Forget what everyone says: love is hard.

Standard

It’s our family motto.

do hard things.

But just because it’s your “motto” it doesn’t always make it easy.

20140728-082701-30421988.jpg 20140728-080606-29166745.jpg 20140731-150734-54454417.jpg IMG_2141 IMG_1935 20140609-091306-33186109.jpg
20140525-134751-49671210.jpg
20140509-162931.jpg 20140509-163110.jpg 20140509-163131.jpg 20140509-162919.jpg 20140509-162150.jpg 20140509-162020.jpg 20140509-161942.jpg 20140509-161921.jpg 20140509-161751.jpg 20140509-161818.jpg IMG_2710 IMG_2795
IMG_2229 ce4ce-photo IMG_1619 20140625-074012-27612389.jpg

Monday we’ll say goodbye to this home and although it’s for all sorts of great reasons— I didn’t realize it would be so hard.

Because I’ve wiped lots of tears from tired eyes in this home. I’ve sat with countless mommas for tea. We’ve celebrated countless birthdays and made up countless excuses to throw parties. We’ve hosted countless guests in this little home of ours. We’ve harvested lots of love from our garden and taken lots of walks through those trees. We’ve loved those living around us, countless times. Our children have grown up with the littles around us. We’ve had times of plenty and times of need. We’ve had spiritual bliss, and walked hard roads of wandering in this home. We became a family of eight in this home. We’ve loved big, been loud, and it’s all been within these walls– never knowing it was anything special, it was just life.

And soon– this life will be only a memory.

To the town we prayed we’d never return to – God has brought us. To the town we prayed we’d never return to- God has helped us come to love, call home, and care deeply for.

As we move with purpose to love the community in a bigger way. Gathering with others to open a piece of this towns history for all to see, love, and use all while trying to figure out: when do you just, live. To live our life so openly– is frightening if I give it much thought.

sears

My head keeps saying, “It’s no big deal, Kati.” with it’s upbeat tune of Bob Marley singing in my ear; every little thing is gonna be alright”. Yet my heart is fighting back the desire to stay in the comfort of all I know and love. Right here on our little hill. With chickens, tall grass, and doors we never lock.

Doing hard things is hard.

I remember a time in my life, before Jesus wrecked me. A time when success what all that mattered. A time when I couldn’t even say the words, “I’m sorrybecause my heart was too prideful.  Then, simply saying, I’m sorry, was hard. Over time, there have been lots of hard things. Times when we could have said, no. There are times when we’ve chosen not to fight and that was the hard choice. There have been times when we’ve had to say goodbye. That was hard.

The truth is: we all have different things we’re facing. Different hard choices. Jesus is such a radical example of choosing the hard way. He forgave. We washed the feet of the man who would betray him only hours later. Jesus showed us what really matters in life. People. Loving people. Regardless of who they are– what they’ve done. He knew, that love would be revolutionary. That love would speak over religion. That love would speak over the pharisees of this world. That love was the universal language.

Love is hard. Real love. Like, lay down your life love. Love can look like a bad day.

At a time in my life, saying sorry was revolutionary. Now I couldn’t imagine being a person like that. One day, I hope to say, “I had a house once, that was hard to give up. Now I can’t imagine being a person like that.”

May we be a people always doing hard things.  May we fight the good fight with kindness, dignity, and respect. May we say goodbye when it’s hard and hello when we just want to turn and run. From speaking love to moving away- there are many seasons of hard.

May we be a people of big love carried by small steps. All over our neighborhoods, towns, communities, and ultimately- the world. Loving in all sorts of ways allowing it to get easier and easier as we start to look a bit more like Jesus.

Like disciples.

“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

-Jesus

Loves always,
Kati


Follow writingwithintrees on Facebook: writingwithintrees: facebook
Follow what we’re doing with our new house here: Café of Life, Chelsea: a place for community

scripture quoted from, John 13:35 NLT


Some of you have asked how to receive posts in your email: it’s simple. On the lower right hand side of the screen there should be a “follow” button. Click and enter your email. It’s totally safe.

photo

Um, yeah… is there 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. Sorry about that.

Advertisements

Sharing is at the heart of the God story.

Standard

This is the beauty of stories:

A few years back a friend of mine from highschool contacts me, via Facebook, out of the blue. “Hey Kati” she says, “What age is your little girl? I have some clothes I’m needing to pass along and wondered if you’d be interested.”

At the time of that season change we really did need new clothes for our little Emmyn. Her message was right on time.

May this story  encourage you to contact someone today– just out of the blue. May you be the answer to their prayers today. May you be the one who shows them what Jesus looks like.

All because you took the time to share.

*********************

Spring 2012:

She tip toes from her bedroom, sleepy eyed and messy hair; still half asleep from her nap.

Quietly, she asks me a question,

“Momma… are these for me?”

With a great big smile– I get to say, “Yes, they are.”

 

My two big girls and ‘Ting’, the foreign exchange student we had at the time ask, “Who are they from?

I reply, “A friend from high school.”

“Who?” They ask.

“A lady named Andrea.” I reply.

Ting asks me, “She just gave them to you?”

“Well, yeah” I say.

“Why?” He asks.

My response? “Well, it’s a blessing. God knew our little Emmyn needed some clothes.”

“…always God,” he says.

always.god

 

There are so many clothes, we put a whole bag away for next years size.

Meanwhile, my little Emmyn changes clothes all night long saying, “Look mommy, look how pretty.”

She felt special and pretty all because someone shared.


As I folded all the clothes my friend had passed along to me:  I couldn’t help but smile real big. My mind flooding with memories. Memories of fancy dresses, boys, nail salons, tanning beds, and getting our drivers license.

Now, she thinks to give me clothes.

It’s a total God thing. … “always God.”

******************

We’ve been blessed by many, many, many people over the past thirteen years of parenting with great hand me downs and are so very thankful. However, there is just something so special and surreal to see how this web of life continues to spin me in crazy directions of “I cannot beleive this.”

“A friend from high school named, Andrea.

Sharing is at the core of the God Story. 

Last year, after the Community SHARE (a little thing our family does to help in the community) was all over and done, someone approached me asking how it went. After telling them all the great things about it, they had just one question.

“How do you know they aren’t taking advantage of you?”

I replied, “Well, I don’t. But it’s not my job to make sure they use it correctly, it’s my job to give in love and let God do the rest.”

“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”  -Luke, in Acts 20:35 NIV

Over four years ago our family returned to our home town. Moving home was hard. It wasn’t the part of “home” that was hard. It was leaving what had become home behind that was hard.

One of the hardest things was finding a way to help those around us. Where we had moved from, my man worked in a church– opportunities to love and serve were all around. Well, how do you, in the “real world”, create those opportunities?

Think about it.

As a Christian, we use our church as a platform to love, serve, and notice need. If we happen to work in the corporate world where we’re surrounded with people everyday– we can use that outlet.

Well, I stayed home and my man worked with his Dad.

We thought we were going to die for lack of ways to help. So, out of pure desperation, we created ways to help. We got out into the community and started helping. And people always asked (still ask)  “Now, tell me again… what church are you with?” and we always reply.

Oh, we’re just a family.

Friends– we are the church… don’t forget it doesn’t take a building. It takes the sweetness of Jesus pouring out of us. Don’t feel you have to stay behind the walls of a church to love.

Remember what Jesus said :

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8

The people on the receiving end of that word from Jesus didn’t run to the church building and start a planning meeting. They didn’t set a budget, ask an evangelist to come, or even beg for volunteers.


They just went and did.

We can witness through love at work, at walmart, at school; or at the gym. We can spread love like wildfire through social media, email, letters; and sweet gifts. We can even love through random acts of kindness in the community. We don’t have to rely on the church calender to match up to our schedule [we don’t even have to rely on their approval].

4thshare

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.  James 1:17 NIV

THIS is the great thing about giving:

it’s all about grace.

Someone can take your free stuff, your story of the cross, your kindness, your mercy, your compassion and not use it to it’s fullness. It’s true, they can. Makes me sit and think, I sure am glad God didn’t withhold grace from me, contingent on what I would do with it.

 John reminds us,

“If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” 1 John 3:17  NLT

Ah, how simple. We see. We help. Then, Jesus takes control and the Holy Spirit does the work.

Aaaannnnnddd that’s probably best– considering I’d make a pretty lousy Holy Spirit 😉

Blessed to humbly share this broken story with you today,

Kati

*****

Some of you have asked how to receive posts in your email: it’s simple. On the lower right hand side of the screen there should be a “follow” button. Click and enter your email. It’s totally safe.

photo

Um, yeah… is there 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. Sorry about that.

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

Standard

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.

20140212-074113.jpg

A friend replied:

20140212-074105.jpg

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.

20140212-075216.jpg

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.

——————————

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

20140212-075223.jpg

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.

some people don’t need to hear about jesus

Standard

When we got there, of course, it happened again. Looking around in amazement, I thought to myself, “Just get busy and get rid of some of this stuff.”

She seemed to walk fine to me, playing with her little puppy outside. In fact, when we got there she was walking around her yard on her cell phone. Why does she need our help, I wondered.

I unloaded my little children into the cold evening air expecting to finish in two hours only to reach the gate and know it would take much more than a cold evening, this would take another day.

She had replied to an ad we had placed in the local paper offering free leaf raking help to local people 55+ who either needed help or needed us to do the job for them. We were there to rake her yard. A simple task. After all, her yard needed major help, it hadn’t been helped for several years.

When you walked through the gate, you could see her life that once was. Play toys, flower gardens, sitting areas, and even a pool. At first glance someone would think…

“This person doesn’t need help, she just needs to clean up her yard.” 

 That is what I love about our Jesus. It’s not always the person who needs help he’s helping, it’s usually me. 

We worked hard that night, doing as much as we could.  The kids we’re having a blast, there were so many leaves to have fun in, making piles, running and jumping. Discovering treasures that had been buried under the mess of leaves for what looked like, years. 

I always do it. I judge. I make excuses for why someone isn’t worthy of my Graces. Why I don’t have time to help. Why my help won’t make a difference because I’m just one person- we’re just one family.

I really am a mess. 

As I worked that night, I couldn’t stop thinking about Grace and how absolutely desperate I am for the precious gift. I also thought about how so many people look to me like they don’t need [or deserve] it.

 I stopped and chatted with *Ms. Martha for a bit. She told me of her grandkids who once swam in the big pool (now overtaken with weeds) and how long she saved for that patio furniture nobody sits in anymore. She shared with me about all the pins in her back, the countless surgeries she had endured and how she was preparing for yet another one. She said thank you countless times. When we left, her eyes filled with tears and she said,  

“Nobody ever helps.” 

 

She had experienced Grace and I don’t really know how it happened. I mean, all we did was rake some leaves. My goodness, the kids even argued a few times over the rakes. 

How does grace show up looking like some crazy kids and a tired mom? 

Of this I am always reminded: when we love people, no matter how big or small He does all the rest. He moves and stirs their hearts the way they need stirred. The way only he knows. He uses our crazy, messed up lives to love and help people. 

It’s how they know, He [that magnificent jesus of ours] cares. 

They know He cares because you came. Because you sat and chatted, because you touched them. Because you hugged them, cleaned their house, talked them away from their addiction one more time, took them into your home one more time, or perhaps forgave them once again. 

I realized that night, for the first time. Some people are just ready to see Jesus.

Some people don’t need to be taught about Jesus; they don’t even need to hear the Sunday sermon. They’ve heard it all before– they know all about our Jesus. They’ve heard the stories. The heartbreaking truth? Some may even sit in a pew all their days and never really see Jesus.

I’d like to tell you it’s always easy. I’d like to tell you loving on people always brings contentment to your soul, always fills your voids.  I’d like to tell you everyone I’ve ever touched was nice. I’d like to tell you my kids understood yesterday when I denied the homeless man a dollar but then he denied me the opportunity to buy him lunch or even bend to pray with him. I’d like to tell you I’m totally content where I am in serving others and I’d like to tell you I  don’t pray each time I read Katie’s  updates that He would send me there to help. I’d like to tell you, I don’t question God and beg Him to let me do something more. I’d like to tell you I’ve never had to stop and pray before we step foot out the door- headed to help- asking that sweet Jesus to forgive me for yelling at the kids or being impatient when we’re trying to get out of the house. I’d like to tell you I didn’t have to ask for peoples forgiveness time and time again.

But I can’t

I can’t because I am desperate. So, desperate for His Grace. I can’t because I’m broken. I’m broken and only complete in Him.

Like so many, I didn’t deserve grace. I was a liar and a thief.  I was an unwed mother at 17. I was selfish,  mean, and full of hate. I was broken.

But grace? That gift I don’t understand one bit? I fell into it hard. And when it caught me, it changed me. It didn’t take away my struggles- no. It gave me a hand to hold thru the struggles. It gave me hope of a day with no struggles. It gave me peace.

It said, “Hey you. I really love you.”

And He has to say it over and over again: “No, no, no. for real. YOU. I love you. Hey Kati- I know the world says you’re no good or not good enough. I know your mind says you have to get it all right before I’ll love you. But no, for real. I love you now. Messy yard and all. Messed up plans, dreams, and hopes- I’ve got that. Wrong decisions, damaged relationships- I’ve got that.”

Someone really loves like that? Yup. He sure does.

Reminds me of a story:

John 8:1-11

New Living Translation (NLT)

A Woman Caught in Adultery

8 Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”11 “No, Lord,” she said.And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

————–

I bet she thought she was a total loser ; ) And He just loved her, showing grace in abundance. He’s pretty cool like that.

May you fall into grace today and everyday friend and rest there peacefully. May it cause you to be a crazy bright light- shining for Him everywhere you go. And when you fall and stumble? Like I do every.single.day. may he gently help you up. dust you off. and make you new.over and over again.

All my messy, broken love~
Kati

—-

*ms. martha’s name changed for story

how to trick your kids into love

Standard

There’s this little thing we do.

and it’s kind of a secret ; )

It all starts around the table. That place we gather most. Sometimes it’s over piles of pancakes before the day begins; other times it’s after a day full of hard work and heaping potatoes. In our home, we like to refer to it as, Secret Servant.

We all get to pick someone to serve, but it’s all a big, fun secret.

Daddy writes individual names on the back of post it notes and sticks them on the wall in the hallway. One by one, we leave the table, walk into the hall, and walk back with a sly smile on our face… Judah always has the biggest smile. =)

You dare not tell who you’re serving and you try real hard to catch who are serving you throughout the week. Last week, our oldest, Alli whose 12 admits:

“I like to serve everyone here and there,
making sure they see me;
just to throw them off.”

At the end of the week, we gather again guessing who might have served us and then the truth comes out.

“i.served.triston”

“i.served.mom.”

“i.served.jordan.”

… and the list goes on.

The little ones usually put away shoes from the front door, that’s a simple job for them. So, If your shoes have mysteriously found a way to tip toe into your closet,  Judah or Emmyn probably have your name. If your laundry was washed and put away– or the house vacuumed for no reason; Alli or Jordan probably have your name. If the kids were put to bed while you sat a little longer to read a book, that man of yours probably has your name.

; )

They’re looking for ways to serve.

And.it’s.working. 

So, I breathe deep and smile little sly smiles when I come out of the hallway each week.

…OK, and I do a little happy dance, too… he, he.

Big or small, large or tall- any family can gently learn the heart of service. All in fun.Image

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” ~ Mother Teresa

Tricking those kids into love daily,  ; )

Kati.–