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This is me making an effort to get the words flowing this morning.

I like Fall. In spite of my commitment to feeling cold as little as possible, the brief experience of Fall we have here in Texas is something I dearly love. An opportunity for cute layering and boots, a solid reason to never be seen without some kind of warm beverage in my hand, and colors– magical colors that you’ll miss if you blink.

This small window of Fall also tends to give me a creative boost. Novel writing is a journey like nothing else I’ve ever been on. I like thinking about how for each writer it’s sure to be a different kind of journey, deeply personal in completely different ways. The section of writing I’m working on right now is rather painful. It taps into my own experiences in life and love and of course, it tends to sting.  And I get in deep, this has always been a thing for me while reading, too. I’ve been known to put a book down for years because I had become so deeply drawn in that it was effecting my mood and general state of mind. I can’t do that with writing and expect to get it done, so my answer is to balance my feelings with other creative processes. Get out of my own head for a little while, give myself a little break from the content that is causing me to brood, and look at other people.

One of my favorite artistic distractions at present is Instagram. I’m not a brilliant photographer, but I deeply enjoy what some people are calling iPhone Photography. For me the pleasure is in using the camera that I have at hand to capture something subtle I’ve noticed. It’s nothing fancy, just fun. My particular favorite theme for this hobby is Photos of Strangers. I’ve perfected the art of snapping a photo without the subjects knowledge, which, let me tell you, isn’t easy, but it’s necessary for the type of photo I’m looking for. I don’t want awkwardness (unless their natural awkwardness is what’s inspired me to snap the picture) and I don’t want a posed photo either. The key for me is capture people doing what people do when they don’t realize anyone’s looking.

Here are a few of the shots I’ve gotten, enjoy, and happy Fall. =)

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Silence. My answer to a mind that is so full of ideas and so frustratingly slow at figuring out

how to bring those ideas to life. Everyone who says anything about blog writing would surely call my blog a huge disaster– I break all the rules. It doesn’t really matter.

I found myself sitting in a booth and enjoying a meal twice today. If you’re a lady, you know

that sitting in booths can be a love/hate situation. On the one hand they’re comfortable; the seat is more forgiving than a hard chair and in most cases you feel like you’re in your own private corner of a restaurant. In general sharing a booth with someone feels more intimate and cozy. Sadly, when it’s time to go you’re faced with the less pleasant side of booth-sitting, which is getting out of it. I’m not sure if men have this problem, I’m sure some must, but I think of this as an issue that, for the most part, frustrates women.

You’ve managed to glide into the booth with relative ease, not the same as taking a seat in chair,

granted, but you’ve executed it with enough grace that it doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable, but. If you’ve had the misfortune of having shared one side of the booth with your dining partner, rather than sitting across from them, then you are as far from freedom as is possible. You begin the undignified lean-and-scoot method used by all interior booth-sitters, gently, hoping with all you’ve got that by some miracle you’ll be able to do this without looking like you’re bouncing your way out. The level of dignity lost depends solely on the lower half of your outfit. There are a few fabrics in existence that are merciful during this stage of escape. However, if, God forbid, your legs are bare, then you might as well kiss your aspirations to Audrey Hepburn-esque poise goodbye. As flesh clings to vinyl, you realize that your partner has already made it to the door and there’s a bus boy making his way to clear your table. Desperately you begin to cling to the edge of the booth, trying to claw your way out. Finally you’re able to swing your legs around the free end of the booth and scoot your bum down the remaining inches of the bench. At that point you focus all of your energy on not looking like you’ve just done half an hour on the stair-stepper and make any necessary adjustments to clothing that have crept from where they should be during the ordeal. Once you’ve righted yourself, you walk out, head held high, as though nothing at all unusual has taken place, but feeling certain that every person in the restaurant has watched and taken bets on whether you or the booth would win the fight.

After suffering the interior booth-sitters fate twice today what I’ve realized is that this scenario,

my friends, is very much what writers block is like for me and I have come to this conclusion:

There’s no lady-like way to get out of a booth and there isn’t a poetic way to end writers block.

Consider this blog post the beginning of my lean-and-scoot, desperate clawing, leg swinging attempt to get myself out of the wordless hole I’ve been lurking in. =)

Not just any letters, mind you.

I need a K and a B… obviously, because not only do I love my own initials in a way I rarely talk about, but I’m soon going to be one of those people who has letters on a shelf for decorative purposes.

I know some of you (and you know who you are) are groaning at the thought, but you’re going to have to just put it in your pipe and smoke it because it’s happening just as soon as I can find the right style of letters to embody the fullness of my personality, which is harder than you might think.

I looked at Hobby Lobby this afternoon and they didn’t have any Ks or Bs that represented all of me. The letters made of metal were all too ornate, the letters made of wood were too large and blocky and don’t even get me started on the burlap letters… Just in case you EVER wondered there is nothing about my personality that can be expressed in burlap.

Perhaps I should be looking at Pinterest for the right sort of letters? I don’t know… but the space on my shelf is cleared for the perfect letters and my search continues…

=)

Tessa and Katie

The most wonderful and terrifying thing I have ever heard is that my niece wants to grow up to be just like me.

It will make you think!

It’s been a good several days in Katie Land! I’ve been amazingly and gloriously busy and I kind of loved it except for the severe lack of sleep that came with it all.

Thursday and Friday were all about attending the Love Does Austin conference and getting to soak up words of encouragement, advice and inspiration from some of the people I admire most in the world. I felt like this conference breathed life into my hopes for my present and future. I feel like there is a light and I can jump into it.

Next up was my dear friend Jenny’s bachelorette party, which was extremely fun and very exciting. Dancing the night away is always a good thing, especially if you are doing it with people you love. It just so happened that after a full conference day and dancing and going to bed after 4am that my 6:30 alarm felt like death. I managed to scrap myself together though and get to the church in time for the lock-in.

One of the students was participating in a charity event and was gaming for 25 hours straight and his peers were excited to play with him and support his effort to do something good with what he’s good at. It was awesome and we had a blast. I honestly don’t remember the last time I have laughed so hard… or crawled on the floor for so long during a very intense game of sardines (if you don’t know what that is you need to find out fast and get a group together to play).

I also got to be a part of creating a new game when we had played all of the Sardines that we could possibly stand. So. Much. Fun.

I’m still not fully recovered from the tired and I suppose the fact that I am awake and writing at nearly 1am is not helping that bit. My body is just all thrown off and it believes it needs to stay awake for another four or five hours in order to earn the right to crash from exhaustion.

Good things are on the move.

I have lots of ideas that are going to become realities.

And with I will bid you goodnight.

If you had told me, even just a few years ago, that I would find myself overwhelmingly passionate about youth ministry, I would have laughed in your face. Literally. Laughed. In. Your. Face.

I was a horrible teenager, and by that I mean that I was bad atbeing a teenager and not that I was bad while being a teenager. I took myself very seriously, I had to do some pretty serious growing up early in my life, so by the time I was 17-18 I believed I was much older than that (which of course was not true). So to be honest, working with youth never crossed my mind; I didn’t connect well with teenagers when I was one, in fact, I couldn’t wait to get away from them, so why would I ever consider even trying to connect to them as an adult?

It’s amazing what God can see that I cannot.

For me there wasn’t a big revelation or some special word of God given to me in a super spiritual moment that alerted me to the fact that one of the things God made me for was youth ministry. I wasn’t visited by a glowing angel in a dream, or filled with Devine undemanding. For me it was less poetic and more clunky, I never made a decision, I just started serving. Youth ministry literally just fell in my lap. That might sound passionless to some, but for me it’s evidence that God knows me, and because he knows me, he knows how to speak to me. Mulling over the options doesn’t work for me and I don’t do well with pep talks, and tons of preparation.

What I need is to find myself in the thick of it.

For this reason I find that most of the time when God wants me to do something, he drops it in my lap or drops me in the middle of it, but either way, I get dropped. Sound a little scary? It is. Nevertheless, it’s how I thrive.

At last years Exodus Freedom Conference I volunteered with the young adults Refuge group and it was a tremendous blessing, and I had every intention of volunteering with that group again this year, but as God would have it in the months in between I started volunteering at home with teenagers and it woke something up in me. It just clicked. So when I went to the Exodus Leadership Reunion and as a last minute decision decided to be a part of a discussion about youth ministry, I walked away knowing that this year I needed to be a part of the Student Refuge group instead of young adults.

I was a little nervous when I got to California and realized that the group was was going be made up of only boys for the majority of the time we were there, but oh my goodness! I think this actually turned out to be something that was really good for me. I learned so much from those guys, I don’t even know if I can even make words out of it all yet. As a woman who hopes to one day have sons, it was really eye-opening to hear how these young men thought and worked through things, how words impact them, how valuable having people put faith in them is. Incredible.

The thing that just blows my mind is just how much I love these young people, and I wish that sounded less cheesy than it does, but I mean it with everything I’ve got. For the first time in my life I’m not asking God a million questions about motherhood, why I’m not one, if I’ll ever be one, if I would even make a good one… I could go on.

I think He’s been saving me for these kids, and I don’t say that to mean that the door to having my own is closed, almost the opposite actually. I think that, like with so many other things in my life, God is detouring his way through my soul and teaching me who I am by paths I can’t predict. The truth is, when I’m being honest with myself, I don’t trust “normal” circumstances, I never have ( I know, I know, what’s normal anyway). I may scream and cry sometimes about why I don’t have the things my family and friends have, but if I did I would probably spend a lot of time waiting for the other shoe to drop, the rug to get pulled out from under me, for everything to fall apart.

I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to show God’s love to these young men and women, I’m humbled that God would let me do it, and I feel incredibly blessed and humbled to get to know His love for me better in the process.

300This is my 300th blog post.

I was going to look back and see just how long it’s been since I started this blog, but then I decided against it. Doesn’t really matter. Sometime after I lost my Mom I took an almost year-long break from writing just about anything.

300 seems like a lot and not that much at the same time.

There have been a lot of ups and downs in the time I’ve been blogging here. Things have changed, I have changed, this blog and what I had started out writing about has changed. That’s life. I guess a part of why I don’t want to go back to the beginning and do any wallowing is because I’m in a time right now where looking back and looking too far into the future weighing me down, in a sense. I very much need to be focused on my todays.

So let’s talk about today…

Today I’m going to go to work. I’m crossing my fingers that it’s busy because that makes the day go by faster and I have to come home and see how my sister is doing on the moving in process.

I’m more than a little nervous about that– the moving in. I know it will be fine and everything, but it’s been a long time since I’ve had roommates. I figure though, it’s a good transition to make right now… things are changing in my world, lots of things, and I feel good about Kaylan and Jesse (her boyfriend) being here. It’s just going to take getting used to, that’s all.

Today I am being determined to trust.

This is a running theme for me right now… and it’s something I have to determine everyday, and most of those days multiple times. It’s really more of a moment by moment thing on some days. Some days it comes a lot easier than others, some days trusting God with my life and all of the things that are going on around me and with the choices I feel I need to make are like breathing. Effortless. It passes by and through me and I feel safe and confident in it. Other days, however, are so hard. I want to use all of these words like “battle” or “struggle” but they aren’t even enough. They don’t reflect the pain and anguish that can accompany dropping your guard and truly learning to trust God with who you are and what will be. People forget that while worry can be a heavy burden, there are times when it’s comforting like a blanket too, and in the worst of times it can feel like a protective shield. I know it sounds backwards, but it’s true. Worry is a preemptive strike against all the things that would try to sneak in and hurt you, it’s the illusion that nothing can surprise you because you’ve already thought through every possible painful outcome and tried to prepare yourself. Trust, on the other hand, is like standing bare naked in front of  an army ready for battle.

Some days I am brave, some days I can only want to be brave.

Thank you all for reading all of this time, many of you have been reading all of this time, however long that has been. =) I hope your today is blessed with bravery .

Dont-Believe1Some days I feel like the greatest battle I fight is with my own mind. I have a really hard time not analyzing and over-thinking everything people say to me, and the worst of it is that most of what I hear is what they don’t say.

I’ve been trying to learn not to do this, or to do it differently because there’s a part of it I can’t shut off. It’s a slow process though. A very slow process.

Do your worst Saturday.

Do your worst Saturday.

I was tempted to do 21 and use the lyrics from Alanis Morissette’s 21 Things, but I have to start doing my face in a minute so I don’t really have the time for that.

5 Things I am going to attempt to do today:

1.) Stay in a good mood (whatever nonsense work my bring). I slept really well, so well I don’t remember what I dreamed, which is… so weird and rare for me.  I feel like I can handle today.

2.) Buy a bathing suit. This may very well undo #1… Seriously, seriously. Ugh. I’ve made the choice to go with something more athletic than frilly. First, because I’m not ready for frilly, I still have lots of work to do. And second, I’m about to start swimming laps with a friend and I feel like that calls for functional more than frills, and I don’t want to have to buy two.

3.) Wear turquoise eye liner. This is actually something that doesn’t require an attempt, I’m just going to do it, and I do it pretty well, to tell the truth.

4.) Enjoy the moment I am in. That sounds a lot more flowery than I mean it to… ugh. I just want to take time to realize that there are good things around me.

5.) Eat a lot of vegetables.

The End

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“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
— C.S. Lewis

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