What makes you… HAPPY?

I hope that your long weekend was as amazing and relaxing as mine was! This morning, my husband and I hit the snooze for almost an hour! This week is going to be good. Ya know why? God is good and He is in control! No matter what comes my way, I know that it has to go through my loving Father’s hands first and you can rest in that too.

Okay, I’m totally in denial that its already September!? I’m ready for some cozy fall weather, how about you? Speaking of September, today I’m linking up with Brave Love Blog for an awesome daily blogging prompt for everyday in September. She calls it, “The Blogtember Challenge”. I love the idea! If you are a blogger, I totally recommend you checking out this challenge!

Today’s focus is this: what makes me happy

I often think a lot about the difference between happiness & joy. Happiness is more about your emotions and what gets you excited or satisfied. It can be changed in an instant depending on your circumstance. On the flip side, Joy isn’t based on your emotions or your circumstances. It comes from being in the presence of God, being content with life and knowing your purpose through Jesus Christ….Joy is more spiritual than emotional. It’s lasting, it’s eternal, it’s a fruit of the spirit of God! Joy is one of the two words that I have been focusing on this year along with intentionality. While only God can give true joy which is lasting, He blesses us with little bits of happiness throughout our lives. Here are a few things that make me happy….

+ Spending time with my husband doing fun things like shopping, traveling somewhere we haven’t been before, picnicking, or exploring our new city…

+ A cold and thick Frappuccino from Starbucks…

+ When our puppy, Penny, is being sweet and cuddly…

+ Spending a long weekend with my husband’s and my family…

+ having heart to hearts with dear friends over a good cuppa joe (holla, Jaimie!)…

+ spending a day (or five) at the beach…

+  laughing so hard with someone until your stomach hurts…

+ yummy homemade food (I’m a total foodie…)

+ my husband, of course!…

+ lastly, meeting new people through my blog or other’s blogs! I love it!

Here are just a few things that make me HAPPY! What makes you happy?!

You are loved!

Katie

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My first ever VLOG!

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Hey y’all! So today I’m linking up with Kiki from In its Time & Jenna from Dearest Love for a closet confidential link up for the month of August {better late than never!} & also sharing a few of my favorites from my closet with Oh Hey Friday! and I have to say that I am totally going out of my comfort zone here because I am super awkward when it comes to video but I have always wanted to do a VLOG so here it goes!

Before you watch, please note the cutest dog ears that will appear at the beginning. Haha! My pup, Penny, loves being around me and had to get in on this vlogging stuff. Also, this video has no editing so please don’t mind the guest bed looking like a mess & how you can only see half of my face for half of the video. Oops. Learning! Next, I’m super awkward and a little southern so bare with me if you can’t understand what I’m saying, haha! Lastly, I hope you enjoyed this humorously awkward video {I’m laughing with you} of all the fun things in my closet! Go check out Jenna & Kiki’s blogs after you watch! Enjoy!! xoxo Sorry, I ramble a bit…. ; )

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What are some faves from your closet?  Five of mine are my maxis, that denim shirt, my new white dress, my cozy sweaters that I can’t wait to wear this fall, & my new coral dress from my husband! I would love to hear yours!

You are loved!

Katie

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Linking up with The Dwelling Tree

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Big Changes!

Hey sweet friends! In the next few days, there will be some big changes on Hot Tea and the Empty Seat. I’m making the switch from .com to .org so please be watching so that you can follow along on the new & updated blog!

Plus it’s about to get super cute & sleek {finally!}

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I would love to get to know you & chat with you! Follow along & let’s connect!

Blessings, friend!

You are loved

-Katie

Wednesday’s Words {Intro to Me!}

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Hey Y’all! I’m so glad that you stopped by. I’m currently sitting on my back porch with a bowl of cotton candy ice cream while my favorite pup is underneath me with her own bowl of peanut butter. It’s a good day. I’m so excited to start this new link up with Jenni from Frankly My Dear & other sweet blogging girls for a good dose of encouragement and community! It’s a brand new community starting TODAY & it’s the perfect replacement for my Wifey Wear Wednesdays I believe!

This week, we were asked to share a little about ourselves & what God is doing in our lives! So, let’s do this.

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I’m Katie. I have a huge love for Jesus, my Savior & BFF, and I daily strive to life my life for Him in all aspects.  A year ago, I was overly blessed and full of JOY to marry the man of my dreams. His name is Joe and he is utterly perfect for me. I still pinch myself at times to make sure this isn’t all a dream. He is romantic, tall and handsome, and takes me on trips all over this green earth. We are super-duper in love and you would quickly learn that if ever you were around us for at least two minutes. He is the most selfless, wise, hilarious, caring, & faithful man I know. He is my joy. We live in a cute house in a fun city and we serve at our local church home & eat way too much good food. Oh, and we also have a Siberian Husky whom we adore & call our child.

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I have a slightly obsessive love for hot tea, coffee, sunshine, Mexican food, spending time early in the morning in the Word, laughing, & reading books. I love Jesus, my big family, & my friends who are as dear as family. I just accepted a job as a nanny during the week after being a SAHW for the first year of our marriage. One day I will write about all the things that I learned from that season of life. I also adore this blog space. The community that it possesses is irreplaceable. I am in the process of growing my blog and I just love meeting new ladies who love Jesus & adore coffee as much as I do. It’s such an awesome thing. I started this blog almost two years ago while sitting in my formerly favorite coffee shop back in my hometown. I have a huge heart and passion with sharing Jesus’ love with everyone I meet. With that passion for Him and a passion to write since I was young, God led me to start this blog over a hot cup of African Sunset Red Tea. He knows the way to my heart. You can read way more in-depth of what and how He spoke to me about this blog here.

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God has been showing me what it looks like to truly follow and live completely for Him. Honestly, I am growing {being stretched} more right now than I ever have in my walk with Christ. He is teaching my husband and I what it looks like to truly die to self and live for Christ even when it’s hard and complicated. I am slowly learning that He is worth it. In my personal life, God is teaching me to open my hands and let Him have the control, the insecurity, and the fear that I have been clinging onto for years and years. He is teaching me that opening my hands means that I am trusting Him for who He is.. GOD. I can’t play God anymore by trying to be in complete control over my life and the people in it. Trust, faith, believing. Surrender. That’s what I’m learning.

Oh, and did I mention that I love chatting with you so let me know that you stopped by! See ya tomorrow dearies for our Romans Summer Bible Study! We’re going over chapter 14.. here’s a sneak peek.. freedom & love!.. you know it will be good!

You are loved!

Katie

Must Haves for Newlyweds – Kitchen Edition

Hey there, friend! I’m so glad that you have decided to drop by Hot Tea and the Empty Seat today. I hope your Tuesday is off to a great start!

 My husband and I have been married for a little over a year now & I thought it would be fun to share a few of our favorite things around our home that we use everyday. Today is going to be all about the kitchen. Before getting married, I didn’t think much about kitchens or cooking. Honestly, everyone was pretty sure that I wouldn’t be able to cook. Surprisingly, our kitchen has become one of my favorite places to be & I just adore creating home cooked meals for my husband. Whether you have been married for years or are awaiting that big day, enjoy a few of our “must haves” for the kitchen! These items have been life savers for us as newlyweds! Enjoy…

 

 

 

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1} I can’t tell you how often we use these hard plastic mixing bowl set. They are versatile and are super easy to clean which is why I love them so. It also makes cooking a little brighter with all of the fun colors. Our favorite recipe to use these with is our banana chocolate chip pancakes which will be making it’s appearance soon enough… stay tuned 😉

2} An electric can opener. We don’t use canned foods very often but when we do, I personally can’t imagine being without this bad boy. Manual can-openers, as wimpy as it sounds, are a pain to use. This one is easy to store in your cabinets & easy to clean… just wipe it off after use. My kind of work!

3} I love my teal Fiesta ware but there is something about simple plastic plates. We have about six teal & coral ones from Target along with our sturdy ceramic plates. They are super cheap, easy to clean off, & can fit better in the dishwasher than the bulky stuff. They are perfect for little ones since they don’t break if you drop then. Also, places like Target have the cutest designs perfect for each season you find yourself in which is a great little accent to your dinner table.

4} Go big on your eating utensils. My husband and I were gifted a great set of good quality Food Network forks, spoons, & knives. Nothing is worse than dull knives and forks that melt in your dishwasher. Plus, you are going to use these every single day so I would definitely splurge.

5} Ah, my favorite items in the whole kitchen: our coffee mugs. There is just something romantic about matching coffee cups. I may be crazy. My husband and I have a tradition of buying a new coffee mug in every new state or country we visit so it’s safe to say that our cabinets are filling up quickly. I highly recommend buying mugs that are dishwasher safe. Coffee mugs are just a fun thing to have around the house. They have become a staple for us every early morning and they have created many sweet talks and devotion times with each other & God. I think coffee just draws people together. You can find out favorite here! {it has our pictures on it!}

6} I love our set of glass containers. Ours have  little cute chalkboard fronts on them so I have “pasta”, “sugar”, and “brown sugar” written on ours. They are so handy, so helpful, & can be a cute little decoration to your countertops. Sometimes when I am feeling silly, I will write things like “pour some sugar on me” on the containers. You may think that’s weird but it creates a laugh or two from my husband and our guests that stroll through our kitchen. Hey, cooking can be fun.

7} I cannot stress enough how IMPORTANT a good, solid cutting board is. In my own opinion, GET PLASTIC ONES… not bamboo ones! Although they may look classier, I made the mistake of cutting raw chicken on my bamboo cutting board and the smell lasted for weeks. I eventually had to throw it out. Which was sad because it was good quality but it just wasn’t for me at all. Plastic cutting boards are dishwasher safe {a huge plus for us} therefore I can rest knowing that there isn’t bacteria growing on them from raw foods. It’s smart to get multiples so that you can use certain ones for certain foods. I like these.

8} And last but certainly not least, good cookware. The cookware shown in the picture is the exact cookware we use. It was gifted to us by my dad & stepmom and I LOVE it. It’s Paula Deen’s Aqua Speckle 15-pc. Signature Porcelain Nonstick Cookware Set. I highly recommend getting non-stick cookware that isn’t stainless steel. This is, of course, simply my opinion. But, we had stainless steel and everything I cooked in it pretty much ruined the cookware. It stuck to the bottom & wouldn’t clean off. It also left water stains  Of course, it depends on the quality but you are better off getting porcelain over stainless steel simply because it’s dishwasher safe unlike stainless steel. The last thing I want to do is stand for an hour scrubbing the heck out of every thing I cooked with. Plus, you can get cute colors to match your kitchen. So, go for the non-stick & porcelain over the not-non-stick & stainless steel. You will thank me!

I hope you found a renewed love for all things kitchen & even have a few new ideas!

You are loved

Katie

Linking up with: Let’s Be Friends Blog Hop

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& Hump Day Happenings!

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A Love Letter to…

 

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Dear Monday, you were ushered in before the sun rose. Bring it on.. I’m so thankful for a day job!

 

Dear Husband, YOU ROCK. Without you, I wouldn’t have been able to wake up so early. Without you, I wouldn’t have had coffee & breakfast awaiting me. Without you, I wouldn’t know silly and beautiful and selfless love the way that I do. I am so glad that I will never have to be without you!

Dear Summer, you were good to me while you lasted. But I think it’s time you leave. I’ve had my beach time and I’m ready to break out the bad boys– my knee-high boots. Yes. And I’m gonna need some room for a pumpkin spice latte. Love ya, summer, but I gotta let you go…

Dear said Pumpkin Spice Latte, I need you like I need oxygen. My husband and I are going to meet you on top of Rock City next week.. Let’s make it a date, shall we?

Dear Fear, you may have had me backed up in a corner last week but this week and beyond, I’m sending you straight to my Dad and that’s God so you better watch out. Because perfect Love casts out fear. See ya never.

Dear Recently Purchased Jet Ski, thank you for being awesome. You are an awesome after-work-de-stresser. That’s all.

Dear Penny, I’m sorry my new job is going to mess up our morning routine but I promise to take you to the park whenever I can {aka whenever I have enough energy} One day you will have a puppy sibling to play with! Until then, I’ll tell your dad to give you double the jerky treats when he leaves.

Dear Jesus, You are my strength… and You keep proving that to me over & over again even when it hurts. But it’s amazing how You do that… How you draw me into Your unexplainable presence in times where it seems like you are slaying me. You are good. You are holy. You are so worth all the pain that carrying my cross brings. Because You, God, You saw me worthy.

Love, Katie

 

I want to hear how you are doing… So what are you waiting for?! Let’s be friends.

Facebook // Email  // Blog

You are loved!

Katie

Let’s Chat Over Coffee! {highs + lows}

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Hey love! How are YOU doing? If you’re like me, you are so thrilled that Friday finally made it’s appearance. This week has been something of a whirlwind & I am so excited to spend the weekend unwinding and relaxing. Today, I’m linking up with Jenna & Jenna for another edition of Coffee Date. There is nothing quite like pouring your heart out over a big warm mug full of creamy coffee goodness. How I wish I could meet up with you & we could do just that. Over the past year, I have learned how important community is. It knits hearts together, creates lasting and strong friendships, & gives us enough refreshment and encouragement to keep running the race.

If we were talking over coffee right now, here are a few things I would let you in on. I would get super excited about most but then I would ask for your prayers in some.

– Highlights of the week –

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– I started my new job as a nanny! This is the major highlight of the week. God has been so faithful in this. It happened so quickly & I couldn’t have been more blessed with the two precious girls that I am watching over. They are hilarious & such sweet gifts from God.

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– Our Home Reno is up & running again. my hubs & I finally mustered up enough motivation & help to completely destroy the Jumanji jungle {miss you, Robin} that was growing in front of our house {the shrubs were going wild}. The boys pulled all of those bushes and trees up so we now have a clean palette to start over. The next items on our Home Reno list are fix all of the puppy damage to the doorways {thanks penny} & my favorite… paint the front door teal! I have been dreaming about turning our little front porch space into a welcoming morning area but haven’t had the motivation to actually put those dreams into action until this week. I’m excited to post before & after pictures!

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– My husband and I have spent a lot of time in the kitchen lately. We whipped up his mom’s special lasagna one night, my grandma’s amazing chicken casserole another night, & even made a few sweet treats over the weekend. I love making our family’s homemade meals because it makes me feel like we aren’t that far away. My grandma, aka the BEST cook in the entire universe, created a recipe book for me with all of her special homemade goodies & gave it to us at our wedding shower last year. I cried. She cried. My mom cried. It was my most favorite gift ever & I will always cherish it!

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-Speaking of community, my husband and I got to spend some time with one of my closest friends and her husband one night. Nick created this awesome life-size Jenga game & it was definitely a hit. I love spending time with other Jesus followers, always such a sweet time of refreshment.

Today, we are heading to our hometown to spend time with our families! That makes a hard week a little better.

Speaking of hard things, here are a few of the lowlights that have gone on this past week:

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-I can’t share the entirety of this situation but something came up this week that has completely shaken me. It’s one of things that begs the question, “God, what in the world are you doing???” It’s one of those things that makes you sick to your stomach because you don’t want to deal with it. It’s one of those things that makes you want to crawl into your little bubble of comfort and never come out again. It’s also one of those things that God may be using to stretch me, to put my faith to the test, to really break me down. This quote above has been a huge help to me as I deal with this situation. My fears are before me & I’m having to make the decision on if I will give in to them & let the fears control me OR step out in faith, complete faith even though I don’t know what to do but trust God. It’s hard following Jesus. But He never said it would be. I’ve had to ask myself, “is he worth it to you?” if He is, then I must keep walking. even if I am completely in the dark.

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– on a lighter note, I forgot to do all the laundry this week because I have been so distraught with the above situation. That created a problem when my husband got up this morning to go to work. No clean work shirts or socks. Another obstacle to jump over without tripping and falling flat on my face: feeling like a failure as a wife. Praying for God’s grace to cover me.

That’s a serious coffee date, friends. I hope you were encouragement somehow by my transparency & God’s grace in my life lately.

How can you relate?

you are loved!

Katie