Blog friends, excuse me for a moment as I post a video that's primarily for family who missed our church's Christmas concert and missed my song. (-: Feel free to listen as well, though, it's a bluegrassy Silver Bells. (-:
Well, hello, Christmastime. My, you sure snuck up on me this year. But you are here. And I love it.
I remember being a little kid and decorating our family Christmas tree while listening to Emmylou Harris' "Light of the Stable" Christmas album - still my favorite, by the way. I remember pulling out all those popsicle stick ornaments and exclaiming, "Look at this one!" or "Look at the ornament so-and-so gave me!" as my brother and sister and I proceeded to decorate the bottom half of the Christmas tree (our arms wouldn't reach past the mid-point). There was always an argument over which tree-topper we would use that year - either the star or the angel - and somehow the next morning all the ornaments were spaced evenly on the tree all the way up to the top. I don't know how that happened. (-:
I hope we can all look back and think of at least one happy memory. I don't want to forget mine. I know it's easy to forget - we have gifts to buy, parties to attend, and food to prepare. But don't get lost in the hustle. Take in the magic. The hope. The anticipation. A Savior is coming. He is. He brings Good News and Great Joy!
Find your magic - maybe it's in twinkle lights. Maybe it's in working on gifts to give to your loved ones. Maybe it's in wrapping presents. Maybe it's in sitting by a fire. Your favorite Christmas album. Caroling. Cookie making.
Moments only become memories when we are intentional. Be intentional this season. Stop. Take a breath. Soak in the Gift. Think about the Hope of Advent.
What are you thankful for? No really. Think about it. I've been thinking about it lately. I guess really it's easy because a couple of the things I am most thankful for are currently sitting on each side of me watching the parade with me.
I'm thankful for my sweet husband, Mark. Do you ever love someone so much when you think about it you think you might just explode? That's how I feel. And I'm thankful. He is the most serving person I know - you just have to be around him for a few minutes and you will be blown away by his servant's heart. I am also so proud of him - he's basically a genius. If I have a question about anything sports related, if I need directions, or need random trivia answered, I just ask my hubby and he knows. It's remarkable. And he also gives such good perspective on anything. If I'm handling something in a way that I shouldn't, if I talk to someone in a way that is not kind, or if my perspective is skewed, he gently tells me, and for that I am so thankful. While he supports me, he holds me accountable for my actions. He's my steady beat. (-: I am also thankful that he, like me, doesn't care what other people think. It's kind of a bad combo at times, but boy, we sure have fun. Mark will have random dance parties with me in our music room, he will participate in the girliest of events if it is important to me, and he loves me. And I love him.
I'm thankful for Karlie Ann. I'm thankful that she keeps me on my toes in the way Mark and I relate to one another. I'm thankful for the fresh perspective she brings to life that only someone who has experienced deep loss can bring. I am regularly amazed at her level-headedness and the way she doesn't get wrapped up in so many things girls her age do. I am thankful that she calls Mark or me whenever she needs anything, no matter what time. I am thankful that her calling to missions reminds me that perhaps I should be more mindful of missions myself. Many people really don't understand our relationship with Karlie and I can't expect them to - but I am thankful that our family has been forever changed for the better.
I'm thankful for our home. We regularly say, "don't you just love our home?" It's perfect for us and I love it. Of course I could go on and on about the things I am thankful for.
To sum it up, thank you, Jesus, for everything. For allowing me to be a part of your purpose, and for this season of my life, which is currently pretty great.
Happy November, everyone! Isn't this just a delightful time of year? I think it is. I love all things family friendly, making new traditions, and creating memories. So, we went to the pumpkin patch. I believe this will be a great new family tradition.
Mark and Karlie and I loaded into the Accord and headed toward our pumpkin patch of choice. This particular patch edged past the others due to the simple fact that it actually had real, live camels. That won it for me.
I mean seriously - how often do you see a camel in Oklahoma?
On our way we listened to Linus talk about the Great Pumpkin:
Each year, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere. He's gotta pick this one. He's got to. I don't see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one. You can look around and there's not a sign of hypocrisy. Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see.
I just love Linus. I didn't see the Great Pumpkin this year, but maybe, just maybe, we will next year.
The pumpkin patch was everything we expected. There were lots of pumpkins in all sizes.
We also took the opportunity to take several goofy pics:
But wait: it gets even better. There was a petting zoo. Who doesn't love baby goats? Precious.
I also decided, since I'm thinner now, to redo my high school senior pics. (-;
We had a great time at the pumpkin patch. We even bought some fudge which was devoured in the car before we made it home. (-: This is one tradition I plan on keeping.
I've been swirling this post around in my head for a while, but it's been hard to put "to ink." Because, well, I'm not very proud of it.
You see, I have been struggling with contentment. I know what you are thinking: How in the world could you be discontent? You are right. I have no reason. I have a Savior, a husband who loves me more than I could have hoped for, we are healthy, and all our needs are met.
So how did this happen?
Back in college I worked at a Christian camp one summer, and probably the best thing I took away from that summer was somewhat of a life motto for myself: Comparison is the thief of joy. The context in which I originally heard that phrase used was completely ridiculous. I mean, it was during an all girl swim party for all of us college camp counselors, and we had broken up into two teams - each team was creating their own synchronized swimming routines, and there would be a competition. (I told you, it was ridiculous.) My team was really proud of the routine we had so creatively worked to perfect, but then we saw the competition's routine. When we saw the other team, our hopes were dashed - their routine was awesome. We were suddenly all down on our routine, and then someone yelled out, "Comparison is the thief of joy!", and in that silly moment, that phrase stuck in my heart and I knew it meant more than that synchronized swimming competition. It was an outlook on life that would change me.
Comparison is the thief of joy.
You can apply it to literally anything. We can be perfectly content and joyful with our family, our appearance, our houses, our blogs, our kids' behavior, and then we see someone or something better. And that little seed of jealousy is planted. And we somehow start to feel like we deserve better. We deserve a better car. We deserve that pair of jeans, or that fancy shampoo. If so-and-so can have it, why can't I? And suddenly, we have lost our joy. We got wrapped up in ourselves and what we don't or can't have and began comparing ourselves to others. And folks, there will always be someone with better hair, a more brilliant personality, a quicker wit, and a smaller jean size. That's why this is so dangerous - we will never win.
Comparison is the thief of joy.
I heard that phrase that day and vowed to make it a personal mantra. When I found myself comparing myself to someone I was quick to say that to myself and "get over it" and move on. But somehow in the last few months my comparison had disguised itself as something different so I wasn't as quick to catch it. It charaded itself in feeling sorry for myself, thinking I deserved things I saw and wanted, jealousy, and greed - all of which were also true. But the heart of the matter:
Comparison is the thief of joy.
It hit me when I was driving. I do a lot of overanalyzing while I'm driving which usually doesn't do a whole lot of good - but this time it was actually positive: I realized that I wasn't content. That it wasn't my small wallet or my life situations or relationships that I couldn't control that were giving me a "justified" bad attitude. It was my heart. I had let myself compare myself to others or to some magical standard I believed I deserved to live up to. I had let my discontentment spill into not just a dissatisfaction with my finances, but a dissatisfaction to the way I was treated. And folks, that is not a good place to be.
There in my car, the Holy Spirit quietly revealed to me my sin: Contentment. Kathryn, you are not content. And honestly I didn't want to believe it at first. I thought, okay okay, I'll work on being more content. Days went on before it really started to sink in. But then it hit me: He was right. When I started being content and stopped comparing myself to others, I was joyful.
Comparison is the thief of joy.
And when I started being content and stopped being a diva, life started getting back to where it should be. And wouldn't you know that this coming week our pastor will be preaching on nothing other than contentment? When I saw that as the upcoming sermon message I thought, You have got to be kidding me.
Discontentment, you can't hide anymore. I see you, and all the sins that come with you, for what you are. And with the help of the Holy Spirit and some accountability from my hubby, you are daily becoming less existent.
I am encouraged by Paul's words from prison:
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through him who gives me strength.
I did something pretty awesome this weekend. Par for the course, I know, but this is something outside the realm of my usual modes of awesomeness. I fixed something. Prepare to be impressed.
You see, there was a little problem going on with our shower. Exhibit A:
And here's a fuller view:
Ew, right? Basically here's what we have: the grout and caulk stuff has deteriorated and is like falling out everywhere. This is also going on inside the shower at the same spot, but one thing at a time.
So. What does one do? Well, first of all, I went to Home Depot. And praise the Lord, but the "flooring expert" who helped me just happened to be a W.O.M.A.N. Yeah, that's right. Defying those gender roles. (Fist pump). So I told her what the problem was and she hooked me up with the goods.
This is one of the awesome tools I purchased:
Yeah, completely creepy. It's like Psycho going on. Basically, that thing helps you get all the messed up grout and caulk out of the cracks. So here I am in action (at least posed action - I can only do so many things at once):
I scraped and I scraped. Let me tell ya, I was pretty glad my biceps are ripped to shreds (clearly) from my recent workouts, because this was no walk in the park. I admit, I didn't do it perfectly and might have chipped some tile just a little bit because of my zeal. But I think I know how to do it better and by my own creativity and experimentation, I learned how to maneuver that tool and get that grout out! (-:
Here's the after:
Impressive, huh? All cleaned out and ready. Here is the proof of my hard work:
The next step was the fun part. I had this grout stuff and I loaded it in a caulking gun and cut the tip off. Action shot:
I don't know if you have ever worked with grout caulk stuff, but that is weird. Let's just say I had to get my bearings. Since I'm keeping it real, this is what it looked like at first:
Do not judge me. That stuff has a mind of its own and goes everywhere. I got better:
And then I figured you can like smooth it out it with your finger:
Progress right? Well, here's the deal. They sold me all this stuff, like a sponge and stuff and I realized I didn't need that, because I could use my hands, so I got my money back on that and used my finger to smooth out the rest and.... duh duh duh... voila!!
Yeah. Legit. I did pretty much get that stuff everywhere, including on the floor, all over me, on a bunch of towels, but it's all good. Battle wounds. Here I am, super proud of my achievements:
You can do it, too! Plus, I got to listen to music the whole time, gettin' my groove on, and I successfully procrastinated my seminary homework, for which I am now paying the piper. Anyway, I hope I motivated you to try something new.
On an unrelated note, here's a cute pic of me and Boo for your Happy Monday:
Okay, I know. The title is, well, disgusting. But you guys. Seriously, it has been quite a life-altering mystery. But since as of Friday it has been solved, I feel secure enough in my self-worth to share.
It all started a few months ago. I would wash and condition my hair and then blow-dry, as I had every day since like 9th grade (late bloomer, I know). But then one day a few months ago, there was this oily spot right on the crown of my head - right after I washed and blow-dried. I was like, "What the heck?" So, I talked to my fancy Aveda salon hair lady and she suggested that I only put conditioner on the bottom half of my hair, we got a different shampoo, etc etc and..... no change. In fact, it started getting worse. Now, this had never been a problem for me before. I've never dealt with an oily head. But in the last two years I have switched to a more natural shampoo with much less lather, so I was guessing it had something to do with the shampoo.
So what did I do? Confession: I started using baby powder. I know. Shame of all shames. But you guys. I had no other option. I could NOT get my hair un-oily. And the baby powder was a good temporary fix. It soaked that oil right up... for a while.
These shenanigans went on for several weeks until one day I was sitting in my boss's chair at work, you know, wearing the boss pants, and diligently working. (Okay, he may or may not have been standing over my shoulder telling me to do stuff.) Ha. Anyway, the ole boss man is rather tall, and with me sitting down, he had quite the bird's eye view of the top of my head. And let me tell you, that was NOT a pretty picture. I had used significantly more baby powder that day because, well, pardon the pun, it was all coming to a head and the oil was getting out of control.
So what did my ever-encouraging boss say to me after looking at my head? He said, "What is UP with your HAIR?!"
And that, my dear friends, is when it all hit the fan. I was found out. A fraud. I had a disgustingly oily head. And I was disguising it with baby powder - apparently too much baby powder.
I had no choice. I had to come clean. I told him what I had been doing, thus explaining the white gunk that had built up on the top of my head, that clearly I couldn't see, but he could.
He did what every other good boss would do and started looking up "oily scalp" on google. Let me tell ya, do not look up your symptoms on the internet, unless you want to be diagnosed with 1. cancer, or 2. an incredibly rare skin disease. By the end of the day, I was convinced I had a serious medical condition.
So the next day I wasn't going to let the oily hair win. I washed my hair MULTIPLE times in the shower and used NO conditioner. And what happened? Nothing. Well, Oily Scalp Award happened again.
I knew this called for drastic measures. Forget the natural shampoo; this was a crisis. So I bought Classic Pantene. I washed my hair at night and again the next morning, more than once. And I scrubbed. And lathered, rinsed, and repeated. And... voila. No oil.
Seriously you guys. No oil. So, I thought, maybe my hair just needed to be stripped of that oil and then it would all be okay. But as soon as I went back to the fancy shampoo, the grease ball made another appearance.
So this Friday I went to my hair lady and told her that we have a problem. I told her the story. I told her about the baby powder. She was my priest; I was in confession. I could tell she was trying to maintain an "everything you are telling me is completely normal" face while inside she was screaming "YOU PUT BABY POWDER IN YOUR HAIR AND ARE USING PANTENE?!!!!" But, she knows that this whole fancy salon concept is rather new to me, so she graciously asked me how much shampoo I was using. I said I was using a nickel size amount or so. And there you have it.
Apparently I should be using a half- to dollar sized amount. Apparently I should also be getting my hair so wet that as soon as I put the shampoo on I can get a good lather. Okay, who knew? All I knew is that this shampoo was expensive and if I was going to use it, I was going to have to make it last. I could make a little bitty bottle last several months, people. I am a penny pincher deluxe.
So I went home after that haircut, put a big ole dollop of that shampoo in my very wet hair, and glory be, I had a really soapy lather. I rinsed. I blow dried, and I swear to you, I could have been on shampoo commercial. I'm pretty sure there was cheeseball music playing in the back ground as I finished my hair with my texturizing product. I might have danced around. I might have screamed. It was such an out of body experience, I don't even know remember what I did. What I do know is that the crisis is solved - my hair was no longer oily. At all. In fact, it looked pretty awesome. Thank you, Lord.
I also know this post is ridiculously long and pretty out of control. But I had to share just in case I could change someone else's life.
One question: Has anyone seen the show "New Girl" on Fox? OMG I LOVE it. K thanks.
My husband is a wonderful nerd. Most people don't guess incorrectly when trying to figure out who's the nerd and who's the free spirit.
He is such a nerd, in fact, that months ago he started planning a blog. Not anything extravagant, mind you, but he just wanted to be very intentional. He started working on post ideas, asking my opinion, and formulating in that sweet little nerdy brain of his what he would like the purpose of his blog to be.
At one point he told me his blog would "go live" on October 1. (-: As you know, it's after October 1, so you guessed it, the blog is live. I thought you might want a little peak at his wonderfully nerdy heart by checking out his blog. Mind you, it's the polar opposite of this little crazy piece of blog land.
Dude. Seriously. It's October. I'm pretty pumped. I mean, we've got football season, we've got pumpkins, we are getting closer to the most wonderful time of the year, and last but not least, my half-birthday is celebrated during October. So I'd say it's an all around fabulous month.
But, September happened. And yeah, I haven't really said much about that month. Probably because my life has been consisting of this:
Don't let the artsy photo fool you. That is homework. Those are flash cards. I have a love-hate relationship with homework. I love the learning, but hate the work. Hmm.... So, I've been doing a lot of that. And that has left me... plum. tuckered. out.
What else happened in September? Well, our garage door broke. And that was pretty epic. Because, well, who knew garage doors are expensive to fix? And who knew that the garage door repair people aren't exactly your friendly professional repair men? I mean, this guy was nice and all, but I'm not gonna lie: when I first saw him, I thought it might be my last day on earth.
Mark affectionately referred to him as "grizzly adams", and he didn't fix the garage. So our cars are in the driveway until we are rich enough to fix the garage door, which is not today.
I also accomplished a goal of mine: I made my own laundry detergent. See how excited I am?
Yeah, it's super awesome. Clean clothes, and you have no idea how cheap it is. DO IT.
Here's the awesome pumpkin in front of our house for Fall:
We also celebrated one full year in our wonderful home. What a tremendous blessing it has been. Love. Love. Love.
And to Dave Ramsey's great delight, we paid off my student loans. Glory be. Now we just have Mark's student loans and we are golden. Two more years? We'll see! Woot.
And last but not least, I decided to switch out my wedding ring for something completely different. I had to special order it and it will take a while to come in, but I am so excited. Here's a pic:
Yeah, it's totes two-tone gold and a beautiful garnet. So excited. Love.
Well, those are my September updates. I know it's completely lame that I haven't posted. But dude, guys, I'm working full time and in grad school. It's all I can do to get enough sleep to function. Good news? In two weeks I will only have ONE class, so my load should be significantly lighter and we can be BFFs again.
Oh, and I've noticed a lot of posts about babies. Everyone in blog world and in the real world is pregnant. And we're talking round two here - my friends are having their SECOND children. When did my friends start having kids? Everyone is growing up so quickly! At our house, we are happy with our canine kids, thank you very much. But also happy for everyone else. (-:
Well, I've put off studying as long as I can. If you feel so obliged, you should comment so I know you haven't completely defriended me since my absence. Thanks guys.
Yesterday, as I was procrastinating my homework, I pulled out my guitar and started playing lots of random songs. Then, when Mark and Karlie got home, they wanted "Both Sides, Now", by Joni Mitchell, which I hadn't done in forever. So Mark tuned my guitar into one of her very odd tunings, and I rummaged through the internet to find a remotely accurate version in that open tuning.
With my new fancy computer I recorded it for Mark, because it's his favorite, and then I just knew of one other person who would really appreciate it. The number one fan of my blog - my Uncle John G straight from sunny SoCal. He's one of my favorite people in the world, and I just wish we could see him more often.
Here I am - the one one the left making the weird face, holding the bunny, with my parents and John G, who is kneeling by my brother:
And here we are at my wedding - he flew all the way in from California and surprised us. It made the day.
And here we are, about a year ago, when Mark and I went to visit him in California:
He's pretty swell. So, I'm putting this song up for him - everyone else: you are welcome to watch it, although you might find it incredibly boring. (-: I figured since all the cool kids were doing Vlogs this week, I should, too.
Paper cuts. We all get them. The risk comes with the job of handling paper. Yet, somehow, each time we get a paper cut, we are completely caught off guard. The pain shoots through our finger, and we drop the paper. We rub the cut, the pain quickly subsides, and we then pick the paper back up and continue our work.
I’ve had some paper cuts on my heart this weekend. You see, we dropped Karlie off at her college this weekend. I debated on whether or not I should post this blog. I don’t want to pretend that I know what it’s like to drop a child off at college that I raised from birth for eighteen years. I am not that naive. I can’t fathom the courage that comes with that and I have a new respect in how well my mother handled that transition. But I do know how I feel, even from being with a child for a tiny fraction of that amount of time. And it’s my blog, so I do what I want. (-:
I got my first paper cut on Friday. We were shopping at Whole Foods - Karlie and I. She was getting snacks for her dorm, and I was doing our “regular” grocery shopping - except it wasn’t regular. Regular means I buy almost ten pounds of peanut butter, an $8 gallon of organic apple juice, and lots of milk. As I passed those items and others, I knew I wouldn’t need them this time, but I suppressed the thought. When we got to the check out line, I paid for my last item and immediately after my last item was scanned, coincidentally, there was that same $8 gallon of apple juice on the conveyer belt that another customer was purchasing. Karlie assumed there was a mistake, “Is that yours?” she asked. I quickly responded that it wasn’t, and I felt that paper cut and the prick of tears. It’s not ours because you won’t be here to drink it.
Saturday Karlie and I drove to her college together. She picked her favorite songs to sing to, I instructed her on how slowly she should be driving, where cops usually were, and how she should not be texting while going to and from college. We pulled onto campus and got in line to wait for the students to unload our car. As we were there, waiting on campus, yet in our car, Karlie started to get so excited. I wouldn’t have been surprised if she had peed herself. As she was getting more and more excited, I felt that paper cut and that sting of tears. This is it. You’re not coming home with us. I forced the feeling to pass, I kept my “cool”, and tried to celebrate with her, while all the time having a feeling of heaviness.
We spent the day decorating her dorm room, running errands on campus, and helping her get acquainted with her new home. I only lost my composure a few times while trying to maintain control of a situation that was not in my hands anymore. We stayed later than pretty much every other parent. And finally, we really had to leave. When Karlie realized we really were leaving her there, she, in a moment of fear, got those huge tears in her big blue eyes, and said “Please don’t leave me here. I don’t know anyone. Please stay the night with me!” Of course I couldn’t stay the night, and deep down I’m sure she didn’t really want me to. But I felt that cut, and I felt my own tears. I gave her a hug, told her she would be just fine, and reassured her that yes, she would make new friends, and we would see her in a couple of days. And then we left.
We drove home, and pulled up to the house. The very quiet house. The house with only one car in the garage. And we went to sleep.
I have received more paper cuts - paper cuts as I walk into her room and am surprised at how clean it is. (It was really only clean maybe five days ever while she was living in it). I never thought a clean room would make me sad. But it did. Paper cuts come when my phone or Mark’s phone makes any sound - and I ask, “Is that from Karlie?”, wondering how she is and what she’s doing - yet not wanting to hover.
I know there will be more paper cuts. But I know there will be so many more joyful events, so many reasons for celebrations, and so many more evidences of the Lord working out his plan in Karlie’s life. And I am so thankful for the front row seat I get - even if it does come with the risk of paper cuts.
I’d say the benefits definitely outweigh the cost.
Well, folks, Karlie has decided to start a blog. Of course, I couldn't be more proud. (-:
Since I haven't gotten the energy yet to post pics of the baby shower I hosted this weekend (sneak unfinished peek below),
and since I've had a headache for 11 days now and been doing a lot of this:
I'm going to leave the blogging up to Karlie for the day.
If you want to get a closer look at how awesome Karlie is, (and even if you don't, go anyway) then you should check out her new blog. She already posted her first post, and is working on picking her perfect layout as we speak.
Yes, I love Harry Potter. And Hermione, and Ron, and Dumbledore. I also love Luna, Mrs. Weasley, Tonks, Snape, and sweet Neville. I love them all. (Well, except you-know-who... obviously.)
I started loving Harry Potter in the summer of 2007 - right after graduating from college. I had just started my first job and was temporarily living back at home with my parents. Every day after coming home from work, I would grab something cold to drink out of the fridge and head to my back bedroom, lay on the bottom bunk, and delve into the world of Hogwarts, Quiddich, and flying brooms. During the week I would read a book and then that weekend I would watch a corresponding movie. I read all seven books that summer.
I loved the battle of good vs. evil, I loved the way the characters developed and grew up, and I loved the Harry Potter world my imagination created.
Obviously, in 2007, all of the movies weren't out yet - so I have watched them as they have come out - and this weekend marked my last date with Harry Potter. So, I did what every other loyal fan does. I bought tickets to the midnight showing and dressed up.
Here I am in my Gryffindor ensemble:
And here I am with my friend Elizabeth - we have on matching ties. (-:
We also have a friend who happens to be Harry Potter's look-a-like, so of course I got a pic with him.
Told ya - and here we are, all smiling:
Did we love it? Duh. I am sad it's over? You have no idea. And I have to admit that while I was skeptical of how the last movie would be (I didn't love the ending in the book), they made it incredibly awesome and I loved every second. We have spent way too much time talking about the characters and their roles and dissecting the movie since seeing it. It. Was. Awesome.
Another pretty great aspect of this fabulous midnight showing was that we got on the news. Seriously:
We are pretty legit. (-:
Since you are reading this blog, you must be somewhat of a blog reader, so you will likely enjoy this blog post by Andrew Peterson entitled, "Harry Potter, Jesus, and Me". It's fabulous, and well worth your time.
So, do you love Harry Potter? Did you go to the midnight showing?
Welcome to our blog! I am a seminary graduate, church employee, and free spirit. I am the wife to a nerd. I am mom to our adopted daughter Karlie, our baby girl Norah, and three angel babies in heaven. We love our poodles, Melvin and Boo. Pull up a chair and eat something organic. Welcome!
Baby #1: April 8, 2013.................... Baby #2: November 2, 2013............ Baby #3: February 25, 2014............ "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made..." ~Psalm 139