treasure from ireland

Sunday, September 30

standing upon a cliff hundreds of feet above the sea,
gaelic wafting in the air, 
heart pounding,
wind racing,
i caught  a glimpse of freedom. 

do you know what freedom is? 
it is absolute peace, from the inside out. 

divine rest in WHO's we are.
WHERE we belong. 
and the celebration of thanksgiving that follows. 

radiance that pours from that rest. 

Abba, may your heart be the only place i find rest for my weary starved soul. 
strip my heart from impostors,
and bring me back to you. 

the cradle of love. 

happy monday sweet friends, and may we remember to center our hearts on the only ONE that can bring us true rest. let us trade those burdens for freedom. 

love Katie 


Wednesday, September 26

about a year ago, my friends mom and i were chatting,
and she casually mentioned that every year the Hollywood Bowl hosts a
Sound of Music sing-a-long

A WHAT!!??!?!?!?!? {where has this been all my life?}
to which i of course started jumping up and down
telling her that we MUST go!

so less than a year later,
5 of us friends (including my extremely accomodating husband)
were off to the Hollywood hills for some musical madness!

and maddness it was.
i'm not kidding you guys, this thing is no joke.
it's serious business, you have no idea.

people dress up, and creative too.
there was even a costume contest, in which a little kid dressed like a bird in a cuckoo clock won!
we went early and picnicked right outside the bowl, and ate dinner while thousands of people walked by in the most amazing costumes! it was fun to pick our brain as to what each costume was {you'll get to see some below!}.
for instance, lots of little children were wearing brown if you can remember from the song "brown paper packages tied up with string".....that's what they were!

at 6pm the preshow started, and things got serious!
the actual actors and actresses that played the Von Trapp children in the movie came on stage and shared a few memories of filming the movie. 

they also give you "fun packs" on arrival. 
these fun packs have "props" in them that we hold up at choice points in the movie....
so for instance, any time they sing "Edelweiss" we hold up small white flowers
or when the family hosts a ball, we hold up an invitation!
they also gave us cue for when to react to certain scenes....
so like whenever the nazi's walked in, we all were cued to BOO loudly! {which was easy}
and whenever Gretel had a line, we all went "ahhhhhh"

AND, of course the BEST part was that the words were on the screne, so nobody had an excuse not to sing a long! hahahah
even sweet Kevin was busting it out with the best of them! 
imagine thousands of people, belting out songs, booing and cheering, and waving their cell phones!

one of the coolest parts of the night is that everyone received a party popper
and when Maria and Captain Von Trapp kissed for the first time
EVERYONE popped theirs and confetti went flying!
i got goosebumps just remembering it, haha!
{wow, i am such a nerd}

 another sweet memory of the night was when the family sings Edelweiss, close to the end of the movie
and the entire audience had out their cell phones waving them back and forth
and everyone was singing.
it really was quite beautiful.

if any of you want to come out next year for it {it's an annual event}
you are more than welcome!!!!

enjoy the pictures!!
 {inside the bowl}
{the props!}
 {come on, sing it with me....ME, a name I call myself...}
{everyone waving their phones during Edelweiss!}
and there you have it folks:) 
my latest SOM escapade! 

it's pretty cute though, 
cause the last few mornings Kev has woken me up singing "Do-a-deer"
and said goodnight to me by singing "so long, farewell"
haha...sorry babe for outing you in public. 

but that's when happens when you are married to a sound of music crazy,
you convert too. 

love you all! have a great week! 
love Katie 

the hills are alive with the SOUND OF MUSIC part 1

Monday, September 24

when it comes to the Sound of Music
i'm about as crazy as they come.
i. love. this. movie.

{come on, admit it, deep down inside, you too wanted to be Liesl, running around singing "i am 16 going on 17" in a gazebo with a cute boy in the pouring rain!} 

i used to watch it with my grandma when I was small,
back when it was a 2 part VHS.

as I grew, my dad and I watched it almost every year together.
my mom introduced me to a bunch of books at the library about the real Von Trapp family
and I even read a book written by the actress who played Leisl
{nerd alert, i know}

there is something about the story that grabs my heart.
maybe it's the ridiculously beautiful scenery,
the time period {i've always been really interested in WWII history},
or the AMAZING songs {ahhhh Edleveiss, I love you}

but i think more than any of that,
it's a story of God's beautiful leading when people trust him,
courage to do what's right,
and the ability to weave JOY in all that we do.

and maybe the Alps have something to do with it too. 

regardless, below are all my confessions of being a total sound-of-music crazy person. 
please don't judge people.

Salzburg, Austria 
my sophmore year of college, I lived in Italy studying abroad. It was one of the best things i've ever done. that summer, when my program ended, my best friend from high school Noelle and two of our guy friends flew over and we traveled through 6 countries together. in austria, my deepest desire  was to go on the Sound of Music tour in Salzburg.
 the boys said no way.  
noelle and i went without them, and it was without a doubt my favorite part of our ENTIRE trip. 
haha. i know. 
you're laughing. 

imagine, noelle and i with a bunch of middle aged women 
busting out "do-a-deer" on the tour bus with no shame. 
in salzburg, i made noelle dance around with me, as we frollicked through the tree lined lane, and ran up and down the steps pretending to be one of the Von Trapp kids. 
{noelle was SUCH a sport!}
{and i was probably SUCH a sight to see relishing every second of the tour!}

Von Trapp Lodge, Stowe, Vermont
my second year out of college, i traveled around the country with Invisible Children, sharing the story of the conflict in Uganda. 
when I heard my team would be going to Vermont, 
i could think of nothing else but sharing this story at the Trapp Family Lodge. 
you see, the real Von Trapp family, when coming to America
began to tour around the country, singing to make a living. 
ultimately settling in Stowe, Vermont.
they now run a gorgeous lodge. 
and we got the INCREDIBLE privilege of doing a presentation there,
cross country skiing on their property (through Maria's glen),
and even meeting a REAL Von Trapp! 
i was a little bit in heaven:) 

and soooo....this weekend the saga continued. 
it was quite epic...however you'll just have to wait until my next post to read the story and see the pictures:) 
ahhhh, i can't wait to show you! 

happy Monday dearest friends! 
love Katie 

what i learned from my mother in law

Thursday, September 20

i sometimes laugh and tell people that i fell in love with my in-laws before i fell in love with kev
if you remember, i lived with kev's parents when i first moved to southern california
{for more of that story, see here

and it's kind of true. 
i really did fall head over heels for these people, 
absolutely and fully. 

today is mama Cook's birthday, 
and in her sweet honor i want to share the treasures i've learned from this beautiful woman
so...drumroll please....
{sadly, i could find hardly any pictures of barbara and i. this pathetic super old orange sweats picture will have to do!}

1) don't hold on to your expectations:
i could probably write an entire novel on this subject as i'm someone who has high expectations and is  constantly crushed when those do not become reality. {which, hello!, is life...i'm a slow learner people}. from the minute i moved into the Cook's house, i was absolutely amazed at how i didn't ever {even the tiniest winch} feel like barbara had any type of expectations for me. i could come and go as i pleased. she was delighted when i ate dinner with them, but never made me feel bad when i missed it. 

when you are with barbara, you feel free. because she allows you to be who you are. 
no expectations to meet. 
and that has been life transforming to me.
i feel fully loved and cherished for being me. just me. 

i want that for my kids. i want to be just like barbara in this area. 
i want to be a woman of freedom, where people breath free in my presence.
{i've got a long way to go, but thankfully have a good role model in this!}

2) nothing is off limits:
i've shared a lot of my life with barbara, and here's why: she listens and cares. 
like not just "uh-huh-shake-your-head" type of listening, 
but like "drop-everything-sit-on-the-couch" listening, where she really hears. 
barbara has spoken in to so many wounds in my life 
with words of encouragement, bible verses, and prayers. 
she doesn't mind wading through the hard stuff in my life,
she takes the good with the bad.  
i've had people in my life that only like to hear the "good" and get uncomfortable when i open my heart to share the "hard". 
but not barbara. she takes all of me. and loves me. 
{thank the good Lord for her in those tough times!}

3) ALWAYS laugh
to know barbara is to have laughed with barbara. 
it's true. 
she doesn't take life too seriously, and finds the humor in everything. 
even when she battled cancer, her sense of humor over her bald head abounded. 
{i searched long and hard for the most epic video of barbara rapping a happy birthday to nate-dawg, but couldn't find it! but I did find this sweet picture of her dancing with some girls in the girls-group we co-led}
{sorry barbara, this was too good not to share with the entire world!}

4) lastly, love Jesus and be available
 there is no denying this woman loves the Lord.
she's free in Christ, and offers a space of freedom to others. 
HIS love just pours right on out of her. 

love you thankful you're my second mama!!! 
happy birthday! 
love Katie 

travel log: tracy arm, alaska

Friday, September 14

i love to travel. 
plain and simple. 
but one thing i've never been good at is waking up early.
this proved to be problematic for viewing Tracy Arm. 

tracy arm is a famous glacier,
but to see it I found out I had to be up on the boat deck between the
ghastly hours of 5-8am. 
big dilemma seeing as my body doesn't function before 7am.

and to be honest, the thought of waking up before 5am
and standing out on a FREEZING cold deck with glaciers and wind
wasn't exactly appealing to me,
someone who almost catches frost bite shopping at the grocery store.  

but this is where having a husband comes in rather convenient. 
i convinced Kevin, who wakes up before 5am on a daily basis,
to go out there early, and if it was cool,
to come and wake me up. 

so that's what happened. 
and i'm so glad he did. 
it was so much fun being out on deck with my whole family
and a thousand other people, 
all wrapped in cruise blankets,
viewing scenery so majestic and lovely. 
we even saw whales that morning too. 

and as a disclaimer,
i did just roll out of bed. 
hence the hat. 
and lack of pictures of yours truly.

have a sweet weekend dear friends! may you connect with Abba in fresh ways today! 
love katie 

speak light

Tuesday, September 11

"words that do not give the light of christ increase the darkness" 
-mother teresa

words carry weight
that can batter and wound
and equally
refresh and encourage. 

words are not to be taken lightly,
i sometimes forget that, and it has cost me. 

some of us have been hurt beyond measure by words. 
long ago I went through a season,
where I was repeatedly hurt by words from a friend. 
gossip, blatant put-downs, humiliation in front of others. 

in that time, my soul of freedom morphed into a sopping mess that quickly put up it's defenses. 
i went from a carefree school girl into a prison of self-consciousness. 
because these words from this friend were personal (often times personal attacks),
 i became conditioned to think that all who teased me were truly making personal attacks on my character. 

and so i began to live out of my wounds
scared that almost anything I said would be wrong, worried that I was somehow offending someone by some action, and all sorts of other small nuances.
my poor spirit analyzing every move I made in hopes that I didn't offend anyone. 

and the wounded often wound. 
for i am no better than this friend, as I too have hurt people by my unkind words.  
out of my own hurt came words that did not bring light, and did not encourage. 
often times I didn't mean for them to hurt, but i'm realizing that we must be so careful with what we utter.
will it bring life?

and in this last season, the Lord has mercifully and most poignantly
pointed out the tandem power of words and grace

grace for others when they have wounded us.
grace that will hopefully stop us from saying anything in our pain that would hurt the other. 
grace that allows us to forgive and step out of the festering pain of our wounds. 
and grace for ourselves when we mess up and bring darkness with our words. 

because grace covers all. 

romans 14:19 says 
"let us therefore make every effort to do what lead to peace and to mutual edification" 

words that bring darkness do not lead to peace or edification. 
remember that. 

so may we be people who only utter the LIGHT OF CHRIST
may we be realists, who despite living with pain, recognize the absolute need for kindness even in truth.

because words of LIGHT bring life.
they are fountains of water to refresh,
ushering JOY anew.

so may our words be filled with peace and edification,

speak LIGHT today dearest friends, 
love katie 

travel log: skagway, alaska

Thursday, September 6

Skagway was our kind of place....

the entire town was part of the national park,
which entailed us to free tours
a free movie of the town's history
and free trails for hiking. 
did I mention that our family likes IS OBSESSED with free stuff? 
{as a side-note, there were like 500 jewelry stores lining the streets and each one had a sign outside that said "free gift" as a way to coerce you into the store. I kid you not my sisters spent the ENTIRE 5 hours in Skagway cashing in on free crap. Didn't matter if it was the lamest piece ever, free was free!  Polly has a nice aluminum foil ring to prove it. }

i digress.
back to alaska....
there is some incredible history in Skagway. 
if you were a gold miner in the late 1800's, 
you would have been a part of the 100,000 men who traveled to Skagway
in search of gold in the Klondike. 

these crazy men climbed 500 miles in the SNOW in WINTER. 
PEOPLE! Gold is cool but not at the expense of your sanity. 
and unfortunatly almost all these gold seekers either didn't make it to the Klondike
or once they got there couldn't find any free land to stake their claim. 

but what made it even more fascinating was the little town of Skagway 
that really became a boom town
Skagway's own infamous con-man was named Soapy Smith,
and you couldn't go more than 5 feet without hearing his name. 
kev and I even paid good money to watch a musical about Soapy! 

a few people in our family actually rode the old train around the White Pass 
which followed the footpath of the miners,
where some spectacular scenery abounded. 
{thank you to my sweet brother Peter for the pictures} 

in some small way I was encouraged in Skagway by the thousands of men and women who chased their dreams. It may not have turned out as expected, but they persevered on. I hope i'm remembered as someone who chased the dreams God has planted in my heart. 

enjoy your weekend dearest loves...let's chase dreams today. 
love Katie 

{do you see david the gnome? haha}
{sweet grandpa who we all adore}

Psalm 103:1-2

Praise the Lord, O my soul;

all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

Praise the Lord, O my soul,

and forget not all his benefits—