Bumpin’

And just like that we’ve made it to the 3rd trimester. There were days, especially in those early weeks of nausea and secrecy, I was pretty sure this time would never come. But here we are with a healthy (and chubby says the doc) baby we get to meet in twelve weeks time. What a true adventure these 28 weeks have been. Full of ups and downs, exciting discoveries and major learning curves. But whatever has come our way was always met with gratitude for a growing, healthy little lady.

It’s kind of comical to look back at all the surprises pregnancy had in store, and I’m sure there are still many to come. Who knew Walker would be responsible for keeping me alive during those first 12 weeks. Never did I think I’d be reliant on him to do things like force me to eat, pack my lunches when food was repulsive, fill up my water to take my vitamins, carry me from the couch (where I’d been since probably 4:30 p.m.) to bed around 7 p.m. I was somewhat pathetic I tell ya, and I’m forever grateful and impressed at how naturally he stepped into the father role, even as she was the size of a sesame seed. He took care of me and her in the most selfless of ways, ways in which he probably never dreamed. Love you, husband of mine.

Who would have thought I would grow to somewhat enjoy peanut butter? This is Walker’s favorite thing about my pregnancy. Or that I would find myself in crying hysterics in a bathroom stall after finding out Pappadeaux took my favorite meal off the menu. I never knew I would consider a bowel movement to be the greatest victory of my day week, sometimes even declaring a verbal shout of triumph. Or that I could develop so much saliva I would become a human fountain … to the point of having a spit cup in my car. It’s possible to feel that hungry? Or that full?

Who would have ever guessed people would be so supportive? Me! I could have told you that from day one. We’ve always been surrounded by such a caring community, both near and far, and their expression of encouragement during this time has been truly overwhelming. Our family and friends have done everything from calming my ‘um, is this supposed to be happening to my body’ paranoia, to sending care packages and letters, showering us with gifts, and being so thrilled with us. We are eternally indebted to our people, and humbly reminded of how important it is to forever pay it forward.

Now for our weekly (mostly) after church photos!

             

  See you in 12 weeks, Lady McWilliams!

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Lady McWilliams

Well, being 27 weeks now, I guess it’s time we finally post about a little lady coming into our lives very soon! I’m not sure why we didn’t document this on here much sooner, but it’s not for lack of excitement, that’s for sure. It’s been a new adventure figuring this whole pregnancy thing out together and we’re ready to dive into parenthood come July! We’ve been overwhelmed at the encouragement and support being poured out to us during this time, so thank you from the bottom of our four little hearts! No, we aren’t having twins…Opal is always included in this family : ) We are so ready to meet you Lady McWilliams!

California 

Just remembering a few sunny days in California with a best friend, her best friend and their new best babe. Such a treat to meet Miss Piper and spend a few days with someone I wish I got to see way more often. We’ve been through middle school, high school and college graduations. Weddings. And now we’ve hit the baby stage. Grateful to venture through these life stages with friends by my side! Y’all are the best, Terry Family! Miss you and the sunshine!

Sing

how great is our God, SING with me how great is our God
and all will SEE, how great is our God

One Saturday morning last fall I accompanied 26 students from the high school where I teach to a local animal shelter to help supervise their volunteer efforts. In the midst of snapping pictures of cages being hosed down and rambunctious dogs being walked, I stopped in my tracks as I listened to a voice circulating from the next room. It was an employee singing, soulfully and genuinely, while he mopped the concrete floor of the kitten room.

As I stood still and silent, afraid any movement might deter him, I soon realized that my presence, and probably nothing else for that matter, can deter a man who sings while he works.

Such joy, such fulfillment radiating from him to others even during the mundane task of mopping cat urine. Sometimes we meet people who teach us that life is even better than we think it is. That there’s reason to rejoice in the routine. Sometimes these people lend us new vision.

I want to sing while I work.

I want to sing while I clean.

I want to sing while I grocery shop.

I want to sing while I do laundry.

I want to sing, even a subtle melody, while I cry.

I want to sing while I live.

So that others may see. IMG_1199
Their favorite way of taking out the trash together! A little dramatic but a lot entertaining.

Surrender

Sometimes I write…and then get the courage to publish later…

A few Saturdays back, a small group of friends and I met for brunch. Our group gets together yes, for girl time, but also to intentionally discuss certain questions and topics. One question brought up holiday schedules and another led to a discussion about Santa, but then came the last question.

“What does your prayer of surrender look like?”

I was jokingly asked to answer this one. In normal Katelyn fashion, I was unable to give an answer on the spot. Wait, let’s go back to Santa?

It’s funny, I think I first started composing this blog in October, long before our brunch discussion came to be. The thoughts were there and the words were forming, but I couldn’t finish. But maybe now, 12 months into this hell of a year, I’m brave enough to say that even while writing these thoughts, I really wasn’t so sure I believed them. Maybe now, I’m brave enough to reveal our many imperfections and to quietly whisper that, by faith and choice, I finally believe this to be true.

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I originally began writing these words to the gentle noise of Walker strumming his guitar upstairs. I was writing. He was strumming. Because we were both grieving in our own personal ways.

On that Friday night in October, we unexpectedly found ourselves sitting on the edge of our bathtub, my arm around his, throwing wadded and wet tissues into the toilet. Well that, and consequently scolding Opal for attempting to eat the missed shots.

For some reason, we thought ourselves strong enough to watch The Fault in Our Stars, the movie version of the novel about childhood cancer. The one that so accurately and emotionally let us into a world that though we tried, we could never fully understand. We miss you, friend, and that night our irrepressible sobs reminded us just how much.

There is a line in The Fault in our Stars that’s become too familiar to us this year.

Pain must be felt.

2014 has proved this so. For us. And for so many others.

We’ve seen death and disease sweep down in the cruelest of ways, at times to us personally and in other times to those we care about. We’ve watched families and friendships be forcefully ripped apart, leaving jagged seams and irreparable holes. We’ve experienced our church scandalized by tragedy, and watched the media proudly make life hell for all involved. We were bystanders as adults and youth alike fled from our pews without even a quick goodbye. We stood shocked as strangers and friends showed up in the midst of crisis, while those we just knew would show up, well, they never did. And then there were the weeks the entire world went haywire. Iraq. Ukraine. Ebola. The border children crisis. Missing planes. Ferguson.

The bitterness crept in just as plainly as it did in my words above. We smiled in front of the curtain while behind the scenes soon became strangers to ourselves. Complaining too much, criticizing too often, loving too little. Looking back, I see two people unwilling to even look for glimpses of good, because with all the pain in us and around us, survivor’s guilt told us not to. Even with all the good things happening, too, our weary hearts wondered ‘When will the next bad thing happen?’

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Yes, pain must be felt. Circumstances arise and they leave you helpless, but I think today, on the last day of the year, we can confidently declare that while they can leave us helpless, they do not have the power to leave us hopeless. This year has changed us, but we have the power to choose how it changed us. Pain can demand to be felt. But pain cannot demand to be lived. Grief is long lasting. It can and does last a lifetime. But joy.

Joy is eternal.

I write these words not because our skies are now abundantly blue.

We began this year with death. And now, again, we are leaving this year with death.

I write these words because through all the unexpected back roads we’ve taken on our journey these past 12 months, I can shakily say that joy, in fact, does not come in the morning. Joy is present even through our darkest of nights.

Joy, much like love, is not something we are meant to feel. Joy is something we are called to do, to recognize and accept, to seek out, to give to others. We must boldly notice it in the midst of a new baby or in the gathering of family at a graveside. In the monotony of a job or in the old couple laughing in the car next to us.

It doesn’t always look the way we want or expect. Sometimes it’s almost unrecognizable. But it’s there. Prompting us to remember that

Great loss means there was once an even greater presence.

Grief reminds us we had the opportunity to love someone with every fiber of our being.

Pain reveals we had the privilege to believe in someone or something so deeply that now we must relearn to live without.

Loss. Grief. Pain. We feel them deeply. Our tears are real and our anguish is tangible.

But.

Joy says look for me. I am here through it all.

So maybe, just maybe this nutso year called 2014, has gradually and unsteadily revealed not only the agony of this world and our own imperfections, but perhaps it has also taught us about the relief that comes with embracing a surrender prayer.

A prayer that says I will stop resisting and surrender to the reality that joy is always there. That these are my circumstances, good or bad. I promise to feel the pain profoundly, but I will obediently seek out the beauty in it all. That there is community even in the loneliness, contentment in the longing, laughter in the tears, hope in the despair, and life even in death. That this is life, and amidst the suffering, heartache and disappointment, I will stay open, stay vulnerable, and be present through it all. I will continue to love and believe and risk. I surrender. I surrender to life. Because come what may, life is abundantly good.Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Cheer ‘Em On! Sprint Triathlon Edition

A few weeks ago (ok, maybe over a month ago…I’m so on top of things) Walker and some friends completed the Towne Lake Sprint Triathlon after training for four months. From May to September, they watched what they ate, carved time out of their day to work out and encouraged each other to stay disciplined. They each conquered a 400 meter swim, a 12 mile bike ride and a 5K run. We are all so proud of them!

I’m pretty sure I’ve discovered my new calling. I want to spend every day at races just being a witness and a participant in all the cheerleading. It’s such a positive place. Everyone wants the best for everyone. People cheer for strangers. Not one person goes overlooked or neglected. It’s just the best. I think we all left pretty inspired. I just kept wondering what life would be like if we cheered each other on all the time. I may have even teared up when I saw our guys waiting at the finish line to give and receive big sweaty hugs as each one of them crossed the line. Sweet friends.

After crossing the finish line, I’m pretty sure each one mentioned that they never want to do another one again, but by lunchtime they were already planning their next race. We couldn’t be more proud of all the energy and perseverance y’all put into this race, and we can’t wait for the next one!Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetIMG_0701.JPGProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 presetIMG_0649.JPGProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 presetIMG_0700.JPGIMG_0702.JPGIMG_0650.JPGIMG_0654.JPGIMG_0703.JPGIMG_0704.JPG

 

Couch Me

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A happy Saturday being enjoyed by our family that probably won’t even be brushing our teeth today. And that’s OK.

To Alex and Stacia

With the chaos of the school year’s end and the busyness of our summer months, I regrettably realized I never blogged about my best friend’s wedding. I’ve talked about Stacia on here before, ok maybe one, two, three times… not including all my shout outs to the beloved Bunny Club here and here. These days I consider the rare occasions we all get to spend together to be somewhat of a sacred time. I, or any of us for that matter, know full well not to take the time for granted. So between getting to spend 48 hours with these friends and my family + having the incredible privilege of standing as Stacia’s maid of honor, I look back on the weekend with the most grateful of hearts. Below is the speech I gave at the reception.
IMG_0407Nineteen years ago, I walked into my 5th grade classroom to find our desks in new arrangements. While most of the desks were in groups, mine was only next to one. The one who would be my partner and study buddy for at least the next few weeks. Being curious, I slyly lifted the top of the desk to grab a sneak peek at the name of this mysterious student. As soon as my eyes had time to adjust to what I was seeing, I dropped the lid in complete horror. The desk was chocked full of crumpled papers and disheveled school supplies. How could the teacher do this to me? There was just no way this messy person and I were ever going to get along.

Then all of a sudden my friend Stacia walked up and sat in the desk beaming with enthusiasm that we were sitting together. And as my excitement grew that I was actually sitting by the girl who had so graciously befriended me, the lonely new student, at the beginning of the year, I also think my confusion sky-rocketed. I know I probably sat glancing from desk to Stacia, desk to Stacia, desk to Stacia thinking, “I don’t even know who you are anymore!”

Well, 19 years later, I can say for sure that I know who Stacia is.

In fact Stacia is just a little bit messy.

She’s the one who will wear a pair of Rainbow flip-flops for literally 8 years– maybe longer.

And if you know her at all, you know she’s the definition of frugal. Her roommates may or may not have told me she collected condiments from restaurants so she never had to buy them. Or when she reused those plastic cups from QT instead of doing with them what you’re supposed to do with them—throw them away!

She’s the girl who grew out her leg hair for 3 months in high school, so it’s safe to say she’s the girl who has always been herself and not cared too much about what other people think.

I think we can all agree she’s the most laid-back human to have ever existed. Ever.

But Stacia is also the smartest person I know. Always has been.

She is the person who will sit and laugh for hours at the silliest joke, and will always laugh til she cries (which doesn’t take much).

Stacia is the person who will always put other people before herself. And will go out of her way to help someone (or some animal) in need.

She’s the person who works harder than most, who gives more than she has, and who cares for everyone with the purest of intentions.

Stacia is the person who, don’t tell my husband, makes me laugh harder than anyone in the world.

Stacia is the best friend I could have asked for.

For so many of us in the room, Stacia is the person who has loved us really, really well. And Alex, as long as you can put up with just a little bit of her messiness, she is going to love you really, really well. I’m so excited for your future together, and I couldn’t feel more privileged to share this day with y’all.

So as we all raise our glass we simply say, we love you.

To Alex and Stacia…
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We missed you, Brad!

For me, visiting Madrid was more about people than places. I’ve loved introducing Walker to some of my favorite sights and sounds of this city, but more fulfilling to me has been watching him get to know my friends. It had been 7 years since I’d seen these people who took me in as family one summer, and it was time to come back for a visit. So we did. And our Europe trip was born. The trip idea began because I wanted to see these friends, so there’s no place I would have rather been on our last night here than eating pizza and ice cream with this special group.

We started the day by visiting the Temple of Debod, an Egyptian Temple given to Spain as a gift. We followed it by churros con chocolate before a late lunch with Terry and his girlfriend. I was so happy to spend a few hours with Terry! Finally, we headed to church to watch the tail end of worship practice before we headed to dinner. Spain has been relaxing, nourishing and life-giving. Until next time, España.

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