Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Let's Talk About Feelings.

Spoiler alert: It's about to get preeeetty sappy.

Almost one year ago, I started this awkward, great little adventure of blogging. It's been a wonderful challenge, and it's become one of the things I am most proud of. So thank you all for reading and being so kind and encouraging me along this little journey. Y'all are the best. *happy sob*

I have always loved journals. Pretty journals bound with leather and stamped with intricate designs, filled with unlined, rough paper. But I never wrote in them. I wanted to wait until I had thoughts that were worthy of them. And when I did finally write in them it sounded nothing like me. It probably read a lot like the preamble of the Constitution. So I have a ton of journals that have about four pages written in them and they reveal very little of what I was like at that time, except that I read a lot of Jane Austen and was generally a little moody.

This blog was a step in believing that my writing was good enough for something, good enough for sharing. I've filled three really pretty leather journals over the course of these last two years, and while sometimes I'm just documenting half-developed thoughts, I like my own writing, and I'll be able to look back and remember who I was. Art and Soul has been that too, like a journal that I get to share with some of my favorite people.

So, the next step now in loving my writing is giving it a prettier place to live. The vintage washing machines, man. What was I thinking? I'm so sorry to all of you for that. So, if you'll just follow me over here, I think you'll like it a little better.

Thanks again for reading and supporting me in this. If you like writing or making music or taking pictures, please do us all a favor and find a way to share them.

xo,
Cate

(also if the cute little hidden link didn't work... Ta daa! http://life-in-the-aviary.com/new-cover-page/)

Friday, May 1, 2015

Yoohooooo!!! Over Heeeeere

Happy Friday!!!  Pat yourself on the back, you made it through a long week.

I apologize for not posting for so long, I've been working on a surprise for y'all but I can't wait any more so I'm just going to tell you now. Ready?

Art & Soul is moving and getting a face lift and a name change!!!

"Whoa, What? That's completely confusing," you say, as you think of how Hollywood that all sounds.

"Mmhmm. Yep," I say.  The washing machines are horrible and are making our eyes twitch and there are also approximately 569, 230,136 other websites entitled "Art and Soul" *cries at lack of originality* so you can't find this one on Google. All of it is just terribly sad for everyone.

So, I have been posting and working, but it hasn't been here. It's been elsewhere. In secret. And I'm hoping to share the link with you next week!

In the meantime, I'm over here on my good friend and mentor Amy's blog, "The Fishbowl Effect," talking about Overcoming Fear. Amy is a dear friend and a gifted writer, and she also is incredibly wise. You know, actually just go to her site even if you don't read my guest post. You'll love it.

Thank you guys for your patience and for being so gracious as art and soul changes.

xo,
Cate

(also, here's the link again in case my little linky hover button didn't work:
http://fishbowleffect.blogspot.com/

Thursday, April 9, 2015

A Taste of Virginia

PSA: Before we get started, I have some big news. BIG. NEWS. Art and Soul is about to change a lot. A whole whole whooooooole lot and I can't wait and I decided NOT to change the vintage washing machine background yet, even though some of you have expressed that it makes you have seizures, because I want you to be even more excited when all the good changes happen! And now you can actually read about the trip...

So, sorry I’ve made y’all wait so long for this post! I’m so excited to share about my trip to Lynchburg. First things first, thanks to the Rush family for such a lovely trip! It was the besssst. Thanks to Ryley and Reagan for letting me follow y'all around and parrot your Canadian friend's accents and just be completely uncool in my enthusiasm. Y'all are so great ;)   

Next, I must inform y’all that I did a really awesome job in the airport, and I actually enjoyed flying alone. The peanut butter crackers were a great suggestion (thanks, Sissy!)  I met some incredibly sweet people who made the flight so much more enjoyable- I also got a guide to the best Indian food in Austin and sat next to one of the best storytellers I’ve met. 

Spoiler alert, I love flying alone. I love flying with people, but I felt super independent doing that big thing by myself. This is not to be minimized by the fact that there are eleven year olds who fly alone all the time. Or by the fact that the lady I sat next to on the flight from Austin was so worried about me getting lost that she walked me all the way to my next gate. *bless her*


I stared out the window almost the whole flight to North Carolina. I loved the view from the topside of the clouds-  the way they changed from puffy little meringues, disappeared, and came back spread thin as butter over the mountains. I don't think, no matter how often I may fly, that that will ever get old.

As lovely as that was though, my favorite leg of the trip was on the flight to Lynchburg, after it had already gotten dark. We were taking a pretty small plane that still had propellers ( I think puddlejumper is the word they used), so I found my seat next to an older woman, probably 70 years of age or so and prepared to make out my will. She was small and frail and very tan, and had on a pink down jacket. I cheerily exclaimed, “I’m your neighbor!” when I found her, and I don’t think she said anything at all in response. She faked sleep for a while, and then started coughing uncontrollably.

“Don’t worry, I’m not contagious,” she said.

“Oh, I’m not worried. Would you like a warm apple pie cough drop?” (What did I tell you? Always bring the cough drops.)

“Well, aren’t you a dream boat?” she exclaimed. We talked the whole flight to Lynchburg, or Lunchbag, as she called it. She had been a pilot herself, and worked for NASA. She even offered to come bail me out if I were to get thrown in jail during my stay. Reasons why talking to older people is better than talking to young people:
         1.       They usually have much better stories and have had more practice telling them.

         2.       They can usually afford to bail you out of jail if that becomes an issue.

It was 6 degrees outside when we landed, and I was wearing a short sleeve t shirt and a plaid flannel shirt. And fingerless gloves. As we sat on the tarmac I had the strange realization that they were not extending that nice covered gray hallway to meet us. People were just walking off the plane and across the pavement to the airport! I reevaluated my wardrobe choices and tried to see how much of my body I could fit in my scarf.  Gee, I’m so glad I’ve made it to Virginia, it’s really too bad I’m going to FREEZE TO DEATH before I even see Ryley!

             Ryley greeted me at the Lynchburg airport with coffee in hand (because she knows my heart)-a lovely invention called “Christmas in a Cup.” I think it said it had notes of hot buttered rum and cinnamon in it. Highly addictive. Joe Beans, come to Austin please.

             Because I am more of a Texan than I even realized, we cooked migas our first night. And then because I am truly a breakfast person, we ate eggs of some form for almost every meal thereafter.  It snowed during my stay, so we spent a lot of time cozied up with books and journals and coffee cups, talking about all the things we don’t have time to talk about on the phone, venturing out to stomp through the snow and take pictures, and then ending with hockey games.

            I dislike sports. I. LOVE. Hockey. It’s fast-paced. It’s easy to follow. The majority of the players were Canadian. And there’s none of this faking an injury and making a scene business like in basketball. I saw a guy get rammed up against the glass, flip over, get back up and speed down the rink. Now that’s athleticism. I also got a gigantic salty pretzel. All the wins.

           AND SPEAKING OF CANADA. Were we speaking of Canada? I don't know. There are these things called Nanaimo bars and they are… a revelation. Picture a no-bake cookie base using shredded coconut instead of oats, a thick layer of buttercream frosting, capped with a thin little sheet of chocolate, and then multiply the deliciousness you’re picturing times like, five. Ryley’s beau’s parents brought them from Canada and may I say, that is probably why the French and English had so much conflict in the colonial days. The Brits wanted the Nanaimo bars, not the territory! Come on… *reader rolls eyes at lame history reference.*

So, all in all, the trip was amazing. I met up with my friend Heather randomly in the Charlotte airport and it turned out we were on the same flight! Then I sat by a guy who gave me the list of all the best Indian food restaurants in Austin and showed me pictures from his family vacations to Patagonia and New Zealand. And then he proceeded to snore the rest of the flight away while I read Mindy Kaling’s book.

I have never been happier to see Robin in my entire life. Absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder but I never want to be absent for that long ever again. I love my Bird too much. And he brought P.Terry’s. ;)

And now without further ado...

EGGS, Two Ways:

Veggie Egg Scramble

Serves 2
3 corn tortillas, cut into 1” pieces
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 diced small bell peppers, or ½ of a large one
A good handful of fresh spinach leaves
5 eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp. milk
¼ c. picante or other salsa
Salt and coarsely ground pepper, to taste

Warm oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once oil is shimmering, add tortilla pieces in a single layer. Flip the tortilla pieces once they have started to crisp and add the diced bell peppers. After the tortillas have crisped on the other side and the bell peppers are softened, push them to the perimeter and put the spinach in the center of the skillet. Reduce heat to medium low and let spinach wilt. Mix together the beaten eggs with the milk and salsa. Pour over the tortilla mixture. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon as eggs set up. Divide between two plates, salt and pepper to taste. Eat with mismatched forks and laugh a lot. (optional: garnish with feta)

 Feta Eggs on Toast
Serves 1

A small pat of butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 Tbsp. milk
Crumbled Feta, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
Multi-grain toast

Warm butter in the pan. No skimping. It’s snowing. Butter will help you insulate. Mix eggs with milk and reduce heat to low. It will look like nothing is happening. Just be patient. Stir occasionally with rubber spatula. When the eggs have formed into lovely little eggy clouds but are still a bit runny, fold in your feta cheese. Pepper generously. Add a little salt too. Serve over lightly buttered toast with several cups of good coffee.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Better...

I've been going through Hebrews with the IF: Equip reading plan lately and had a few thoughts I wanted to share with you. IF is basically a collaboration of a bunch of really wise women who are asking the question "IF God is real, if His Word is true, what should my life look like?" You can read more about their mission here and check out IF: Equip here. I'd love to know we were all doing it together :)

This is from my reading earlier this week, based out of Hebrews 7:21-8:13, and I thought I'd share because when I read it I wanted to just happy-dance around and get a kitten and go hug people.  So here it is for you, gentle reader. Take a gander....

 

1. Jesus is our Better Hope.

26 Such a high priest (Jesus) truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27 Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.

     Jesus is our better hope for intimacy with and righteousness before God the Father. Under the Law- the Old Covenant- God was behind the curtain, separated from all but the high priest who was himself still a flawed human. The priests offered shadows and copies of the real sacrifice needed to purify us. Jesus gave Himself as the perfect sacrifice once and for all and did away with all that curtain, separation business. (Can I get an amen. Mmhmm.)

2.  Jesus is the Guarantor of a Better Covenant.

"but he became a priest with an oath when God said to him:
 “The Lord has sworn
 and will not change his mind:
 ‘You are a priest forever.’”
  22 Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant.
  23 Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely[c] those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

     Guarantor (is a real word) and is one who gives a promise, assurance, or pledge, usually relating to quality, durability, or performance (per the freedictionary.com definition). Jesus promised that the new covenant, now written on our hearts and minds rather than on tablets of stone, is of utmost quality, is everlasting, and testifies that "The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind." (Psalm 110:4). Boom.

3. This New Covenant is Built on Better Promises.

10 This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel
    after that time, declares the Lord.
I will put my laws in their minds
    and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
    and they will be my people.

11 No longer will they teach their neighbor,
    or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
    from the least of them to the greatest.

12 For I will forgive their wickedness
    and will remember their sins no more.[c]


     I can't say it any better than the author did. He has put His laws in our minds and has written them on our hearts. We all get to know Him, from the least to the greatest, and He has looked on us with compassion, not remembering our sins anymore and forgiving all our wickedness.

     Austin Stone worship has a song that I think is particularly relevant and that was stuck in my head basically the whole time I was reading over these verses. It's called "Jesus is Better," aptly enough. Give it a listen!

     In other news, my background is now some vintage washing machines. Which is a little random. Thanks for sticking with me while Art and Soul undergoes these necessary, weird changes. Blog puberty, y'know. Are you creeped out that I referenced - yep.

note to self: puberty references = awkward.

AND ALSO. I'm trying to figure out if most of you read on your cell phones or on an iPad/desktop computer. I understand the phone formatting looks a little wonky. Please feel free to leave comments about what you'd like to see more/less of, if there's anything in particular you'd like me to post about, or if there are any unforgiveably awkward features on the blog. Thanks!

xo,
Cate



Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Surviving the Airport (and Winning Hearts and Minds.)


I went to visit one of my dearest friends in Virginia this week and- I’m proud to report- I got there and back without a single airport meltdown! I met some incredibly sweet people on the plane and had a lovely time in Lynchburg. There are so many things to share, and I’ll be back with more details from the trip, recipes, and stories, but for now- here’s what I learned about flying.

10 Tips to Help you Maintain your Sanity in Airports
(and Win the Hearts and Minds of Fellow Passengers)

1.       Get to the airport about two hours early. You probably don’t need that long, but it will give you a good amount of time to call and inform all your family members that you have survived check in and security. This also gives you plenty of time to savor how responsible and capable you are. Buy a coffee.  You’ve got time! Try to look like Sandra Bullock from The Proposal while you drink it. People-watching encouraged.

2.       Pack yummy cough drops. Use them to barter favor with the people around you. Mine were Warm Apple Pie flavored. Everyone just collectively coughs on airplanes, so share the cough drops. I shared them with one woman and she exclaimed, “Aren’t you a dream boat?!” I blushed shyly, Yes, Mary. Yes I am.

3.       Admit that you’re a beginner. This is the only way for people to know that they need to take care of you. I kept dropping the fact that I had never flown alone and the lady I sat next to on my connecting flight literally walked me to my next gate. I love being surprised by the kindness of strangers.

4.       Talk to the person you’re sitting next to, even if they scare you a little. If the plane should begin to crash you will want to hold someone’s hand and there aren’t that many options. Safe topic? Food. I have a new list of food blogs to check out, and a trusty guide to the best Indian food in Austin. Win.

5.       Pack motion sickness medicine in your carry-on, even if you don’t get motion sickness. Because the person next to you might, and it will be doing both of you a favor if you have the prescription. *I gotta fever, and the only prescription is more cow bell*   

6.       Ignore the people who tell you that you have a better chance of getting in a car wreck on the way to the airport than getting in a plane crash. I don’t know why they think that would make us feel any better. Is it more pleasant to die in a car than on a plane? Sick minds, these people…

7.       Identify what makes you feel “able.” I love having paperwork with me, especially all clipped together with one of those official black butterfly clips. It kind of says, "I mean business." I printed maps of all the airports I would be stopping in and highlighted things. Having paperwork makes me feel professional, and I also feel that I might get some special preference with any airport staff because I can show them that I value their airport and want to do really well in it. Lovely architecture in here. I looked it up online before I came. Heard wonderful things about the staff, too. Would you like a Warm Apple Pie cough drop?

8.       Follow Bob Goff on Instagram. He posts inspiring quotes and generally makes me feel very brave. #bobforpresident

9.       Pack funny paperbacks- Funny because laughter is great, and paperback because it will keep your shoulder from pulling out of socket. I packed hardbacks. Lesson learned. Recommendations? Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling, Through Painted Deserts, by Donald Miller, and The Crowd, The Critic, and The Muse by Michael Gungor. The only downside is you may laugh so hard you snort, and that may make your neighbor uncomfortable. Don’t apologize, don’t try to explain, laugh on.

10.   Memorize this verse: “Now in putting everything in subjection to Him, He left nothing outside His control.” Hebrews 2:8  

One picture from the airport when Robin came to pick me up. He said there were guys around him with little signs, waiting for their girls to get to baggage claim, but Robin had something better. Something he knew would speak directly to my heart.


 

And that's why I married him.
xo,
Cate

Friday, February 13, 2015

I Believe I Can Flyyyy...


The scene begins with Caitlyn wearing a black ski vest and a black directors cap. She enters a dimly lit room where Orlando Bloom sits, getting his Legolas hair braided. She is slapping her hand against the back of her official directors clip board and commanding the attention of the room. Extensive use of hand gestures throughout.

Caitlyn: “BIG NEWS! BIG NEWS PEOPLE!” *slap slap slap* “I NEED EVERYONE’S ATTENTION.”
The famous people in Makeup direct their attention to her.

Caitlyn: Thank you. *she feigns a New Zealander accent*  I wanted to let you all know, that I will be going to Lynchburg, Virginia to see one of my dearest friends next week, so I’m expecting you all to be at your personal best in my absence. Legolas, big battle scene this week, are you ready? I hate to miss it but as an important person, I have traveling stuff to attend to.

Orlando: How did she get in here?
Security enters. Lights fall. End scene.   

All that to say, I’m going to Virginia next week and I need your help!!
           I’ve never flown alone so any advice you can offer about navigating the airport, keeping my cool, or being a good neighbor to the people on the plane with me is SO welcome. *please make this advice actually helpful, not a thinly veiled horror story.*

More importantly though, I’m treating myself to two new books for the flights and I’d love to hear any recommendations you have. I’m thinking books that are whimsical, but not so absorbing that I won’t be able to pull myself from my reading trance and hear them announce my flight. Light-hearted, preferably no disasters. You see what I’m saying here?

Please leave traveling advice and book recommendations in the comment bar below, and if you know me and can’t get that to work, emails or text messages are welcome. ;) I’ll be back soon with thoughts, a plethora of pictures, and certainly some funny stories from the trip.

xo,
Cate

Thursday, February 5, 2015

All the Hobby Lobby Plaques....


First things first.
Shauna has a new post up on the Storyline blog. You can go ahead and read hers now, I can wait.  

         Okay.

DID ANYONE ELSE NOTICE THAT SHE TECHNICALLY SAID MY NAME AND SPELLED IT RIGHT?!

          Look!!!!!!! 



Guys. We are basically on the cusp of becoming best friends. The heart palpitations. 

The story she talked about wasn’t teeeechnically about me, but no one else spells Caitlyn the same way as I do! Never mind that she said, “Kate? Kathy?” afterwards. The degrees of separation are shrinking, my friends. Know this. 

NOW, on to the actual post. 

Phillipians 4:6,7 is one of those verses that I like to think doesn’t apply to me. If it’s been put on a plaque at Hobby Lobby, I’m just done with it. This is unfortunately what I do with many overused Bible verses… I assume I have now ‘placed out’ of them applying to my life. Give the plaques to the baby Christians. Give me the really ancient, overlooked stuff. Give me this one: 

“For you shall go out in joy, and be led forth in peace;
The mountains and hills before you shall break forth into singing,
And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”
Isaiah 55:12

It’s beautiful, right? This is actually one of my favorite verses. As I was just typing it though, I realized that I don’t really live like I believe this. I live more like it reads this way: 

“For you shall go out reluctantly, and be led forth into a pack of hungry hyenas;
The mountains & hills before you will fall into spontaneous landslides and avalanches,
And all the trees of the field shall burst into flames.”

Robin calls this paranoid.

I call it Maternal Instincts.

Whatever we call it though, it doesn’t change the fact that living life crippled by anxiety is not healthy. And would you like to know, gentle reader, what the remedy for that way of thinking is? 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in all things, through prayer and supplication, make your requests known to God with thanksgiving, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 
That’s right. Freakin' Phillipians 4:6-7. All the Hobby Lobby plaques. 

God, to insure that I was picking up what He was laying down, sent me that verse, through several different people and mediums, 5 times yesterday. 

5 TIMES IN MY FAAAACE. 

Transition- change- makes me panicky. So when we are in times of transition, I usually get some anxiety. The kind that responsible people get, but the kind that makes you feel like you’re walking out into a landslide/ forest fire. But each time I feel that little panic knot forming in my throat, this verse comes up, and it cuts panic off. As my mom always says, "It's a command and a promise. You have to choose not to be anxious before you get the peace." And I've been getting the peace, the peace that doesn’t really make sense. 

Isn’t that what’s so good about God’s economy? 

-We come with deficit and leave with excess. 
-We come guilty and leave innocent. 
-We come with anxiety and leave with peace. 
-We come with thanksgiving and leave with more reasons to praise. 
- We come needy and leave brave. 

What are those verses you think you’ve placed out of? Go back and take a look at them. Chances are, they still apply to you, and they may be especially relevant to your life right now. 


Buy the plaque.