It’s Hard Work Being Yourself

12:30 AM and I am wide awake. Tapping on my sleeping husband’s arm and whispering, “hey Brent, are you awake?” (I totally knew the answer to that one). “I think I’m overstimulated creatively.”

That woke him.

I was met with a groggy, “you are so weird.” And he was out again.

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For those of you who know me, and therefore don’t believe this story, it is true. On Saturday I slept past 9 AM (which led to a major freak out because I never do that and my Saturday was completely wasted) and then I stayed up till 1. Another uncharacteristic move on my part. I spent my day loving the weather, sipping on the yummiest coconut breeze iced latte from cute little Corner Coffee Shop, strolling the grassy aisles of an inspirational craft show and planting flowers in my city garden. On top of that, I started reading an amazing book that encompassed, beauty, home decor, and all things I love.

Who needs caffeine when you’re hyped up on inspiration?

This is no exaggeration- once I finally did close my eyes that Saturday night, I was abruptly disrupted by my own dreams of rearranging the living room furniture, and could hardly stay in bed at 3 AM. Four hours of sleep later, we were up and I was jabbering about all the things I wanted to do. We took every picture off the wall and “re-did” our apartment, and it goes without saying that I totally crashed Sunday night.

I truly was overstimulated creatively.

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I am a creative person, and once my mind gets racing I just can’t stop. I breathe beauty, love life and want to hug everything for joy.

My creativity can make me feel alive and ridiculous all at the same time. While I can be creative, I can also get caught up in the details of things and fall into the trap of perfection. I can become almost paralyzed when I consider what others might think of what I create, write, decorate, wear, anything that speaks to my “style.” Being vulnerable and putting myself out there can be scary. I can feel silly- Like I choose to do things that have no meaning, or waste time with the menial. I can become insecure, that my brain doesn’t work as logically as some, or that I’m just coming across as over the top and ridiculous.

It is hard work being yourself. Especially when you care what others think.

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Just today I was thinking about all this- about life, our weekend, what was on my heart, blogging. I was feeling insecure, lost in the busyness of where we’re at right now and feeling like I have nothing to give or to say. The more I think, the more I spiral, and the more I spiral the worse my thought process gets. But I feel like that is exactly where the devil wants me.

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Do you ever feel like you use your gifts, be who you are, enjoy life (even if it seems “menial” or “silly”) and then have the worst day ever 12 hours later? Or you feel like you’re getting ahead only to fall back into whatever your “blah”-ness is all over again.

I have discovered, more and more, that the Lord totally wants us to

a. be who we are

b. have FUN!

Enjoy life! Creativity isn’t silly, beauty isn’t ridiculous, it is totally a gift. Being excited about life is ok, and not just ok, it is good for you. I just REALLY felt like I needed to write this to encourage whoever you are to BE who you are. It is so easy to fall into the fake-ness and false-self stuff, but nobody really believes or likes that side of you.

Don’t lose yourself to the pressures you feel or perceive.

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Some of the photographers at the studio where I work attended a workshop recently and came back with this quote. I feel like it pretty much sums up my heart in this perfectly-

If you have been afraid that your love of beautiful flowers and the flickering flame of the candle is somehow less spiritual than living in starkness and ugliness, remember that He who created you to be creative gave you the things with which to make beauty and gave you the sensitivity to appreciate and respond to His creation. Creativity is His gift to you and the ‘raw materials’ to be put together in various ways are His gift to you as well.”

The Hidden Art of Homemaking: Creative Ideas for Enriching Everyday Life, Edith Schaeffer

❤ Katie

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things [recently]

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{watermelon, feta, & mint. sounds so strange, but seriously the best combo.

oh and Rice & Noodle’s macaroons.. YUM.}

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{this little antique peach pitcher I found at the craft show last Saturday. perfect for planting a succulent…but what isn’t perfect for a succulent?}

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{this watercolor print created by my friend Abbey of In Colour. I love to look at it hanging by my desk.}

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{the adorable craft show I went to last weekend, called The Cottonwood House.}

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{peonies, my recent flower of choice. and the dinner party I got to throw for my dear friend Court (soon-to-be MRS) and fellow dinner club members!}

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{the book I’m reading- which inspired me to take all the decor off my walls and rework my home. and the author’s blogamazing.}

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 {my workspace. I figure since I spend most of my days there it needs to look ‘me-ish’- and let’s not forget my recent favorite iced drink, introduced to me by my sweet friend Brittne. Prince Street coffee with a little chai! }

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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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?

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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.

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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.

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sweet moments of time from this week alone.

[thankful]

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

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for the street light that reminds me of summer night moons

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for the snow covered park two blocks from home

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for dusting off the juicer and drinking my vegetables

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for a weekend trip to Philadelphia and my favorite flagship store

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

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for folding laundry and friendship combined

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for the aftermath of yummy food and sweet memories

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

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for the one I am privileged to do life with

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for these things, I give thanks.

let’s be real here. {a tribute to 2013}

 2013.

My Year in Review.

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The Big Move

With January came a whirlwind of change. In other words, I dived right into this whole new year. The first week of 2013 I moved from my parents’ home in Ronks to my little city apartment. The move was seven miles. That’s it. So you’re probably wondering, “why oh why did Katie spend night after night mourning the loss of her family and home when she could’ve literally run home?”  And it’s true. You have a very valid point.

This move was major for me, and I did cry. I actually would say I hyperventilated loudly. This move was neither the prettiest or the most graceful moment in my life. Other than our family migrating up from Baltimore, Maryland, (me at nine years old reacting the same way I did at the ripe old age of 21), I have never moved. I’m the girl who attaches herself to everything and the kitchen sink. At 10 years old my Dad too Carolyn and I to Chicago for a few days. Tea at the American Girl Doll Place, shopping, downtown Christmas decor and a fancy hotel. While my sister, (six at the time), waved goodbye to  Mom and walked out the door, I sobbed and stared backwards out the car windows the whole way to the airport (or at least until I became carsick), all while expressing my concerns about terrorists and airplanes. Family vacations (yes family meaning, with my family) still offered up homesick pangs over things such as my bathroom or my bed.

You get it. Moving out was a big deal. And it’s not even like I assumed I’d live with my parents ’till I was old and gray. I just didn’t picture it happening so fast. See, when Brent and I began to discuss possibilities of marriage I knew I had to start the separation process to spare him a sobbing wife to soothe him to sleep each night. As I approach one year of living on my own, I realize moving into Lancaster was the best possible thing I could’ve chose at that time. I grew in housekeeping, money managing, cooking, and of course, independence. While it was by no means easy, it was well worth it.

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Mrs.

When I was a little girl I dreamed of marriage, I carried my doll-babies in a make-believe Ergo before I knew such things existed. I fed my daddy so many plastic hot dog and pancake sandwiches it probably made him sick. I passionately clung to a mini crush on the boy next door (who was ten years my senior), and I stated, time after time, “when I grow up, I want to be a MOMMY.” While this last statment has not come to fruition, yet, (And i’m ok with that right now), 2013 was the year that delivered me into this forever dream of mine.

Marrying my high school love was perfect. I gained a soul tie that can never be broken, and I can continue clinging to the dream of my youth, because I’m living it! But this dream is not all peaches and rose petals like my mini-mind envisioned. We fight, we snuggle, I cry, we make-up. Whoever coined the term “roller coaster ride” as it pertains to relationships was spot on. I mean seriously, doing life with another person is no simple task.

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{Photos by Amber Martin, Jeremy Hess Photographers}

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I’m an MU GRAD

Holy what the world. No words describe the feeling I get when I realize the fact that, come spring semester at Millersville University, Katie (Sigman) Hostetter will NOT be attending. As i’ve mentioned at numereous points in time, the beginning of my college years was rough to say the least. The past 3.5 years have taught me a thing or two, about myself, about others, and potentially about academic stuff. I learned that parking at Millersville is just as bad as the rumor mill says, that learning MLA format in high school was useless, because not one college professor cares ( AP ALL THE WAY), and that even just holding a cup of coffee in your hands really does make you feel more alert, and altogether more college-y.

As I raced around Millersville’s campus for the last time, trying to correct my minor forgetting-to-sign-up-for-graduation mistake, I realized something. I’m gonna miss that place, I’m going to miss the beautiful pond and the swans [ which I never saw but always seemed to magically appear on brochures and tour days]. I’m going to miss thw simple joy of finding parking in a central location on a rainy day. And I actually, believe it or not, am really going to miss the hours of paper writing punctuated by bathroom and snack breaks. I like writing papers. It’s weird.

All that to say, treasure life’s season. In the moment they may seem rough, at best, but they truly do only come once.

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So here’s to 2013. A year of change upon change, of tears and of laughter, most importantly, of growth. It really is insane how looking back over one whole year so much has evolved. I’m still Kate Elisabeth yet I’m so different. I mean, even my last name has changed! My favorite thing in all of this is that, no matter what, through every season, the Lord has proven faithful to me.

My prayer is that, as I {as WE} enter 2014, we will continue to commit my ways to Him. Life is so messy, and at times nothing seems to be the way we envisioned. It’s crazy to look back and realize so much more than what we feel in the moments.

So a Happy New Year to YOU. A year full of following the Lord’s leading, of stepping out in things yet unseen, of trusting that, upon looking back, you will trace His faithfullness in all things!

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“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1

[NKJ]

be still my BURSTING heart.

I am full.

full of joy.

full of anticipation.

full of thankfullness.

full of coffee (therefore making me rather jittery/energetic for 10:30 PM)

full just thinking about a certain turkey dinner coming soon…

full to the brim, to my fullest prior-to-bursting potential.

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As many of you may have witnessed from my previous post, I did the deed…

I decorated for a certain holiday before another certain holiday.

Some may take offense to this, and rightly so. The Christmas hype gives way to a slippery slope of forgetfullness about thankfullness.  Gone are the days of cornucopias and pilgrim figurines. Forget orange and brown, give me evergreens and red nosed reindeers. My husband, while powerless to my decorating powers (he would hate to admit it, but I’m honest), noticed a certain tendency about me. When September hits, I am so in love with pumpkins that I practically want to marry them (hello middle school catch phrase. bet you haven’t heard that one in a while). But come end-of-November-snow-flurrying days and I practically loathe those who would even show a jack-o-lantern’s face in their window. Brent does this imitation of me like I’m a total crazy person, “GET THAT PUMPKIN OFF YOUR PORCH. I’M OFFENDED THAT YOU DON’T HAVE YOUR FROSTY THE SNOWMAN INFLATABLE OUT THERE YET,” in a cranky cat lady voice (but no worries, I don’t believe in Frosty the Snowman inflatables by any means. Only The Grinch Who Stole Christmas). While he is totally kidding, (at least I don’t THINK I sound like that), he shows me something about myself…and I hate when that happens.

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I am what I would call a holiday oriented person. Give me a chance to party and I will party. Give me a chance to rearrange all the furniture and anything that qualifies as a decoration, and I will do it. Don’t give me a chance, and I will still do it.

Christmas is my FAVORITE holiday. It is also two weeks after my birthday, making it located in my FAVORITE month. I love the holiday cheer, the holiday colors, the sweet little twinkle lights, the hustle and bustle of every store imaginable (including those in the deadly mall…and you know that’s serious business, cause I hate the mall). I feel so much satisfaction walking down the garland lined city streets, soaking in the window decor, and when my neighbors put up their Christmas decorations I feel a sense of pride for my street. Is this obsession? I prefer to think not…but who really knows?

All this rambling is not my point.

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Yes, I put my Christmas decorations up one week before the “acceptable” time. Yes, you might as well string me out on a row of Christmas lights and call me one of them. But before you write me off, I have a suggestion.

I believe that, in essence, Thanksgiving & Christmas can stand for one in the same.

joy

peace

grace

thankfullness

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Tomorrow we will give thanks. We will feel full, and hopefully in more ways than one. We will reminisce over years of life’s beauty, and anticipate more to come. I don’t want to miss out on this, and although my home is red and green, I don’t believe I will.

Tomorrow we will give thanks

and then…

the miracle.

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I promise you that, although I am proud of my shimmery antler candleabra (if you are wondering why I am discussing candleabras and cornucopias…I guess I just felt creative tonight. either that or I’m an old soul). Anyway, although I love to decorate and feel happy off all this Christmas hype, I don’t ever want to forget truth. I don’t ever want to write off the miracle, the Child, the reason.

Thanksgiving precedes the miracle.

Why can’t we celebrate both?

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#JOY

real life | sweet fairytales | joy.

“maybe the good life isn’t a fairytale…”

-some random radio station

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That’s ridiculous, I thought, as I’m driving along at a painfully slow speed on Lititz Pike. (For those of you who ever
try to enter Lancaster City from this route, you understand me. It is however a great deterrent from frozen yogurt and craft stores.)

So i’m thinking, that quote is absurd, life is beautiful, life is a fairy tale, that is the good life.

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I am a girl who loves beauty, I love beautiful clothes, keeping a beautiful home, aiming to look beautiful.

I am a girl who loves perfection, I love perfect weather, perfect days, perfect meals in a perfectly clean kitchen.

sounds magical, right?

I am a girl who cries, I cry when I burn bread, I cry when I shrink a shirt, I cry when my face breaks out ( I am being very candid here.)

I am a girl who fears, I fear a messy home, I fear a failed dinner, I fear a fight or a bad day.

and just like that, the magic is gone.

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I am learning, slowly learning, that I can’t rely on a fairy tale life to bring me joy. I can’t avoid fights with my husband to keep us “happy,” I can’t always coordinate our outfits in public (and it’s not the end of the world if I don’t), and I can’t make perfect dinners from now until I die.

Where are my margins? Where is my room for mistakes?

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My mind…that quote…passing from immediate judgment and scorn to a breath, a thought, I wonder…

What if I changed my perspective of “the good life,” what if I redefined “fairytale?”

fair-y tale, noun ; a story about magical and imaginary beings and lands,

~

fair-y tale, noun ; a beautiful illusion, something that comes of dreaming, but nothing of substance. For true life, true magical living comes moment by moment- it is not an overarching image of perfection, it is living life with the ones you love…gracing yourself with room for imperfection…openness and honesty…experiencing the reality of life with a new frame of mind.

The good life is NOT fairytales.

The good life is raw, open, honest | joy.

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***for those of you curious about my scorned tone at points,

(specifically the mention of culinary disasters),

to you I say one thing-

never try bread in a crock pot. the crock pot is good, not that good.

“To live, is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all” -Oscar Wilde

Life can be a ridiculous thing, MY life at least, can feel crazy, at times- insurmountably insane. Why then, do I continue on, doing each day, but not only doing, embracing each day. I couldn’t tell you when it clicked for me, because I’m not exactly sure, but I do know that at some point I realized that I am blessed. SO blessed that it could bring me to tears if I thought to hard about it, and as easy as it is for me to dwell on the “impossible,” the “crazy” or the “stressed out,” if I can muster up the strengh to choose joy, it makes a world of difference (and a difference in the world, how’s that for punny?)

So here’s to living- I am so excited to adventure together (or at least invite you to follow my adventures) in living a life full to overflowing.