Freedom From "Quiet Times"

“Quiet times”. Quite the buzz word for Christians these days huh?

We seem to think we are all good with God if we are keeping up with our daily devotionals, making sure we at least read one verse of the Bible, and not forgetting pray at the end.

the view off my back deck at home

I find myself thinking that my time with God should look a certain way and if it doesn’t then it is not sufficient, like I didn’t do it right.

My friend Corinne and I got to spend some time together in her cute little house the other night and the subject of “quiet times” came up. She said that she has been in conversations before where she has said, “ I don’t call it a quiet time. I call it quality time, because I sure don’t except for God to be quiet and I am not going to be quiet either!”

I cracked up! Corinne has this spitfire side of her that you wouldn’t expect, but its awesome and I love when it comes out. But how truthful is that!?

sweet Booger dog all curled up 

I do not want to be quiet. I want the Lord to hear me. I want to sit bare in front of Him, giving Him my whole heart. And if by doing that I am no longer “quiet”, then sorry about it. I do not want the Lord to be quiet either. I want to hear His roars for me. I want to see and feel Aslan doing His thing. In my mind the best “quiet times” are full of emotion, movement, and presence; all of which don’t make me think of quietness.

I think what the label "quiet times" is getting at is a time in your day where you can sit, alone, and simply be with God. For you to get away from distractions, from the noise that so easily fills our days. For us to observe the fact that God is by our side at all times. I know I am a happier and more at peace when I engage in this time, I know I trust God more when I've spent more time praying to Him. So it is not that I do not agree with the idea of "quiet times", I just don't want us to be confined by it.

God is ALL around us. God is not confined to a devotional book, to the Bible, or to a prayer journal. He is so, so much bigger than that. We can engage in His presence at any time and in any place. We can have beautiful rich moments with God whenever and wherever we want! 

running down by the river yesterday afternoon
He does not keep a tally of how many good “quiet times” we have with Him. That isn't even a thing. He just wants US. Whatever we do to give a little bit ourselves to Him, he gives us back ten fold. He wants us to see Him so that we will fall more in love with Him. Reading your devotional every morning does not necessarily equal loving God more or knowing Him better.

I have found that by observing His presence and engaging in His goodness that is constantly wooing me, I love Him more at the end of the day – and that is ALL He wants. He wants more of our love cause there is a snowball-affect after you start loving Him. Crazy stuff happens, all by the work of His hands, and it is always good.

Last weekend in the mountains
So I challenge you to move beyond the boundaries of your devotional, your bible, and your journal. I am not saying those are not good enough I am just saying there is so much freedom in the way we can worship and get to know our Lord that I don’t want y’all to miss out on! Listen to Judah & The Lion in the car, pray aloud on a walk alone, look for where you see His love and write it down, lay on the ground and breathe deeply, listen to a sermon while you cook or run… and those are just things that came to my head.

I don’t want to feel trapped by the words “quiet time”. I don’t think our God wants us to either. So run wild and free kids! Because our God loves us and that is never going to change.


the moments that make up our days // october 2013

So I got this idea from Shanna over at Food Loves Writing. The idea is to show you what my everyday looks like and to remind myself of the beauty that fills all my days. My goal is to do this once a month on the 10th day of each month.

Yesterday: Thursday, October 10, 2013

8:30 am // my day already well on its way, I parked by bike at Lea's house to walk with her to an info. meeting/coffee for Teach For America //

11:30 am // just to give proof that I wore cute clothes to school... which NEVER happens. I felt all professional going to a 'big girl' meeting, packing my breakfast, and wearing a dress. Except, note to self, bikes and dresses don't really work. 

2:00 pm // good ole italian homework at my messy desk.

3:30 pm // my drive out to North Oconee High School, most every day. I love old barns in grassy fields, I love the south, and the country sure is growing on me. 

5:30 pm // after cross country practice... the wonder that is the sky. the warmth that is the sun. 

6:40 pm // friends. a mattress on the ground. Dory as the best Russell i've ever seen and her sweet boyfriend as the old man from "Up" for our famous couples date night.

8:30 pm // my first corn maze experience out in Bogart, Georgia.

9:30 pm // at the end of the hay ride. from left to right: the old man, Russell, Mario, Luigi

11.30 pm // our break from boogy'in on the dance floor. mint chocolate chunk for me. coffee, coffee, buzz buzz buzz for him.

Yesterday was a good day. Full of laughter, dreaming, and beauty.


Count It All As Joy

I’ve been working through so much stuff these past two weeks; both good and messy, hard and necessary, joyous and exhausting. With each new day I note thoughts that I want to share on this space and that day ends up coming to close without me getting those thoughts expressed onto a physical piece of paper, much less, this blog.  The beautiful thing though is that the important stuff, somehow, sticks with you. The important stuff is whispered over and over again into my ears.

I keep hearing…

“Count it all as joy, daughter.  Count it ALL as joy”

Last Thursday I got to hear one of my favorite bands play here in Athens. I went with some friends, excited, but rather exhausted from all the week had brought my way. I could feel the heaviness inside me, pushing me…caging me. I knew this concert was going to be good. I thought it would make me feel better, lighter, at ease.

We got there pretty early and I wasn’t really in the mood to mingle. Avoiding many familiar faces, I scooted my way to the side of the venue. Trying to not be too antisocial and pissy I engaged my friend’s boyfriend who was standing near us. The conversation went well for a little bit and then it spoiled, quickly. Some words were said that ended up being what broke me, like my last straw was pulled. Bless that sweet boyfriend though, because he really is a good guy and meant well. I was just fragile, and I broke.

I walked away, not having too many options of where to go. I ran into some other friends, immediately telling them how insensitve that boyfriend had been, wanting them to sympathize, wanting them to tell me it was okay that I was upset and that he was in the wrong. Again, I was broken. I was reaching for something or someone to patch me back up so I could get through the night. I wanted approval for the way I was acting and feeling, I wanted someone to be on my page, to say “ I get it, Katie and I’m right there with ya”

Then I saw my sweet friend Katie. I was excited to see her, we hugged, and then something clicked. We both felt it. We knew that we were sitting in the same boat.

We walked outside of the venue and sat on the benches. We talked, pouring out the junk in our hearts. My heart broke for Katie. I no longer felt alone. I saw that I was not the only one walking through hard stuff just to be able share Jesus with high school girls. I saw how much the Evil one is working against us and attacking the heck out of us just so the power of the Lord inside of us wont reach these girls. 

We walked across the street to pray. Sitting on a ledge outside of a closed restaurant we proclaimed the goodness of our God, out loud. And dang, did it feel good!

We walked back into the concert just in time to hear the band we actually came to see. I was healed. The rest of the night felt like worship. The music filled my soul. Having Katie by my side filled my heart.

The band, Judah and The Lion, sang a new song of theirs and it was all about “counting it all as joy”. The main dude, Judah, introduced the song and gave a little background on why he wrote it. He told us he remembered telling his Grandpa about not liking hard and icky stuff in life. Granpa’s response was always, “count it all as joy, son”

Katie and I turned to each other, smiled, and pretty much communicated “YES. THAT’S IT! That is what Jesus is telling us” without saying any words to each other. We hugged, again, and kept listening and dancing like we could stay there forever.

Consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything             James 1:2-4


Passenger's Seat

“I’m with you”.

That’s what I want to be. I want to be the kind of friend that says, “I’m with you” no matter what.

I have a friend that always tells me, “I’m in, Katie. And if I tell you that I’m in. I mean I’m in, for all it of. Lets do this.” I love it. So, so much. Those simple words make me feel loved and at ease. Those words assure me that I someone that will never leave my passenger’s seat. She is with me no matter what.

We all want someone like that, someone who is constant, and all in all of the time. We want someone that will walk into our messiness without making us feel too messy. Someone that we can count on to say, “Yes”.

I believe that we were made with this longing, with this space for someone to fill. But our Creator did not make us this way not having a plan for how to satisfy this longing… this space.

God, in flesh and bones, showed us how to be the kind of friend that says, “I’m with you”. The Holy Spirit is our friend that is always sitting in our passenger seat, even when the roads get really bumpy, and when we drive away from all the good we’ve been given. God is with us. Emmanuel is still all in.

That Truth is worth holding onto.

I got the amazing opportunity to hear Bob Goff speak at my area’s annual Young Life Banquet. Bob Goff wrote Love Does and he talked a lot about how us Young Life leaders DO love. He reminded us how we should take advantage of the role we could play in kid’s lives. I could tell y’all all the awesome things he said but it really is all wrapped up in those three words… “I’m with you”.

Let’s be WITH each other like Jesus was WITH His friends. Let’s be WITH each other like the Holy Spirit is WITH us.

Cause when we do, we will get to see all of it.

I will get to see all of the mess, the scars, the pains, the joys, the adventures, the laughter, and the beauty in the lives of high school girls. I will get to be in the passenger seat, trusting wherever those wheels take me will bring sweetness.

What have we got to lose? 


Just Follow

We were running, not talking all that much. As usual, I was trying to create conversation by pulling random questions out of my head hoping that they would generate more than one word answers…

“Do y’all remember where you were on 9/11?” was what came out of my mouth as our feet were rhythmically hitting the dirt trail.

After what seemed like a quick thought process a solid “No” came from my two high school friends. Then I responded with my story, thinking that more conversation would branch off of what I said…

I was soon interrupted: “Wait, isn’t today September 11th?”
“Wait, what, oh my goodness… is it?” I asked, as I frantically looked for the hazy numbers on my watch indicating the date.
“Yeah. Yes it is. September 11, 2013. That is so crazy, I was literally not thinking about that at all.”

We went on to talk about how the two of them were only 3 years old on that tragic day. I explained to them my vivid memory of sitting in my second grade classroom as my teacher started to cry, revealing the weight of the pain in this world. I searched in my brain for more of that day, but most of it was blurred and scarred with the confusion I felt as a 7 year old living in a world that got really dark, really quick.

Today though, I was shocked by the relevance of the question that came out of my mouth. There was zero bone in my body that was aware of today being September 11th. I had no inkling that my question would make sense to be asked today. The only explanation I can come up with is that something other than myself led me to that question.

Pretty cool huh? It’s pretty cool that my thoughts were not my own this morning, that the Lord is sovereign at all times and works in the details, that when we let Him lead He teaches us.

Let Him lead. Just follow... Just follow Katie. 

Boy, am I eating that up today.

Families of 9/11, you are on my heart. I know that today may hurt just as much as it did 12 years ago.  I am praying for healing, and for peace, and for love. 


Sweetness // Cupcakes w/ chocolate on top


It is safe to say that I am pretty enthralled with the magic that comes in the form of a bar of deep brown goodness... Anyone that knows me, knows that dark, slightly bitter, rich chocolate has the power to turn my day around. No doubt. Some people want cigarettes, or coffee, or candy, or a nice glass of wine to make their days a little sweeter. Not this girl. Give me some dark handsome chocolate and we’ll be friends.

On that note, I crave sweetness in general. Not only do I have no reservations against having a treat everyday, but I also don’t think a physical form of sweetness should be our only source of sweetness in any given day. 

Today as I was riding my bike home I passed my good friend, Alex, on her bike. We got each other’s attention just longer enough to holler and pedaled on our ways.  I cut down a side street to get off the busy road, which was the same street that Alex lived on. I didn’t have anywhere to be and my legs liked the idea of a break, so I stopped at Alex’s house to see if any of her roomies were home. Nope. None of them were home, so as I was getting back on my bike, Alex had just rolled up right around the corner…smiles all around.

We sat on the porch. Sweaty, her catching her breath, and me feeling my legs get stiffer by the minute. She caught me up on her life real quick, oozing with all goodness that the Lord has blessed her with lately. I listened, beaming, letting the joy overflowing from her soul seep into mine.

I did not want to leave that sweetness. But as I hopped back on my bike and she got in her car, I could only think about how utterly sweet those short few minutes were. I was thankful; thankful that I didn’t leave my class any earlier or later, thankful that I took the turn and decided to stop, thankful that Alex slowed down to sit with me for a second, and that she told me exactly what was on her heart. 

Nuggets like that are sweet enough to turn my day around. Chocolate works, but real, raw conversations like that, that are so full of His sovereignty and goodness are really what we are living for people. I am all about seeking these moments, asking for more of these moments, and opening our eyes to see the tiny treasures hidden all around us.

Wander down side streets. Take the long way home.

Treasure hunt y’all, because I promise you won’t come home empty handed. 
Sweetness is just around the corner.

Almond Flour Cupcakes w/ chocolate on top

3 cups almond flour
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
½ cup honey (or mix of brown rice syrup and honey)
3 eggs
2 t vanilla
½ t salt
½ t baking soda

preheat oven to 325
stir together dry ingredients in one bowl
in another bowl whisk up wet ingredients (oil, honey, eggs, vanilla) until smooth.
Combine wet and dry. Mix with wooden spoon until just combined.

Grease muffin tin with coconut oil. Portion out the batter- it will be real thick.
Bake for 23-27 min. You will think they look burned (they aren’t) but they need to be a deep golden color and a toothpick should come out clean. If you take them out and they seem to deflate, they need longer.

Chocolate on top

1 bar of dark chocolate, melted
1 t. coconut oil
drizzle of honey

Melt chocolate, stir in oil and honey. Drizzle on top of the cupcakes. 


I'm Back // The Newspaper

I've decided I want to write... again. But, this time it might look different than my old blogs posts looked. I just want a space to practice, a space to write for an audience, whether I have one or not. So here is something I wrote last week...

Nobody my age reads the paper. I am sure some people do, but from what ive gathered, your average run of the muck college kid does not read the physical, paper, newspaper. I wish I were the type of person that was “worldly” enough to want to read it every morning. If you find me reading anything in the morning though before I get going with my day it would be the bible. The problem is that I am selfish and most of the issues, problems, and events that are talked about in the paper will not affect me today. The craziness that is happening in Syria right now will not affect me today. It will not affect me getting to my classes on time, taking notes, eating lunch, or grocery shopping. And because of that fact I assume that it is fine that I don’t know anything about Syria. I am wrong.

I would say that about 80% of my decisions in a given day are made with my best interest in the forefront of my mind. Do I like that about myself? No. Is it an ugly truth that is worth taking a look at? Yes. Jesus calls us to take up our cross. He calls us to become less so that He can become greater. Jesus gave His life away, not because it was the cool thing to do or because it was in His best interest. He gave His life away because His father called Him to. He gave His life away because He loves us that much. He loved the people that He would never meet on earth. He loved the people that could give him, at best, their filthy rags. I do not think Jesus regrets that decision… ever. He gets to see all the goodness and joy and laughter and freedom that we hold and get to experience every single day on this earth. He says, “You’re welcome…you’re so welcome Katie. I got you that. You are welcome,” and then He smiles. The only way I know how to say “thank you” is to put others interests before my own, to care about the people that will never affect my life, to laugh until my stomach hurts, to pray continually, and to never stop running into the arms of my Savior.

As for the newspaper, I want to read it because the stuff that is written in tiny black print matters. It might not matter to me personally, but each child that lost his or her innocent life a few days ago has a mother, and she is hurting. Jesus’ heart is breaking for her and because of the heart He has formed in me, my heart breaks too. So I will pray. I will pray for Syria because I am a college student, who has to go coach high-school cross country in the morning, go to class after that, and build relationships with girls in my sorority the best I know how. I will pray because Jesus listens and that I am enough, no matter what I do.

So thank you for reading the newspaper at the dining room table this morning, Aubrey. Thank you for “ranting” about how consumed with our tiny lives we are. Thank you for telling me about Syria and urging my heart towards the heart of Jesus.

--And with that, I'll be back soon.