gratitude, my new best friend

Tuesday, January 31

"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others."
- Cicero

Yesterday on the radio, between fits of pointless chatter, I actually managed to gather a story of substance. Evidently, scholars have found that at the beginning of all marriages, gratitude towards spouses is at it's all time high. Phrases like "thank you" and "I appreciate you" fall on open ears. However, years into marriage, "hand me the remote" and "where's my dinner" reverberate through empty space. My saddened sentiments were flooded by the thought, that like anything else, gratitude must not always be a rush of emotional thankfulness (as is common for newlyweds), but also an intentional part of our life. Gratitude is cultivated, and like any crop there is diligence and focus associated. But the yield, if sown correctly, produces a harvest that is rich.

Cicero was a smart man, as his quote reveals. Gratitude must be the predecessor for all other virtues in order for those virtues to be true to their intended character. Love without gratitude, is really not love at all- only a colder and darker shadow. How can peace reside in my heart, if I lack a thankful spirit? Peace is gratitude, and gratitude is contentment, and contentment is peace. Full circle....thank you gratitude. So hailing back to my 4th grad science project lingo, my conclusion (represented on this awesome flanel board) suggests that gratitude must reign in our hearts. Well then, what does that look like? i'm not Cicero but here is what i'm learning....

Kevin, my husband, is probably king at having a thankful spirit. He's contagious. And he's also intentional about shedding this business on me. The beauty of this art is that it has become such a daily part of his life to encourage me through his verbal gratitude. I don't deserve it, but i'm becoming better because of it, and most importantly i'm becoming a more thankful person. Case in point...

Night time ritual: Every night, before we go to sleep we exchange gratitude. He shares with me his favorite thing about me that day, and then likewise I share with him my favorite thing about him that day. Eyes to eyes, nose to nose, big hand holding little hand, we love each other deeply by calling out thanksgivings in one another. The ancient art of Namaste at work "the spirit in me, honors the spirit in you". Sleep prevails because I am known and loved by a man who honors the small things I do each day to the fullest degree. Gratitude at physical rest.

Notes: On unexpected mornings, mirrors bring smiles from my lover. Taped to our bathroom mirror, I find crooked words penned to bring me joy. This gesture, while small and on scrap paper, reminds me that HE thought of me. That he intentionally took the time to call gratitude into being. What if we all just started leaving scraps of thankfulness around? Judging from the time it takes to write a few words on abandoned paper, and the expression it can fill, I say why would we not?

The Fridge: While notes and kinds words are direct forms to applying gratitude upon my soul, the fridge incident took me completely by surprise. And I mean like double-take, goofy grin kind of surprise. One Sunday I happened to speak at a very large church, and an announcement was made in the church bulletin. When I got home later, my thirst needed quenching so I set forth towards the fridge for some H20. And there, cut out of the church bulletin, was the square inch announcement marked with my name. Days later, another "katie" paper mysteriously appeared on our fridge secured by a pretty floral magnet. Only two of us live at our house, and the culprit wasn't me. Indirect gratitude made it's mark on our kitchen that day.

And you know what else these carefully crafted gifts of gratitude did to my soul? They brought me to a deeper and fuller understanding of our God. If I feel close to Kevin because we cultivate a sense of thanksgiving for one another, doesn't that anticipate that our heavenly father delights in sharing our gratitude-fest? Tonight as I was meditating on these truths, I began to tell God what I was thankful for about Him today. And as I began, I almost couldn't stop myself. Smile wide, heart content, peace pumping in my felt good to thank the lover of my soul for being the ultimate lover of my soul. And of course, I thanked him for Mr. Tall Dark and Handsome:)

Here's to showing and expressing gratitude in all ways to all people, laying the foundations for all other virtues to be perfected:)

Love Katie

Joy to your heart

Monday, January 30

Happy Monday! Today as I was getting ready for work, I was thinking about JOY. In times of pain, it is hard to set our hearts in a rhythm of joyfulness. And of course my friend Henri decided to give me some encouragement on the issues of JOY (see below). May you and I be encouraged today to let JOY flow from hard circumstances. It's not in our let's pray that God's power and spirit will move in great ways to allow us to taste his overflowing joy in our lives:)
Thanks Henri for this lovely reminder....

Choosing Joy
Joy is what makes life worth living, but for many joy seems hard to find. They complain that their lives are sorrowful and depressing. What then brings the joy we so much desire? Are some people just lucky, while others have run out of luck? Strange as it may sound, we can choose joy. Two people can be part of the same event, but one may choose to live it quite differently than the other. One may choose to trust that what happened, painful as it may be, holds a promise. The other may choose despair and be destroyed by it.

What makes us human is precisely this freedom of choice.

Also...Happy birthday to my dear sweet friend Rachel, who is a JOY to be around! I love this girl...(and Happy late birthday to my other sweet JOY Michelle). I love both you girls SO much!
{Meesh, Rach and I all giving our best "come hither" faces....I think mine is an epic fail!}

Sister, Sister

Thursday, January 26

My two sweet sisters are coming to visit this weekend. In just a few short minutes I pick Lena up from the airport, and then tomorrow Polly is driving down from SLO.

Happy Happy Joy Joy

I love my sisters, and am thankful to have 2 of them! Siblings are so funny, because we all come from the same gene pool, but can be so different and similar at the same time, right?

People tell me that Lena and I look a lot a like, and have the same mannerisms. When I worked at Invisible Children, my good friend Erin stayed with Lena and said she couldn't get over how similar our mannerisms was like we were the same person. haha. gave me a good chuckle! But then of course, Lena's brain works so differently than high school she was taking calculus at Chico State and setting the curve! The curve people! Did I ever take calculus?....are you kidding me? I use a calculator for just about everything these days.... And then of course she just graduated with a degree in civil engineering. (side note...we used to joke that being a woman engineer put you at pretty good odds with meeting a guy, since most engineering classes the ratio was about 100 guys to 2 girls. Lena always shot back "Well the odds are good, but the goods are odd"!) The closest I ever got to engineering was walking by the engineering department or standing next to my sister.

Polly on the other hand looks nothing like me. She is blond haired and light green eyes, and short and our facial features look nothing alike. Never in a million years could you pick us out of a crowd as sisters. But she and I have similar personalities as well. She is probably sweeter than me though:) However, like Lena she is also good at math and science and all those things that make me sweat and put my brain into overload. (Can you tell yet that i'm right brained?) Somehow those genes passed over me!

But one thing my sisters both have in common is that they love Jesus and they both inspire me in so many ways. They are just as beautiful on the inside as the outside (which I think says a lot because I think they are both gorgeous!) They also laugh a lot....which I think is a spiritual gift. I love being around people who laugh a lot, so lucky for me my sisters carry their smile and laughter wherever they go.

thankful today that this weekend we will laugh....a lot. enjoy your family and enjoy this weekend!
much love, Katie

A Quality of the Heart

Tuesday, January 24

{Kevin's going away party a little over a year ago. Every day I thank God that he went, but I also thank him equally that he came back to marry me!}

Tonight is girls group, and I stand giddy like a school girl. I thank God for enriching my life with their smiles, and laughter, and curiosity, and gentleness. Tonight we are dusting off the ol' juicer (well, more like new was a wedding gift, thanks Benders!). I thought it would be fun to give each girl a few fruits and veggies and let them go at it! Maybe i'll be adventurous and buy some exotic fruits to try out? We'll see....

Today I got an email from a dear dear soul in Kenya. Her name is Nikole, and while i've never actually met her face to face, she is one of those people I feel I have been friends with my whole life. (Think Julia Child and Avis DeVoto) Her story is beautiful, rare, inspiring. After high school she up and moved to Kenya with hardly a connection, and now, years later, she is married to a wonderful Kenyan man and they are courageously and spontaneously living life in Mombassa. The initial threads to their story which began with the start of a soccer team made up of street boys in the community, has been woven into an ever expanding tapestry of ideas and programs for the future.
{the lovely Nikole in Kenya, doing what she does best }

Nikole shared with me her heart's desire of starting a girls program in Mombassa, called Rhema girls. Emails has come and gone between us, capturing and dialoguing what it looks like to share our lives with girls in the communities where we live, whether that is California or Kenya. My mind has been spinning in wheels of community. That is the heart beat Jesus has given me- community.
So today I emailed Nikole, and God gave me a glimpse of His wisdom through a favorite author, Henri Nouwen. It struck a chord.

Community, a Quality of the Heart
The word community has many connotations, some positive, some negative. Community can make us think of a safe togetherness, shared meals, common goals, and joyful celebrations. It also can call forth images of sectarian exclusivity, in-group language, self-satisfied isolation, and romantic naiveté. However, community is first of all a quality of the heart. It grows from the spiritual knowledge that we are alive not for ourselves but for one another. Community is the fruit of our capacity to make the interests of others more important than our own (see Philippians 2:4). The question, therefore, is not "How can we make community?" but "How can we develop and nurture giving hearts?"

Isn't that an interesting spin to community? Generally we view community through a selfish lens, asking ourselves "what can I get out of this?". Often we desire community for the end gain of our own happiness. Right or wrong, I believe the question Nouwen begs us to ask ourselves is how is our heart postured towards community? Are we postured in a way to see community as an avenue for self gratification or personal happiness, or do we find that with every opportunity to be in community is a chance to love as Jesus did when he stooped to wash his friends feet?
Community therefore becomes an issue of the heart:) To be in community is a precious gift God lavishes on his beloved children, and yet his sacred desire is for us to posture ourselves as Jesus did, looking to commune with others through a genuine display of servanthood.

For myself, and probably many of us, this might require some diligent prayer asking God to wipe away the shameful selfishness of our being. For how often do we view fellowship as a way to advance ourselves? When people go on and on about themselves and never ask you a single question, we are annoyed. Often, when layers are peeled back, community becomes more about M-E than any other pronoun.

As we all seek after community in different areas of our life, let us be intentional about caring more for the interest of others than for our ourselves. May we see fellowship as a divine moment of love and service towards one another. And will we stoop to wash each others feet?

And while the girls will be juicing their fruit tonight, God will be reminding me that just like the fruit going into the juicer that is squeezed and broken and yet produces an end result that is delicious and pleasing, he is asking me to give my life for the squeezing and breaking so that in the end He shall be glorified in the beauty!

Here's to Community my friends!! Love Katie
{love 'em!}

Love me some baby!

Thursday, January 19

{the first cake i've ever made! Despite it's shortcomings, you can't go wrong with funfetti}

Nope, this post is not about me, you can breathe easy, no babies for the Cooksies anytime soon! But, some dear dear friends of ours in the neighborhood asked if they could host a baby shower at our house. Of course!!!!!! came our reply... what's there not to love about a good party?

And a party it was indeed. I had no idea. Mexican baby showers entail some serious party.

One of my favorite things about living in my neighborhood is that i'm constantly learning about culture, and feeling so loved and welcome by our neighbors to join in their festivities. Genuine community entwines walking and sharing the joys and heartaches of life.

Two Saturdays ago we walked in JOY as we celebrated the soon-to-be Lili Dayanna. Her proud soon-to-be Daddy E is one of the most joyful men I know. He laughs and jokes and has a smile the size of Mexico. He came over about a month ago and asked if we'd host a baby shower for his lovely girlfriend. Watching E plan this event brought tears to my eyes. On nights where we swapped stories, E told us about his own father who abandoned the family when he was a little boy. Resolved to enter into fatherhood differently, he told us of his desire to love and care for his baby and family with abandon. I feel lucky to know him. His baby girl has one amazing father!

And so it was, 60 people pumped vibrant life and JOY into our humble abode. Our stove teemed over with posole and ponche. Our patio covered in tables and Mexican food, and speakers so loud their music danced and swayed rhythm into the walls of our home. I laughed, and danced, and never allowed my wide-eyed wonderment and smile to leave my face all night. This was home- not just walls and carpet and furniture- but relationships and dancing and sharing and giving. And giving some more. Everyone participating not only shared their life,but their resources, and gifts, and time, and laughter. I am constantly in awe of such genuine community, thankful God has allowed me glimpses of HIS heart through my neighbors sacrificial actions and love towards each other.

{one of my favorite sights ever...a full house! ahhh so much love to be had. And if you are wondering who the lone white dude is in the far left hand corner...that's my brother who came to visit us that weekend!}
{LOVE the woman and cute lil' Angel! Man, they are a blessing}
{Waiting to surprise the expectant mama, who was being blind folded and brought to our place}
{she's almost here!! shhhhhh...Kevin keeping watch!}
{Seriously, I was in heaven having so many people to party with on our patio. I wish you could see the speakers better. they were out of control loud! So fun!}
{Maria made posole to feed an army...seriously this woman was incredible! She makes a mean soup and ponche!}
{Let the games begin! My fav!}
{Measuring her tummy...}
{The men congregating outside while us ladies played games inside!}

This party reminded me of Jesus, and how he loved eating and laughing and engaging with everyone (no matter where they came from, or what their customs were). Jesus brings freedom. He brings laughter. Community is holy, from the Lord. And that is how we ended the night. We prayed together, and thanked God for the new life he has created. He IS the giver of life, and the sustainer of life.

May we break free of any misconceptions we have of Jesus, and run and laugh and party in community with a holy freedom!
Jesus says "I have come that they may have LIFE and have it in abundance!"

Enjoy today dear friends, and life fully who God made you:)

Love Katie

Living with Hope

Monday, January 16

{with two of God's sweetest gifts}

This weekend, God's deep light shone bright into the crevices of my heart, spilling out smiles and laughter and hope. Beauty came in the form of 40 children at winter camp, where together we ran and jumped and played like little children. Like children are supposed to play. No cell phones. No internet. Just pure fun goodness.

I'll post more about camp later, but today I ran across a beautiful quote by Henri Nouwen on HOPE. I hope you are encouraged today by the truth and loveliness of his words. Let's live in HOPE together today:)

Optimism and hope are radically different attitudes. Optimism is the expectation that things-the weather, human relationships, the economy, the political situation, and so on-will get better. Hope is the trust that God will fulfill God's promises to us in a way that leads us to true freedom. The optimist speaks about concrete changes in the future. The person of hope lives in the moment with the knowledge and trust that all of life is in good hands.

All the great spiritual leaders in history were people of hope. Abraham, Moses, Ruth, Mary, Jesus, Rumi, Gandhi, and Dorothy Day all lived with a promise in their hearts that guided them toward the future without the need to know exactly what it would look like. Let's live with hope.

- Henri Nouwen

love Katie

5 married months with my best friend

Friday, January 13

{Watching Polly kill it in basketball in SLO}
{He literally will "catch me if I fall...."....thank goodness that was a clean ride!}
{Just riding a bear, and acting like chilluns}

{The sweet face I get to look at each day}

{Hiking on a BEEEEEeautiful day in SLO!}

When people ask me how married life has been, a smile peaks on my face and eyes light with thanksgiving. Truly, I feel so undeserving of something so divine. Last night I whispered in to Kevin's ear as we faded off to bed "I never knew I could love anyone so much". Half asleep, he smiled, and pulled me tight, kissing the top of my heard, "I love you".

Together for the last 2 1/2 years, and married for the last 5 months. What a wonderful God we have that created such beauty and teamwork and partnership within marriage. An advocate, ambassador, lover, friend, encourager, and shelter has my husband become.

Thanks for cooking gluten free with me, doing the laundry, dancing and laughing with the shades down, reading and praying with me. Thanks for belly laughing at my jokes (or my "katie-isms"), for holding me when I cry, for putting up with my restless sleeping habits (earplugs and all), and for running with me after I eat sugar.

Love you KWC! Here's to the journey! Love KEC:)

{He even let me draw a mustache on him!}
{Love HIM!}

31 years ago....

Tuesday, January 10

31 years ago my beautiful parents were married. I wish I had a picture of their mom was gorgeous of course and my dad was all gussied up in his brown suit looking fashionable!

31 years, 4 kids, and a hoard of pets later, they are still enjoying life to the fullest! I love them for that.
Mom and Dad, you've shown Kevin and I what it takes to foster a loving relationship that lasts a life-time. Thank you for putting God first, and family second. Here are the things i've learned from you (well, this list could go on, but here are my top 5):
1) Respect Others. Every day on my way to school, my dad would walk me out the door, and say "how are you going to treat people today Katie?". And I would answer "With respect". Every day. It was our ritual. Thank you for teaching us how to love and respect others:) You lived it!

2) A home cooked meal around the table with family is just about as good as it gets! My mother is an incredible cook, and I never realized the sacrifice she put forth in cooking something delicious for us every night. Newsflash, cooking takes time and lots of preparation! Gourmet meals don't just pop up out of no where. Some of my best memories were spent around the table eating, and laughing, and talking and discussing! Heck, it's where my parents told us they were having a baby (Polly) and we didn't believe them, haha! So thanks for creating more than just food Mom, thanks for creating memories and for being so diligent about gathering us at meal times.

3) Traveling is IMPORTANT! Ever since we were little, my parents traveled with us and cultivated a sense of adventure and risk. As a family we've traveled the world, slept in a van in the middle of a soccer field in Italy, milked cows in Sweden, and built houses together in Mexico. My parents put me on a plane to Costa Rica by myself at 14, and I never looked back. When I was thinking about dropping out of grad school, my mom was the one cheering me on to move to Thailand. I am so thankful they both still have the travel twinkle in their eye after all these years!

4) Work hard, be generous, and YARD SALE (or at least be thrifty!) My dad is a farmer, and I don't know if anyone works harder than the farming breed! Both my parents are incredibly diligent in their jobs, but they make it a priority to be good stewards of their earnings. They've taught us to give with a cheerful heart! And if there's anything my mom has taught me, it's why spend $10 on a shirt when you can find a perfectly good one for 50 cents at a yard sale? Logic, people, come on!

5) Love God! One thing my dad says a lot (he has a stash of great "repeat" sayings) is "Make the main thing the main thing". My parents have done an excellent job of keeping Jesus the main thing. They love God, and raised us to love him with so much freedom in our lives.

Thanks Mama and Daddio! Hope the Bucra meeting and Arbuckle were thrilling adventures! haha, enjoy tonight!

love ya! Katie and Kevin

Going Amish...

Friday, January 6

It's a new year people! The holidays have waned, the ball has dropped, our Christmas tree is almost dead and must go soon (however I'm holding on as long as I can), and somehow the date is now 2012. Can it be?

When it comes to new years resolutions, i'm about as good as the rest of America- meaning my resolutions usually last all of....let's week. Two if I'm lucky. But this year (after one of the craziest and intense of my life), my heart and mind have been nudging me into a new mindset. Instead of making a list of unrelated items associated with compartmentalized portions of my life, I felt like I needed to mentally ask myself where my life was going, and if I wanted it to be going that way. Had I made decisions this past year that blew me off course, and was I willing to take steps to put me back on track?

With all the willpower I could muster, I began praying and asking the Lord to guide my steps for 2012. Over and over again, I heard the Lord speaking the words "simplicity and kingdom" over me. And to be honest, the more i've thought about it, the more i've realized these two truths simply go together.

With some deep introspection, my magnifying glass upon this last year yielded some signs that indeed I was not going in the direction I desired my life to be about. I felt "busy" all the time, I was constantly over analyzing my decisions for the wedding, and heaped enormous expectations on people (including myself). In one way or another, I began to lose sight of the only treasure that really matters, and that is Jesus.

So with this New Years, I prayed about how to allow God to steer me back on the path of his grace and freedom. The quote from William Law that I spoke of last post has helped guide me "If you have not chosen the kingdom of God first, in will in the end make no difference what you have chosen instead." I deeply desire God first, and so with that I began to ask the Lord to help shed any obstacle hindering this heartbeat.

Now before I share my hopeful shapings of this year, I have a confession to make. I adore the Amish. If it was possible to have a crush on a "people group" I would have a major crush on the Amish. And here's why. They are courageous in the way they live. Their value on community, simplicity, economy and modesty, wrapped up in a reverent and honest love of the Lord, allow them a joy and freedom scarce found in our society. Yes, it is true that they do not use electricity, cars, cell phones, or God forbid....the internet, and we might ascertain that they are missing out on not only convenience but connection. How horrible it seems for us to imagine life without technology. And yet, I believe it is exactly their sacrifice that allows them to live full and relational lives.

The point is, I believe true life, abundant life, is often found in sacrifice. Cleaning the deepest facets of our life to bring God and others to the forefront. Time to connect, face to face, time to raise a barn together like the Amish and build relationships of healthy interdependence. God created Adam in his perfect image, and then knew that his perfect plan was for Adam to be in community, so created Eve. Community is God's perfect plan from the beginning. For me to be fully present, I had to make some sacrifices that in the short term may be hard, but in the long haul are God's perfect treasures:) I'm sure in the moment the Amish farmer may have wished he had the technology to build his barn in a day, but the blood sweat and tears that sustains him as he labors side by side his friends binds the friendships and the mutual feelings of accomplishment that last a lifetime. I want to invest in the eternal, I want my actions and choices to be those that last a lifetime:)

So, while I haven't donned a bonnet or bought a horse and buggy, I am working on making decisions out of sacrifice that lead me deeper into the heart of God. Here are a few "mind-set shifts" that i'm beginning this year:

- Going part-time: For the past 3 years I've worked full time at Empowering Lives International. I've loved my job, working to make an impact in East Africa. About 6 months ago, I felt a strong desire to go part time, in an effort to create more space to commune with others. I deeply desire to build a home for my husband and I, and to be available for spontaneous outings with friends, family and even God. I long for times of reading, and resting, and opening my heart and soul. Society may tell me that it isn't financially smart to go part-time right now, that I should be working and saving up money. But Jesus said "you cannot serve both God and money" and if my ultimate goal is pleasing him, and I feel He is calling me in that direction, I will follow, and pursue his eternal plans for Kingdom living. Fresh winds, and I'm excited:)

- Going off facebook: This one may seem trivial, but I found that often I spent too much time just mindlessly scrolling through the newsfeed. And when I really thought about it, I realized that I was not "truly" connecting with someone when I looked through their pictures. I want to be intentional about reaching out to people in person, to hear their voice on the phone, or to make a special visit to see them face to face, or send a hand written card letting them know i'm thinking of them. In no way do I condemn social media, but I think it's easy to lose sight of what it really means to have a deep connection with someone, a bonding of heart to heart. So I hope to be more intentional with all of you this year:)

-Reading biographies: Reading can open up worlds, ideas, and inspiration. I believe personal story and testimony is so valuable, and I long to be encouraged by the lives of others. This past year I spent time reading biographies on Hudson Taylor and Corrie Ten Boom, and it changed my life and perception of faith. Their stories moved my soul. My Grandma (who was a missionary for over 30 years in Southeast Asia) are planning to read biographies together this year. We are starting with the biography of Amy Carmichael, and i'm really excited! More on that to come!

-Praying for the world in a year: Kevin and I found this incredible book called "Operation World" that has every country listed in it, complete with prayer requests and information about each country. I printed out a list of all the countries in the world, and cut them up, and put them into a special box I deco-pauged. Every night we take turns picking out a country. Already we are learning SO much about random countries we didn't even know existed, and feel so stoked that we get to pray into being something that might not have happened if we didn't pray. I love that God hears our prayers, and honors them.

-Perspectives Class: Last year, while Kevin was in Indonesia, I had the opportunity to take the Perspectives class. If you've never taken it, or have never heard of it, all I can say are missing out big time. It was the most incredible class ever. It's nation wide and is offered every spring and fall in various locations. It walks through the world christian movement, and is both incredibly moving, interesting and challenging. They fly in qualified dynamic speakers who have experience all over the world. Kevin and I feel called to reach the nations for Christ, whether here or abroad, and we are looking forward to taking it as a couple this spring. If anyone in the OC wants to take it with us, we are starting next week, so let me know:) We are ready to be challenged and grow in new ways in our knowledge of what God is doing worldwide!

-Dinner Dates: Food brings people together, and opens hearts in a very unique way. When we break bread and share a meal together, we are friends and have the ability to speak in to each others lives. I love that. Henri Nouwen (my favorite author) suggests that "Hospitality not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place...where strangers can enter and discover themselves as created free; free to sing their own song, speak their own languages, dance their own dances; free also to leave and follow their own vocations. Hospitality is not a subtle invitation to adopt the life style of the host, but the gift of a chance for the guest to find his own". I love this idea, and have found that as a guest of others, I too have been encouraged to be free and live as God created me. Our prayer is that we will be intentional about inviting others over to our home, and that they would feel loved and welcome:)

I suppose I could continue on, but I'm excited about the treasures that this new mind-set shift will bring. I'm looking forward to having more time, to being intentional, and to times of introspection and great learning. And I'm excited to journey with all of you:)

Much much love...

love Katie's that for life changing?

Monday, January 2

Looking back at 2011, it might be an understatement to say that "a lot happened". I mean, really, a LOT happened. I suppose you could say God gave me the biggest blessing of my sweet husband Kevin. I never realized how much I could love someone until I met this man. So before I digress and ramble on about K-dawg (which happens frequently...) here are my favorite events of 2011:

We got engaged! ok, ok, technically Kev proposed on NYE of 2010, but to me it seems like 2011! Kev's proposal was so personal and creative, and he included my whole family and his whole family and my best friend Michelle and her husband. They prayed over us, affirmed us, and even wrote a song for us! That man is too much and I don't deserve his sweetness!

We traveled in Indonesia and the Philippines! Kevin had been living in Indonesia as a basketball coach at a university on the island of Sulawesi. I went to visit him on the tail end of his time there, and we traveled through Bali and Kevin's hometown of Makassar. We snorkeled, rode scooters, and the best part is I got to meet all his friends and watch his team win the end of the year tournament. It was such a beautiful time.

We got married!! (This one takes the cake for the best!) It was a beautiful day!
We went to the Riviera Maya for our honeymoon. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Can I take another one?

And lastly (which is a combination), we moved into our new home and learned that Kev's mom was cancer free! Praise the Lord!
I'm excited for a new year. I love new beginnings, starting fresh. There is something truly lovely in taking intentional time to really think about how I want to live my life, and what I want my life to reflect and be about. I heard a quote recently by William Law that said "If you have not chosen the kingdom of God first, in will in the end make no difference what you have chosen instead." I'm looking forward to processing what this truth means for me, and what things I want to "resolve towards" this coming year:)

love Katie