5 Things I Learned in Our Long-Distance Relationship

We might as well face it, long-distance relationships are tough.

However, there is good news. Long-distance relationships can massively strengthen and deepen the bond you and your partner have. So, before you go around saying someone is “geographically undesirable,” here’s five lessons my long-distance relationship taught me (and, if we’re honest here, my husband was desirable regardless of where his physical location is on this universe).

  1. Talk About Meaningful Things

    Most of us already know that communication is the foundation for a strong, lasting relationship. If the communication process breaks down and one partner closes up or refuses to talk about what matters to them, separation is almost inevitable (we’re talking emotional here).

    The thing is, when I was around my boyfriend in person, life was perfect. We talked about stuff that mattered to us, but if ever a conversation got difficult, I could always stare into his eyes, or be comforted in his arms. Let’s just say chemistry covers a multitude of sins.

    Without Elisha’s physical presence, all I had was his voice . . . his words. If we wanted to hang out, we had to be communicating. I mean, there were some times we just sit there quiet over the phone for minutes, or I’d listen to him play guitar over FaceTime, but the majority of our time was spent communicating. You can only flirt for so long over the phone, and we turned to topics of our future, what bothered us, what we were struggling with, what we loved.

    Talk. Talk. Talk. Unlike what you may expect, an intentional long-distance relationship can actually increase the depth of your communication instead of  diminish it.

  2. Show Love

    When you’re head over heels for someone, it’s easy to show them love through physical affirmation. However, when you’re long-distance you are forced to learn to comfort each other with your words, to learn how to make the other person feel loved even when you can’t see or feel their presence. For Elisha and I, this meant going deeper, and learning to use words of affirmation, gift-giving, quality-time (my personal favorite), or even acts of service to show appreciation and love. It can take more time and effort than just caressing your partner, but I feel that in the long-run, Elisha and I are much more prepared to work at loving one another in marriage, in ways we may not initially expect.

  3. Stress

    Yeah, long-distance adds stress to relationships. However, I don’t think this is a bad thing. In marriage, stress is going to be a real factor, and it can be good to see how your partner reacts to stress. Do they shut down? Do they want to quit? Are they eager to keep fighting for your relationship? My respect for Elisha massively grew, as I saw his unwillingness to give up on us, and his desire to love me, even when I couldn’t see through the stressful situation myself.

  4. Trust

    When you’re long-distance, you have to trust your person. Are they going to share everything about their lives, or just the good things? I’ll admit, it was embarrassing to tell Elisha I wasted an evening watching a show on YouTube that was not beneficial. But seeing him open up to me, and tell me things I didn’t “need” to know, made me feel more confident sharing all aspects of my life with him. Even a state away, he was my accountability.

    It can build more trust to have someone voluntarily share with you, than to constantly snoop on their lives. It also is encouraging to hear from present friends and family that your significant other is the same person when you’re not around, as when you are.

  5. You Need Time In Person

    There are many benefits to having a long-distance relationship, but know this: you need time in person. Relationships shouldn’t be built on distance alone. It’s so easy to fake when you’re miles apart. Elisha and I needed time to validate, in-person, what we told each other over the phone. We needed to see if he clicked with my family, if I connected with his friends, if we enjoyed the same hobbies and had similar values when it came to how we spent our time. We also needed input from friends who knew us well. Do you guys “go” together? Are you a better person around your Significant Other, or do they bring out a side you friends are hesitant about?

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I may be “The Love Expert” in my sister’s phone contacts, but in reality, I’m obviously just in the beginning stages of navigating this world of eternal commitment and self-less love. I’ve had my share of relationship mistakes, but as a girl, I always enjoyed reading about what other women have learned, so here is a bit of my journey.

    Wishing you all the love in the world,
    The Kathryn Joy

I’m Getting Married!!!

Good news. The Tale Of My First Love, did not END in a breakup…

“Just Friends”

Soon after ending things, Elisha and I entered “real” relationships where we began to experience the security, happiness, and good vibes that one’s notorious other (usually) gives.

We bumped shoulders a couple times, but we didn’t talk much, and it was never awkward. Elisha and I knew vaguely what was happing in each other’s lives because his sisters were still my best friends, but I was happy and fulfilled and he was too.

A year and a half later, Elisha and I found ourselves both recently single and road tripping up to a wedding together with our sisters.

Although I was still struggling getting over my breakup, sincere admiration for how Elisha had matured was coupled with hurt for the recent pain he was going through. I felt we could relate.

“You and Elisha are so cute together, are you going to get back together?” A mutual friend asked after we hung out all weekend.

I laughed, “are you kidding me? Been there done that. We both know we could never work.”

That night I texted Elisha and told him I was sorry he was going through such a tough time emotionally, and I respected how he was recovering.

“Thanks. I respect you a lot, Katie Johnson, and I’m glad we can still be friends after our ‘funny’ experience . . . I don’t know how else to put it.”

We were mutually happy we could be friends after what happened, and over the next couple weeks Elisha initiated several random text convos.

Then, I went up to his house for Tucker’s graduation and I heard rumors circulating of “Elisha and Katie.”

Good graciousness, no. I thought to myself. 

Upset, I texted Elisha on the way home—making sure we were on the same page: just friends.

“Yeah, of course, just friends,” he replied. But he threw in that I was the “catch of the century.” 

“What? You had a DTR with Elisha?” Daddy asked. “You like this guy, Katie,”he sighed. “I don’t want to do this again.”

“No, I DON’T. Are you kidding? I would never go what we went through again! We are seriously just friends.”

One text conversation flowed into another and during witty sallies and meaningful conversations, we realized we both had changed. A lot.

He hinted that he liked me. I feigned ignorance.

He flirted and told me how amazing he thought I was. I flirted back and reminded him, “just friends, remember?”

After two months of talking, I saw him at 4th of July and it was . . . AWKWARD. All those hours texting, even a couple short phone calls, and he still ignored me, so I ignored him.

“Dude, what’s the deal?” I texted him late that night. “Are you always weird around girls, or just me? What’s worse, I’m finding myself attracted to you for all the wrong reasons.”

The next day, Elisha finally clearly declared his interest in me, “Do you just see me as an older brother, Katie?”

Sheesh. If I saw him as a brother, my feelings would be illegal in 49 states!

“No, it’s just that we don’t go together. We’d argue all the time, and, let’s face it, we don’t like being around each other in person . . . let’s not talk anymore.”

So, we stopped.

We saw each other two weeks later at the camp, and awkwardness was at an all-time high. During a 2 hour DTR, I frankly shared my concerns. When I told my friends what I told him, they said I was mean. Maybe, but I felt no shame.

After telling Elisha we needed to stop texting, he wrapped his strong arms around me in a crushing embrace. For a split-second my heart stopped, and I was angered at my own confusion.

Get a grip, Katie. There’s so much more to real-life than a hug. You guys are awkward. Remember?

Nevertheless, when our barn burned down, Elisha was the first person I texted. I needed support and he was there. Once again, I felt a tug at my soul. It was as if the little seed of childhood love, buried deep in my heart, was struggling to burst through the surface.

Yet still, my mind told me, “you will never work. Never.”

The Winds Change

“There is this Kathryn, who seems to be laughin’
At a guy like me, who just wants to care . . . “

That was the beginning of the song Elisha wrote me. We were texting . . . again. 

“I like you, Katie.”

“Stop.”

“I could be your boyfriend.”

“We are never, ever, ever, getting back together.”

The “just friends” status was questioned almost every day, but I continued to say “no.”

After that song, I told Elisha all my concerns, but he told me how he didn’t buy that junk. 

There, in the dark of the hallway with my phone light glowing, I started sobbing, and halfway admitted to myself and him that I hoped he was right. Maybe there was a possibility of real-life being as beautiful as our text conversations. Maybe.

Later that week, Elisha came down for the Man Camp my daddy puts on, and totally pursued my family which was big, big, points with me. He was a leader, a guy everyone liked, sweet, and (gotta admit) a total stud. By the last day of the camp, I realized I liked this man a lot more that I was aware, but advice from my cousin, uncle, and mother was that, “the timing is wrong.”

We couldn’t mess this up with bad timing . . . again.

“Okay. So, I Like You…”

“It’s late, men. Time for curfew!” Daddy finally called. The guys at The Achademy were huddled around Tiki Torches at 11 o’ clock at night.

“Hey, can I walk you to your car?” I whispered to Elisha.

“Yeah, of course.”

We went to the parking lot, but guys were coming with headlamps to get their stuff, so we moved further away. The headlamps seemed to follow.

“I don’t want to be seen with you way out here in the dark,” I whispered. “It will look bad.”

We kept going further into the darkness until we ended up behind a giant burm, and settled down on two cement blocks.

“Ok,” I started abruptly, “So, I like you, but . . . “

“Just stop there,” Elisha interrupted. “You like me?! Yessss.” He ran his hands through this dark hair laughing to himself. “You like me. Katie Johnson likes me!”

“Haha, yeah, I do. But we need to break. Like, for three months.”

Lights flooded around the burm and I heard shouts as we continued talking.

“I gotta go,” I told Elisha nervously. “This is going to look really bad.”

I began to get up to leave, but he pulled me into him. Our breathing was steady in the still night air, but I was stiff—scared I was going to be found behind a burm in the arms of a guy who I swore I was “just friends” with at midnight!

“I need to leave,” I pushed myself away and this time he let me go. We scrambled over the rocks to his car.

“Katie, I really like you,” he whispered softly.

“I like you too, but I don’t want to be found like this.”

“I get it.”

I pushed away, but not before he quickly kissed my forehead, leaving me to waltz half-drunk on emotions into the arms of the frantic sisters, best friend, uncle, and frustrated father.

“Don’t worry!” I muttered worriedly. “I can explain.”

Elisha and Katie 2.0

“Baby, guess I want to try, this may end up being a do or die,
We could be perfect, we could be disasters,
It will be worth it . . .”

We sent songs back and forth as we implemented breaks, guidelines, and rules into our stop and go relationship. One day I would be dreaming of forever, the next, I could see no light at the end of the tunnel. One thing was certain, I was madly in love with the man of my dreams, and I was willing to fight for him.

When Elisha and I finally starting “officially” dating, my respect grew quickly, as he pursued my family and gained my parents’ support. He was more than just a handsome face and talented man. He cherished me, led me in truth, and amazed me with his intentionality.

I was wary about entering a relationship where my heart could be crushed, so I quickly drilled him with questions, was frank with my concerns, and open about my flaws.

Within three weeks of becoming Elisha’s girlfriend, I knew I wanted my first love, to be my forever love.

I could write a book documenting our mistakes, our successes, and the wild ride it has been loving Elisha. But I’ll leave you with this, it was worth it. 

I wouldn’t trade our journey for the world. 

So many of you have asked me why I’m confident in the man I’m giving my life to in a few months, so here is the short answer…

Top 5 Things I LOVE about Elisha 

  1. I respect him, his relationship with God, and his heart like no other young man.
  2. He is honest and a man of integrity. I trust him implicitly.
  3. He knows me, yet he loves me unconditionally–even with my glaring weaknesses and flaws. His patience and kindness is next to none as I work on my immaturities.
  4. He’s a strong leader with vision and authority, but he still lets me be . . . well, crazy me.
  5. He’s basically everything you could ever want in man: athletic, tall, dark, handsome, intelligent, clever, thoughtful, creative, good at connecting with people, musical, intentional, romantic . . . a life-long learner, reader, deep-thinker, and hard-worker. Oh, and did I mention he’s hott?

I loved him for 12 years. And now I get to love him for life.

What’s not to love?

The Kathryn Joy

 

The Tale of My First Love

Childhood Crush

I pinched my freckled nose tight and peered under the trampoline at a pair of tan legs grounded in red, white, and blue skate shoes.

“I like that boy,” I whispered to my 7-year-old sister from the safety of my hideout.

“I like him too,” she smiled. “His name is Pete.”

“No, like, I like-like him,” I scowled. “His name is Elisha.”

“Those are ugly shoes,” Ky shrugged.

“Yeah, but look at those muscles!” 

Late that night at summer camp, I snuggled in bed with my three best friends–Kyla, and Annie and Lilja Voetberg–and shyly whispered about my crush.

“I’m still not sure what his name is,” I sighed. “I asked and he said to call him ‘Bo’.”

“I told you it’s Peter,” Ky mumbled sleepily.

“Elisha? You like our older brother!” Lilja groaned and rolled over in bed. “All the girls like him. Not you too!! He’s almost 13 and you’re only 8.”

Nevertheless, the first thing I did when I arrived home in California was scrawl in my journal, “I want to marry Elisha Peter Voetberg.”

Over the next 4 years, I only saw glimpses of Elisha at Camp Dwight each summer. I say ‘glimpses’ because he was always running around with the cool kids that could drive, stay up late, and eat sugar without asking their parents. Annie, Lilja and I went to sleep at 8:30pm, and I was wearing pull-ups to bed until I was 10.

Still, I would dream about Elisha each night, and try anything to impress him—back flips, sports, learning the fiddle (because he and his sisters played) and memorizing all the songs on his family’s CDs by heart. Still, we never talked.

I do remember giving him a half hug goodbye once. He was wearing a pink pin-stripped shirt and I nearly passed out with happiness.

He also got on Instant Messenger one New Year’s Eve when I was messaging Annie and told me I was a jerk. My heart flip-flopped and I wouldn’t have been happier if he told me he was in love.

“Katie, Elisha is too old, hun,” by babysitter told me late one night.

“Well, then I’ll grow up fast,” I shrugged and snuggled in my bed to pray the prayer I did every night: “Dear Jesus, Please let me marry Elisha.” 

From the Distance

Around 12 years old, I got tired of not being noticed—by Elisha, that is. Turns out, other boys my age thought I was cute, and my tomboy teasing turned into flirting and giddiness. However, every year at Camp, my heart would still flutter when I saw Elisha get on stage and perform on his mandolin. I’d make excuses to hang out with his friends, but still, we never talked.

“Do you still like him?” Lilja whispered.

“Of course not.” I sighed. “I admire a lot of things about him but I’m not going to be one of the hundreds of girls that like him.”

She rolled her eyes.

Then, I started hearing rumors of Elisha liking this girl or that girl falling for him. I realized he was 20 and I barely turned 15. He was going to be married before I even finished puberty.

I gave him up. (Although I still developed grudges against girls I heard he was crushing on). Besides, other guys told me they “were in love with me.”

The Beginning of the End

Finally, I turned 18, and my dad decided to let guys begin contacting me. A couple well-known suitors made public their desire to “get to know me” that week, and I was considering how to respond when an email popped up in my browser from ELISHA VOETBERG!!!!

Suddenly my heart stopped. Elisha Peter Voetberg, my first crush, the boy that was always out of reach, the catch of the century, wanted to get to know ME!

“Ahhhhhh!!!!!!” I jumped up on the bed and began screaming. Dizzy with excitement I didn’t even read the whole email and sprinted downstairs to my dad’s room.

“Oh my gosh,” I gasped, “tell me it’s not a joke. Tell me it’s. not. a. joke. Elisha . . . Elisha Voetberg . . . he wants . . . did you know this???! He wants to get to know me! Ahhhhhhh! I can’t even handle it!” I grabbed my head and jumped up and down.

Daddy shot Mother a ‘this-was-a-bad-idea’ glance and sighed, “let’s go upstairs, Katie.”

“Just tell me! Tell me! Is this real? Oh my WORD!”

Thus began a series of the dullest, most thought out, most anticipated letters ever written.

Our “approved” form of contact would have me clambering to the mailbox every day at 11:15am to check for a letter. It didn’t matter if Elisha wrote like he was writing the president, it didn’t matter that my dad read every word and censored everything I sent out, they were letters from him with his scrawling penmanship and light scent. He said I was a cool girl, and we talked about the weather and theology and any other emotionless fact.

Elisha and I hung out in person at a wedding a few weeks in.

It was awkward.

When we talked he would look over my head like he was trying to find someone in a crowd. I would alternate between following him around and ignoring him, but I told every girl I was writing Elisha Voetberg and they all fainted with jealously.

We hung out again. It was awkward again. Both of us would make small talk and then ignore each other. I wrote in my journal how insecure I was . . . maybe I wasn’t pretty enough for Elisha.

I was pretty sure Elisha didn’t like me, because he would get antsy when I was there and would then monologue for hours while I feigned interest and stared at his gorgeous eyes thinking “this is worth it.”

Then came Camp Dwight. The camp where I met my crush, the camp where I swooned over him for ten years. The CAMP.

“Elisha’s hot,” I whispered to Lilja as he performed at talent night.

She rolled her eyes, “you guys are SO awkward. I hate this.”

Love finally began to blossom and a light flirtation between Elisha and I occurred around the camp fire. As usual, it was awkward, but skydiving together was a highlight and I came home with a love-song written in my mind and hope in my heart.

“Mommy,” I smiled dreamily, “Elisha and I may actually get married!”

“I’m not ready for this,” Mama said, concerned.

Turns out, no one was ready, for the next week Daddy announced there would be no more letters between Elisha and I while he got to know him. There was no timeline for this “get to know” process and I sunk into the first depression I ever experienced. 

Elisha was allowed to come to my district volleyball championship and I felt awkwardness . . . again. Any momentum we had gained was completely gone, and all the dreams I had of running and jumping in his arms were realized as a stiff side-hug and painfully polite “hellos.”

Nevertheless, we still talked on the phone once a week. These calls were usually Elisha monologuing for an hour and me “mmm . . . oh . . .uh-huhing” as a mindless, frustrated, insecure girl.

I started to get fed-up with this “relationship” with prince charming.

It’s Over

Elisha came down to visit me in California that winter and we got in a family argument. Actually, we got in lots of them.

“You guys just need to be friends for the next year or two,” Daddy cautioned. “He’s not ready to get married.”

“I just want a boyfriend,” I sobbed. “I like him and I want to go on dates WITHOUT Kyla and Kelsey!”

Tension reached an all time high when Elisha decided to create an argument:

“I don’t think corn syrup is bad for you…” He  smiled smugly and waited for a response.

I took the bait . . . worn out and mad.

When we got home to Oregon, I still answered Elisha’s call, only to hear him say we should think of taking it slower . . . talking less, maybe even taking a break.

I was fed up.

This guy didn’t like me, he wouldn’t romance me, and my dad was ready to ship him to Africa to grow up. Typically a confident, good-with-guys kind of girl, I was sick of feeling insecure and unsure of myself. And he wanted to take it slower?! We were already going backwards.

“Elisha,” I wrote a final letter (that was never sent), “I’m kind of tired of this. You’re awesome, but whatever we are, whatever we’re doing, let’s stop.”

The next week, Elisha called for a final time, “Katie, it’s just too much pressure right now. I respect you, but I need to figure out what I’m doing with my life and I don’t think we make each other better. I’m not saying I’ll pretend we never happened . . . I liked you, but it’s over. Are you with me?”

I held back tears and nodded on the phone, “Yeah,” I whispered, “I totally understand. You’re right.”

After we hung up I walked down to my parent’s room with tears trickling down my cheeks. “He’s right,” I smiled through cloudy eyes. “I’m actually relieved. Like, it’s sad everything I’ve dreamed about for so long is over, but it actually feels good to be done with all that confusion!”

I laughed . . . and never looked back.

Well, actually I did look back over the next year and a half, but only with a cringe and grateful heart. We gave it our best shot and it didn’t work. Continue Reading.

 

Cheers to first loves!
Scan 2

Confessions of A Lazy Nutritionalist

So, as you all know by now, I’m a 20-year-old, passionate, determined person. I throw all my energy into whatever I’m excited about and I would describe myself as driven and action-oriented. But, I’ll admit, I have been downright lazy about my health.

I’ve always loved athletics, and my high-metabolism keeps me eating ALL the time, buttt I have been the nutritional rebel of the family.

Why?

Two reasons.

First: Health takes too much time. I mean, I enjoy working out, but spending valuable time in the kitchen creating Trim Healthy Mama Trama cookies just isn’t my thing. I forget to grab snacks and end up eating out, I don’t take the time to make nutritious meals when I’m on my own (I know, that needs to change) and I LOVE carbs. Chips, bagels, crackers . . . those are my go-tos.

Second: I’m young! (Right?) Who needs to worry about nutrition when we’re in our prime? Wrong.

September 2014 I took a three week trip with my family to the East Coast. Along with touring for nearly 12 hours each day, I was finishing up my last semester of college, working, and trying to keep up a long distance relationship. Without notice (Okay, so maybe I just didn’t notice the signs) I woke up one morning with hair strewn all over my pillow.

 

“Oh my gosh, Katie!” Kyla gasped. “You’re shedding like a dog!”

“I always lose a few hairs when I shower,” I shrugged as Kyla brushed a handful of hair onto the floor.

But within the next few weeks, I began balding near the crown of my head. You know how embarrassing and scary that is for a woman? Below is a snippet from my journal in October 2015.

“It’s demoralizing to see your hair slip down the drain. It’s hard to constantly have your sisters de-hair your sweater because you’re shedding like a dog. It’s hard. But in a way, I chose this.”

I began searching frantically for natural path doctors, taking herbs, having blood tests, watching YouTube’s on hair loss andtrying NOT to stress about the stress that was killing me. I worried about having to do colonics (where, I was told, the rest of my hair would fall out).

“You need to start taking NeoLife,” my mom suggested. “There’s a reason your dad and I have taken it for 15 years.”

“No, I need special vitamins. NOT my Parent’s vitamins. 

Unfortunately, I didn’t understand the power of the cellular nutrition I had always had at my fingertips, and I went off searching for some other cure. Over the next few months, the massive quantities of minerals and herbs I was taking began to refill my depleted body, but I was still exhausted . . . taking naps as often as I could. In December, February, and March, I would tire easily, and couldn’t perform at the level I was used to.

(And, while we’re admitting to foolish behavior, I might as well admit to taking my minerals about once a week. I never remembered them because I couldn’t feel any difference whether I took them or not.)

Why? Because my cells were so depleted they were not absorbing the nutrients! I needed Tre-en-en.

Finally, this March, I decided to research NeoLife and see if it was as powerful as my parents said. Surprise! They were right . . . again. There was a reason these supplements healed my uncle’s boils, my cousin’s fibromyalgia, my dad’s chronic fatigue, my friend’s diabetes . . . Suddenly, I went from “I could care less” to shouting my “cure” from the housetops to all my friends with similar health struggles.

I ditched my doctor’s Standard Process supplements and switched over to taking pure Neolife. Guess what? I even  took my supplements every day because I FELT a difference! 

In just over a month of taking Pro Vitality+, I regained the energy and vitality I had before my illness. The NeoLife Shake also gives me that added protein with zero cooking time! I no longer feel the need for naps, and I wake up naturally every morning. I’m still swamped, get around 6 hours of sleep a night, eat vinegar chips and chocolate cake, and have emotional stress (who doesn’t when they live in an awesome party house with 12 other people? ;).

For me, all that changed was NeoLife.

I’m now passionate about nutrition, (still working on the practical application) and my life-changing experience motivated me to join my family in promoting this vibrant health and wellness club throughout the United States.

Are you exhausted? Do you want to prevent spending the thousands of dollars I spent on doctors? Do you just want to feel awesome and be able to tell your friends about it?

ME TOO! 

Let’s make 2016 the best year ever! (Feel free to call me at: (541) 965-3318! )
The Kathryn Joy

My life on Social Media Vs. Real Life

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At this moment, life was all beauty and blue skies.

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I’ve been seeing blog posts floating around recently about the lives people portray on Social Media versus their real lives.

Often, people claim that one’s social media presence is a fraud. We portray ourselves in the best light possible and watch the “likes” roll in, while we’re really drooling on the couch and flipping the remote to a new channel.

Dear, well-meaning, friends are so used to fake, they ask me if I’m “really happy” or if I just look like it. They wonder if I’m putting a cheesy smile on for the masses but inwardly sobbing my heart out.

Here’s my take on social media in two points.

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NEWS FLASH! Your social media presence should NOT look like your real life. 

Why? 

Because some things shouldn’t be shared with everybody. 

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I don’t need to take a crying selfie every time life seems like it’s going to end, and you don’t need an updated Facebook status when I think the driver in front of me is a jerk. I get angry. I bawl my eyes out. I have bad hair days. I get into arguments with my best friends. People who know me see that.

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@thekathrynjoy

But you don’t have to see that and those who were there don’t need it photographed or documented. You have your own struggles and none of us like the daily FB update of those people who publicly rant.

                          Our social media presence should promote what we stand for and encourage others.

My family, friends, sports, health, and randomness mean a lot to me and I want to share those fun, joy-filled memories with you. 

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As a daughter of Christ I want to build others up! I want to bring his joy and light with my presence online and in person. Of course, (those who know me laugh) I do NOT do that all the time. You guys know my weaknesses and many imperfections.

Thank the Lord for His imputed righteousness!! 

The bottom line is, you aren’t going to benefit from my negative emotions, so the fewer people I share them with the better. Have a Philippians 4 focus!

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(I’m not advocating NOT talking through those tough times with someone. Communicate people. But in person to someone who cares. The friend, of a friend, of a friend who thinks your profile is cute already knows way more about you than he needs to.

NEWS FLASH #2: Our Social Media Presence Should Not Be Fake!!!

By the same token, people should be able to trust us. I don’t want to tear you down with my tough days, but I also don’t want to fein my life is perfect! 

"I look so good today, I think I'll take a selfie . . ."
“I look so good today, I think I’ll take a selfie . . .”

If my day was lame, I don’t post a picture with some caption about “life is good.” If I’m not having a good time, I don’t post a picture that communicates life is a party. 

We shouldn’t communicate something we are not truly feeling and have our friends that were there shake their heads because they know how we really acted.

I want to make sure my pictures actually portray truth. When the truth isn’t going to build up or benefit others, I move on.

Let’s not deceive. 

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(Totally not getting into the battle of #filter or #nofilter. Photography is an art, but a la natural is good too. To those who airbrush every selfie . . . that’s dedication. Wow.)

Here’s what I’m NOT saying.

I’m not saying I have social media figured out. I’ve messed up. I’ve tweeted things that should have gone unsaid. I’ve posted pictures I’ve regretted. But I’m learning to control this new monster and amazing tool with you.

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You who read this know I’m a very transparent person. Some would argue too transparent. I’m all for sharing mistakes and learning from them, but frankly, on social media, sometimes the truth should go unsaid.

Sometimes the truth should go unsaid, but DON’T replace it with a lie.

There’s a time to not say anything.

The Kathryn Joy

My Daily Journal (Updated August 18th)

AUGUST 18 TH, 2015

A lot has happened since my last journal entry in here. A lot. 

There have been so many ups and downs, so many good memories and emotional valleys, so many new horizons and finished chapters . . . and it’s only been two months! Crazy! 

All that to say, there are gigantic holes in this journal . . . so many baby steps that have taken me from devastation to contentment. It’s been wonderful journey and I truly wouldn’t change a thing. I am tempered, more mature, and more prepared for whatever the future holds. Thank you Jesus.

A content Katie

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JUNE 15 TH, 2015

Absence makes the heart grow fonder . . .

A thoughtful-Katie

APRIL 16TH, 2015

Hallelujah! Spring is in the air!

The past couple weeks God has dumped his gracious blessings on my head and the winter in my soul has vanished (okay, so aside from a dripping icicle here and there). God loaded me with more than full time work: doing what I love and loving what I do (which is the same thing two different ways). Meanwhile, he has renewed my vision for life in him, and I have experienced the deepest peace and confident joy that I have ever felt.

Life isn’t perfect. I’m not perfect. But Jesus is and his plan for my life is. For the first time in my life, I am excited about being out of control.

Seek HIM! Praise HIM! My God is awesome. So Awesome.

A joy-filled Katie

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MARCH 25, 2015

God is so good.

He has massively ministered to my heart through his body and his Word. Isaiah 61 and 62 have been like fountains of water to my parched soul. I am learning to accept. I am trusting.

HE is more than enough.

Love,

A humbled Katie

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MARCH 23, 2015

Why? 

Twenty-four hours ago I was in a golden haze of happiness, now I find myself in an inky tunnel with no glimmer of light. 

I grope. Confused. Lonely.

Pain sears through my heart like a hot iron. I wish it would turn to a dull ache, but I feel so acutely. I have never truly felt sorrow until now. I have never truly lost.

Lord, 

Why? To draw me to you? To show me that you are all I need? To allow me to relate with others who’s hearts have bled? I want to encourage, yet I feel so empty. I want your best, but I feel like my future has been crushed into a thousand pieces.

Thank you that regardless of this season, I feel your presence. Thank you that you have a plan. Thank you that you are caring, loving and all knowing. Thank you that I can hope in you, when all my other hopes are scattered. Guide me through this tunnel into your marvelous light, and be with those who are hurting with me.

Love,

A fragmented Katie

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JANUARY 12, 2015

No. This is not going to be an exfoliation of my life’s juicy details.

But, there are some parts of my pen and paper journal I would love to share with you all.

This is the up-close, Katie, just in case you’d be interested in knowing some of the stupid things I do and interesting things I learn when not writing as The Kathryn Joy.

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Johnson Family Update 2015

Hey Guys!

It’s been awhile since I have written. Truth be told, the flame in my lighthouse of creative energy has been barely flickering due to a lot of exciting projects and emotional pulls. However, regardless of my inspiration levels, I’m going to update you all on the Chad Johnson family like I promised I would.

Here’s a quick run-through of the last 12 months -ish!

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Kordi (Left) Cousin Clair (Right)

First off, we are all alive and well in Tahoe, California. The snow has rapidly vanished, but we are enjoying our last couple weeks of crisp, cold, weather before we head home. Our nearly four months in California have been a wonderful adventure, but we have only spent one week in Dufur since December, and we are all eager to return to the comforting familiar of home.

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Bentley

Kordelia May is 2 1/2 and a bundle of love. She has the sweetest little voice and loves snuggling with family and friends. Kordi is such a perfect toddler we are sorry the baby of the family is growing up. She even began skiing this season!

Conrad Bentley (5) is a daredevil on the mountain. He has no fear of speed and loves catching air off anything he can (often resulting in him sprawled out on a run with his ski gear spread far and wide). Our energizer bunny learned to read this year, continues to break out in spontaneous dance, wrestle with his big brothers, and take good care of Kordi.

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Kinsey

Kinsey Lee (7) is growing into quite the young lady. She had a massive growth spurt this year, and lost nearly all of her teeth at once! Kinzers began taking piano lessons from Kelsey and loves working with Bentley and Kordi on their scripture memory verses. She is very quick in school and loves to keep up with the two brothers she is sandwiched in-between.

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Barrington

 

 

Christian Barrington (8) is quite the little man. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I am older, because Barrington is a guy that knows what he wants and how he wants it. Barrington follows in Baylor’s footsteps, being a natural athlete and hard worker. 

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Kloe

Kloe Beth (10) gets guessed as Kimberly’s twin all the time. Her favorite extra-curricular class is art, and she will quietly pour over her artistic creations for hours. Klo keeps us laughing with her hilarious impersonations and dramatic flair but she has a quiet, serious side as well. She impressed me with her tenacious boogie boarding skills and loves to play dress up on the farm.

 

 

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Kimberly
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Karaline

Kimberly Paula (12) is a delight to be around. Her easy-going personality is a blessing in our high-energy house and the children love gathering around and listening to Kimmy’s imaginative stories. Along with taking ukulele, piano, art, and English this year, Kimmy heads up most of the fort-building projects around the farm. It is sweet to see Kimmerz begin blending her athletic tom-boy side with graceful femininity, but that girl can sure lay down a carve on the mountain.

Karaline Elizabeth (14) is still determined, strong, and playful. She made a lot of new friends this year, and dutifully writes the pen pals she befriended from all over the states during our travels. Kar-bear is excelling in my English class (along with Kimmy, Kloe, and Baylor) and also took up the piano this year under Kelsey’s guidance. Karaline is becoming a beautiful young lady and the distance between the “older girls” and Kar is closing rapidly.

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Bay (left) Cousin Bradley (right)

Chadwick Baylor (15) is becoming a man! It is awesome to have a “big brother” that protects and cherishes his sisters and mother. Along with having a major growth spurt, Baylor’s voice dropped and he has enjoyed arranging duets with Kelsey. This summer Baylor worked up at Azure Farms, driving farm equipment and doing construction. When Bay wasn’t working or studying his dual-enrollment classes this year, he could be found shredding a short board, doing backflips and 720’s on his snow skis, or biking off jumps into the pond.

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Kelse

 

 

Kelsey Anne (17) has done a LOT with her musical gifts
this year! She finished her second CD and has played for two CD release concerts. Kels has also played for many events this past year, and has loved creating arrangements with Kyla. For a fun change of pace, Kelsey worked as the Chef for our Historical Balch Hotel this summer, and helped cultivate our garden. Kelsey’s biggest events of the year include starting CollegePlus! and doing a backflip on skis!!! #GirlPower

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Kyla

Kyla Cheri (18) finished working at Grinders Coffee in September so we could travel to the East
Coast for a month. She was a star employee, but was ready to move on and start her college education. Along with starting CollegePlus!, Ky has poured a lot of her energy into improving on the cello! Low, rich, tones can often be heard around the house, and Kyla and Kelsey have enjoyed playing for a few of the weddings and events we went to this year. A lot of you may also have experienced Kyla’s ministry through hand-written letters this year–she is such a blessing.

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Yours Truly

Kathryn Joy (20). After graduating from college this fall, I went back and took another semester of school for SEO and Content Marketing Certification. I’m happy to combine my English major and SEO knowledge to create and write for the Beachside Vacation Rental’s Blog and Blog Mutt. One of my highlights this year was working alongside David Brown to edit his book Quest for Forgiveness. I have learned a lot about myself, my health, and my Savior through the past crazy 12 months, and while I have learned some hard lessons, I’m thankful, and eager to see what the future holds.

Mother (Jenise) continues to make our family run like clockwork. Mother provides stability and direction for our busy household and continues to be in the trenches every day as a homeschooling mother. She loved encouraging couples at the Newly-Wed retreat, and ministering to younger women. This year Mother has been enjoying a new stage of life: NOT pregnant, NOT nursing, and NO infant! She is railing with us on skis and continues to stay active (and put her younger daughters to shame 😉 

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Guess who?

Daddy (Chad) always juggles a lot and this year was no different. Aside from continuing to run Ceramic Decorating Company, Daddy also became a coach for Strategic Coach! His love of people and passion for business has allowed him to quickly excel as a business coach. Daddy also worked alongside Azure Standard this Summer to start their Dream Manager Program and continues to be a life coach to all of us kids. Daddy took Bay to his JH Ranch river guide reunion this summer and surprised all his buddies (and Bay) by doing his infamous gainer off of a 70 foot bridge. Daddy continues to lead the pack–back flipping and doing hellies off ski jumps–keeping life fun and spontaneous.

Some family highlights this year include going to JH Ranch, attending 13 weddings, and our East Coast tour! We were on the road a lot this year but enjoyed the few moments we were able to spend on Thanksgiving Valley Farm.

There you have it: April 2014 to April 2015 in a nutshell! There are A LOT of exciting changes brewing, so stay tuned for our newest adventures!

Blessings from our family to yours!

The Kathryn Joy

 

 

 

**I have three wishes**

1. Forgive the absence of humor

2. Forgive the factual writing

3. Forgive the poor formatting

Many thanks. I admit it’s quantity not quality this evening. 

Operation Take Control: My Journey to Maturity (pt. 1)

MARCH 22, 2015

Today I woke up at 6am, packed my bags, and began a journey.

The beginning of a longggg e-book.
The beginning of a longggg e-book.

To start the process, I texted a good friend my road map. It was a very long text, with seven chapters and a Preface. To send, the phone broke it into 39 texts. (Yeah, I’m that friend.) My dad said an email would be a nice idea next time.

To not jump around the bush, I have been very immature regarding my health and time-management. Even though I have had past health troubles like my hair falling out, cold sores, and exhaustion, I have refused to do what I know is good for me. I mean, I still don’t take my vitamins unless my mom tells me to . . .

Through a rather long and unimportant chain of events, I realized that I am acting like a child.

How many Americans are children in adult bodies? Why do we still have to be told what’s good for us? Why do we let circumstances, situations, and other people manage us instead of managing ourselves?

The Kathryn Joy
My friends are very gracious…

My bad habits, lack of control, and lethargy in this area of health and time have been managing me. I have been often tired, overwhelmed, and not fully optimized to be my best. I have been chained and controlled by my bad habits.

I’m taking back control.

I’m taking the time to look critically at issues I have grown used to or let slip under the rug. 

It’s a journey, and I’m not aiming for perfection. I AM aiming to manage my life the way I feel God would have me steward my temple, my thoughts, and my time. 

Life is one big pile of spaghetti, folks. It’s all connected. If we don’t sleep  we are sluggish and more susceptible to overwhelm. When we’re exhausted and overwhelmed we have less will-power, fewer critical thinking skills, and a lessoned ability to bless others.

LESS IS MORE

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 11.00.07 AMFeel free to join me on my journey by reading along in my life journal.

You know how pastors preach a series of messages? That’s what I’m going to be doing over here–a life series on reclaiming the abundant life God has for each of us. (Your journey will be different, and I encourage you to start your own story!) 

You can be my accountability. Or, better yet, start your own journal! Begin a 90-day challenge!

Take back your life.

I’m taking back mine.

The Kathryn Joy