{30 days} of thankful : day 14, or whatever

i didn't plan to take a break from posting while on Christmas vacation. in fact, i had been excited for how easy it would be to write about being thankful, when i would be spending nearly a week celebrating Christmas with 8 of my very most favorite people on the planet. but, alas, to my parents' frustration, their wireless network has been down, and it was never very tempting to leave everyone's company by the beautifully decorated tree and the warmth of the blazing fire to type {i find myself being thankful for the non-working wireless, sorry mom & dad}.

so, i spent the last week soaking up the blessings and being effortlessly thankful.

thankful for delicious dinners and playing {lots of} games; for singing Christmas songs at my old church; for thoughtful handmade gifts and the constant car noises of my nephew; for a late night conversation and afternoon walks; for catching up with old friends and delighting in a friend's pregnancy. i am thankful for rest.

and i probably won't ever forget my oh-so-effective reverse psychology on Cahya that resulted in some of the sweetest smiles and hugs ever! {"whatever you do Cahya, don't give me a hug" resulted in a grin & open arms that quickly wrapped themselves around me. ahh!}

katie anne


{30 days} of thankful : day 13

there aren't many things i'm more thankful for than the people in my life, and certainly at the top of that list is my sweet mom. she celebrated her 60th birthday this week {she makes 60 look great, doesn't she!}, so i'd like to take a moment to share my heartfelt thanks for mom.

she is the kind of person who, when i called her on her birthday, was excited to be making sweet potato casserole for our christmas dinner, even though she doesn't really like it herself. she is a selfless person, who enjoys finding ways to help and serve all kinds of people: whether her family, her 6th grade sunday school class, her many friends, and the at-risk boy she tutors in reading. she is the person who waves and talks with every Publix employee, and befriends random neighbors whom she meets on her early morning walks. the kind of person that most people think of as one of their best friends.

my mom is hands down the best cook i know. famous for her sour cream coffee cakes and eager to bring a meal to anyone in need, she is also very patient with my phone calls with cooking questions about poaching eggs or baking times or, well, pretty much anything.

thanks, mom, for EVERYTHING, always.

with love,
katie anne


{30 days} of thankful : day 12

molly, this one is for you. you bring light to my life. you are a young woman of great beauty + strength, perseverance + courage.  i learn about trusting the Lord through your life.

to those of you who {sadly} don't know my sister, she is brilliant, compassionate, and hands down one of the funniest + cleverest people i know of. and it is in this spirit, that i say thank you for bringing laughter to my day, with re-sharing this ridiculously silly video.

also, if anyone needs another laugh, well, a monkey riding a dog {please read the short article!} just might do it.

- katie anne

{30 days} of thankful : day 11

"shalom is the presence of the goodness of God. it's the presence of wholeness, completeness"
                                                                                          {rob bell, velvet elvis}

this Christmas, this year, we have peace. not the absence of struggles, brokenness, or trials. it's not just about eliminating busyness and streamlining our schedules. as we were reminded at church, we can have peace because we can know the Person of Peace, Jesus.

when the angels appeared to shepherds on the night Jesus was born, they proclaimed peace on earth {luke 2.14}. Jesus healed a woman from 12 years of bleeding, and His words to her were "go in peace" {luke 7.50}. He desires us to live in peace: with God, each other, + within ourselves. and He has made the way: Himself.

but how easily i can forget. i get focused on my job or the things i lack {in the scheme of things, i lack nothing}, my state of being can feel shaken by circumstances, in spite of the reality that my life is rooted + grounded in the Prince of Peace.

i am thankful for this reminder, this truth. and for the freedom that i experienced today.

peace be with you.
katie anne


{30 days} of thankful : day 10

i am so thankful for renewed creativity.

maybe grad school took it out of me. or my deadbeat job. whatever the cause, it feels like the last few years have been pretty dry for me, creatively. but, during the last several weeks, i've been inspired. the vibrant, wild bittersweet growing around our yard lured me outside on chilly days, clippers in hand, with {successful!} hopes of making wreaths and decorative arranagements.

my knitting needles have also been busy, and i learned the hard way that stockings are far more difficult than i imagined. and today, i'm working on actualizing my vision for Christmas garlands. {next up: making the second stocking. fingers crossed it'll be finished by Christmas!}

- katie anne

p.s. if you are wanting some crafty inspiration, i am currently LOVING this site, which is where i borrowed the stocking pattern i used.

p.s.s. i also made a little something-something for my sister's puppy, which will be joining us for Christmas. but, for the sake of surprises... i'll have to keep it a secret for now :)

{30 days} of thankful : day 9

it's no secret that my job is a frustrating disappointment. i have unthinkable amounts of time without anything to do, and most of the work i do isn't actually counseling. more days than not, i'm thinking and trying to plan a way out of this job. and maybe even out of the profession of counseling.

and then, yesterday {for the first time in quite some time}, i actually got to do therapy with two sets of clients. and both sessions went really well. it felt good to dig deep and see that the skills and gifts are still there to help others in this way. to get a glimpse of why i chose this profession. and then today, i got an email from a grad school colleague, who shared a simple, but powerful affirmation of my gifting as a counselor. i can't quite put words to how much all this meant, especially in light of the months of doubting my career, my calling, myself in all of this.

for these reminders and the truth they contain, i give thanks.

i don't know what the future holds for me in my career and work situation. these events don't actually change anything, and yet, i am changed by remembering the hope + purpose i once felt. hold onto it.

katie anne


{30 days} of thankful : day 8

what i am about to write gives me the chills. and teary eyes. a miracle happened yesterday, is happening today. and it is great cause to give deep thanks. a baby boy is coming home to his family for the first time today. but first, let me give you some background, so that you, too, can marvel at the goodness and mystery of God this Christmas season.

amy was my discipleship leader my first year at Doulos. i remember meeting her for the first time in my interview, only to realize that i had been to her house before :) from day 1 of truly knowing her, she was a woman who spoke and prayed truth and grace into my life. she is one of the women who has lived out the difficult beauty of waiting on and trusting in the Lord, for many things near and dear to her heart. like having children.

although i haven't seen her in person in a few years, her story grabs my heart every time i hear and read it. after a few years of infertility, she and her husband adopted... and got pregnant at the same time! two miracles, two precious lives. fast forward a couple of years to 2011, she and her husband open their hearts to adopt again, only to soon find out that the same birth mother is pregnant again. God surely places His desires in our hearts. then something happened to actually take this adoption to court. for a few months, after this baby's birth. oh, i can only imagine the heartache. waiting on this baby, hoping in the Lord's promises, and ultimately letting go and entrusting this child to the Father. lots of disappointment, confusion, and raw honesty. and yesterday, this child was placed in the care and family of my friends, to grow up in a loving, Christ-centered home, and today he went home to his new family.

as i type this, i can't help but think of the Christmas story, of the gift of a baby boy, of God's steadfast love and faithfulness to His covenant.

truly there is much to be thankful for, including a glimpse of glory today.

katie anne


{30 days} of thankful : day 7

well, i missed a day. but, that's the beauty of doing this for myself, right? so, moving on ...

today i am thankful for ... a comfortable, warm home {and a repaired washing machine}.

   ... dinner in the oven

   ... and this man to enjoy it all with:

katie anne

{photo taken by our dear friend tahni from joyeuse photography}


{30 days} of thankful : day 6

this {monday} was a difficult day to muster up gratitude. {is anybody else noticing the strong correlation between going to work and struggling to be thankful?} half a day later, i'm still having a hard time with this. i realize that this kind of day is the real challenge, to be thankful when there aren't many things in front of me that are easily seen as good.

as i've mentioned recently, there's a lot around me that is broken. i took my car in this morning for repairs; my washing machine is now taking 6 hours to wash a single load of clothes; clearly, everything about my job feels broken, including the lives of the clients i meet with.

today, i struggle to give thanks for ... the ultimate reality that life is about much more that we can see with our eyes. that we can have confidence in God's promise to restore that which has been broken. that Christ is already in the process of "making all things new" {revelation 21.5}.

i have 3 colorful butterfly prints hanging on my office wall. a 17 year old young woman remarked today that they are her favorite insects. when i asked her why, she told me about a time while in a wilderness program when she got to watch several caterpillars grow and transform into beautiful butterflies. for a brief moment, we marveled together at the imagery of new beginnings, of new life, that we see in butterflies. i am thankful for that shared moment, and for the wonder of new life.

katie anne


{30 days} of thankful : day 5

yesterday was a day of full of babies: baby dedication sunday at church. meeting + holding our friends' 2 week old sweet baby boy for the first time. and dinner with more good friends and their 4 month old girl. she is at the wonderful age of starting to smile and interact, which is just plain fun.

last sunday, we got a bit overwhelmed by the number of people around us who are pregnant and who have recently had a baby. it took us a few minutes to be able to even think of other young couples we know who AREN'T new or soon-to-be parents. don't get me wrong, i am thrilled for all of our friends, beginning the journey of parenthood and treasuring tiny toes + noses. there surely can't be many things as or more joyful + precious as new life. and at the same time, it can feel difficult at times to feel left out of this new stage of life, to be "behind schedule" compared to those around me.

and yet, today i am thankful for ... the great gift of new life + beauty + God's creativity evident in the babies and pregnancies all around. and for the feeling of little baby hands wrapped around my finger.

   ... and i am thankful for the grace to move beyond comparisons with others' lives, and to find joy + peace in where our lives are right now, to enjoy uninterrupted nights of sleep, easy trips out of town, and date nights out. to keep on waiting {for a while!} until that next step of life is right + good for us.

katie anne


{30 days} of thankful : day 4

today i am thankful for ... sleeping in until 9:15 {and staying in my pj's until about 1pm}

   ... taking a walk beside Mechums River {or, more correctly, trespassing by Mechums River}

   ... tim's reminder that i don't have to get too angry about rick perry's 'strong' video, because God's justice will judge those who misuse the name of Jesus for political gain and oppression. whew. because i was getting angry.

katie anne

{30 days} of thankful : day 3

yesterday was a great day. a day of rest and being filled back up, to overflowing. a respite from the previous week, for sure. a day of fellowship with friends. i took a sick / mental health day off from work, and was able to rest, have a good workout at a new gym, take care of some much-needed tasks around the house, enjoy being creative, and get a good great haircut.

i am most thankful for ... the Christmas party for those of us in positions of leadership and service at our church. we were served a lovely + tasty dinner, connecting with friends, and laughter. we also shared a time of intentional encouragement and thanksgiving for one another, which was amazing and life-giving, both to receive words from others and to hear words spoken over others. it was a rich time of recognizing the part each of us play in the big picture of God's kingdom.

  ... also, we got a picture of ourselves {which doesn't happen too often}!

katie anne


{30 days} of thankful : day 2

today i give thanks for : 

His mercies are new every morning.

breakfast! with tim! on a clear, crisp december morning!

sipping hot apple cider + knitting while tim watches thursday night football to close out the day.

katie anne


{30 days} of thankful : day 1

my hunch was spot on.

i had a feeling a few days ago, when i decided to embark on this challenge to turn my heart toward gratitude, that this might be difficult. the phrase "a sacrifice of praise" came to mind. what i didn't expect, though, was how quickly i might be challenged. last night and today were discouraging in some ways, which i won't get into now, and my heart isn't all bubbly or happy, or really even wanting to focus on gratitude. but, it was definitely good for me to think about the things i can be thankful for as i moved throughout my day.

today i am thankful for ... my friend Sue, who works at our CSA pickup site. she responded to my grumbling about the windy, cold rain by gently reminding me that at least it wasn't colder, like a night last year when the rain turned to ice on the produce waiting to be taken home. (she also gave me a good deal on apples!)

    ... and for the rabbit hopping alongside my driveway when i got home, no doubt seeking shelter from the storm.

    ... and for phone calls with BOTH of my sisters today !!!

katie anne


{30 days} of thankful

a thankful heart prepares the way for you, my God.

this line from an old Waterdeep song keeps finding its way into my mind these days. that's not the natural direction of my mind + heart these days, as i more easily find myself tired + overwhelmed, in disbelief at how time is quickly flying by, apathetic about work, and trying to find the spare time for a trip to the grocery store. {oh yeah, did i mention worrying about car insurance after hitting a deer and continually bandaging my leg from a recent dog bite?}

and then on sunday, God's abundant grace took me off guard when i least expected it, and definitely did not deserve it. yesterday was a rare, busy day for our church, that came at the end of a busy week + overnight trip to NC. after getting to church early for a meeting, i was whole-heartedly resistant + negative about the idea of going to the evening baptism + dinner service. but i went. more out of obligation than anything else. and there, in the midst of a dunking pool + very random potluck dinner, my heart was nourished with songs of hope and refreshing conversation with good friends, who know my stories, struggles, and joys.

i can only conclude that there is much to be thankful for, even on the days i cannot seem to muster up much gratitude.

i was thinking about all of this on my drive to work this morning. and i remembered a time during a really difficult season of life when i had this tiny notebook in which i wrote 3 things everyday. they were 3 things to be thankful for, 3 good things. some days, those things were tiny, seemingly insignificant things. and yet, that practice, a tiny notebook that recorded when i heard a great song on the radio and had someone say hello on a sidewalk, it was part of what carried me through.

so now, december 2011, in the midst of a jam-packed + busy season and in anticipation of Christmas, i want to renew that practice of thankfulness, to open my eyes to the goodness around me, and to share that with you. i know this whole "30 days of ..." is no original idea of mine: i've seen many people blogging or facebooking about such things {and it is difficult for me to copy others' ideas}.

the challenge: to record something for which i give thanks each day for 30 days.

i am hopeful for how my heart will change during this season of thankfulness. i desire new eyes to see goodness + beauty around me. i expect to need grace for the process.

katie anne