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


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


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    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:
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    The FCA life


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


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    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

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):

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.

Feed Your Soul

Hello. I’m sitting here thinking and looking at Pinterest. If I’m honest, this is how most of my posts begin- a good dose of creativity. Anyway, I found this really striking quote on Pinterest:

 This really appalled me and I just like to talk about it. So if you don’t mind getting a little deep, keep on readin. OH, also! I feel like you would fully enjoy this post by getting some popcorn or tea or something and sitting somewhere quiet. Then you can really get what I’m saying. Anyway, let’s delve into my mind for a lil. Get ready…it’s pretty messy in here.

Recently, I’ve been all about being kind to yourself and loving yourself. Seeing so many people become successful because of their confidence and security has proven my hunch. For example, North Point Community Church had a night called Delight. All high school girls were invited, and it was a very inspiring, detoxing, fun night of songs and friends. Three women spoke to us about labels, who you are, and that you deserve love. These women all came from a past that had its ups and downs, but they used these experiences (planned by God) to turn into women of grace, kindness, and love. I really enjoyed what they had to say, and I think anyone could benefit from their wise words. I know it’s hard to just decide to love yourself. For me, it made a huge difference when I stopped looking and listening to what the world has to say about what you should look like, and started listening to what God says you should look like- your complete, true self.

This ties into the quote I showed you earlier: “She sprouted love like flowers, grew a garden in her mind, and even on the darkest days, from her smile the sun still shined.” Without recognizing your worth and beauty as an individual, you can never accomplish what the girl in this poem accomplished. I think it’s so important to love yourself, because YOU ARE WHO GOD SAYS YOU ARE. He says we are…

“You are altogether beautiful my darling, there is no flaw in you.” ~ Song of Songs 4:7

“She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed.” ~ Proverbs 3:15-18

“Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.” ~ Psalm 34:5

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” ~ Ephesians 2:10

Another thing I think is important in order to “grow a garden” in our minds is TRUSTING and COMMUNICATING with God. Ya know, part of being a Christian is having faith and believing in God. But we can’t do those things if we don’t trust Him. Your life is not in your hands. Weird, isn’t it. Your life is actually just a big, metaphorical pond of murky water. You don’t know what’s in there. But God’s got us! God is teaching us and planning everything out precisely to where it needs to be. I think this is really important to hear when we’ve got pain and struggles in our lives that seem to consume us. Just remember that God has got you. Now, as much as God is in control, you have to do YOUR PART in order for Him to do His. Think about it like this: How can you get an A on a math test if you don’t study? In the same way, how can your relationship with God grow if you don’t invest time to talk with Him? These two things are what makes our mind at rest.

The last thing that gives us a smile to have even on the worst days is investing time to ourselves to find peace in the Lord. I always keep a ridiculous amount of books and journals by my bed to just clear my mind of anything that either needs to come out or needs to be remembered. I sit for a good 20 minutes before bed, just reading my Bible and writing. It really eases your mind from anything stressful or busy and gives yourself a chance to unwind and rest. Your mind sort of plants seeds of inspiration and peace when you start to do that. And, as long as you keep watering them, you’ve got your very own “garden”!

See, our minds really aren’t that scary. We don’t have to be afraid to be alone. If you’re like me, you used to be scared of yourself. You were full of doubt and insecurity and wariness. But by treating yourself to doing these few things, you begin to see the You that God made. Beautiful, Brave, and Radiant.

DON’T FORGET: This does not happen in one day. As a young girl, I am so grateful that my church has taught me these things. But I fail constantly. Everyone does. You don’t have to have your life together every moment of everyday. You are human. It’s part of what makes you beautiful.

Love, Katie

Pics from Delight: