Surrounded by millions, sitting alone

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You may remember my little going off of Facebook thing? You know, where I sat down one day and spilled all of my secrets of social media addiction? Yeah that’s the one.

Well, a little update here? It has been wonderful times a million.

Because you see, there are lots of wonderful little things going on in my little world and the people who know are the people who care about me. And I celebrated a birthday in the most simple of ways. Because I’ve been sick some days and people around me loved me for real life. We’ve taken road trips, attended important things; even buried a cat. And I witnessed it all! (because usually I would have been too worried about my 600+ friends witnessing it all that I would have missed it by taking a picture to share or updating my status.) Side note: Oh man, i love status updates. It’s like  news all wrapped up in a wonderful package.  Oh, oh! and I miss you people so much! Send me a snail mail, email? I’ll reply, really I will.

I digress. Annnndddd, I’m lame. (…pssttt, it’s true though, go ahead and send that letter)  ; )

This video?

Yup, it’s amazing. Soak.it.up.

Social Media is WONDERFUL.

 

But so are Oreos.

Too much of anything is just too much. And.I.had.to.put.the.cookie.down. as far as social media is concerned.

Shout out to Oreo fans everywhere committed to living a more simple life with a little less social media!

All my love,
Kati

Read more, write more, and guess what!?

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You have asked and I have FINALLY listened! writingwithintrees in on Facebook! Check it out by clicking HERE: writingwithintrees on facebook! For those of you who ask often for the link to share with friends, feel free to invite them to “like” wwt on Facebook, that way they can stay up to date with posts also! You can either click the link above to connect or simply search writingwithintrees in your Facebook search bar.

Remember, I don’t have a personal Facebook, so feel free to reach me there.

You can also follow goofy pictures here:

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Last thing, I know! It’s all “businessie” [i just made that word up] today! But I have a question for you?

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Do you have cute little people in your life who make an awesome story? How about the most adventurous life ever? Do you simply drive to work with words in your head day in and day out? Are you, or someone you know just dying to pour those words onto a screen?

Please do! People tell me all the time: “I would love to write things I think of but creating a whole blog is not what I want to do.” OR “I’m scared to death. I love writing but have no idea how to run a website/blog.”

If this is you? I’d love to share your words. Have a story lying around? A new mercy or hope that crazy Jesus of ours has shared with you? Are you are wanting so badly to share that news with others? How about a parenting lesson you’ve learned the hard way? A story of loss that’s changed your life? I’d like to share YOUR story. Give me a shout!

You know what?

You’re wonderful.

Much love today & always!

Kati

Related Posts [to sharing your story]:
His grace covers the drug addict, time and time again.
Why Cinderella and her crazy story is totally bogus.

Why you don’t need to have family devotions

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It is the hardest thing to do as a family.

We can gather for a movie, gather for work in the garden. We can gather for a family game, even gather for tea-

every.single.day.

But you mention devotion– family time talking about God and his goodness- and it’s like the earth spins in a different rotation.

Everyone needs to sit still. Everyone needs to be ready to listen. The person delivering the devotion needs to be well prepared. We need to have at least 30 minutes to an hour of uninterrupted, totally silent time.

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Why?

Maybe it can happen- right there. Where other stories are told. Where we share about our day. Where we talk about last nights game, yesterdays lunch menu, silly stories of childhood; next weeks plans.

Where the random sock sits waiting to be put away.

Maybe in the car, waiting at the doctors office, walking around the track? What about while shopping for groceries?

Maybe there, we can just share a little bit of that Jesus goodness with our children. With our spouse. With our mom or dad.

Maybe 10 min a day adds up to over an hour a week. Maybe something magical happens when we just make it “normal” to talk about Jesus?

Maybe thinking of it as just “life” rather than “devotion time” it will actually happen.

Even with the socks sitting on the table.

Much love,
Kati

Excellent family devotion resources:
The Adventure Bible & Devotion
What’s in the Bible
Our 24 Family Ways Devotion Book
Bible flash cards from your local book store; you can usually find them for around $1.99

Ideas our family loves:
We have a basket that sits on our sofa with bible books and bibles. When the kids wake up in the morning- they tip-toe out to the sofa and dive into those books every morning. The kids know, these are the only books they can look at when they first wake up. (shhhh, they’re learning quiet time and they don’t even know it!) This is the delight of my momma morning! <3

The Living Bible Translation is easy for children and new Christians to understand (psssttt… it’s my favorite) =)

Related Posts:
How to trick your kids into love
That Stinkin’ Proverbs 31 Woman Again


GUESS WHAT?! You have asked and I have FINALLY listened! writingwithintrees in on Facebook! Check it out by clicking HERE! writingwithintrees on facebook! For those of you who ask often for the link to share with friends, feel free to invite them to “like wwt on facebook, that way they can stay up to date with posts also! I don’t have a personal facebook, so feel free to reach me here.  Much love. ;)

why i’m breaking up with facebook

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A few weeks ago, I felt a stirring in my little heart that I needed to break up with Facebook. In a chat with my sweet man, after I had made this decision– I said, “Facebook is a trap for people with helping hearts”

At least for me.

Because I want to help everyone. I want to answer all questions right away- I want to solve every problem, send flowers if you’re hurting, and kiss your little boo-boos! Because I want to share with you how easy eating healthy is, how simple it is to do fun things with your littles– I want to share with you adoption is so close to the heart of God and worth all of the pain and trouble.  I want to share with you, I’m just as tired as you, just as broken as you, and God’s grace covers it all.

But there are these little people in my life- the ones who are always watching. And their little eyes remind me:

There are six little people in my home who will lead generations to come. Am I spending too much time staring at screens, sharing recipes, good advice, and encouragement with my sweet friends and not enough time bending low to kiss the boo-boos of tomorrows generation?

Of course I love to write- and Facebook is such a powerful way of sharing your story with people to encourage them, help them feel like their story is amazing and God is so totally in love with them. But then God always reminds me:

You don’t have to be trending to make a difference. It’s all about the one.

Then there are these groups I lead where using Facebook as a tool for communication is so effective. And God reminds me:

Do you really need to lead so many groups?

Today- this article in the Huffington Post was amazing- spot on, and totally great.

I could just take a break– but this girl and her personality just doesn’t do breaks well. In fact, I’ve done a year long “Facebook fast” before– but here I am again. Addicted to chatting it up on Facebook.  I’m strange, a little OCD perhaps? ; ) For instance, one day- my little blog, writingwithintrees was spiking over 6,000 hits at one time. Ummm,  I freaked out and felt like I needed to send everyone a thank you card. For real.

Issues, I know.

I promised that day, I would never. ever. look at numbers again. And I haven’t.

Now, I have peace and never feel like rushing to the post office to buy postage for 6,000 cards. I also don’t have an overwhelming desire to pump out the ‘next best post’– because I have no idea how many people are actually reading my broken words.

So, when I decided to delete my Facebook account forever, I told my man, I’m cutting off my hand.

If your eye—even your good eye—causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your hand—even your stronger hand—causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” Matthew 5:29-30

 

OH my gosh- I’m sorry.. I know this is such a selfish and stupid post– but maybe you’re an addict like me? Probably not.

 

But John Piper puts it best:
“Am I wanting to look at Twitter before I look at Jesus? It sounds stupid. That’s how stupid sin is.

 

I check email first thing when I wake up– Facebook second, Jesus last.

Here are some things to think about if you are considering doing a Facebook detox.

There are two ways:

There is a “take a break” mode where your wall and pictures are just hidden until you log back in again. When you select this option– most of your things go hidden. It’s like, “Hey- where did Kati go? She was just here.”  However, not ALL past messages and conversations go hidden– it’s so confusing. BUT, the good news is- when you sign back on, it’s all there waiting for you as though you never left.

HOWEVER– when you opt to DELETE your account, everything is gone after 14 days. All of your past messages, all of your pictures, groups, things you wrote on groups–everything. So, when your friend searches for that message you sent last year with, whatever info they need at the time– it’s gone. Let’s hope they have your phone number or email address ; )

I think it’s apparent in my life story and view of grace, Jesus and all things considered: I don’t hold to the view of

“You have to spend all of your time WITH Jesus, READING ABOUT Jesus, and NEVER do anything else fun with your life…” I do, however, hold to the view of: When Jesus changes your life like he did mine? You sort of want to be with him a whole bunch.

So, when I say things like: checking Facebook first is a sin in MY life. I don’t mean it as a ball and chain sort of thing.

I simply mean, for ME. Spending more time with Jesus helps me mother the way I should. Helps me love my man the way I should. Helps me take captive my thoughts the way I should instead of thinking I should be more like this person or that person. It helps me sit. be still. and listen more.

Back in the olden days, before Zuckerberg made his millions-people called friends, sent letters, in fact, texting wasn’t even that big (and still cost a fortune back then!) but you see now, the lives of everyone is available for view 24/7. Twenty-four hours a day I can turn on my screen, pick up my phone and lose myself in a world of perfect reality.

THIS. this video. Watch this video. See the woman with the cake, missing life? That is me.

My– oh my, if only we could see our lives on screen– we would see where we should truly change.

The truth is, I am truly rich– right here. And I am committed to helping people around me; hugging the necks of hurting people — no matter who they are and what they’ve done. And I’m just a phone call away and a cup of fancy tea and sweet conversation with anyone on my “friend list.”

And when my children are grown- I hope and pray they spend more of their lives with their head held high living life, rather than bent low watching screens pass by– while real life passes them by.

Because after all, they can’t be the people they can’t see. And I want them to see a lot of Jesus in me.

a story of addiction and sweet love for the toll guy.

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Feeling silly, a few days ago– after a crazy day of everything seeming to run behind schedule and then several hours of open road with those crazy kids of mine, I met the toll man.

I smiled and said, “Hello!” In my totally annoying, high pitch way.

He was all frownie.

He was crabby.

And it made me all gloomy.

So, I set out to change the world in the the most effective way of our day…

Facebook.

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A friend replied:

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And I replied…. Why haven’t I ever thought of that??

And then it hit me: Because I don’t think of every single great idea.

Even though this Friday for Valentine’s Day we will celebrate as we always do- walking around our little town handing out treats. Even though we left cocoa for the mail lady last week- even though my eight year old told the produce guy the other day “Excuse me, sir but you are doing a great job at stacking that lettuce…”

I had never thought about cheering up the toll booth guy.

Because believe it or not- we would be silly to think we can’t all learn a bit from the ideas of others. ;)

So, of course.. I stopped at SAM’s during our road trip and bought a little bit of love in a box.

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And after eating two Kit- Kat bars on my own… (that is a sad truth) we saw the toll man again.

And we gave him a little bar of love.

He smiled.

Well, as you know— when you find what makes people smile, you sort of get addicted to making it happen.

And when you have a gigantic box of goodness tempting you to eat.just.one.more you can’t help but want to share more love so the candy is gone ; )

Yup, we gave the car wash man one too.

Do you know what that car wash guy did? He stopped in the middle of washing someone’s windshield and JUMPED UP AND DOWN. Then he gave my 12 year old a fist pump, and even said, “Oh my, Oh my, God Bless You”

Now my 12 year old is addicted too.

Of course, It got me thinking… maybe you would like to join our addiction? Hey! You can get 52 of those bars of love for only $28 at SAM’s Club. Or stop this morning and get one at your local convenient store and share some love with the grocery clerk, drive through man, bank clerk or even the toll guy.

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Grab this picture and share it? Yup, spread the idea of simple love today.   #14daysofsimplelove

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Happy Monday (tuesday,wednesday,thursday and beyond)!

Kati

yeah… if there’s an ad below here—> a creepy ad  (yes, directly below here, some strange video perhaps?) I didn’t put it there = / And I didn’t choose what it will advertise.

So, you think everyone is better than you huh? Think again.

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THIS is what I look like when the little things I write matter to people and they actually read it and I’m left feeling like a little Minion on the movie Despicable Me saying,  “whaaatttt?”

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That, my friends- is a thirty year old woman taking a planned ‘selfie’. =)

Cue next picture of me climbing into my turtle shell- bound for hiding because I think maybe people have it all wrong? Maybe they don’t really understand I’m just a mess trying to figure it all out and it just so happens, my heart pitter-patters for words? Maybe they don’t know I’m just a silly girl who loves sharing words on a screen- hoping one day they’ll spill over onto real sheets of paper and sit next to peoples bedposts. Do people even know that I really don’t know what I’m doing? Like for real- I may love words, stories, and sharing brokenness with the story of Gods redemption, but I don’t even know where the commas go and spell check is my best friend.

So, yeah. I know. It’s a scary impossible,  you just know everyone can’t wait to see you fail sort of dream.

But it gets me thinking just a bit- makes me wonder:“Do people reading my silly words understand they’re amazing? No, seriously. Do they realize they’re created to be unique, different, and totally not like anyone else?”

Then I realize, the truth is: probably not.

Most of us spend a lot of our time comparing screens. Your screen is much cooler than mine. Your facebook or twitter page gets way more likes than mine and you have way more friends than me. Your kids are perfect, and you read your bible every day. Your husband takes you away for mini-vacations three times a year and he even buys you a new dress to celebrate. You’ve adopted three kids, I’ve only adopted two- you drive a new mini-van, I drive a beat up SUV with a broken heater. Your house is bigger, your family is much cooler, and you even have a dog that does tricks.

*sigh* I’m such a major loser.

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See I told you. Major.

If you are someone who is a major loser like me but you think you’re the only one– I’d like to share with you this simple truth:

psssst, it’s a secret. guess what?

Everyone’s kids have cranky, bad days. We all feel lonely and misunderstood from time to time. Not all of us go on vacations all of the time and I know I never get new dresses. We all spend too much money on something, and we all have our things we “just can’t live without”. We all have seasons where our spiritual walk seems dry, and we all sometimes want to walk away from a screaming child of ours at Walmart and pretend they aren’t really ours. There are days when we all want to give up or  just sit in a corner and cry. I know I’m the only one who sometimes lets a bad word fly out of frustration though- right?

Here’s the truth. Nobody’s life is picture perfect. If our lives were perfect, we wouldn’t need the cross.

There is a false reality that comes along with reading about other peoples lives day in and day out. I can get all wrapped up in what others are doing that it becomes very damaging to me as a wife, a momma, and a daughter of the King. I start to compare my life, actions, and activities, with other mommas instead of how I measure up to the calling placed on my own life; The calling of Jesus.

“Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” 1 John 2:6

If I claim to follow Jesus, I must try to live as He did. It’s not a choice- rather a reaction. It is an overflow of who I am. I am loved by the King. Oh my goodness, I get goosebumps just thinking of His love and favor!!

Isn’t it exciting? As Christ followers, we get to share with the world the beauty of being unique!

You may be like the widow who fed Elijah; or perhaps you have a faith like the Canaanite Woman whom Jesus called a dog. Perhaps you need grace, like the  the woman caught in adultery who Jesus saved from stoning. Or perhaps, you’re someone who needs to just.quit.throwing.stones. No matter what point we are in our walk with Jesus, we have only one person to imitate, Him.

I remember when I first became a stay at home momma. It all happened at once. I had just had our third kiddo, Judah. Only days out from c-section (i know you have home-births, you’re so much cooler than me) I became a stay at home, homeschooling momma. Also a full time ministers wife all in a new town, surrounded by all new people. One night, I was crying, talking to that sweet man of mine about how I just didn’t know how to juggle it all. In response, he looked at me and said something I will never forget.

He said:

“As long as you are being the best daughter you can be; then how can you not be the best mother, wife, and friend.”

I still think of that every day. “Father, I’m doing the best I can; you’ll have to fill in where I lack.” And trust me, I lack a lot. So, the truth is simple. We’re all always falling, and He’s always picking us up, dusting us off and helping us start again. In the world of computer screens, blogs, facebook, pinterest, twitter– we hardly see the falls, we only see the beauty of His help.

For instance, see my little Emmyn making a cutie-pie snow man in this picture?

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Well, what you don’t see is the fight she gave me when I made her wear boots instead of flip-flops only minutes before. =)

Oh and… remember the post about my crazy past of drug addiction and God’s saving grace? What you don’t realize is… i didn’t even realize my sweet man (aka HUSBAND) didn’t even know the ‘date story’ from that post.  ha, ha… oops = /  I thought he knew every little detail of my life.

How about this random pig we saw walking down the road a few weeks back? Yeah- that was strange and my kids wanted to take him home. I almost did.

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See this cutie pie picture from our adoption day? Yeah, the picture of my boys? Isn’t it nice of Triston to be giving Judah a piggy-back ride? Well, what you don’t see is Judah running over in between picture shots to get a huge drink of lemonade and then spilling it all down his shirt. So, we had to hide the evidence. Hence, their sweet, on screen, brotherly love. ; )

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The truth is, there is no one good- accept the Father. Including people with cutsie little blogs or pictures on Facebook. Our days are filled with challenges, temptations, sin, wrong choices, harsh tones in our voices, and bad judgment calls. That’s the beauty of grace.

He is so good to give such good gifts.

Titus 3: 4-7 NIV
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

May we be seeking Him each and every moment of our days, friends. May He fill our every thought. May we compare ourselves to that sweet Jesus of the cross. Who took on flesh to live a life of example and sacrifice. Let us not compare ourselves to the broken brother or sister sitting next to us in the pew, showing up in our newsfeed, or walking beside us at Walmart.

While you slap your little babies hand, while you wipe your little guys runny nose… again. While you have yet another hard discussion with your teenager; while you show grace to your nagging mother just one more time. While you serve at that job you hate just one more day, or help that person just.one.more.time.  May you remember to be the best Daughter of the King you can be.

“As long as you are being the best daughter you can be; then how can you not be the best mother, wife, and friend.”
The rest will fall into place, my friend.

“Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.”  Ephesians 5:1-2

No better than the next guy,
Kati

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yeah… if there’s an ad below here—> don’t click the creepy ad  (yes, directly below here, some strange video perhaps?) I didn’t put it there = /

Part 2. What if we’ve resolved to love in 2014 and they just don’t love us back? [ a three part series on 2014 New Year's Resolutions ]

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All I remember mostly, is he was really dark in the summer time, wore short shorts and cut off t-shirts.

Of course he did. It was the late 80’s.

My big brother.

Yeah, I know- you’re surprised.

If you know me, then you know I grew up an only child. Hearing the words mom and dad, brothers and sisters isn’t typical of my stories. Well, once upon a time -when I was five, I had all of those things.

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And considering my stories lately have centered around family or lack there of, I probably seem like I have lots of “issues” but really- Nope! I’m totally fine with all of it. But those stories are a part of who I am, how I’ve learned, how I connect to others, and all of it makes the God story of saving grace even bigger in my world.

He writes each Christmas. I don’t even know how he finds my address when we’ve moved. He isn’t on Facebook and I’ve never had much luck with Google. And I’m a Google pro ; ) But a letter will come, without fail– each Christmas. And it will always simply say,

“Love Marcus and Karri.”

I’ve never met Karri. She use to send pictures of her and Mark (that’s what we always called him before he changed to ‘marcus’) from what I recall, they had a couple of dogs and I remember she had a big nose and beautiful long brown hair. But over the years, the pictures faded away and only the few words remained. Love, Marcus and Karri.  Love?

Each year, I’ll write something similar inside of our card.

“Hey Mark, I wish..”
“Hey Mark, call…”
“Hey Mark, I hope one day…”

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Because I want him to know. I’m here and I hope.

I want him to know– I’m here and I’m waiting and it will be a happy day when and if we see each other again. Just awkward hellos and hugs around the neck then lets just get this big brother, little sister relationship thing going.

Truth is- sometimes, you can love but love always returns void and empty. Sometimes you can love but love doesn’t always love back. What if my hands are old and worn before he ever returns love? What if he never does?

So I plant seeds. And seeds? They have the best hope of life.

I could send mean letters, I could send no letters. But I’m hoping there are little seeds being planted with each, “Hey, Mark”.

Seeds of love and forgiveness.

The story of seeds, oh the beauty. The way birds scatter seeds all over the world. Then little trees burst forth in beauty, each one gently touched by the magnificent One called God. The One who breathes life into creation. The One I always try to figure out, but will never be able to. He takes those seeds and gives them life. Awakens their dark soul and call them into the light.

So, perhaps it’s the best way to live? Casting out beautiful seeds of love, hoping they will be given life. Praying someone will one day water them, they will grow into beautiful, strong trees. Bursting forth with fruit and the fruit of that tree will maybe love me back? Or surely love someone, somewhere all because I chose to love.

But loving, requires giving away a part of us. Loving can hurt.

We have to understand, some will never love us back. Some won’t love us how we need. Some are so injured, they can’t hold love long enough to give love.

We have to remember, some seeds we plant, the love won’t return to us. That person may love others during only the last two weeks of their frail life after they’ve been told the end is near. Some will love soon and it will be a beautiful life for them. But there is no promise that because we loved them, their love will be seen or felt by us.

So- we love today. We resolve to live fully today. And hope today, that God will use our little seeds of love for his purpose. oh! His love, His way, is so perfect.

When we love the mean cashier at the local grocery store, with a simple smile- we may plant a seed of joy that brings forth life by the end of the day.

When the pained wife loves the hurtful husband, who is always telling her she could do her “jobs” better- when she loves him day after day, perhaps those seeds will one day take root as his soil softens and he will finally learn to love the loving wife back.

When we love the ones who have hurt us most, maybe all along those seeds are being hidden away and one day, when their pain is far away from us, their seeds of love will start to grow and they will love someone who has hurt them.

When the person I love most in the world doesn’t love me the way I think I need love. Maybe God knows how I really need loved and the love is really perfect after all.

When the friends we see on facebook, read about through screens on blogs, and envy through pages of books — talk about how they’re loved so perfectly. Let us remember- there is only One who loves perfect. So that person? That friend? That story? They have a tragic love story somewhere, to be sure. You are not alone.

I am not alone.

 “If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Prophecy and speaking in unknown languagesand special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10 But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.

11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”

1 Corinthians 13

I have to remind myself- It is not IF I love they will love me back. It’s IF I love, it can change the world.

It.is.always.simply.LOVE.

All my sweetly broken love friends,

Kati

Related Posts:
Part 1. Why resolving to love is…
Because you don’t have to be perfect this Christmas…