Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Note for You

I've been participating in the Blog-tember challenge hosted by Bailey Jean this month. Although I didn't do every single day, I am happy with the outcome. I have made many new friends, one of which I found out lives down the street! It wouldn't of been possible had it not been for Blog-tember.
Blogging is a funny thing. People on the outside don't understand it but on the inside, you can find Christ-like, genuine, encouraging friends to actually live life with. It's crazy cool!
For my farewell post, I want to share what God has been teaching me. I so wish that we could be sitting across a table from one another, coffee in hand. I would be the typical girl and order a pumpkin spice because I just can't pass up the opportunity ;)
Last week, I was in the hospital. I contracted some sort of virus while on vacation in Cali. I was super sick. During my short stay, I prayed nearly the entire time. "God, help me. Please help me. Please keep the baby safe and healthy."
I am finally feeling better, thank God, after almost two weeks. Now that I am back to normal, I've been thinking a lot about my prayer life with God. My husband came back from a men's retreat last month with our church and their focus was on prayer as well. We also studied prayer in our church's youth group where Joe and I serve. And there is a simulcast this Saturday on prayer at our church. I really believe God is trying to get through to us about prayer. But in the most loving way. You see, I realized that 99% of all of my prayers are me seeking the hand of God. Not that that is wrong but it's all I do. Yes, being dependent on God is what He desires from His children, that wasn't the problem, I was too focused on His hand instead of His heart.
I was challenged by the Holy Spirit to really seek God. To learn what that looks like. To practice it. To make it a habit (not as a chore but because that's what my God delights in and I delight in Him). To seek His face, get to know Him better, to love Him more. A lot of the time I tell God that I want to know Him better yet when I pray, all I do is ask for things from Him. Or when I read my Bible, I do it seeking what I can get out of it for my own personal gain. Sinful. My intentions are "good" but my heart is prone to selfishness and failure.
Two nights ago, I couldn't sleep so I just laid there talking to God. Asking Him questions. Praising Him for His goodness and His amazing love. I sang worship songs in my head to Him, really meaning and thinking on the lyrics. I was enjoying His presence. I brought along no strings.
The next morning, my husband asked me to wake up with him and make my famous griddle pumpkin pancakes (they're totally layered in butter). He brewed some coffee and we sat down. He opened up his Bible and we turned to Psalm 63... (MUST read)
"O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
Because your love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
when I remember you upon my bed
and meditate on you within the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me."
And we prayed. We thanked God for His power and glory, His love. We praised Him. We thanked Him. We let scripture be our guide. We told God of our dependence on Him. We laid our lives at His feet. We worshipped Him.
So, I challenge you. I challenge you to seek the face of God. Ask God for help in moving past the "need-based prayers" and onto the "worship-based prayers". Let scripture be your guide in your prayer life. It's freeing, it's amazing, and it really does bring you into the heart and warmth of God.

Monday, September 28, 2015

A Day in the Life // Sept. 28th

Monday, Sept. 28: A day in the life. Take us through it with you.
My life is so glamorous that sometimes, I don't even need to get out of my PJs. ;) Today is one of those days. I was sick and in the hospital last week so the house was left to fend for itself for a week. Today, an overcast Monday, I clean clean clean. Normally, though, it looks a little like this....
Around 7, Joe kisses me goodbye and he is off to work. Before being preggo, I would normally wake up with him and make him breakfast but now, I sleep in until around 9. Because one day sleeping in will be a thing of the past so I am enjoying it while I can!
I get up, let Penny outside to play, and start some breakfast. If I have energy, it's bacon and eggs but normally it's a quick fruit smoothie and some granola. Before starting my quiet time, I like to start a load of laundry and the dishes. Otherwise, I won't do it, hehe. Then I start on my quiet time/bible study. Right now, I'm going through She Reads Truth's Women of the Word: OT study and I'm about to start a book called "Idol Lies" with some ladies from church.
Then, I do any blogging stuff or photography editing for about an hour. I would probably have another meal... I love food... and then vacuum or something around the house while I decide what to do for dinner. I always have the best intentions of making a home cooked meal but sometimes we are so busy during the afternoons that we end up eating out in town. Starting this week, though, it is dinner at home. I'm excited for all the yummy fall comfort food!  
One thing I love about my life right now, is that my hubby comes home around 2 (sometimes 5) everyday and we always have the most fun. On everyday of the week besides Wednesdays (youth group!), we go downtown or to the park or we go on a hike or shop around town. We always do things that involve food and fun. I love marriage with this guy! He is the best.
Once the baby comes, things may be a little different but we are still going to enjoy life as a party of 4 (can't forget Penny!). I won't get to sleep in or sit at a coffee shop for an hour, but I will still be around the ones I love most! All while serving a good and awesome God.
And that is, in my opinion, the good life.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Coffee Date Link Up // September

Somehow, September is almost over. That is crazy to me! But I am excited to get this month over with because next month is where it's at for us. From finding out the sex of our baby to lots of fall adventures and parties, I am beyond ready to get settled into October.
I haven't blogged in a while for two reasons... 1- I was on vacation in California. 2- I got a HORRIBLE virus from Cali that is still lingering. I was in the hospital for two days and let's just say, I don't wish it upon anyone, ever. I'm thankful that I am hopefully almost healed up. 
If we were having coffee on this rainy morning, I would order a pumpkin spice latte and be so excited to finally be able to get out of the house. I would tell you how much fun writing for Blog-tember has been.  I would mention how I shot a lovely wedding at the beginning of the month... which so happened to be the same venue where Joe + I said "I Do!" over two years ago! Here is one of my favorite shots from their wedding...
Then I would show you the cutest little photos of the cutest little clients I took photos of at a creek early one Saturday morning. Oh, and I would beeeeg you to schedule a fall shoot because all the profit I make in October and November is going straight to our missionary friends in Haiti to further their ministry there. They moved out of the orphanage and into a home turned transition home for the young Haitian adults they so dearly love. I would show you their sweet faces and tell you how much we miss Haiti.
Then, of course, I would tell you how nice our first trip ever to Cali was. The weather was perfect. We made a trip to the San Diego zoo, lazily relaxed by the ocean and got super burnt, and then ate at a lovely beach-side fancy restaurant late one night. We shopped until we dropped and just enjoyed each other and being sea-side. And then I would grumble about how the plane or something in Cali gave me the worst sickness I could imagine and how I'm never going to ride on a plane again while pregnant. ;)
And that is our September in a nutshell! How did your September go? I hope it was a great one! Here's to cooler weather, cozy blankets, pumpkin patches by day, & bonfires by night. Happy fall!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Latest Loves // Sept. 17th

Thursday, Sept. 17: Just for fun, your latest obsession. What can you not get enough of these days?
While I wouldn't call it an obsession, here are a few things that I have been into lately... can you tell I love this season?
anything pregnancy-related
anything cozy
anything plaid
anything pumpkin (especially this homemade PSL creamer)
anything gender reveal party related
anything fall related

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

real life vs. what you see // Sept. 16th

Wednesday, September 16: The real you vs. the online you. Are they the same or different?
Last night, I was in bed with my husband SOBBING uncontrollably about how I don't drink enough water and how the baby is probably wishing it had more water and how terrible of a mom I already am even though the baby is still in my womb. My husband tried cracking jokes to help me feel better. There was snot everywhere especially on him and on my shirt and drool hung from the pillow. Do you think I'm going to take a lovely, crisp photo of that and post it online? Not a chance.

(a blurry photo of a wonderful dinner with my husband and the mosquitos)
I really hope to be the same person online as I am in real life. But the truth is, I'm so imperfect. Yes, I really do have a strong desire to follow Jesus and I do. But some days I don't have a desire to read my Bible, I say the word "freakin'" way too much, and I don't take photos of our house for facebook or pinterest because half the time, the dishes are piling up and there are dog-hair-dust-bunnies lingering on the floor. It's life. And I love it. It's beauty that I can't fit into a photo to post online.
(I stay in my PJs until about an hour before my husband comes home from work and sometimes I don't bother changing)
It's from sinful hearts wishing for the approval of people that we post flawless selfies, perfectly decorated living spaces with the perfect wall gallery. We see white spaces with a plant and a cup of coffee in a perfect anthro mug, a short crisp to-do list, a manicured hand writing out a lovely watercolor script perfectly, while our spaces (aka- the kitchen table) are cluttered with plates from dinner last night, books upon books, and some crumbs here and there.
(how classy is ugly mismatched chairs? Plus I just cleaned yesterday.)
 It could be because I could never keep a manicure but whatevs, I just think that there is more to a photo than what is being perceived. I wish that we could share more cluttered photos, more real life photos and be content with it. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE photos. I mean, my job is to be a photographer. Naturally, I love posting photos to facebook so that my family can see what we are up to. We are two hours away and we now have a baby bump. It's kinda just going to happen that you get so many photos. But I must constantly remind myself that I'm not here to seek the approval of man but to build others up for Christ. We must be real in order to reach people.
(this is what I normally look like on a daily basis. my hair hates me.)
I love this blog. I try to keep it real and I think I do a good job at that. But there are some things that I will never share that I do share in real life because that's just how I want it to be. But you will never see me trying to be someone I'm not, trying to write words that I don't believe in, or sharing things just to look good. And I hope you can see that and walk away knowing that your whole imperfect life is treasured in God's eyes and you are loved more than the sand on the ocean. And that it's okay not to have perfect photos.. as long as you are thankful for those who do make your life a little more beautiful than normal.


Monday, September 14, 2015

My Season + Words that Shape Me

Hey y'all! Since I don't blog on the weekends, unless it's been scheduled, I wanted to add in yesterday's blog-tember prompt since I thought the idea was SO creative! This season of life that I am in now is so special and dear to me so I love that we are able to capture it in this way.
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1. My husband and I are both youth leaders. We both lead middle school aged kids. I have an awesome girls group and he has a great boys group. I love that every Wednesday night we get to spend time worshipping and growing in the Word together. And having lots of fun + laughs.
2. This pregnancy season is flying by! Now that I'm not sick all of the time, I can really savor each moment. We love going to each doctor's appointments and hearing the sweet baby's heartbeat.
3. I have baby on the brain 50% of my day. I'm always making lists of what needs to be done, what we need to do or get before baby gets here, etc. It's exciting but I know that it will be even better in three weeks when we find out if baby is a boy or a girl!
4. Date nights. I love them! Joe and I have been married for two years and a few months now and we go on date nights every week. I don't think this season of life will ever end but with it being just him and me and our puppy, we are savoring each date night we can before baby comes! I'm so excited to go on all of the fun fall-related dates this season!
5. I have been blessed to be able to stay at home since we have been married. I have a photography business now which is great because I can set my own hours and what not. It's such an awesome thing! I'll be trading in the stay at home wife title for a SAHM title in just five short months and I couldn't be more excited! Although, I'm not gonna lie... it's scary!
5 Books That Have Shaped Me:
- God's Word >> God's Word is living and is the true words from God, the only book containing truth. I have been grateful to have a Bible since I could remember and while I have never always cherished it like I should, it is the single most important thing in my life that has shaped me into who I am. That's because God uses it to change us. And it constantly changes me every time I open it.
- Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman - This book was an easy read and a great reminder of what it means to be a Christian. Christians follow Jesus. Not their own way. They lay their life down for Him, they're dead and Christ is alive in them. Being a fan of Jesus isn't enough.
- Radical by David Platt - This book changed so much about the way I lived and my heart. This book also gave me the courage and the dream to be a missionary one day overseas. Who knows if that is really what God wants for us but after reading this, you'll be ready to go.
- Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper - I need to read this one again. I remember highlighting the entire thing. It's an amazing book. One thing that really stuck out was that he talked about how pointless television can be and that really shaped my thinking because I believe it's true. How satan uses worldly things to distract us from our purpose on earth. It's a must read.
- Seven by Jen Hatmaker - While I don't agree with everything she does (she's imperfect just like me), this book really helped me realize that stuff is simply that: stuff. And having too much is pointless. Actually, it's hurting. I love donating or throwing stuff away and this book helped me to organize my thoughts and my house! I also walked away with a greater understanding on what fair trade is and what it isn't.
And there you have it! My season plus some words that have impacted me the most. What are a few of your favorite books? Have you ever read any of these and what did you think about them?

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Currently! // Sept. 12th

How is it September 12th already?! Today's prompt is what we are up to currently! I think this is my favorite currently list I've ever made! 

Reading... in my new ESV journaling bible! 

Playing... vertical church band on repeat 
Watching... random movies after dinner with the hubs
Trying...  out advertising on my blog for the first time!
Cooking... this delicious homemade pumpkin spice creamer recipe
Doing today... shooting a wedding today! 

Eating... lots of yummy crock-pot dinner lately 
Drinking... coffee made with my homemade psl ;)
Pinning... Everything baby related! 
Going... to Cali + another beach oh so soon! 
Loving... everything autumn 

Hating... not having alot of energy somedays
Discovering... how easy it is to organize my home (I'm a procrastinator!)
Thinking... about how awesome my husband is + that new baby arriving in Feb.! 
Feeling... better each and everyday. thank you, second trimester!
Hoping (for)... Fall weather to get here ASAP

Celebrating... our gender reveal next month!!
Smelling... the pumpkin bliss candle on my kitchen table 
Ordering... camping gear! shoes, hammocks, you name it!

Thanking... God for His amazing grace and love!!!

Deciding... on baby names! i think we definitely have a boy name that we LOVE
Starting... our yearly budget back up after about a year off, so excited! 
Anticipating... last vacations, Fall, Christmas, all the baby-related parties, & finding out if baby K is a girl or boy! 

What are YOU up to currently?

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer

It's that time of the year. The stores have rows and rows of autumn and Christmas d├ęcor,  the weather is hopefully getting cooler by the day, and the beloved pumpkin lattes have officially hit the coffee shops. As much as I love grabbing a pumpkin latte to go, the cost can really add up! Especially if you love getting them more than twice a week. I may or may not have a problem. Even in the morning just after waking up and making my coffee, I always wish I had a psl!
My husband and I created our yearly budget a few nights ago and we really desire to use our money wisely. And as much as I love my coffee, I just cannot justify spending $10 a week (approx. two large pumpkin lattes a week). That adds up to $520 a year. I could buy a new lens for my camera for that much! So, I decided to make my own delicious coffee creamer. And I'm pretty much hooked! I want to share that recipe with you. Like everything else I create in my kitchen, it's quick and easy and here's the real kicker...
there is real pumpkin in it!
- 4 Tbs. Pumpkin
- 1 1/2 Cup Milk (I used 2%)
- 14 oz. sweet condensed milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
4 Tbs. brown sugar (for sweetener)
Pour all ingredients into a blender and mix on high (I used the liquefy setting) for one minute.
Pour into container with lid of your choice, add to coffee and most importantly, enjoy! This creamer stays good for two weeks!
I didn't even need to add sugar to my coffee after adding my homemade coffee creamer! Also, I would suggest using a breakfast blend or something lighter so you can enjoy all elements of this pumpkin goodness without the boldness of the coffee completely overpowering it. This would also be a perfect iced coffee recipe. Just cool your coffee, add this creamer, add some ice cubes and enjoy!

Bucketlist // Sept. 10th

Thursday, Sept. 10: 10 items off your bucket list. If you haven't made one, now's a good time to start!
Today, I am linking up again with Bailey Jean for Blog-tember. I skipped yesterday because I was SO busy! This one was fun + I can't wait to see what all of you have written about.
Here are the top ten items on my bucket list:
1. Visit Australia
2. Visit Iceland
3. Visit New Zealand
4. Have a Baby +2 or 3  
5. Open up a creative online shop
6. Build our dream home on a big plot of land
7. Learn a new language and become fluent in it
8. Write a book or two
9. Run a ton of marathons and be in really good shape overall
10. Learn how to sew quilts + can foods
I feel like all of my goals are pretty attainable! And thankfully, I am in the process of crossing #4 off my list since I'm pregnant. Almost halfway there, haha!
What is on  your bucketlist? Did you do anything memorable this summer?

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Bloggers on Marriage!

Hey y'all! Today, I am over at Faith's blog talking about all things marriage.
 I would love it if you could stop by and check it out! While you're there, check out Faith's blog if you haven't already. She is a gem in this big blogging world! xoxo

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Tis the Season! // Sept. 8th

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Today's prompt is about our favorite season! I adore all things autumn & winter.
I adore autumn because of Thanksgiving, the perfect weather, and the fashion... and winter because of CHRISTMAS!
Instead of posting photos of my favorite fall fashion again or some pretty prints, I'm going to #throwbacktuesday and photo dump past Christmas photos!
and by December 2016, we will have a new addition to our sweet little family!
here's to another amazing season!
What is your favorite season?

Monday, September 7, 2015

Meaning Behind the Name // Sept. 7th

Monday, Sept. 7: Tell us about your blog name. Where did it come from?

One day in my favorite little coffee shop as I stared at the empty seat in front of me, something deep inside spoke to me.

 It was no loud banter. Just a quiet still voice. Immanuel. God with me. In me. Right now. All the time.

Through the mundane and the exciting, the highs and the lows. He, my Savior and Comforter, my friend and Provider, Jesus, King of Kings longs for me to enjoy, talk, and experience life with Him through it all. He is with me everyday sitting across from me in that empty seat at this coffee shop as I sip my piping hot African Sunset Red Tea.

He is there with you when your kids won't stop crying. He is with you at the office when you feel like you can’t get anything done. He is with you while you’re in the lunch room or in the lab. He is with you as you cry on your bed because your significant other left you. He is with you while you study in the library.

He is with you in that hospital room. He is with you in the passenger seat as you’re driving home from a college you feel so alone at. He is here.
And He is ready for a relationship. A close, never-leave-My-side, I'll-be-with-you-always relationship. Do we pay Him any notice? Do we really go through our daily life with a constant reminder that God is there with us, in us?

So as I sat, staring at that empty seat, His presence washed over me and it was as if I could almost see Him smiling at me. His ever-loving eyes piercing my soul… And He stretches out His hand. What am I daily doing with Him? Do I invite Him to sit with me, chat for hours and tell Him all about my troubles, fears, excitement?

Or do I ignore Him and finish reading my emails.. eat.. and leave? But even if that were the case, the next day when I arrive to enjoy my favorite tea, He is there.. In that empty seat.

My prayer for you and I is that we recognize, accept, and interact with Jesus on a daily basis and enjoy life in deep and close fellowship with Him. This is what He desires. It’s all about a relationship. I desire to encourage, equip, & empower you to daily live life with Jesus, who is our Guider, Deliverer, Teacher, & Savior!
And that is how Hot Tea and the Empty Seat came to be!
I hope that this space encourages you, draws you closer to Him, and gives you comfort that Jesus is with you wherever you go!
Not only do I share my heart of Jesus here, but this is my own little slice of life. I write about things I love, things on my heart, and things that I think will encourage you. Writing has always been a passion of mine and it's such a stress-reliever. I love it!



Sunday, September 6, 2015

Fall Fashion // Sept. 6th

I've always had a thing for fashion + style. I was the girl rockin' the gold glittery jeans in 2nd grace and in 4th grade, I was rockin' the red leather jeans before they were cool. I used to watch America's Next Top Model and Project Runway in middle school and my favorite time of the year used to be school clothes shopping day! If I could still fit into those gold glittery jeans, I would totally be wearing them right now. Since fall and winter are my favorite times of the year, here is a little showcase of my favorite fashion pieces for Blog-tember. Happy fall, y'all!
falll fashion

falll fashion by kkashner 

What are your favorite fall looks? 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Good for the Soul // Sept. 5th

Saturday, Sept. 5: Put your iTunes/music player on shuffle and share the first 10 songs that play.

If you want to be encouraged, just listen to these songs. They light up my soul. Seriously, you need to listen.  You're welcome ;) The ones that are starred are my favorites!