lately, tennessee

lately, life has been “full”

full of the following…

early work days for my hubby which means long day dates (<3 x 1,000) & new bikes!

busy weekends back home spent with family, cooking out, laughing together, & enjoying time spent with them

busy sunsets & lunch times spent photographing people

editing those sweet pictures  & getting them all ready to be sent out

attending Harvest, worshipping, & learning about the children’s ministry that husband & I will soon be teaching once every third Sunday!

sitting around a circle of my ladies sharing our hearts & declaring Christ’s love over each other and/or group texting about our crazy days

& repeat.

I haven’t had time to sit and write in what feels like an eternity. (dramatic, maybe?) It feels so good to be back at my laptop writing to you. I hope you have missed me as well. HA.

First of all, I want to share something with my TENNESSEE readers. I know I have at least three. Here goes:

I have a photography business that I have been running for a couple of months now. My husband helps me (I love to call him my little assistant) and I shoot. Pictures that is ūüėȬ† Our business has been booming lately & I am loving it. But I need you. We’re having a special that is only here for two more days! Nothing like waiting until the last-minute right?! I blame it on my mom. Any who, it’s an AWESOME deal. It’s $10 off any session except weddings. We shoot everything from portraits, couples, babies, maternity, graduates, parties, WEDDINGS, &¬†everything in between. I’ll let you in on a small secret: that’s only $45-$55 for each one HOUR session! Plus, you get a fully edited CD with 65+ pictures. Why not book a session today?! If I could, I would totally take me up on this offer! We have a website & a Facebook page & you can email me to ask any questions. Here is the info you need:

www.kashnerphotography.weebly.com¬† —here you can find all the prices & see some of my work. this website is still in the works so bear with me ūüėČ

www.facebook.com/kashnerphotography —here you can see ALL of my work & see for yourself how awesomely creative my hubs is. ūüôā & how much fun we have. PLUS, everyone:¬† “like” our page to keep up with us & get the DL on upcoming surprises!

kashnerphotography@gmail.com —here you can ask me questions & book a session!

it’s THAT simple! So, all you TENNESSEEANS, show your support!

If you like what you see yet you don’t live in TN, shoot me an email anyway! We may work something out!

 

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lately, I have seen soooo many of my blogger friends do this & I thought I would jump on the bandwagon. Enjoy!

lately, I have been….

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Reading: the book of Job, Whispers of Hope, 7, & about to start Rhinestone Jesus!
Wanting: my house to always stay clean (today is cleaning & grocery day, yippee)
Looking: outside of my window at the little bird’s nest our birdie friends are creating ‚̧
Playing: with Penny, our Siberian retriever puppy, outside in this beautiful weather
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Wasting: time wishing my house was clean instead of actually cleaning it
Trusting: that God’s timing is perfect & I can put my full hope & trust in Him especially in the hard times
Wishing: something would just work out already.
Enjoying: long days spent with my precious husband enjoying God’s beauty
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Waiting: for the next person to book a photography session with us!
Liking: the new BIKE my awesome hubby bought me yesterday & the new teal toms he surprised me with!
Wondering: how awesome God really is.
Loving: time spent with my husband lately & the friendships that have been growing within our smallgroup
Hoping: that God would work a situation out sooooon so that I can move on with my life
Marveling: at how amazing & loving Jesus truly is
Needing: more motivation to serve Him
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Anticipating: mother’s day weekend! & what Penny will chew up next ;/
Contemplating: whether or not I should get a PT job…… neh. ūüôā
Eating: LOADS of¬†queso & humus. im so not healthy ūüôā
Smelling: Penny’s new clean smell. finally!
Praying: for lost family members to come to know Jesus for who He is: their Savior
Giggling: about how smart my dog really is & how much she tries to trick me to take her outside to play.
Feeling:¬†grateful, overwhelmed, unmotivated, loved, blissful, tired, happy, sad. I’m such a woman.
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Katie, lately. ‚̧
How have you been lately?
I’d love to hear from you!

www.facebook.com/kashnerphotography

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Life Lately…

Life lately has been all kinds of things. As I think of all the¬†life going on, I come to one word that sums¬†up this season of life that I am in: refreshment. Whether it be¬†deep talks over¬†coffee with a good friend, a much-needed fun¬†date with the husband, or a reminder of our heavenly home, I¬†am¬†being¬†refreshed….

 

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Over the weekend, we were able to visit both of our families for a bit. It was refreshing to see them and catch up. Right after being married, I wanted to go back home pretty much every single day. After growing closer to my husband and learning to trust God where I am at, both my husband and I think of trips back home as more special and dear to us than before. The trips are fewer now because we don’t feel that sting of needing to go back home because together, we are at home. We treasure times spent with our families now more than before & I know that¬†that is a gift from God. I even got to snag my coffee cup I bought right before getting married that I kept leaving at my mom’s house. It’s now where it belongs & so am I.

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Also over the weekend, we attended the funeral & life celebration of a dear man in our home church who finished his race well and left this earth to¬†be with our mighty and sweet Jesus. His name¬†is Bob &¬†I¬†have known him since I was young. He¬†founded & was president of a mission organization¬†focused in Romania. If ever was a¬†man who LOVED Jesus and served Him in every¬†way, it was this man.¬†I always saw him in worship with a smile on his face and arms¬†directing worship.¬†He wasn’t perfect but¬†he was in love with Christ. Thousands and thousands of people, here in the US and in Romania, have been changed because one man loved Jesus so much that He answered the call to go. His life is an inspiration to me to focus ONLY on Jesus¬†& the souls around me. Before his death, I read pages upon pages of facebook posts written¬†by all of the lives that he¬†had touched for Christ.¬†He truly was¬†just a man who served a great God and now He is in the presence of His great God & Savior. Please pray for his wife, Yvonne.¬†Having a husband myself, I can only imagine what she is feeling. I am so thankful¬†that she is in love with the Man who has her man of over forty years safe now in His everlasting arms. It amazes me how the death of a Saint opens up eyes (especially mine) to the reality of Heaven. It’s not a fairytale, far-away place. It is the presence of God in REAL LIFE. Oh, I cannot wait to get home.

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Penny, our Siberian Retriever puppy, made some new friends on our family land this weekend. I’m not sure if she wanted to play or chase them down. They were quite curious as well to see a little deer-looking things sniffing at them.

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My mother-in-law’s tree right outside her window that is always all kinds of pretty depending on the weather. I especially love seeing it today since it’s 50 degrees and rainy this week. It reminds me of this verse six in Nehemiah 9… “You alone are the Lord. You have made the heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their hosts, the earth & everything on it, the seas and all that is in them. And you preserve them all. The host of heaven worships you.” It’s encouraging to know that just like God preserves the beautiful flowers, trees, and the air itself, He preserves us. You and me. We are His beloved children. And He never ever leaves us.

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¬†I had the¬†delightful opportunity to¬†meet up at a little coffee shop with a dear friend who is finishing up her¬†dental hygiene schooling. We talked about our family, faith, & fears. We are both so much alike {and it’s such a relief to know I’m not crazy} and we both have quite the same personality. The weekend before, on my girls retreat, we took a personality/spiritual gifts test/quiz/cool thing. It revealed what I totally knew was true. I am a type C personality which means cautious, reserved, serving, & sensitive and¬†showed me things I needed to work on spiritually speaking.¬†It was encouraging & refreshing to know that I am not the only one dealing with fear and other things. We were also able to talk lots of photography as we are both up&coming photographers. Oh, and I tried a macaroon for the first time ever. Delish. These things are just too cute. I am now on a¬†mission to be the next macaroon baker. We’ll see. ūüėČ

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And last but certainly not least, my husband and I spent our beautiful Sunday very well. After worshipping, learning, and hearing God speak to us, we set out for downtown. We ate at our favorite local restaurant, went bike shopping only to learn that the bike shops are closed on Sunday and then found ourselves in our new favorite cupcake shop. I indulged in a cookie dough cupcake that had actual cookie dough baked inside the cupcake &¬†hubby inhaled a reece’s peanut butter and¬†fudge cupcake. It was safe to say that our gluten-free diet was over for the month.¬†HA! But it really was. We were proud.¬†And¬†I have¬†decided that I can’t/won’t go back to bread-eating.¬†Oh, besides all of those¬†delicious cupcakes that are calling my name right.. about.. now..

‚̧ cheers¬†to a new week. and a¬†VERY SPECIAL week, at that.¬†In six¬†short days, we will celebrate the resurrection of the ONE who changed history & eternity forever!

Here is the song we sang Sunday in worship that completely broke me down. While trying to trust God in the hard & good times,¬†I want this to¬†be my¬†heart’s song no matter what.

 

 

xoxo

-Katie

 

 

 

When God Whispered

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I am back from my three-day retreat in the mountains. It was so much fun staying up late drinking coffee and revisiting our childhood in coloring books. I never realized how relaxing it is to color. I also never realized how addicting chocolate & the Wicked soundtrack can be! It was a great girlie weekend.

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Apart from all the caffeine and coloring pencils, we had sweet and intense God time. My talented friend, Hannah, brought her guitar & we worshipped God. Here are a few lyrics from a song that we sang.. It is filled with such truth.

 

Hello, my name is defeat
I know you recognize me
Just when you think you can win
I’ll drag you right back down again
‘Til you’ve lost all belief

These are the voices, these are the lies
And I have believed them, for the very last time

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Hello, my name is child of the one true King
I’ve been saved, I’ve been changed, and I have been set free
“Amazing Grace” is the song I sing
Hello, my name is child of the one true King

I am no longer defined
By all the wreckage behind
The one who makes all things new
Has proven it’s true
Just take a look at my life

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I went into the weekend with high expectations of how God was going to work. After time spent in prayer, worship, &¬†reflection of my own heart, I realized that God was simply whispering this to me: “I want you to be bold. Let go of the fear and control in your life. I have called you to be fearless.” We spent time studying the Word and learning about strongholds. A stronghold is anything that is in the way of your relationship with God. Whether it be an addiction, an ungodly relationship,¬†or something you place too much importance on such as a relationship, job, etc. I realized that my stronghold is fear itself.¬†And¬†control, as well, because I am too fearful to let God be God.¬†At the end of the study, we were asked to surrender. Let go of whatever is holding us back. Drop it at the feet of God and never pick it back up. I begged God to take away my fear immediately as I have so many times before. I was scared that¬†it wasn’t going to work.

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But¬†He spoke to me so quietly I had to focus hard¬†to listen. “I have already taken away your fear. It is your turn to believe it and act upon it.” I can ask God to take away my fear every day¬†but until I step out in faith and believe that He has, I will never be free. Fear will always have a strong hold on me until I believe that it is no longer even IN me. So from now on, I must be bold. I must believe that I am fearless and that God is in control, not me. I must act & believe Him at His Word. I get scared just thinking about being fearless. But I know that those feelings aren’t from¬†God.¬†He has shown me that I must have more faith in Him. True walking faith, not just talking faith. Is talking faith even faith at all? Saying you believe but never truly living it out. That kind of¬†“faith” is dead. {James 2:26} It’s time for me to step out & boldly act in faith.

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Whether it be applying for a job, trusting God in situations I have no control over, simply talking to that neighbor who has been on my heart since we moved in, or dealing with a death of a loved one,¬†I am reminded of this verse as I think about all of the things I am afraid of…

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

What is your stronghold? What are you allowing get in the way of your relationship with your mighty, loving, & gracious Father? Let it go!

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Stand fast in the Lord, beloved…

Katie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How can it be?

How can it be…

that no matter what I do, what I say, how often I pray or forget to pray,

Your Loving hands guide me still?

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How can it be..

That I can go throughout my day without a thought of your Presence..

How can it be that, even then, Your love ever rests on Me?

How can it be?

In the loneliest stillness, You are here.

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In the moments I turn my back on You, You’re still here…

And the days when I feel that I am at my best, you are near.

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And my worst… You don’t budge. You’re all around. You’re everywhere.

How can it be that You, my God, would care for me?

You came to earth to be with me, you died on a cross to set me free…

How can it be?

How can it be that deep¬†inside of me…¬†You made something out of nothing?

You reside with the Father to daily pour Living water deep into this thirsty soul of mine..

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how can it be?

that You would live to die and be raised again for a sinner like me?

“But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood.¬†Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:24,25

-Katie, Hot Tea and the Empty Seat

bring on the blooms {& smoothies!}

Last time I checked in with you friends, I was in a sea of tissues, cold medicine, & hot tea. While hot tea is still close by, I am so thankful to say that I am feeling 90% normal again! Praise God for His healing hands!

Yesterday was a day of new blossoms, if you will. My handsome husband and I got amazing results from the doctor from a surgery I had six weeks ago, continued to not really fail at our healthy diet change, & were both refreshed by our Lord as He continually showered blessings over us. Especially since I started¬†to be able to breath again (darn, allergies).¬†Life seems to be blooming again. That rainy, in the dirt, waiting to bloom, season is over. Praise the Lord! I cannot end this without praising God for that season though. Ya know, the season when everything just seems to be in a rut or you’re going through something just plain hard? I feel ya. Good news though! Our faithful God of love always has a plan & we can trust Him in that, to bring the sunshine once again.

Speaking of sunshine,¬† I am getting anxious to get outside, run, clean, plant some flowers, and dance around the house with the windows open once again. In high hopes that spring is here to stay, I have a yummy, bright, & fruity recipe to share with you today! I’m no chef, so, recipes around these parts are scarce. I whipped up this easy & delicious smoothie for breakfast this morning. It’s great. And puts me in one of those excited, I-feel-healthy, yet this is so yummy moods.

Ingredients:

12 Fresh, frozen blackberries

4 Fresh strawberries

Half of a banana, cut up

1 cup of orange juice

Before we start.. 1-don’t waste the other half of the banana! Bananas are a great source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, fiber, potassium, & other needed nutrients. 2-if you prefer a less creamy smoothie, add ice for a thicker “less of a milkshake” type smoothie. I used the frozen blackberries as my “ice” (our ice machine isn’t working)¬†but they give it a more creamy texture. 3-I only had sunny¬†D on hand but I believe that true orange juice would make this smoothie even better. 4-this makes one big¬†serving so if you are up for sharing, simply double your¬†ingredients. 5-enjoy!

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1-Combine all ingredients in a blender & blend for 40 seconds.

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Yum!

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40 seconds¬†-or so- blending¬†until it looks like…

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your easy & delicious Spring Smoothie !

It goes perfect with a bible, journal, study, & some quiet time!

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Enjoy each moment, give God the glory in all you do, & watch Him bring things to bloom all around you!

Check out Hot Tea and the Empty Seat on facebook, twitter, & even pinterest! Toodles!

-Katie

Run With Me?

I love running.
I really do. But, it’s winter and I hadn’t stepped into my running shoes and hit the road since those 70 degree weather days. Until yesterday.

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My sweetness of a husband and I were visiting his family yesterday and the weather was a brisk and sunny 55¬į. We decided to get outside and enjoy the weather! We started out the driveway and up a steep hill. And so it began. This wasn’t going to be a lovely little stroll. Who knew that a simple hill would be such a workout? My little lungs were working as hard as they could. My heart was pumping. My legs were screaming at me.

This reminded me of our walk with Christ.

If we are not used to daily walking with Him, our strength will quickly flee when He starts leading us into places that seem to be literal uphill battles

. When our hearts and minds are not daily exercised with the words & power of God, how can we “run with endurance the race that is set before us“? {Hebrews12:1}

Just like my physical body needs daily strengthening in order to conquer running up hills, our relationship with Christ must be daily strengthened in order to stand strong and run the race set before us. Because, girlfriend, the life of a follower of Christ isn’t a walk in the park. Along the road of a bondservant, temptation, trials, persecution, and pain are waiting for us. But there is a prize for the one who finishes strong, oh, there is such a sweet prize. But first…

How do we prepare ourselves to run this race? Paul teaches us in a clear and beautiful way in Hebrews chapter 12. {Make some time today to read the entire chapter-great stuff!}

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,¬† looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” -Hebrews 12:1-2

We must get serious about our walk (or run) with Christ. God desires willing hearts. We must lay aside every weight and sin that hinders us¬†from running the race. Most importantly, we look to Jesus. We are not meant to run the race alone or in our own strength. Jesus is our author and finisher of our faith. Jesus is the Source of strength we need in order to cross the finish line where¬†He who endured the cross is now seated…in the presence of God the Father.

Beloved, we must “press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” {Philippians 3:14}

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” {1 Corinthians 9:24}

Oh, until¬†we receive that precious prize of Jesus…

run with me?

-fellow runner in Christ, K

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