Home again, home again, jiggity jig

Wednesday, December 28

Well, they say there's no place like home for the holidays, and we couldn't agree more. Kev and I haven't been up to Chico since we were married 4 1/2 months ago, and boy was it a delight (all except the chilly weather that is)! But the weather was no match for the lively company, the delicious food, the festive decorations, and the rich conversations (marked with bouts of non-stop laughter) that we had. Just joyous! About 500 times did I find myself thinking about how blessed I was to just ENJOY my family, and for Kevin to enjoy them as well. Kev has become like another son to my father (he even let my dad deck him out in cycling gear for the big ride!), and a brother to my brother Peter! It's fun to see how easily he fits into our family, and how we all adore him (me the most!!).

I could go on and on, but i'll let the pictures tell the stories:)

Before we arrived in Chico, I called my grandparents to see if there was a night that Kevin and I could come out and spend the night at their house while we were home. They were SO excited, and my precious grandma replied "Katie, there is no better gift you can give us than your time!" And it was true...a special gift of amazing time. My grandparents live in a huge farm house where my dad grew up in a little Swedish farming community. It was SUCH a treat to sit and chat with them for hours...my grandpa got on a roll about "the old days" and Kev and I couldn't believe some of his stories...singing in the quartet in the Navy during WWII, walking a mile to school on muddy roads (that were not paved till the late 1930's)..evidently his dad got his buggy caught in the mud one winter and it stayed out there the WHOLE winter until the spring came and he could pull it out, only swedish church services, his mom crashing the old model-T car, cute stories about my dad...it was great. As we cuddled up that night we grinned ear to ear- there's nothing like story time! In the morning my grandma made breakfast, and we sat around in the breakfast nook taking in the beauty of the rice fields, birds, and mountain range. Good start to a great vacay....

Next was the annual cookie baking day. And I must say, the men of our family really got at it this year. Dad, my crazy uncle Pat, brother, cousins and Kev really showed some tenacity with the sprinkles and frosting:) Kevin's great feat was a sweet camel and santa claus, nice work babe!
Christmas Eve is certainly one of my favorite nights of the year, if not my favorite night:) My whole big hilarious Swedish family crowds into my grandparents home and eats food you've either A)never heard of or B) only seen at Ikea and wondered what the heck they were...we also always drink A&W rootbeer. No, that's not Swedish but my grandpa said they've been doing it before he was born so it's kind of a big deal (only day of the year I drink soda!).
We also participate in a gift exchange that never fails to get a little out of hand. Popular gift items include "as seen on tv" gifts (like the infamous shake-weight, or the always-lovable snuggie). This year I cheated and bought a gift I wanted. I picked it, someone stole it, and then I proceeded to steal it back!! I know, I know, that's not the point of a gift exchange, but you would want my gift too..."1000 places to see before you die". See, I told you it was worth it!
At some point in the night people get a little loopy. This year that "point" was a toss up between my aunt susan busting out in song with her newly gifted singing Elvis dog (500 too many times), and when all the parents were trying to convince us kids that they were yoga professionals and could do headstands. If you don't believe me, see the evidence below (yes, both my parents are upside down in their Christmas clothes having a "head-stand off") Merry Christmas to me.
Moving on...Christmas morning is really the most magical day of the year! Siblings and parents take turn exchanging gifts...sitting at the "seat of honor" on the fireplace hearth. We had a lot of fun...dad modeling his new attire, Kenny G Christmas jamming in the background, the boys making us the traditional Christmas morning meal of ebelskivers (round pancakes!) with lingonberry jam. Yum! I also love that I get to stay in my PJ's all day.

My mom does an amazing job of making the house look so festive and beautiful. That night we had an incredible Christmas dinner of risotto, tri-tip, italian sausage, salad, garlic potatoes. We also learned how to play a SUPER fun game called Smart-Ass. The name probably wasn't the most PC game to play on Christmas (as my G-ma pointed out a few times with a smile), but Kevin and I were killing it, so fun!
The day after Christmas we spend with my momma's side...and it's a guaranteed riot with my Aunts around. If only I knew how to post videos on this thing, i'd let you preview my Aunt Julie's Michael Jackson moves (with glitter glove and all!)
Thankful and more thankful! Merry Christmas everyone!!

Reason for the Season...and no- Jesus is not from New Jersey....

Thursday, December 8

The Sunday after Thanksgiving, Kev and I started our first Christmas tradition as a married couple....claiming the Sunday immediately following Turkey day as "CHRISTMAS DAY" (clever, I know). We booked the whole day to prepare for Christmas...tree, decor, cookies, music, the whole 9 yards! (however the "cookies" part was evidently a little over-ambitious, but we did do the rest!)

Here we are at the Christmas tree farm. We cheated- we went to the farm to take pictures and smell the trees, but in 90 degree heat chopping down a tree and paying a premium price for it just wasn't sounding too attractive. So we opting for the cheaper tree at Home Depot! Sorry Pellisier farms, we used you for your ambiance!

{ taking in the Christmas spirit in 90 degree heat...seriously sweating...which turns out is not conducive for holiday snuggling and drinking hot beverages. Kev was so hot we actually had to turn on the AC while we set up the tree. Visions of cuddling and hot tea did not happen, but I'm not complaining...I LOVE the sun!}

{Me pretending I was in a serious christmas tree forest up in Washington! }

When we got home, we set up the tree and unfolded all the ornaments we've (or shall I say "I") been saving for years. Seriously, i'm like the biggest pack rat. My mom found a whole box of ornaments I got on a 75% off sale at Target 8 years ago (no joke, they've been sitting in cupboard for 8 years). Grandma Cook also gave us her reject ornaments (which, proved to be a bit hit and miss...the clown ornament scared the living day lights out of me for obvious reasons).

{I feel like this picture makes our tree look like the Charlie Brown tree, but I swear it's adorable and cute! }

We also found a SWEET nativity set on our honeymoon in Mexico. Now being a bit of a bargain hunter, I was over the moon discovering that the set was on sale. However, 4 months later when setting it up in our new place, I was reminded of the little fact sale items are often defective. Case in point...A NATIVITY SET WITH NO MARY AND JOSEPH!!!! Unthinkable right? Well, being the resourceful woman that I am, I borrowed an extra Angel to play Mary, and i'm pretty sure our new Joseph is a middle-aged Shepherd with white hair. But needless to say, it's still beautiful!

So, as Kevin and I were decorating our house for Christmas, our 7 year old neighbor Kasey came by. His eyes lit up when he saw our tree- excitedly asking if he could help us decorate. With a smile, I handed him an ornament, and soon Kevin was hoisting him up so that he could top our tree with our golden sparkling star. With two feet back on the ground, Kev asked Kasey if he knew why we put a star on the top of our tree. Kasey shook his head no. The magic of the Christmas story danced off Kevin’s lips, but Kasey crinkled up his nose, quizzical. Finished, Kev asked Kasey if he knew Jesus. “Does he live in New Jersey?” a small child’s voice responded. “No Kasey, Jesus lives in heaven with God, but we celebrate Christmas because it was a time when Jesus came to earth to teach us how to live and love, and how to start a relationship with him. He loves you Kasey”.

{Kasey putting the star on the tree}

And this is why Kevin and I feel called to be missionaries in our own neighborhood. Because the love of Christ is available to all, but there are so many who have never heard His name. Some who might think Jesus is a man that lives in New Jersey. Kevin and I did not move to Topaz Lane because it was a great complex, prime real estate, “safe” neighborhood or because it had a great school district. We moved to Topaz to dig deeper with our neighbors, to love them and be loved by them, and to share the beauty of our Savior’s unconditional love.

Every day for the last 2 weeks (since we put up our tree) Kasey, and his younger brother JT come and play at our house. We play cards, and share stories, and hug them, and laugh. One day Kasey came over, and because I was working, he sat and played with our nativity for 30 minutes. Finished with work, I walked over and was able to mimic the Christmas story using the nativity set. I pointed out baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph, shepherds, the angels and 3 wise men. Yesterday when JT came over, Kasey held up baby Jesus and said "JT, this is baby Jesus, Katie told me so!"

{I caught him playing with the Nativity...so precious...warmed my heart! }

Christmas is SOOOo wonderful for so many reason, but this season I'm reminded that the GOOD news is really good news, and is worth talking about each and every day!

girls group- the prayer, the treasure, the community

Saturday, December 3

{ The girls and I after an intense Dance sesh....}
{ LOVE this girl }

{ My hero Vane }

I love my neighborhood, and as i've mentioned before, I feel like I started really living once I moved here. I mean, i've been alive for 27 years- blood pumping, senses alert. But hearts beat for community, and so in moving I began to live and breathe relationship in a new way.

Last year, I participated in a program called Our Children. For a few months, I became part of a special group of 4 women- two of us from an English speaking church and two from a Spanish speaking church. Coming together every other week, we worked through a bible study called Strangers in the Land, learning what the Bible has to teach us about immigration. Stories were shared, hearts were open, tears were shed, understanding illuminated, and bonds of deep friendship were formed. All of a sudden immigration wasn't this foreign issue spread in the newspaper, dripping with fear and often times animosity. No, immigration became personal, I heard my dear friends share their stories of God's hope and mercy.

I learned that more important than our label as "American", comes our allegiance to the one who paid it all for us- "Christian". And as a Christian, we are called to love our brothers and sisters in Christ. We love others because Christ first loved us. We open our homes because Jesus would have done the same. When we turn away or reject someone because of man-made regulations, we hurt the heart of the Lord. Our citizenship is ultimately in heaven, not in geo-political boundaries.

As a group, the 4 of us would lead workshops for precious girls in an immigration shelter. Young girls who were caught crossing the border. My heart ached for these little women- each with a story that pulled strings I didn't even know I had in me. However lost and confused, these were Abba's special ones. I longed to hug them and play with their hair, but rules denied us such expressions of love. One night, I accidentally bent the rules and hugged a sweet girl from El Salvador. She looked at me and said "I haven't felt loved like this in a long time". I went home that night and bawled like a baby, those rapid uncontrollable stuttering sobs. And in the midst of salty tears, the Lord spoke to me in gentle whispers..."Katie, there are girls in your neighborhood that need love too."

And so "girls-group" began as a prayer. A small seed soaked in faith that God would somehow provide a space to reach out to college aged girls in my neighborhood. Odds were against me...I knew almost no girls that fit that age group, I speak no spanish, and had few connections. But with God,the odds are always good. I made a lame flyer, a dear soul passed it out in the neighborhood, and I showed up on the first Thursday and seriously wondered if even one girl would come.

And seven girls came. I beamed. That was a year ago...and in the past year I have fell in love with these seven faithful chicas that show up week in and week out. They make me laugh, they are beautiful, and I am ALWAYS inspired by the way God challenges me through them. Some of them face incredible odds, but do not allow circumstances to dictate their future.

And so we still meet on Thursdays. We study God's word- we bake- we craft- we laugh (a lot)-we play games- we dance- we sing. And most importantly we breath life into each other. We encourage, and speak truth, and infuse God's deep love. Because ultimately, that is what community is about- calling out the good of God and the good in one another. We are a story of transformation.

So whenever I speak of my "girls group", this is the story that precedes. A story of God's handiwork in drawing us deeper into who he created us to be, by allowing situations to change us and inspire us towards something grander.

And this week, the girls and I had so much fun making Christmas banners. Having Christmas wrapping paper, scissors, glue and glitter in my closet, we someone managed to each make some unique holiday cheer to hang in our homes!! Seriously, they make my heart happy (and so do their banners!)
{Craft TIME!!! }
{We were all cracking up b/c by the end of the night Gabs was covered in glitter head to toe- our little fairy dust girl }
{ Feliz Navidad banner...sooooo cute and festive!! }
{ Small but adorable...loved this HOPE banner! }
{ Peace on Earth Goodwill to Men...I didn't have the patience or the time, so I chopped the phrase and just wrote peace, haha }

{ Tam's adorable snowflake banner...she even left me a few to hang in our house!}

Love Katie

power in the story

Tuesday, November 29

{Our tree decorated for Christmas}

Today marks day 3 of eating on $2 a day, and already sacrifice has yielded a harvest of increased focus on the eternal. When hungry hands extend toward beloved almonds, I recoil, acutely aware that delicacies such as these do not fit into our new eating pattern. Nor do they fit into the pattern of the millions of people who struggle to live on $2 a day for the rest of their life. But life sans almonds has churned beauty in my life, for it is brought me back to the story.

His Story.

Committing to Love in Action for Kev and I wasn't just about eating less food. No, it was pledge to dive deeper within the journey of discovering the roots that changed the trajectory of interaction between natural and supernatural. Put simply, it was a desire to return to the story of Jesus. Savior. Messiah. Emmanuel.

3 nights and counting, Kevin and I sit hands held and hearts open. Be with us Lord.

We take turns letting holy scriptures roll off our tongue, recounting the stories that surround His birth. Teach us Lord.

Minds moving as we read the devotion and answer the questions. Mold us Lord.

"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to diving soul and spirit, joins and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart" -Hebrews 4:12

Powerful. I cannot explain it. For years, I have not focused my heart on the Christmas story in such a pointed way. And what a shame, for the power in God's word is a heavenly kind of lovely- it is overwhelming. The treasures of teaching layered into the advent scriptures has already bent my heart toward HIM. Mary's deep trust, Joseph's obedience, Elizabeth's blessings. Ordinary people whom God used to showcase deep Kingdom truths. Human hearts in obedience to the King set the stage for Heaven to break into the world.

And that is the beauty of this story. It moves us. It changes us. No matter how many times eyes have scanned the birth narrative, God's power projects through words and penetrates our heart. He teaches. We learn. He molds.

If you want to journey with us, I have added a tab to my blog titled Advent Devotions. (if you want them in a document to print out, ask me and i'll email it to you!) I have written 14 devotions to coincide with Love in Action. There is a passage of scriptures taken from the Christmas narrative, the actual devotion, questions, and then an ELI staff member or child you can pray for in Kenya. Setting aside intentional time to walk through these passages has already brought Kevin and I closer together as we move towards the truth and beauty of this season. Will you too find time each day to find power in HIs Story?
{ Snuggling up for devotion time }
And if you are wondering...we are still enjoying our food (it hasn't become too monotonous yet! but of course...we're only 3 days in, haha!). But I do miss my almonds!

How do you celebrate Advent?

love Katie

advent...join me, I dare you!

Sunday, November 27

{ LOVE these globe ornaments my mama bought me last Christmas! Now I have a tree of my own to put them on! }
{ putting together my $3.42 split pea soup...lunch for the entire week! }

Today begins Advent...the beautiful season of anticipation where we wait to celebrate the birth of our Messiah! As a girl, mom and dad and 3 siblings would round the wreath and light candles and read the sacred story of our Savior's magnificent decent. We would pray and then excitedly fling open tiny doors on advent calendars, gobble chocolate, and then four sleepy children were off to bed.

a season to remember his love.
a season to learn his love.
a season to give his love.

God calls us to love Him with everything in us and to love our neighbors as ourselves. But what does it look like in a world where 25,000 of our "neighbors" die from hunger each day, while our refrigerators and cupboards overflow with excess food? How do we love our neighbors as ourselves? How do we keep from falling into the sin of Sodom explained in Ezekiel 16:49? "They were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy."

Empowering Lives International, the organization I work for, is challenging us to put sacrificial love into action by living on a food budget of $2 a day for 2 weeks. You can find out all the details for LOVE IN ACTION here (there are some amazing resources, like menu options, ideas for families with kids, etc) but below I am going to start documenting the LOVE IN ACTION journey Kevin and I embark on this season:)

This Advent, Kevin and I have committed to eating on a food budget of $2 a day for 2 weeks.

We want to love and pray for our neighbors in East Africa (Kenya, Congo, Tanzania, and Kenya).

We want to give out of sacrifice, not just of excess.

But bottom line, we want to be obedient to our radiant Savior who came to love and serve the poor.

If you want to join in the fun I will send you a 14 day advent devotional that I wrote (one devotion for each day), AND you can post your experiences either here on my blog OR join the event on the Empowering Lives facebook event called Love in Action- Advent Experience.

so....here goes our prep:

Kev and I pooled our entire budget for the week....at $2 a day we both have individually $14 for the week, or a collective total of $28 for both of us for the week.

Between La Bodega (our little Mexican market down the street), Trader Joe's, and Ralph's, here is what we came up with for the week:

$2.50 - Big box of Oatmeal
$1.49- Carton of eggs

$3.42 - Split pea soup
  • $1- bag of split peas
  • $0.50- bag of carrots
  • $0.69- bag of celery
  • $0.23- one onion
  • $1- ham hock

{Kev chopping the carrots for our split pea soup }
$2.49- bag of 8 apples
$1- bag of popcorn
$1.14- 6 bananas
$1.99- bag of spinach

{ Excited that my favorite snack (popcorn) only costs $1 and will last me for both weeks, woo hoo! }
{ beloved (reppin' Indo) with our yummy/healthy snacks! }
$2.99- bag of basmati rice
$2.67- 3 cans of black beans
$2.20- salsa
$1.99- chips
$3.99- smoked apple chicken sausage

For a GRAND total of $27.87....JUST under our $28!

we are so excited to live and pray for our brothers and sisters in East Africa, and begin to live out more of the Father's heart for the poor. Will you join us in focusing your heart this advent season?

Love Katie (and Kevin too!)

spontaneous love

Thursday, November 24

{ kevin and I at ca adventure...my favorite part is watching kevin laugh hysterically when he rides ca screaming...seriously I get a belly ache from laughing watching HIM laugh. Don't you love to laugh? }

Happy Thanksgiving! Ohhh how I love today...the essence of gratitude and joy seep forth - love as palpable as the turkey roasting in the oven:)

God has filled my heart with blessings beyond compare, a list far too long to even fill the blog. 2011 alone has brought a trip to Indonesia, the most wonderful husband I could fathom, a beautiful and welcoming new family, and a sweet apartment with lovely neighbors. And of course, God has brought me to new places (some hard and some wonderful), and his GRACE and HOPE continue to extend into my life.

But today, I find myself so thankful for those small spontaneous moments, where you look around and tears fill the eyes and you know that God loves you so deeply. Last night Kevin and I had one of those profound moments, and while it may seem silly, I felt wrapped in the Father's arms....

Last night Kev and I wandered to Disneyland, excited to taste and feel the Christmas spirit with all the decor and lights and music. After a ride on California screaming, and a yummy dinner at the Fortune Cookery, we meandered into the California Grand hotel. "Grand" just doesn't do it justice. That place is like walking into a palacial hunting lodge fit for a king. The Christmas tree was the tallest i've seem in a building, twinkling and glittering in full glory. And slightly to the left a huge roaring fire place in a nook, cluttered with art deco chairs. The fire's roar was enough to tempt me to perch myself against the grate, and Kevin followed suit.

{ lobby of the california grand hotel! um...does it make you feel like you are in beauty and the beast? }
{ seriously, is there anything better than a fire place on a cold day }

We smiled and inhaled the moment. Happy families strolled by, bellboys aflutter, delicious scents coming from the restaurant next door. Divine.

And then in an instant, it all started happening. A man donning a guitar sweeps in, sits down, and the next thing we knew, we were a part of a massive sing along 'round the fire at the happiest place on earth. Kev and I caught eyes, and giggled hysterically. And then we sang.

{ guitar man in full strum...can you see me in the background clapping along? I was seriously getting into it }
{ my view from the fire place...does it get any better? }

Zippa-dee-do-da, Home on the Range, You are my Sunshine, Thank God I'm a country boy. And we sang some more. Red faced and rosy, strangers together lifting voices, while lights danced and sang along beside us. I'm not sure how long we were there, but we savored every last drop, like the remnants of a peppermint slowly melting on the tongue.

{ love of my life }

And in that still frame, I felt so loved. It was unexpected, but God knows how I love all things nostalgia- singing and being together round a camp fire like in the old days. God surprised me, and it was holy (and hilarious).

{ ok, ok, ok....we had to take the classic Christmas pic! }

So today amongst everything else I have to praise the good Lord for, I am so beyond thankful for surprises and God's unexpected ways of loving us.

And...Kevin just told me a baker at Avalon made a gluten and dairy free cake for me. So thanks again God...wasn't expecting that!! Happy Thanksgiving, and may God surprise you and love you today!

love Katie

when a house becomes a home

Sunday, November 20

{Getting ready for the special night...gotta LOVE scented candles. Don't they just make everything feel warmer?}

{Does the banner look familiar? It hung at our wedding. I bought the peace dove at a second hand-shop last summer in Sweden..I just couldn't resist a hanging dove, even if the plug is European and doesn't fit into our plugs here, haha}

{Another wedding piece recycled into home decor! We used these old postcards to put at each setting and the guests wrote us love-filled letters to read and re-read. I clipped them to an old frame and fabric! Couldn't resist}

Friday night we warmed our house, that is, we threw a 'lil party to welcome our friends to the new place. And it was wonderful.

Days prior, in the bustle of cleaning and hanging and purging, my my mind churned words round- tumbled thoughts of house vs. home scattered across beginner wife's slate. House, as I reflected, seeped meaning of "building" or "structure". The physical. As dimensional as a house is in brick and stone, Home carries a higher dimension. Home breathes life and warmth and welcome. "Home sweet home" not "house sweet house", and the point is diffused.

On August 13th I inherited a title- a powerful one that I do not take lightly. Wife. Ah yes, the illusive label with connotations to boot. The world reduces four letters to a domestic lunch box with servings of cleaning and housework and children. Oh, but to Abba "wife" is a sacred task. I see sparkle in the charge, twinkle in the good Author's eyes. Yes, being a wife is about being a caretaker of home and family- but mere mobility does not make a home.

A house becomes a home when love saturates, when encouragement fuses with the banal, and light shines bright HOPE into damp corners of fear and trepidation. Home is rest, a place to shed all anxieties upon entering the threshold. You are you- home is where someone believes in you. These reflections bear not as much on my limited experience as a wife, but find vibrant truth and life thanks to growing tall in a home where my own dear mother poured heart into her charge. Marrying my best friend, I wanted that for him. I wanted to prayerfully fight for a space where Kevin walks through the door and his souls tastes freedom. Enveloped by a warmth of love, known by a woman who's heart beats belief in the man she loves.

So yes, of course we painted, and decorated and arranged. But HOME could not be bought by gift cards or found at the be-all-end-all Bed Bath and Beyond. No, the home I wanted to create could only be built with prayer. Prayer that God would lay foundations of love and welcome, of light and hope, of hospitality and warmth.

Last week I stumbled across a letter that Catherine Booth wrote to her husband William Booth (the founder of the Salvation Army). In it, she declares her intent that their home will always be a place sensitive to his needs and concerns. And if you ask me, it is dripping in a deep and holy love.

"I am delighted; it makes me happy to hear you speak as you do about home. Yes, if you will seek home, love home, be happy at home, I will spend my energies in trying to make it a more than ordinary one; it shall, if my ability can do it, be a spot sunny and bright, pure and calm, refined and tender, a fit school in which to train immortal spirits for a holy and glorious heaven; a fit resting place for a spirit pressed and anxious about public duties; but oh I know it is easy to talk, I feel how liable I am to fall short; but it is well to purpose right, to aim high, to hope much; yes we will make home to each other the brightest spot on earth, we will be tender, thoughtful, loving and forbearing, will we not? Yes we will."

Moved. Home is not WHERE, we dwell, but HOW we dwell. Oh, and don't you love her conviction at the end? "Will we not? YES, we will". Beautiful. Prayer moves us to conviction that being a wife stands at a forefront of Kingdom work. About creating a space where saints and sinners can be trained, a resting place for the weary, a beacon of light.

and yes, much like Catherine..."I feel how liable I am to fall short" BUT.... (and I love that there is a "but")

It is well to purpose right.

To aim high.

To HOPE much.

And our home was warmed well by dear friends. Sweet souls who gathered together and prayed with conviction that we would fulfill God's great Kingdom work for our lives through such a sacred space. And I continue to pray- to aim high- to hope much.

Love Katie

{Gluten Free brownies! Can't leave anyone out}
{Some friends had left, and some hadn't arrived, but a sweet shot of those that warmed our home}
{Some picture on the wall...love love love sharing our lives and stories through pictures}
{Got this chair FOR FREE...makes it even more delicious, right?}
{And my favorite place to spend time the God! I got this one for free too (on the side of the road...yes I am my mother's daughter!). The color was too perfect and matched our bedspread so I claimed it for our room! SOOOOO cozy!}

love and good deeds

Wednesday, November 16

Tonight in the waiting room, I started to cry. Little pools of hope and conviction brimmed over hazel eyes. Stories of deep faith in the midst of deep darkness ignited the light burning within. Last summer, Kevin and I visited 19 Barteljorisstraat, Haarlem, the Netherlands- otherwise known as the house of Corrie Ten Boom. For hero Corrie, I shall save another blog post, for there is too much to say.

But tonight, I want to share a small pocket found deep within Corrie's story, that spilled the tears onto faded jeans. It was 1944, and the Ten Boom family had been found by Nazi gestapo to be helping Jews escape. Papa Ten Boom, a lover of God for 84 years, and his family of 8 were being seized and transported to a concentration camp.
At the last minute, the Nazi commander took pity on 84 year old Papa and said "Old man, if you promise to behave yourself from now on, we may leave you here". Papa, to the suprise of no one who knew him, looked at the agent and replied clearly "Young man, if you leave me here today, tomorrow I will open my door to anyone who needs help".

Sniffle, Sniffle, tear, tear, chills of courage ran down my spine. "I will open my door to anyone who needs help" And it cost him his life. And yet he gained everything.

Tonight when I shuffled laptop, purse, papers and one frazeled girl through the front door, I saw it. A small post-it note on the mirror, scribbled in his familiar handwriting, that read "Hebrews 10:23-24 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds".
Tonight I was spurred on by a great man of faith, who in the face of death, never gave up the cause of love and good deeds, even at the expense of his life. I want that faith, that conviction, that love, that compassion. I want my home to be a place where we NEVER turn anyone away who needs help (regardless of nationality, documentation or appearance).

Thank you Casper Ten Boom, and my beloved Kevin Cook, for reminding me that no matter how hard it may get, the mandate to spur one another on in love and good deeds remains our task at hand.

Be encouraged...
Love Katie