Top 5 – Instagram


If you read my last post about wasting time on your smart phone you might wonder why today I’m writing about Instagram, one of the top time-wasting apps.
If you enjoy spending time on your phone cruising certain apps, you don’t have to eliminate it! Just be more conscious about what you’re looking at and why.
Instagram is one of my favorite apps to tap when I have a down moment during the day. On it I find beauty, encouragement and inspiration for my life. Making sure that I’m not wasting my time looking at pictures that I don’t care about is really important to me, so here’s a list of my favorite accounts. I’m always looking for new ‘grammers’ to follow so let me know your favorites in the comment section!

Top 5 Instagram-ers:
@SheReadsTruth – devotional / inspirational / Bible verses
@MimiIkonn –  style / fashion / travel
@LesleyAnneMurphy – travel / photography / inspiration
@HeyHails – photography / family
@BeautifulDestinations – travel / photography

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 9.22.57 AM@SheReadsTruth is the Instagram account for the devotional website This is such a wonderful resource that I found because of a long lost acquaintance. That’s something I love about social media: connecting with people from my past! I somehow reconnected with a girl, Ashley (@newdiolsen), from my figure skating childhood on Instagram. Ashley re-posts @shereadstruth photos all the time which I finally checked out one day. It’s a treasure of beautifully crafted images with sweet little captions. She Reads Truth is not just an Instagram with great photos. They have an app, a devotional book, and a daily devotional reading plan geared toward women. Every little gem they post is always a encouragement and a reminder for me to take time out for some Bible reading and prayer.

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 9.27.11 AM@MimiIkonn is super fun. All of her posts are a visual treat. Each photo is full of light, life and color. She posts great outfit ideas, fresh and healthy snacks and great office décor concepts. Whether she’s working in her London office or traveling the world, she always brightens up my Instagram feed. Part of why I find her work inspiring is because I know her incredible entrepreneurial story. She and husband Alex started Luxy Hair, hair extension company, years ago and have worked hard to grow it into the successful business it is today! Seeing someone work hard and achieve their dreams gives me the encouragement to pursue my own.

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 9.33.07 AM

@LesleyAnnMurphy is a world-renowned traveller. You never know what part of the world her next post is going to come from but each and every picture is flawless. I initially found her because she was a contestant on ABC’s the Bachelor. She never posts a poor quality photo. Its a great reminder to me to do everything well. There is never a good reason to do things poorly, even if its just posting grainy, out of focus picture. Seeing all of the amazing places Les travels to excites me to save money when I can and plan my next trip to see the world for myself!

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 9.34.32 AM@heyhails happens to be my cousin’s lovely wife so I am definitely biased to like her Instagram. The daily pictures of her and my cousin’s sweet family of two little boys never get old. Having ridiculously cute kids helps, but her mastery of light is her true super-power. The great angles, expressions and moods that she catches with her camera offer a glimpse into the human soul. The cute, no-nonsense comments she Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 9.35.44 AMadds enhance your understanding of what’s really going on in the picture but more importantly also offer some real insight into the struggles of being a mother today. This is a great time to mention that when optimizing or cleansing your social media you don’t have to only follow the most popular Instagram-ers. Sometimes your own family and friends are the most creative and insightful. You should always follow family and friends that are close to your heart.



Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 9.23.25 AM
Mcway Falls

@beautifuldestinations is a top Instagram staple for me. They are one of the most prolific travel Instagrams with over 4 million followers. Sometimes their photos feel a little over-produced and commercial, but I stick with them because of the variety of places they highlight every day. Whether its Uttar Pradesh, India, Albuquerque, New Mexico or Mont Saint Michele, France I’m intrigued by the crazy places in the photos. I also really appreciate the information they post in the caption about where the photo was taken and by whom. The dreams I have of seeing the world are refreshed and renewed every time I see one of their photos.

I’ve crafted my Insta-experience to give me the inspiration, encouragement and visual refreshment I desire. When I tap that brown lens on my phone screen I want to know that I’ll see something that will encourage, inspire and uplift my spirits.
Don’t be afraid to un-follow someone whose not adding to the experience you want to have and always search for new posters that can inspire and teach you about something you never knew!

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 9.30.38 AM



Oh and hey, follow me!!! @janakates_ (don’t forget that dang underscore at the end! Whoever stole @janakates, why did you take it if you’re not going to do anything with it… )


He felt sick. Well, not really sick, it was more of that lonely, rejected, dark, silent feeling.

It was a black August night.
As he sat behind the wheel of his old Chevy on the desolate plains of Nebraska he turned up the volume. It was some heart-achy Brantley Gilbert song that he hoped would drown out the voices in his head.

“Yeah she’s gone, but I don’t feel like talking…
you don’t know her like I do.
You’ll never understand.”

But those voices in his head just wouldn’t pipe down. They screamed out as they circled in his head. It was like a haunted carrousel in a bad dream…it never stopped. The same old memories and thoughts went around and around, driving him mad.

Had it been worth it?
He had savored those sweet moments with her under the cool summer sky. It felt like his heart was dancing on the breezes that played with her long blonde hair. They had been brighter than the most glowing stars on a midnight canvas. Now those memories were bitter sweet.
As he swallowed back some tears the taste made his stomach churn. Was the soaring bliss and blind passion worth this feeling of desolation now?

This is our poor friend’s question:
Is it better to feel fiercely high and then despondently low or better to remain constantly…average?

I have a feeling he’ll never know.
It just isn’t in his nature to be ‘average’. His highs are high and his lows are low. When he’s having a good time, there is not a soul in the world that is as full of happiness. But when he hurts, it cuts deeper and longer than most people ever experience.

It’s in those low, desolate moments when he thinks that no one will ever know how he feels. But, you know, I think a lot of people feel like that. And here is the secret to getting back up…

When its so dark that you can’t even see the hand in front of your face
if you can remind yourself that you’re not the only one in the dark,
you can find the light switch.

An owl swooped by his window and woke him from his trance. He unsnapped his seatbelt and pushed open the creaky old door. “How do I let myself get so attached? Why do I care so deeply?” he thought and then slammed the door shut in disgust.


It’s going to take him some time to feel better, but I have hope for him.
People are so resilient. As I talk to people about the real life heartache that happens to them every day I’m amazed at how amazing you all are.

Every day people get dumped, divorced, and lose close friendships. And every morning these people get up, get ready for work and slap on a smile to get through the day. Then the weekend comes and they call their friends, fire up the Jeep, grab the fishing poles and head out to the water to shoot the breeze and enjoy life.

God has fearfully and wonderfully made us. Of that I grow more sure every moment. Even at our lowest there is something inside deep down that wants to find the light, the hope, and the joy.

In my limited experiences the one thing that has never failed me is that flicker of joy burning steadily in my soul. It’s always there. Sometimes it burns a little brighter. Sometimes I do things to extinguish it, but it’s resilient and keeps burning.

It’s God.
Jesus in my soul…

He knocked at the door many years ago and I answered. Since that day I’ve never looked back.
Never does He pester or hound me, as He sometimes should.
Always does He sooth and comfort me, as I don’t deserve.

I hope that if you haven’t ignited that flame of peace, you’ll at least think about it.
You know the story. Jesus loves us. He died for us. He forgives us.
He just wants us to accept that. Why is that so hard?
In your lifetime, how many gifts have you rejected? Straight up told the gift giver, “Nope. I don’t want that.”

gpThink about that for a few minutes. Maybe you’ve rejected a lot of gifts. Do you regret it? Ask all of the questions you have. If you want, talk to Him about it. Tell Him about your doubts. Tell Him how sad and lonely or frustrated and angry you feel. I’ve done it.

What’s the worst thing that could happen? If He’s not there and He doesn’t care then you wasted a few minutes.

But I tell ya, if you just watch the sun set with all of its vibrant hues or take some time to learn about the insanely complex anatomy of your body you’ll know that He’s for real.

He’s the one person in my life that has never let me down or disappointed me.

“And SURELY I am with you ALWAYS,
to the very END OF THE AGE.”
~Matthew 28:20

Oh, and before you assume, or ask, the answer is no. This story is not about me. It’s not about a particular friend either. It’s about everyone. We all experience these emotions in one circumstance or another. Some elements of the things I talk about are more real for me, which I am thankful for. I’m thankful for my experiences because they’ve given me limited understanding and compassion for the stories of others around me.