Tuesday, September 30, 2014

When the Dark Meets the Light

“The Lord is my light and my salvation—

    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

When I was a kid, I remember lying in bed at night scared to death. I absolutelyhated being by myself at night and I was terrified of what lurked in the darkness. I was so scared of the dark that I would even wear my glasses to bed just in case I had to get up and go to the bathroom or fight one of those monsters and I did this until I was at least twelve years old. Even though I was so afraid of the dark, I knew that God was bigger. I knew that He was the Protector of all things, my fragile, young self included. So I would pray. “Please God, send your biggest, strongest, and most fat angels into my room to protect me. Put them in the doorways so that nothing can come in to get me. Please God, send them, send them.” I prayed that prayer at least five times a night and I envisioned them floating down and standing in my doorway, eight feet tall and six feet wide. Nothing could get to me. And then, my eyes closed and my mind drifted off to sleep. I was safe.
Last night, after watching one too many episodes of Prison Break with my husband, I was lying in bed a little scared to be honest. Anyone who really truly knows me, knows that I’m a pretty sensitive person. I can’t watch disturbing or creepy things and I would rather watch rated G or PG movies over a rated R classic any day. I believe that God has made me like this for a reason and I embrace my sensitivity. Last night as I was lying there, hoping no one would sneak into our room, I thought about all of those nights when I would ask God in complete faith to send my big angel friends to protect me and how He would, every time. I didn’t doubt for a minute that He wouldn’t hear my voice or answer my plea for help.
So why do doubt Him now? When darkness surrounds me in this life and I feel like I’ll never make it out alive, I break under the pressure of fear and doubt. But, in reality, God isn’t any different from when I was a scared young girl, lying in my bed at night. He hasn’t changed or gotten any tougher on me. He isn’t far away or too busy to answer my cries for help when the pressures of this world and it’s evils are surrounding me.
I often wish that I could just believe without doubting so that God would work on my behalf. But is that really how our Heavenly Father works? No. God knows our frailty and our weakness. When I was that scared little girl, He knew that I was afraid of the dark and He protected me from it because He loves me, not because I did something right or was righteous enough for Him.
 He was simply protecting His child.  
Oh, how I long for childlike faith. I long for it but it’s in my reach and it’s in your reach. Heaven really isn’t far away. All I have to do is trust Him as the protective Father that He is. I don’t have to be good enough or say the correct words in my prayers. And even if I get a little too scared in the middle of my cries for help, He isn’t going to call the search party off.
God loves us. He cares for us. We are His children. He is willing to save us at any time of the day. He is able to save us from drowning in fear and doubt and sin and pride. He is able to turn our broken hearts into whole, thriving ones. He is able to heal our diseases and heal our hurts. He is able to pull us out of the pit of anger and jealousy. He is able. He doesn’t save us because He thinks we earned it. All we have to do is cry out to Him for help, know that He is watching, listening, and will come to our rescue, and trust Him. We must come to Him in child-like faith—- Sincere, pure, and bold faith.
We tend to over-think things as adults. We somehow believe that if we were only good enough or smart enough or brave enough, God will pay us attention.But it’s when we are at our weakest, our most vulnerable, at our most human and low state, He makes us new… because He is madly in love with His people. And He is just waiting to burst forth through the dark to save us.


“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
  and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth

    and thick darkness is over the peoples,

but the Lord rises upon you

    and his glory appears over you.

Nations will come to your light,

    and kings to the brightness of your dawn.” Isaiah 60:1-3

In what area of your life do you need to humbly come before God in childlike faith?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Bad Day Remedies

      Linking up with Ember Grey today in Grateful Heart! 

We all have bad days. It happens. Sometimes we just wake up on the wrong side of the bread {thanks phil from rugrats} and we feel as if we should just go back to sleep. today, for me, was one of those days. nothing has been going right. I feel like it can’t get any worse or better for that matter


              And guess what?

your terrible-awful-ugly-sad-no good-dirty-rotten day can turn around in an instant!
              it’s your choice.
having a “bigger picture” mindset has the power to change our “tiny selfish” mindset...
      & if we take some time and think, 
                 Things can change!

The Lord tells us that his mercies & compassion for us are new every morning! That is something to be thankful for! Without His mercy, we wouldn’t see another day.

          2. TAKE A BREAK / BREATHE


If that means a coffee break, shut off all electronics & pour you some coffee {or scurry off to a coffee shop}. If that means calling up a family member or friend to watch the kids for an hour while you go for a walk or shop a little bit, do it. That’s why they’re your family. To help you out. You don’t have to do it all yourself. If that means staying off of social medias {facebook, twitter, pinterest, instagram, bloglovin’, ETC) then DO IT. YOU WONT REGRET IT. you, your brain, & your heart need a break.


A little fresh air goes a long way. Baske in the sun, go for a walk, stare up at the sky. It’ll lift your spirits by seeing all that God has beautifully created. just like he beautifully created you!


Even if you have to physically speak or write all that you are thankful for, do it. Sometimes my brain can be so overwhelmed with what I don’t have or can’t do or blah blah blah. That’s not joy. That’s self torment. Speak over those lies & be thankful for everything that God has given you. He has given you LIFE. What more is there?


Praying to God is therapy. It calms me down, chills me out, and gives me rest. {after all the screaming, crying, and whining of course}. Jesus desires so badly for His children to speak with Him. After all, in Him and Him alone, we find peace, joy, & happiness. He can brighten any day! I mean He DID create days and happiness and brightness anyway! 

  How do you remedy those bad days?


Friday, September 26, 2014

Let's Get Coffee! {highs + lows}

Friend, I'm so glad that you are here. I hope you feel right at home when you stop by. That would make me really happy! Today is one of my favorite days! It's the day that we get to virtually sit across the coffee table with one another and share what's going on in our lives...
highs + lows
// the past couple of weeks have been adventurous. my husband and I flew to Canada for four days and brought back lots of maple syrup and memories we will keep in our hearts forever. One of my favorites is riding scooters all around Montreal. There is just something awesome about riding around a place that you have no idea where anything is & you can't even read the street signs! I have to be honest, I was pretty fearful of doing it but I was able to ride on the back of my husband's and it was so fun! Facing fears is a good thing.
// Doctors orders, I have been drinking 50+ ounces of water per day and I can't tell you how much just doing that has given me my energy back. It's amazing! Apparently, you are supposed to half your body weight & whatever that number is, is how many ounces of water your body needs per day. It's a challenge but you should try it!
// I have been editing wedding photos and preparing for my next weeding next weekend! I absolutely love being able to be a party of a bride and groom's super special day creating memories for them that will last a lifetime. If you or anyone you know is getting married, let me know! My husband and I have a photography business & we love to travel!
// God is good. Although I have been so busy the past two weeks and have neglected to spend quality time with my Father, He still shows me throughout the day that He is still with me and He is for me. Do you believe, sister, that God is for YOU? He loves us so much. I am committing to spending time with Him no matter how busy or exhausted I am. He deserves all of me.
 // Fall is here, guys. Like, it's finally here! I loved writing out all of my Fall Favorites yesterday; it inspired me to rack up on pumpkin and start whipping up some yummy autumn recipes. This morning, I made my husband and I Pumpkin Spice Pancakes and we even had our authentic, natural, and so yummy maple syrup that we bought from a Maple Syrup Farm in Montreal! 
Be on the lookout for more pictures from Canada & a few easy recipes that are sure to get you in the autumn spirit quick!
How have you been lately? I would love to know!
Linking up with Jenna from Dearest Love & Jenna from A Mama Collective 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

F A L L // Faves

The air is crisp, the leaves are turning from green to oranges and reds, and all of my spare change is spent on Pumpkin Spice Lattes!
It's Fall y'all.
I absolutely love this time of the year. Autumn has such a warm and cozy feel about it. It's the perfect time for early morning runs, bonfires with the best of friends, and lazy Saturdays spent at the Pumpkin Patch searching for that perfect pumpkin.
Nothing gets me more in the Fall season mood than pulling out my sweaters & boots.. and drinking that first hot cup of Pumpkin Spice. Yum.
1. Favorite fall fashion/clothing item?  My perfect fall outfit looks like this:
oversized comfy-cozy sweater, big scarf, leggings, & my favorite boots 

 2. Favorite fall drink? I will spare you the monotony of answering like this: pumpkin spice latte & give you another answer that ranks pretty close... wassail! It's a hot festive cider. My family makes it with oranges and cranberries. It's perfect for brisk fall days.

 3. What's something on your fall bucket list? Find a pumpkin patch in our new city! I grew up five minutes from a locally owned family pumpkin patch and that's where I spent all my days while in school.

 4. Favorite fall recipe? This is such a hard one. I haven't made any fall treats myself yet but my family always makes the best southern food that is perfect for football Sundays. One recipe that I can't wait to try is Pumpkin Snickerdoodles created by a blogger friend over at Wetherill's Say I Do! I have an amazing Snickerdoodle recipe and adding pumpkin to it just sounds perfect!

 5. Halloween candy or Pumpkin Spice Latte? Is this even a question? PSL all the way, babe. Although there is so much trash talk about Starbucks version, I still think that it is amazing. I will always love you, PSL.  

 6. Favorite fall scent? Anything pumpkin. I recently went a little scent crazy at Bath N Body Works and stocked up on my fall's worth of smelly goodness. I purchased seven different candles. Yes.

 7. Favorite fall holiday? Thanksgiving, hands down! My family goes big on this day. My brother and I used to visit four different houses on this day since we have family all over and now my husband gets to join in on the fun! I think it's safe to say that we have leftovers for days. :)

 8. What is fall (weather) like where you live? Perfect. I live in the south... TN to be exact. So our fall seasons are pretty much perfect. It just started getting cool in the mornings and our winters aren't too harsh so we get to enjoy fall weather for at least four months. It's the time of year when everyone pulls out their football flags, has backyard get-togethers, and prepares for Christmas. Already. Oh yeah!
perfect print by Dear Friend Shop
Today I am linking up with my friend, Kiki, from In It's Time for another installment of The Circle & also Jenna from A Savory Feast for Fall Welcome Week link up!
What are your fall favorites? I so want to know!!


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

When You Need Comfort {Encouragement}

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 
{2 Corinthians 1:3-4 ESV}

The God of all comfort.. Just those words are so comforting to my soul. I believe that we all desire to be comforted. Sometimes we seek chocolate ice cream or the arms of another but truly nothing comforts us like our amazing Heavenly Father. His love is never ending. His mercy is sure. His comforting presence is perfection.

What are you seeking to be comforted by? Lay those things down and run into the open arms of the Great Comforter Himself... Jesus. You will be amazed by the true healing that it gives your heart! 

This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life. 
{Psalm 119:50 ESV}

Speaking of comfort, I believe that comfort goes hand in hand with encouragement.
The Lord has taught me so much about encouragement. The body of Christ was made for glorifying God. I believe that a major way of doing that is encouraging our brothers & sisters and even people who aren't part of the Body of Christ. God has shown me that encouragement can come in so many forms..

+ Sending an uplifting text message
+ Praying with and for someone
+ Baking something and taking it to them
+ Speaking life and hope to them
+ Reminding them of Jesus' love
+ Paying off a bill for them
+ Tell them how much they mean to you
+ Giving a simple smile.

All of these things give people hope to keep going, to keep running the race. I believe that God has given me the gift of encouragement. To some people, it comes easy. To some people, not so much. But we are all called to comfort, uplift, and encourage each other in the hope that is Christ Jesus, our Lord!
Linking up with Jenni & Martha Kate for Wednesday's Words!


Monday, September 22, 2014

That Time We Explored Montreal, Canada PT. 1

Y'all, it's so good to be back at Hot Tea and the Empty Seat. I've only been gone for four days but it feels like a lifetime! My husband and I just arrived back at home from a trip to Montreal. We had such a grand time and made so many memories in the short four days that we stayed there. I can't wait to show you all the fun things we did in Canada's second largest city. We fell in love with the NYC-like atmosphere {although it was mounds cleaner}, the gorgeous architect, and the history of Montreal. Plus, we hit up Starbucks everyday. That's always a good trip. I'm currently already missing all of these places..

{my sweet hubby in front of the Notre Dame Basilica!}

{how cool is this building?!}

 {mocha, amazing!}

 {we are all about those cupcakes!}
 {not gonna lie, this was our first stop!}

{amazing buildings!}
{PSL Canadian style, anyone?!}
{this was one of my favorite spots in downtown.. the Notre-Dame Basilica}
In part 2 of our adventure to montreal, you will be seeing more pictures of that amazing place and maybe even a story or two ;) how can you not have stories after renting scooters in a foreign town...
Linking up with Oak & Oats for Week's End & Jenna from A Mama Collective for her Currently Link Up!
Some things you may have missed:
+ Launched the new blog! How do you like it?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Without Words..

Today I'm linking up with a sweet and new friend, Sarah, from 12 Twenty Seven! She has this fun link up every Wednesday where she posts inspiring and encouraging quotes. Check out her blog to see her latest.. It's such a lovely reminder! Enjoy my little reminder today and don't forget to check out my latest testimony on gratitude! 

Our life is made up by all the little choices we make, friends!


Gratitude: Choices In the Dark & Light Places

You jolt out of bed at the horrid sound of your alarm signaling that it's time to get up & get your day started. You realize that you feel as if you didn't even sleep but maybe an hour that night. Ugh. Your coffee pot is not working and you already want to scream. As if things couldn't get any worse, your dog won't quit barking and you can't find any clean pants. Someone cuts you off on the highway and your boss is having one of those days... again. The last thing on your heart is gratitude and it's not even lunch time.

If this has ever been you, no worries friend, because I have been there. Recently, I have washed my husband's church shoe (just one) in the washer and somehow always forget to do the dishes, all the while trying to get out the door by 5 am. You're in good company. I promise. 

Here's the question: When you find yourself in these moments, how is your heart?

How is your heart?

It's so easy for me to be grateful to God when all is sunshine and butterflies in my little world. But when I am hit with bad news, whether it's a beloved family member getting sick or yet another unpaid bill in the mail, my first response isn't to be grateful. Am I the only one?

After my husband and I got married, we were faced with an unexpected trial that tempted to bring us apart. Now while I'm not ready to share all of those details (maybe one day), we had to choose to press into God or turn away from Him. This personal issue in myself has taken me to a dark place but it is only in Christ alone and trusting in His goodness, that I find hope. I must choose to be grateful for the things I have and not focus on what I do not have. 

Gratitude is a choice. 

We can either choose to seek God for answers that we don't have and rest in His greatness and be grateful -or- we can sit distant from God only asking Him why He is doing what He is doing, playing the "woe is me" card, choosing bitterness over gratitude. I've played that hand many times and it only brings me to a point of despair and hopelessness. Just recently have I confessed my hopelessness to God in this trial and have chosen to take Him at His perfect word even when it seems like I am falling apart. Without gratitude, even in tough situations, we will never flourish in this life and with Jesus. 

It takes time and healing from The Lord to be to the point of gratefulness in trial and pain. But that's where The Lord is calling you and me. 

Gratitude is a two-sided coin. We can't only be grateful when things are just peachy. We must choose gratitude in the darkest places. The hopeless places. The places where it seems like all hope is lost. 

Because the truth? In Christ alone, there is always hope. 

And that's something to be grateful for.

"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love is eternal."
 {Psalms 136:1}

Today I am linking up with Madison & Rachel for Community Brew! I am also linking up with Jenni & Martha Kate for Wednesday's Words! Honestly, each of these ladies have been a huge encouragement & light to me in this bloggy world lately. They are all great and I love these link ups!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Welcome to the new & improved Hot Tea and the Empty Seat!

Hey friends! Whether you are new here or an old friend, I am so excited that you are here!

I hope you are enjoying Hot Tea and the Empty Seat's new look. I sure am! A special thanks to the awesome, creative, & kind Bella Lulu Ink for this wonderful blog design & for all of her help! I highly recommend her for all of your website/blog/design needs! She is seriously amazing!
As you can see, I have a total of like 3 posts. Since I switched blogging platforms, I lost all of my past work. BUT! No worries because overtime, I will incorporate former ideas into this new blog!
If you are new here or just need a little reminder of the girl behind the blog, here is a little bit about me!

Name // Katie
Status // Married to an amazing man! We have been married since July 2013 and are extremely in love. I'm not kidding when I say that every time he looks at me, I get butterflies in my stomach! 
Favorites // sweet & creamy coffee, hot tea with a spoonful of honey, Christmas & Autumn seasons, my big family, long hours in the Word, praise music on repeat while I get ready in the mornings, laughing until it hurts, coffee dates with my besties, our sweet puppy Penny, photography, traveling all over this country with my sweet man, & serving with our church family!

The pic above is from Magnolia's in NYC on a surprise birthday trip for me by my amazing hubby! It is definitely one of my favorite trips thus far. Besides that time we went to the Bahamas and got engaged!
Home // Currently, we live in TN. I was born and raised here while my husband was born a northerner ;) We love this city that God has placed us in. We will always be willing to go where He calls whether it be across the big blue or the city over!
Dream Job // I want to write women's devotionals one day. And create pretty stuff. And travel with my better half by my side. And continue in my photography business. And get paid for shopping. Hey, a girls gotta dream.
What I Blog About // I write about my life. Mainly, what God is teaching me & showing me in everyday life. I also write about marriage and life as a newlywed. Sometimes I post fashion and recipes. Oh, and sometimes I write about my sweet puppy. I'm pretty much a big mess of fun!
Favorite Food // Hands down, anything my mema makes. and queso dip! mmmm, queso dip. I love food.
Dreams // I just want to glorify God in everything that I do. I'm not very career driven or focused on success. I know that God cares more about how I love & what I do with what He has given me. My husband and I also want to travel to as many places as we can. So far we have been to the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas, & lots of US. We are talking about our next adventures: Iceland, Morocco, Kenya, Australia. This week we are traveling to Canada & next month is Haiti!
For all of these things, I am so grateful. God has been so graciously generous to me and for that I am eternally grateful for His love!

I hope that you have enjoyed getting to know me a little bit more. Now it's your turn! I want to know more about you. What are some of your dreams & goals?
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Linking up with Ember Grey's Grateful Heart!

The Golden Vlog Link Up #1

Hey y'all! I am so glad that you are here! So, I'm SUPER excited to be linking up with Faith from Mrs. G and the Artist for her very awesome & first edition of The Golden Vlog! It's just a fun way to grow in community with other bloggers & to share with the world who we are & what we do! I hope you enjoy my awkwardness & hope you don't mind my rambling too much! Don't you just love this hilarious thumbnail below?! HA! Oh my...
{check out this link if you aren't able to view that one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4BkuzYWE5Y

I hope you enjoyed it! Now you know a little bit more about me! Hopefully you were able to stick it out until the end! Shew, you must really love me then ;) See y'all on the flip side!
(do people even say that anymore?!)

If we were on a... {coffee date!}

Hey y'all! I'm so happy to be back with Jenna + Jenna today spilling my heart over coffee.. & this here blog! I hope that you all have enjoyed your week, the good & the bad that life brings along. Coffee makes everything better, right? Which is why this Coffee Date Link Up is one of my faves!
If we were having coffee, I would take you to this new and modernly rustic local coffee shop where I live. I would order a venti-sized pumpkin flavored latte with extra cinnamon. I would tell you about all the highs + lows in my life & laugh about this vlog I did last night with some other lovely bloggers...
I would probably let you in on these little not-so-secrets:
+ I'm exhausted. And this blog is getting the bad end of the deal. I'm so thankful for a job but it has totally turned my normal routine & schedule upside down. But, on the bright side.... that just means I am learning to be more organized. And that will be good for me.
+ Oh, I would get excited & tell you about how I am in the process of revamping my entire blog & I would show you pictures of the amazing blog design I am waiting for.. did someone say coral and teal? Eeee! {this is it yall!}
+ After asking how your week has been, I would tell you in a high pitched tone that my mom, brother, & sister are coming into town for the day & I am SO excited to see them after two weeks of being here at home. We're going to eat lots of food and try not to spend so much $$ at Target.
+ My hubby & I are going to Canada next week for a mini-getaway and I would ask you... have you ever been to Canada?! Montreal to be exact. I hear they have maple syrup & tons of resturants, ay!
+ Last but certainly not least, I would tell you that God is good. And faithful. Oh, and trustworthy. He has given me strength when I thought I couldn't go on. He has given me peace when my mind has been in some bad places. He has given me joy in trials. I would pray with & for you and ask if we can get a refill on those lattes?!?!
How have you been, lately? And what would you let me in on if we were having coffee right now?! You are loved, lady!
Also linking up with: