happy monday...happy talking

Monday, July 30

oh goodness.
you know those conversations that make you giggle? 
i love to relive them, because they have me in stitches! 
{we LOVE to laugh!}

here are a few of my favorites from late: 

in the car
So there's this creepy radio personality named Delilah, have you heard of her? Today she came on the radio while Kev and I were in the car, and we began to speculate about what she looks like: 

Kev: I picture her with black hair
Kev: and long creepy nails (makes a claw with his hand)
Kev: and a boil on her head
Katie: so...uh, like a witch? 
Kev: oh?...yeah!

evidently we were WAAAAY off...we googled her when we got home, and she's blond and no boil. But the nails...yet to be seen! 

at the restaurants
so kev's family owns a bunch of restaurants. to preface, kev and his brother are two handsome lads. here are 2 of my fav convo's with customers....

Nate: hi, what I get for you? 
Woman: mmmmmhhhhhhmmmm, where are YOU on the menu? (finger sway included)
Nate: uuuuuhhhhhh
Woman: I'll take an order of YOU, yes I will.
Nate: ooookkkkk, so what else did you want? 
 {Kevin, Nate and I visiting my sister polly}

Kev: hi ladies, i'll be out with your sandwiches in a moment
ladies: oh thanks
Kev: anything else I can get you in the meantime? 
ladies: well, when you bring the food out, you can just bring yourself over too and sit on down with us! Do you cost extra?
Kev: uhhhhh

in the neighborhood
Kevin: what is one thing you can't live without?
neighbor girl: my mom and spiders
Kevin: spiders? 
neighbor girl: ya, and sharks and  snakes and scorpions
Kevin: right (because who couldn't live without those?)

neighbor kid: can you move that cabinet?
me: that thing right there? (pointing to it)
neighbor kid: ya
me: buddy, that's called a chair

at the gym
kev typically plays basketball when we go to the gym, so when i'm done with my work-out, i'll go and watch him play for a bit until we leave. 

guy standing on the side-lines: is that yo' boo? (pointing at Kevin)
me: uuuuhhhhh, wait, what? (me looking extremely confused!!)
guy: i said, is that yo' boo? 
me: (being white and SO not up to date on my pop-culture references, finally gets it!) umm, ya
guy: ok, cool

hope this gave you a smile:) 
I cannot believe Kev and I leave on Wed. for Alaska for a week and a half! 
we're excited...we've never been there! 
any tips for those of you who have? 

also, don't forget you can still buy an Africa Hope Shirt. 
i mailed my first two on Friday! 
for a list of all the shirts, click here

have a WONDERFUL day! 
love Katie 

travel log: dingle, part 2

Friday, July 27

yippe! we're back in our favorite place in Ireland, 
the Dingle peninsula
if you missed part 1, you can check it out here

and just to warn you, there is a LOT of green
they don't make you wear green on st. patrick's day for nothing!!

today we met up with some of our best friends at LAX
as they were just flying in from a 6 week trip from europe. 
we sat in the airport and talked for 3 straight hours (until they caught their next flight) about our trips...
when they asked us what our favorite place was, hands down we said in unison "dingle"

the entire peninsula is only about a 30 mile drive
but what makes it so magical is that there are about 100 places to stop along the way
to get lost down an old dirt road surrounded by brambles, and stumble upon a church that dates back to prehistoric times. there is just nothing like it! 

if any of you have seen the movie "Far and Away" with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman,
then this scenery might look familiar! it's where they filmed it. 
you can see the old fences made out of stone, a distance relic of old potato fields. 
the famine hit hard in this region, forcing many to emigrate. 
 field beyond field left barren ever since. 

a slew of islands off the coast, called the blasket islands, dotted the sea. 
the history of the people who lived there marked the last bastion of true irish culture, 
and were studied by anthropologists for many years, who encouraged them to write down their culture and stories. 
 the entire population was forced to evacuate the island in the 1950's. 
evidently the majority of blasket island residents moved to springfield Ma. 

we spent the entire day in a time warp, moving at our own pace
slow and curious, shrouded in a mysterious fog that made time stand still. 
we stopped for a pint at a local pub along the way,
we found the most delightful and cozy restaurant overlooking a cliff that warmed the room by fire place. 

as we headed back into dingle town, we were delighted at dinner by the delish food and friendly service (not to mention the amazing ambiance!) 
if you are going to Dingle, you must eat at the Boar's Head restaurant! 
and then finished the night with some authentic irish music at Benny's pub. 

it just couldn't have been better:) 

dingle will forever hold a special place in our hearts. 
it was a page back in time, an emotion of being the only traveler in the entire place
the sense of truly exploring a rugged and beautiful terrain. 
(of course there were other tourists, but it still felt wild and free!)

happy weekend! 
i've literally cleared my ENTIRE schedule to watch the olympics! haha! i'm a die hard olympic fan!!!!
love Katie  

when you pray, move your feet

Tuesday, July 24

earlier this week my sweet friend Juli wrote this, 

"There is an African proverb that says: 
“When you pray, move your feet.” 
While there is immense value to listening and being still in prayer and seasons when waiting is what is being asked of us; as this proverb infers, prayer also involves response and action. 
It is much like love. 
Love is more than words spoken from our mouths. 
It must be lived out in the patterns and actions of our lives. 

When we love, broken things of this world are restored and made new..."

 Kev and I have cried out to Abba,
asking that our dearest neighbors come to know Love itself. 
the grace, and redemption, and freedom Christ brings. 

but our cries should not echo in the emptiness of their words. 
let us move our feet, yes
and allow God to fold us into our own prayers. 

our prayers that sweet precious children in our neighborhood, whom we have come to adore and treat as our own, would know Jesus and experience his love.

so we become the church. 
we are inadequate, yes, but we are empowered.
we let the spirit move, 
and soon we are ok to sing off-key, and wear crazy hair, and play with water balloons, and LOVE. 

and that is what we did. 
last week our sweet life group/volunteers came for 2 hours each night, and we hosted 30 kids at our home for VBS. It was the Big God Story, in action. 

ninos we'd never met, heard us singing and playing games, and drifted towards our apartment,
 "can we come?"their sweet eyes pleaded. 
YES, for there is always room for more in God's kingdom. 

every night more kids, because the Spirit is contagious. 
they came early, they stayed late. 
they made us laugh, and wore us out. 

the very last day we invited all the parents to a BBQ. 
a lot happened that night, and most I probably won't recall, 
but this, oh yes, this I will never forget:

she stood there, we smiled. 
"thank you for teaching my children about God. I want to, but i am always so busy"
I nod, and smile and tell her how much I loved her kids, and what great things they had to contribute during small group. 

"i am from mexico" she continues
"but i've lived here for 17 years, 
i've always felt that americans, they looked down on me, that i am not good enough. 
but you, you all changed that this week. you loved my kids."

i almost choked. tears.
i smiled at her, took a breath and said what my heart believes more than anything, 
"we are all brothers in sisters in Christ, and THAT is more important than anything else. we are family. more important than our skin color is our identity in Christ, and that trumps all"

and that week, it did. 
Christ is it. 
He's all. 

and so our prayers were answered. 
LOVE came. 
and trumped all. 
and so we continue to press in. 
we feel tired, and pretty inadequate, but when we pray
and often, his movement involves us. 

so, as we pray, let's also move our feet. 

enjoy these sweet faces of Abba's precious ones.....

much love love love,

happy monday give-away, and such!

Monday, July 23

happy Monday dear friends!

there is still time to get into the Africa Hope t-shirt give-away!! to enter, click here
Kev and I will be picking the winner on Wed, so make sure to get in on the fun:) 

and ps- thank you to so many of you that have written me and encouraged me in this journey. I was so blown away by your sweet emails and notes. seriously, thank you! and I can't wait to start featuring all you lovelies wearing these shirts all over the US/world! My sweet friend Amanda from Marshall's Abroad just sent me a picture of her in Okinawa Japan rocking an Africa Hope shirt. She actually bought 3 a few years ago and wrote that she STILL wears them, love it! thanks Mands!! 

in other news, last week Kev and I hosted a vbs for kids in our neighborhood. it was pretty much the best thing ever...

it's true, kids say the most hilarious things! 

I can't wait to share more about it! But i'll leave you with a few pictures to show you the fun we had!!! 

{KC drew me and him on his backpack...he's the one giving me the flowers...SO cute!}

besides recovering from VBS, Kev and I spent the ENTIRE day on Saturday at the beach playing volleyball and bbqing with friends...glorious!
and then today we deep cleaned, because you know, 30 kids running around your house for a week can make a place dirty F-A-S-T!  (and by 'deep' I mean I got out the old toothbrush to clean every nook and cranny of our bathroom! count it people, it doesn't happen too often, i'm no martha stewart! haha).

We also got some sweet visiting time with our adorable god-daughter Lili. there is nothing better than baby smiles and laughter. 
hope your weekend was fantastic.... 
Have a GREAT start to your week! 
love Katie 

Africa part 3: and then it became our story

Thursday, July 19

Part 1, Part 2

  the beauty of this Africa story 
is that it is not just my story, or your story, 
it is our story

i spend my work days speaking at schools and churches and clubs
weaving stories of girls in DR Congo like Ischara, who at 14 years old had to make some pretty heartbreaking decisions, but decisions that ultimately that led her to the ELI school in the slum of Bukavu where she gained a new family, a new school, and a new hope.. 

just last week a vacation bible school here in southern california raised almost $3,000 to help empower these children in a slum through learning and discipleship. 
together, life is altered.

 the most epic of stories are those embroidered in the power of community. 
where we love through sacrifice. and welcome with hearts open.

Africa Hope Shirts...
and so sweet dearest friends, I want to share a way we can live this story together. Many of you asked if I am still selling Africa Hope shirts...the answer is no and yes at the same time.

 No, I no longer keep my website running. In the span of those 4 years I ran Africa Hope, I lived in a slew of countries, fell in love, got married, and started living in a community where my time became precious as I gave it to be present with my neighbors. To run a burgeoning business on the "side" was too overwhelming. It pained me to stop selling shirts and supporting so many incredible non-profits doing amazing work in Africa.
But in the end, to be with Christ and with people is ultimate gain.

However, I still have a lot of Africa Hope shirts left.
As I prayed about what to do with them, this is the idea I received...

I shared in my last post, Africa Part 2, that I work for Empowering Lives International. In the last year, ELI has asked me to raise 100% of my salary. Yikes, scary, right? But, as I gave this daunting challenge to the Lord, I felt so empowered that the Abba truly would provide for me. I believe in the work I am a part of, both in Africa but also the ministry Kev and I feel God uniquely placed us in here in our hometown. 

So...here is where the YES comes in with Africa Hope. Below you will see a picture of all the Africa Hope shirts I am selling. If you are interested in purchasing one (and of course there is NO pressure!), 100% the money from your purchase will go towards supporting me in what I do in Africa.

If you would like to purchase a shirt, here is what you can do:
email me at: hopeengaged@gmail.com with the subject Africa Hope
tell me what shirt you would like in what size you normally wear (the shirts run a bit small so if you tell me what you normally wear I can figure out what size you'll need!)
tell me if you like to wear your shirts fitting or loose
give me your address of where to send it
and I will let you know where to send a check! 

I'm selling them for $20, and then $3 added for shipping

But the OTHER exciting part to this, is I would LOVE to give one away to one of you sweet ladies!
If you would like to enter the give-a-way...here's what you can do: 
1) Be a follower of Hope Engaged
2) Leave a comment, including your email address and shirt style you like best
that's it! 

Kev and I will do a drawing, and pick the winner, and then email you and send your shirt right out!

women's shirts:




men's shirts:


thank you for being a part of MY story and making it OUR story. 
i am forever grateful for friends like you:) 

happy day sweet friends! 
love katie

ps- we are NOT models, so have some grace, haha!