what a year it was

Welcome to my world of random Katie thoughts. I am so excited to write, because this year is a very large and fulfilling topic that I think a lot about.

This year has been so changing. I feel really different, in good ways. I feel older and wiser and happier. Throughout this year I’ve thought to myself “How do I do this”. Honestly…sometimes I wonder how I can (and how we all can) push through so much of our schedule. There were moments this year, whether it be from school or other responsibilities, that really tired me out. I’m sure that you can relate. But after all the studying, all the planning, and all the experiences, I’m really glad that I was able to leave this year feeling accomplished. Isn’t it so good to be able to look back at everything you did and feel like you made it. I did it.

Here is a list of things I’ve learned/pictures to show you what I’ve been up to. Some deep, some not. Here we go

  1. I need to do things that make me happy. Saying yes to everything removes me from being able to develop dreams that I truly want to reach. I don’t have time for doing things just to do them. Eventually, I have to realize that some things just don’t stick around forever. And they weren’t really meant to anyways…so it’s okay. For me, this meant no longer pursuing a sport. It also meant spending more time alone with myself to step back and breathe. Before this, I always thought I could do everything with everyone and come out strong and successful. But the hamartia is that I am a human (who needs sleep). By narrowing down what I do every day, I believe it will help me see my passions more clearly.
  2. I have got to take breaks. And not just once a month, or whenever I have time. No. I mean making time to (like I said before) step back and rest. Towards the end of this year, I’ve started to pay more attention to myself and the fact that I need some good ole me time. In 2017, I’m going to keep that up. I’m going to continue to make time for myself to just sit and recharge and think over things.
  3. I need to accept my flaws instead of refusing to have them. And I’m not really talking about my body here, more like my flaws as a person. I have this terrible issue  of misplacing things, forgetting things, or planning things out badly. I know that it’s always been such an inconvenience for other people, not only me, so I always try my hardest to not be so forgetful and scatter-brained. But the other day, I ended up leaving my wallet in Zaxby’s, and I didn’t realize it until I was about to leave and go get dinner with friends. So….after thoroughly searching the house, I had to drive to Zaxby’s, sheepishly ask if they had a gray wallet, and drive back late to dinner with my friends. I know it’s a dumb situation that was fixed, but for some reason I was just so hard on myself. I forgot that I make mistakes, and it’s okay that I make mistakes. Now, I know that whenever things like that happen, I need to forgive myself immediately and realize that it is what it is. This is just a mistake, and I’m going to fix it and keep on moving.
  4. You are most happy when you give your life away. My friend Clark told me that. A few weeks ago, I got to be a part of a weekend work crew that helps put on retreats for YoungLife. I totally love going on trips or retreats with people to hear sermons or experience cool things. But the quote I said at the beginning is so true. By getting up early, serving people their meals, and spending hours setting and cleaning up for them, I got to know a very new perspective of service and fulfillment. I’ve never had to do the dirty, behind-the-scenes stuff. I didn’t earn much recognition. I was never rewarded for doing the things I did. But I felt so happy to be so unnoticed. I felt like through my work, I was able to point directly to God without people looking at me, first. I realized who was really doing the Big Stuff. And that for me was so incredibly fulfilling. I loved each and every kid I served, even though I didn’t know much about them and they didn’t know much about me. Here are some pics from that:
    IMG_5019.JPG

    My girl Gini and I waiting for the campers so we could serve and get to work.


    img_5018

    Behind the scenes in the kitchen…BEFORE WE SERVED THE FOOD!!!!!!


    img_5004

    We were so excited to bring ’em out.

  5. I love feeling like I’ve made someone feel better…like I touched them or changed them somehow. I bet you’ve heard that phrase a million times, and since you have, it’s become an insincere, cliché group of words. But I just want to let you know that I think that about myself now because I’ve seen it happen. I’ve always wanted to help people and love them somehow in my life, and I thought that if I was kind to people and spent time with them, I could begin to do that. After this year, I knew I was right. I’m just really happy to know that I don’t have to take on the whole world and change it. I don’t have to create this huge organization that fixes everything. I do a lot by showing up and living for God. Here are some examples of people I have an impact on:
    img_4844

    The FCA life


    img_8654

    IMG_4763.JPG
    Being a co-small group leader for some crazy seventh grade girls…


    img_1882

    Spending Sundays with my own group 🙂

    All in all, I’ve been lead to be a part of such good things. I hope these pieces of life that I’ve learned will help me as we hit 2017! Bring it on.

Love, Katie

Advertisements

Why was Haiti so Beautiful

Hello reader.

This post is all about why my mission trip is something that I will never forget. Why I will always love it, and why a piece of my heart is still there. Here goes.

God is really good at breaking hearts.

He certainly  broke mine. In half. This is because I had to leave Haiti, my new home. Whenever I get back from a mission trip, I struggle with what to say to people when they ask me the question: “How was your trip?? Tell me all about it.” Here is the issue that I come across:I cannot express to you the feelings I had in Haiti. They are those feelings that take your breath away and fill your heart and paralyze your body from noticing anything else. ANYTHING ELSE. Someone told me the other day that we are uncomfortable here on this earth because we are not meant to be here; our real home is in heaven.

I agree. I second that fact.

Those feelings that I stink at describing made me feel like I was in heaven. IT WAS SO GREAT. My biggest fear is to be ignorant and unaware…so you can imagine how much I let Haiti wash over me and expose me to real love, real poverty, real pain, and real people. There, I felt no worry about the first world problems that circle me at home. Those problems seemed very dumb and small, actually.

Here is the answer to my title, “Why was Haiti so Beautiful”:

Because of them: boy squad of the week and our leader, Frantzou. (It’s like Fronzu.)

And them: waiting to meet their new American friends.

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/G-r8E5sEaqSyDxnNlm3D2r51IIJHWk18VXNKp9Tz17DABJ5U-dWg3DiVOvlj2x0ggjZrjiARgpSDvRLo0Y9eA00G8N1eRJegaGZ_NVKjjiFpqZF_Ws5uj6Ch7CH6Q9gCKPBC68Uc3vvFhtct9iJvbyVvHY7KE342V3fQQllgW_d2_evMc7OUszcWq0-_SVKUY9fRYJeVFMvvK3B5iOMGwW5Na42Y2yDGSfk-ORlY7VjeOlK4xdrqSIe0oi2xImfiEXT350kC1OSA93xIiIqDQVichWJqiNVIFuG6R3-CMVTwm-WpS7oMmaWQFsrjIilo6lH3jZFf9ASyso2j4H96DJdn-i4v71mmGKylZ6YAIFHhTqE8neFr24KO7maf_pwbt6YX3loqjgChCMwcRMegSVxkOsnhfXrYrfOk533YWFlaD3HKFL6HBMBYuKP6-wLWZd6mPA1nM-LDJ-qDSOa78DHCIkL9T9E7HVDbXywbt7qcqxziIc7D5Zd727ogPH3leSRODABT0z7q9ErTXqIWAZMU6pQJyTE53J_W_RPcJrSB8fC9KNsq-KGZs62ZQDN-S_VhDaHJtlHQIAi3X4E0AEVbb9ueETA=w1063-h797-no

And him.

And them.

And them: Village kids that are totally copying the way I’m standing.

And HIM: Working through our totally unqualified, but totally willing selves. (Which is all he needs.)

And this: Our new relationships full of curiosity, companionship, and love. (And the occasional mockery.)

 

And those: the smiles.

And this: true friendship that’s all about trying new things ❤

The dance parties were also a plus.

 

And us: Tired with full hearts and open mouths.

NOT PICTURED BUT TOTALLY WORTH MENTIONING: Our dance circle with our Haitian friends and trip leaders. I saw some things that will never be erased from my memory, which I’m not sure is good or bad.

In Haiti I saw God very differently. He wrapped me up in His arms through each little Haitian kiddie hug. He washed away every drop of worry and doubt about Him as soon as I saw that little girl that we sang to. He brought me really good friends that I got to go back home with. And He spoke to me through Dee on those early mornings of devotion.

I will never, ever be the same.

And that is why Haiti was so beautiful.

(I like to space out sentences that I want to emphasize, in case you didn’t notice.)

So, there is my answer for you. If you donated to my mission trip you really should feel amazing right now, because that ^^ is what you brought me. An experience that changed my life. Also, all these pictures are from a bunch of people on the team, so thanks to them for letting me use these. My last sentence is this: Go on a mission trip. Then you will understand all of the Instagram posts, blog posts, and incredibly long paragraphs from people who came back home.

LOVE, KATIE.

Crooked Creek Ranch

Welcome.

I really, really love traveling with my friends to new places that are full of good times (as we all do). Recently, I had this opportunity at a camp in Colorado. I want to tell you all about my experience up there. So, here we go.

First of all, this trip starts with a 33-35 hour bus ride full of people. I didn’t know anyone that well that went on this trip in the beginning, so I was a little nervous. You don’t always come out best friends when you’re being placed in closed corners with new people. But, everything was good.
We actually ended being REALLY good friends with people from Columbus, GA. We had a quick stop in Denver, which was a little shocking. It reminded me a little bit of Vegas because there were all types of people and all types of places.

Exploring city streets.

That man seems to be the focal point of this photo.

There was one spot though that was full of Christian music, and we all danced away.

The actual camp was packed full of stuff to do. No phones and no knowledge of what we were doing also made everything a lot of fun. Here’s a look at what we did:

CABIN ACTIVITIES:

Volleyball tournament huddles.

Tacky leader contests.

Go-karting.

When bae is always there to catch you if you fall.

I had no idea that a cute little ropes course overlooking such a good view would make me want to pee myself in fear.

The camp itself was so beautiful. Every day there was some sort of new activity to do. Our view of the Colorado Rockies was really calming, and was a good back drop for all the things we did. Even if they were scarring, like the swing. Here are some of my favorite pictures from that:

If we weren’t doing stuff like that, we were either in club, eating, or having free time. Free time was where I’d say I got really close to a lot of people.

RANDOM FREE TIME:

This picture is sort of irrelevant. I just like our faces.

Rap battles: “My name is Kenzz (yeah!) I drive a Benzz (yeah!!) I have lots of frenzz (yeah!!!) and I steal your menzz (YEAHHHHHHHHH)

The hot tub was a good spot to meet people (and possible camp crushes), but I’d also have to say that our cabins were fun places to go, too.

GROUP STUFF:

Getting volunteered to ride on a blow up whale while being pulled by fellow teammates was life changing .

We were the Green Team: a rag tag group of misfits that somehow won the rodeo games.

JC group pic from the volley tourney. Our team uniforms say it all 😉

Got some good bread on bread tomato based soup action here.

WESTERN WEDNESDAY’s got it goin on.

Good ole 6 mile hike. Why not?

I’ll never forget this victory.

I think my favorite part about the trip was the big group activities. I had SOO much fun. We all got along really well, and moments when we were volunteered for random competitions were good opportunities to laugh at people and cheer them on.

Towards the end of camp, we all dressed up and took a bunch of pictures with each other.

Here are pictures from the fancy night that I like a lot.

Love memory making with my BFFLs.

Camp crush for the first 2 days lol

Candiddddds ❤

I lost and gained friends because of this move.

Suspicious.

MONT(GOMER)Y.

“Hotty Toddy!” “Ehe…”

Mah girl LG.

Hey Boobrey. Rooting for you in life.

WE GOT A GOOD PICTURE, AFTER ALL.

Glad that I met ya.

Classic relationship pic that captures my impatience and Mackenzie’s confusion (and terror).

Someone had to post it…

These aren’t even my eyes.

JESUS:

Of course, Jesus was a big part of this week. Here is why:

I get mad at God a lot, and instead of trying to get my questions answered and clinging to Him, I like to think I can do everything on my own and pretend that I know exactly what God is doing.

At CCR I realized that I have no idea what I am doing with my life. But accepting God means that I have something blooming inside of me from my relationship with Jesus, and this new me is connected to a good plan that I can trust. I don’t have to be afraid of God when I sin, because the punishment I deserve has already been taken, when He died on he cross for me.

I love this truth and I think it’s a big step for me and my faith. So thanks a lot, CCR,  for showing me a glimpse of how I might live in Heaven. I made a lot of new friends and got to share a lot of fun times with them. Sounds simple, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. A week in Colorado was amazing, and I miss it a lot. I’ll leave you with my favorite journal entry (the pages don’t all go together so ignore cut off sentences):

EL SALVADOR

Wow…if you didn’t know, I went to El Salvador for a mission trip! We left on July 11th and got back the 18th. The trip was so amazing. Our purpose was to help with the construction of the new and improved La Casa de Mi Padre. La Casa is a home for kids who have been abused or abandoned by their families and who need a place to heal. They receive schooling, food, home, clothes, and people who love them. Right now, La Casa is in the city of San Salvador (the capital of El Salvador). The homes they use are being rented, and although they are good homes, they don’t suite every need for the kids. So, the founder of this whole thing, Gary Powell, found a 30 acre lot out of the suburbs of San Salvador to build these homes on. Gary is seriously incredible. The money he uses for doing things like this are only based on donations from others. God has provided for him every moment to make sure His will is sought through. It’s awesome. One of his kids, Whitey, hung out with us a lot throughout the trip. She is so kind and you can see God using her through everything she does. Gary also is a pastor of the Union Church in San Salvador. This is the only English speaking church in the entire country. I went with a team of high schoolers who are now some of my best friends. I love our team so much because we got to experience some incredible things together. Parting from them was so sad.

I think this week taught me to learn to trust in God. Trusting in God isn’t a risk, either. It is the best decision you can make in life. Look what it did for Gary! God is an incredible god. The ways he uses people like Gary are so cool. I loved getting to see Him hands on this week, whether it was during construction, when we handed out food to the poor, in the eyes of the kids, or in my heart.

Also: thank you so much for donating. This is what you sent me on, a trip I will never forget!

THE WALK 2015

Ahhh, yes. It’s that time of the summer when my small group and I have the opportunity to go on a church camp for 4 days at Panama City Beach. This trip is always enlightening, and I’ve learned so many amazing things from the two times I’ve gone so far. I just want to thank North Point for such a good time. I love being a Christian and experiencing stuff like this. Ya feel?? Here is my recap of this week:

WALK 15 THOUGHTS

1. Without knowing the beginning it’s difficult to understand the rest of the story.

2. God is a part of my story.

3. When you have a distorted view of God, you have a distorted view of you.

4. God is good, He loves me, and He has a plan for me.

5. Social media is all about showing the best and hiding the rest.

6. We measure our value based on the approval of others.

7. Is anybody ready to just be you and have that be okay??

8. We get caught looking around (at society) instead of looking back (at Who created us).

9. God designed sex for you in the context of marriage.

10. A lie we believe is thinking we will be happy once we reach the Great Social Status.

11. You don’t have to have it all together to talk to God.

12. We can come out of hiding from whatever we did and come to God.

13. The purpose of being #blessed is so that you can be a #blessing.

14. Be a tear-the-roof-off kind of friend.

15. God always has His arms open, no matter what you’ve done.

This is pretty much all we learned summed up in a few points. My takeaway from them is that I have the choice to serve and love a God who forever serves and loves me, NO MATTER all my screw-ups and sins, or if I tear myself away from Him. I also learned how truly worthless all the temptations of my world are compared to the KING. I loved seeing God in a new light, and I am so thankful to be surrounded with a church and small group like I do. Here are a bunch of pics from the Walk, hope you enjoy!

P.S.- thanks for reading this and getting to see a piece of me!!!!! CLICK ON THE PIC so you can see the bigger version of it.

In the way way back, you can see a really cute guy who's name is Brett Stanfill. My small group got a selfie with him because he's one of our favorite worship leaders :)

In the way way back, you can see a really cute guy who’s name is Brett Stanfill. My small group got a selfie with him because he’s one of our favorite worship leaders 🙂

Here's my small group, my fam, my sisters in Christ, and my friends. They're all very near and dear to my heart.

Here’s my small group, my fam, my sisters in Christ, and my friends. They’re all very near and dear to my heart.

One of the nights, I think it was the second, we all dressed up to look like we were in the 80's, 90's, or 00's decade. We all pretty much chose 80's and 90's, and here is our cute group rockin our outfits from the past. P.S.- my dress was from my mom's Homecoming in the 80's...lol

One of the nights, I think it was the second, we all dressed up to look like we were in the 80’s, 90’s, or 00’s decade. We all pretty much chose 80’s and 90’s, and here is our cute group rockin our outfits from the past. P.S.- my dress was from my mom’s Homecoming in the 80’s…lol

Another pic from the decades night with my friends Ellie, Mary, and Tori :-)

Another pic from the decades night with my friends Ellie, Mary, and Tori 🙂

My really good friends Gabby and Natalie were so excited to be sitting in the front towards the stage...until they had to sit down and get squashed by the 50 other teenagers who were in the front. Good times.

My really good friends Gabby and Natalie were so excited to be sitting in the front towards the stage…until they had to sit down and get squashed by the 50 other teenagers who were in the front. Good times.

Here are my friends Ellie and Mary, and this is our (required) one piece swag that we wore in the pool and ocean during free time.

Here are my friends Ellie and Mary, and this is our (required) one piece swag that we wore in the pool and ocean during free time.

My beautiful, funny friends Katherine and Katie.

My beautiful, funny friends Katherine and Katie.

These are my small group leaders Miss Tiffany and Miss Deirdre :-) they are SO great and I loved getting to know them this week and looking up to them as my leaders!

These are my small group leaders Miss Tiffany and Miss Deirdre 🙂 they are SO great and I loved getting to know them this week and looking up to them as my leaders!

Some of my small group. This was taken right before we headed into the water. (ALECCCC!!!!!!)

Some of my small group. This was taken right before we headed into the water. (ALECCCC!!!!!!)

Perk to Edgewater Resort: they sell snow cones. Here are my friends Gabby, Natalie, Katie, and Sabrina enjoying them!

Perk to Edgewater Resort: they sell snow cones. Here are my friends Gabby, Natalie, Katie, and Sabrina enjoying them!

One of my best friends Natalie. Here are our faces.

One of my best friends Natalie. Here are our faces.

HOMECOMING

First off, to begin this post, I am about to say something totally off topic: I HAVEN’T WRITTEN IN 3 MONTHS. I feel so sad about that. This blog is like my little journal of advice and experience and memories that I give to the public (“public” being like 10 people hahahah) and I want this blog to become so rich with information and stories and pictures. So, to add to the content of this blog, I have a rather exciting thing to talk about- homecoming! Without anymore ranting, here is my homecoming experience for you all to…read about, I guess, haha.

First off: the date. That boy on the left asked me to homecoming, and I didn’t even pay him to do it or anything! His name’s Baxter, and he was so sweet and fun. If you’re wondering, my dress is from Delia’s (believe it or not) and the jewelry and shoes are from random stores in the mall. Oh, and I would like for you to notice how epically preppy we are. We were a pretty good-looking couple, not going to lie:)

Here’s a random picture of my sister and me- she looked so beautiful!IMG_7566

Okay, so Baxter and his mom (who was so nice!!!!) picked me up at my house and we drove to the AAC (Atlanta Athletic Club) for dinner and pictures. Every one of my friends looked absolutely stunning. Our group wandered around the picture-taking area and chatted. We also, of course, took A LOT of photos.

IMG_3560

So these are all the girls in my group- and can I just say- THEY ARE HOT. I am so happy I could be a part of such a sweet group of girls for homecoming; it really made the whole experience that much more enjoyable.

This is the whole group I went with. They were loads of fun:)

So I don’t have many pictures of the actual dance, but let me just say a few things I thought were pretty cool.

1. There was a TRAIN. It was called the Hogwartz Express (our homecoming theme was Harry Potter) and it was like those tiny trains parents take there kids in at the mall. It was so fun!

2. The dance itself was wonderful. I danced hardcore; like I dropped it low. Like they say, private school kids drop it the lowest.

Now, after the dance, we went to the after party at Julia’s house. We ate a lot of food, we watched Hot Rod, we danced, we played ping pong…the list goes pretty long. One of my favorite moments was when we all sat around the bonfire and just talked about nothing. Honestly, I find those talks the best. When you talk about nothing, you tend to learn everything about the person you talking about nothing with. I feel like I got a lot closer with some people I never really talked to, and that always brings me happiness.

So, that was my homecoming. I had such a great time, and thank you all who made my night so special:)

high school tips&tricks

WOWWWWWW. hello everyone:) I am so surprised, because I am already 3 weeks into my freshman year of high school! high school is a big change for me, especially because I came from an extremely small private school (12 kids in my grade). but so far, I seriously like it. As I was thinking about what to say to sum up my high school experience so far, and I think I have a couple rules that I have learned during my first few weeks at Johns Creek that I would love to share.

1. yes, you can freak out about the first day. every single freshmen is going to freak out, so you can freak out. you don’t have to pretend like you know what you’re doing, because a few hundred people have no clue what they’re doing, just like you. it’s ok.

2. if you are lost, ASK. would you rather ask a teacher/upperclassmen and find your way, or wander around the halls until you have a nervous break down? for the first few weeks, teachers and staff stand outside their doors to assist new students. the whole point of them is for you to ask them questions. it’s ok to be lost.

3. don’t feel like you’re a total loser if you don’t know anyone in your classes. trust me, I didn’t know anyone that well in one of my classes, and a bunch of us are already friends. It takes time, but you will make friends in your classes. It’s only awkward the first couple weeks.

4. if you’re like me and you aren’t used to locker combinations, you need to practice, practice, practice opening your locker. even now I still stink at opening my locker. during freshman orientation, keep opening your locker until you feel comfortable with it. Even if it takes a couple tries to get it during school, you will get it. just keep working at it!

5. if you need to get classwork that you missed from a teacher, you need to take a quiz/test, or you are confused about something, make an effort to talk to your teacher. they won’t make the effort to talk to you about something you missed or failed because they have so many students to worry about. you have to make the first move and speak to/email them to solve your problem.

6. This one is important- BE YOURSELF. Laugh at what YOU think is funny, say what YOU think you need to say, do what YOU think you need to do, and so on. My personal worst nightmare is going into a new place being someone that you really aren’t. Why fake it for 4 years???????? you’ll end up depressed, unsatisfied and disappointed. the right people will love you for you, but the wrong people will love you for NOT you. catch my drift?

7. This one is probably the biggest piece of advice I took when I started high school- BE KIND. people will like you and you will like you if you follow this step. you will be a great influence, and you will feel so good. It’s really not that hard. don’t feel like you have to be rude because you’re friend is being rude. This is SO simple and has such amazing results.

8. something that I also think is key is don’t lose sight of Jesus. Trust me, I have pushed Him away countless times, and in the end, it SUCKS. the things is, YOU CAN’T BE HAPPY AND LIVE A GOOD LIFE WITHOUT HIM. you just can’t. you need to treat Him as your everything, because He is. He is your everything.

9. join clubs, play a sport, take challenging classes- but don’t overwhelm yourself. For your first year, I would suggest taking things slow, with maybe one or two clubs, one sport, and average classes. That way you can do well and leave time for important things.

10. my last rule is: make memories. Don’t freak out about one bad grade, go to as many football games as you can, and go to dances and parties. Don’t get caught up with the populars or things that you’ll regret, but get involved with the things that YOU love so you can have the best experience as possible.

I hope this tips helped you out and gave you some inspiration. It definitely helped me! Good luck! I leave you with a quote that I LOVE: Lord Jesus, heal me. Heal in me whatever You see needs healing. Heal me of whatever might separate me from You. Heal my memory, heal my heart, heal my emotions, heal my spirit, heal my body, heal my soul. Lay Your hands gently upon me and Heal me through Your love for me. Amen.0f44fa153cd8a357a11a2c3721cfb2bb_002

St. Simons Island

St. Simons Island

BACKGROUND INFO- this is part two of what I have been doing for the past two weeks! Part one (the post above) was about my trip to Amelia Island. This post is all about my trip to St. Simons Island.

FUN IN THE SUN- So, St. Simons can be described in one word- cousins. My sister and I spent one week with five cousins ranging from baby to second grader. I loved every minute of holding the babies to playing Marco Polo in the pool with the “big kids”. We stayed in a condo that looked out on the beach and pool. It was so beautiful! During high tide we played in the waves, and during low tide my sister and I played volleyball on the beach. It was a BLAST! When we weren’t on the beach or in the pool, we were at The Village, which is St. Simons’s version of a shopping center. I bought a Life is Good hat and a St. Simons shirt (I’m wearing the hat in the picture). We rented a golf cart and drove around the island, where we saw a lot of adorable beach houses, cute stores, a farmer’s market, and a lot more. One quest we went on was finding all of the tree faces located on the island. These are trees that have carved faces on them that are located in random places around St. Simons. We also stopped at Zu Zu’s, our favorite icecream spot:). It is delicious! I can’t wait for next year’s trip!