Dear 27…

Well 27 is officially over! And I couldn’t be more excited.

27…was rough…and mean…and ugly….and fought dirty.

But I learned a few things…some happy…some sad…

1 – Take care of your body…because ending up on the floor with a back injury bites.

2 – Relationships take a lot of work..and if it takes a ton of work…it’s probably not the right one for you. I spent so many exhausting hours trying to make things work that I didn’t realize that was a red flag. I just thought that was what people did…but I learned from seeking Godly counsel..that a good relationship is easy. There is open communication and mutual respect.

3 – I’m not a night owl…so I don’t have to pretend like I am one. #LarkForever

4 – True friends let you ugly cry on their shoulder.

5 – Family is what you make it…but they can make or break you if you let them.

6 – I control my life. ~ while this seems like a no brainer…it was a huge revelation for me. I no longer let (key word there!) people run over me or bully me into things I don’t want to do. I hung the phone up on people when they chose to talk about topics I said were off limits. I told people to get off my property. I got mean…but sometimes you have to protect you.

7 – Saying No is freedom. There isn’t enough time for me to express how much this changed my life last year. I learned to set hard boundaries. I learned how to politely and firmly say NO. I delegated. I turned down clients (shocking I know!). I said NO for 30 days and it changed my life. #TheBestKeptSelf #TheBestYes

8 – You can be broken….and survive. I literally hit rock bottom last year after my parents separated and filed for divorce. I couldn’t fix it, I couldn’t play mediator, I couldn’t handle it. It was like 27 years of pent up emotional trauma and family drama damage came rushing forth. I spent months processing ugly truths. I was emotionally, mentally, and physically spent. I learned what it felt like to be existing each day. It hurt to see so many happy people when the only thing I felt like doing was crying. I felt ugly and dark on the inside. My bright cheery life was a cloudy gray. I didn’t feel happy. I didn’t want to smile. I didn’t want to do anything but curl up and cry. To top it off, when I told Matt I needed a break to process what was going on in my life..he walked out..instead of hearing me say I was emotionally struggling he took it personally and ended our relationship. The tears I cried that night came from the depths of my soul. I can’t explain the pain I felt…I can’t explain the cries that came from within. It was as if something had finally broken and it was released for me to bear no more. When I asked God to do a work in me, I don’t think I was fully prepared for the storm he sent me through…but now as I reflect back on last year I realized he never gave me more than I could handle.

9 – Beauty is fleeting…so work on your soul. I invested in me. I went to church. I read more of my Bible than I think I ever have. I prayed…a lot. I studied.

10 – When I get stressed out I do two things…binge eat or run till I fall and hit the pavement. I retrained my body last year. Now, I address what’s causing the stress or anxiety and attack it head on. I’m learning what it means to live an emotionally healthy life. I’m learning confrontation skills. I’m learning to process. These are skills I’ve had to teach myself and thankfully God put an amazing couple, the Hiatt’s, in my life that have mentored me and counseled me the past three years as I’ve begun the journey to living a healthy life.

11 – I love my house. Seriously…I’m okay with being an old lady. Let me live on my couch in peace.

12 – Breaking an eating disorder is a life long process. When the stress and anxiety come at you in full force, it’s hard not to fall back into old habits.They’re sneaky…those whispers that come out of nowhere…I’ve fought for seven years to slay that demon and he attacked with 200% last year. It was a daily battle to hold him off. Some days I won, some days I lost… But I learned that he doesn’t control me. God does and with Him anything is possible. He showed me through mercy and grace that I am fearfully and wonderfully created just the way He wanted me to be. Yes that may mean 4 inches above average height, fifteen lbs heavier than my coach ever wanted me to be, and boasting some softball thighs for life..but as I struggled to learn to love myself last year….I learned more than I’ve ever known before. It’s a hard place to be…when you want nothing more than to harm your body…but God’s screaming how much He loves you and doesn’t want you to harm his temple. Having an eating disorder is not something I share with many people. At this point in my life only three people who are very close to me know how much of a struggle it is. But I learned some skills I needed to handle the stress and anxiety so that I can stop the spiral before it ever

13 – If your warning lights go off in a situation, pay attention to them. Sometimes I think I get so caught up in wanting to be loved, that I forget to let God love me. I fall into relationships that aren’t always healthy. I tend to like to fix people…I learned that fixing people isn’t my job. It’s God’s. I learned what signs to look for, what guys to avoid, and what I need to work on to make sure that I’m where I need to be. When you come from an emotionally unhealthy family…you’re naturally drawn to unhealthy people. Because that’s what you know. But! You don’t have to fall into that cycle. You can teach yourself what signs to look for and learn what a healthy family looks like :)

14 – Parents make your life crazy…but you don’t have to live a crazy life….Becoming an adult is a growing process. I’ve never walked this path before so I’m learning as I go. But I learned that it’s okay to tell your family you love them, but you’re not going to participate in their crazy. I told my parents harsh things last year. I ended my relationship with my father because he could not speak to me without respecting boundaries. It was a hard four months, but he finally learned that if he wanted to have a relationship with me he had to respect the boundaries I set. It doesn’t mean our relationship now is perfect, but it is on my terms and within my boundaries. I don’t let him guilt trip me, I don’t let him speak down to me, I don’t let him buy my affection with gifts….and it’s been one of the best things I’ve ever done for me.

15 – I really like to run :) I gained some weight while I was dating MB and through the whole parental situation. The night MB and I broke up, I cried and then I went for a six mile run. And I ran the next day, and the next day and I kept running. I hated how much weight I had gained. I hated how my body looked. I hated that my clothes didn’t fit. I literally locked myself in the bathroom during a girls trip to the beach and cried because I couldn’t wear a dress I wanted to wear. I stayed curled up in the tub while my cousins went to dinner because I felt like a whale. So I started running again and slowly the weight stared coming off. I changed my pizza for Paleo and it came off faster and faster. I’m still not where I want to be, but I’m a whole lot closer than I was last year in August.

16 – God’s got an amazing guy somewhere that is going to be loved by this girl so hard when he comes along. I love my husband. I know you might think it’s funny…I mean I’m not even married yet. But I do! I love him so much even though I have no idea who he is. I keep a prayer journal and I pray for my future husband daily. Sometimes God gives me specific things to pray for, sometimes I just pray for him to know he is loved. Last year, he went through a difficult situation. I don’t know what..I just know that for two weeks I prayed constantly for him day and night. God didn’t give me a release to stop until the wee hours of a Saturday morning. I knew in my heart he had made the decision he needed to make, that it had been tough, that he had wrestled with it and I prayed for peace and rest for him. Meanwhile, I thanked God for pulling me away from MB and for doing a work in my life. He broke me down last year and is building me into the virtuous woman I need to be for my husband. So far, He’s been cleaning out some closets in my life that I haven’t wanted to touch or deal with. He’s shown me the blessing of submission. I’ve often struggled with that word in relation to marriage..but more about that later.

17 – Just because you come from a family of hoarders…doesn’t mean you have to be one. I’ve learned a lot about emotions and their ties to physical objects in our life. I’ve been working my way through the Japanese Art of Tidying up by Marie Kondo and it has changed my life. I realized that some of the underlying stress in my life is caused by all this “stuff” in my house. It’s everywhere….so I’ve been slowly and methodically cleaning out my earthly home until it’s a place of joy for me.

18 – Friends are a precious commodity. Invest in them wisely. I was very blessed to have a new friend walk into my life at the moment I needed her. I can’t imagine how the end of my year would have gone without long conversations with LB. I’m thankful God moved this sweet girl from Chicago to a random town in SC and then crossed our paths one night. She truly has become one of my dearest friends in such a short time. She’s been my rock and my encouragement for the last season, and I’m excited to be her encouragement through this season of her life.

19 – I need me time…lots of me time. I learned the art of resting last year. I spend so many hours of my waking day on the go that I began to pay the price with my body. I was utterly exhausted and depressed. I had a ton going on with my family and began to feel ill quite often. I began resting on my lunch break. You’d be amazed at how much an hour nap in the middle of the day can help. I set a sleep schedule and stuck to it. I set an eating schedule and stuck to it.

20 – Not moving causes stagnation. I learned that I have to get out of town…otherwise I really can’t appreciate how much life I have. I went on several trips. I spent time with my sister. I left my dog in the hands of my best guy …and she survived lol :)

21 – Do things that make you uncomfortable. I learned how to unglue myself from the wall. I am a hard core wall flower. But part of growing means doing things you don’t like to do. I made myself speak to people at the gym. I made myself talk to the cashier at the grocery store (we’re now buddies..her name is Hannah). I learned the names of all of the custodians in my building. I made myself learn how to be an extrovert (but balanced it with me time!).

22 – I love crocheting. I admit it. I’m an old lady at heart. Give me a fire, apple cider, and yarn any day. I made and actually sold crochet items. I shared part of myself with the world and it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be.

23 – I jumped off of a cliff…and lived to tell the tale. I have longed to start my own business ever since I was in high school. I’ve always let fear stand in the way and I’ve stood on the edge of the cliff begging myself to jump. This past year, I started taking a class through the local arts alliance. I learned all of the skills I needed to start, and I did it. I filled out the paperwork, I wrote the check, and I filed for my LLC. (It took me three weeks to actually work up enough courage to send the paperwork in!)

24 – Hitting one of your goals is an amazing feeling! I hit the halfway point for my graduate degree in December! It’s always amazing to me when I do things that other people tell me I can’t. I won’t pretend it’s been easy…it’s pretty much been a struggle from the first day of class, but when I walk across the stage next spring..it’s going to be worth every second.

25 – My self worth is not determined by a relationship. I can’t tell you how many friends I have that define their worth by a man. It’s completely freeing when you realize that a guy doesn’t determine your value. I enjoy being single. I really do! I want to use this season of my life to the fullest. I want to pour into others while I can…because there’s going to come a day when I might not be able to do that.

26 – Don’t let an ended relationship, end previous friendships. After MB and I broke up, it was slightly awkward separating the friends we mutually had. Most of his went back to being #TeamMatt..a few of mine jumped ship. But I was determined to keep my bestie. She got caught in the middle, and I didn’t want that. So we talked and I expressed how much her friendship meant to me. We established lines..no talking about Matt, no telling Matt about Kat..and we kept a friendship that was longer than MB & I were ever destined to be. It’s not always like that when you break up and have mutual friends. It can get ugly and I didn’t want that.

27 – I am extraordinary. I pray my daughter never doubts her beauty the way I doubt mine. I’m working on loving me…and I hope that one day she’ll see a beautiful, confident, happy woman whom she is proud to call mom.

So 27, it is with mixed emotions that I bid you adieu.

And with a warm heart I say, hello 28! Let’s have a beautiful year!

XoXo!

One Older & Somewhat Wiser Lemon

 

Thirty Days of Thankful Wrap Up

Hello my Lovelies! This year has definitely been a trial and full of tough stuff, but in the middle of all of the crazy that is my life I realize I have so much to be thankful for! It’s encouraging to look back each day and write something I’m thankful for :) So here are just a few things that I’m especially thankful for!

nov. 1 – Thankful that today is my awesome Uncle B’s birthday! He works so hard with his hands to build beautiful pieces out of wood and selflessly gives them away to others. Thankful for new people at life group! #LT #E

nov. 2 – Thankful for Moe’s Monday with my life group. I’ve been praying God would bring some people my age into my life that would walk this chapter with me and He did! It’s amazing to connect with them and live life together.

nov. 3 – Thankful I have the opportunity to serve in the Junior League! These ladies do so much for our community and I enjoy our time together.

nov. 4 – Thankful for slow days at work :)

nov. 5 – Thankful for a crazy awesome brother who cooks amazing dinners!

nov. 6 – Thankful for the opportunity to share my knowledge of social media and marketing with other local artists! I gave a presentation tonight to local artists and consignees about branding & marketing their work.

nov. 7 – Thankful for fun days at the races! For girl’s Hallmark Movie Nights, for getting homework done on time! #KingstreeTrials

nov. 8 – Thankful for a church that has a heart for missions and the word & thankful for beekeeping class and for learning new things!

nov. 9 – Thankful for Uschi and for the Business of Art series :) This nine week series has helped me take the final step to launching my business. It’s challenged me, grown me and encouraged me beyond words.

nov. 10 – Thankful for classmates who help me understand through texting. It’s challenging being in an online classroom some weeks.

nov. 11 – Thankful for my new friend Laura! I’m glad God shipped you to me all the way from Chicago :) We’re kindred spirits :) Thankful for time with her and late night bonfires with Katie, Mags, Luke, and Eric :) Thankful for a new hair do!

nov. 12 – Thankful for fun events like Merry Marketplace!

nov. 13 – Thankful for friends who carry essential oils in their pocketbooks! Had the worst sore throat today and April came to my rescue with some Thieves.

nov. 14 – Thankful for movie nights with Laura :)

nov. 15 – Thankful for sweet vendors that I get to minister to each year! This year was especially hard…one of my favorite vendors lost her sweet husband 5 weeks ago. We laughed together, cried together and rejoiced that they’ve been a part of Merry Marketplace for 20 years :) Thankful for new people at small group! Thankful for Alabama transplants #MrWidener

“Giving thanks always for all things unto God
and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…”
~ Ephesians 5:20

nov. 16 – Thankful for Moe’s Monday and Starbucks with my life group :) I love these guys soo much!

nov. 17 – Thankful for the gift of craftiness! Working on pieces for my first craft show this weekend!

nov. 18 – Thankful for sweet children who love Jesus! I am enjoying plugging in at church and helping with the children’s choir.

nov. 19 – Thankful for nights our with my life group! Tonight, we went downtown and had dinner at Wholly Smokin’ then headed over to the Music Industry Ensemble 80’s concert. Too much fun! Afterwards, we took off to Starbucks to spend more time together :) I am loving this fellowship!

nov. 20 – Thankful for parents who help me set up my vendor booth at craft shows!

nov. 21 – Thankful for a great first craft show! For family and friends who came by to support my art. Thankful for the opportunity to babysit 5 out of 6 crazy awesome little boys! #theMurphyBoyz

nov. 22 – Thankful for Sunday afternoon naps & buffalo chicken dip! Thankful for porch swing buddies! #LT

nov. 23 – Thankful for an awesome couple who has poured into my life the past few years! Charles & Uschi also share a birthday today!

nov. 24 – Thankful for friendsgiving with my Junior League girls! Story time with the Murphy Boys and their love for me :) Thankful for Minnemie and her hugs, for sharing my brokeness, for praying over me, and for loving me.

nov. 25 – Thankful for s’mores and bonfires and outdoors movies at the Jackson’s house :) For crazy friends that sit around a bonfire till 2am….

nov. 26 – Thankful for the opportunity to pack Thanksgiving meals for 70 families this morning! Thankful to share a meal with my family! Thankful that God doesn’t let gutting 63 turkeys freak me out..

nov. 27 – Thankful for a Christmas tree shopping and decorating buddy!

nov. 28 – Thankful for rest days and new crochet patterns!

nov. 29 – Thankful for Sunday snuggles on a porch swing and life group! Thankful for digging back into the Word and being challenged. Thankful for a collective of young people who gather to study. Thankful for openness, for shoulders to cry on, for friends to hug and for hands to hold. #abba #family #church

nov. 30 – Thankful for all of the wonderful things God has blessed me with! #family #friends #biblestudy #health #healing

When you walk through a trial, sometimes it’s hard to look up. This morning as I paused and looked up from my broken life, I realized how thankful I am. I was reminded as I read through this list and read the end of Ruth that God is in the business of redeeming broken people :) I am thankful that for all of the pain, there is something to be thankful for. I am thankful I have hope through my Savior and that it’s an everlasting, eternal hope. So Father, thank you for reminding me that your mercies are ever sweet and your arms are always open wide.

For you know the plans you have for me, plans to prosper me, plans to give me hope and a future.

XoXo,

One Thankful Broken Lemon

Weekend Wrap Up ~ Blame it on the books…

Hello Lovelies!

This weekend has been CRAZY fun and busy! Friday night I headed to our local Co-Op for craft night. It has been so much fun hanging out with fellow crafters. I finally found some new friends :) I enjoy munching on goodies and chatting with other crafty ladies.

I took some yarn with me and about ten patterns. Have I mentioned that I really hate patterns? I much prefer freestyle crocheting. After three attempts at following the pattern, I gave up and just went for it.

I think my slouchy beanie turned out okay :)

Saturday morning I headed back to the Co-Op for my first Intro to Beekeeping class. Yes! You read that right..I have a slight obsession with honey bees :) I’ve always been curious about honey bees. I blame it on my childhood obsession with Winnie the Pooh and the fact that I could eat honey all day everyday.

I recently read a series of books, The Bella Vista Chronicles by Susan Wiggs, about a female beekeeper/chef. If you haven’t read them, I encourage you to! It’s a fabulous series about family, love and healing. It follows stolen artwork and the journey of the underground Polish resistance during the Nazi regime. It was a fascinating read! I couldn’t put it down. As an art lover, bee enthusiast, sister, and history lover it hit every interest I have. Included in each book are fabulous recipes featuring honey!

 

Our class was taught by a local beekeeper. He’s been keeping bees for over 20 years and I am excited to learn more! Our class will take about 8 months, but at the end I’ll be a South Carolina certified Beekeeper!

Why am I so interested in bees (aside from the previously stated reasons)? Without the mighty little honey bee, we would live in a world without fruits, nuts, vegetables, and seeds.

Nearly one-third of the world’s crops are dependent on honeybees for pollination, but over the last decade the cute little honey bee has been dying at unprecedented rate in both the United States and abroad. EEEKKKK! So I’m going to help with that :)

But where are you going to keep bees, you ask. Well..I thought about that. Some will be going on the farm. Did you know that adding beehives to your farm can help increase your production yield? Last year, a cotton farmer rented bees from Mr. Phillip and his yield increased 11%! Craziness!!

But after going through our first class and talking with Mr. Phillip, I realized my backyard is perfect! There’s all the foods and resources bees need hanging out back there. I’ve got oak trees, blueberry bushes, asters, milkweed, a swimming pool (they get thirsty), an apple tree and more! Boom Sauce! (I’m beyond excited about this in case that isn’t translating through!)

I met a new friend at Bible Study last week. She texted yesterday and we met up at church to sit together. It’s so nice to have a familiar face to sit with :)

Now I’m settling in to finish up some homework. This semester and I just aren’t gelling very well. So I’m doing a little bit of homework and then crocheting a little…it’s like rewarding yourself for surviving in my opinion..

Here’s what I whipped up tonight during homework breaks..

XoXo,

One Soon-to-Be Beekeeping Lemon

Crying a river…

Hello Lovelies!

This weekend was crazy and long, but good. I was dead tired when I got home from work. I left for work at 9:30am Saturday and didn’t roll into my driveway until 1:36am Sunday morning..yeah..that’s late for this kid. I said a quick prayer before I went to sleep that God would wake me up in time for church. I can’t explain how much I am in love and loving my church right now. It’s unfathomable. I’ve been doing a poor job of sharing my faith on my blog, and I’d like to rectify that. If it offends you..don’t read my blog :)

So…I woke up at 9:26. Church starts at ten..it was tempting to roll back over but I resisted and I’m glad I did.

The last six to eight weeks have been full of a lot of tears. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we never went through valleys as Christians? What if our lives were always on an even keel, or better yet, high up on the mountain slopes?

We’ve been studying the book of 1 Peter at church and in our connect groups. Wouldn’t you know this week we’re in chapter 4 and guess what we’re talking about? Suffering. Yep, those trials and fiery ordeals.

12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”[a] 19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

As we dug into the chapter this week, I was reminded that part of being a Christian is going through suffering. But it’s not a bad thing..it’s something God uses to draw us closer to him and to make us stronger. When I think of fire, I often think of destruction, ashes, and char. But it can be brilliant! Fire makes glass turn into amazing works of art. It makes metal stronger. It welds ships together. It cleans out impurities.

We can’t stand on the top of the mountain all the time. Valleys are just a part of our journey. I sat in church yesterday thinking about how many valleys I’ve already walked through in my young life…it’s been a lot. But as I thought about them, I realized that I wouldn’t change my journey. Each of those experiences allowed me to minister to others down the road, made me stronger, and allowed me to praise and glorify God.

And I realized something so important this week. I’ve always struggled with the idea of praising God during a time of suffering. So often I want to be so angry with Him and ask Him – Why God? Why me? But as I re-read these verses, I realized it’s not IF but WHEN His glory is revealed. Suffering is all about glorifying God. It’s not about glorifying Kat for being a trooper and surviving it. It’s about watching what the Lord does through a rough situation.

When I was in high school, my grandfather was diagnosed with stage 4 liver, kidney and colon cancer. I was so angry. I was angry at my parents for not telling us. At the time, we were in a third world country so coming home to America to see Pop wasn’t an option. God endured my anger for many months. It wasn’t until I came home and talked with Pop-Pop that my heart changed. During our talk, he told me something so powerful that I still gives me chills to this day. He said: “I’m going to glorify God through cancer.” I was broken. If he could glorify God through something so painful and horrible..certainly I could glorify Him during the good times. The doctors gave him three months to live, but Jesus gave us five more years. During that time, he showed Jesus to every doctor, nurse, and therapist he had. He showed it to his buddies at the golf course, his hair dresser, and anyone he met. Other cancer patients became believers because of my grandpa’s walk through cancer and his suffering.

Was God’s glory revealed? Totally! During his funeral, over four hundred people showed up to celebrate his life. My grandpa’s influence and reach is still felt to this day.

It doesn’t mean that those valleys we walk through will be easy…but God’s right there beside us.

I’ve often wondered why God wouldn’t answer me. I was going through a really rough time in my life while my grandfather was ill. I was taking care of my brother and sister full time, cleaning the house, and cooking three meals a day, plus doing my own school work while my mom helped care for him.

I remember one afternoon, as I sat by his bedside I asked him why God wasn’t talking to me and why he felt so far away. He said: “Darling, he’s holding you so tight in his arms right now. Sometimes he speaks to us in still small voices. Maybe it’s time you stop yelling at God and listen.” Wow…my grandfather was a wise man :)

So, this week I’ll be listening!

Pray with me as I pray for healing for my family, restoration of my parent’s marriage, and the strength to walk by faith and not by sight.

XoXo,

One Quiet Lemon