Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Birthdays and Big Decisions...

Well,friends, I turned a year older last week. I promised myself growing up that i would not be one of THOSE people not telling my age and always fretting about getting older, but I must say, i am tempted not to post the number! But, since my momma put up a birthday post and mentioned the year, i guess i am obliged to share before you start counting on your fingers: I am the ripe old age of 2-6!

We have had alot of big decisions on the table lately and birthday kinda took a back seat to it all this year. Joe has been offered a HUGE promotion (more details later when all the "legal" goes through, but so very proud of him!) but the catch: it's in Wisconsin (guess it's time to invest in a good snow-blower!). SO, after much prayer and looooong consideration (ok,so it wasn't THAT long), we are headed north...again! God sent the Children of Israel to the promised land, a land " flowing with milk and honey"...well, we are headed to a land filled with milk and dairy! (Sorry , bad punn, but i had to do it!)

It's a wonderful opportunity and we feel like this is where we are supposed to be at this point in life, but it is still bittersweet. We have not even hit the one year marker here in Pennsylvania and were really starting to settle in and love it here. Trusting that God has great things in store for us and that we will be blessed for our obedience and willingness to be flexible (although i secretly dream of a day when "flexible" does not mean being willing to move at a moment's notice and your skills on the matter are not tested yearly!).

So, as you can imagine, life has been a little bit of a roller coaster the past few weeks. We still don't have all of the answers to the "detail" questions, (things like when we will go, how much he will make, MINOR things, you know!) but we hope to have a better idea soon.

A friend asked me "How do YOU feel about moving?" Well, I love my man, and i knew that this was part of the deal when I married him. At this point in his career, to say "no" to a move like this would mean you would not be asked or offered again. I have to think back to a year ago when we were told we were moving to PA and my sweet friend Christy said, "Katy, you can dig in your heels and pout, or you can embrace it and make the best of it, but either way, YOU'RE GOING!" That wise piece of advice, harsh as it may have sounded at the time, keeps playing in the back of my mind.

I have to admit, I have really had to lean on God and search my heart on this one and not play the poor-little-me card! My job right now is to back my man and be his support system at home...he NEEDS me, and I know that it means the world to him that i am practicing my "flexible" muscles and choosing to have a happy heart. I know that should the tables ever turn, he would do the same for me!

We are a team.... our team just happens to be relocating home base to Wisconsin soon!

So, please pray for us. If you want to know specifically HOW to be praying, here is a list:
-Pray for clear guidance and direction every step of the way.
-Pray that we would have a smooth and easy transition to Wisconsin (and should we have children there, that they would not come out being Packers fans and saying things like "doncha know!").
-Pray that God would go before us and prepare a place for us; that we would find a good church and new, sweet friends as soon as we get there.
-Pray for peace as our lives are uprooted once again, that we would not turn on each other in frustration or anger, but lean and rely on each other and that our bond would be stronger than ever.
-Pray that Joe would continue to find favor and be blessed at his job, that he would learn everything he needs to in order to succeed at this new position.
-Pray that we would find a house with a fireplace and heated floors so we don't freeze our little bums off! ( And I'm only slightly kidding on this one!)
-Pray that God would continue to provide... my last day at Starbucks will be the last day of February in order to get the ball rolling on all the preparations that have to be made for a move like this (which i am becoming surprisingly good at...surely this should count as a marketable skill!)

The song that keeps running through my mind is by Steven Curtis Chapman. It says:


Proverbs 3:5 says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." I love how the Message words it " Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure everything out on your own. Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he's the one who will keep you on track. Don't assume you know it all. RUN to God!"

Trusting and Leaning,
Joe and Katy

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Merry Tex-mas Y'all!...

Yes, Christmas has come and gone, but I am just now blogging about it, so hang in there with me!

This year, my momma and I had great plans...we would do Christmas up right and go to NYC like we have always wanted to! We had dates set for her to fly up here, time taken off of work, Broadway tickets bought and hotels secured. Then, on Thanksgiving, Joe's family called and said his grandpa was very sick and could we please come down and spend a little time with him. Joe looked at me, wanting to go to Texas so badly, but not wanting to break my heart after how excited i was to go to NYC for Christmas, but I told him not to worry, I would call my mom and we would figure everything out and make Texas happen. Thankfully, (only God can do something like this) we were able to get all of our money refunded for EVERYTHING in NYC and saved that trip in the back of our minds for another time.

Off to Texas we went...make that DROVE! 26 hours there to be exact, and 34 coming back. To you, this may sound nauseating, but to me, it was three solid days of alone time with my sweet man and i couldn't wait! We loaded all of our favorite Christmas songs onto the ipod and even a few marriage and family pod-casts from James MacDonald (Joe's idea), dropped the dog off at "puppy camp"( what i call the kennel so i don't get sad), packed up the car with luggage and presents and a cooler full of snacks and energy drinks and we were off into the night! We drove straight through, only stopping in Memphis to see sweet friends Natalie and Jacqui for a few hours and we were back on the road again.

We drove through Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, and finally, the motherland, some may refer to it as God's country...TEXAS!!!!!

There really is just no place like home. We pulled into town about 1 am on Monday morning, tired and ragged form a long drive, but so happy to see my mom I could just spit! (Don't ask me why we say this in my family- i have no idea...we just do! ) We got to see all the work she did on the house and it looked AMAZING! So proud of you momma- and Dave would be too! She got new windows, doors, paint throughout the inside and out, new knobs, switches...anything you can think of and it looks awesome! Great job! We had to laugh when we got mom is the typical type-A who plans everything for everyone. There was a huge calendar on the table with all of our dates and times of Christmas activities and get-togethers...she had even called Joe's mom and gotten all of their dates and times so we would have a master list of everything going on that week! Thanks mom, you keep us very organized and prompt! :)

Enjoy the pictures from our trip...(kicking myself for not getting more with Joe's mom's side of the family.)

Christmas is in full swing at Starbucks! ( We get GREAT tips when we dress up! )

WE got to meet up in Waco with one of my mom's dearest friends, Patty R (i would be severely scolded if i said oldest friend!). Patty's kids grew up with us in Waco... we haven't seen them in YEARS, but so fun to catch up and feel like you picked up right where you left off! Sarah(who writes this blog), Nathan, Ava ( whose mommy Autumn writes this blog I LOVE), and sweet baby Nolan

The whole gang! ( Hey, Joe, i think i look pretty good holding a baby! *wink, wink*)

Aunt R came along too...we had such a great time! (BEFORE)

...and the AFTER. I call this one " Blackmail!"

THe sweetest, most polite little girl you have ever seen. THis was their "signal" so that when mommy was talking, Ava was able to get her attention without interrupting...i think she is 4 going on 14!
Patty and sweet Ava at Starbucks...she loves her "Baba"

Then, it worked out that we got to have breakfast with my sweet friend Lisa and her hubby Jerry, who was a hoot! (Not that you needed it, but we approve, Lis, he's a keeper for sure!). Lisa writes another great blog I follow called the Casting Dock.)

Natalie and Jacqui joined too.... no trip to Texas is ever complete without visiting the Monument in Georgetown, Texas at least once....mmm, peppered bacon! :)

I got to take Meg shopping and out to dessert one night.... Meg was my flower girl in my wedding only three years ago and here she is looking like a beautiful young lady! Time flies!

We went to Mozart's, a little coffee shop in Austin down on the lake and they had a light show that played to the music, and of course at the end of the music, they had to play the University of Texas fight song! Go UT!

Joe and his sister E

Me and Joe at the lights

This is a dear friend from middle/high school, Bethany and her sweet hubby, Emmanuel, who is a youth pastor in southern Texas. This was our first time to meet Emmanuel and their first time to meet Joe!

All the girls back together again.... I felt like we time-warped back to middle school! Sweet girls who will be friends for life.

We always have to take pictures on Christmas Eve by mom's tree.

I had to bend down...I was too tall with my heels on for her!:)

Tradition is, every Christmas Eve, we go to my Aunt R and Uncle M's house for the great "Meat Meal"...a whole meal of meat, and we don't even bother with sides. This year, we had six pounds of king crab legs, (RIP captain phil...anybody ever watch deadliest catch? now i feel guilty every time i eat crab!) three pounds of fried shrimp, and t-bones the size of your plate for everyone.... everything's bigger in Texas, Y'all!
A picture of our fearless flashlight grillers!

The designated Shrimp-cooker

We should have taken a picture of all the meat! It was amazing!
Aunt R and Uncle M

Three generations of handsome "Steins."

Joe's dad's side of the family

We got to see my brother, C, and his girlfriend (who we fondly refer to as "Jo2") before they went to her family's Christmas in Mississippi

It was so good to see family again. You really start to crave family when you live so far away, especially over the holidays, so it was wonderful to see everyone and even get to have a few meetings with sweet friends too! I feel so recharged....Glad we got to go...NYC will always be there, but this was JUST what we needed this year! ( And PS: my momma STILL would have been snowed-in in the airport in NYC, bless her heart! See, it just wasn't our time!)

Although I don't think we will be making that loooooong drive again anytime soon, it was so nice to get away and detach from our crazy lives for a week and reconnect with ourselves and each other. Thanking God for the wonderful friends and family He has surrounded us with.

Hoping you had a wonderful holiday with family and friends, enough laughter to hurt your cheeks, enough love to fill the room and enough joy to warm your heart. Merry Christmas, er, TEX-MAS, Yall!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Christmas Card 2010

Oh my what a year it has been for the Two Steins From Texas! In February, we packed up and moved with Joe's job from a tiny town in central Missouri (we're talking all they have is a Wal-Mart) to a bigger town in Southern Pennsylvania(they have a Target, hallelujah!). We arrived to our new little townhome we purchased with great hopes and dreams, in awe of the new scenery and the mountains that surround us. Less than a week into our stay, we experienced two back-to-back blizzards which produced the most snow Pennsylvania had seen in over 30 years. With everything we owned packed up in boxes piled to the ceilings, we did not know where boots, coats, or snow shovels were.... so that's how we met the neighbors! They had to come and help shovel us out!

Joseph was on the team that was in charge of the $135 million dollar expansion at his plant. He worked loooooong hours, nights, weekends, and everything in between to help keep everything on track and on budget. A few weeks ago, he gave me a highly classified tour of the new plant expansion and I was AMAZED! You cannot even imagine the size of this thing! Its almost 300,000 square feet! They have seven new milk silos to hold the milk that is received in by the truckload...each silo holds 40,000 gallons of milk! To put it in perspective, how massive it is, he lost ten pounds in a week just from walking all over the plant! He is doing a great job and continues to be recognized for his leadership skills as well as hard-working attitude and character... Good job Joe!

I unpacked and decorated, and started to settle into a new place. We found a church and great friends, which always helps. We bought a brand new townhome, which we quickly learned, is much like living in an apartment... you hear everybody's business through the walls and privacy is a thing of the past! But, we were very thankful to have a new home with a one year warranty that came in VERY handy on more than one occasion ( more on that later). It was nice to have a new home here and not another fixer-upper like we did in Missouri. Joe's job kept him very busy, so we were happy to have a house that did not have any necessary repairs and very low maintenance as far as the yard, trees, leaves, snow removal, etc. ( DID YOU KNOW: in PA, we have a city ordinance that states you have 12 hours to clear the sidewalk in front of your house, and should you fail to do so in the alotted time-frame, you will be fined! YIKES!)

We had the garage sale of the century, getting rid of everything that would not fit in our house (we do not have the luxury of a 2-car garage or a basement here like we did in Missouri!) and made quite a but of money. Our new motto: less is more! I had a few minor spills (never having a house with stairs before proved to be tricky for me!). I busted my tailbone around March and got to sit on a do-nut (ahem, "invalid ring") for about six weeks. The bruises were so bad, the doctor made poor Joe leave the room and asked me if I wanted to tell here what REALLY happened. :) I also hurt my neck carrying 60-80 lb bags of mulch across the yard because Joe was gone and I wanted to get my garden/ flower beds finished NOW! I bounced around from part time jobs, worked at my gym for awhile, worked at the Christian bookstore for a little bit, and now, I am working at the wonderful world of Starbucks ( where I slipped on wet floors where no one put a sign out to say "be careful," busted my wrist, and had to go to the ER, followed by a brace, a sling, and ongoing physical therapy!) for something to do to get me out of the house while Joe is gone so much! Needless to say, hoping 2011 will be injury free! :)

Tex, the dog, turned two this October (and yes, I am aware how pathetic this sounds giving you updates on my dog...proof positive that we NEED a baby soon! Over Christmas, my sweet sister-in-law said, "OK, I love Tex, but I'm tired of buying for a dog- it's getting lame and I'm ready to start buying all the cute baby clothes!" Me too, Anna, me too!). Tex has fenced yard where he loves to play and has a few doggy friends in the neighborhood that we make play dates with. There is an ice cream place in town where they will give you a doggy sundae if you bring your pup...he LOVES it there! Tex tolerates anything for a treat...he even lets me dress him up for the Christmas card...what a good sport! He almost lost his life about a month ago when the formerly well-behaved dog who never destroyed a thing in his life ate my favorite pair of heels and a one foot square section of our brand new carpet in a two week time period. He understands that he is lucky to be alive!

Looking forward to what God has for us in 2011... we have many big changes coming up that we will share soon! Wishing you a very happy holiday season and the best of His blessings in the new year!

Merry Christmas from the "Steins", Joe, Katy,................
and Tex the dog :)

The Sweetest Kind of Words...

Ever heard of the book, Five Love Languages? You can be any combination of acts of service, quality time, words of affirmation, physical touch, or gifts. When properly applied, your specific love language can fill your "love tank." If you have not read the Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman, you should pick up a copy...I feel that it was a life-changing book for me. You not only learn your OWN love language, but also start to make a game of identifying how others around you best feel loved. I like to re-read through this book every once in awhile and I always seem to glean new tidbits I never caught before.

My two are definitely, without a doubt, quality time and words of affirmation. When I spend TIME with Joe, I feel loved, and when I hear him saying encouraging things( even if he just notices that i did laundry that day and says thank you), my tank is filled even further.

Well, this week, I sat down and opened all the mail from the last week and a half that had piled up while we were in Texas (more posts on our visit soon to come). I had my cup of hot tea (Tazo, I'm sure) and sat in front of my pile and smiled. This is my favorite part of the Christmas season. Seeing other people's cards and pictures of their families makes me so happy. So, every year, i save the cards until i have a big batch and then i sit down with them and just smile and read them over and over again. It's so comforting when you are so far away- it makes me feel honored that I made their lists and they remembered us, and happy that I can share in a yearly snapshot of their lives.

I came to one small, very plain envelope from an address that I did not recognize and it simply said my name. Puzzled, I set it aside and saved it for last...chances are, it was probably a bill or something from Compassion International, Joyce Meyer, or Save the Children (all of which seem to follow me wherever we move! All good causes, but they send LOTS of mail my way! you understand...).

I opened the little white card after I was done with all the other ones, and much to my surprise, it was a letter to ME from Joe's plant manager at work. Now I was really intrigued!

The letter read:

"Dear Katy (it was even spelled right!),
Here at "xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx" (Joe's place of employment), we spend alot of time recognizing partners for their hard work and dedication. I know, however, that there are VIP'S at home that have even more of an impact and influence than those here at the plant. I want to recognize you for your patience, support, and flexibility during the past several months. I know you know this, but Joe is a very special guy individually, but with you by his side, you become a team that makes us #1! Thanks for all you do behind the scenes!

Happy Holidays,

And then the tears came! I read and re-read the letter several times and my heart was so full. Being a wife to a husband who is on the "fast-track," so to speak, means I have to lay down and sacrifice a lot and be willing to move at a moment's notice across the country to a new place full of unknowns. I always know it means alot to my Joe that he has a support system at home, but to hear it from someone else meant the world. Those words blessed my heart so much, I cannot even tell you!

The Bible talks over and over about how powerful our words are. James 3:10 says, "Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be." Choose to bless with your words today and think how much simple words or even a "thank you" could mean to someone around you!

The sweetest kind of words are the ones that come from the heart.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


November 3, 2007. The single best day of my life. The day, I married my best friend, my sweet man, Joe.

I love you Joseph "Stein"... you are a great companion on the road of life and i wouldn't want to share it with anyone else! Thank you for three wonderful years...looking forward to many, many more!!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Early Anniversary Getaway...

Our third anniversary is coming up in November! Wow, how time flies! Joe's weekends off are extremely limited, and I knew that should I get the job at Starbucks, (which I DID!) weekends off would be a luxury of the past. So, two weekends ago, my Joe took off Friday and we planned a very spur-of-the-moment trip to Niagara Falls. Thanks to all of Joe's travelling, we had racked up enough hotel points to stay in a very nice hotel with a great view and a HUGE whirlpool tub in the suite for FREE.... it was awesome!

We only stayed two days/one night, but we had a wonderful time and I was so glad we took a weekend to ourselves to be together and just breathe! It was much-needed! If you have not been to Niagara Falls, DO IT! One of the most amazing, awe- inspiring things I have ever seen!

My personal recommendations: 1) if you have your passport, stay on the Ontario, Canada side. It's much nicer with more to do and see and better views of the Falls... the US side is a little sketchy, which is sad 2) Ride the Maid of the Mist Boat that takes you into the mist at the bottom of the Falls. I was not thrilled about this at first, (Joe really wanted to do it) but it was the highlight of the trip 3) if you go in October, dress WARM, do not wear flipflops, and be prepared to get SOAKED (even with your complimentary poncho on)!

Here are some pics from our weekend!

We drove through Pennsylvania and upstate New York and the colors were amazing...i felt like I had never seen fall before! All this time, this is what i was missing!

The drive was so beautiful...a perfect day!

Passports ready to go into Canada

Entering Ontario at sunset

Dinner at an excellent steak and seafood restaurant downtown called "The Keg." It was on the ninth floor of one of the hotels and had an amazing view of the Falls lit up at night...They also did fireworks Friday night just for us :)

Joe took this amazing picture!

There are two sets of Falls ( i did not realize this until we got there) These Falls are named "The Bridal Veil."

SO over being soaking wet and freezing cold...can we get off of this boat yet???

We had a great time!

SIDE NOTE: See that black spot in the distance? That was the black bear that ran full speed at our car in upstate New York on the way home! We were going 60 mph and he was beating us! After he ran across the road and we realized he was not coming after US, we pulled over to try and get a picture of him... he was HUGE! I would NOT want to run into him outside of the car! ( The scary part was we were in a town within just a few minutes...i wasn't sure if we should stop and warn them.)

Happy early anniversary, love! Thank you for a fun weekend that I will never forget and for three very happy years together... you are a wonderful man and I love you very much!

Friday, October 8, 2010

When You Wish Upon a Star (Bucks!)...

Good news friends! I was hired on as the newest Barista at my neighborhood Starbucks on Monday of this week! (Yay God!!!)

I am so very thankful for this job and it's just in time too! Joe is travelling much more and his hours are crazy--it's so nice to have a distraction during the days! I basically get paid to get out of my house, drink coffee, and talk to new people-- I mean really, could it get ANY better? I love it!

My mom always made us take first day of school pics in our new clothes ( usually holding new backpacks and lunchboxes) by the front door, so momma, this pic is for you... my first day as a Barista!

I love my new job and I look forward to going to work everyday! I had prayed for SO long! The first week was wonderful-- I've got alot to learn but everyone has to start somewhere right? So here's to new jobs, to being thankful, to answered prayers, and FREE COFFEE!!!! ( Dave Ramsey would be so proud...not only am i bringing in a second income, but i have also found a creative solution to eliminating my ever- increasing latte budget!)