adventure...the way of the heart

Friday, July 26

 Today I wanted to talk about adventure. 
simply, I believe we were created to live brave and beautiful and meaningful lives
full of inspiration and justice and kindness. 

many times when we think of adventure, we immediately think travel. 
and yes, travel has lit my world on fire and given me more inspiration than a pinterest board:) 
together, Kev and I have lived/backpacked/ toured through almost 40 countries,
and feel incredibly blessed to have a seen a slice of the world. 

and as you dear readers all know, we are currently living in Nepal,
working with girls that have been rescued out of sex-trafficking. 
and that is an adventure in itself. 

but adventure, I think, is more than just travel, it is a state of our hearts. 
it is programing our lives so that our hearts are living on the edge of expectancy,
anticipating that God can use our small lives for HIS glory,
and praying into our DREAMS.

 adventure can then be lived
wherever you are,
whatever your circumstances. 
adventure is saying

"Lord, use my life. 
Drain me of me, 
and Fill me up with YOU" 

it is living in a way that takes the bible at it's word.

it is praying BIG prayers that you feel aren't even possible,
and watching God fulfill them. 

you see, my husband and I grew up in sunny California. 
pretty insulated from the poverty around us. 
But when we first started dating, we kept asking ourselves...
what does Jesus call us to? How did Jesus live?  
and so we decided that the Bible would be a good place to start...I mean, come on, right? 
and pretty much it was this....
Jesus hung out with the poor, the prostitutes, the hurting and the broken.
and guess what? this scared us half to no joke. 
last time we checked we didn't know any poor people or prostitutes. epic fail.

and so, with the desire to be brave and live the adventure Christ set before us,
we decided to start praying big prayers that God would teach us what it looks like to walk with the poor in our own country.
in our city.

Because how can we look like Christ if we don't live like him? 

so with knees knocking, the Lord opened a door to move into an immigrant neighborhood, and we moved.
we were scared, but we were at peace.
Jesus was with us, more than I had ever felt. 

because that's the thing with adventure. 
When God calls us to live in a way that emulates him, it's freaking scary,
but it's also the most liberating experience
because it's begins to bring rays of heavenly lights to earth. 

Kevin and I lived in this neighborhood the last 4 years, and it changed our life.
We became family with our neighbors.
We looked poverty in the face, and prayed about the dreams that could become.
We hosted a weekly college bible study for students in the neighborhood,
a vbs in the summers on our patio,
numerous dinner parties and baby showers, and even became god-parents.

just last week we heard that nine of the kids in our neighborhood gave their lives to Christ,
and were baptized in my in-laws pool.
we cried the happiest tears!
ohhhh friends...
adventure lies before us if we give God our life
and let him use it whatever way he wishes! 

so yes, adventure is at our fingertips. 
because Jesus came to shake things us and lead us on a wild life! 
but it starts in your heart
and realizing that every day has the potential to matter in a brave way. 
so dream big, and then pray big!  

what adventures have you been on lately? 

much love,

to paris we go...and a give-away winner

Tuesday, July 23

{i took this picture on my last trip to paris at the top of the arc du triumph}

Well, we leave for Europe today. 

I’ve literally been tip toeing around the house in excitement, doing a happy jig. 

For those of you who don’t know…by the grace of the good Lord, Kev and I are able to go to a wedding of my dear Aline (my family’s old exchange student from Switzerland!) who is marrying a pretty awesome Dutch man. They are getting married in Rotterdam, so off to the Netherlands we go! 

However, before we make it to the Netherlands, Kev and I are flying into Paris for a few days. 

This probably goes without saying, but how dreamy is Paris in the summer with your lover?!? 

And, since Kev and I have both been to Paris before (separately) and seen all the major sights, we feel as though this trip will be perfect to just get lost and soak in all the elegant streets, cute cafes, and beautiful scenery. No rushing around trying to make it to all the tourist attractions! 

In my excitement I’ve made a quick list of the things I can’t wait to do with Kevin.... 

- Take a romantic picture in front of the Eiffel tower!
Cheesy, I know, but seriously, does it get any more romantic than that? 

- Eat a gluten free crepe and croissant.
I’m pretty sure I could live on crepe’s and croissants, and when I found out I was gluten intolerant, I literally shed tears that I would never again bite into the buttery goodness of French croissant again.
To my great excitement, I googled and found both a gluten free bakery AND a gluten free creperie with the BEST REVIEWS EVER! I am in heaven!
Because honestly, what is a trip to Paris without a croissant or crepe?!?!? 

- Watch the little boys play with their toy sailboats at lexumbourg gardens. 

- Stroll, hand in hand, down the Champs de Elysse. 

- Sit on the steps of Sacre Coeur at sunset and watch the street performers. 

- Dance along the banks of the Siene and see the street vendors and maybe purchase a momento of our time there...maybe:)  

-People watch for hours at a street cafe

- Lastly, pretend I’m in the movie “Midnight in Paris”.
 (However contrary to Gil Pender, I think Paris is best in the sunshine!)

What is your favorite thing to do in Paris? Besides the major sites, are there any must-sees that you’ve experienced?

Have a beautiful week dear friends…thinking of you from Paris! 

Love Katie

and ps- the winner of the give-away is Rebecca Vandemark! excited to give these beauties to such a lovely and remarkable woman! 
you can check out her blog Caravan Sonnet here

{luxembourg gardens...sooo pretty!}

the beauty of "firsts"

Thursday, July 18

One aspect of living in another country is the excitement and emotion of “firsts”…
meaning that you do or experience something for the “first” time. 

Honestly, “first” can be both exhilarating, as well as straight up terrifying, right? 

I feel like “firsts” are gifts from God. 
I think they help us retain a child-like wonder to life. 
If we get too caught up in routine and monotony, we lose the awe and wonder that Abba has instilled in us! 
 I think the disciples had their fair share of firsts! Think about it…first time seeing water turn into wine…first time walking on water (Peter)…first time seeing a man be raised from the dead…and on and on and on! 
Living with Jesus is a crazy adventure because when we pray boldly, INSANE things happen that awe us! 

“Firsts” don’t have to just be reserved for people who move to another country! 
You too can experience “firsts” when you 
try a new restaurant, 
or google a new place to hike in your area, 
or even invite a stranger to your home for dinner. 
 Kevin and I used to try out a new ethnic food restaurant each month, and invite neighbors we didn’t know very well over for dinner! 
Life never has to get boring if you choose “firsts”! 

Here are a list of some firsts I’ve been having in Nepal… 

- Regularly eating Dahl Baht Tarkari (the nepali staple of lentils, rice and vegetables) 
- washing and iodining all my vegetables to get the parasites off! (sooo time consuming! Makes me a bit lazy to eat my fruits and veggies…wahhh!) 
- wearing a shalwar kurta and a sari (so so much fun!) 
- meeting and making best friends from England, Australia and South Africa! 
- Attempting to converse in nepali, and learning nepali dances and worship songs! 
- Trying to dodge cows when I’m walking down the street 
- Carrying a load of grass on my head 
- Spending 24/7 with my husband which I adore 
- Taking microvans and tuk tuk’s to get around the city, and ox carts in the country 
- Learning how to play carom 
- Preaching god’s word to hundreds of village believers 
- Eating with my hands 
- Doing ministry with my in-laws (seriously a HUGE blessing!) 
- Pumping water out of a pump 
- Doing counseling training for the aftercare home staff 
- Being loved on and building relationships with the incredibly precious girls in the aftercare home 

There really are so many more, but those were on the top of my head! 

But honestly, some of the best “firsts” have some come from watching the girls in the home! A few of the girls come from very rural villages, so things we often take for granted are “firsts” for them. 

Here are a few firsts I’ve had the excitement of observing with the girls: 

- riding an escalator (her face was priceless, how exhiliarating!) 
- trying clothes on in a dressing room 
- watching Peter Pan and Beauty and the Beast (which they loved!) 
- eating tacos and quesadillas that Kev and I made for them 
- going to a mall 
- seeing a movie at a theatre! (the girls are so used to bollywood films on tv, that after we took them to see a Disney cartoon, they asked us…”where was the singing and dancing?” hahaha….if you’ve seen bollywood you will get this!) 
- going to a water park (OMG…I cannot describe in words how hilarious this experience was! Kevin and I were literally laughing the entire time! The girls had never even been in a swimming pool so watching their faces was they went down the big slides was so priceless…they were scared stiff, but then loved it!) 

and soooo man others could be added to this list! 

I think it is important to document the “firsts” we have….
how we felt in those moments, 
and how much joy came from trying something new! 
I believe that Christ delights when we step out and risk and try new things…afterall, he’s the most adventurous of us all, right? 

Have you tried any new things lately? Had any “firsts”? I’d love to hear!! 

Happy Thursday Friends,
love Katie
ps- i'm extending the give-away entry until Monday, I'll post the winner on Tuesday!! 

A Nepali Give-away!

Monday, July 15

In all my travels, there have been very few times I have been tempted to buy many souvenirs. 
i think you'd agree with my reasonings below that most souvenirs are....

1) insanely tacky: 
"oh, I can't wait to display this horribly painted figurine of the Leaning Tower of Pisa on my mantel!" 
- said no one ever
2) incredibly useless
"what the heck am I going to do with this gigantic chinese mandolin I don't know how to play and that will collect dust in my living room corner until I give it away to goodwill, where no one will buy it!?!" 
3) the same crap in every country:  
"I swear I saw that scarf in Italy. And in Kenya. And in Costa Rica....what the heck!" 

am I right? 

however...I have been blown away by the items here in Nepal. 
They are gorgeous, useful, and incredibly original and indigenous to this area! 

and so today, I want to give away two of my favorite items:) 

the first is turquoise!!!! 
oh turquoise, you have stolen my heart! 
i love you and I want to marry you. 
teal teal!!!...anything teal! 
necklaces, bracelets, earnings, you name it, I now own it! 

Turquoise is actually found here in Nepal, so there is an abundance of it. 
I saw this picture on pinterest, and knew I had to get you one of these bracelets to add to your summer wardrobe....

here is the bracelet...isn't it cute? 

the second item is one that i've NEVER seen before. 
It's a brass dish that has been hand painted with gorgeous colors. 
i'm not gonna lie...I loved it so much I bought a bigger version of it to put all my jewelry in! 

I thought this little dish would be perfect for storing your rings or earrings.  

Here's how to win the the bracelet and brass bowl....
1) Leave a comment! 
2) Be a follower of Hope Engaged on Bloglovin and GFC
3) Like Hope Engaged's Facebook page (here

that's it:) 
easy peasy!! 

You have until Friday, July 19th to enter! good luck! 

...and exactly a week from tomorrow Kev and I leave for Europe for Paris!
ahhh summer romance in paris, I love you.
what are your summer plans?
love Katie 

life lately

Friday, July 12

Oh lovely life, 
sometimes you are tiring. 

This past week I’ve been very sick. 
So sick that Kev had to take me to the hospital. 
Turns out I have a virus. 
It’s been a week now, and I finally regaining my strength and feeling normal again. 
Thanks to so many of you who were praying for me! 

Needless to say, Kev and I have took it easy this week. 

The one redeeming virtue of being sick, however, was watching my sweet husband take care of me. 
He rushed me around town to the hospital, 
rode to the market one morning before I woke up to buy me fresh carrots to juice, 
and daily rubbed my head and back to relieve the pain. 

I think there’s a reason God sends us out in two’s. 

This week I was reflecting on the work it takes just to “live” here in Nepal. 
Living in Kathmandu is exciting and colorful, but it is HARD! 

Every time Kevin and I go out into town, we literally need the rest of the day just to recuperate. 
I know that sounds dramatic, but it’s true. 

Last week we took a microvan into the city to go to the bead and fabric market. 
 Now a microvan (in case you were wondering) is a ghetto van where they shove you in like sardines and everybody’s all up in your biznass. 
Personal space bubbles here are about as laughable as health food at McDonalds. 
Aign’t no such thang, baby. 
Some day I end up sitting on stranger’s laps…
in any other circumstance lap sitting on complete strangers might be a bit bizarre slash inappropriate!, 
but not here. 
It’s every day life. 

When we finally made it the half hour into the city, we started walking. And walking. And walking. 

But simply walking involves massive crowds coming at you, where the elbows start flyin’, and people are hocking lugies (sp? and anyways, I hate that word!), and buses and cars are honking at the rate they are tapping the breaks. It’s chaos. 

We finally ducked into the bead and fabric market, and I was in heaven. 
Kevin and I have some fun ideas/dreams we are working on, so we were having so a great time buying swatches of different fabrics. The designs and colors here are to.die.for! 
But figuring out prices, and converting it into dollars, and haggling and converting yards to meters made my head spin! 

When we finally got back, we both were exhausted. That’s the day I got sick. 
Evidently a week was what I needed to recuperate from this outing, hehe!! 

But all that to say, no matter how much harder it is to live here, 
we love it and thank God every day for this opportunity. 

I hope you have a lovely weekend friends! 
ps- stay tuned for Monday's post because I have a fun give-a-way for you of some nepali treasures:) 

Love Katie

 {finding a shoe place and trying a few on...this picture was my "mirror". Didn't buy the ones on me...but did buy the ones behind them to the left. cracking up at this guys "pose" for my pic! haha}
 {can you tell what colors they like in Nepal? haha}

good men are changing the world

Tuesday, July 9

In over a year of blogging,
i've never had any post speak to so many women in such a profound way,
as I did on my last post about my husband redeeming a view of men.
if you missed it, you can read it here.

so many of you beautiful women sent me email after email depicting the hurt and shame you've felt from a man,
but how God in his mercy,
redeemed "men" by using a Godly man in your life to love you fiercely and boldly
in grace, compassion, beauty and servanthood.

I was so very honored to read your stories,
and it continued to reinforce the idea that
good men are needed to heal the world. 

I think of the ultimate "good man".
a carpenter from Galilee

who defied all custom and tradition and spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well,
offering her not condemnation for her past of 5 husbands, but instead, HOPE for her future.

who defended and praised, in front of popular society, a women who washed his feet with her hair.

who saved the life of a women caught in adultery.
not because she wasn't guilty,
but because his love for her was so strong
He wanted to see her break free from sin,
not be punished for it.

a savior, that in his last breath before dying on the cross,
made sure his mother was taken care of by John.

in short, it is no secret that this "good man" cared incredibly for women,
and viewed them as treasures, as part of his ministry.
He still does.

Ladies, Godly men are out there.
If you've been hurt by a man, there is hope.
And it starts with the best man there is, Jesus.
He's the one that speaks soothing life into the healing.

No man will bring you wholeness or complete healing,
but God can certainly use a man after his own heart to stand with you and encourage you in the process.

and men
{if there are any reading this blog!}
you have no idea how your love for women speaks VOLUMES in a hurting world.
fathers, husbands, sons, and friends,
what a unique role God has given you to play:)
when you shine His light, you shine HIs love.

I wanted to leave you with an email I received from a friend (with her permission to post it, of course).
I felt it was fitting to share because it so beautifully champions the power of a Godly husband.
So your most recent post really touched my heart. Your husband reminds me of mine in so many ways. I've told you that I have a real passion for helping girls who have been victimized, but I haven't told you the reason... I was sexually abused as a child. Five different abusers over a period of 12 years.  
My husband was my first boyfriend and I was his first girlfriend. He was 18 and I was 17. The first year we dated, he ever-so-patiently and sweetly walked by my side as I began counseling and a path to healing. Looking back on it now, it amazes me how much he took on as an 18-year-old, but that's just how he is. Tender, gentle, kind, hilarious, and willing to prove to me that some men could be trusted. 
9 years later, he has continued to be my safe place. He loves me as Christ loves His church and that love speaks volumes. The faithfulness speaks louder than any words I could say

So when I read your post about your husband and how he is loving those girls. Respecting them. Bestowing value on them. Giving them space. Making them laugh. Being the butt of every joke. It just sounds like you're speaking of my sweet husband. When we have talked about mission work in the past, we haven't been exactly sure what our roles might look like - but after reading your post, I can see how my husband's gifts and personality can be used to bless not only me, but so many others! 
Love like this is not only beautiful, 
it is changing the world. 

Thank you Lord for good men. 

love Katie 
ps- if any of you have similar stories (or just a story you want to share) please email me! 

my husband, redeeming a view of men

Friday, July 5

{juuussstttt love him!}

One of the biggest and most beautiful blessings being here in Nepal has been watching my husband love on these sweet girls in the home.

If I ever had a grocery list for what I wanted in a husband, 
somewhere on it would read “a love for children”.

check check.

I don’t know how he does it, but his incredible humility, humor and utter delight for life seems to attract even the most distraught of children.
And in this home, there is no exception.

But in this home, the girls are up against a lot more when it comes to men.

“men” doesn’t mean the same thing it might mean for us.
In a normal circumstance a man's presence is generally an every day occurrence that one thinks very little about.
If a man walks into a room, I am not frightened. No, I think very little of it and continue on in my business. 
Often a man symbolizes protection, safety, and maybe some good humor. 
When i'm walking the streets in a big city, like Kathmandu, Kevin's presence produces a sense of safety and well being for me.
{ie: he will kick butt if anyone tries to attack me}

but when you've been abused, sold, tortured, beaten, broken and bruised by a man,
every day,
for a long time,
a man's presence becomes a nightmare.

the very being that God created in his image has been perverted into something heinously evil.
something associated with a bleeding pain of agony that
and dehumanizes
a women...
a little girl.

and so that was what we were up against as we began receiving new girls in the home.
a view of man as the perpetrator, as the invader of all things innocent.
and rightly so.

I watched as Kevin gently kept his distance at first, allowing the girls space to feel free.
I noticed as he cracked jokes, and cheered at the girls success in every game we played.
I smiled when he made fun of himself so that the joke was on him, always.
And giggled hysterically when the girls taught him dance moves that he butchered.

and tears fell when I saw the walls began to fall.
there was a shift, and soon Kevin, in his tender, gentle and humorous ways
begin to shake the very notion of a man's presence in these girls lives.
from something evil, to something of redeeming worth.

because you can't fake love,
and when it's true and honest and real,
there is power to break the chains.
{one of the girls giving Kevin a birthday card!}

and i believe with all my little heart that God's spirit is using the unique gifts of Kevin to
vanguard the very essence of man...
the image of God.

that men can be patient, and kind, and protect things of value.
that men can be strong but equally loving and tender.

you guys, every moment I see
the girls get so excited to see Kevin,
or beg to play games with him,
or laugh when he tries hot peppers from the garden,
I am reminded how far they've come,
and how much God has done! 

a few weeks ago kevin decided to make bracelets for the girls.
i'm not gonna hunky husband is not the crafty type.
so it took me by surprise {to say the least}
and that morning he made 5 bracelets,
and to see the smile on those girl's faces when they received them
made me a bit misty.

 the girls love him. 
and even more, they trust him. 
and it is beautiful.
beautiful redemption.

so thankful to be married to a husband that allows God to use him,
and thankful for a God that chooses to
in someway,
 use us. 

happy weekend friends! 
love Katie 

{when we had the girls over to our house, they begged to paint kev's toenails! haha...and he agreed}
{they giggled and giggled and giggled}
{and one sweet one decided to take the polish off...much to kevin's delight!}

bhaktapur, nepal

Wednesday, July 3

Bhaktapur stole my heart.

 I love this little town. It's only about 30 minutes outside of Kathmandu, but it sweeps you into a whole other world from centuries ago. The city is so well preserved, and is a UNESCO world heritage site {which basically means it's adorable and expensive at the same time! haha} . We went for the day, and couldn't believe how peaceful and lovely the people and town remain. We ate lunch in an adorable restaurant on a terrace overlooking a courtyard where people milled about their daily life. 

The town is known for their artisans; pottery and painting being the order of the day. There is one large plaza called pottery square where all the local potters dry their clay. I even got to throw a few pieces of clay on the pottery wheel! Man, these potters were impressive...It's a lot harder than it looks, haha! 

If you are ever in Nepal, go to Bhaktapur:) 

happy Wednesday, love Katie

{Peter, the mustache on this statue is a tribute to you:)}
 {taking it for a spin! yikes...I was horrible!}