Thriving & Revelations

This post is going to be a doozy and probably will get you up close and personal with me. So just warning you, skip it if you’re not in it for the very long run.

When the New Year arrives, it’s like a breath of fresh air. Everyone is busy making resolutions, goals, and thinking of how they’re going to be the new-and-improved version of themselves. I use to make resolutions, but I usually fail and don’t follow through. So this year, rather than make resolutions, I wanted to choose a word for the year, particularly one that I could reflect on and strive for.

I didn’t think much of which word I wanted, but as I reflected on 2014 and dreamed of 2015, the word that kept creeping into my vocabulary was thrive. I want so badly to thrive in every area of my life in 2015. When the new year started, I believed that I had all the tools I needed to thrive. I didn’t feel as if anything was holding me back from doing so. But on January 4th, I learned how very wrong I was.

Since high school, Chris’ and I’s lives have revolved around kid’s church. We were completely obsessed and it occupied every thought and most of our conversations. I was especially wrapped up into it. Every waking thought was about kids church. It distracted me from work, my dogs, my husband, and even God. I’ve heard many times that if the devil can’t pull you away, he will make you so busy that God will eventually be pushed into the back of the cupboard. That phrase always went through one ear and out the other. I dismissed it completely the second it entered my mind.

In August 2014, I had started a back to school series on Nehemiah/football. I was so stoked that I was going to teach the message. I had put countless hours into the planning, wording, and double checked every Bible phrase and reference making sure that I wasn’t twisting God’s word but was properly represented. I don’t remember if it was the same Sunday I taught or the week after, but we got a text from the children’s pastor saying he wanted us to come to his office and speak with us. We knew immediately that whatever he wanted to see us about was not going to be a good.

And we were right. We didn’t have a “oh, great job on your lesson” or “thanks for all you do” talk. It was a conversation I never dreamed I would have and one that was incredibly painful to sit through. We were told that multiple parents had approached him and were unhappy with us and our social media posts. People didn’t like that we drank (even though we never drank to get drunk). People didn’t like that we had tattoos and piercings (even though we respected our parents and waited until we moved out). Because of all this, he asked us to take a break until November 2014.

I was crushed. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I just wanted to run away. I felt like my entire world was collapsing. Every moment that I sat in that office, I felt like my body was on fire.

I understand why parents don’t agree. Not everyone agrees with drinking. Not everyone agrees with tattoos and piercing. These are always going to be subjects of debate in the church. And really, what I believe is that the Bible isn’t 100% clear on those topics. It does say that we shouldn’t get drunk, which we don’t do or promote. We just like the taste. And as for tattoos and piercings, there’s only one place in the Old Testament that really refers to it, however, he telling the people to abstain because the people surrounding them were associated with witchcraft and God didn’t want his people being mixed into that category. But that’s not what it’s like today. Today tattoos and piercings are common and every time you turn around, some one has been to the tattoo parlor for one reason or another.

Regardless, people weren’t pleased and they had made it known. When I walked out of that office, I had made up my mind that I wasn’t going back. A break “until November” meant a break forever. If no one wanted me there, I wasn’t going burden or annoy them with my presence. I cried all the way home and cried every night for about a week straight.

The days after, my mind wandered aimlessly from one topic to the next. I felt like my purpose was gone and that I was now worthless. We went to the regular service a few times but each time I grew more and more distant. We’d walk by the kids church each week to say hi to the children’s pastor but each time I felt like it was a forbidden room. I felt like I was disrespecting parents just by standing by the door.

A place that I had been going to and called home since I was 14 now felt foreign and made me feel completely uncomfortable. We eventually stopped going all together. I became very cynical about the church. I told Chris a million times that this was exactly the reason why people don’t come to church. My hurt morphed into hatred and I wasn’t sure if I ever wanted to return to a normal service. Now, I by no means, had any intention to turn my back on my faith. I wasn’t angry at Him and was specifically angry at the church. I have been harboring this anger for about 5 and a half months.

There was only one part of the church that Chris & I continued to go to and it was the young adult group which was held in a little house near the church. It was the only place were I felt like I hadn’t been rejected and where I knew that even if people didn’t like my facial piercing or Chris’ tattoos, it was a place we were still loved and accepted.

Every year the young adult group kicks off the year with a new years’ service (last year, as the young adult pastor always reminds us, no one showed). We said we were going but I dreaded it the entire day. I knew that the service was going to be held inside the church and I wasn’t sure how I was going to bring myself to go inside. We pulled up to the church and I became very tense. As I approached the room that the service was being held in, the same room that I felt like I had been shut out of 6 months ago, I became more and more of a nervous wreck.

However, I experienced something I wasn’t expecting. As I walked into the room, I was overwhelmed with smiles and a sense of complete peace. But what completely overtook my body was God’s presence. Worship started and I was completely washed over by God’s love. It was like a warm fog. I could feel all around me and all at once. He melted away my hatred of the church. He restored my love for a place I had grown to loathe. If you could have seen the inside of my soul, you would have seen me sitting in a puddle of my emotions.

When I was worshiping, God brought to mind my word for the year: thrive. He showed me an image of a dog tied to the ground. It whined helplessly and then soon became hostile. It died a slow and painful death. It was starved and parched and then completely beaten down by nature’s harsh elements. This wasn’t a picture of an animal thriving and sadly, it was a picture of me. I realized that I was being tied down by my hatred, anger, and hurt. God revealed to me that if I was going to continue to harbor the feelings that were tying me to the ground, 2015 wouldn’t be my year to thrive. It would be the year of my demise.

After the service we ran into families we hadn’t seen in months. After we spoke with family after family, I realized that while I was shouting out all the things about the church that were wrong, I had failed to see that I was in the wrong too. These families were families we loved and had bonded with, ones that had always extended love and grace our way. By pushing the church completely out of my life, I had pushed them out too. I had done them wrong.

I recently started a new book called Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist. It’s basically a collection of essays and I only read one or two each night before I go to bed. That same night, I found a comfortable spot in my bed squeezed and snuggled between my two dogs and my husband and I pulled up my iPad to where I had left off. The essay I read was called “Spark.” This essay was about the author and how she grew up in church, left, and then found her way back home. I felt as if the essay had been written about me.

She spoke of how she wondered if there was room in the Christian world for a person like herself. She drank and had tattoos; essentially, she was a rebel by the church’s terms. She saw all the things about Christianity that offended her and how she couldn’t connect. But there was one part at the very end that brought me to tears. It put into words all of my emotions that I had experienced only hours before.

“I’m immeasurably thankful to have been born into a community of faith. And I’m even more thankful that my community of faith allowed me the space and freedom to travel my own distances around and through the questions I needed to answer. I’m thankful for the patience and grace I was given, for the forgiveness that I was extended and the guidance I needed.”

So I’m sorry. I’m sorry to the people I pushed away because of a struggle that was happening in my heart. I’m sorry to the families I cut off and the ones I ignored. And I am so so incredibly sorry, God. I’m sorry for shunning the church, Your bride. I’m sorry I didn’t bring it to You 6 months ago when it all began to unravel. I’m sorry I acted in my own power and took matters into my own hands.

I’m immeasurably thankful to the God who restores and loves us without skipping a beat. I’m thankful for a God who lets you go your own way but will always continue to call you back to Him.

So for those I’ve offended or those who are walking down the same path, this post is for you.

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Standing In The Kitchen & Picnic Lunches

I don’t know if it’s my pregnancy and I’m starting to nest or just the fact I’m hungry all the time, but I’ve had a serious desire to make food. I want to smell the comforting scent of bread baking and the tart bite of vinegar as I make salad dressing. I want to peel countless of lemons and chop fruit. I just don’t know what it is. I just want to be in the kitchen constantly. Even doing the mountain of dishes after a morning of chopping, juicing, frying, & mixing, seems to satisfy a tiny part of me (don’t get any ideas Chris… I still hate doing dishes).

But rather than sit on my butt scrolling through pinterest, I put myself to work. After a seriously delicious breakfast (if you missed it, I had Wildtree chocolate mousse topped with raspberries), I jumped into the car to explore one of my favorite places: the grocery store.

So many cheeses and different types of produce stared at me as I went through each aisle slowly, stopping often to smell fruits and herbs. Needless to say, I took my sweet time to gather my groceries for the week. When I was checking out, the cashier & bagger who were about my age commented on nearly everything I bought.

“What are you making with all this stuff?”
“Can you really keep using this basil plant after one use?”
“Feta cheese…. what could you possibly be using that for?”

Which, side note, makes me think of my generation and the generations after. How sad is it that most kids grow up on tv dinners and Mcdonalds and have no idea what it’s like to smell fresh basil or what real mozzarella cheese looks or tastes like. Now I’m no saint by any means, I love a good frozen pizza and I’m always in the mood for some Burger King, but that shouldn’t be an every day thing.

Anyways, I went home eager to make homemade popsicles, bruschetta, and fix my salad that I had been dreaming about all night.

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After all the food had been prepared and sampled a few times, I wanted to make today even more special. I’m so bummed that I have to go back to work tomorrow. I have more than enjoyed the past week and a half of waking up without an alarm clock (usually about 8:30 or 9), sleepily walking down the stairs to mindlessly make coffee and take out my breakfast. All the while being chased by dogs who’s tails wag violently every time I look their direction. Chris and I got so much accomplished this vacation. We cleaned out our upstairs closets in preparation for mini Soroka and wiped the house down from top to bottom. How I wish that once our baby is born that I could be a stay at home mom. I want to soak up every minute of motherhood and my home and I don’t know how I’ll do it while working full time.

I know plenty of moms who have babies and then go back to work after. And I know plenty of kids to who grew up like that. But that’s not the desire I have. I just long for the day where I can wake up every day with my children and spend the entire day at home feeding hungry mouths and cleaning up that spill for the hundredth time.  Those things don’t bother me and I truly wish that was what my days mostly consisted of.

Regardless, that will not be my reality. So here I am, soaking up one last moment with my husband. Sitting on the grass, taking bite after bite of bruschetta and salad, and wishing that moments like this would last forever.

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2014: It’s Been Real

I can’t believe that 2014 has come to a close. I always get a little sappy when I’m sitting at the kitchen table at the end of the year writing addresses and putting stamps on cards or flipping my planner to the next year. 2014 has been a really great year. Though there’s been a bit of hurt and a bit of loss, it’s been a good one.

Since I’m reminiscing, here’s my top six moments from 2014. Some have made a very monumental impact on my life and others are just for memories sake. But all are significant and all hold a special place in my heart.

Bentley's First Day

(1) After the loss of our first dog, Jack, it was crucial that we get a second dog as a companion for Riley. Bentley holds a very large part of my heart. He was the perfect match for our family, and even Chris, who despises little dogs, wasn’t immune to his big pointy ears and sweet late night cuddle sessions.

Ladies Day

(2) I love my family. Even thought I didn’t spend as much time with my family as I would have liked to this year, I treasure the time I have spent.

Early in the year, I spent the day with my mom, aunt, sister, and cousins. It wasn’t a flashy day. We didn’t sky dive or ride wild horses through the forest. We just spent a little time shopping, eating, and enjoying each other’s company. Small yet significant, and important to me. I love that I have a photo booth strip to remember the day. Something tangible to remember something that might have otherwise gotten lost in the memory banks.

Chris' First Day At Concord

(3) One of the largest changes of this year is that Chris left his dad’s company, Master Construction Products, to try something new. He was hired by Concord Management to work as a maintenance tech for the local Concord apartment properties.

Since he’s been hired he got a raise and has continued to shine and grow. I’m so proud of my husband and the person he continues to become. He’s learned so many new skills and I can tell he finally has found a job that he is proud to be doing. He’s working extremely hard and I’m hoping that 2015 will open the doors for him to grow, learn, and thrive.

Rook Piercing

(4) If you know me and my husband, you know that we’re quite the fan of tattoos and piercings. We have added more than a few to our ever growing collection, but my all time favorite has got to be my rook piercing. I have wanted to get it done for a few years now and like with many things it has gotten the “well, maybe I’ll do it next year.”

But with a little push (or maybe it was hand holding) from my cousin, I decided to do it. So for our birthdays we packed up and headed to the tattoo shop to get it done.

Yes, it hurt like crap. No, I won’t get my other rook pierced. Yes, it was worth every throbbing night afterward.

Karla's College Graduation

(5) I have been friends with Karla since about 9th/10th grade. I didn’t even know her when I invited her to my birthday sleepover which consisted of myself, her, & our mutual friend, Sam.

We have watched each other grow up. Dating our first boyfriends (in our case, it was our only boyfriend!), high school graduations, my wedding, and for her, graduating from UCF with a bachelor’s degree.

I’m beyond proud of her. I didn’t graduate with a bachelors and I commend her for finishing the job and taking the necessary steps to start, what I know, will be a very special career. Like with Chris, I know 2015 will be her time to thrive.

Baby Announcement

(6) Last but not least, the greatest memory from 2014: we’re pregnant. There are so many tiny memories associated with this announcement. It reminds me of when we told our friends and family. And it reminds me how I felt when I received a positive pregnancy test or seeing my baby on the ultrasound while hearing its heart beat loud and strong. There’s so much I want to remember and I’m afraid if I don’t document it in some way, shape, or form, I’m going to lose it into the depths of my mind.

I’m so extremely blessed. This year I have been spent lots of time with my family and friends. I’ve grown closer to those around me, no matter how far. I’m also so thankful for my amazing husband. He’s doesn’t realize how much of a blessing he is to me. I’m not always the easiest person to get along with but he never stops treating me the best. He’s so incredibly thoughtful and more than kind. Every day that I’m showered by his love and kisses is a day I don’t want to forget. Not everyone is as blessed as I am and not everyone has someone they can continually rely on.

I can’t wait for 2015. Chris may be transferring properties, we’re adding another family member to the mix, and we more than likely will be moving into an actual house. A little more crazy to make life interesting.

I’m determined that no matter if the year brings joy or sorrow, it will be our year. Our year to love greatly, connect deeply, and above all else, to thrive.

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Thoughts.

I love Saturdays. Saturday is my all time favorite day of the week. It’s the only day that starts out blank. Every other day is automatically templated with work or church. Saturdays are free for anything and often involve being at the house. I love being at the house. Our house may not be the biggest, beautiful, or most organized. But it’s home (for now at least). I enjoy sitting on the coach with a cup of coffee (in an actual mug and not a travel mug) catching up on blogs, videos, and articles. I often find my mind wandering to how I wish every day were Saturday. I wish I had the time to do more of what I loved.

I have a friend who I truly admire. She probably doesn’t know it, but she inspires me daily. I love her reading her blog (click here). One thing I love about her blog is how it’s basically an online journal. Her life is documented through writing and pictures. It’s not a blog comprised of how-to posts or reviews. Though I do love blogs that have those features, I honestly just love seeing how people live and how they think. I like the journal aspect of her blog and it’s something I’ve decided that I want to incorporate in my own. My blog really has no direction or focus, so I feel free to try any and everything.

I love writing. When I was younger I would journal like a crazy person, write “screen plays” and short stories. Even through college, writing was my strongest skill. Now that I’m married and work the 9-5 life. That part of me which I loved, has slowly faded away. It’s become a part of who I was and not who I am. I miss that. When I was younger, my time was filled with reading, writing, and discovering life through music, movies, and books. I want to incorporate that into my life now. Has my life really become so busy that I don’t have time to enrich my mind? I want to grow as a person. I want to expand my horizons. I want to start now.

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Introduction

CrazySorokas_ProfileCircle Hello! For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Kaitlyn Soroka. I’m 21 years old and on March 30, 2013, I married my best friend. Chris & I currently reside in Leesburg, Florida and have two amazingly adorable dogs. I work full time in a doctor’s office and Chris works as a maintenance tech. Chris & I are actively involved in our church’s children’s ministry. We love kids and can’t wait to start a family of our own. I’m not a blogging virgin. I’ve had many different blogs on many different platforms. Recently though I decided I really wanted to take blogging seriously. So here I am, starting fresh (again…) and dipping my feet into the “serious” blogging world. In addition to documenting my life with my husband, I honestly created this blog to help me. I am an extreme procrastinator. I’m also known to start projects and then never complete them. But you know what? I’m tired of being that person. I want to change and I want to be better. It maybe will be a bumpy ride for those of you tagging along with me on this journey, but for those of you who will stick around, I thank you. Since I’m in the baby stages of blogging, any advice or blog post ideas would be greatly appreciated. Like I said, I made this blog to help me change in a positive way and it has to start somewhere. Change involves input. I need this blog and I need you, the reader. Thanks again, Kaitlyn's Signature