Faithfulness in the Boring.

c6c89dcd6e41421bd28440eb078f837e.jpg

Tish Harrison Warren’s book Liturgy of the Ordinary recounts a shocking study from The University of Virginia on boredom. In this study, participants sat alone in a room without technology or additional distractions, with the exception of a button that claimed it would shock them if pushed. The study showed that 2/3 of male participants and ¼ of female participants willingly decided to shock themselves rather than sit in silence during the fifteen-minute study.

I was appalled at the stupidity of the participants upon hearing about the study a few years ago; now, well over a month into quarantine, I’m starting to get it. I, like so many of you, have recently become well acquainted with the feeling of boredom.

Our days have begun to look more mundane. We’re confined to our homes. We are yearning for connection in what feels like “lesser ways,” such as Zoom and phone calls, while busying ourselves with what feels like “lesser tasks,” such as doing the laundry or making a meal for our family. We are bored over the ordinary of our daily lives, and if we are being honest with ourselves, we are also discontent.

But then I am reminded of Ecclesiastes 2:24-26, which says: “There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from Him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? For to the one who pleases Him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner He has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.”

I receive from that passage that my mission as a follower of God has not changed, even if my “toils” have. Through diligence in a strange work-from-home schedule, through the way I treat my family and neighbors, and yes, even through menial tasks such as the laundry, I can find joy in God when I recognize Him as the Giver of the gifts in my life. In other words, my mission to “glorify God and enjoy Him forever” remains constant, regardless of the season of life. As 1 Timothy 6:6 says, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”

It is in these moments of boredom and discontent we can take comfort in looking to the life of Jesus. Jesus chose a life of humility during His 33 earthly years by having an ordinary job, in an ordinary town, while being surrounded by ordinary people. Friends, there is nothing wrong with God calling you to the ordinary. Take heart in remembering that God is teaching you, refining you, and making you more into His image through your faithfulness in these small, ordinary moments.

KAT
Currently listening to “Fields of Gold” by Drew + Ellie Holcomb

God of the Seasons

2775f10fe8702852c9aaa29aedf1f05b.jpg

[The following essay was written by your’s truly for my church’s daily email devotional, but was inspired from an old Champ post. Enjoy.]

…………………………………………………………………………..

Spring has never been my favorite season. Growing up in south Texas, spring simply felt like an add-on to summer and attending college in Nebraska, an add-on to winter.

But the other day while on a walk, I noticed the green buds on the trees and felt such delight—and not just in the beauty of the freshly sprouted leaves, but in the fact that Spring once again did come. It’s something that we humans have no control over, yet we can trust that year after year plants will produce new growth. Winter won’t last forever; spring will come.

It’s an elementary truth, and yet it somehow felt profound this year. Yes, the meteorological seasons have changed, but so has the “season” in our lives. We as a world have found ourselves in a “season” of struggle—a season of fear, uncertainty, and unrest. A “season” where we see deep sickness, sorrow, and fear around us and can’t help but wonder when God will relieve us of these pains.

But then we see the budding trees and freshly sprouting flowers, and remember the truth: God is at work. He is bringing new life, even in the midst of sorrow in our world. Isn’t that the beautiful juxtaposition of it all? We are in a literal season of newness and growth and a “season of life” that contains sickness and pain.

In these times, we look to His Word for assurance. It is there that we are reminded of His omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence. We’re reminded of His love and compassion for us. We’re reminded that we have a Savior who can sympathize with our sorrows. And finally, we are reminded that He is producing in us something new—a “new” faith; a “new” perseverance; a “new” perspective; a “new” hope. Isaiah 43:19 says, “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

We can trust God with the uncertainties of life because He’s the same God who allows spring to come each year. Surely the God who is in charge of the seasons—of the redemption of fruitless plants after the cold and harsh winter months—will oversee the “seasons” of struggle in our lives as well. We can trust the God of the seasons.

KAT
Currently listening to “Every Season” by Nichole Nordeman

How Are You?

Funny times we find ourselves in, friends.

2d9d8585f0011c4f90aff5d0477c78f0.jpg
Not a picture of my hair, but might as well be. Have not touched my hair (shy of maybe adding a scarf for some half-hearted flair) since quarantine. Like I said above, funny times!

How are you? 

Have you missed people asking you that? It’s often such a trite greeting. But today I realized: no one has asked me that since I began working from home last Friday. Typically we ask this question at least a dozen times throughout the day…

  • to co-workers we pass in the hallway
  • to neighbors while on a walk
  • to cashiers at the grocery store

The list can go on and on. “How are you?” was a normal part of our days.

But since having a break from people and normal daily greetings, I’ve found myself wondering…how actually are those people doing? Beyond the typical answer of “fine,” I’d truly love to know how people are feeling right now.

I wonder how my co-worker is? She’s probably feeling antsy. I’ll bet this is a tough time for  her social and servant-hearted personality.

I wonder if my neighbor is tired. Raising three children is hard enough, without social distancing. I hope she knows how courageous she is to care for her children so well.

I wonder if my cashier has a family to provide for or student loans to pay off. The uncertainty of the economy is probably stressful for them right now.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that my perspective has changed. This pandemic has led me to wonder more about other people; to sense their feelings in a new way.

So if you haven’t been asked today, how are you? I care.

KAT
Currently listening to “At Least For Now” by Justin Bieber

Spring Things.

Spring has been a whirlwind, folks.

2d2c56b35b86336440b25b475aa8aff9.jpg

I’m not sure when the official first day of spring was, but I’m going to say it kicked off for me when I traveled to Nassau, Bahamas with 12 high school seniors for a spring break missions trip.

Now I’m sure you’re thinking there is no such thing as a mission trip to the Bahamas. But I assure you: the majority of the Bahamian Islands do not reflect the Atlantis resort in your mind. Nassau is beautiful and tropical, but it’s also a very broken, sad place that desperately needs the hope of the Gospel. So, we went and we worked!

IMG_3935
While we were there, we worked with two elementary schools, tutoring and leading after school assemblies.

IMG_3942IMG_392883C6E6AF-ED04-4555-AFF6-3529369E5131

It was an exhausting and wonderful week! And as a fun bonus, we had a “free day” at the end of the trip to experience the more touristy side of the island.

fullsizeoutput_1103
Your’s truly on a boat. A shabby Friday, it was not.
Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
The beauty of Bahamian water 100% lived up to the hype.

IMG_4043

IMG_4038
Am I the only chicken who is mildly scared of open water? Needless to say, my first snorkeling experience was equal parts terrifying and thrilling.
IMG_4022
Oh, just a 29 year old trying to fit in with two senior girls. Hoping my usage of a giant T and Lululemon shorts had them fooled about my age…

It truly was a wonderful week. I was so impressed by the maturity and poise of our students on the trip. It’s not always easy to give up your time and energy to serve other people, but those kiddos did it with flying colors. I absolutely loved my time with them.

(…they did wear me out, though.)

……………………………………………………………………

Another spring thing that needs special note was the 30th birthday of my dear friend, Kaelee. In true Kaelee fashion, she celebrated with a theme party (Never have I known Kaelee to not have a theme party, by the way. She reigns supreme as my “most fun” friend.). This year’s party was 90s themed, and listen: I know the 90s are having a fashion moment right now, but after wearing the butterfly clips, the choker, + the tight cropped T for a night…I think it’s best if we leave the past in the past. That being said,   the party was a blast and the birthday girl turned 30 in true spice girl style.

fullsizeoutput_116a

IMG_4128
Pictures of Kaelee from the 90s were all around the party. This was a personal favorite.
Processed with VSCO with p5 preset
I want you to know that my shirt says “party like it’s 1999.”
IMG_4127
Kaelee made sure we received our fill of 90s foods, such as the wildly mysterious (what the heck is inside those things?) fruit gushers.

…………………………………

Next up this spring: a fun trip to Austin! My boyfriend Creighton and I have both been crazy busy at work, so we took full advantage of a chance to get out of Dallas for a few days.

While we were there, we went to the Dell Match Play golf tournament, the Austin Rodeo, and also celebrated a few important birthdays. It was one of those trips I didn’t even know how much I needed until I was there. Aren’t those the best?

IMG_0004
That would be Tiger Woods, ladies and gents. He’s not much of a personality, but HOLY COW the boy can swing a golf club. 

IMG_4211

IMG_0145
Our second day of the golf tournament, the winds showed up loud and proud…which made a plinko game at the Kendra Scott booth near impossible. See above and below for further proof. 

IMG_0146

 

IMG_0147
Welp, the wind got the best of me and all I won in my plinko attempts was nail polish, but my boyfriend’s sweet mom Linda was WAY more plinko savvy than me and won a fun Kendra Scott bracelet—which she kindly gifted to me! Three cheers for Linda!

IMG_0152

IMG_0158
Our final day of the golf tournament and we were freezing. Not an adjective that typically describes Austin, Texas, huh?
IMG_0379
Fun story with this picture. We were minding our own business, sitting up in a tent (not even facing the green that we were technically at) when all of a sudden a ball appears out of nowhere, bounces off a little boy’s leg, and lands right smack dab in front of us! One of the golfers had a terrible swing…which is rough for him, but was awesome for us. Everyone around us suddenly envied our extreme proximity to the ball! I even had a man reach between the gap in my legs to take a picture of the ball below us. (Now that I type that out, it sounds wildly inappropriate/weird, but I promise it was funny in the moment.)
IMG_0135
And let us not forget about our two nights at the Austin Rodeo. Creighton has made me into an appreciator of such western ways, and I’ve officially decided my favorite rodeo events are as follows: 1) bull wrangling; 2) team steer wrestling; 3) kiss cam. Because let’s be honest: sometimes the kiss cam is the most entertaining event to watch.
IMG_0336
You can thank Creighton’s mom for my very rodeo appropriate denim duster. With that jacket on, I definitely felt “the part.”

……………………………………………………………….

We’ll now throw in a picture from a wedding this spring for no reason other than Creighton and I don’t usually look this fresh.

IMG_0445

…………………………………………………………………………

And the final way I spent most of this Spring? With my students, of course! My very favorite people in the world.

IMG_3656

KAT
Currently listening to “Slow Burn” by Kacey Musgraves

Weekly Rundown.

DcDAog4XUAATY0T.jpg-large.jpeg
Here’s a brief pop culture moment for ya: the oh-so-adorable Aidy Bryant got married this past week. Now, I’ve never been the type of gal to daydream about my hypothetical wedding, but when I saw the above picture, I found myself thinking “yeah, that’d be good.”  Short dress, small crowd, wild flowers…I applaud your style, Aidy!
  1. Remember last year when I raved about a planner. (Sidetone: I kind of hate that I just typed out that sentence. Who wants to rave about planners? Missing the days when I raved about fun things, like the glories of oatmeal cream pies and Lizzie McGuire’s intricate hair styles.) Anyhow, Erin Condren planners are pricy, but great. I used mine every single day this past year and if organization isn’t your thing (or heck, even if it is), you would benefit from one as well. Planners begin in July and run through the next year, so order soon! Also, how cute are these designs below?
  2. This article was beautiful, but sad. Really enjoyed this comment: “I once saw an Annie Leibovitz exhibit where she had hung photos of her dying love and then her dying father and her grieving family, alongside these gorgeous vibrant photos of her babies with spaghetti all over their faces and splashing in wading pools… That’s how grief works. For a while, it takes over your whole field of vision, but then it becomes a part of the whole exhibit.”
    hilary-horvath-flowers-bouquet-1
  3. And now a happy article to lift the spirits! Three cheers for good people!
  4. How have I not mentioned this book yet? My wonderful sister gave me this book that is full of illustrations and essays from author Mari Andrew. I haven’t made it through the whole thing yet, but I can tell you this for certain: it is fun.
    Am+I+There+Yet+-+Mari+Andrew+Book.jpg

KAT
Currently listening to “Psycho” by Post Malone