Spring 2017 Family Pictures

I don’t know about you, but I’m so thankful to see Spring come this year. It’s not that Winter was all that terrible (after all, we only saw snowflakes twice!), it’s just that my heart has been craving the sunlight that pours into my kitchen window on crisp mornings, where you can find me sipping my coffee as I listen to the birds chirp through the screen door.

This Spring sure looks a lot different for me than last Spring did. I think back to those mornings I waddled out the door right after the time changed, dreading my almost-hour-long drive to work in the dark. It was a hard season. My feet (actually, all of me…) were so swollen, I wasn’t able to sleep, and I was filled with so many questions about what the little life I was carrying would be like, and of course about delivery. I was nervous, excited, scared, you name it…

This Spring, I’m still kind of an emotional wreck, if we’re being honest (because HELLO have you seen how fast our boy is growing!?), but I have grown so much in the last year. Jesus is so faithful. This past year hasn’t been easy, ya’ll. Grayson and I have been stretched thin, challenged in ways we’ve never been challenged before, and forced to make some really hard decisions. But, oh… He’s taught us so much through it all. He’s stood by us, He’s given us more than we deserve time after time, and He’s woven our love story together even sweeter with memories that tell of His grace and His love with every fiber.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the Heavens.

Ecclesiastes 3:1

IMG_0524IMG_0611IMG_0646IMG_0698IMG_0704IMG_0736IMG_0844IMG_0853IMG_0881IMG_0984

Photos by my dear friend Meredith, whose talent and sweet spirit are second to none. See more of her work here!

Advertisements

Dreamers and Doers

de81d0de34a5939884f0b14efdfe185a

What encourages you to do whatever it is that you love to do? I mean, what sets your soul on fire? What inspires you? What gets you excited all over again, like you were the first time you realized how much you love to do “your thing?”

For me, “my thing” is writing. I’ve always loved to write. In middle school, I had a teacher who noticed my love for writing and always encouraged me, and even sent notes home to my Mom telling her I had a real talent with words. I journaled every day for years (a habit I wish I could pick back up, but just haven’t had the time since Landon was born, ironically when I need to be journaling the most). I have used Coffee Date With Kate for several years as a way to share both deep thoughts and convictions and favorite recipes and travel photos. And lately, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what it is that drives me to write and refuels my passion in the “dry spells.”

When I think back to my childhood, I see a love that has remained throughout the years, that I now realize has shaped my passion for writing. That is, the love of reading. In elementary school, I couldn’t wait to walk in a single-file line to the library every week to pick out the next Boxcar Children book. Yes, we had a week to read the book we picked out, but I had finished mine the day after I picked it out. I could never put them down once I got started.

I don’t read Boxcar Children books anymore, but I still love to read. Everything from Nicolas Sparks to Lysa Terkeurst fills my bookshelves (and coffee table, and nightstand…) and then, of course, there’s also a long list of blogs I follow daily. So, what I’ve realized, is the more I read, the more I write. There’s a correlation for me between reading a great book that I just can’t put down and opening my laptop or sitting down with my journal and a pen. Something about a blank page, just waiting to be filled, really does thrill my soul.

Now that I realize that I am inspired and driven to write in this way, I feel like I have almost a responsibility to take the time to refuel my spirit and keep the fire burning. I think it’s really important, whatever “your thing” is, to figure out what ignites the passion, keeps you in love with that thing, and makes you better. Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers.


If you’re a bookworm like me, I’ve compiled a short list of great books I’ve read lately!

Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst

{DE66ADFB-12EB-47D1-B6C1-632DA919ED75}Img100

Wild and Free by Hayley Morgan and Jess Connolly

515nSd04QLL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_

Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges

51VQyOca-kL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_

Decorating with Pinecones

Pinecones are so beautiful to decorate with indoors, whether you string them up and use them as a garland, use them as a filler for an apothecary jar, or create table centerpieces with them… the possibilities are endless!

Today, I just wanted to share a few tips for how to prepare pinecones for use indoors. Because they are usually filled with tiny bugs, you can’t just scoop up an arm-full and use them on your table (yikes!). However, the process to take care of that little problem is so easy and then your pinecones can be used over and over again!

  1. Gather up your pinecones
  2. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees
  3. Line a large baking sheet with tin foil (when you bake the pinecones, sap and debris will come out of them and this step makes cleanup so much easier)
  4. Place the pinecones on the lined baking sheet (they can be piled on top of each other)
  5. Bake at 200 degrees for 1 hour
  6. Allow the pan to cool
  7. Tap pan on countertop (pretty hard) to shake out any remaining debris (the debris comes out much easier after they’ve been baked)
  8. You’re ready to decorate!

unnamed

I laid my pinecones out on some newspaper and lightly coated them with white spray paint in order to give them the appearance of having frosted tips. You could also spray them with glitter for a beautiful rustic, yet elegant touch.

Cupbearer

Landon got all of his first teeth at the same time. All four of them decided to pop through his sweet little gums within just a week or two of each other, and if you’ve been-there-done-that with your own little ones, you know that it wasn’t without some pain and a few sleepless nights. Add in biting while nursing and you have a pretty miserable situation. Landon is just about the sweetest natured little boy you’ll ever meet, so when he’s fussy, you can bet that there’s a reason.

I am so fortunate to have an arsenal of women that I can go to at any hour of the day or night with questions. My Momma, first and foremost, but also my aunt, my mother-in-law, my cousins, and some very dear friends have just been a wealth of knowledge and encouragement for me as I learn how to be a Mama. In them, I see Titus 2: 3-5 come to life in a way that I can’t even begin to express my gratitude for. As you get older, I think you really do come to appreciate quality relationships more and more.

I talked to one sweet friend in particular, who has been a huge advocate for me when it comes to breastfeeding and is a big believer in homeopathic remedies and natural health, about his teething pain and she gave me a special concoction of oil (Gum-omile Oil by HerbsPro) diluted with olive oil to rub on his gums. She was so sweet to share it with me and as she was explaining how it works, she encouraged me to test it on my own gums first, to make sure it wasn’t too strong for him. Then, she said, “my Mom always told me to be the cupbearer for my kids.”

Cupbearer.

It’s not a word you hear everyday.

I knew what a cupbearer is, but couldn’t remember the last time I had heard that word. In Bible times, Kings had a cupbearer who would taste their food or wine before they ate to make sure that no one was trying to poison them. Wikipedia explains this role like this:

“A cup-bearer was an officer of high rank in royal courts whose duty it was to serve the drinks at the royal table. On account of the constant fear of plots and intrigues, a person must be regarded as thoroughly trustworthy to hold the position. He must guard against poison in the king’s cup and was sometimes required to swallow some of the wine before serving it. His confidential relations with the king often gave him a position of great influence. The position of cup-bearer is greatly valued and given only to a select few throughout history.Qualifications for the job were not held lightly but of high esteem valued for their beauty and even more for their modesty, industriousness and courage.”

I went on about my way, followed her instructions, and tested it out before I used it to help soothe him. Day after day went by and I couldn’t stop thinking about that word. Cupbearer.

I hadn’t mentioned it to Grayson until Sunday morning on our way to church. Over coffee in the truck, I asked him, “what do you think it means to be a cupbearer for your child?”

He was a little taken aback at first, I think just because it’s such an uncommon phrase. We talked about what it means to us, both as individuals and as a team, and I explained how after Kristi had shared with me the week before, I couldn’t stop”chewing” on it, trying to process it. I really felt like Jesus was speaking to me, but I couldn’t figure out what He was saying.

My Sunday School teacher is amazing. She’s one of those women who literally just oozes Jesus. She walks into the room and you just instantly know that there’s something different about her, and whatever it is that she has… you want it too. She carries herself with a grace and gentleness that is unmatched, and I am so thankful for her. She puts so much time and heart into preparing our lesson for Sunday School every week, and each and every Sunday, I go into the service truly prepared for worship and having learned something or having been challenged to grow in my walk with Jesus. It’s such a blessing.

Well, if you’re one of those people (like my husband) who always tries to guess the end of the story before you reach the last page, you may have already guessed what happened next. We finished prayer requests and began our lesson and Vikki told us to open our Bibles to the first chapter of Nehemiah, and what does it say?!

The words of Nehemiah son of Hakaliah:

In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem.

They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”

When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. Then I said:

Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of lovewith those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you. We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.

“Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’

10 “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. 11 Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.”

I was cupbearer to the king.

I couldn’t believe it. Cold chills.

I (in my totally not-dramatic-at-all fashion) said “CUPBEARER?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!” I explained why I was in such shock, and kept reading the last sentence in the first chapter of Nehemiah over and over again:

“I was cupbearer to the King.”

Okay, Jesus. You have my attention. What in the world?

You see, Nehemiah was in a very similar situation as Esther, which is a story I was a little more familiar with. One of my “life verses” comes from Esther 4:14, when Mordecai encourages Esther to be brave and approach the King on behalf of her people, saying, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?

I shared all of this at a Bible study that my friend Meredith and I are both a part of, and when she was editing the photo session she did of Landon’s sink bath, she texted me this picture and said, “Katie, this picture can preach. Cupbearer.”

img_4795

And that was it. I knew I had to write about it. It had been weeks since I had shared this story at Bible Study. Meredith and I had never talked about it since then. The fact that she even remembered, the fact that she captured the essence of being a cupbearer so perfectly as I tested the temperature of the water, the fact that once again, this word came up and stopped me dead in my tracks… I truly believe that it’s all Jesus.

I wish there was a neat, tidy ending to this story. I wish I could say and then, I realized why this word followed me around and we all lived happily ever after. But, to be honest, I’m still trying to figure it out and it both thrills my heart and terrifies me at the same time. Obviously, we are called to protect our babies… which means we make sure the bath water isn’t too hot and we blow the food to ensure it doesn’t burn their little mouths and we make them wear coats and hats to protect them from the cold. But for me, this word cut straight into the deepest part of my heart. I don’t know yet, what it will mean in the years to come, but I do know that when you feel Jesus speaking to you, you better listen up.