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This week my threshold for any type of ridiculousness has been at an all-time low. And by “ridiculousness” I mean anything and everything that falls outside of what I want to be happening at that moment.

I’ve been in my head a lot and cooped up because of the blasted cold weather in Texas ( PLEASE GOD, I know it’s a lot to ask considering it’s early March and all, but can we just be done with 30 degree weather? As a birthday gift?).

In spite of my less than stellar attitude about life this week,  good things have happened…

God has taught me some beautiful things about himself in unexpected places and I LOVE that. Even better, he’s given me people with great minds and hearts to talk about those things with, to bounce my observations off of and broaden my ways of thinking and knowing him.

I’ve been noticing how precious it is to have sisters– I don’t think I do a good enough job letting them know how much I love and appreciate them, because I do love and appreciate them and I’m proud of the women they are and will be. It hasn’t even been a handful of years since we lost our mom and so much has changed. We all have changed. I know that my mom is so proud of her girls and this week I have felt burdened, in a good way, to start looking for ways to let my sisters know how much they are loved and seen.  It’s terrifying and beautiful to me that I can remember running through the woods with them to our “Secrete Creek” as children so clearly and now, here we are, and I’m a week away from being 33 and they are all grown up, too.

There’s been laughter.

And speaking of sisters and laughter…  Several days ago I was having a meltdown in Kristin’s car, this is, for reasons unknown to me, the place I meltdown. We were taking the little girls shopping and on our way I just became overwhelmed by all of the things that felt like they were crushing me. My meltdowns are always preceded by the announcement, “I’m going to cry now.” As though I owe the person I’m with the curtesy of a warning. While bawling in the front seat of my sisters Mazda I just start spilling out everything, even the things that I think are stupid, that are bothering me, until nothing is left. Kristin listens silently to my whaling pity party and when I’ve finished looks at me calmly and says, “Thank you for telling me that.” Which is the absolute weirdest thing my sister could possibly say to me in that moment. “What?” I replied completely thrown. And then we both laughed until I cried again. She’d read that when receiving someone’s vulnerable thoughts it was good to thank them for sharing with you. Doesn’t quite work on your sister. After all of that we had a great time shopping with my nieces: Photos below.

I laughed with friends and with children and it was good.

There were also lots of I love you’s. One of my favorites came from my youngest nephew who, holding my face with his small, chubby hands, looking me in the eyes said, “I loooooooooooove you” in the way only a toddler can. And you feel it all the way into the deepest regions of your soul and know that it is truer than just about anything.

For a rough week it’s also been pretty good.

May we all have the heart to find the beautiful moments stuck in between our frustrations and meltdowns. There’s hope and love and peace in those moments.

I had/have the great honor of being raised by two individuals who were/are vehemently FOR people.

My parents, much to the frustration of some, always found a way to put people first– This meant that the house was often messy, sometimes there were people living on our couch, we always cooked in bulk so that we could feed any and everyone who just showed up, and yes, people sometimes just showed up unannounced and my parents welcomed them in. It meant that as often as we could we adjusted our plans in life to put people before all the things we were “supposed to do”.

Some people didn’t get it.

Some people said it was irresponsible.

I believe that it was a gift from God and I am so thankful that the attitude of being for people is something that has had a powerful influence on my life.

Today was filled with being for people.

I’ll share some of my favorite parts in photos. =)

 

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!

This time of year brings SO much business.

So many projects.

Weddings.

It’s crazy.

This past weekend I had the great honor and pleasure of being involved in the wedding of a dear friend. Our families have been close for as long as I can remember. We have weathered many storms together, laughed together, shared front porches, deep conversations and a lot of beer and wine over time.

What I loved about this wedding was how much it felt like a family gathering to witness a important step being taken. It was special and I’m really glad I was there for it.

We’re all born into a family, but I think sometimes it’s the families we make for ourselves that are the greatest blessings God gives us. Building families whose bonds are fused by love rather than blood is an inheritance passed down from one generation to the next. Somewhere along the way someone has to teach you what it means to be a person who creates family. Someone has to instill in you the attitude of adoption.  It’s bigger than just acceptance, tolerance, or basic kindness. The type of love that adopts says, “Come inside and be one of us.” 

I am so glad that this is a gift that has been given to me. I feel so blessed to get to love the family of people God’s put in my life and honored to be loved by them as well.

I’m learning that heart brokenness is something you experience in phases. There’s the initial phase where you feel pain that is, as best as I can describe it, like the pain you feel when you hold something cold for too long. It burns and is cold and throbbing at the same time and it’s everywhere. In that state you can’t really reason, you can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, and you don’t want to try to work out where exactly things hurt or why. It’s washing all over you and the best thing you can do for yourself in that moment is just to let it.

One of the things that caused me to fall in love with Deborah Harkness’ Discovery of Witches was a single part where the heroine, a witch, experiences such a deep feeling of grief that she produces what the author calls “witch water”. The rise of such powerful emotions causes water to seep and the pour from the witches body. What begin as tears soon turn into giant drops and then there is water seeping from her finger tips and toes.

That’s it exactly.

That’s how it feels… except I don’t get the physical reality of water pouring from my body and flooding my surroundings. There’s a little part of me that wishes I did. Ok, more than a little part of me. It just seems like it would feel gratifying to have that side effect so that people could actually see the depth of what you were feeling.

Anyway, the next phase I’ve come to understand is the one in which most days are fine. Most of the time I feel ok. Not limping, not holding my heart up on crutches, I’m going on with my life. The trouble with this phase is that when the hurt bubbles up, it comes on fast and unexpectedly. There are no warning signs, it’s just smacking me in the face and sending me reeling backwards before I have a chance to know what hit me.  It happens most when I’m alone and things are quiet. And that’s the worst part because I have always treasured time to be alone and to have things quiet. But now I find myself trying to be alone as little as possible and looking for reasons to be busy, to the point of exhausting myself.

It’s not fair. Nothing is ever fair. There is no fair.

People get relationship after relationship, marriage after marriage, chance after chance. And here I am.  I spend years invest, years trying to understand, years of trying to be what I think is right for that moment and in the end I’m still by myself. And there are times when it’s ok because I know a lot of those people who have gotten all those chances would rather not have to have been through much, and I can count myself blessed. I can understand that comparing myself to others doesn’t make any sense. That my story, my life, is different and I shouldn’t want someone else’s, but right now is not one of those times.

The good news is that these times don’t last very long, and in the middle of it all I have people around me who care,  I have things to write about, even if sometimes they almost feel like they are digging the knife in a little deeper. I have the fact that I am nothing if not determined and I know myself well enough to know that I can muscle through almost anything. I have young people to set example for,  children to make me laugh and to give me hugs, and babies to watch smile in their sleep.

So tomorrow starts a busy week and when I say busy, I mean VERY busy week. I have work, conference, bachelorette party and lock-in to be present for. I don’t know at this point when in there I will find time to eat and sleep, but we can all hope those things get done and when they are supposed to.

Last night I meant to post about the Dad and Daughter who sat at the bar in Starbucks. There was just something really… beautiful about it, as simple as it was. She was sipping cocoa and doing homework. He was drinking something, no doubt, stronger than cocoa and helping. She couldn’t have been more than 9 and they both smiled and laughed as they got through her work together.

This afternoon I saw the sun on everything. It was lighting people’s faces as they drove across from me on the road, so much so they shielded their eyes. It was making weeds and brush look like fields of gold growing out of the ground that swayed in the breeze on my walk this evening.

I saw a tiny newborn smiling in her sleep and looking completely and utterly content and I tried to remember what that must feel like.

I saw blue sky.

I saw my dog get burs in his hair from being too curious.

I saw my nephew dressed as Mario and practicing his best Mario voice.

I saw a lot of people rushing around.

Right now what I want to see is the inside of my eye lids because I am sore from head to toe. My arms are done for from baby holding and my legs are worn out from walking. My mind just wants a break from all of the things it has found to worry over the past few days, and I just want a break from missing someone who I’m not sure if I’m supposed to miss anymore.

The last thing of note I saw tonight was the stars.

There was no moon where I was, just a million twinkling little stars… it made me think.  It’s nice to see the moon, it’s makes the night less scary when everything is bathed in moonlight, and the darkness has a glow about it.  The thing is that the moon is just one big, bright, shiny thing and it might be comforting to have it there making everything less dark and confusing, but when it’s gone you get to see what else is out there and how many possibilities there are, even if they are small and far off.

Good night, guys. Rest well, and I hope you get to see lots of stars in the days to come.

robot20alone“I’m a phoenix in the water
A fish that’s learnt to fly
And I’ve always been a daughter
But feathers are meant for the sky
So I’m wishing, wishing further
For the excitement to arrive
It’s just I’d rather be causing the chaos
Than laying at the sharp end of this knife”

There are things I have to carry now and some days that’s easier than others.  Today’s one of the harder days and it feels like all of the things that used comfort me feel far away. I’m lucky because these hard days are far out number by the good days.

What I need now is a good book, a long sleep, and some quiet dreams.

Speaking of dreams, I had a really weird one last night that involved being married to a prince, which, alone, sounds like something I would really enjoy. I didn’t, though. He was kind of a mean prince, and apparently I had been forced to marry him. Ick. Crossing fingers for better dreams tonight.

I’ve been away for a couple of days being with family and working on a new project.

I have vaguely alluded (at least I feel it has been vague) to having some fairly significant changes take place in my life recently, and while I’m not going to use this post to un-vague them (yes, I just made that word up) I am going to redirect your attention to what I’m doing with myself in the wake of those changes.

I’m single… … I know you probably needed a few beats to recover from the shock, but anyway, yes, single.  Without having to dig up a lot of stuff I’d rather not shovel right now, I’ll just say that I don’t want to be single anymore. I’ve reached a place where I want to think about life, as in the rest of mine, with someone else, hopefully for the rest of theirs, and kids, and yards and the things that go with marriage.

In an effort to make the most of my free time, which I have very little of these days, I have made the horrifyingly brave decision to try dating websites. If you know me at all you will understand how extremely difficult even typing those words are for me.  However, I’ve decided that dating websites don’t have to be the official stamp of desperation, and that for a person like myself who is working/volunteering/involved in church and ministry/and has good relationships with close friends and family they should and can be a valuable tool for meeting new people with similar goals and interests.

In order for this process not to be completely mortifying, I’ve decided to turn it into an on-going writing project about all of my dating experiences. This new endeavor will include, but certainly not be limited to what I find on the dating websites. I will cover dating mishaps and high points from the past and hope that they are fun, funny, and keep bitterness at bay.

That said, this is my official launch post for Dating Katie Brown. I hope you’ll all stop by, I’m only two posts in, but I have an ever growing pile of material that will go up with a quickness.  Enjoy and let me know what you think.

Love does…
Show up
Stay late
Hold hands
Listen well
Risk it all
Take naps

20130929-011029.jpg

This is my tiny turtle comfort bracelet.

Your sister gives you a tiny turtle comfort bracelet and a Russell Stovers coconut cream chocolate pumpkin after a day where you let built up pain leak out of you in what seems like a never ending stream of tears.

Where you watch ducks and have trouble finishing sentences.And that’s ok.

In a day where retail therapy comes in the form of Roxy tennis shoes, a third, light-weight hoodie from Old Navy because you love them, and the last three seasons of Sex and The City for $4.99 each.

A day where you drink coffee and walk around the square in the rain and where you just let the world stop for a while. Where text messages from good friends help heal, and being surrounded by used books and bad music is the best place on earth.

And at 1am, when you finally lay down, you know you’re laying down more than just to sleep, but that this day was a milestone, you survived it, and now it’s time to put it all to rest, let it pass into yesterday while you move onto whatever comes next.

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