Five Minute Friday: Mighty

First off, a little homework for you all. I started following this amazing blog a few months ago. And for those of you who know her, you know Lisa-Jo Baker is a special kind of person who just knows how to put words down on paper (and I'm well aware I'm super late to the Lisa-Jo party, but I'm thrilled to finally have found her). She wrote a book, and I'm telling you I can't wait to get my hands on it!

She doesn't know me, and I don't know her (though I feel like I do), but what I do know is that this book is important. She understands what it is like to be a momma. That we all struggle in the daily minutia of it all, but we were made to be here, in this place. This gut-wrenching, emotionally and physically exhausting place of motherhood, where we so often feel isolated and trapped. She lets us be OK with feeling like that, then picks us up so we can carry on. Because that's what we mothers do. We carry on.

So get yourself a copy of Surviving Motherhood! It comes out on Tuesday, but I'm pre-ordering mine today :)

In other news, I've been feeling lead to write more, and I can't really get better unless I, well, write. So I'm challenging myself to write at least three times per week, and one of those will be a link-up for Five Minute Friday. This week's prompt is...



I can't find the link for this, but if/when I do, I'll post it!

You are just a wee boy, but to me you are strong. You are wise beyond your years, and you are mine. You have no idea the pull you have on me, oh sweet boy that will likely be my last. This mighty pull of yours takes me to the land of boys. Where everything is rough and tumble and mud and water everywhere and throwing food. Yet, you smile and my heart melts and you can do no wrong.

I think about who you'll be, who you'll love, what you'll throw yourself into. I wonder if you'll continue to be an observer, a problem solver, but one whose temper flares when things aren't right. I pray you'll be a mighty man, who loves the Lord, loves his wife, loves his children. Who does right, who looks out for those who don't have your grace, your strength, your confidence. Who loves those even when they don't love you back. I pray you find your happy place in many ways, and that you do it your own way, not depending on others to define who you are.

You are my mighty little man. Full of possibilities, spunk, fire for life. I love you, sweet boy.


Until next time,

Mrs. Kuda
Five Minute Friday


I Miss My House

Did you know that, until less than a year ago, I had never owned a loaf pan? When we got married, it never even crossed my mind to put it on our registry. And while I can make a mean snickerdoodle, that's kind of the extent of my baking prowess. But when you're home with two kids under three in a neighborhood with postage stamp yards, and you have week old bananas at home, you bake banana bread. Even if you don't know how. Or own a loaf pan. Because you know what? You're pretty sure there's at least one available loaf pan within a 100 yard radius of your house. Because that's how our neighborhood was.

And we made some delicious banana bread.

On the third go around. The first two were too mushy in the center. Rookie mistake.

When God told us to move, I knew we'd be leaving the convenience of a tightly knit 'hood. And we also knew that what we had found was rare real estate gold. All of the best friends we had in VA were within our doorsteps. There were SIX of us pregnant at the same time, for goodness sakes! Our children played with each other from the moment they were born. The women of the 'hood were closer than I ever thought possible. We all depended on each other for one thing or another. Our stay in Northern Virginia was life changing.

We had moved to Northern Virginia as a newly married couple with all the hopes and dreams any newly married couple should have. We left with six years under our belts, two kids, and way more stuff than should ever fit into a 980 square foot home.

There were Friday night drinks (and Saturday and Sunday and Monday, and, well, you get the point) on the front lawn, hot summers with late bedtimes, fire pits, front yard bar-b-q, laughing so hard we cried, babies learning to crawl and walk and talk and play, leaning on shoulders to cry on as we discovered this parenting thing wasn't so easy, being that shoulder for the newly inducted. There were friendships made that will last a lifetime, some that were only for that time in our lives. My love for God grew more furiously than I had ever imagined.

Life Changing.

We knew the move was right, but living in our rental house while the new house was being built was kind of like being on vacation. A really long and difficult and frustrating vacation full of lonely nights, unpacked boxes and bare walls. Although we've been in the new house for SIX WEEKS, it feels like a lifetime, but it's still not mine.

The floorboards don't squeak like they used to when I check in on the kids, except that there's this new creak at the top of the stairs and I hit it every time and Mr. C always hears it, despite how soundly he was just sleeping. The house is so quiet that Copley hears the deer outside and trucks from a mile away that she couldn't possibly actually hear, except that she pretends she does and goes absolutely berserk.  Which she did in our old house, but that was always an indication that someone was just stopping by to say hi or drop off a loaf pan.

This was actually taken the night I went into labor with Miss E. It never looked this clean again.

Now that we're in our forever home, we've realized that it will take ten minutes to walk to the neighbor's house for an egg. Or more like twenty when you consider a toddler and a preschooler and all involved to get the three of us out of the house. Which means we should have just jumped in the car to the store to get a whole dozen of eggs, but then I realize that will just take too long. Note to self: must get better organized with grocery shopping.

I miss my house. I miss knowing how to navigate each room in the dark. I miss knowing which neighbors are home just by the sounds I hear and the sights I see when I open the front door. I miss the sweet nursery we made for Miss E, then changed around to accommodate Mr. C. I miss being able to show up at a friend's house unannounced and accidentally end up staying way past dinner time.

But we were called to leave. We were called here, to be in this place at this time. And though I'm not 100% sure why, I'm 100% sure we did the right thing. I walk around this unsure place, wondering where I'll fit in, when it will feel like home. Then I step outside into the chilly night air and see more stars than I've ever seen from a place I've actually lived in. I watch our kids find adventure in "hikes" through the woods that are their backyard. They discover paw prints and nature trails and see deer and owls and turkeys right at our back window. We sit cozily by the fireplace looking at each other.. how did we get this lucky?

Do I miss my house? Yes. But it's not my house any more. This is my house. The place our children will know as a safe and comfortable and loving place. It is where Mr. Kuda and I will grow together. It is sacred. It is our home.

Until next time,

Mrs. Kuda


The Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth

March 5, 2014
Ash Wednesday

I'm not really sure where to start.

The past ten months have been... Busy. Overwhelming. Life-changing. But not in the major life-changing way you might think.

Well, we moved. And built a house. And moved again. And I might have lost a smidgen of my sanity in the process. So maybe it was a major life-changing way you might think. Major.

But here I am. About to go on a limb. I'm about to jump into a place I'm not sure quite where I'll land. I am changed, and in order to continue with my blog I must be transparent.

God told me that we needed to move. And He told me where to go. I have never experienced anything like it. And I was scared to tell anyone. At least anyone who didn't know I believed in God or Jesus Christ. Scared.

Sweaty-palmed, shaking knees, SCARED.

Why? Because some of my friends don't know this about me. That I love the Lord and try to follow, usually quite poorly, in His ways. They might think that I've lost myself, that I've become "judgy" or "preachy," and that I'm not the same Mrs. Kuda that always was. And isn't that sad? My heart has been broken over this, because if they are my friends, won't they love me regardless?

Of course. My one true desire in my life has been for others to see Him in me. It has become glaringly clear that will never happen if I keep hidden the desires of my heart and the true way I want to live from at least half of the people I  know and love! What good is it then?

So before you think I've gone crazy and I'm now receiving messages from the Almighty from high above, let me explain my story...

You know the little feeling you get deep down inside? The one that some call your instinct, or your gut? For me, that's God. And if I don't act on something, and He really wants me to go through with something, that nagging, gut-wrenching feeling doesn't go away. He continues to open door after door after door, leading me to where I know I'm supposed to go. Sometimes I follow it, and sometimes I don't.

What happened to me last year began as a small stirring. We had a 2 year old, and a 3 month old in a small house. We had decided that it was best for me to stay home with the kids, but the reality was that our time was short in our very expensive neighborhood; there was no way we could survive on one income while living the life we were living. Something had to change.

It felt like we looked all over the Eastern Seaboard. Nothing felt right. Until one Sunday morning in April of last year we decided to go to church in a town an hour south of us. How random is that? Our family, who goes to church  maybe once or twice a month, got up on a Sunday, and trucked it down to a random town in the middle of Virginia. All on a "gut" feeling.

And when we got there? Mr. Kuda and I somehow knew it was right for our family. And I can't tell you why, but we made an appointment the next weekend to look at houses. And the next weekend. Each time we went back to visit, the vision of where we were supposed to be became crystal clear. Though we weren't sure of the specific whys of where we were headed, by the end of May we had committed to BUILDING A HOUSE on almost three acres in the middle of nowhere. By August, we had sold our first home as a married couple and moved away from everything we knew in Northern Virginia: our wonderful neighborhood, convenience to a big city, and most importantly, friends who had become family.

Some of you may be thinking, "Kristin. It's an hour south. How different can it be?" Well, if you know Northern Virginia, you know that it may as well be its own nation. It is NOT like the rest of Virginia. At all. More on that another time.

So there I was, with my husband traveling up to the big city for work, me in a rental house with the kids, and in a neighborhood with no other stay at home moms, and God began to work. Despite not knowing a soul in our new town, He began to put people in our lives so we could move on and get our new lives started. I met a random woman in a park who has a house in the neighborhood where we were building. She was also part of a mom's group and has two girls around my kids ages. I joined the mom's group, and in turn found friends, a preschool for Miss E, and countless other ways to keep my sanity. Just about every person we've met has been kind, welcoming, and an answer to every prayer I've prayed over the course of this last year.

All because I listened. I'm sitting here in this amazing house. This amazing gift. The even bigger gift is that I am now able to stay at home with our kids; something I never thought I'd be able to for any length of time, or even really want to do. But here we are: a place I never thought we'd be. If I just accept this gift, and do nothing with it? If receiving this gift does nothing but give me a house and a few years at home with the kids? Isn't life more about the house you live in, your two cars and two children? What if there's more? What if this is beyond you and me, and there is a greater purpose to all of this?

Writing in this blog has always been an outlet for me. I'm not sure why, but during the past year, the other thing I felt led to do was to stop blogging. It was hard... I missed it. I had reached 100 followers! (side note: I am aware that that is pretty much nothing in the blog world, but to me, it was the world! I felt so cool!) But it wasn't true. And if it's not me being me, then why should I share anything at all?

That feeling deep down? It started up again after we were here a few months. It was time to start sharing again; there are stories that need to be told. But if you don't know the me, the real me, then what would be the point of it all? I'd be constantly editing myself and my true beliefs, and that's not real writing. There's no juicy goodness in that.

That leads me to my scared place. This post has been floating in my head for months, but I've been too afraid to write it. Too afraid to say out loud what's been going on inside my head. Too afraid that I'll alienate those I love, offend someone, and more, just putting myself in a vulnerable space I've never been is terrifying. But these stories of my life, of our lives needs to be told. Even if it's just for me to get over my fear of showing my true identity in Christ.

Ah! I just said it! My true identity in Christ. Typing it makes my palms sweat! Because that's where I sit today. My true self lies within Him and the ultimate sacrifice He made for me when He was crucified on the cross. And if He did that for me, and you, and everyone around us, can't I just write a little blog post about my true self? Seems simple, but given the courage I've needed (and lacked) for the better part of 6 months, maybe not so much.

Will you stay with me on this new adventure? Who knows where we'll end up! (Please don't say in another town in some random middle of nowhere state... My heart can't take it again this year!)

Until next time,

Mrs. Kuda
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