travel log: some Santa Cruz for your soul

Friday, June 29

every year since I was a wee babe
the entire side of my mom's family crammed their small selves into
a house on the beach
in rio del mar

and I will say this
 most magical week of my life
as a child this meant 
as many otter pops and licorice as we could consume
{seriously, our dads told us our otter pop quota for the day was like 10, and we HAD to meet it}
boogie boarding, sand castles, paddle ball
bonfires on the beach with smore's and songs
and the absolute most glorious

that's right, every year the 
kids did a skit
the mom's did a skit
and the dad's did a skit. 
and without fail, aunt Julie's MJ glitter glove made an appearance

the mom's skit usually revolved around American Idol
the dad's skit usually revolved around making fun of the mom's
and the kids skit usually revolved around 
A) making fun of everyone
B) the Office
C) singing songs from this ridiculous CD my mom picked up at a yard sale with songs from the 1920's which were all pretty much politically incorrect

sadly, since i've become an adult and got one of those ridiculous things called "jobs" 
I now can usually only go for part of the week. 
but OH. 
that part of the week is butter. 
and this year, Kev got to melt in all that goodness with me. 
 { spike ball, check}
{dad and cousin playing some baseball} 

{my love being handsome and reading Unbroken, which FYI you MUST read!}

{mmmm beach food!}
{mr. beard, you can read his excuse here}
 {this boat is rather iconic for me. When we were small you could actually walk out to the end of the boat, as we grew we could walk out to part of the boat, and now the boat is closed off and you can only walk to the end of the pier. It used to be an old party boat in the 1920's used for dinner and dancing. During WWII it actually was recruited in the navy, and now it sits holding many memories as well as birds}
{off for a bike ride to Capitola with kev, pete and dad}
oh santa cruz. i love you. 

The glory of God—let it last forever! 
Let God enjoy his creation!
psalm 104:30

when you're a hot mess

Thursday, June 28

a few years ago i walked into a forever 21
which also happens to be my favorite store
(which as a side note seems to be the story of my life because for the past 10 years people are forever asking me what high school I go to.  Maybe it's more like Forever 18) 
anyway, the store looked like a yard sale on steroids
or maybe like Ross on a good day
but I became mesmerized by an adorable scarf on a mannequin
and only on a mannequin. 
so i found a worker and asked if I could just buy those threads off the mannequin. 
she looked at me and said 
"honey, if I take that scarf off the mannequin, it will be a hot mess!"
hot mess. 

that was the first time i heard that phrase. 
and I giggled hysterically in my head. 

mostly because 
A) the mannequin was the least of her problems and
B) who says "hot mess"? 

but to be honest, i love that phrase. 
i never use it because i'm not that cool
but the image it conjures up is really vivid, right? 

so a few days ago
I was a hot mess. 

A) it really was hotter than the blazes and
B) I think it's safe to say that we all have those days where 
satan shoots arrows at the core of our fragile heart
and beats lies to the cadence of drums
reverberating the tender spaces of our deepest parts. 

and that's when truth must become the drink of choice
kevin immediatly knew his wifey was off, 
and picked her up into his loving arms, and held her. 
and then he began speaking all that was true over her. 
words filled with beauty, and life, and HOPE

this morning I woke up and read the whole book of Colossians before work.
because I needed truth. 

and so I am reminded
that when we melt into a hot mess
that the most beautiful remedy is the truth that we are loved
fully, absolutely absorbed in the Father's embrace
that nothing can separate us from HIS love.

and rooted in agape
our mess becomes less
and peace abounds

happy thursday friends:)
love Katie 

travel log: oxford

Monday, June 25

I know, I know. In my anticipation for sharing Ireland with you, I completely forgot about the treasures we saw around London. and OH MY, gems they are. 

Oxford was everything English
and more. 
ahhhh, this place was magic. 

two of my favorite things came together here:
A) Harry Potter
B) C.S. Lewis

yes, that's right. Quite a bit of Harry Potter was filmed in Oxford, most notably the dinning hall at Hogwarts is actually the great hall at Christ Church. 


CS Lewis was a professor at Magdalen College
and frequented the Eagle and Child pub
I pretended to be Clive Staples Lewis himself
and I made Kev pretend to be Tolkien
evidently the two were part of an exclusive writing club called the Inklings.
we felt so legit
besides the part where I am a brilliant middle aged male professor. 

sidenote: pubs are just so cool in the UK. they are nothing like the seedy bars we have here in the US. these places are hubs for gathering and laughter and ideas, and I mean come on, if CS Lewis dreamed up Narnia in a pub, then they must be a source of inspiration, right?!? 

I digress. 

So back to Oxford. Delightful. So wonderful. words won't do it justice, so here are some images that will forever keep this regal place in my mind! 
{they have this awesome pastime called punting..basically like paddle boarding but in these classy boats!}
{my handsome navigator}
{i pretended this was the secret garden...}
{lewis and tolkien, clearly!}

in the evening, as the sun began to cool it's blaze
and the pace of life relaxed
we walked down a cobble stone street  and passed a church. 
st. aldates. 
and in the wind, I caught the beautiful sound of voices lifted in praise
singing "this is our God" by hillsong. 
 Kevin and I stopped, and we looked at each other
and we started to sing. 
and in that moment our singing smiles lifted praise, and our hearts were so full with the beautiful fact that God is glorified all around the world. 
his Love is around us. 

I hope you have a great week lovelies! 
love Katie 

summer and some Henri wisdom

Wednesday, June 20

Yippee for summer! That glorious season is upon us full swing, and you better believe i'm stuffing my face with watermelon at every chance I can get!  Since coming home from the UK, Kevin and I are absolutely adoring the sunshine and soaking it in. We barbequed with friends last night and sat on our porch talking and laughing. And today we are off to spend a wonderful few days with my family in Santa Cruz, beach beach beach!! I'm bringing spike ball, and can't wait to teach my fam!

I saw this today, and reveled in these and simple, deep and true.
this is my prayer to be a live-er of Christ 
(I wrote "liver" first and that just didn't sound right, haha) 

Living Right, Speaking Right
"To be a witness for God is to be a living sign of God's presence in the world.
What we live is more important than what we say, because the right way of living always leads to the right way of speaking.
When we forgive our neighbors from our hearts, our hearts will speak forgiving words.
When we are grateful, we will speak grateful words, 
and when we are hopeful and joyful, we will speak hopeful and joyful words.

When our words come too soon and we are not yet living what we are saying, 
we easily give double messages. 
Giving double messages - one with our words and another with our actions - makes us hypocrites.

May our lives give us the right words and may our words lead us to the right life."- Henri Nouwen

enjoy the rest of your week dear ones!
next week, I am taking you to Dingle, Ireland...
our favorite place!

love Katie

travel log: london

Sunday, June 17

we loved London!
what can we was everything we had expected and more. 
besides all the lineup of regular ol' touristy activities
(which are awesome...that's why they are touristy!)
we also got the rare privilege of staying with friends who lived in London,
therefore being exposed to so many hidden gems we never would have discovered otherwise!

we stayed with our friends in London's East End, which is about as diverse as it gets...
immigrants and hipsters thrive in this little neighborhood.
we sampled such an international cuisine at the street market,
got crazy lost in the bubbling flower market,
and also managed a peak at the olympic stadium
{the olympics are in just a few weeks...soooo excited!}

We also had pretty much the best weather London's ever seen!
The week we were there it was 80+ degrees every day.
we hear that's kind of a miracle, some claimed we even brought the sun!
i'm okay with that rumor!
as a result, the entire british crown was out picnicking in the park.
it was glorious!

Lastly...and this was epic...
we were in the UK for the Queens Jubilee!!
(which was the celebration of her 60 years of reigning as Queen. Now THAT is impressive!)
to celebrate, every store, house and window had up the union jack flag and bunting to match!
at first I remarked how patriotic England is, only to discover that the hoop-la was all for the Jubilee.
It was pretty amazing:) I wanted to take a picture of every storefront!
I had to use some self control for time management purposes:)

enjoy the pics (I have SOOO many more, it was hard paring them down!)

here are a few of our favorite places: 
I love getting off the beaten track,
and discovering the local are a few!

Broadway Market in the East End: this is a tantalizing street of some serious culinary goodness. On Saturdays, this street transforms into a foodie market delight (i'm hoping to do a food post, so i'll share more on that!). But besides the market, this quaint lane boast fabulous food diversity and picturesque shopfronts that will guarantee to have you snapping pictures and outing yourself as a tourist. Just make sure to raid your grandma's closet before hand so you fit in with all the hipsters.

Churchill Cabinet War Room Museum: london's tourist drag is quite impressive, but our absolute favorite favorite was the Churchill Cabinate War Room Museum. For any WWII history buffs (or just those that want an interesting museum), this placed was off the charts! The museum is quite actually the rooms that Churchill and his staff fought the war with Germany. The offices were literally boarded up in 1945 with the end of the war, uncovered not too long ago, and stand exactly as they did then! Great audio guide as well. Kev literally had to drag me out I was so enthralled.

Columbia Road Flower market in Shoreditch: if you are looking for something off the beaten trail where locals congregate, then this is your treasure. On Sunday mornings, flower mongers display their plants like nobody's business and shout wagers on why their flowers are the best to buy! Mayhem on the most adorable street. The best part is, right off the main drag are some of the cutest coffee shops i've ever even if you don't buy any flowers (which will be hard to resist!) then at least you can treat yourself to a scrumptious brunch and delicious view of all the floral action!

love love love,

to love, and love deep

Tuesday, June 12

Hello dear ones! Kevin and I are home from the UK, wearied travelers bursting with smiles and much gratitude for a comfy and familiar bed!

The most wonderful thing about being married to your best friend is that even after 19 days of being with each other EVERY day, ALL day, we looked at each other yesterday morning on our way to work, and both uttered "i'm going to miss you so much". 
love that man.

I can guarantee that the next few weeks/months my little space in this world will be filled with an abundance of images from our glorious passage into shades of the red white and blue Union jack. However, today I wanted to share a glimpse into what my soul is learning about life and love.

As a standard, vacations are filled with time, and time gives rise to copious chapters of thinking in one’s brain. Pages chalked full with memories, ink spilling emotions of love, hurt, joy, pain, beauty and despair.
 And hope.

I sit in a coffee shop in Scotland, and I stall on a page filled with joyous occasions, where memories bring flight to my heart and I feel free remembering the soul’s rest in that moment. And in the same vein, I wait patiently on a London subway, and the words on the page are not so nice, memories of hard times, of deep despair and confusion. I work to push them away, afraid of the pain that sometimes suffocates and pushes love away.

But no.

Love should never be pushed away. 
No matter the pain.
Love should reign, because HE reigns.

Henri’s poignant reminder that love is and should always be the trump card…..

"Do not hesitate to love and to love deeply. You might be afraid of the pain that deep love can cause. When those you love deeply reject you, leave you, or die, your heart will be broken. But that should not hold you back from loving deeply. The pain that comes from deep love makes your love ever more fruitful. It is like a plow that breaks the ground to allow the seed to take root and grow into a strong plant. Every time you experience the pain of rejection, absence, or death, you are faced with a choice. You can become bitter and decide not to love again, or you can stand straight in your pain and let the soil on which you stand become richer and more able to give life to new seeds…Yes, as you love deeply the ground of your heart will be broken more and more, but you will rejoice in the abundance of the fruit it will bear."

So break the ground Lord. 
Till it with hands sweet,
So that fruit will rise 
and in great strength,
 choose love,
time, and time again. 
despite the brokenness, let's trump all with love today,
shall we? 

love Katie

travel log: Scotland

Saturday, June 9

there is little wonder that JK Rowling found her inspiration for Harry Potter in Edinburgh
it stole my heart. 
Poor Kevin was sitting next to a girl that could only say, 
over and over,
"I LOVE this city!!!!!"
it was magic.
it was historical.
it was beautiful. 
and it was romantic. 
talking to a friend, I said,
"if it wasn't so cold here, i'd move to Edinburgh"
which might be the case for much of the world!
that's how much I adored it. 

we are now in England with the dearest of friends
being amazed at the moors and dales.
and cute Beatrix Potter look-a-like houses.
i keep waiting for Peter Rabbit to poke his little head out:)

thinking of your and much love from England
love Katie

stepping out diaries: dominican republic style

Thursday, June 7

Katie is a good name. I like every Katie i've ever met, honestly. 
But I especially like this Katie. 
She is such a gem and honestly one of the most heartfelt and genuine people i've ever met. 
and she's just downright gorgeous. 
She's been living in the Dominican Republic this past year, lovin' on people and sharing about her love for Jesus. 
Every time we skype, she always has some crazy story of God moving.
and i'm always madly encouraged! You can check out her blog here.
So today, she'll be sharing a story in my series "stepping-out diaries".
love Katie

Maybe the biggest lesson the Lord has been teaching me this year over and over and OVER again is that my life, my faith, and my salvation have absolutely nothing to do with me and everything to do with HIM. Now, I've "known" this for years, but I don't think this truth has penetrated my heart like it has begun to do this year while I've been living as a missionary in the Dominican Republic. Over and over again the Lord shows me that everything is about Him! It's always been about Him! And thank GOD it is! 

All God asks of us is that we step out in faith, and He is faithful to do the rest. 
Here's just one story of how that has been true for me this year. 

Earlier this year, we were having a campus clean-up event, where we were picking up trash around one of the most popular areas to hang out on campus. Now, I know this sounds like a sweet idea, but did I mention I live in a third-world country? There. Is. Trash. Everywhere. It lines every street. It perfumes every breath you take. I can't tell you how many times I have nearly tripped over rats that are devouring the trash while on my way to campus. Needless to say, I thought this whole trash-pick-up outreach thing was a really stupid idea. So I came to the outreach in a bad mood, probably due to my pride and my I-know-better attitude, and probably because of some other reasons that I can't remember right now (maybe I tripped on another rat, who knows). 
At the outreach, I did the duties expected of me with half the effort that I could have, and then I sat on a bench with a friend to chat away the rest of the time. Then one of our students came up, my friend Anthony, and asked me if I wanted to go share the gospel with him to some of the students sitting nearby. The truth? I didn't want to. I didn't feel like it. I was in a bad mood, and the Spirit can't really work through me unless I'm feeling super spiritual right? Well, thanks to what God has been teaching me over and over again this year, I knew that wasn't actually true. So I said sure and as I started to walk with him I prayed that the Lord would change my attitude and use me despite how I felt. 

In short, we approached a girl who told us that God had been beckoning her for the past few months, and that she knew He was calling her to allow Him into her life, as Lord. We were able to help clear up the misconceptions of what it means to follow Jesus (the culture here is extremely legalistic and works-driven) and she made a decision that day to give her life to Him. I was completely humbled and filled with joy that God is a God who uses us in our weakest moments to rescue His people from darkness. Again He was showing me that it's Him that does the work, our only part is to choose whether or not we want to be a part of it. 

I think back to what would have happened if I wouldn't have said yes when Anthony asked me. Would that girl have met Christ? Absolutely. I know that God doesn't need me specifically or anyone else for that matter, and He will stop at nothing to bring His people to Himself. But would I have missed out on that literally life-changing moment for one of God's precious daughters? Absolutely. I would have stayed wallowing in my bad mood instead of allowing the God of the UNIVERSE use me to be His messenger. 
I'm so thankful that God in His grace loves us and accepts us in every moment, even in our bad moods or worst days. He chooses to use broken vessels to bring Him glory, so I wouldn't put it past Him to be thinking, "Katie's in a bad mood and sinning left and right with her thoughts? Perfect! Now's the time I will really be glorified through her!" So lets step out, even in our worst of days! And remember that it is in our weakness that Christ's power is made perfect in us. (2 Corin. 12:9)

top ten reasons why men love facial hair...

Monday, June 4

 see these two cuties above?
they look pretty dang good beard and mustache-less right?
well, they both happen to have a passion for facial hair.
and wanted to share it with all of you.
I could have resisted this propaganda,
i figured it was time to get some man power going on the blog. 

to preface, i am a strong advocate against facial hair. 
let's be honest, a clean shaven face is beautiful. 
a little stubble can be sexy. 

but a lumberjack beard? 
or a 
handlebar mustache? 
those belong in the nasty category. 

yet for some reason unbeknownst to the entire female race, 
men love it, ney, they ADORE it. 
they come up with excuses why every month is the right time to grow it,
"mustache march" "facial hair february" "no-shave november"
it's ridiculous. 

but since I stand for egalitarianism on my blog, 
i have given the right to two special men in my life to shed some light to us females on
why facial hair is so attractive to the entire male race. 

so...without further ado, I give you my brother Peter, and my brother-in-law Nate-dawg. Take it away boys....

Hello fellow Americans, I awoke in a cold sweat last night…What do I fear the most (if a man with such potent facial hair can indeed feel fear)??? A world without beards haunts my sleepless nights! I am currently on a mission to raise awareness…to put bearded men on the endangered list, if you will. 
Did you know that only 33% of American males have facial hair, compared to 55% world wide???!!! This is beard-poverty, ladies and gentlemen, and I will not stand idle! This is what we are up against… 

-Modern American women find bearded men only 2/3 as attractive as clean shaven men… 

-Bearded men were viewed to be 38% less generous,36% less caring, 51% less cheerful…It seems that beard intimidation keeps less Adventurous women away! 

-When the marriage market is bad, men seem to give in to peer pressure and shave…scientists think this makes women feel safer.
*Official Scientific Study (Stanford Society for the Preservation of Beards) 
But do not fear, men, there is hope…98% of manliness is communicated not in deed or word, but in BEARD! My advice to you? 

-FIND A WOMAN WHO CAN HANDLE YOUR PANACHE!!! Grow a killer beard and weed out all the amateur girlfriends who are going to cramp your style!

Peter's top 5 reasons why men love facial hair
-        It is a noble complement to chest hair!
-        In Man Speak, it is akin to peeing on a tree…believe me, every man within 100 yards knows you are there and that you arnt to be messed with!!
-        Intimidation…(I am staring at you right now, yes you, less facially endowed boy!)
-        Since the dawn of time, it has been a sign of manliness.
-        It gives men individuality…hope that they do have some control over there own lives…Girlfriends and wives, I emplore you, do not neuter your gentleman and relegate him to a life of insignificance and humiliation.

One of the greatest things about facial hair is the brotherhood of other facial hair partakers. There’s nothing quite like looking at another dude and getting and/or giving a nod of approval about the hair that is growing on each other's faces. That’s usually the base level amount of acknowledgement you receive from a fellow facial hairsman. Can I make that a word? Facial hairsman. Okay, thanks. Oftentimes, these nods of approval turn in to conversations. I have started more conversations around my mustache than I can count. My mustache also gives me mad street cred. Facial hair breaks the ice in any social situation. If you don't have anything to talk about, you can always say, "hey let's talk about that hair you have on your face. Why is it there? Let me tell you about the time I had a mustache. I wish I could grow one, but (insert poor excuse here, usually involving women)" 
There are certain groups of people who highly embrace facial hair, and mustaches in particular. One of these groups of people I have come to know, are referred to as hipsters. Some may say that writing about them, makes the writer lose all hipsterness. This is a chance I'm willing to take. For those of you who don't quite know what a hipster is, I would explain them as the following: one who cares what they look like, but attempts to make it look like they don't care at all. I often attend live shows at a place in LA that is the hipster capital of the world, and going in to this place without any facial hair is social suicide. The roles are reversed in this other world, and it is amazing. It gives me hope of a world where facial hair can me embraced to it's full potential. 

One of the factors that makes the brotherhood so tight, is the skepticism received from the opposite sex. Every guy understands what it’s like to attempt to grow facial hair, but then get put down by a significant other, a caring mother, or friends that highly dislike facial hair and are not ashamed to voice their stance. When guys run in to girls like this, there has to be an excuse for their sudden change in appearance. This is when people run in to you and say, "hey, how come you have that mustache now? It looks bad, but you obviously didn’t shave it for a reason". I am currently writing this blog with hair warming my upper lip, but I will soon have to shave it off because the Laker’s season ended. I decided to grow a mustache for the Laker’s playoff run (tear…) It’s been good for me to have a fallback excuse for why I have a mustache and run in to the skeptics in my life. Joining the brotherhood for a few more weeks has been everything I remembered it to be. Sadly, I will be a normal guy again, losing about four years in appearance, my pass in to the brotherhood, hipsters approval, and individualilty. 
Next time you see a man with facial hair, know his struggles, and embrace the man behind the facial hair. He's not just a man with a mustache. 

Nate's top 5 Reasons why men love facial hair 
-There is a bond between ALL men with facial hair 
-It's a great ice breaker 
-It really does keep your face warm (I didn't know this was true until I shaved my mustache after 3 months. My upper lip was cold all day.) 
-It's timeless 
-Hipsters love it

well, there you have it ladies... 
two sweet hotties ruining their chances for love because of facial hair. 
 a great piece that hopefully has shed some light for us in the dark 
on why any guy would grow hair out of his face. 

thanks Pete and Nate for sharing your deepest heart-felt concern on facial hair. 
it was moving. 
until next time, 

love Katie