This Summer.

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For me, summers will forever be measured by the academic calendar. And as school officially started for my students yesterday, I guess that means the summer is over.

Summer 2018 was absolutely crazy for me (hence the lack of bloggin’ the past few months). I took a new job, moved to a new home, traveled to new places…among a lot of other new things. And while “new” is always an adventure, it also means a lack of comfortable familiarity and, often, a sense of unrest.

That’s how my summer has been—exciting, while also a little exhausting. I can’t help but long for some normalcy and structure in my life, but thankfully, I have a feeling that more patterned days are right around the corner.

But before we move forward, let’s take a few minutes to look back. Here’s what I’ve been up to this summer…

Florida Trip.
Kicked off this summer—and a brand spankin’ new job—with a little trip to Florida. May sound relaxing to you, but did I mention that 250 of my favorite high school students came with me?

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Shiloe’s Wedding.
I flew back from the Florida trip and went directly to one of my dearest friend’s weddings. I was honored to be a bridesmaid and see this supa chill, kind, godly lady marry her dude. Shiloe + Chris 4 eva.

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Lots of time with students (but what’s new?).
Remember that new job I mentioned? It’s still at the same church and in the same department. So, the youth group love is definitely not coming to an end anytime soon.
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China.
Well guys, I went to China. It was quite the experience. I’m not even quite sure how to best explain my two weeks in East Asia, so I’ll just leave you with some pictures…

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Baby Maddox.
My first nephew is making his appearance in the world very soon, and Aunt Kat could not be more excited. It’s been a summer of googling weird pregnancy related things that I don’t understand + resisting the urge to buy baby clothes at every store I enter.

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I mean, C’MON. Doesn’t get cuter than a pregnant Rebecca Maddox.

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That’s just a glimpse into some of the stuff that’s been going on deep in the heart of Dallas, Texas this summer, but the rest will have to be another story for another time. Enjoy your weekend!

KAT
Currently listening to “Shotgun” by George Ezra

Year Two.

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Shoutout to my oh-so-talented friend Shiloe for taking this picture (where both my hair and apartment look nicer than normal).

Fun fact. Sophomore year of college was my least favorite collegiate year. It wasn’t that it was zero fun, but the newness of college had worn off, and when it left, so did some of the enchantment. We’ll just say that there’s a reason the phrase “sophomore slump” was coined.

That being said, I look back on that year fondly. It was Sophomore year when I declared a major, became involved in organizations that shaped my college experience, and developed deep and lasting friendships.

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Today I celebrate my 2 year anniversary in Dallas.

In ways, my 2nd year in Dallas can relate to that sophomore year of college. Year one in Dallas was just wild. It was fun and unexpected and so, so sweet. And this year? Well, it was one where the dust settled a bit and suddenly I had the time and space to think. What did I want my life to look like in Dallas? Who did I want to spend time with? Where did I want to serve and grow?

It was a year where I learned a lot.

  • I learned the joys of contentment
  • I learned that it’s OK to make new “10 year dreams” (and not to feel like less-than because my former “10 year dreams” didn’t happen)
  • I learned that assertiveness and kindness are not mutually exclusive
  • I learned the beauty of carrying burdens + keeping confidences for my friends
  • I learned better how to be a good friend to guys
  • I learned how to love other people’s children
  • I learned that there’s nothing wrong with living in the moment…but there’s also nothing wrong with knowing when it’s time to go home + go to bed

The Lord has been so faithful throughout my Dallas journey. I can’t help but think of King David’s words in 2 Samuel 7: “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?” My sentiments exactly.

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So to carry on the tradition from last year, here are some of my favorite places and moments from this 2nd year in Dallas:

Favorite coffee shop: Royal Blue.

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Royal Blue may be considered to many as the gathering place for Highland Park moms and fashion bloggers galore, but I promise if you give RB a chance, you’ll see that it’s actually a friendly, welcoming spot. I’m always in a better mood when I leave this place.

Favorite drive: White Rock on a dark night with a bright moon. Windows down. Radio up.

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Favorite take-out: Thai Thai.

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Listen, I realize that Thai Thai isn’t much to behold, but the food far surpasses the ambiance at my favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurant.

Favorite “my friend is in town and I want to take her someplace cool” spot: Bishop Arts.

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Want to impress a friend with your city? Take him to Bishop Arts and pretend that Dallas is a Stars Hollow-type small town. Here is the perfect Bishop Arts night: 1) Enjoy pizza at Enos or Mussels at Oddfellows. Both are delicious and perfect date/occasion spots. 2) Walk around for a while after your meal and glance at the neat little stores along the main strip. Even if you don’t buy anything, the shops are adorable and the streets are lined with strands of twinkle lights. 3) End the night with a slice of apple pie from Emporium or a nightcap from Wild Detectives (or both….that’s definitely allowed).

Favorite “group dinner” spot: Canne Rosso

 

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Canne Rosso has to be the place that my friends and I frequent the most. It’s a great atmosphere for both parties of 2 and 20, plus the pizza just can’t be beat. (Try the honey bastard pizza when you go. If you can get past the slightly offensive name, it is so, so good.)

Favorite moment in Dallas this year: Without a doubt, being a member of my church is my favorite thing about Dallas. What’s funny is that my favorite moment closely reflects my answer to this question from last year. I still love walking through my church and seeing people of all ages who have shown me glimpses of my Heavenly Father.

Favorite song during year 2 of Dallas: I have two. One is “God’s Highway” by Sandra McCracken; the other is “Angela” by The Lumineers.

KAT
Currently listening to “God’s Highway” by Sandra McCracken

I Shall Not Want.

Today’s been a funny day. Not bad; just off.

I couldn’t seem to shake feelings of restlessness, discontentment, and frustration at my current circumstances. And if I’m being truly honest with you, it feels as though God has been holding out on me.

My mind knows better than to believe that lie, but I think we all feel that way sometimes. And boy, is it miserable.

Anyhow, the song “I Shall Not Want” by Audrey Assad has been an encouragement today. God can satisfy me entirely out of His fullness. Amen and Amen.

I love the following stanza:

“From the need to be understood;
And from a need to be accepted;
From the fear of being lonely;
Deliver me, O God.
Deliver me, O God.
And I shall not want, no, I shall not want;

When I taste your goodness, I shall not want.” 

I have no idea what’s going on in your heart today, but maybe you also need a reminder of God’s goodness…or you can simply place this song in your back pocket for a later day.

Enjoy.

KAT
Obviously currently listening to “I Shall Not Want” by Audrey Assad

Weekly Rundown.

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve last blogged, so let’s catch up.

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  1. A few weeks ago, my co-workers and I packed our bags, loaded up the church vans, and traveled the long haul (a whopping 7 miles) to the exotic terrain of Garland, Texas for a week-long mission trip with our middle schoolers. While there, we worked with refugee students, who I actually tutor all year long. It was a joyful and special week. I especially loved introducing my middle school students to the refugee kids who I love so much.
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I mean, how ’bout that sass? 
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Middle school dream team
  1. Nerd alert. I’m obsessed with my new planner. I tried to be “21st century” last year and use a calendar app, but it just didn’t work for me—I have to write things down. So, I invested in this beauty and it has been super helpful in organizing my days.
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    Look at them plans #ineedavacation
  2. Summertime equates to peony season! Let the hallelujahs roll!
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    It’s amazing how happy a bundle of Trader Joe’s flowers can make a girl. 

    Summer—specifically July—is such a wonderful month. Because of peonies, and sunshine, and can we just talk about summer fruit? Summer is definitely fruit’s moment to shine. We’ve got the blackberries, the cherries, and OH THE PEACHES! Remember last year when I talked about my obsession with peaches? One year later and my love is still strong. (I’m trying out this peach cobbler recipe tonight!)

  3. Independence Day was spent with a handful of dear friends on Cedar Creek Lake this year. Forever thankful for freedom and for people who you can be yourself around.
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  4. And then sometimes, you and your co-workers dress like fools for youth events. Oh, the things we do for middle schoolers.

    But for real, my job has been sweet this summer. And the people pictured below? Well, they’re about as good as it gets.
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  5. And finally, I grabbed dinner with my pals Shiloe and Karri yesterday at Bolsa in Bishop Arts. I’d only ever had drinks there, so last night’s dinner was a fun treat. My assessment: The food: delicious; the company: A+
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Have a lovely weekend.

KAT
Currently listening to “Slow Hands” by one of those One Direction kids

Weekly Rundown.

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Man, oh man. Life has been a combination of chaotic and weird and beautiful the past few weeks. There’s way too much going on to explain, so let’s just jump into the highlights, shall we?

  1. A few weeks ago, my dear friend Sarah came to Dallas for a quick visit. As luck would have it, our mutual pals Jeff and Emily were also driving through DFW that weekend. We had a short but sweet college reunion and, by the end of the visit, all seemed right with the world. High five for old friends who know you + love you well.
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    Sarah Sirtokin: part accountant; part wine model.
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    Here’s my qualm with off-the-shoulder clothing: you can only raise your arms so high. And then, you get pictures like above…where the arm placement appears awkward because hugging your friends just isn’t feasible in your cute, but inconvenient shirt.

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    I feel like I should say that we do not know that man lurking behind Jeff and Emily. He almost appears part of the gang, however, he is a stranger/photobomber.
  2. Another new happening from the past few weeks: a change in staff at the church. A few of the faces below are new, others are back for a short time, and still others are about to move on to different adventures in the next few days. In the meantime, we have a GIANT youth staff filled with the coolest folks. Love these people a lot.

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3. Well if this isn’t a big happening in my life, then I don’t know what is—my sister Becca got engaged! Let the wedding planning commence!

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^ that is what we call “a rock.”

4. It’s funny the things that make you happy at different points in your life. Lately, I just can’t get enough of memes—because sometimes a gal just needs a dose of honest truth wrapped around a witty (and typically dumb) saying.
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5. Oh, this one is fun…My friend Shiloe and I met the bachelorette this past Monday. Our “how we met” story with Rachel is kind of lame and drawn out, so I will leave you with this: she is nice, she is short (like teeny tiny), and she smells downright heavenly. We’re team Rachel ALL THA WAY.

5. And finally, I leave you with a sunset picture from outside of my apartment last week. Life is a weird beast sometimes. There have been a lot of highs the past few weeks, but the lows have been pretty consistent too. It’s hard to always know how to live well—how to treat people who have hurt you, how to handle awkward or confrontational situations, how to make peace with the past and move on. But then, there are those simple joys—like a beautiful sunset—that remind you that God is in control; that He’s taking care of everything.
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Love from Dallas, TX,

KAT

Currently listening to “Tin Man” by Miranda Lambert