a year of fresh hope

As I enter this year there is an overwhelming sense of fresh and new that fills me. It’s an anticipation that, while some years ask questions, others give answers- and that maybe this year will answer.

On December 31 I took time to sit, with my journal, by myself, and think. This is something I hadn’t done since probably before Thanksgiving, and something I quickly realized I’d been lacking. Sometimes the only way that I can fully process what is going on inside my head is when I get it out on paper. I’ve found that I’m pretty good with shallow verbal communication, but when it’s getting to the depths of my heart, my journal and this blog have aided me greatly.

Sometimes I think it’s not the writing that’s the point, but the creating of space.

As I wrote I realized that I have allowed my heart to become jaded. I know in my head that greater things are yet to come, and my head knowledge tells me that the Lord has provided in the past and will provide in the future. But my heart doesn’t believe it, my heart doesn’t trust it.

I have been allowing my heart to lose hope, and feeding the fears of my mind.

hope deferred makes the heart sick

there has to be trust. trust is what feeds the hope.. and when hope is present there is more.

hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when desire comes it is a tree of life.

and desire will come. it always comes.

it has come in the form of physical healing. it has come as my husband. it is coming in my home.

it will come. it always does.

Because God is. And he always comes through.

View More: http://jeremyhess.pass.us/bkchristmas2014

panera.

A couple Sundays ago Brent and I decided to go to Panera. I realized when we got there that I actually don’t love Panera. especially when I discovered that you can only log into wifi for 30 minute increments every two hours. But there’s something about that little “cafe” that floods me with memories.

I am a sentimental, nostalgic person. I love the way certain places, people, scents and sights resonate with me and evoke emotion. Panera evokes feelings similar to that of riding the craziest roller coaster you can imagine 27 times in a row backwards.

Let me take you for a little ride.

August 2008- Two good friends meet for dinner at Panera, followed by a trip to the park where they sit on a bench and discuss thier “significant others” all evening. One of the friends was wearing a tanktop embellished with Hollister seagulls, and oddly large (for a not-so-ghetto girl) hoop earrings. I forget what the other friend was wearing. Probably a polo.

December 2008- Katie sneaks away from her little sister’s birthday dinner (sorry Carolyn) to meet her “friend” Brent at the local Panera. They sit in a booth near the back and confess their undying love for each other. Well, not really…but I do remember saying something like “I don’t think this will end,” in reference to our relationship. Apparently I was feeling rather bold that night, in my frizzy french braid and American Eagle sweatshirt.

October 2009- Following a class missions trip to Latvia, the two friends-then lovers-then friends decide to become lovers again. At Panera. My memory fails me as to what my outfit may have been.

We interrupt this story to bring you a very long pause. 2.5 year to be exact, when Panera was still in existence but this relationship was not.

September 2012- Following a rather bold move on Brents part, our relationship was yet again rekindled with a date to Panera, followed by the park. I painstakingly chose a very plain very blue shirt that has since been given to a sister, or to Goodwill, or sold at a closet sale. One of those.

As I sat at a booth with my husband last Sunday, sipping on my cafe latte, I found my heart engaging in our story all over again. It has spanned over so many different seasons that I don’t always remember all the details that played into where we’re at today.

But when I go to Panera, it’s hard to forget.

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PS I LOVE YOU BRENT.

the monthly heart purge.

today was one of those days that makes you feel good, simply because you were semi-productive.

I have been doing what I like to call the “half-pack” for about a month now. If you are moving in the near future then let me tell you, it’s a great excuse to give your husband when you don’t feel like cleaning, organizing, or being neat at all. When I was in middle school to early high school my bedroom was a disaster area. When I hit 11th grade and started grasping at control over everything in my life my room suddenly became tidy to a fault. This continued throughout college and my early marriage (since it has only been one year this refers to the first half). The combination of life getting busier, and me relaxing into who I really am has produced a shocking discovery- I like to appear neat, but in actuality, I am not. If my home looks organized and is clean, I am perfectly happy. This, however, does not apply to my closets- which results in what Brent has so fondly titled, “the monthly closet purge.” Today was the big day, I emptied out piles of stuff, discovered clothing I forgot I had, packed a box full of things I don’t wear (closet sale coming soon?) and began to organize in preparation for the real packing to begin.

Ironically this discovery about the way I keep a home reflects perfectly on my personality. I do not have life all together, not one little bit. But I have always loved to appear as if my life is picture perfect, only allowing glimpses that are beautifully packaged to show. As long as it looks good on the outside, who cares what is hiding in the closets of my heart. It is something I’ve become more and more aware of, especially in trying to keep up honest communication in my marriage. More often then I would like Brent and I are happy for weeks at a time, and then “the monthly heart purge” has to happen because I wasn’t fully communicating for fear of rocking the boat or creating conflict.

So here is a glimpse at my very messy bedroom, as a gesture of sharing my imperfect life. I am continuing to press forward in sharing my true heart, not just what I want people to realize of me!
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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}

photo-8{sunrise in lancaster}

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

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 

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!

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{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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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xoxo Katie

Monday Inspiration

 

 

 What’s on my mind this beautiful day…

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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-

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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.

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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.

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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}

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