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'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. 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Hymn To A Worthy Woman: Proverbs 31

Last month, I blogged along with y'all as we studied one chapter of Proverbs each day for the month. It was such a good exercise for me to sit down and write each day about what God was using His Word to teach me. 

But there are only 30 days in November. That leaves us one chapter short of finishing Proverbs. Well, that ain't gonna happen. Proverbs 31 is SOLID GOLD so let's do this. 

"Give her the product of her hands, 
And let her works praise her in the gates."
Proverbs 31:31

Ok, so BUT FOR REAL- this last verse of the last chapter of Proverbs both excites and petrifies me because y'all- it is 100% fact. In my life, the things I focus on, the time and effort I put into things, the areas I give highest priority are going to be my fruit bearers. For better or worse, for elation or embarrassment, whatever I have chosen to devote my time and energy and entertainment to- PEOPLE ARE GOING TO SEE IT AND KNOW WHAT IS UP IN MY LIFE. 

If I've let my kids slack off in the Discipline Department, I'm going to have some wild oats to harvest in the grocery store or at church or when I'm trying to stand in line at the post office. Bleurg. My works will be "praising me in the gates" while I shop IN THE MALL, WITH MY KIDS, LESS THAN THREE WEEKS UNTIL CHRISTMAS if I haven't been striving to refine my heart and focus on humility or having more self control. My neck vein will start bulging, I'll get that classic TMJ jaw-clench going and before I know it, I'll have a tension headache and will have unknowingly inhaled an entire Great American Cookie Company shelf in an attempt to self medicate. Not good, bless my heart. 

But on the other hand, if I HAVE been working to point our hearts toward Him- you'll be able to see that, too. You'll see my kids reaching out, talking with some of our elderly church members and bringing them notes and cards they've drawn. You'll watch them play nicely with their friends and siblings while maybe only one tear is shed instead of seventeen. You'll see me roll with the punches when my To Do list is taller than I am and every check out line is stretching to the back of the store. I MAY EVEN HAVE A SMILE ON MY FACE. It will be shocking. 

Our hearts will put out what we put into them. This verse encourages me to fuel it with Him. 

Have a Christ-filled day, y'all! And thanks for stopping by for one last chapter~ Katie. 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

30 Days of Proverbs: November 30th

November 30, 2017
Proverbs 30: The Wonder and Power of God

"Two things I asked of You,
Do not refuse me before I die:
Keep deception and lies far from me,
Give me neither poverty nor riches;
Feed me with the food that is my portion,
That I not be full and deny You and say "Who is the Lord?"
Or that I not be in want and steal, 
And profane the name of my God."
Proverbs 30: 7-9

Go and grab an ink pen or a hi-lighter or one of your kid's broken crayons. Open your Bible- your real life, paper paged Bible and underline these verses. Put a gigantic bubbly circle around them. Star the numbers. Do something to mark their place so that when you open Proverbs 30, these bad boys jump off the page into your brain. 

That's how much I love these words. 

I think comparison and discontent are a few of Satan's favorite tools. They cripple us. They poison our hearts by sewing seeds of bitterness and envy. They keep us from using what we've been given today because we're too focused on what we want to have tomorrow. 

And that's powerful stuff.  

I remember having to check my own attitude a few years ago. A friend of mine was in a different life season than I was because her kids were nearly a dozen years older than mine. I'd call her at 9:07am and her house would be as quiet as a tomb. Mine sounded like feeding time at the zoo. She was able to open her home to friends for coffee and Bible studies. I would open mine to send the kids into the backyard so I could try and remove three days of dried jelly from my kitchen table. I'd talk to her, see her calm and quiet life and I'd have to seriously check my heart for discontent.

But that's not being fed with my portion. That's trying to be fed with hers. 

And it's not just about kids. How do you feel when your friends move into a new house? Or when they get a bigger vehicle? Or talk about their husband's Christmas bonuses? How does your heart react when you see someone else doing things you wished your life allowed at the moment? There's danger in that kind of comparative thinking. There's safety in finding your own place between poverty and riches. 

I can still give with what I have. I can look at the place God has me now and focus on the areas I have been blessed with today. I can look at what He has given me as MY portion and find ways I can use that for Him. It won't look like anyone else's and I've got to be content with that. And as long as I'm not fixating on what others have that I don't- I'll be able to use my energy on the right things. 

These verses remind me to turn my focus inward and recognize how amazing my life is, no matter what season I'm in. I hope it encourages you to do the same. 

Have a Christ-filled day, y'all! And thanks for stopping by~ Katie.