Happy Friday!

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(source: DesignLoveFest, like almost every other image that I love)

Holiday weekend, y'all!

Here's a few things:

1. I plan on wearing my white skinnies after Labor Day and I don't really care whether or not it's kosher, because it's still one million degrees here and I do as I please.

2. This won't be a social media free weekend, it will just be a social media LESS weekend.  I'll still post my #29nicethings updates, and probably a #sundayconfession.  If you don't follow me on Instagram, you should just know that that's where a lot of the action goes down.

3. The giveaway for the mason jar tumblers is open until 8:00 tonight.  You should enter here or here.

4. This weekend/week/ish I am working on the sessions that I'm leading for a parents respite/retreat shebang in Georgia next month.  I'm so excited about it.  I get to share a part of my story that I've never spoken about publicly before, and I get to work through the acronym B.R.A.V.E., which stands for "Beautiful, Real, Amazing, Valuable, Enough."   In case you are having trouble reading between the lines:  I get to talk about beauty.  Not female beauty, or all shapes and sizes beauty, but all-over-the-world-beauty - in creation, in love, in forgiveness, in bravery, in gratitude, and in the faces of children-beauty.

And I get to talk about REAL.  Mercy.  I can't even.

And enough.  And bravery.

It's going to be good.

Happy Labor Day weekend, and happy Friday, folks! Love to you,


On Ripening

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When I leave a peach on my counter for too long, it gets all soft and smushy.  It leaks a little.When I leave a clementine on my counter for too long, it shrivels up until it's as hard and dimpled as a golf ball.

When fruits age, they either get really hard or really soft.

I think the same is true of people.

When I was in high school, I learned that one of my best friends' parents were getting a divorce.   When I heard the news,I hit my bedroom floor with my knees and I started praying for him.   I prayed for a lot of stuff that I can't remember, but there is one bit that I do.  I prayed, "Please let him draw closer to You, not further away.  Please use this hurt to help him depend on You, and to find You faithful - instead of causing bitterness."

I begged "Close, not far.  Love, not hate.  Soft, not hard."

Because people who suffer become either very soft or very hard, and I didn't want my friend to become hard.

The thing is, we all suffer.  So we all become (at varying paces) very soft or very hard.

The longer we live, the more hurt we experience.  That's just the truth of it.   The longer we live the more joy we experience, too.  We're all in this together!  New mercies each morning!  There is glorious hope!   As Glennon Melton says, "Life is forever tries."  But we don't get to cut out hurt, I'm sorry to say.

So as we age in this beautiful, glorious, hope-filled, unjust, hellish world, we ripen, like fruit.

I want to age into softness, not hardness.  I want to be the peach.  I want to be the kind of person that makes other people feel safe and important in my presence.  Not for my glory - Lord, no.  But because people ARE important, and I want to be the kind of person that reflects that back to them.  I want to listen to people so softly, with such tender sincerity, that they feel heard.  I want to allow myself to be moved and taught by  people.  I don't want to play the devil's advocate.  I want to play Jesus.   I want all the things my eyes have seen to make me accept more, not less.

This kind of soft doesn't mean mousy or wimpy.  It just means gentle, able to be affected - okay with leaking a little bit from around the eyes.

Listen, I am so far from this kind of soft.  I haven't ripened enough yet.  But I am praying for myself the same thing that I prayed for my friend all those years ago:

"Close, not far.  Love, not hate.  Soft, not hard."

Stop Taking Advice Meant For The Other Side

I am trying to stop taking advice meant for the other side. That's the best way I know how to articulate this human phenomenon I've observed:  we are all taking advice meant for the other side.

What I mean is, people who are natural fighters read an article about perseverance and "good things come to those who hustle" and they think, "Yes, I should fight more."

People who are natural fleers (or at least natural pause-ers and analyzers) read about planning, or about learning to say "no," and they think, "Yes, I should consider this longer."

Fighters take advice intended to balance natural fleers; fleers take advice intended to balance natural fighters.

We do it in everything.

Consider relationships.

Married people are taking dating advice and dating people are taking married advice.

This means that married people are punking out on their marriages because they want their spouse to be a "perfect match" and they're obsessed with their own happiness and fulfillment.

And dating people are ignoring red flags right and left and staying in relationships long past their expiration dates in the name of commitment and "nobody's perfect."

Consider our speech:

The speaker-uppers hear John Mayer's "Say" (or Katy Perry's "Roar," depending on your taste) and think, "Yes!  I should speak my mind MORE.  I should tell MORE truth, louder!"

The suppressors (like me), read a passage about taming the tongue and we just keep bottling things up in the name of being wise or measured.

Collectively, we need to STRIKE THAT; REVERSE IT.

People have a natural bent.   Each person's natural bent is a little bit different, but collectively we all bend towards self-preservation.  We use our different coping mechanisms, our different drugs of choice, all towards the same end: comfort.

The speaker-uppers feel heard and important when they speak. The suppressors feel safe when they suppress.

The happiness-seekers feel hope and the assurance of joy when they pursue pleasure. The blind-committers feel safe and secure at the avoidance of conflict.

To the louds, loud comes naturally and they bend towards it. To the quiets, quiet comes naturally and they bend towards it.

None of that's bad - it just is.  The problem is that we are inclined to listen to the advice that supports our bent.  We fall down our own rabbit holes.  We operate like, if speaking up is good, then speaking up more is better!  If quiet is good, then quieter is better!  But that logic doesn't hold water.  That's like saying, if one burger is good, 3 burgers are better.  But three burgers will make you barf.   And so will a person who speaks everything they see/think/feel at maximum decibels.  And so will the anxiety of keeping everything inside.

I could talk all day long about keeping your mouth shut, and thinking before you act, and minding your own business, and taking the time you need to process things.   That's my natural bent.  That's all good advice, but it's not for me.  I need someone to tell me to SPEAK UP.  Open your mouth, Kate, and call problems problems.  I need someone to kick my energy-preserving INFJ self in the tail and get me to play dates so that my kids can have friends.  The advice we live and the advice we give is not the same as the advice we need.

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This is one of the gazillion ways that I am working on me.  I am trying to stop hoarding advice that supports my natural bent.  I am taking deep breaths and choosing to hear the voices that tell me to SPEAK UP, GET UP, PULL THE TRIGGER - not as criticism, and not as foolhardy, but as a precious challenge to my natural bent that will push me towards balance.  Towards greater maturity and health.

Towards courage.


The advice you live and the advice you give are not the same as the advice you need.   In what direction do you naturally bend?  


29 Nice Things

I turn 29 today. It's weird.

I still feel like a baby, like I am only playing grown up.  Do we feel this way forever, like we are always just WINGING IT?   Neither here nor there.

To celebrate my foray into the last year of my twenties, I am going to celebrate like I have never celebrated before.  I am going to celebrate for an ENTIRE MONTH...

...by doing 29 nice things for other people.

I am celebrating today, too. I'm taking the day off and cashing in my free birthday drink on a Venti frivolous something that will probably involve caramel drizzle.  But I also decided that my birthday is an easy opportunity to add some structure (a number, a timeline, and a plan) to a thing that I am trying to do in ever-increasing measure: love other people well.

I can't expend myself for strangers this way all year, because I am busy expending myself for my family, for my inner circle, and for my do-for-one's.  But I think this will be a special way to serve with my kids on a day that is traditionally all about ME AND MY GLORIOUS ENTRY INTO THE WORLD!

Here are a few of the things we'll be doing this month.

    1. Bring quarters to the laundromat and pay for people's laundry.
    2. Buy the coffee for the car behind me.
    3. Babysit for our neighbors.
    4. Bring a meal to a new mom.
    5. Volunteer with Madeline at the women’s shelter
    6. Bring a surprise in for Madeline's class.
    7. Give blood.
    8. Register for the bone marrow registry.
    9. Collect/return all the carts in a parking lot.
    10. Make cards and artwork with the kids for nursing home residents.
    11. Collect litter along our walking route.

I'll be documenting #29nicethings on Instagram starting this afternoon!  You can follow along here.

Feel free to join!  I'd love to see the ways you are loving your community.

Welp, off to the bloodmobile, which is the grossest-sounding thing I've written in a while. Stay tuned...


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Happy Friday!

Happy Friday, friends!

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I'm really excited about what's in store around here next week and next month.  I'm taking another #socialmediafreeweekend to gear up for it.  There is a lot of laughter and writing and heart coming your way.

love! Kate