Saturday, June 25, 2016

a taste of this evening. 6.20.16.

{via pinterest from tumblr}

i never write at night anymore. i rarely have the time, and when i do, i basically want to collapse on the couch, talk with my husband, eat some sugar, drink a glass of wine, and relax until i need to head to bed.

tonight peter went out to dinner with a bunch of his former small group kids {who are now seniors in college...}, and i have some time to sit and write.

i haven't had time in many of the mornings as of late because a couple little munchkins have decided to set their circadian clocks by the sun. and the sun rises by 6:00 right now.

this morning they were both awake by 6:10. and i was smack dab in the middle of a jump rope session with a side of friends.

but now.
now they are both in their rooms. one is sleeping, the other quietly fights it.

and i sit in the living room next to a half eaten quarter of a key lime pie {yes. a quarter of a pie. really. it's that good}. i can smell the bread wafting in from the bread maker in the kitchen.

we've only been baking our own bread for a couple of weeks now, but homemade bread - even the kind from a bread maker - is just so much better than the store bought stuff. plus, it makes our house smell divine.

anyway. i'm trying to "just be" more. i suck at it, but i'm trying.

i feel like i always have to be doing something. usually multiple things at one time. i sit down to write because i crave this time, but i'm getting worse and worse at focusing, and just putting my thoughts down on the page.

i crave writing like i crave coffee in the morning. like i crave exercise. like i crave a little something sweet at the end of the day. {or a lot of something sweet in the case of this evening.}

sometimes i need to just be. i need to stop trying to do a million things and relax all at the same time.

i need to sit and be. and be thankful.
instead of a to-do list {which always, always, always fills itself back up} i need to make a grateful list.

this evening i will be grateful.
i will be grateful for the much i have been given.
i will not get lost in the grass i think is on the other side.

i will recognize that no picture captures real life - just a snapshot of a fleeting moment in time.

i will be grateful for late evenings and early mornings.
i will be grateful for pie. and for bread.
for coffee in the morning. for a comfortable place to lay my head until then.

i will be grateful for all of this life i've been given.
i did not earn it.
i work for it, yes, but i did not earn it.

i did not make myself athletic. i did not make myself decently smart. i did not decide where i would be born, or what family i would be born into.

i like to think i should get all the credit for the things i do, but i did not get here by my bootstraps. i like to think that i've done my part, but i didn't start out where i started because of any merit on my own part.

that's hard to swallow in a world where a self-made man is everything. but we don't really make ourselves. not completely. yes, we need a heckuva lot of hard work to get most places worth going. but sometimes circumstances line up alongside our personality, and our station in life, and a whole host of other things to get us where we are.

if anything had been different - my parents, my circumstances, my personality, my house, my school, my siblings... anything at all, i would be a completely different person. and the same is true of you.

we can only do so much on our own.

we all need a little help. but we all have value.
too often we think it's one or the other - we are the type of people who don't need help. or we are the type of people who don't have value.

it's a both, and.
too often we wear blinders to the other side of the coin. we only show a tiny sliver of ourselves to most people we meet. that means they only show a small sliver to us too.
i need to remember that.
maybe you do too?


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

going small

{via pinterest from amazon}

last week i finished a book that peter got me for my birthday. it's called go small. the author is craig gross who heads up xxxchurch among other things.

the title references the idea that we all have to do something huge for Jesus. it's doesn't say we shouldn't do something huge for Jesus, but that it is not up to us. we need to see the small God-ordained moments all around us. because they matter too.

God doesn't just care about the big things that are done in his name. he cares about the small things too. and sometimes he takes the seemingly insignificant things, and turns them into something much bigger. if we ignore the promptings to do something though, then we'll never know what might have happened - big or small.

but the biggest "BOOM. mind-blown." moment for me came with an illustration he used about God being a parent.

many people have heard this illustration in some form or another before. i had heard it before too. before i was a parent myself.

as a parent of young kids they request to "help" an awful lot. i love that my kids want to help, and i don't want to discourage them helping, so i try to employ their helpfulness whenever i can.

for instance - adele loves to "help" sweep the kitchen floor. and as craig said in the book, her helping results in it taking far longer, with a few scatterings of the pile i'm sweeping. sometimes she even likes to purposefully scatter the pile {presumably because the pile makes the floor appear less clean}.

despite all of the drawbacks i still allow her to help sometimes. and at the end of her "helping" i'm generally smiling because she worked so hard. and we accomplished it together.

keane likes to help cook. he's turning into an excellent sous-chef, but right now it still takes longer having him help.

you get the idea.

this is basically true about God and us. God can accomplish his plan without us. his plan does not hinge on us. but he allows us to take part in it. he allows us to "help." we get to take part in it. he is never not in control of it. but he allows us to take part in it and to grow through it.

and if we do it with a heart for him, i imagine he's smiling ear to ear when we accomplish the task together.

if we ignore his prompting to do something, or say something, he doesn't come beg for us to come back and do it so his plan can go forth. if i don't do what he prompts me to do he will bring about his will through someone else. he is in control.

{via pinterest from twitter}

we all have a part to play. some of us have a large part to play - though it may not always seem large in the midst of it. some of us have a minuscule part to play. but we're all given a part to play. God has allowed us to partake in his greater story.

going small is not definitive. God does call people to big things. but he does not call everyone to big things. and we are called to be faithful in the small things just as much as we are called to be faithful in the big ones. faithfulness all looks the same to God.

i am constantly striving to matter. i think we all are. it's embedded in us. but if God calls us to small seemingly insignificant things, and we do them to his glory, then we matter to him. then that means those things that seem insignificant are not insignificant.

our fellow man doesn't get the final say. God does.
remember that the next time you question whether or not you matter.

if we're not faithful with little, we will not be asked to handle much.
and we may not be asked to handle much anyway.
it's not up to me. it's up to God.

{just a few thoughts for your wednesday *wink*}


Sunday, June 19, 2016

kitchen reveal...

...sort of. mostly because i just can't wait any longer!

peter worked his tail off yesterday building my shelves and putting them up, and stayed up until all hours of the night working on them because he loves me and he's good to me {even when it's father's day weekend, and i really don't deserve it}.

and while we still have a few small things to do to officially check all things "kitchen" off of our to-do list, it's fully functional, and basically completed.

this post is going to be short and sweet because i'm about to go add as much sleep as possible to the barely five hours i got last night.

anyway, here she is 11 months later!

from this:

and this:


goodness knows i'm in love with this space!
i'm so thankful for my husband anyway, and when he works for practically a year to give me the kitchen i really really want?

mind-blown gratefulness right now.

i hope you and yours have had a fantastic weekend!


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

thirty two.

{found via pinterest from flickr}

i turned 32 a couple weeks ago. i don't like making a big deal out of my birthday, so i don't most of the time.

peter took me out for a nice dinner at a restaurant we've wanted to try for a while. keane & adele helped me unwrap my gifts.
it was a good day.

32 has treated me generously thus far.

our kitchen is coming together. as in, a few fittings and a little paint from now we can install the open shelves that i've waited forever to have! {yes, forever. really and truly.}

the only things left to do besides those are touch-up painting, a bit of caulking, and the upper moulding which is only going up where we took it down - in about half of the kitchen.

yes, the kitchen is almost finished about 11 months after we embarked upon the project. so there's that.

we've steadily moved forward on that project, and knocked out a few other things too. i feel like i'm getting a handle on what i need to do during the week now that soccer is over.
we're settling into summer.

the pool has completely opened for the season. as in, open every day now that the public schools have let out. we go as much as we can because the kids love it. they ask for it all the time. they want to go every single day. we actually make it there a few times a week.

keane will get his first mini swim lesson from nana today. he already does pretty well with blowing bubbles in the water, though he's still learning to breathe in through his nose, but that is to be expected.

adele takes the lead from her brother, and sticks her mouth in the water, but generally ends up drinking it after blowing "bubbles" for .2 seconds.

anyway. this is the first year we've really utilized the pool, and it makes me really glad that it's practically in our backyard.

the last few weeks have also found us doing some soul-searching.

in our house - in our marriage - we constantly recalibrate, so soul-searching isn't terribly surprising. this time we're talking more about big-picture goals. we do that a fair amount too, but the context feels different this time. more serious. more driven. and less focused in a good way.

often when we talk about big-picture it's either too big to put feet to it, or too small to really call "big-picture." but this time it's more about: what do we want out of life? where do we want to be in two years? in five years? but more importantly, where do we feel a sense of God's calling in the midst of that?

in the past it felt like i needed to be 100% sure of what the big-picture, overarching, etch-it-in-stone goal was. whatever it was we'd move after it fully.

but this time it's more of a testing out of different options. there are options. ultimately we are to follow where God leads us. but there are still lots of options of where to go. and we need to trust that he'll lead us to the right place.

this time we're not forcing things. we're simply pushing, and seeing what moves.

last night as i fell asleep i remembered something someone told me way back before peter and i got married. way back before i moved to charlotte. and just as it did then, it settled my soul.

God wants you at the center of his will more than you want to be there.

i worry a lot. not as much as i used to, but still a lot more than i should. i worry about making the wrong decisions. i worry about missing the right ones. i worry about my kids all.the.time.

i worry about the state of our world. i worry about the state of our country. i worry about the state of our education system. i worry about not making a difference. i worry a lot.

but, God wants you at the center of his will more than you want to be there.

he is sovereign. he is in control. and he wants me to follow hard after him.

i worry that if i don't do everything exactly right i'm going to fall into the abyss outside of his will, and not realize my full potential.

but, God wants you at the center of his will more than you want to be there.
"do not worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition, present your requests to God." phil. 4:6

this "year" of life has treated me well thus far. i have a lot left to learn {always will}, but i'm slowly letting go of the notion that i have to change the world. God may use me that way somehow, but he probably won't. and being exactly where i need to be will fulfill me, and his purpose, far more than striving after something he has not ordained.

because Jesus changed the world. Jesus is changing the world. my life is not supposed to be about me. it's supposed to be about him. {and he already finished it.}
"does the clay say to the potter, what are you making?" {isaiah 45:9}

at 32, i'm finally just starting to get a grasp on that.
happy summer, friends.


Friday, June 10, 2016

what's your story?

we've started talking about story over the last couple days. the idea of "living your story" has been there for a long time. it's there partially because it's ingrained in all of us. we all want to live a great story. but it's also there because peter and i want to live a better story.

we want to live a better story than the american dream. sure, there are a lot of pros to the american dream, but it's not a goal worth shooting for in the sense of living a fulfilling life. money and stuff don't bring happiness. and while money and stuff may not be what many would articulate as the american dream - it's kind of what it has turned into at this point.

happiness is also a byproduct, not a goal, but that's a separate discussion. {the only thing i'll say about it now is this: you can do a lot of things to make yourself happy day in and day out, but those things probably won't make you happy in the long run. too often we forget about the benefits of delayed gratification, and the destruction brought on by the "i have to have it now" phenomenon.}

i digress.

our story.
your story.
everyone wants to live a better story.
but it's hard.

lately i've been reading and thinking about various iterations of said story. what do i really want my life to look like? in the real sense, not in the "that's not really how life works" sort of sense.

there are a lot of things that would be nice. a lot of things that i would like, but what am i willing to sacrifice other things to get? what is really the most important?

and how do i make a difference in this world?

everyone wants to matter.

a few months ago i heard an interview with a paramedic who has been with a lot of people at the end of their life, and he said one of the things that's consistent throughout is that they all want reassurance that they mattered.

we all want to live a story worthy of writing down, but too much of the time we settle for watching a story that seems fun and exciting, and like it matters.

i'm reading a book right now that encourages different exercises to go along with it. one of the exercises is thinking through and writing down what would make your life amazing in five years. {okay, it's the first exercise. it's the first exercise and i've worked on it for the past two nap/rest times, and i still haven't finished because my children are amazing blessings who seem to know exactly when i'd really like to get something done. and that's when they wake up. or have to poop. or... i could keep going for a while here... but i digress.}

ahem, anyway,
you pick the four most important areas of your life, and write down what's happening in each of them five years from now, that in turn, make your life amazing. honesty is of the utmost importance because working toward something fake and unattainable doesn't do anyone any favors. least of all you.

so. i've started making my lists.

and i've realized how scared i am to commit to doing something that will probably fail.

scared out of my mind.

i'm scared to even write it down because that's admitting it to myself that i really do want it.

people tell me i am capable, and i have a lot of gifts. i could do a lot. i prefer to be secretly good at what i'm good at because it surprises people when they find out that i can do more than they thought. i don't like flipping that equation.

but i want to live a great story.

living a great story comes with great risk. it's risky because it requires an insane amount of vulnerability.

i don't even want to continue writing this post right now. i've spent the last few minutes browsing pinterest because this place is uncomfortable.

but in order to live a great story we have to do things differently than everyone else does. in order to do something really amazing we generally need to be all in, and put ourselves out there.

and that is s*** your pants scary. being real and true and vulnerable is terrifying.
we've been taught not to be by all of those around us who want us to fall in line.
other people want us to fall in line because if we have the courage to live a great story that means they could have, but they didn't.

but radical vulnerability is also the only way to live a truly fantastic story. {i'm not talking about "success" here. there are plenty of successful people who do not adhere to this principle. i'm talking about greatness. incredibly important difference.}

we also pull people back in line because we've come to believe that equality means sameness. and that is a deep, dark lie.
equality is about opportunity, not necessarily about outcome.

so what are we going to do about it?

it's easy to think about these things. easy to analyze why. easy to make excuses.
it's hard to do it because most things worth doing are hard. {maybe all things worth doing, actually.}

but what do i want to see when i look back over my life?


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

i got nothin'

{found via pinterest from tumblr}

some days i sit down at my computer to write, and i got nothin'.
today is one of those days.

today is a day when i have a lot going on in my brain,
but i don't have much to say.
there's not much i can say.

i'm processing everything.
but it runs slowly.

sometimes things don't work how you thought they would.

sometimes life spits in your face.

sometimes... sometimes.

sometimes i know i should write because i'm spinning the wheels in my head.
but the coherency factor desperately lacks.

sometimes life doesn't make sense.

many days we get sucked into believing that the world is one way,
simply because the alternative has never happened in our world before.

but life is not under our own control.
we like to think it is, but every day is an exercise in trust
whether we choose to believe it or not.

sometimes there is no why.

no real one anyway.
not one that we can understand.
and it doesn't make sense.

sometimes life feels full of purpose,
and sometimes an exercise in futility.

many days life doesn't make sense,
other days i'm reminded of the miracle it is.

i'm sick of thinking it'll get better later.
i have a great life now,
and i don't want to miss it by sitting and waiting for tomorrow.

we grow up that way though.

too often we're told we're too little, too much, not enough, and we just want to get to the next point where that is no longer true.
we're always looking forward to what's coming next, or what's coming later.

but this is life.
right now.

plan? yes.
but we can't live there.

life is beautiful.
it's complicated.
full of light & darkness
breadth & depth.
it's more than we hoped for,
and less than we dreamed.

but it's now.
life doesn't wait for later.

sometimes i feel like i didn't really live my life until i was in college.
everything was prescribed up until that point.
do this, do that, this comes next.
it's all laid out.

i need to ask more questions.
i need to push back on the prescription.

just because something hasn't been done doesn't always mean it can't be.
life is not formulaic.

it is messy.
it doesn't make sense.

stop living like it's a math problem to be solved.

we need to think.
we need to be purposeful.
we need to actually do the best we can,
not just say we are.

but we need to live.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

dear girls: {an open letter to my team}

{via buren foster photography}

i don't know how to start this year. i'm paralyzed by all the words floating in my head that just don't sound right.

how do you speak about the immense amount of pride you have for a team who worked their tails off all season only to come off on the wrong end of a 1-0 game in the state semi-final?

it's still fresh, and it still hurts.

it doesn't get easier to watch you girls hurt. it hurts, and it sucks for me, but it hurts more to see you hurt and know how much of yourselves you poured into this team and this season.

i know that right now the well-meaning consolations of "you still had a great season" don't do a whole lot to make you feel better. i know that right now some of you are not just heartbroken because it's the end of a season, but the end of a chapter of life. i know what it feels like to want it that much, and to come up short. and i'm sorry.
i'm just sorry.

it sounds terrible, but i'm glad it hurts right now. because that means it mattered. that means you invested all of yourselves in it. and that is how you should live your lives.

all in.
be all in.

live your lives like you play the game. pour yourself into it. don't get to the end and wonder if you could have given more.

we as coaches are so very proud of you. we are so very proud of how you came together as a team and put in the work day in and day out.

continue to put in the work. continue to work hard and persist because nothing that's worth having in life is easy. the hard is what makes it great. the hard is what makes it an achievement.

we're proud of the way you played. we're proud of the run we had.

of course we wanted one more game, but the lack of that game doesn't negate the rest of what you achieved.

seniors: we are so thankful for each one of you. they say you're only as tall as the shoulders you stand on, and every girl that comes through this program will forever be standing on your shoulders.
take that with you - leave each place better than you found it, and know that this place is better because you were here.

there's more i could say, but i'll leave it there for now.
thank you all for a tremendous season.

much love to you.
coach kate