We are debt free!

When James and I were engaged to be married, a wise friend told me “the biggest problems in your first year of marriage will either revolve around money or sex.” I, of course, was optimistic and thought we would rock both and never fight ever (LOL), so when we were standing in Half Price Books on our honeymoon arguing over whether or not we should buy the $89 worth of books that someone who will go unnamed had picked out, I concluded my friend was indeed correct and that money would be our issue.  And it sure was.

James and I are different in many areas, and the way we viewed and dealt with money was no exception.  We had different backgrounds, philosophies, and ideas of what the purpose of money was and what we were to do with it as a married couple.

In my mind, money was to be used to purchase the bare necessities required for survival, and the rest was to be put straight into a savings account.  In my single days, I took great pride in spending less than $30 a week at the grocery store (you better believe all that food was off-brand), and I had absolutely no shame in being “that girl” who, when out to eat with friends, would fill up on water and rolls, which enabled me to take my $7 meal home in a to-go box in order to stretch it out for the next three days. It brought me much angst and grief to spend money on anything that I thought would be a waste.  It’s safe to say I lean toward the extreme of frugality.

James, on the other hand, viewed money as an opportunity to purchase things to enrich his life.  He works hard for his money, therefore he wants to be able to spend it as he pleases.  I vividly remember one time, while we were dating and driving somewhere, he stopped at Academy and bought a pair of athletic shorts for $24 for no other reason than he liked them and simply wanted to.  I literally could not believe it.  I spent the rest of the day dumbfounded and trying to understand why he would buy another pair of athletic shorts when he was wearing perfectly good ones ON HIS BODY.  For James, money was simply just an avenue and tool for fun.

As you can probably imagine, these clashing philosophies created much conflict in our early days of marriage.  I worked hard to tighten up his spending, and he worked hard to lighten me up…well in all areas of life.  This all came to a head about three months in when he came home from work carrying a Walmart bag with a $6 neon shirt inside.  That $6 neon shirt sparked one of the biggest fights of our marriage.  I was livid he carelessly spent money on something we didn’t need, and he felt like he had no freedom to spend the money he worked hard for.  Six dollars.  After the blow up cooled, we decided we needed help.  Our church was about to start a Financial Peace University class, so we signed up the very next day.

FPU was super helpful for us because it validated our struggles and helped us understand that neither one of us were wrong, we are just different.  The class gave us a language and terminology to work through the issues we were facing, and helped us to develop a plan that would unite us.  There were many useful ideologies and principles we learned in the class, and I want to share a few that were most transformative for us:

Give First

It’s a little embarrassing now to admit this, but neither one of us were regularly giving to our church (or anywhere) when we got married.  The first thing we changed was to set up recurring giving to our church, operating under the mindset that God owns all things are we are stewards to what He has given us, so we want to give to Him and His church first.

Create and stick to a budget

This was really huge.  It’s funny to me now, but we realized we had no idea how much money we actually brought home and where it was going every month. We paid bills and the rest of it just ended up somewhere.  We started creating a budget to determine where our money was going to go.  We still do it now.  Every. single. month.  Having and maintaining a budget is effective and lifesaving for many reasons:

  • We create it together, both giving our input on every category, so we work to agree and end up on the same page with where our money is going.
  • We dedicate certain items on the budget to be “cash only”, meaning we withdraw cash to stick into envelopes, which regulates spending for things like groceries, eating out, haircuts, etc.  That way there is money available for what we need, but there is zero chance of overspending in that category.
  • We allocate some money into a “fun” category, so that James can buy things for pure enjoyment without a controlling wife breathing down his neck, and I can spend money on “unnecessary” things with a good conscious knowing we are not throwing our lives down the toilet.  It’s a win-win. 🙂

Knockout Debt

As a newly married couple, we had tens of thousands of dollars of student loans looming over our heads.  Instead of paying the minimum payment every month and chugging slowly toward the projected 2043 payoff date, we decided to go all in and knock it out as fast as we could.  More months than not, over half of our paychecks were sent to dear ol Sallie Mae.  We didn’t buy fancy things or go on extravagant vacations, and became pros in creating ways to have “free fun” – meaning lots of volleyball and game nights.  But it was well worth it, because two years later, we paid those loans off in their entirety and are living 100% debt free.

I say with all sincerity that working together and applying the principles we learned in that class significantly changed our lives as a married couple. That fight over the $6 neon Walmart shirt a little over two years ago was the last time we fought over money.  No joke.  We don’t argue about our money, we don’t worry about it, and we hardly even talk about it anymore.  The budget and guidelines we have agreed on quietly play their role in the background and free us to live our lives and focus our time and energy on things we actually care about.  We have learned to effectively manage this area of our life, and it has brought so much unity and freedom between us.  James is starting seminary this fall, and we are paying for it in cash…because we are able to.  Not because we make loads of money (neither one of us are in rich people professions ;)) but because we work hard to manage what money we do have in the very best way we can, and that hard work pays off.  All the sacrifices we made early on proved to be well worth it.

IMG_1334We celebrated being debt free by splurging on a Molten chocolate cake at Chilis 🙂

When we submitted the final payment on our student loans, I expected to have feelings of euphoria and great accomplishment, but it ended up being rather anti-climactic.  But that’s okay. I am proud of the discipline God has given us to stay the course and pursue a debt free life. But that’s really just the beginning of our story with money. We are now in a place where we are free to give more and invest more monetarily in the Kingdom of Jesus. So I believe the work we have to get done is now ready and in front of us. I can’t wait.

Until next time,



Solitude Saturdays

James and I had a text conversation on Friday morning that went something like this:

Katie: “Hey I’m thinking about spending the entire day by myself tomorrow.  What are your thoughts?”

James:  “I would miss you.”

Katie: “It would only be for one day.”

James: “I’m supportive of whatever you need. Maybe we could get lunch together?”

Katie: “Ummm……probably not. Maybe dinner.”

This conversation led to what I have affectionately named “Solitude Saturday.” I spent an unplanned Saturday allll by myself a couple months ago (meaning James was out of town and I didn’t have any other plans) and it was so good for my soul, it left me craving another day like that.  So thanks to a supportive husband and an empty calendar, I was able to create another Saturday to spend all by myself.  Here’s a brief synopsis of what my day looked like:

  • woke up at NINE THIRTY AM (what kind of responsible adult is even able to sleep that late??! It was glorious. I didn’t even force my body into a vertical position for at least an additional 30 more minutes)
  • walked to the park from my apartment
  • set up my hammock and read the Bible, journaled, and started to work on memorizing Romans 8

FullSizeRender-4 copyI’m still working on releasing bitter feelings toward the person who was flying a drone over my head THE ENTIRE TIME

  • went home, made lunch, and contemplated working out, but decided against it and went for a 3 hour nap instead (whoops)
  • spent a few hours at Barnes & Noble alternating between the activities of people watching and reading books I didn’t plan to buy

FullSizeRender-4I have literally never identified with the term “spirit animal” until I discovered this fantastic lady with all the books in her lap across from me. I totally get it now.

  • enjoyed coffee and a free bagel at Panera Bread (my favorite place ever), which has led to the writing of this post

I have become a huge advocate for solitude.  I am an introvert so these kind of things probably come more naturally to me, but there is just something so good about the ability to intentionally be alone in a healthy way.  Being able to be by yourself well enables you to be with people well.  An extreme of too much people time or too much alone time is unhealthy.  Too much alone time leads to a depressed hermit with irrational thoughts, and too much people time leads to a frazzled life marked by busyness and a hindered ability to reflect properly.  Richard Foster wisely advises: “we must seek out the recreating stillness of solitude if we want to be with others meaningfully.  We must seek the fellowship and accountability of others if we want if we want to be alone safely.  We must cultivate both if we are to live in obedience.”

Through a day spent alone, I am able to devote a large chunk of time to cultivate a deeper intimacy with God, to reflect on my life and why I am doing what, to think, dream, and pray, and just be without a whole lot of doing. My soul feels renewed and my heart feels better prepared to tackle the hard work of loving people well.  Foster says “the fruit of solitude is increased sensitivity and compassion for others…there is a new attentiveness for their needs, new responsiveness to their hurts.”

I have decided the practice of solitude (and rest!) is vital for the health of my spiritual life, so I am going to make Solitude Saturdays a scheduled day for myself once a month.  I invite you to join me if you’re up for it (separately, of course ;)). I truly believe we will experience much fruit through it.

Until next time,

Jesus is still King

I, possibly like many of you, have been dealing with a creeping sense of anxiety this week.

It feels like our country is in disarray.

I don’t understand how racism is still in existence in the 21st century.

It’s almost comical that a man who seems better fit for a reality TV star is the leading GOP candidate.

It is absurd that slander, mockery, and ridicule have become acceptable for persons seeking positions of honor.

After the Super Tuesday results came out, I forced myself to stay off social media for a few days because I felt depressed every time I read some article or watched another video. There is a real fear that the America my future children will grow up in will be very different from the America I was raised in.

And what if that actually happens?

What if my children don’t know the same liberties and freedoms I do?  What if they grow up in a world where only “weak” people show respect and dignity to one another?  What if the USA starts to resemble Panem and our states become districts and we make a sport out of killing each other?

Even if all my fears and anxieties are someday realized, you know what?  Jesus is still King. 

I’ve had to let the truth of that speak louder to me than the news reports linked to my Facebook.  I love my country and I am thankful to be an American.  I have high hopes for the land of the free.  Who knows, the next century could prove the be the most prosperous time yet.  If so, Jesus is still King.

And if not, I have full confidence that He remains on His throne.  God is good and He is completely sovereign over every leader placed in our government.  I really do believe that.  As great as America is, my comfort and hope do not come from being American.  There will be a day when the red, white, and blue flag will fly no longer because all things of the world will come to pass.  On that day, we will gladly wave our white flags of surrender, proclaiming that Jesus was, is, and always will be Lord.

And that’s where I’m choosing to put my hope this election season, and in every season.  I pray you will too.


Until next time,



There’s Always More Room

A lot of my friends give me grief about being “too inclusive”, but I just can’t help it.

I’ve felt the pain of being intentionally excluded and left out at different times in my life, and there are few things that sting more than the feeling of not being wanted.

When I was in elementary school, I had a group of 5-6 girlfriends in my class that became my “group.” You know, the group you do important things together with, like brag about the newest Beanie Baby you got, write secrets in your felt journals on top of the monkey bars during recess, exchange Lisa Frank stickers, etc. We would have sleepovers, go swimming, watch Mary-Kate & Ashley movies…it was pretty much perfect.

Until one day, in 4th grade, one of the girls threw a sleepover party for her birthday…and I wasn’t invited.  I don’t really remember why not, except maybe that girls can be catty and vicious even when they are little.  Regardless of whatever the reason may have been, I wasn’t invited, and no one kept that a secret from me.  They talked about it non-stop in the days leading up to it, how much fun it was going to be, and how only the “real BFFs” were invited. I tried to act like it didn’t bother me and hung on to hope that maybe their minds would change and I would be included.

The night of the sleepover, I got a phone call from the girls.  I perked up, super excited, thinking the moment had come where I would be invited last minute.  I didn’t mind showing up late, as long as I was wanted at the party.  When I put the phone to my ear, ready to accept my late invitation, all I heard was hysterical laughing, a few snarky jakes, and then the sound of the phone slamming into the receiver.

Ouch.  This crushed my little 4th grade soul.  Heck, it would probably crush me now.  The message was clear; I was not invited, and I was not wanted.

Fast forward a few years to high school.  I embodied the definition of “not cool.”  I was 5’10, pushing to get to 100 pounds, had pale skin, red hair, braces on my teeth, the works.  I was still anxiously awaiting on the distinctive body parts that typically appear around this age to arrive, but their slow entrance caused me to resemble a light post. I was also pretty shy, so aside from the occasional movie outing or study group, my friend scope was fairly limited.  These elements combined led to a teenaged girl who was “not cool” in the eyes of most public schooled high schoolers.  I went through my first couple years of high school in this conundrum, until the end of my sophomore year, it all changed.  While my physical ailments remained the same, my social life was dramatically transformed, all because one girl decided to befriend me.

And here’s the thing about this girl; we didn’t have a whole lot in common.  She was near the top of the Varsity line-up on our tennis team, and I was on JV.  She had blonde hair and tan skin, and…um…I did not.  Most importantly, she possessed the two necessary essentials for succeeding in high school; 1) a car, and 2) boys who liked her.  I lacked both of those things, so that automatically put her way out of my friend league.  She had a ton of friends already.  But for whatever reason, she sought me out and chose to make me her friend.  She invited me places.  She would pick me up and give me rides in her janky car.   She would invite people over to my house for swim parties, sleepovers, and movie nights.  She forced me out of my shyness. She really had nothing to gain by becoming friends with the awkward shy girl, but she chose to include me in her group anyway.  The message was clear: there was room for me, and I was wanted.

Looking back at the past 10 or so years of my life, a lot of who I am today results from that friendship that began in high school. I experienced the power of inclusion, and although I didn’t realize it then, it changed my life.

You would think that as an adult, the problem of exclusion would magically disappear when maturity comes along, that we would grow beyond cliques that leave others out and keep our friend circles wide open.  Unfortunately, we all know the same hurt I experienced in the 4th grade is still happening to grown adults all around us. I know I’m guilty of causing it too.  But there is something deeply embedded in me that wants people to feel like they are a part, to know there is always more room for one more, that another chair is waiting, available and ready to be pulled up to the table.

Realistically, you can’t befriend everyone.  But you can be intentional in befriending someone.  A someone who may not even realize the deep need they have for community and genuine friendship, but I bet you it would change their life once they experience it, just like it changed mine.

Until next time,



For the Bad Bible Reader

I have a confession to make…

I’m really bad at reading the Bible.

Now, I’m not saying I don’t like the Bible.  I do.  I really do.  I love God and am thankful for His Word.  I believe the Bible is real, that it’s words are truth and have the power to transform lives.  I genuinely do have a deep affection for the Bible, kind of like the affection one may have toward a  grandmother they are unsure how to confidently interact with, but still love her deeply because she is family.

That kind of describes how I feel about the Bible.  I love it, care for it, believe in it, but am not always sure how to best interact with it.

And I try.  I am a Type A, follow the schedule person, so you better believe I set aside time every morning to read the Bible.  So, my problem is not getting there, but how to best go about it.  What usually happens is I sit there, read a few verses, and then accidently start thinking about the dishes sitting in the sink.  And then I can’t stop thinking about the dishes, so I promise myself to quickly go put them in the dishwasher and then come back.  So I do, but when I get back, I start thinking about the laundry molding in the washer that should probably be moved to the dryer.  So I move the laundry over and on my way back I notice all the food in the kitchen, which reminds me that I haven’t made breakfast yet and my stomach is growling.

You see my problem.

Or sometimes I am really disciplined and ignore the to-do list that is running through my head, and successfully read through and meditate on an entire passage. Victoriously I close my Bible, relishing in my accomplishment, and then five minutes later I can’t tell you a single thing I just read.

And I know there’s tons of methods and options out there.  I did the S.O.A.P thing for a while, I’ve read commentaries, I try journaling and reflecting on what I’ve read, I try memorizing the key verse in a chapter or books, I sometimes journal written summaries of what I’ve read, and I’ve done a few She Reads Truth studies (and I can’t be the only person who skims the verses and jumps straight into the devotional portion).

All of these are good things that are worth doing.  They really are.  But for some reason I always end up at the same place of frustration and feeling like a lousy Christian who just isn’t that great at reading the Bible.

If you are a person who naturally feels at ease navigating the Bible and easily comprehends God’s truth, that is amazing.  I wish I were more like you.

But if you are more like me, someone who has a sincere desire to learn and try, but always ends up feeling a little awkward handling God’s Word, here are a few thoughts I have for people like us:

Take the pressure off

I think it is natural to feel shame or guilt as a Christian to admit we aren’t awesome at reading the Bible.  But guilt and shame are opposite of the gospel, so stop it right now.  God still loves us.

Just do it

Sometimes it feels like we have to have the right plan in place, the perfect study, an insightful commentary, life-changing discussion questions, colorful highlighters, and a cool journal to go along with it.  Not necessary at all. Bite of what you can chew.  Just pick something and read it. And read it over and over again until it starts to make sense.  Even if you read the same six verses every single day for two weeks in a row, keep reading those same verses until you have a confident understanding of them.  And when you’ve been chewing a while, bite off some more.

Commit and keep at it because it is worth it

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,  that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”  2 Timothy 3:16-17

This verse makes me excited to read the Bible, because if we really believe what is being said here is true, we can push through the awkwardness and uncertainty with gladness and passion, knowing there is much reward to be found. And here’s the thing about the Bible; the greatest reward and joy that comes from the Bible is not the Bible itself, but the God who inspired it all.

We read the Bible because we want to know God.  The Bible is a primary way God has revealed Himself to us.  If it was any other book, we could just give up on it and read something else.  But it’s not.  The Bible is real and true, alive and active, telling of a God who is redeeming all of creation to Himself through His Son Jesus.

Reading the Bible is not a duty Christians have to fulfill in order to make God love us, but a joy and a privilege we get to experience because God has already loved us.

We get to know God through His Word.  

That alone motivates me to be a lover of the Bible.  Even when I get distracted, even when it feels frustrating, I know a deep, committed love and study of the Bible is worth every single bit of my time and energy.


So if you are a Bad Bible Reader like me, know you are probably in more company than you think. So don’t give up!

“Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.”  Psalm 119:18

Until next time,


Ignite Your Imagination

“A book is a device to ignite the imagination.” ― Alan Bennett

I will forever be a book nerd and I have fully embraced and accepted that.  Words provide the best company, counsel and laughter.  98% of the books I read come from a recommendation by a friend, so I want to share a few of my favorites I have read in the past month or two in case you are looking for something good to read.

12049152_10154236595534112_7168229765963015751_n(This is my little sister, not me, but everyone thinks we are twins anyway, and isn’t she too cute?)

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

by Donald Miller


I bought this book for 99 cents at Half Price Books “Booktoberfest” sale a year ago, read the first two chapters, decided it was one of the worst books I had ever read, and put it away. Several weeks ago, James and I pulled it out and decided to read it together (literally, meaning we sat next to each other on the couch and put the book in front of both of our faces and read at the same time.   I won’t say which one of us was the faster reader and had to do some waiting for catch up on every page :))

And I fell in love with the book on the second attempt.  It is a powerful narrative of our lives as a story that fits within the greater Story.  Not to mention Donald Miller is brilliantly hilarious and deeply profound all at the same time. I couldn’t stop thinking and talking about the book in the days and weeks after we finished, and I already can’t wait to read it again.

Gifted Hands

By Ben Carson


Whether you plan to vote for Dr. Ben Carson for the Republican presidential candidate or not (#BC2DC16) his autobiography tells of his inspiring “rags to riches” story, overcoming a life of poverty to become an extremely successful pediatric neurosurgeon, and is definitely worth reading.  It is a tribute to hard work, perseverance, and integrity.

Bridge to Haven

by Francine Rivers


I can always count on my friend Ashley to loan me a good fiction book off of her bookshelf to read, and she succeeded once again.  “Bridge to Haven” is based off of Ezekiel 16 in the Bible, and is a fictional story that tells of God’s faithfulness in pursuing the unwanted and unclaimed.  I may or may not have read all 468 pages in three days and cried a time or two.  And also a note to husbands: if you ask your wife what the book she is reading is about, don’t look bored when she gives you a full 20 minute synopsis.  You have been warned.

For the Love

by jen hatmaker


“7” still reigns supreme as #1 for my favorite JH book, but I am still a loyal fan and will read every word she writes.  This book was gifted to me by my wonderful Abbey for my 24th birthday, and I checked the mail four times a day waiting for its arrival before I realized she had it shipped to her (only slightly embarrassing). I read the entire thing in 24 hours and have read selected parts several times since.  The topics range from women in the church, parenting, marriage, and the misfortune of wearing tights as pants.  For the Love will have you laughing and crying in the same paragraph.  As long as Jen Hatmaker keeps writing, I’ll keep reading.

To my fellow book nerds, tell me what books you are reading and loving and there is a good chance I will find a copy and read it.  And I will leave you with some inspiring words of wisdom…

Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it. –P.J. O’Rourke

Until next time,


Do Hard Things

A couple months ago, I started working out.

Now I realize this isn’t that big of a deal for the athletic type people who actually enjoy working out, but I am just not one of those people.

When I got married, my metabolism, who has always been a faithful friend, came to a screeching halt.  I had a doctor’s appointment a couple of weeks after our one year wedding anniversary, and you can imagine my surprise to learn I had gained seventeen pounds in my first year of marriage.  Apparently being in love makes you fat.  This was a shock to me, because even if we did own a scale at home, I had no idea where it was at and never used it, so I was slightly oblivious to this increase in number.

I made a resolve to start working out and eating better, but that only lasted about three days.  After all, I’m 5’10 on a short day, so I reasoned with myself that those extra 17 pounds spread out quite evenly and were hardly noticeable.  And my husband still loved me and promised he didn’t notice anything different, so I didn’t see the point in sacrificing my love for chips and salsa to choke down salads.

So for a few months, I literally did nothing different to change my eating and exercise habits, until one day some of my friends got the bright idea that it would be super fun to start working out together at 6 o’clock in the morning!  Nothing sounded more terrible to me, but because I get major FOMO over these things, I agreed to join in. And so the working out began.  And to be honest with you, I hated it. Who in their right mind sets an alarm for 5:30am to willingly subject themselves to planks, burpees, squats, and lunges?  Crazy people, that’s who.  But we stuck with it, and nearly 4 months later, me and my faithful friend and workout partner Kyndall are still going at it.  Every morning at 5:30am when my alarm goes off, I think to myself “this is the dumbest idea anyone has ever had” but an hour and a half later when I am driving home, covered in sweat and endorphins, I think to myself “this is so worth it.

And to be honest with you, I still hate working out.  I really get zero enjoyment out of it.  But I stick with it because I know it is worth it.  I don’t want to wake up in twenty years and realize I have no control over my health, so I am choosing the hard thing now because I know it will be worth it later.

I want to live a life of choosing to do hard things because they are worth doing.

It is hard to put over half of your income every single month toward paying off student loans, but it is worth doing to eventually live a debt free life.

It is hard not to have sex when you are dating and engaged, but it is so worth it to walk in purity and honor God with your relationship.

It is hard to to sacrifice your time, money, effort, and energy to serve the church and people, but it is worth it to give all you have to advance the kingdom of God.

It is hard to confess sin, but it is worth it to walk in the light.

Jesus told his disciples that they must deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Him.  I bet that was hard.  But it was worth it.

At the end of my life, I don’t want to look back and see a trail of taking the easy way out for the sake of convenience, where I just half-heartedly lived life and got by comfortably.  I want to choose the best thing, which may be the hardest thing, but after counting the cost, jumping in head first, because it will be worth it.

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. Philippians 3:8

Until next time,



Social Problems

I used to think something was seriously wrong with me.

The great conundrum of my life is while I genuinely do love and care about people, I don’t actually like to be around them all too much.  I spend hours mentally preparing to spend time with people at a social event, and then need two days to recover afterward.  Small talk gives me anxiety and sends me running for the closest door. I get really stressed out when events do not have an end time attached to it.  My idea of a relaxing night involves sitting at home in complete silence with a good book. (Yes, I actually like to read…just for fun.)  Being “on” for extended periods of time is extremely exhausting for me.  James has learned to respond to my “look” I shoot him that says “my social energy is depleted and I need to get out of here AS FAST AS POSSIBLE before I enter into ‘Grumpy Katie mode.’” And no one likes Grumpy Katie.

For the longest time, I seriously thought something was wrong with me. What weirdo hosts “wall staring parties” for herself and attends faithfully at least once a week?  I thought I just needed to work harder to learn to like to be around people more.  When someone first suggested I might be an introvert, I was highly offended.  Introverts are boring people who don’t have any friends. I HAVE FRIENDS! I’m a fun person! I can be outgoing when I want to!

The more I learned about introverts/extroverts, I learned it had less to do with your ability to be outgoing and more with how you gather energy.  As much as I may like someone, I will never ever be the type that’s like “lets hang out all day long!” No.  If you are at my house too long, I will have no shame in telling you it is time to go home.

After much examination, I decided the time had come to finally accept my fate and realize that I, Katie Foster, am an introvert.  Not even an ambivert, the cool kids who get the best of both worlds, but a full-blown, real life introvert.  I gather all of my energy from being alone.  And I have learned to be content with that.

As an introvert striving for self-awareness, there are two main things I have learned that I believe will be helpful for my fellow introverts out there:

1. Learn what recharges you, and do it.
If you’re a true introvert, being around people for long periods of time will exhaust you.  There is nothing wrong with that!  There are few things more frustrating then forcing yourself to live in a cycle where you are always feel burnt out and aren’t sure why.  Some people recharge by shopping (ew), cooking (I wish) or watching TV/movies.  For me, I recharge by reading, going on long walks by myself, listening to podcasts, cleaning everything in sight, and my personal favorite, napping. 🙂 Learn yourself and find out what gives you energy, and make time every week (or day!) to intentionally do those things. You’ll be better for it.

2. Force yourself to be in community.
This can be challenging because you like to spend time alone.  For introverts, myself included, there is a huge temptation to isolate because that’s what comes naturally.  It is easier to be by yourself because you enjoy being by yourself.  But God created all humans for community, even introverted humans, so I promise it is good for you. It is so good to intentionally be around other people and have people know you.  The great thing about introverts is they typically have a huge aversion for small talk, so it is easier to establish real, meaningful friendships.  Even if you have to give yourself a continual pep talk into pursuing authentic community with other people, it will be well worth it. 🙂

Through learning to understand myself and how I operate, I no longer try to force myself into being an extrovert when I’m really just not one. I like to think of myself as a “socially adept introvert”, meaning that if you let me have my alone time, I will be able to store up my social energy to be on my best behavior and the most fun possible when it is time to be around people.

And let’s be honest, we all know introverts rule the world.

Until next time,



The Lady with the Toilet Paper

A couple nights ago, I went to an event called “A Night of Ministry” just down the street from me, which was packed out with 5,000 women and some awesome dudes, featuring a few incredibly gifted women leaders who are famous in the Christian world (so if you don’t live in Church Land like I do, you don’t know/care/are not impressed by who they are).

No worries.

These women are the type who are running hard and making a huge difference – they write multiple books, #1 songs, rescue women who are enslaved in sex trafficking, record podcasts, start initiatives for women leaders, produce magazines, travel the world to speak and teach, just to name a few.  You might say they are kind of a big deal. I was super excited to hear from them, because who wouldn’t be?  Normal Christians get excited and pay money to hear from famous Christians, and I am no exception to that rule.


But oddly enough, it wasn’t anything coming from the lips of a “famous” Christian on stage that stuck with me the most that night.  It was the Lady with the Toilet Paper who did.

During the event, I had to go to the bathroom (because I still can’t hold my pee like an adult. Whatever.)  While the auditorium was pumping with music and excitement, the halls and lobby were silent, and there was only one other person in the bathroom…the Lady with the Toilet Paper. She had TP rolls up to her shoulders on both arms, and was working diligently to change the toilet paper and clean and freshen up the bathroom.  I just sat and watched her for a minute, intrigued.  She was probably in her forties, had a plain but pretty face, hair pulled back, and quietly hummed a tune I didn’t recognize as she worked.  What struck me most is that she seemed to have a strong and compelling peace about her, unaffected by the unavoidable noise going on in the building all around.  When she noticed me watching her (oops) we smiled and exchanged a few awkward words of small talk before I finished by business I came for and left.

When I got back to my seat, the Lady with the Toilet Paper kept coming to mind.  I felt bad for her.  While all these women were together having a life-changing experience, she was the one stuck cleaning the bathrooms.   She was unnoticed, unseen, unrecognized, unappreciated, unknown.  How was it okay that we all got to be inside and she was stuck on the outside?  It didn’t seem fair.  I wanted to know her story; to find out her name, to hear who she was, where she came from, about her family, and if she knew Jesus.  She had a background and a series of events that led her to this night and place, and I wanted to know about it.

I never saw her again, but that night when I laid down for bed, I was still thinking about her.  I think the reason she stuck with me is because I feel like I am her many times in my life.  It is hard for me to do things that feel insignificant and go unappreciated.  I don’t mind tasks and dirty work as long as I get the gratitude that should come along with it (which happens never); therefore I grow frustrated, bitter and overtaken by a desire to be seen for the good I do.

“Look at me, how awesome and servant hearted I am, caring for and loving people!”

*the crowd erupts in applause for Humble Katie*

I think I have some heart issues.

Where would Jesus have been that night?  Would he be the one on stage, rallying the troops for Kingdom purposes, or the one that got stuck in the bathrooms changing toilet paper?  I think the answer is both.  Yes, he would be leading and teaching people from the front, but He would also be on His hands and knees serving in the dirtiest ways with zero applause.  Because that is who He is.

“even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28

The more and more I thought about it, the less I felt bad for the Lady with the Toilet Paper.  She may have not received much praise, but she was filling a wonderful opportunity to serve God.  He sees her, values her, knows her, and most of all, He loves her.  That night, her service was no less significant than that of the main speaker on stage.  They had different roles, but serving the same King, the one who sees everything.  And more than that, He sees the heart, knowing the purity (or lack thereof) that drives our actions.

When God is looking at my heart, I want Him to be well pleased with what is going on in there, and I know there is a lot of work to be done.  I recently took a spiritual gifts test, and “Acts of Service” was near the bottom of my results, but I want to change that.  I want to serve God and people in the small and seemingly insignificant ways, not caring who knows about it, and doing so with eagerness and joy.

I don’t even know the Lady with the Toilet Paper’s name, and I probably never will, but I am thankful for her.  Our few seconds of interaction left a big impression on me.

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24

Until next time,


There is a Season

In college, I lived in a house with seven girls. SEVEN. Sounds like a recipe for disaster.  That’s a lot of emotions, opinions, and mess to fit in one space.  Every time I tell someone about this, they laugh and ask something along the lines of “did you make it out alive” or “do any of you still speak to each other?” I can’t argue with that. It sure does sound like it would be a terrible experience.

But looking back to my college years, those girls and that house are what I loved the most.  You really get to know someone when you live with them because there is no hiding who you really are.  They know the annoying and quirky parts of you; like how you have heels made out of lead and slam cabinets doors too hard and like to listen to the same song on repeat for 2 weeks in a row and sing horribly off key, but they still love you anyway.  I loved living in a house with a bunch of girls who loved me and loved Jesus even more.

This weekend, we all got together for the first time since…who knows when.  We laughed a lot, cried some, danced some, had theological conversations, talked about how hard marriage is, cooked together, slept on the floor (except me:)), sang loudly, annoyed all of my neighbors, encouraged each other, prayed for each other, and just spent time being together.  It was glorious.


After everyone left and I sat alone in my messy house, I found myself craving college; to go back and live with those girls in that house again and have a piece of that life back. I miss it. But even more than that, I am increasingly thankful for that time and those relationships that were formed then.  None of us live in the same town anymore (or state…or country) and probably never will, but I am OK with that.  We are all in our own places doing our own thing, and I love seeing and hearing about the work God is doing through each one of my roommates.  They are all extraordinarily gifted and passionate people who are working hard to bring God glory where they are.

As good ‘ol Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes, there is a season for everything, and we are all in new seasons.  It is very cool to look back and see how God used each one of us in each others lives in those transformative years to grow us into more maturity.

Praise Jesus for great friends and good weekends.

Until next time,