Thursday, June 14, 2018

Mary’s Motherhood



My life is currently one gigantic ball of stress. 
(Not that I’m being dramatic or anything.)

There are plates I am spinning that I didn’t even know existed. I’m sleeping less and less because I’m making mental To Do lists at 3:46am every morning and I’m drinking more coffee than I ever have. I’m breaking down and eating my feelings about once every fourteen days and last night they tasted like a buttery grilled cheese sandwich on sprouted bread at the kitchen table with Matt at 9pm after we got in from church and got the kids to bed. BLESS IT. 

It won’t be like this forever, but for this super crazy season, I feel like I’m struggling to keep one nostril above water some days. My biggest solace, my hugest sense of security and calm and assurance and encouragement is coming from my morning study and prayer time. I AM HERE TO MOST ASSUREDLY TELL YOU- there’s no way I could ever survive this stressful summer without having my coffee with Him every morning.  

I’m beginning the book of Luke, and I so much love the way he wrote his book. Consecutive order FOR THE WIN. Big shout out to Theophilus for being the initial recipient of this letter because I AM SO GLAD LUKE WROTE IT TO YOU. (So I could read it one day, too. ::wink::) 


“And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His Mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed- and a sword will pierce even your own soul- to the end that the thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” -Simeon to Mary when she and Joseph brought baby Jesus to the temple to be presented to the Lord. Luke 2:34-35


Ok, so here’s the deal: I always think of Mary as completing her ‘job requirement’ at the Jesus’ birth. She has the baby and then it’s like mentally BOOM! Jesus is 30 and beginning his ministry. BUT IT WAS SO NOT THAT WAY. 

Mary’s job was only beginning when she laid Him in that manger. She walked the entire road of motherhood with Jesus. Crawling, walking, spoon feeding, potty training, splinters from Joseph’s workshop. Sharing, bedtimes, breakfasts, games and jokes and favorite meals. Songs and holidays with relatives. Chores. Grocery shopping. Outgrowing clothes at break neck speed. New sandals. Skinned knees. Sunburns. Mary was there, SHE WAS HIS MOTHER, through it all. Just like me. 

Whoa. She washed never ending dishes, too. 

I’m raising my kids to learn and grow and love Christ as they develop personal relationships with Him. I’m training disciples. She was raising a sacrifice. My goal is to point my kids to Heaven. She was watching Him walk the road to the cross. Unreal. I can’t even imagine raising my baby while knowing what she knew. 

Simeon’s charge to her really hit me hard this morning. So whatever plates I’m going to try to keep spinning today, my job as a mother is what’s most important. And Mary showed me that. And for whatever reason, maybe it’s the stress- I found so much comfort there. 

Thanks for stopping by! ~ Katie. 

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And I'd still love to hear from you! I won't be able to meet you on social media, but if you leave a comment below here on the blog, I'd love to be able to chat and catch up!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Facebook WASN'T The Problem...


I haven't blogged in six or seven weeks. 
::gasp:: 

I broke up with Facebook and then inadvertently broke up with writing for a while. But in my defense, we have been busy. We've finished our school year. We've traveled. We've celebrated birthdays and graduations and anniversaries (13 years yesterday!) and wedding showers and eaten crawfish and avocado bruschetta and sushi and snowballs and about 55 gallons of coffee. I need a whole body cleanse because my skinny jeans currently make me feel like a busted can of biscuits. Bless. #worthit

"How is life sans social media, Katie? Are you churning butter while you recite poetry to the kids as they sit huddled by your feet and bask in your serene gaze? Are you centered and focused and relaxed?" 

Umm... No.
 I mean, Yes! 
But not quite.
 But things ARE different. 
And better in loads of ways. 
And it's been surprising, too. 

We traveled fairly soon after I'd deleted my Facebook/social media accounts. I can remember telling my friend Sara that it was bizarre to be in the car for a 4 hour drive while the kids splurged on a DVD in the back and my husband Matt listened to a podcast and I just....sat there. Like a pioneer woman in her bonnet on the front seat of the wagon. 

"This is so insane." I texted her. "I would normally be scrolling through my News Feed and now I've got nothing to do." Facebook had become such an ingrained habit of mine, I forgot how to "do" life without it. "You can just sit, Katie. Look out your window. THINK WITHOUT DISTRACTIONS for twenty minutes. Enjoy the peace." she replied. 

WHAT A NOVEL CONCEPT to just...be. 

In the car. With my brain, a notebook, a pen and my never ending mental To Do List. So I wrote it down. The things I wanted to accomplish through our last few weeks of school. Summer plans. Dates to remember. Ordering a new filter for our icebox and a lightbulb for the oven. Paperwork that needed to be submitted for our school year. VBS check lists. The car's registration renewal. I wrote all the things because I got to just sit there, in an air conditioned seat with a cup of coffee AND PROCESS LIFE. 

It rocked. 

Now I'm not saying that life has been all sunshine and roses since I gave up social media. It turns out, Facebook was just a SYMPTOM of a problem: my habitual distraction. Social media had trained me to keep my phone in my hand nearly constantly. It trained me to reach for it as soon as I sat in my recliner. Or when I rode in the car. Or when the kids started an episode of Odd Squad. Or when I finally flopped onto the sofa at the end of the day. I had become so well trained that even after eliminating social media from my life, I WAS STILL REACHING FOR MY PHONE. 

However now, with my Digital Distraction options being vastly limited, I found myself spending lots of time tracking our weather and refreshing my email for more coupons to Bed, Bath and Beyond and BOGO sales from Yankee Candle. Bless.

It took time, I'd say a week or two at least, to stop reaching for my phone. Scrolling through that touch screen had become second nature. I went from looking at other people's kids and recipes for triple chocolate cookie dough brownies and live videos of people selling stuff on social media to tracking rain clouds and humidity levels and talking myself out of buying Christmas Cookie candles in May. Turns out Facebook wasn't my problem, I WAS. 

And it's been well over a month now since I've given up social media and now- THINGS REALLY ARE GREAT. I'm still not churning butter or anything, but I'm also not narcissisticly analyzing every picture I see myself in to decide whether or not I'd want to post it online. I'm reading the kids more books. And actually watching more shows with them instead of letting them sit in my lap while I scroll through my phone. I'm not consumed with coming up with things to post about our life- I'm just living it. 

And it turns out- I'm really, really happy with it this way.

Thanks for stopping by, y'all!  ~Katie. 

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And I'd still love to hear from you! I won't be able to meet you on social media, but if you leave a comment below here on the blog, I'd love to be able to chat and catch up! (I need someone to gush over The Greatest Showman with.)

Thursday, April 12, 2018

"Hello" -please be humming Adele right now.


I've been praying and marinating and stress eating for nearly a month while I think about how to talk about this. I'm still not super sure I'll be able to adequately express myself even now, but I believe it's time to tell y'all that I'm breaking up with Facebook. 

It's just too much, y'all. 

Too much self obsession. 
Too much time. 
Too much self loathing. 
Too much distraction. 
Too much analyzing what parts of my day I'll capture to share. 
Too heavy. 
Too posed. 
Too cropped out. 
Too filtered. 

I LOVE MY LIFE!! 
I've got an amazing husband and three fantastic kids and a faith in Jesus Christ which grows and molds and refines me more and more everyday. Seriously- I'm winning at ALL THE THINGS right now. (Well, maybe not at sewing or enjoying cardiovascular exercise; but I'm happy to let those slide, bless it.) 

I've literally been given the Greatest Days Ever and for me, I realized I wasn't capitalizing on their full potential. I'd limited my time on social media drastically in the recent months, and I'd put in some Marriage Preserving stopgaps from the very beginning- but it was invading my headspace more and more AND MORE than I'd realized. 

I was crafting photo captions as I was taking pictures.
 I was writing status updates while I was fixing lunches. 
I would sit down with my husband after the kids were in bed, most nights it would be the first time I'd seen him ALL DAY, and spend 45 minutes scrolling through random strangers opening oysters to make pearl jewelry that I'd never want or buy INSTEAD OF HANGING OUT WITH HIM. (I mean, come on y'all- those 20 year old episodes of Law and Order we have saved on our DVR- that's riveting stuff.::wink::) 

But seriously- I had a moment of self awareness. I realized how much I was allowing my social media feed to affect my heart. How I'd feel when I'd see myself in pictures that were flattering. How I'd feel when I'd see myself in pictures that weren't. How I'd feel when I'd see my friends in pictures that were flattering. How I'd feel when my friends would react (or not! ::gasp::) to things I was posting or sharing. I allowed those emotions to become an undercurrent that propelled me through my day. Good day online? GOOD DAY AT HOME. Gross day online? SO MUCH GROSSNESS IN MY HEAD AND HOUSE. 

And I can't do it anymore. I won't do it anymore. 
So about three weeks ago- I quit. 

I quit checking. 
I quit posting. 
I quit examining every picture I saw of myself to see if my face looked super round that day. 
And y'all- My heart and mind and brain are full of SO MUCH PEACE. 

My biggest dilemma has not been about deactivating my personal account (Which will happen shortly. THEY MAKE IT SO DIFFICULT.) but about how to handle Lather, Rinse and Repeat's page. I'm still processing how to move forward on a few areas, to be honest because the encouragement and community I've found there has been phenomenal. PHENOMENAL, Y'ALL. I've got a friend who will step in and Admin for me so that my current posts will still be shared. There's a comment feature at the end of every post (that I moderate) on the blog's website so I will still be able to talk and laugh and be encouraged by everyone, just on a slightly different platform than through social media feeds. 

This step is still surprising/not surprising me more and more everyday. It feels so good to exhale and enjoy everyday because it's His gift to me, and not my response to a little blue screen. Bless it all.

If you'd like to talk more about my decision or laugh about the fact that I found myself frequently sucked into News Feed video vortexes of people decorating cakes, send me a comment below! Big hugs and big cups of coffee and even bigger prayers~ Katie. 

Monday, March 26, 2018

Fallow Ground.


HALLELUJAH AND AMEN, we've got 8(ish) weeks of school left. I teach through the end of our curriculum and not at the completion of 180 days, so our exact end date it's TBD. BUT STILL- we're on the downhill swing of it and I CAN FEEL IT. 

::jazz hands::

We had Spring Break last week and aside from dusting off the top of my ceiling fan blades (Don't judge me and I won't judge you, m'kay?) and purging two garbage bags of clothes from my closet, I took a day to crank out another month or so of our lesson plans. It's always revealing to take a step back and examine the lay of things, you know?? 

I sat at my dining room table with my coffee and my favorite pens and about 472 of our homeschool books and surveyed where we were. I saw areas we'd already zipped through and places that we were trudging in like mud on our boots. I looked at Phonics and Spelling and multiplication facts. I picked out literature books to read aloud and science experiments we'd like to complete. I SAW IT ALL. 

And then I looked inwardly. Our Ladies Bible Class has been studying Hosea (Side note: If you haven't read it at least thirty times already- GO READ REDEEMING LOVE by Francine Rivers. It'll change your life.) and I've loved it so much more than I'd anticipated because I CAN BE SO MUCH LIKE ISRAEL. 

"Sow with a view to righteousness, reap in accordance with kindness, BREAK UP YOUR FALLOW GROUND, for it is time to seek the Lord until He comes to rain righteousness on you." -Hosea 10:12, emphasis mine. ::wink::

When I stop and take an assessment of my own life, at the areas I'm personally growing through with heaps of fruitful harvests or in the dark, dusty corners growing weeds and habits and weaknesses that haven't been tended to ages- it can be painful to see. I SAW IT ALL. 

I saw my strong daily Bible study and prayer habits. I saw my reformed entertainment choices. My new exercise regimen. My freshly organized closet and dustless fan blades. But there was more: I saw my distracted parenting. Too much Netflix. My short temper and impatience. Perfectionism. My desire to eat 14 pieces of sprouted sourdough slathered in butter with 37 Lily's chocolate bars while I'm hiding in my laundry room. The housework I have slacked off on and the mountain of laundry that needs to be ironed. 

Sweet merciful heavens- I've got some work to do. 

And that's what I love about this verse. It reminds me that even though I've got plenty of fallow ground, IT DOESN'T HAVE TO STAY THAT WAY. If I'm filtering my focus with eternity and sowing my seeds of righteousness throughout our day- I'll have that fallow ground plowed in no time flat. Hallelujah. 

Now if y'all will excuse me, and as much as the kids will complain, we've got some schoolwork to finish. Bless their hearts. 

Thanks for stopping by! ~Katie. 

Monday, March 5, 2018

Motherhood Made Me A Seed.


It's early on a Monday morning. I'm drinking coffee and reading my Bible and preparing to jump into another school week. I'm dragging a little. 

"...unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. She who loves her life loses it; and she who hates her life in this world will keep it to life eternal." -Jesus, John 12:24-25 (pronouns changed) 

I've read this verse 437 times BUT TODAY, IT WAS DIFFERENT. I read it through the window of Motherhood. And the I immediate journaled and pray/cried about it. 

If there is anything in this entire universe that will teach you about self sacrifice- it's Motherhood. 
Priorities? Motherhood. 
Dry shampoo? Motherhood. 
Mind-numbing exhaustion? Motherhood.
Eternity? Motherhood. 

Y'all, I've got to tell you- I have a selfish heart sometimes. I get tired and cranky and moody and hangry and just plain ol' mean. I don't like to be interrupted. I don't always like to be touched or hanged on or hugged. (Ouch. That's harsh. Don't judge.) 

Sometimes I just want to put my earbuds in, turn on The Greatest Showman's soundtrack and clock out for half an hour while I fold a trillion towels and socks and tshirts I know nobody wore but were too lazy to put away so we're just dumped into the dirty clothes hamper. Looooooovely. 

The kids fight and I don't want to break it up. I don't care who took the Nerf gun, I JUST WANT TO FINISH MY COFFEE. Someone tells me a white lie about who ate the last banana and I want to blow it off because I'm busy researching capsule wardrobes on Pinterest. The latest round of Blanket Fort turned into a MMA match and now two of the three kids are crying. I don't want to get involved, I just want to holler at all the little people, send everyone to their beds while I finish the chapter of my book I was too engrossed in to notice when things were getting out of hand. 

But if I don't get involved, if I don't let go of what I want to be doing and take care of what needs to be done instead- what kind of wild oats am I going to have harvest? Because you see that's the thing about Motherhood- the fruit you grow lasts for eternity. 

I'm not a seed, alone and by myself anymore. I've got a garden of souls to tend to. I've got to die to myself and bury my days in caring for them. Raising them. Molding their hearts and pointing their souls towards a reliance and relationship with Him, The Master Gardener. When I cast aside my selfish desires, when I die to the pleasures and distractions of this earthly life and focus on the eternal work that He's given me, He will give me an amazing harvest to glean. 

And I really needed that encouragement today. 

What verses encourage you in your walk? I'd love for you to share them with me! 
And thanks for stopping by~ Katie. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

My Prayer For A New Year.


God, thank You for this bright and cold and clear day. 
You have begun a new year with a crisp, clean slate and it is a treasure. 

I look back at last year's beginning and I see how different our lives are- and I recognize that in 364 short days it will be different yet again. Help me to be better for this year's experiences. 

May the new year find me closer to You, closer to Matt, closer to my family. 
 To be a better wife and friend and follower of You. To be a better teacher for the kids. 

I don't know what plans You have made for us this year- walk us through them. Use whatever waits for us to bring us closer to You. Closer to each other. Don't let it push us apart. Defend us from attacks. 

Bless us with growth and good health and safety. 

Let us become more wise in Your ways and more foolish in the world. 

Help me strengthen myself so I can strengthen my family. Give me Comfort and Security and Confidence from abiding in Your shadow this year. 

Bless my humble efforts with fruit that You will multiply. Hold me close to You.  
In Jesus' name, Amen. 


Saturday, December 16, 2017

Fighting My Inner Scrooge


How are you? 

Has Christmas' approach found you stressed out and frazzled and maybe a teensy bit discouraged? Are you struggling to find joy and peace and the holly jolly, HoHoHo-ness of the season? ASK ME HOW I KNOW. 

Sometimes the end of the year drains me, too. I'm running around trying to find last minute gifts and shipping delays are giving me tension headaches and so help me- IF I FORGET TO MOVE THAT ELF ONE MORE TIME...

It's easy for me to slip into the Spiritual Doldrums when things get overwhelming. I've got an overflowing plate of responsibilities. I wake up with my mind automatically ticking around items on my To Do List. Taking 20 minutes to sit at His feet, to read His Word and to ask Him to order my day feels impossible. 

But I do it anyway. 

I may grumble to myself and rub my burning eyes as I pour my coffee, but as I grab a blanket and a pen and open my Bible- His peace restores me. I read through scripture and it's like a calm settles in my spirit. (I can't say it lasts forever- especially when the kids wake up and find that the elf hasn't moved. Again.) But even for a brief window of my day- things are right. And I can hold onto that as I refresh my email tracking packages or when I'm calculating exactly how many more Math lessons we need to get through before Christmas or when the tears are shed over sharing the last homemade sugar cookie. 

I read Romans 6 this morning. IT WAS THE MOST ENCOURAGING CHAPTER. If you're fighting the urge to dramatically throw your cup of eggnog against the wall in a fit of Seasonal Affective Angst- listen to Paul's words. I'm sure they'll be as uplifting to you as they were to me. 

Merry Christmas, y'all!

And thanks for stopping by~ Katie.