Monday, February 11, 2013

Be Gentle. Be Kind.

Over and over again the past week I have been reminded of how important it is to be kind to each other, especially when one of us messes up.

Being a critic of others is easy.

Humbly working on yourself; now that's difficult and noble.

I want to be more gentle and more kind with my words and actions...  

Why?  

Because the world needs that!

What else do you think the world needs?

xo KT

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Just... :-)


I know it's hard.  There are many things wrong, aren't there?  We feel like today doesn't deserve a smile!  Grrrr...

But it's still up to us to choose what our attitude is going to be like today.

Today has been "MEH" for me so far honestly.  I have a little crap list I could read off for you with thick sarcastic enthusiasm. :-)  But, I'll spare ya! ;-)

I know it's so redundant to hear "Choose Your Attitude" but dang it, they are right.

I picked up some groceries at lunch time today and I was thinking about a few things that were bugging me.  Making me feel unsettled, you know?  Frustrated.  Just, (sigh) "MEH."

Then it started to hit me, "Geesh, these are SO first world problems!'"

"I have money to buy food.  I have a job, clothes on my back, a roof over my head, and people I love in my life.  Really, Katie?  REALLY?!"

On my way out of the grocery store I passed by a white van with a man sitting in the front passenger seat.  He was obviously handicapped with a distant gaze and contorted body.  There was also a handicapped care facility sticker plastered to the side of the van.

God nudged my heart in that moment as I looked at him.  It took me a second to realize his condition.  I felt sad as I passed by.  I got to my car, and I hate to say this but within less than 30 seconds I went back to worrying about... yep, you guessed it, MYSELF.  Granted I do have some real problems.  Some are very hard.  But don't we ALL?

I sit here now thinking, "Why didn't I smile at him?  What would it have cost me to give him a look of kindness as I passed by him?"

We are in a world that continues to get more and more wrapped up in this one word, "ME."

I really wish I would have smiled and waved at the man.  Even if he hadn't responded.  And so I thought I should write this blog post out to remind myself and anyone else out there who reads this to care for each other.  Even when it's hard for us and things are going wrong...  Stepping outside of ourselves is such a good thing.

Smiles are contagious too. :-)

Just... SMILE.

"Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

And if this blog doesn't help look at this cute baby!  My niecy Emily Rose. :-)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Why you should LOVE The CO


My husband is in a band called The CO and I really believe in them.  
Let me tell you why you should too.



Everyone loves to hear a great story.  A simple nobody becomes a hero.  A guy finally gets the girl.  Someone overcomes their fears and failures and changes the world.  Their bravery inspires us to be brave.

Music can be a soundtrack that gives life to the stories that inspire us.  Inspiration turns into action.

Music has changed and people are craving something REAL.  Something genuine.

The CO is that music.

This band is made up of three guys.  My husband Collin and his best buddies Troy and Nate.

Collin works at an office.

Troy works as a waiter.

Nate works as a coffee barista.

These three guys want to change your world with their music.

They are more than a waiter, or a barista, or a business man...  Just like you.

They aren't dreamers... They are on a MISSION.

Like Clark Kent in his suit and tie, they have a red cape and they don't let that suit hold it in.  They don't think you should hold yours back either.

It's not about getting rich.  We've seen how that's just smoke and mirrors.

It's not about being famous.  We've seen the deep pit of pleasing others and how it can steal away everything with one grasp.

It's about that ONE fan who writes an email saying a song helped them stop from taking their own life.

It's about that ONE fan who says the album has helped them keep it together while being bullied at school .

It's about that ONE fan who listens to The CO's music and feels like they can come out of a small little town and do something big to change the world.

Their music and mission is about YOU.

Now, that's different, that's why I believe, and that's why we need you!

Get their music.

Listen to it.

Be Inspired.

Share it.

Those of you who have supported The CO, fans new and old,

This music would not exist without you because it's for you and about you.  We love you!  Keep spreading the word!  #cohorts







Album Photo by Sean Hagwell

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

FAMOUS

For so long I've felt like I've had to write what was popular, what was "in." Or I'd swing the opposite way and make it so abstract and unrefined that it wasn't conveying the message I wanted to share.

A few months ago, I was given the opportunity to write some pop songs for current pop artists for a prospective label. It really challenged me because I had to try and write hit pop songs. It was like putting together a difficult puzzle which could in no way, be rushed by myself. I was used to sitting down at a piano and just spilling my guts, recording a demo and throwing it out there. This opportunity taught me to make a plan and edit myself... Not in away that stole the passion out of the song I was writing, but in making my message most clear.

I have had the opportunity to watch and learn from some phenomenal artists and songwriters this year, including my husband's incredible band The CO and the amazing Sorted Noise crew.

Through them and all my experiences over the past 12 years I finally have learned that great art takes lots of effort and THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS. And how important it is to be dedicated to your craft... A painter must paint. A writer must write. And a musician must play. One must hone one's craft and never stop. There is never a point when your work is complete or you've reached perfection.

I'm done with shortcuts and reality shows. I'm done with meeting these expectations that I've allowed to be put on me.

Why? Because I am an artist, not someone who just wants to be famous.

I'm in it for the hard work, the late nights, the love of it, the losses, the wins, the criticism, the encouragement, the fun, the frustration, and the opportunity to share my passion with the world. God has graciously given me a gift and I want to finally enjoy it.

Thank you to those who have supported me, my husband, and our friends/family in our artistic careers.

Don't you worry, though it isn't easy...

We won't ever stop.

I pray you won't either.

KT

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Ummm... That hurts!!!

So yesterday I was working on writing songs for a new album I'm working on and I decided to take a break and take my golden retriever Estes on a walk.  The sun was shining and there was a cool fall breeze in the air.  I could feel my head start to clear as I hiked up the neighborhood hill as fresh air flowed in and out of my lungs.

Estes and I returned home and I realized I took the wrong keys with me on our walk!  Collin was in downtown Nashville without a car and I was determined to figure out a way to break in our house and spare us having to pay $30 for a cab to bring Collin home.

I came around back and after crawling up on a chair I pushed on one of the windows that was a good 8 feet off the ground and heard it crack!  Somehow I finagled 2 chairs and a bucket into a homemade ladder and squeezed myself into the window with my best little-person jump. (yes, I locked the window now... but I was sure thankful it was open!)

I was so happy to get inside that I didn't even think about the effects of climbing up a brick wall.  Today I see the big purplish-black bruises I have on my arms and legs.  Guess I'm wearing long sleeved shirts all week! ;-)

Sometimes "we gotta do what we gotta do" and we don't go unscathed in the end.  I know this a strange metaphoric tie-in but the older I get the more I see how real pain is evident in this life and how I need to expect it in my future.  Things will never be perfect.  People will hurt each other.  We will make stupid mistakes and the consequences will be painful.  The best thing we can do is learn our lesson, change our ways and let a God who cares about us tend to our wounds.  And the best part is, He works it all for His glory and for our good.  What an incredible gift.

I can take a few cuts and bruises in this life with the anticipation of coming "home" to Jesus one day...  All that gives me amazing peace and real joy.

Love,
KT

Sunday, January 15, 2012

I NEED A CHANGE!!!!

Do you ever want to scream out, "I NEED A CHANGE!!!"?

Or have thoughts like, "This year will be different!" "God I need something different!"

I LOVE change. I'm a strange creature, I know! Most people hate change!

I guess I just love a new challenge...

But I must admit, I struggle with follow-through so the idea of a fresh start is great when you want to jump to something else when the current thing or goal is getting hard, monotonous, disheartening... A new challenge or change is refreshing to me in that sense!

But you see the older I get I begin to see the great achievements in this world by human hands is follow-through. It's sticking with what you've set out to accomplish... Not stopping, even when you're tired!

To me if I go fast enough, quick enough, I won't hear the critics or negative thoughts in my head telling me to give it up! I rush through so many things. I think that causes me to miss out on a lot.

This new year I'm not starving for a change anymore. I want to be more consistent. I want to stay on track. Stay more focused. I'll let God throw in the changes when He wants to as I get stronger training on this path He currently has me on.

I need to stop trying to rush what God is doing. His timing is perfect. I believe it.

It's time I let God train me to become a long-distance runner in this life instead of a sprinter.

Hope this encourages someone else out there!

Goodnight! :)

"So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up." Galatians 6:9

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Pick Your Seat: Recognition

When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he [JESUS] told them this parable: “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 14: 7 -11 NIV

Do you have those lessons that you feel like you have to re-learn, over and over again?

Well, this is mine.

(SIGH)... :(


I have this tendency to "defend" "stand up for" "protect" myself or even worse the recognition I feel I deserve. I guess you could call it entitlement or pride. I feel like one way or another I ALWAYS come back to this life lesson of learning to humble myself before God does.

I was flipping through the bible on my lunch break and came across this verse... twice. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 14:11 And guess what?... I recently delayed my obedience to this teaching Jesus gave just the other night. Maybe God's trying to give me a hint, you think?

Somehow I know this lesson of "humble yourself first" but deep in my heart I somehow believe that if I really do that then I'm going to be mistreated, like a door mat. Or even worse, that I won't get the credit where credit is due. Ey, ey, ey! Being transparent, I guess I'm saying to God in those moments, "I don't really trust you to handle this so I'm taking things into my own hands!"

:(

The situation the other night is one where I felt God telling me to let go of an issue I had where I felt like I needed to stand up for myself (which, hey, there are times for that!). I felt God specifically telling me to let Him handle it and well, I didn't listen. What resulted was a giant mess with even more problems than when I started.

Side Thought: I wonder how many relationships have been destroyed over this very thing? So sad! :(

I know that every time I do let God do the recognizing or protecting... 100% of the time the situation ends up better than I could have even imagined. Honestly, every time. With added blessings and strengthened relationships. Pretty sweet deal!

Too bad I don't always remember that! ARGGG!

This is just a short blog to share my heart today and to encourage others out there that God knows what He's doing...

And I need to humble myself more and let the outcome be in God's mighty hands...

And it's not about ME being recognized any way... It's about JESUS being recognized. WORD.

Love,
KT

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Last Dance Recital

I've been thinking about this story and I wanted to share it with you all! Hope you like it!

I grew up performing since I was little. Everything from putting on puppet shows for my 2nd grade class, to making jokes and impersonations at birthday parties, to performing in plays, musicals, and choirs... But what I was most involved in was dance. I took tap, ballet, lyrical, pointe, and even Spanish, hip-hop and folk later on. From age 3 to 13 I was heavily involved in dance and always enjoyed it. There were such wonderful dancers in my classes, some that I had been in the same classes with for years... Those dancers were truly in their element and gift. They almost sparkled everytime they'd move. Effortlessly moving about. Light as a feather and gentle as a whisper. I, on the other hand, always seemed to struggle. I wasn't terrible but I wasn't great! When a teacher would walk by I'd always hope they'd say to me, "Class, now look at Katie! She's doing it perfectly!" Instead most of the time it was a teacher coming up to me and contorting parts of my body, "Butt down, shoulders back." I looked on to the other dancers who always seemed to get it right... How desperately I wanted to be like them! I always kind of went into class uptight. Feeling out of my element but wanting desperately to fit in. Praying I would get "praised" that day, not corrected.

At age 12 I found out my family would be moving from South Dakota to Colorado and my 9 years of dancing at the same dance studio was about to come to an end. When I found out I was moving it was like a light bulb went off in my head. Being such a people-pleaser I always got caught up in trying to win the approval of others, well, now since I was moving I honestly didn't really care any more about impressing anyone! I was leaving and would have a fresh start. So I just decided to enjoy the rest of my time in my school and dance classes and be myself. And that's exactly what I did. I had a whole spring semester of dance classes which ended with my final recital and with the common sense of a child I fearlessly decided, "I'm going to have a blast and do my best! Who cares if I screw up! This is fun!" Even my teachers could notice a change in me. A confidence that I never had previously. When the recital came around I performed my little heart out and gave it my best. I remember smiling so hard my face hurt as I tap danced to "Putting on the Ritz" with some of my childhood best friends by my side, loving every minute of it. I still remember that as one of the most fun times I ever had on stage. I was fearless. After the recital my teachers and family commented on how much I shined on stage with my big smile... Sure I wasn't the best dancer but I was darn well enjoying myself and seemed like everyone else could tell!

After 15 years, now I've finally realized something very special about this story that has literally changed my life. This life is NOT meant to be lived with fear when we have Jesus in our hearts. It's as simple as that. As I've gotten older I've faced more obstacles, more hurtful opinions, more disappointments, failures, and I have let fear get it's grip around my neck so tightly that I neglected everything about who I was and who God created me to be, forgetting the gifts He had given me. SO dependent upon people's opinions of me. So shattered by the hurtful words and the disappointments. This story of when I was just a little girl without fear reminds me that fear is just a prison that you lock yourself in to. You, yourself hold the key. You have the choice to stop listening to the lies and start listening to God. You can stop comparing yourself. You can stop trying so hard to be something you're not. You can have confidence!!!

Though I love dance and adore getting to see my sister-in-law Lillian (who is an amazing dancer) paint the stage with her gift, I know my passion and gifts lie in creating music and singing. When I went on a singing reality show a few years ago I experienced the final step backwards into my prison cell of fear and I was dead-bolting the door so no one else could hurt me. I didn't want anyone around me to know I even sang anymore. It was better that way. For three years I stopped singing and wrote music here and there just to be heard by myself... Even I started to be my worst critic, well I was the only one,(haha!) but I was harsh. Shutting down every idea, hating my voice and at the same time hating that I felt like a light was dying inside of me. I fought to keep it alive while at the same time I was trying to blow it out... Never to be shown again.

About a year ago I had been having conversations with God about the disappointments... Wondering why He had taken me to certain points and then shut the doors. Why He had allowed me to be humiliated and made a fool of. One night I remember asking Him, "God if you want me to quit singing please just tell me! I'll do whatever you want!" Cool tears fell down my hot cheeks and in my heart I heard God answer me. With the point-blank bluntness of a child, "SING!!!!!" One word. Clear as day. I was shocked at how clear the statement was. It was like a kid looking down stuttering with fear, "I can't do this... I can't do this...." and the parent grabbing the child's face, hands shaking with conviction, looking deep into their child's eyes and with tears streaming down their own face while saying with a smile, "YOU CAN!!!! YOU CAN!!! Stop being AFRAID!!!" Slowly but surely I started to believe it, believe what God has said to me... It's been hard and yes, the obstacles are still there and I'm not the best singer in the world but my Father thinks I'm great and now that's all that matters to me. He feels that way about all His children... It's sad that we tend to focus more on what the critics say instead of what the God of the Universe says about us.

Remembering this childhood story has reminded me that I can enjoy the gifts God has given me without a need to prove myself or be trapped with underlying fear. I can go out there and go for it... And I'm moving on soon anyway to a new place with streets of gold and a jamming choir!!! What do I have to lose? What do you have to lose? Our Father loves us and He's made us to shine His glory to the dark world. You have a light in you, and I beg you; don't cover it or try to blow it out... Even when you get weary... or you're tired of the hurtful words and the lies... SHINE THAT LIGHT. BE WHO GOD CREATED YOU TO BE. And if you've forgotten or you've never known, ask Him.

Romans 8:28 - He makes it ALL GOOD. :)

In Christ's Love,
KT



"Be a Poca Luz"

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

People-Pleaser

All the people pleasers in the house, say "YEAHHHH!!!"

I'm a natural born, all-American, type A people-pleaser (I made that up to sound important). But seriously, I have this innate nature to want to make people like me and I want people to know I like them too!

Connected to that, I can get pretty shaken up over people's hurtful/critical opinions about me and my life... I hate that I do that!!! In the past I have gotten wrapped up in some hurtful comments and opinions, to the point of being paralyzed by shame and fear, scared to put a foot back in the water again.

Over the past few years I have been trying to kill this disease in my spirit.... SO HARD! This spirit of people-pleasing causes me worries galore along with frustrating indecisiveness. But I know what I have to do...Kill it!... And I admit, extinguishing this fire is a daily thing for me!

Here's a favorite verse that I keep taped on my computer monitor at work:
"I'm not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ's servant." Galatians 1:10 NLT

We've all had those times where people say hurtful things that cut us deep to the core. We might have forgiven that person but can we choose to let go of the hurtful thing they said or did? Are we believing lies about ourselves because of what someone we loved and trusted, struck us with?

I think those words/actions can become sewn into our hearts like a thin thread sewn in and out, without rhyme or reason, seemingly impossible to remove. Or it's like they're poking at an old wound... Something you were already insecure about. Kicking a dog when he's down kind of thing. You go to a person you trust hoping for encouragement and it turns out to be the opposite of what you needed. They dishearten you. They make you feel dumb and that you're blessed to be in their "wise" presence.

One thing this year I've been learning about is compassion.

We all need it yet there is a BIG lack of it around here, don't you think?

I see more of "Figure it out!" "Get over it!" "Pull yourself up by the bootstraps!" "Give me a break! wah! wah!"

Or worse, ignoring the pain and hurt in those around us. We're just "too busy to stop and be the Good Samaritan. We'd be enabling, right???"

Not so sure we fit in the "TEACHER" role as often as we think we do.

The older I get the more I see examples of people claiming to know it/have it all and then they surprisingly fall on their booty, showing that, yep, we're all human and nobody is perfect!!! God's knocked me off my soap box more than a time or too!

I have really been learning this lesson for myself on both ends... Sometimes I think I may be HELPING someone by telling them "how it is" but many a times instead I need to shut up, listen, pray and serve that person instead. I don't have to be the kid in class that raises their hand first and yells out the right answer!

I admit, this is a skill I have not mastered at all. I do understand there must be a balance at the same time... I am definitely thankful for those times where my loved ones/people told me "how it is." I still think that is a rare approach we should take when we've really prayed about it and felt like what we're going to share is actually going to help the person.

I'm kind of digging into two topics here of longing for acceptance and being rejected. They kind of fit hand in and hand... Those who have dealt with rejection sometimes struggle with showing acceptance because they themselves have rarely, if ever, received it... The hurt ones hurt the hurt ones.

This is definitely one of the more scattered blogs that I've written but I have to throw this out there to get it off my chest.

God is our best counselor and His answers are always right on. They are the perfect balance between "this is how it is" and compassionate understanding. And He still speaks through many people in my life when I need it... I'm thankful for you!!!

Love to you all and don't worry, be still and know that God is in control and that His compassion and wisdom is supreme.

Love,
KT

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Memories: The Hidden Underground Corridor

This weekend was a true lift to my heart... Here's why...

It was a beautiful sunny Saturday and we were hanging out with Collin's brother Evan. We grabbed some lunch and then went over to the Green Hills Mall to run over to the Apple store. I shattered my phone screen last week by dropping it on a curb... Wouldn't you know it was while I was walking into Pinkberry... I ordered a size larger than normal... hehe. Yes, it totally made me feel better! Especially since the past few weeks have been VERY busy with work and honestly pretty stressful. Thankfully I've gotten my ducks in a row and things are back to a manageable pace.

We got into the mall and while the guys went into Burberry to look at expensive things we can't afford I decided to meander on my own since the Apple Store was too crowded. As I was on my way to Dillards I passed by an old memory from a few years back, Z.Gallerie. If you do not know, Z.Gallerie is a unique furniture/art/decor store that I used to work at, back in the day, eh-heem, 5 years ago! I walked on past it peaking in the floor-to-ceiling glass windows... Z.Gallerie had moved and was in a new location in the mall. I was going to continue on to Dillards and then I thought, "Why not stop in and see what they have?"

I stepped into the store to be greeted with the all too familiar smells, sounds, even many of the same furniture, decor items, and paintings they had when I used to work there 5 years ago.... yet, none of the same employees. :) I began to reminisce of working the floor with my black apron and same black pants, shoes, and shirt that I'd wear everyday (yes, I washed them!), with my hair in a messy bun. Working there full-time included waking up once a week at 5:30a to be there at 6am to help unload and unpack a semi-truck full of furniture and boxes of new goodies for the store... I'm little but this girl can do herself some dirty work!  Probably broke down thousands and thousands of boxes during that time... The razor blade was like an eleventh finger to me. Watch out! ;)

Punch Drunk Love
So there I was, in my old stomping grounds. I walked into the art section looking at all the beautiful paintings and fun posters. This used to be my favorite section to sell in. I loved talking to people about art and helping them pick out paintings for they living spaces. For my wedding present my co-workers all chipped in and got me my favorite painting called "Punch Drunk Love" by KC Haxton. One of my favorite gifts of all time!!! Still is on the wall of our living room. :) With it being the "fancy" mall in Nashville I remember it was fun and funny helping some of the "famous" clientele that'd pop in... I remember TRYING not to act starstruck and meanwhile ending up being even more of a dork trying to act like I had no idea who they were haha. :) I would call my family back in Colorado and say, "Guess who I saw today?!"

I remember bringing flat carts filled with furniture and decor for customer pick-up. I'd walk down a long cemented corridor hidden in the mall walls. Customers would pull their cars up back and we'd have to walk the furniture up the maze of hallways then up an elevator to deliver their goodies as we placed them into their blinged out SUV's. I loved that seemingly long walk, especially when I was all by myself. I loved to sing on those trips as the heavy cart hummed and squeaked behind my feet as I tried to steer it straight. I would dream of what my life would be like... Would I ever get to sing, like "big time" sing? What would marriage be like? Collin I were engaged and would be getting married several months later and I was a big girl all on my own in Nashville away from my family. I kind of felt like Cinderella sometimes with my apron, dusty clothes and dreams busting at the seams in my heart.

What shocked me about the whole Saturday experience was just how much I enjoyed walking back into this memory. I looked at all the furniture, touching the soft colorful fabrics, checking the prices underneath various pieces... It was so fun to look and I felt like this was the first time I actually really enjoyed it. I imagined seeing my old self passing around a corner next to me, lifting a heavy vase back in it's corner after a customer just "HAD" to see it up close. :)  I walked around the store with the most content smile as I remembered the faces of each co-worker I had... Natalie, Denise, Jenny, Kevin, Joel, Aaron, Beth, Cindy, Jennifer, and Tim... All of them so precious to my heart still. I remembered Tim especially, who caused me to grow more than anything or any person during that year of my life. He's someone my heart still aches and simultaneously laughs about... He could tickle a funny bone in you that you never knew you had.  Sadly, he passed away from a heart attack a couple years ago now. Because of him I can make a dang good floral arrangement and also my heart has been softened towards those who put up a good guard and hard shell. Love, love, and when in doubt LOVE those around you.

As I walked out of the store I felt such a joy and gratefulness in my heart... God knows what He's doing with my life... He's painting such a beautiful story with each person's life. Darks strokes, light-hearted fun strokes, random splatters and beautiful images... He knows what he's doing. That trip down memory lane reminded me to not rush the phase God has you in, but to instead let God do His glorious "thang." All that made me think, "Wow, God you are amazing... I love you for walking with me and leading my life. I couldn't do this without you and most importantly I wouldn't want to." 

How perfect, precious, fun and amazing it will be when I sit with Him in heaven and look at the memories with Him. What a perfectly un-perfect painting that will be!!!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Fries and The Voice on the Morning Radio

Every day on my way to work I flip on the radio to listen to an old southern voice coming from a God fearing man named Adrian Rogers. In fact, turning the radio nob is the first thing I do when I hop into my car every morning during the work week! As I walk from my house to my car my sleepy slump turns into a little skip in my step as I wonder "What will I learn today from Pastor Adrian?" Yes, it's that good!

Adrian, who passed away in 2005, still does awesome work for the Lord from past sermons and books that have continued to encourage people in the faith helping others dig in to God's word years after his death.  His talks give my heart a boost each morning! Saying it how it is, mixed in with a bit of humor that you can tell amuses his own heart as well! (I love people that laugh at their own jokes!) And he reminds me of my Granddad in a lot of ways, which makes me smile. :)

So, the other day Adrian was telling this awesome story I had to share...

A dad and his son went to a fast food restaurant to spend some quality time together. They went to the counter ordered a large fries by the son's request and a couple Cokes. After they sat down the dad reached across to grab a hot crispy fry. "Hey!" the son said jerking back the fries, "Those are mine!"

In that moment the dad had a few thoughts. He was in shock because first of all, he bought the fries! Second of all if he wanted his own fries he could easily walk back up to the counter and buy more but the point was that the dad wanted to "share" the fries with his son and enjoy them together... The reason for the trip was to spend time together.

Adrian took that story and compared it to how we treat God with the blessings and things He gives us. God gives us these blessings that He paid for, for us and when He wants to reach in and part-take in our blessings, we shriek,

"Hey!!! Those are mine!!!"

We forget He provided the blessings, He doesn't NEED our blessings, He's the creator of the universe and of all things, and all He was trying to do was fellowship with us... Enjoy those blessings with us. But NOOOOOOOO... "MINE!!!!"

This story really stuck with me. It's time to trust God more... So many times I've thought, "God why did you take that away?!" or even harder, "God why did you take that person away?" Often I get flustered when "my plan" starts going a different direction than I wanted... Sometimes what I thought was supposed to happen, didn't.

And what if I looked at the gifts and talents God gave me more like this?  What if I shared them instead of being selfish while trying to control "my own destiny?"  What if I started enjoying my gifts, talents, and blessings WITH God?  What if that's what they're meant for?  He delights in His creation. :)

I need to trust God more! And I know He is someone who is trustWORTHY!

So, what I'm saying is…

 I wan't to share my fries with God!

 Anyone else?! :)

KT

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A POEM...

"HE THAT LOVED ME"
Poem and Photos by Katie Ro Brace


A sinner.

So lost.

Trapped in a never-ending darkness.

In prison, with no one who could pay the cost,

To set me free.

Cold.

Secluded.

Doomed.

Wounded.

All alone.

Then…

A LIGHT came into the darkness and the blackness had no home. 

Like lightning taking over a midnight sky

Never to be dark again!

It changed everything…

HE changed EVERYTHING.

A man began to wash me clean.

Dirt, grime, never ending it seemed…

Came off of me.

He touched my eyes and I saw through,

The lies that I'd been listening to.

He took my hands, that were torn and sore,

That'd been scratching, scratching on Hell's door.

He said I didn't have to do that
 anymore.

And then I looked to see His face.

His eyes like heaven and His smile like fresh snow,

Around Him shown colors like a million rainbows!

He dressed me in a robe, sparkling white

And then He took away my shame,

And gave me a NEW name!

He washed the ashes off of my head,

And placed a golden crown instead!

With rubies, diamonds, stones that which I had never seen...

And then He said,

"You belong to me."

"Not because of anything you have done,

But because I loved you, I gave up my Son,

To die for you, and set you free,

So no more in this prison shall you be.

I've adopted you as my own,

And I will care for you,

With Me 
you have a home.

And you will no, not, never
be alone."



I will never forget…

That it was He.

No, nothing I had done but

He that LOVED me.



Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The End Question

Handsome Young Dr. T
This Saturday my Granddad graduated. No not from school but from life on this earth. He passed from this life to the next at the age of 84 and left not only 6 kids, 19 grandkids, 6 great grandkids (sorry if I get the numbers wrong! it's a lot of people!) and a beautiful strong wife and companion Bonni behind… He also left behind a legacy that touched hundreds of people, if not thousands, being a family practice doctor, friend, mentor, adoptive father and servant of Christ. (and more…)

I was unfortunately not with my Granddad when he passed but while he was alive my heart was beating alongside his in anticipation to one day be with the same Savior.

I've said this many times as of late but my Granddad was a walking, talking, magnetic billboard for Jesus! Literally! He wore a "Jesus Saves" Belt Buckle! :) He also was one of the best story tellers I've ever heard and also an exceptional writer! Oh and I cannot leave out his love for music! He cut a gospel record that is priceless! My sweet Granddad loved the Lord with all his heart, no doubt about it and he sure loved people as well. What a life well lived!!!

Over the past few days I've been missing my Granddad and thinking about my family. The whole circumstance and his life has caused a certain thought to be laid upon my heart and it is this…

"When you live under the idea of grace instead of entitlement, everything becomes a gift."

My mom and her Daddy, my Granddad,
with his "I Love Ketchup" Hat
As I've thought about my Granddad and the imminence of death, the following thing keeps coming to my mind and heart, "Everything I have is a gift."

Everyone, I am such a sinner; you have no idea. My heart has been in such darkness and I have made such foolish and hurtful decisions toward my God and others that I could make anyone want to disown me, de-friend me, or abandon me.

I don't deserve a second chance. I shouldn't get a do over.

And as I say those things to you, it feels sobering, humbling, and I feel tears welling up in my eyes and then… Then, I feel this sweetness welling up in my heart… Jesus saved me!!!

My debt has been paid… I have been forgiven… I'm a slave to sin NO MORE!

And all of that is ENOUGH… More than enough when I truly see in my heart what I deserve but I know Jesus has taken my punishment, my shame, my disgrace upon the cross. OH WHAT JOY!!!! WOW!

Then through that lens I refocus my view of life here on earth and I see everything I have been given is so undeserved… I don't deserve anything. And I'm serious, ANYTHING! In a world, especially in a current generation, that circles around "I should get this! I should get that! I worked for this so I deserve it!" the truth is spoken in this…

Of ANYONE who was ENTITLED to ANYTHING HE WANTED, Jesus set the example.

The Holy God of the Universe chose to come to this dirty sinful earth of ours, not as a strong mighty solider or jewel adorned king but as a helpless baby boy, born not in a palace but a stable, placed not in a crib but a feeding trough for animals, not to wealthy parents but to a young girl and man who lived simple lives… He wasn't given some distinguished name, He was given the common name of Jesus. A king wanted to murder Him the minute he heard of his coming birth. He didn't get a free-pass to sit on His booty all day and not work or have the title of CEO of some high end job, He worked with His hands as a carpenter… He didn't get to do His life's passion or ministry until He was 30… He was prosecuted and called a liar though He only told the truth. He was beaten, scorn, stripped, laughed at, spit at, whipped, His friends abandoned Him, and there He hung with nails in His hands and feet to a cross… How would the King of the Universe choose to die? A criminal's death. And though He never sinned, took the world's sin upon Himself. And the person He cared to prove Himself most to, to make proud: His Heavenly Father turned His face away because He could not look upon on His one and only son covered in sin, our sin.

Of anyone who would have the right to say, "I am entitled to better!!!"
Jesus said, "I will humble myself to save your soul from death because of my GREAT love for you. I will set the example."


And then Christ died… but He ROSE AGAIN and now He is seated with His proud Father… and hanging out with my Granddad! :)

So I sit here and I reminice about my wonderful Granddad who loved Jesus with all his heart and I think about this,
"What is the end question we all must answer as we graduate from life…?"

Who do you believe in? Yourself or Christ?


My Granddad was a sinner just like me but He got the final answer right.


And I know if he could get a blog written about him he'd want it all to be about His Savior so here you go! A vignette of his heart.


Love you Granddad!!!! It's not a "Goodbye" but a "See ya later!"


Love,
Your Katie Girl

1 John 5:12-13 (New Living Translation)
12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.
Conclusion
13 I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.





Tuesday, May 10, 2011

It's a HEART Issue...♥

As I sit and think about my desires, goals, dreams, passions, wants, needs, I come to the conclusion I have a heart issue... And by issue I really mean issues!

What are you waiting on? What is it that your life would feel more fulfilled with having and you're begging God for?

I believe God is continuously shaping us and teaching us each day whether we know it or not. Using each of our unique situations with various people in our lives to rub smooth the rough edges.

My Grandma told me once, "If money is your problem, you don't have a problem." Life is more, much more, than STUFF! Can I get an AMEN?! Life is much more than success and prestige. Can I get a "HALELUJEEEEERRRR?!" If we believe in Christ and say we trust Him with our eternal destiny then why can't we trust Him with this particular desire or need in our current circumstance? Knowing He is sovereign and knows what is best for us. I think we all need some FAITH up in here! :)

What I really need is to look at my heart daily and see that I need to depend on Jesus.

The things we long after could actually be pointing LESS toward our desired object and MORE toward our heart. Maybe it's not as much about a need being met as much as it is a heart being taught.

ADDITION TO MY MOTTO(s):
TO BECOME A LIFELONG LEARNER AT THE FEET OF THE GREATEST TEACHER OF ALL TIME: JESUS.

KT

Monday, May 9, 2011

DEPENDABLE.

Are you "dependable?"

Most of us get a certain feeling when we hear the word "dependable." Perhaps such feelings that could be classified as comforting or on the flip side, guilt… or maybe bitterness at someone who let you down, AGAIN.

Ok, now let's talk cereal. :) I've been known to be a "fruit loop" from time to time with my crazy ideas and artistic personality but I've also been classified as a "corn flake" too.

That's right… Ehhhh the dreaded "FLAKE" category (i.e. Undependable, unreliable, unsteady). Though I have dramatically changed from: losing this and that everyday, being late to everything, and being the butt of "that's Katie for ya" jokes! I finally got mad enough at being boxed in to this ditzy/flighty category that I had ENOUGH and decided I didn't want to be thought of as a "FLAKE" anymore!!!

Let's talk about "why" I was this way in the beginning. Did I want to be late? NO! I hated being late! Did I want to let down a friend? No way! I'm a people lover and devoted to those I love!!! Did I want to be thought of as a flake? Um, NO.  So, why did I continuously do these things? I could sum it up like this… I was very unorganized and therefore over-extended. Add in a dash of immaturity and selfishness as well of course. ;)

I believe that in most cases that someone who is undependable or unreliable is simply a very unorganized person. So to those that are angry or upset at a "flake" I hope that helps you understand and know that it is not intentional. They were probably "late" because they were taking too long doing their hair, talking to their mom on the phone, or cleaning their house, or they completely forgot because they didn't make a note in their calendar. We're all different… This person is like confetti; they are all over the place. Just remember the words GRACE and MERCY and try to make them nail down details with you quickly and as much as possible. Find the best way they communicate and then over-communicate. :)  Is it by phone?…Call them. Are they always on Facebook?…send them a fb message. Are they at work M-F and on their email all day? Send them an email. Sound like a lot of work?…you picked 'em! ;)

Sadly, if they drive you nuts too often let them know why you don't want to be around them and that it hurts you that you never know when they'll be there for you and when they won't. They need to hear it and maybe they'll decide to change! :)  Us confetti people don't take hints well, you need to lay it out for us… in a nice way, of course! ;)

Fellow-Flakes:
Just because you've "always been" a certain way doesn't mean you can't decide to change.

It's all up to you, in my opinion. As I grew up I began to see that in order to survive I HAD to change. My job wouldn't be ok with me being late everyday. My water bill wouldn't just get paid on it's own if I lost the invoice. My friends eventually wouldn't be there if I never was there for them. I decided that I wanted to be dependable. I wanted to be trusted. I wanted to be consistent. I wanted people to rely on me. In turn I had to figure out how to sort through my mess of a mind.

This involved prioritizing and honestly cutting a lot of stuff out of my life.  I was trying to do and be too much.  I had to come to terms with the fact that I can't be everyone's best friend so I needed to pick out the people that I wanted to invest most in and call/email them, pick a day/time/place and meet them for coffee or ice cream once or twice a month (I now always put it in my calendar).  Also making time for music (co-writes, recording), cleaning the house, grocery shopping, staying connected with family by phone calls during the week, spending time with Collin and Estes on top of working a M-F job.

The key for me was to WRITE IT DOWN, NAIL DOWN THE DETAILS QUICKLY and OVER-COMMUNICATE. This also involves sometimes saying "no" or "I can't."  It's really not that hard!  I'd honestly rather say, "No I can't" instead of committing and then lacking the time to be dependable.  Also trying to be early instead of late was a big one that helped. As they say, "Half of life is just showing up!" and "If you're not early, you're late!" Being consistent in the little everyday things has helped me a ton.

I'm humbled to say I am still a work in progress on this issue but I have learned my lessons about being an undependable person… Yeah, I don't want to be one of those! :)  Hope this encourages some of you wonderful confetti people to join me in my pursuit or it helps you "never been unreliable in my life" folks show a little grace! :)


 KT

Monday, April 4, 2011

EVERYTHING

Right now I sit overwhelmed. My heart pumping full of gratitude and joy as tears well up in my eyes.

God is so good. Jesus is so understanding and so compassionate toward such a sinner like me.

Today I woke up with a splitting sinus headache with the room spinning in my vision. Storms all day = angry sinuses. Feeling like I had two jumbo marbles shoved up each nostril I could barely lift my head off the pillow. "God am I really going to miss a day of work because of this? Again?" I got up to try and get ready for work and searing pain went all over my face causing it to throb like I was in a brawl last night. Guess it was time to lie back down.

After going to see my ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat Doctor) this afternoon, which was accompanied with tornado sirens, raging lighting and pouring rain all day, I made the decision with my doc to get my deviated septum fixed in the second week of this coming June. Doesn't sound appealing to have parts of your nose chipped away, but at this point any kind of relief will do… So I'm raring to go at this point! :)

The rest of my day I spent laying on the couch with my dog Estes watching my favorite movie "Nancy Goes to Rio." I can't help but smile when I watch it. Reminds me of my Granny and sitting with my Texas cousin's in Granny's sewing room watching the Technicolor musical with all it's silly humor and beautiful songs and glittery dresses. I LOVE GLITTER and my favorite color is rainbow if you didn't know. :)

The rain continued to pour and lighting struck as Estes continually wanted to go outside to get muddy and wet… Probably because I was boring her! ;) She did sleep some during our movie and was having some happy dreams I guess because she was smiling and wagging her tail a lot! It was very cute! :)

I wrapped up the day by studying the bible.

Lately I've been hearing lots of personal testimonies and stories about God that are inspiring. There are a lot out there that have given my faith a temporary boost. Today I spent time in the bible with God and it was so good for my heart to be studying and digging in to His word, something solid. It is so amazing how God speaks through it. Something that seems so "vanilla" or "basic" to our culture nowadays. But what a treasure it is.

Today I sit content… Things are not perfect in my life… Not at all. Not even close. But my heart is deep in love with my Rescuer, my Savior Jesus. I need Him. I cling to that contentment hoping to not forget it, yet sadly I do. Hoping not to lose grip of my devotion to my Savior… The One who rescued me from despair. His Word pulls me in again and clears my fogginess.

 I look back over the past 26 years and see how all God's truth and grace has been woven through my life and it blows me away. If I had the time and space I would write all the examples of seeing God come in and protect and provide for me. But tonight I write to say to whoever is reading, God is LIFE and Jesus is the WAY TO LIFE… REAL LIFE! You want to LIVE? Die to yourself and Live for Jesus. Love others more than yourself. It's a daily struggle for me… I'm pretty darn selfish. I've done A LOT of things I'm not proud of. But I find PEACE in those moments when I'm so weak I can barely wipe the tears from my eyes and I feel Jesus come and touch my heart and say "I will never leave or forget you." He has the strength and He is good and full of grace and compassion.

 He is my everything. ♥

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Worth Reading for a Crummy Attitude!

Earlier today I had been fighting a crummy attitude. Irritable, frustrated, annoyed, over analyzing everything… I could barely handle being in the presence of my own self! Grrr… "I wish I’d leave me alone!" You know what I’m saying?! There we are walking around with our crummy attitude, needing God to come down off His throne to give us a royal whoopin'! Oh, and we know it’s coming… I was practically walking around covering my behind from a smack today.

Then, something did come up, but it’s not what I expected, and it hit me like a cold glass of water in the face…

Something so gentle… So meek… So soft and beautiful… with the sharpest most fine edge, piercing straight to my heart. A person.

Her name is Savannah…

A message had been sent out at my work today that a little girl who had been battling cancer, in which many of my co-workers (some who knew her) and I had been praying for, had passed away. As you look at the pictures of her gorgeous face you can see the beautiful spirit that lived inside her that continues to shine for eternity with Jesus, as she is now with Him.

My bad attitude screeched to a halt when I saw Savannah’s glowing face and beautiful blue eyes starring back at me from my computer screen… This 11 year old girl is gone from this earth… Like a glimmering star shooting across the midnight sky; you blink, and it has disappeared. Yet the memory of it, of her, remains for all who gazed upon her captivating beauty, even if it was brief, even if it just the memory of her in a picture. Even if it was just her presence shared in a story.  She has gone from this earth into the presence of her loving Savior Jesus, free of pain. Our temporary loss and His eternal gain.

My heart was pierced by the sharp reminder that each life is momentary and yet, it is more precious than any commodity this world can offer. And a life saved by grace, God’s grace, from His One and Only Son Jesus, is a creation that cannot be matched.

I felt my hardened heart soften and my pride and selfishness slowly fall apart. Now what remains is just the desire to pray for a family that misses their daughter, sister, niece, granddaughter, friend.

Are you in a bad mood? Why? Is it worth it? Is holding on to bitterness worth it? What if we spent that time praying for others, instead? Forgiving others, instead? Helping someone in need, instead? Smiling at someone as they walked by, instead?

Today my heart has been taught an important lesson that I won’t soon forget. Thank you Lord and thank you Savannah.<3

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Wait and See...

The other day I was at work, taking a quick moment of praying over my family and our recent struggles with health and waiting on God’s provision on certain things. I felt God nudge me to look out the window next to my cubical. I looked outside to fix my gaze upon the tree that sits right outside my window.

I looked at bare branches on this empty looking tree with a cloudy sky as the gloomy background. Old brown leaves pathetically hanging on as the wind pushed them helplessly up and down.

“Wow, this is depressing! Why I am looking at this?!” I thought. :)

I felt Him say to my heart to keep looking at the tree.

I slowly scanned the tree seeing little tiny bumps on each branch. The little insignificant bumps were actually buds waiting to bloom! Slowly a little bit of sun peaked through the clouds dancing upon the seemingly hopeless branches. Were these branches dead? Oh no they were very much alive and on the verge of something beautiful!

Again He spoke to my heart in that moment, “I am creating a new thing. Things are going to change! I am always making a path for you and new things are going to bloom. You will see! Lift your head and dry your eyes because I have not left you and I will give you strength to keep on moving! Have FAITH, little one. Trust me and be encouraged!”

The hope that I needed to lift my weary heart filled my chest and gently lifted it up again. What an amazing God who shows up at the perfect time and He gives us exactly what we need!

I wanted to share this personal story with you to hopefully encourage any of you who are reading. Pray, look around, ask Him to speak to you and I pray you will hear Him. He is always speaking through His creation and Word and He loves to talk with us.
For those of you who need to hear this too:
HAVE FAITH!
BE ENCOURAGED!
HE HAS NOT FORGOTTEN YOU!
HE IS CREATING A NEW THING AND IT’S GOING TO BE BEAUTIFUL!
JUST YOU WAIT AND SEE!

<3KT