Thursday, December 31, 2009

Book Review: The Spirit of Disciplines

The Spirit of the Disciplines - Reissue: Understanding How God Changes Lives The Spirit of the Disciplines - Reissue: Understanding How God Changes Lives by Dallas Willard

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a comprehensive look at how and why to practice spiritual disciplines. It's a call to get back to the basics of the disciplines in order to be transformed and in order to obey God. As Willard puts it, "Jesus calls us to follow him - to follow him now, not after death." I very timely finished this on New Year's Eve - good time to set some resolutions and put some of these disciplines into action for 2010.

Dallas Willard breaks down the disciplines like this:



Which ones do you need to work on this year?

View all my reviews >>

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 in Review

It's been a wonderful year.  Hard to believe all that has happened in 2009...

The biggest event was, of course, moving back "home" to Kansas after spending the first 3.5 years of our marriage in St. Louis, MO.  It was incredibly sad and difficult to leave all our friends and church family in St. Louis.  Our small group there ("The Sharks") is definitely irreplaceable.  Probably a once-in-a-lifetime kind of family that we still miss every single Sunday night; but that I know we will keep in touch with and have lifelong friendships with those friends we made in St. Louis.

We sold our first house.  Sad to leave it, but if all goes well, we will be closing on a new one January 20, 2010.  It will be our first house that we have lived in that is NOT yellow.  Even our first rental in dogtown was yellow!!!  Strange...

So, Eli is now at Johnson County Med-Act where he actually did his paramedic training.  And I, after my second full year in real estate, found myself working at the company my grandma and grandpa started in 1973 - Crown Realty.  Guess we really have come full circle now.

We've had lots of adventures - camping in Branson, Silver Dollar City season tickets (that we didn't use nearly often enough!), SCUBA diving in Bonaire, and many, many trips between St. Louis and K.C. on I-70 - especially in June-September when Eli and I were often on opposite sides of the state (definitely the roughest year of our marriage with all the time apart AND adjusting to Eli's new 24-hour schedule).

2009 was also a year of weddings!  Congratulations to the many couples we love and celebrate with (in order, roughly):  Cory & Maggie, Darren & Stacey, Mike & B, Keith & Kendra, Micah & Christy, Tim & Jessica AND OF COURSE Mom & Steve who are living a real life fairy tale... and are something of local celebrities... really, check it out.

Spiritually, God taught me (and is still teaching me) that even if I *NEVER* thought I could do something (i.e. Junior High Ministry - hypothetically speaking) that it's really not that bad when you are relying on HIM, and that wherever I go and whatever I do, He will be there, in spite of myself.

I know I have a lot more to learn and grow in in 2010, and it's bound to be another fun year.  I'm looking forward to more adventures for sure!  2010, here we come!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Dear Friends, I wish you all a very, very merry Christmas.

It's almost noon on Christmas Day, and I am happy to report that we are enjoying a WHITE CHRISTMAS here in Kansas!

As you can see, Denver, Cooper & Boone are having lots of fun in the snow...

And, for your viewing pleasure, here's a video from Eli's and my recent trip to Branson, MO.  This was at the Shepherd of the Hills drive-through light display (which was a full hour of driving, and well worth it with all the displays they had!).

Merry Christmas!

Eli & Katie

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It's a Dog's Life

This past weekend, my brother (Nick) bravely ventured to the cold, dark, dreary November waters of Table Rock Lake in Branson, MO to get his rescue diver certification.  While he was away, Eli and I took care of his Boston Terrier, Boone, who was all too happy to join our boys.

When we first went to sleep, Cooper and Boone looked something like the photo on the left.  Cooper is always by the door (to guard us, of course) and Boone was on his little bed...

However, when we woke up, things looked a little different...

Cooper was doing his very best to fit in Boone's tiny little bed.  (Well, pretty tiny for a German Shepherd!).  I have to admit though, he did a pretty good job!

Meanwhile, Boone had made himself pretty comfortable elsewhere!  Yup, that's our bed he upgraded to.  I only wish I knew what came first:  Boone getting his bed stolen or Eli and I getting our bed stolen!  ;-)

Don't worry, Denver was behaving himself...  (right...)

I knew when I woke up Saturday morning that I was going to have to share these photos.  Just too good to pass up.

Monday, October 5, 2009

“Find Your Strongest Life” by Marcus Buckingham

Find Your Strongest Life: What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do Differently Find Your Strongest Life: What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham

My rating: 1 of 5 stars
In his latest non-fiction book, Marcus Buckingham shares some good old common sense advice and maybe some not-so-common sense secrets about (as the subtitle declares) “what the happiest and most successful women do differently.” He advices his readers not to seek perfection or balance or even a happiness rating of 10; but instead, he illustrates ways to find what your real strengths are and how you can capitalize them in the workplace, in your home, and in your life.And who doesn't want to be one of the elusive “happiest and most successful women”? I know it sounded appealing to me. The problem is success is pretty difficult to rate. Buckingham uses a Maya Angelou quote in one of his chapters that captures this idea: “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” My issue with this book, as a Christian woman, is that some of the paths Marcus Buckingham suggests you follow in order to achieve success would not leave me liking myself in the slightest. For an example, he has ZERO positive things to say about being a stay-at-home mom – in fact, most of his examples of unhappy, unsuccessful women were those who traded career for family. I was and am uncomfortable with the thrust of this book teaching a “me first” way of thinking that does not align with what I believe the Bible teaches (“He must become greater, I must become less” - John 3:30, NIV).My recommendation: take the test at, find out what your role(s) are, apply some of the principles in this book, but rely on the Bible for truth.

-Katie Casey
Thomas Nelson Book Review Blogger

View all my reviews

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

26 Blessings

Today is my 26th birthday, and I am celebrating right now by remembering 26 things I am thankful for. So here it goes!

  1. My relationship with Jesus. I was 15 when I became a Christian, and it just keeps getting better. (FUN FACT: my real birthday is 9-9 and my spiritual birthday is 10-10)
  2. My fantastic husband of 3 yrs & 8 months, Eli! We've been together for 11 years now, and I can honestly say that I have never once been bored with him! ;-) Being a wife is absolutely wonderful.
  3. My mom - she is so graciously allowing us to live with her now while we wait for our house in St. Louis to close and search for a new one here. AND she took us all out for sushi last night for my birthday!!! Yummy.
  4. My dad - for blueberry pancakes & hot cheese dip, for teaching me how to ride (and drive!), for always taking care of me, and for many other invaluable life lessons like "God gave you 2 ears and only 1 mouth so you should listen twice as much as you speak."
  5. My in-laws. Sometimes I joke with Eli that I married him for my in-laws. It's not that absurd either. God used them mightily to call me to Him - I might not be a Christian today without their godly influence and love.
  6. My brothers!!! Nick & Caleb. I love you guys! You introduce me to new video games, new music, new movies, old movies, old music, and keep me young.
  7. For friends that I miss. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but it's not easy. Eli and I are moving away from so many wonderful friends in St. Louis. I am looking forward to many visits across I-70.
  8. 4-leaf clovers with Grandma Bece. Truly, we found over 300. I am one lucky girl to have had a grandmother like her!
  9. Carpet picnics with Grandma Mi. I still think they are cool.
  10. I've had so many opportunities to travel. I am thankful that I have been to so many places and have learned so much from so many different people. Whether it be hiking in the mountains, SCUBA diving in the Caribbean, touring Europe, serving in Latin America or on a Native American reservation, road trips south, camping along the way, OR just a day trip to a new place; I'm always happy to be on an adventure!
  11. Nature. I always feel God's presence is stronger when I am outside - it's so relaxing and freeing. One of the reasons it is nice to be back in Kansas!
  12. The Bible. I don't read it as often as I should, but when I first realized (at Passion 2005) that there are people in the world who do not have access to a Bible in their language, it certainly made me appreciate it so much more! By the way, you can help with that!
  13. Books in general. I admit it freely, I am a book worm. My parents passed on a love of reading that I hope to never lose. This spring, my mom got me a VERY early birthday present - the Amazon Kindle - and I love being able to have access to any number of books instantaneously.
  14. - I think this is my all time favorite site. But in all seriousness, I am thankful that we have so much technology (how else could I write this post!) that makes our lives easier, safer, and more time-efficient (in theory).
  15. Also - facebook, blogging, email, cell phones, and other gadgets that make keeping in touch a little more manageable.
  16. Our dogs (Denver & Cooper). They are endless amusement and have taught Eli and myself so much about parenting and each other!
  17. I suppose I better mention our frog Gizmo too. After all, he was here first. I got him in college. He is 6 years old. Not bad for a tree frog!
  18. ACTS Campus Ministry. I'm not sure how I would have spiritually survived my time at Washington University without the ACTS group.
  19. More specifically, the Bennetts. A.J., Susan, Sierra, & Lucas have been such an awesome family for Eli and me both. Great examples and true servants of God.
  20. Work. I know sometimes it's not fun, but I'm happy to have a job and an income; and a flexible job that allows me to take my birthday off! And will hopefully someday enable me to be a mostly stay-at-home mom. Plus, I actually do enjoy real estate. It's so fun to find that right house for someone and put those keys in their hand.
  21. Hay bales in a field. I know that sound strange, but to me, there is nothing more beautiful.
  22. Our church. We had a terrific church family in St. Louis, but we are already blessed with our new congregation here welcoming us with open arms. They even put us in charge of coordinating the Jr. High ministry. Wow. I'm not sure if I am mature enough to be thankful for middle schoolers yet. Maybe next year? haha.
  23. My health. I've been doing the P90X workout routine and it kicks my butt some days, but I am thankful I can do it (well, almost all of it minus a few impossible yoga moves!).
  24. Dave Ramsey. Eli and I just started doing his Financial Peace University and are learning so much! We've had some tight times, but God has always provided, and it has taught us to trust Him all the more. Now I feel like we are learning to honor God with what He has given us.
  25. Having a home. As I mentioned, Eli and I are house-hunting right now and feel a little homeless. In fact, the "HOME" button on my Garmin is still pointing me towards St. Louis. But, thanks to a terrific family we have plenty of places to "come home" to and are learning that as long as we are together, we are already HOME.
  26. OK, it's cheesy I know, but I'm thankful for YOU! Thank you for reading my blog and partaking in a little CELEBRATION with me!

Monday, August 24, 2009

How HE Loves

If you haven't heard the David Crowder Band's new song "How He Loves" - take a moment out of your day for this video. It is so encouraging. I bought the mp3 on and whenver I'm feeling a little overwhelmed (which has been happening a lot lately!), I just put this on repeat until I've snapped out of it. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Book Review: In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day

In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day: How to Survive and Thrive When Opportunity Roars In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day: How to Survive and Thrive When Opportunity Roars by Mark Batterson

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
Encouraging and motivating, this book is a reality check. It begs us to ask the question, "How big is your God?" Big enough to enable Beneniah to kill a lion in a pit on a snowy day? A resounding YES (2 Samuel 23:20-21)!

I'm facing a lot of unknowns right now, but this book has me trying to be OK with that. After all, lion chasers "don't need to know what is coming next because they know that God knows."

And my personal favorite quote from the book: "God wants you to get where God wants you to go more than you want to get where God wants you to go." Knowing this is true is such a comfort. I know I'm not going to get it right on my own, but I don't need to be too worried about it.

View all my reviews.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


May was a busy month - we celebrated Dad's birthday and Nick's graduation at Bonaire (one of the ABC islands just north of Venezuela) with some relaxation and SCUBA diving. I just wanted to share some photos with you. If you've never had a chance to put your head in the ocean, there is much to be seen of God's creation under the water! These photos are just a sampling of what we saw. Enjoy!

Monday, May 11, 2009

"Your vocation is secondary, where you live is secondary, your salary, the neighborhood you live in is secondary, the radical heart of it is to be radically like Jesus..."

- Sean Litton

Friday, May 8, 2009

Book Review - Life Management for Busy Women

Life Management for Busy Women: Living Out God's Plan with Passion and Purpose Life Management for Busy Women: Living Out God's Plan with Passion and Purpose by Elizabeth George

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book really made me rethink my priorities and has helped me to put God first every day. It is a day-to-day effort, and I'm not always 100% successful, but it works wonders! Elizabeth George is a delight to read and she shares how everything we do can only be done better when our spiritual life is in order.

For a timely example, she explains that we will never be able to successfully create and keep a budget if our heart is we do not take a page from Paul's book and learn to be content:

"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength." - Philippians 4:12-13

There are many great tips for managing all the important areas in our life including marriage, children, finances, house-cleaning (yikes!), health & fitness, friends, work, ministry, and more!

View all my reviews.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


A familiar scene...


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Bible contains...
the mind of God.
the state of man.
the way of salvation.
the doom of sinners.
the happiness of believers.
light to direct you.
food to support you.
comfort to cheer you.

It is...

the traveler's map.
the pilgrim's staff.
the pilot's compass.
the soldier's sword.
the Christian's charter.
a mine of wealth.
a paradise of glory.
a river of pleasure.

You should...
read it to be wise.
believe it to be safe.
practice it to be holy.

It should...
fill the memory.
rule the heart.
guide the feet.

- Edith L. Doan, ed., "The Speaker's Sourcebook"

Monday, March 2, 2009

Renovation of the Heart in Daily Practice: Experiments in Spiritual Transformation
An excerpt from Chapter 20:
As we become more and more enthralled by the vision of the kingdom of God, it follows that we want to be shaped by God and so live life more intentionally. We start making small plans and taking tentative steps for this change. With God's grace drawing us along, we arrange our lives differently. We give up certain activities because we want time to do thing we're reasonably sure will help reshape us. Here and there, we give up a shopping trip, doing without an item we thought we needed (frugality), because we'd rather reread a book that really spoke to us (study and meditation). We intentionally take stationery with us to the doctor's office so that as we sit in the waiting room we can jot a note to our friend's son who is in jail, instead of reading whatever magazines happen to be there (service). We make a little effort to arrive at church early to greet that stranger who's been sitting alone at the back of the sanctuary (welcoming strangers). We aren't heroic about these things, and we don't turn them into chores, but we take seriously the ideas for disciplines that come to us that are most likely the prodding of the Holy Spirit. As the means help us, our vision and intention become stronger yet.

I've learned from this study that I am drawn to certain disciplines (study, solitude, meditation), but want to continue challenging myself to grow in others (service, prayer, frugality, fasting).

Saturday, February 28, 2009


One of my favorite podcasters - Andy Stanley of North Point Ministries - often shares a series called "The Best Question Ever." I believe it is also a book, but the 6-part sermon series is available for free on iTunes.

Anyway, the BEST QUESTION EVER (because I know you want to know) according to Andy Stanley is:

What is the WISE thing to do?
(in light of my past experiences, present circumstances, & future hopes and dreams)

He argues that if we apply this question to every decision we have to make (how to spend our time, where to spend our money, etc.), it will help us all avoid the many pitfalls and traps Satan has laid out for us to sin.

In the part I just listend to (Part 4: Time Bandits), Stanley challenges his listeners to jot down what is MOST IMPORTANT to them in 4 areas so they can start spending their time in the most important things. I'm going to make a valid effort to do just that!

Physically - train for 1/2 marathon, eat less junk.
Relationally - always rember that Eli is my priority relationship, don't let old friends slip through the cracks.
Spiritually - continue my daily devotional time, but also read more Christian books.
Professionally - learn more! stay positive!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Win an ESV Study Bible!

If you don't know, I'm a HUGE Mark Driscoll fan (check out my links on the left to listen to his podcasts) - he's a scholar of the Word, a dynamic speaker, and a missionary to the world. A few months back he published a post "Six Study Essentials" and #1 was Have a Good Bible - his suggestion: an ESV Study Bible. Since then, I have been looking for a good one...

Now, one of my new favorite bloggers, A Boomer in the Pew, is giving away a free calfskin ESV Bible on March 16th!

So read, Mark Driscoll's post, then head on over to A Boomer in the Pew to register to win your #1 tool!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Go Jump Off a Cliff

For the past few months, I have been going to this great class on Wednesday nights at my church. It's a class on being a godly wife. It has been challenging and rewarding, and so fun to get to know some of the wonderful women in my church (in all age groups).

The workbook has been locally published, so unless you are in the St. Louis area you probably haven't heard of it, but I think you can get a copy online. It certainly has the potential to go bigger someday though. It is called "The Cry of the Hidden Heart - Finding Real Love in your Marriage" by Karen R. Bacon (with the Sarah's Daughters). The original group called themselves the "Sarah's Daughters" - after all, if "Father Abraham had many sons, many sons had Father Abraham" then I suppose Sarah had a few daughters as well - and I am one of them! ;-)

Anyway, I digress. Here's a quote from the workbook (pg 131):

God's promise "that they will be my people" (Jeremiah 31:33) is our assurance that we will be a suitable Bride for the heavenly Bridegroom. Joan tells the women she disciples that "you have to just jump off the cliff" into the arms of Christ Jesus. Abandon your fears (What if my husband never changes? OR What if he makes a terrible mistake and our entire family is counting on him? What if I fail my husband? What if I get into his boat and our boat sinks?) Abandon your need to have some control over your life because to a large extent, you do not anyway; abandon, detach yourself from the things (other than God) that you think give you life because they will always disappoint. Jump into the Everlasting Arms. Remember, dearly beloved, when you are in despair, that you belong to Jesus Christ; He knows what your real need is. He lives to intercede on your behalf before the Father. (Hebrews 7:25) He is the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1 Peter 2:24-25) All that is His, He makes available to you.

All to often I want control of my life! Control of my schedule. Control of our future plans. Control of who can affect me, who can hurt me, who gets too close. However, every time, I make plans, GOD shows me how much greater His are! Unfortunately, I don't usually understand this at the time that my plans are being crushed. Hindsight is 20/20 and sometimes I don't see how awesome God's work in my life is/was until much later. But when all the pieces fall together, how beautiful it is. How beautiful to simply follow... even if the path is unknown. It wouldn't be a cliff if we knew what was at the bottom. Take the leap of faith. I know Jesus is going to catch me.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Life Update

Hi Everyone,

Please keep Eli and me in your prayers as we are in a weird transition time right now.

As most of you probably know, Eli has been pursuing a job in Johnson County, Kansas. This move would put us closer to our family, but far away from all our friends that we love here in St. Louis.

Fortunately, the timing of this is completely in God's hands. Eli interviewed and tested on December 22-23 and passed everything and was even given a uniform. The only thing pending was a start date. Since then (actually the very next day), Johnson County enacted a hiring freeze. So now, while Eli has a job in KC already, we have no idea when he will start or when we might be moving. I guess it could be weeks, months, or a year? Only God knows.

I do have peace about this, but I am struggling because I am a planner by nature, so please pray for me in that regard. And for Eli because he is getting a little burnt out at the city and he was getting really excited about the new job so it is hard on him that he has to wait longer now.

The great thing is that however much longer God has us here is that much more time we get to spend with our church family here in St. Louis!

In advance, thank you for your prayers.