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!

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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

 

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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Good things

It’s obviously been a while since I just published this post two times accidentally before it was even close to being finished…

Today marks exactly 2 months since my last post. And this being my first free weekend in 2 months, I took a 3.5 hour nap this afternoon. So, tonight seems to be lending me some free time. The past 8 weeks have been a little out of control- in a totally acceptable kind of way. I’m sure I’ve said it before, but I don’t think I’ve ever been this busy. But with this type of busyness also comes lots and lots of friends–new and old. Between weddings, showers, births, retreats, birthdays and passed exams, we’ve been on the go quite a bit. And even though we’ve been battling those hurdles called exhaustion, we’re still sprinting full speed ahead from celebration to celebration, because people are just worth it to us. We are so grateful for all of these friends and feel so honored to be a part of their lives! We are just as grateful that we’ve been able to be present at so many of their important occasions!

I said in January that my words seem to have left me, and it’s holding true still. I’ve honestly barely had time to form any thoughts. Much less flesh them out. But there have just been so many good things in the last few months that I want to remember. So while writing isn’t my thing right now, these pictures easily speak for themselves.

Lynn and James’ Fiesta Shower20140413-224052.jpgMeeting baby Nolan for the first time and Amanda’s 30th birthday.20140413-221918.jpgGetting to spend the day with Danielle before she welcomed baby Evie. Just for clarification … I’m dressed for an 80’s partaaay. 20140413-222010.jpgFishin’ with Jared. 20140413-222147.jpgLynn and James’ wedding!20140413-222334.jpgThrilled to be her Maid of Honor.20140413-222503.jpgStacia’s bridal shower in Phoenix. 20140413-222604.jpgstaciabridalshower20140413-223654.jpgA really great group of seniors at FBC Athens’ Dnow. 20140413-223809.jpgOk, I’m pushing publish. On purpose this time.

Pie

20140209-081740.jpgDays with friends are good. Days with friends that revolve around food are better. And finally, days with friends that will soon be moving to Georgia are so fun and a little sad… but ultimately awesome because we couldn’t be happier for their new opportunity.

We love this little group of Truett friends and have so enjoyed having them close by in Houston. It’s always such a nice escape to get away for the day and explore new places and restaurants. But really we just go to see them. We always look forward to the conversations, the telling of seminary memories and the laughter we know will come in abundance.  This group is a safe place. A table around which we can do everything from flush out frustrations to share dreams of the future.

Can’t wait to see y’all on ‘Honey Boo Boo Goes to Church!’ Dinah, you better drive to Lufkin for the viewing party. Thanks for such a refreshing day, y’all! And for the thousands of calories. I enjoyed every single one! 20140209-081748.jpg

Welcome to the Bunny Club

This is the Bunny ClubProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 presetAnd we gained a new member last weekend. Our third male to be inducted. makeupMiss Alyssa became Mrs. Schmeider, and we had way too much fun reuniting in AZ and celebrating her new marriage with Joey. I think we’re all a little sad the long-awaited weekend together is over. photo-4The weekend was filled with details galore, as Alyssa the dream chaser not only works for the American Cancer Society but also owns her own events planning company. Everyone involved had such a good time. She’s one of those people that’s always, and I mean always, looking out for others. On this weekend, the weekend she’s allowed to make all about herself, she was constantly taking care of everyone else. That’s just who she is. She loves a lot. And Alyssa, we love you a lot.best day everAs I watched Joey and Alyssa leave together for our junior prom, I’m absolutely sure I never imagined them getting married 10 years down the road. But as a testament to hard work, devotion, sacrifice and sometimes unconventional ways, that’s just what these two did. It couldn’t be more uplifting to see their journey come to this point of marriage, and to walk alongside them as they forge a new path together.  photo 1Now, if you’d asked me 10 years ago if I thought the Bunny Club would still be around today, watching each other get married and pushing through life together, my young little self would have said “DUH.” I might not have known the kinds of circumstances life would bring us or how far away we would end up from one another, but there was never a doubt in my mind that we’d stick it through, this thing called friendship, for the long run–for life. And that’s what we’ve done. From middle school to high school, through college and now young-adulthood, we’ve waded through life together, listened to each other, flown across the country and played phone tag for 6 months. We’ve celebrated in new jobs and marriages and moves, and we’ve comforted in doubt and uncertainty and disappointments. There have been big gestures and small texts messages, but I think they key to our friendship is really much simpler. We’ve never thought about not being friends. Through distance, and the bigger kicker–busyness, letting go has never been an option. We’re friends, and that’s just the way it is. So basically all this rambling is just to say how thankful I am for this set of girls and their families, too. A giant fist pump for 15 years of friendship, and a raise the roof to many more! photo-7I really wish I’d taken more pictures, but I was just too busy enjoying my friends. Until May, Bunny Club, until May.photo-2

Thanksween

Well, Mo and I are no longer on speaking terms after she said Opal isn’t very cute, but…20131027-223542.jpgThree cheers jumps for Mo and Kari’s annual trip to Lufkin!! I’ve said before that friends taking the time to come east means the world to us. We are constantly driving near and far to see people, so when people come to us, we feel so special. Unfortunately Walker wasn’t here on Saturday, but Jared filled his manly presence, and I’m also noticing he got the most camera time.

Kari and Mo sewed these awesome Thanksween t-shirts. Notice they match! And there I am wearing a plain black v-neck they brought me because they got tired : ) I’m still laughing about that. downtownbookstoreLast year the weather forced us to stay inside and knit all day, but this year Kari only knit in our down time. We spent the afternoon walking around downtown and popping in the coffee shop, used bookstore and antique shops.20131027-223655.jpg20131027-223753.jpgThe clear skies had a chill in the air, and since we are pretty much obsessed with our new lights, it was the perfect night for an outdoor dinner and movie. Jared whipped up a Wild Rice and Kale Chowder while Kari and I worked on the caramel apples. Mo took her role as photog. 20131027-223824.jpgThat cat is lucky to be alive after he tried messing with Kari, but I guess he won her over considering he cuddled in her lap for the entire movie. 20131104-174634.jpg20131027-223851.jpgapple laughsjared appleAs we sat around the table warming ourselves with hot chowder, we kept repeating “this is perfect!” The atmosphere took on somewhat of a whimsical feel, but it had much more to do with the companionship than the twinkle lights. Kari and Mo are two of the wisest and most genuine people I know. To be in their presence is to feel comfortable, hopeful and safe. Their conversations are meaningful and uplifting, their words are encouraging and intentional, and their laughter is deep. It was such a refreshing weekend, not because of what we did or where we went, but rest was found in the simplicity of reuniting with good friends. Jared and I were so happy to spend the day with you. We miss y’all already! Come back, and maybe Walker will grace us with his presence. movie copy

Yo, this is who I am.

Day one of Blogtember, answering the prompt, “Describe where or what you come from. The people, the places, and/or the factors that make up who you are.”

I’m 3 days behind! So, it’s taking everything in me not to answer this prompt the way I’d like– my mother’s womb– and move on. But I will try because my name is Katelyn and that’s what I do. To keep my priorities straight, I’ve made a plan. I’m giving myself 20 minutes to write, 3  to edit and 2 for a quick pic. My attempt at a stream of consciousness, I suppose. Here I go…Let’s see what happens.

I come from a small town where I claim my roots run deep. The kind where everyone knows everyone, and who still treat you as family even after you’ve been gone for 17 years. I come from a big city that celebrates the desert sunset and where Saguaros reach into clear blue skies. The place whose beauty I never appreciated until I was breathing the dry air only on bi-annual visits. A place that watched me grow and leave and often wish I was back.

OH, and baby quail. I come from a place where baby quail run across the road.

I come from parents who always encourage me to be myself while also expecting the very best from me. Who have given me every opportunity I could ask for. Who have taught me to joke and show compassion to all.  Who put others before themselves and have learned it well from their parents. I come from a Grandmother who has afforded me academics and travel and who instills in me an appreciation of the past, of where I come from. And a Gobble who cooked the best rice in the world, taught me chicken foot, and let me call her ‘gangsta.’ Both would do anything. For anyone. And grandfathers I never really knew, but whose legacies of kindness and giving live on through their children. From aunts and uncles who treat me as their own.

I come from friends who are more like the brothers and sisters I never had. Friends who call my parents when I’m too upset to do so. And still other friends who fly in from out of state to be with me during my upset-ness. Friends who know how to laugh like it’s their job and who stop what they’re doing to lend a listening ear.

I come from opportunities. From flying on planes since before I could walk and experiencing different cultures so many times. From sitting under teachers and next to the best and brightest. From lending a helping hand and being lent two.

I come from a faith that says life will never be perfect but there is always joy. That I will never be perfect but I will always be loved. That says great is thy faithfulness when my faith is not so great.

I come from a life full of grace. In every way imaginable.

Holy whoa. That was a lot of writing really fast. Sorry for any typos and grammar whoopsies in there. I surely mixed up a few ‘who’ and ‘whom’ s!

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Isn’t this just the coolest picture? It’s of my Big Daddy, no idea where or when, but I’m sure my grandmother would like to tell me! Pretty please.

Camp Cowtown

gift basketEst. 2013

When we first moved to Lufkin, it was easy to find myself complaining, and to be honest, I still do. Just the other day in Tucson I said to my mom, ‘Man, I just wish Lufkin had a Whole Foods.’ She didn’t even acknowledge my statement, which over the years I’ve come to understand means my grievance is nothing more than an ungrateful grumble. Her silence says count your blessings, not your lack of organic, gluten free mac and cheese.

A few weekends ago we made our way to Camp Cowtown, which to twelve current and former Lufkinites is now a real place that will be talked about on the regular. We’ll talk about how much we miss it. How we can’t wait until next time. And how we should do it multiple times a year.

We pitched our tents at the home of the Henrys, now residents of Ft. Worth (which I learned once arriving is called Cowtown). After we finished gawking at their beautiful home, unwrapping our goodie bags and adorning their new golden retriever with every affection we had in us, we stood in disbelief that the long-awaited weekend had finally come. And then we hugged some more.

As more campers gradually arrived we spent most of our time doing what we do best—eating. If we weren’t shoveling pounds of puppy chow and chocolate sheet cake down our throats, we were playing games while watching You Tube videos. And then we took breaks to make our way back to the table o’ sweets. We ventured out of the house a few times, you know, to play a competitive round of flag football in matching shirts. It’s possible we were winded after the first few downs, but our pride told us we could play to winner scores 5. Or was it 4? Ft. Worth offered us a quick lunch at a food truck venue, an afternoon of golf for the boys and shopping for the girls, and a lively dinner at Joe T. Garcia’s. I was in consumer heaven.

But I’ve been thinking. I’m pretty sure all 12 of us would have been perfectly content if we never left the house. Full, fat and in need of serious exercise from our pizza night and lemon cookies, but perfectly content in our 12 bodies being under one roof. No city life required.

I’ve come to realize that Camp Cowtown isn’t an annual event, Camp Cowtown is a community. It’s a place of laughter, a place of comfort and a place of companionship. It’s a different way of looking at life, a better way. It’s recognizing that relationships are God-given and sacred, and that Anthropologie, Trader Joe’s and fine dining are not. It’s a place where we need nothing besides each other. It’s a place where we love each other well because we don’t take each other for granted.

During and after the weekend a couple of us reflected on our quick 48 hours. There were no complaints, no talks of stress and no bad attitudes. We had our people, and our people were all we needed. We just did everything so well. What if we constantly lived in a state of only needing each other? I think we might do life really, really well.

I think back to my statement in the parking lot of Whole Foods and my countless statements elsewhere. I think of my moans that long for Lufkin to provide just a few more opportunities for healthy eating and recreational activities. But then I think of my mom’s silence that screams throw all your thankfulness into Camp Cowtown, for it gives more joy and life than a local Dillards could even begin to offer.

So, thank you, Lufkin. For gifting me with sacred relationships, even beyond these twelve. For reminding me that life done really, really well is found in human connection rather than music venues and shopping malls. I don’t think I recognized the significance of Camp Cowtown when we all lived in the same city, but one thing I know is that distance can’t destroy the sacred. Camp Cowtown is going strong. Stronger than ever.

dutchespound of meatWalker ate a pound of beef for lunch. I cringed, I cried and I started looking for roommates while he ate himself to an early death. girls footballdino walkerthrowpasskatieI never thought a group of twenty-somethings would dish out such little verbal assault but rather more of, ‘How’s your back?’ ‘Is your knee doing OK?’ ‘Are your hips holding up?’ and ‘Do you need to stretch it out?’group footballfood trucksDespite my hands on arched back stance in this pic, no, I am not pregnant. Although there are quite a few Lufkin teenagers who would jump for joy should it be true. 20130722-190444.jpg20130722-190853.jpgAn afternoon of shopping. If shopping means letting Kelsey try on clothes while the rest of us contently relaxed on leather couches. Try more stuff, Kels, try more stuff. girlsThe Ladies. girls 2boysThe Gentlemen. boys 2

I wish I had taken more pictures, but I was just too busy enjoying my friends.