your focus. Thankfullness is the best choice you could ever make, I promise! When I start choosing, I find it contagious. Sometimes it means physically listing off the beauty of that day, other times it’s refocusing my thoughts on someone else. Who can I bless today? Who can I help?

I found this verse today and it’s packed full of what I needed to hear, and need to keep hearing.

Let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love.

This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality.

It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it.

For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves. 

1 John 3:18 MSG

4. Treat yourself. As intentional as you are with your thoughts, there is always that moment when you just need a break. Perspective isn’t always warped, sometimes life is just that crazy. Take a break, even if it’s for the tiniest bit. Treat yourself to creamer laden coffee and an episode of something good, or at least sit down for a sec! If you’re like me, when productivity sets in there’s no stopping you, but I’m always amazed at how time multiplies and my image of what’s ahead changes by simply allowing myself to rest.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Blogging is cheap therapy. Writing helps me process, reminds me of what’s true and good, relays my thoughts when I can’t vocalize in any profound sense. This could be one of those moments,

because I’m feeling refreshed…

And thankful? I’m feeling that too.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

sweet moments of time from this week alone.

[thankful]

Image

for this morning’s coffee and a microwave on constant reheat

Image

for the street light that reminds me of summer night moons

Image

for the snow covered park two blocks from home

Image

for dusting off the juicer and drinking my vegetables

Image

for a weekend trip to Philadelphia and my favorite flagship store

Image

for bagels on bagels on bagels [my favorite guilty pleasure]

Image

for folding laundry and friendship combined

photo 1

for the aftermath of yummy food and sweet memories

photo 3

for lavender & honey Yogi tea. experiencing “tension relief” together

photo 2

for the one I am privileged to do life with

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

for these things, I give thanks.

12 Ways to Warm Up to Winter

Since my husband works in construction, snow is probably his greatest enemy. I, on the other hand, am a secret (but not so secret) snow lover. I get so much joy out of days off and roads closed it’s ridiculous, but I think we can all agree this is definitely a long, harsh winter. I feel like it’s around this time of year that things start to go downhill. You hit Valentine’s Day and then suddenly it feels like nothing is worth looking forward to and there’s an awkward pause before spring. Here are some ways that I am choosing/learning to enjoy this winter, and love where I’m at for all it’s worth.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

1. Crisp & Fresh Decor. I have recently become a fresh flower fanatic. I just love having them anywhere in my home, cause they really do brighten a room. Fresh bouquets can be a little pricey during this season, so I’ve turned to greens as my creative outlet. I love to incorporate jars of them wherever I can, mix them with other flowers, or use them to in centerpieces when I’m entertaining. Another perfect solution I’ve recently discovered is Paperwhites. These bulbs are so low maintenance, I mean it’s almost too good to be true for a girl who wasn’t blessed with gardening skills… I picked up a couple at Central Market for $1.50 each, put them in jars, keep up with the water and they simply grow. I love the touch of spring they bring to my home, i’m so impressed they’ve lived this long.

photo 4

2. Find Reasons to Celebrate. I am always up for a holiday, a party, anything that means friends and celebrations. In the winter (and all year round) I thrive off of finding ways to make each day special. Whether it’s celebrating Valentine’s Week rather than day, holding an authentic Irish dinner for St. Patrick’s Day, or dropping little “Have a good day” gifts on people’s doorsteps. When I focus on others I find so much more life than succumbing to the winter blues.

photo 1

3. Enjoy the cozy & comfy. It’s easy for me to pull on some sweats and Brent’s hoodie and go into hibernation mode, but you don’t have to dress down to feel comfy and warm. I feel ten times better when I do something, anything to my hair, put on a little make up and even just wear a pair of jeans.

photo 2

[some of my cold weather faves. waffle sweater//gap. infinity scarf//h&m. lace band leggings// forever 21. cable knit socks// bath & body. embellished fingerless gloves// target.]

4. Get your fill of fresh. I’ve always had a goal to eat my fruits and vegetables each day. In the winter it feels 10x harder. Recently I’ve been pulling out the blender and making smoothies as a yummy way to get these nutrients. Vegetables seem harder for me to eat throughout the day so throwing kale or spinach in with my frozen fruit is the perfect solution. We love the frozen fruit medley at Costco and a huge bag is only $10.

photo 3

5. Workout. I’ve mentioned this before, and as hard as it feels to get up and get going, the best thing I can do to kick that blah feeling is move. If it’s too snowy to make it to the gym I do a combination of great workouts I’ve found online. Cassey is slightly ridiculous sometimes but she keeps me occupied and is great for strength training. Fitness Blender is another great one I’ve recently discovered, and use to get my cardio in.

Screen shot 2014-02-13 at 1.44.29 PM

6. Winter is the perfect time for easy cooking. I always think of winter as the more complex of the seasons as far as meals go. That was before I discovered a Pinterest, a million delicious soup recipes, and came to the realization that soup is easy. When I have broth for a base, some kind of grain (rice, potatoes, pasta), a variety of vegetables and a source of protein I can usually come up with some savory soup. Another thing I love to make on cold and snowy days is quiche. Again, staples you have in your fridge, a way to use up lots of leftover ingredients, and easy!

Here is a delicious recipe for Bok Choy Chicken soup. It’s light and healthy but feels like warm comfort food on a snowy day.

photo 2

7. Love those hot drinks. I don’t think i’ve ever enjoyed a mug of something hot more than I have this winter. During the day I love a cup of hot tea, when a friend comes to chat I pull out the french press and some new creamers, and when we have a snow day or company coming I get creative. Snow days typically mean homemade hot cocoa (2 cups sugar to 1 cup cocoa powder). SO easy and SO irresistable. One evening we had friends over and tried making our own egg nog. Another super delicious and simple recipe that I’ve used multiple times since. 

photo 1

8. Cleanse your closet. What better way to spend a day stuck at home than going through all those clothes you never wear. I almost always find something that I forgot existed (so it’s practically like shopping all over again) and a million things I know I’ll never wear. I try and keep in mind the last time I wore an item, envision myself actually wearing it out and if I’m really struggling I’ll text my sisters for a second opinion. My current closet is a little too small for my clothes, so until we have a house where my clothes get their own room (one of my secret dreams :), ) I am cleaning like every month just to organize! My most recent cleanse led to color coordination, which has made picking outfits way more fun.

photo 3

9. Tackle a project. If you have a husband he might hate me for this, but I’m always up for a new project. I can’t wait for a bigger house with more rooms to re-do, but in the meantime I’ve found my fair share. The most recent was this dream-come-true chalkboard wall which Brent played a huge part in!

photo 3

10. Shop spring. While I’m living winter I’m dreaming of warmer weather, and I believe there’s nothing wrong with shopping for deals to prepare your wardrobe for those sunny days. I am always on the lookout for cute clearance items that I can add to my “spring collection” (A shelf in our bedroom just waiting for me). Even if I find a good deal that I can’t wear now, I try to think “How happy would I be to have this three months from now?” The answer is almost always very happy.

photo 4

[shorts//g.h. bass, $2.99 each. tank top//gap, $2.79. scarf//j. crew, $6.50.]

11. Read [Relax]. I used to love reading, I obviously love writing, but I feel like college kind of (in the kindest sense of the phrase) sucked the life out of it. I always had to read, so when I didn’t have to it was the last thing I wanted. Since graduation I’ve slowly picked up some books and gotten back into it. I feel like now is the time, summer will only get crazier, and as difficult as relaxing can be for me, I know it’s good. YOU deserve it!

photo 4

[currently reading// bread & wine by shauna niequist.]

12. How about a hobby? Hobbies sound kind of ridiculous to me. I imagine my 10 year-old-self with my postcard collection and want to laugh out loud. But this winter a friend taught me to crochet, and I think I’ve gained a whole new perspective on hobbies. I love the fact that I can “be productive” while watching Friday Night Lights or chatting with a friend, and I’m actually making something I would wear or gift… (Don’t call me for lessons though, I’m a terrible teacher. I hear YouTube has good tutorials… 🙂 )

photo 2

So some of you are still not sold on winter, I’m sure of it. But I guarantee you, SPRING IS COMING! And in the meantime, why not enjoy where we’re at?