Miss E Turns Four

It was as if I had tunnel vision: I stared at the clock reading 6:30 am, and that's all I could see. Crowds of nurses and doctors swirled around me as Mr. Kuda held my hand. Pushing wasn't coming easy, and as my gaze slipped from the clock to the doctor's face, I watched his lips quietly move as he spoke to the nurse: We need to get the baby out.

Labor had started nine hours earlier, and I had been pushing for at least two. The details are hazy and filled with oxygen masks, crazy yoga positions, and words of encouragement from practical strangers. They weren't strangers any more: we had survived this night together. Mr. Kuda was so excited he was actually doing a happy dance, filled with part wonder, part excitement, and part sheer exhaustion (and maybe a bit of terror?).

Within an hour, she was screaming. Her cry was sweet and soft, but as the color came to her cheeks, she was handed to me.

"She was holding onto her cord, that stinker. She was holding on for the ride."

If only we had known at the time: we would be the ones holding on for dear life as we became parents for the first time on that blustery Thanksgiving morning. In an instant, we were changed. We were parents.

Miss E, this has been a year of growing in so many ways. You have a heart of gold, your sense of humor surprises me daily, and your soul is wider and deeper than a good amount of adults I've encountered. You make mistakes on purpose, because you like to learn things for yourself. You are so smart, it's scary. You show me how to look at things of this world in different ways, and I love you for it.

Most importantly? Your heart is filled to the brim with a loving kindness so strong, it is awe inspiring. Last night at dinner, you didn't see my napkin in my lap, so you started to rip yours in half so I could have one. Last week, you made sure daddy was OK with me taking the last bite at dinner because you know he loves pasta so much. You don't skip any chance to love on your brother, and you tell me all the things you love about your friends all. the. time.

Miss E, you have rocked our world in more ways than one. You are filled with spice and we never know what we're going to get with you. And we wouldn't change it for anything in this sweet life God has given us.

Heavenly Father, bless this sweet girl of ours on this, her fourth birthday. Lord, we pray she grows courageous, strong, and wise. We pray she loves You always, and that we can show her what a life living for You looks like. Lord, protect her heart, guide her mind, and lead her to show kindness for others always. Amen.

xoxo, k.


Y'all, this week has hit me over the head with commitments and turkey. I'm spent! I'd LOVE to get out a post before Thanksgiving, but in case it just doesn't happen, I pray you have a Thanksgiving filled with people you love, good food, and the peace that the holidays should bring. Thirty days until Christmas!

xoxo, k.


Five Minute Friday: Notice

Every week, a whole heap of fabulous women get together and bravely write for Five Minute Friday. Today's prompt is...



The journey has been so long. Years and years, really. So I hadn't really noticed the differences. I hadn't noticed how You had changed me from the inside out, how my views have changed, how my world view is through an entirely new set of eyes. I hadn't noticed, until a stranger stopped me in Babies R Us when her words knocked me flat off my feet.

You are so joyful. What's your secret?

I know what my response should have been: Jesus! Jesus Christ! He is my secret! And He can be yours!

But I was so floored. So surprised by the joy of Christ oozing from my soul without me even realizing it, that I forgot to give Him credit.

I think of that woman all the time. Her broad smile, her warm gestures, her eyes seeking. She noticed me. She noticed Christ in my life, before I saw it for myself. I wish I could find her. Wrap her in my arms and tell her, You can have this, too! I mourn that day. I celebrate that day. I imagine the Day she and I will sit together, reminiscing on the old days, smiling knowing smiles, sharing our lives.


Today? Notice the details. Notice those around you. Make connections.

Have a fantastic weekend!

xoxo, k.


Perspective: Giving Thanks {Three}

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It started with Mr. C. I really hate to put blame on any one person, especially my son, but it's true: His inability to sleep got the ball rolling.

Just over two years ago, eight weeks into his little life, one thing became quite apparent: He was not a good sleeper. The less he slept, the more I felt the walls of our two bedroom duplex crowd around us. Poor Miss E dealt with the consequences of waking up every two or so hours each night very well, better than any two year old should be asked. But by the end of 2012, it was very clear that our current living situation would not work.

Or at least, that's what I had convinced myself to believe.

Over the next eight months, I obsessed over "the new house." Whatever that meant. In my mind, the notion of the new house solved all of my problems. Somehow I had been lured into the sentiment that, because we would be able to put the kiddos in separate rooms, I would get more sleep. Somehow giving the kids their own rooms morphed into more sleep for me, which meant more happiness for me, which meant I would have more energy to be the best mom ever, which meant I would be the best wife ever, which meant...

Do you see where I went there?

The thing about thankfulness, is that it often has no merit unless given the proper perspective. My perspective was so warped by the time we moved to the rental house in August of 2013, I had forgotten the original source of it all. Deep down (somewhere), I knew the real reasons for moving: so we could have a simpler life, so I could continue to stay home with the kids, to offer them the life that we wanted them to have. But the appreciation for what we had already had all but slipped through my well-rested fingers, and I felt lost.

Loss for friendships, loss for familiarity, loss for my true identity.

Slowly, but surely, I climbed my way out of the hole that I had dug. What helped me?

Thankfulness. In the every day, boring minutiae of the wash, rinse, repeat life I had come to know.

I miss my friends.
God, thank you for those enduring friendships. Thank you for the joy I had each time we were together, and thank you for giving me courage to meet new friends and pursue deep relationships. Because of those women, I know what true friendship is.

I'm lonely.

Thank you for my husband, Lord. Thank you for the comic relief he gives me every day, and the companionship You know I need. Thank you for the joy he gives to our family day in and day out.

Our house isn't what I want it to be.

Thank you for warmth, and a roof over our heads. Thank you for all of your provisions as our house was built. Thank you for a yard our children can safely play in. 

I miss being around adults during the day, and being the only one who can fulfill their needs just wears. me. down.

Thank you for a dedicated husband and the wonderful job he has so that I can stay home during these young years in our children's lives. 

Thank you, God,  for being the only One who can fulfill our needs. And not the needs we think we ought to have, but the needs you know we must have. Like joy. And peace. And contentment.

And you see what I did there? Perspective.

Feeling discontent? Find thanks in it. Even if it's small. Even if it's hard. You'll be amazed at the outcome, and I promise you this: you will find joy even in the smallest of things.

xoxo, k.

Hooking up with some amazing inspiration on this Monday! Head on over!


Five Minute Friday: Still

Every week, a whole heap of fabulous women get together and bravely write for Five Minute Friday. Today's prompt is...



After I hit snooze for the third time, the text message from my friend got me up and moving.

"Can't. Get. Out. Of. Bed."

She's my early morning quiet time partner. Because if someone else is up doing her quiet time thing and she calls you on it, you pull yourself up from the warmth of bed, too. Because there's just something about the stillness of a house basking in the pre-dawn haze, and there's just a little bit of glory in the moments before the pitter pat of feet on the floor take me from the role of  just Kristin doing her thing to mom, chef, admin, wife, daughter, caregiver, organizer and doer of all things.

"I'll get up if you get up," was how I responded.

Because these quiet, still moments? They matter. Regardless of the tasks of the day, the length of the to do lists, and the distance in which we may be stretched, this time is ours.


I hope y'all have a great weekend! I'm particularly thankful for this one. We've had sick kiddos this week, and though the running noses and coughs are lingering, we're settling in with visiting family, hot cocoa, and a warm fire. Enjoy your moments!

xoxo, k.


Fall Decor Preview (Review?)

I'm aware that it's mid-November. Honestly, the fall decor in this house has been creeping in since mid-September. But there was this little project called 31 Days that kind of took over my life, which meant that all things ceased to exist so I could actually complete it!

My crafty craft desires have been going crazy, though, and poor Mr. Kuda has dealt with the repercussions of this: gold ribbon and sparkly pumpkins showing up in various places around our house. The need for "more garland!" and him constantly hearing, "I just don't think we have enough pumpkins."

And then we decided to host Thanksgiving, and it's pretty much sent me into overdrive, decorating wise.  But I love it, so I thought I'd share some of it with you :)

Just to keep things real, as we are in the constant pursuit of conquering perfectionism in these parts, I thought I'd share what my living room looked like last night, as I finished editing the photos for this post...

There. Feel better?

I should also note, that everything, excluding the live pumpkins, I bought on sale, or already had in my house. The total for all decor was under $40. For a whole season. Win.

Let's start outdoors, shall we? I think it's safe to say I have a healthy obsession with both wreaths, and pumpkins...

A toddler may have been trying to escape. Hence, opening door.
Let's just pretend that it's closed, yes?
For a tutorial on felt flowers, check out my spring wreath where I give some nice details to achieve this look. Love me some felt.

Inside, here's a wreath that started out like this:

And ended up like this:

Nothing a little burlap and acorns from the yard can't fix.
Three bucks at Target, friends. Three dollars.

Above our mantel, we have our television. And while I'm not 100% sold on the fact that it should be there, it is, so we work with it.  Using some garland from our local craft store, I recreated something I found from Pier 1 (for $30 a piece!) in these:

They cost me less than $1 each, and they serve some great texture next to the big 'ole flat screen.

The pumpkin brigade continues throughout the house, stashed in bowls and the like throughout. And there's lots of glittery gourds, too. Because a girl can't help herself...

Glitter pumpkins & gourds found at Hobby Lobby & Family Dollar
And that's pretty much it! Next week, I'll give you a sneak peak of our Thanksgiving table. I'm SO excited to be hosting this year's feast, as it's the first Turkey Day in our new house. AND my mom and sister just moved to the area over the summer, so the fact that we'll be all together for the first time under one roof is unprecedented. AND since I don't cook (we leave that to Mr. Kuda), the festive atmosphere is just going to have to be where I put my efforts :)

Here's a glimpse of our place setting. And I'm just going to let you know now, I'm not spending more than a few bucks on fabric for napkins. We are going all out on love and using what we have!

Have a great week friends!

xoxo, k.


Giving Thanks {Two}

Yesterday, we went to church. We went to early mass so we could get some things done afterward, as the next few weeks bring with them house guests, birthdays, and the true kick-off to the Holiday Season (despite what the mall suggests to us): Thanksgiving.

We were home by 10 am, and the kids ran around Mr. Kuda while he completed some much needed yard and house work. I *finally* got around to tackling some piles in my office. I vacuumed, I dusted, all while listening to a book on tape and enjoyed some much needed solitude before the craziness of the next few weeks settle in. We planned an early Sunday dinner, and my mom came over. We ate. We relaxed on the couch, basking the ordinary-ness of it all.

Little fragments of thoughts tried to pry their way in to my mind: the decorations I want for my house, the dinner I want to host, the family we should plan. But I was able to keep those thoughts at bay. Because today, in all of its ordinary and normal? It was a great day. There were tantrums and "no!" There were unchecked items on my never endig to do list. But there were life breathed moments that, while ordinary, became extraordinary. Because they were ours.

Sometimes I get so busy trying to make the life I think I should have to be memorable, that I forget to be thankful for the beautiful life set directly in front of me.

Miss E took a nap yesterday. So when I went to do my final rounds before finding my own slumber, I wasn't surprised to hear her sing-songy voice as I approached her door. I can't really remember the specifics of our conversation, but I know she asked to play with my hair, and I know she told me she loved today because all of her family were in the same house. I held up my fingers to take a "memory picture" of her sweet face. When she asked why, I told her that I took a picture in my mind because I wanted to remember this moment with her sweet face forever.

She grinned.

You can do that?

You can do whatever you want with your memories, Em.

She smiled again.

Thankful. For the ordinarily extraordinary. For the normal and mundane. For the expected and routine. Thankful.


Sometimes we just get caught up in the details, yes? Regardless of our circumstances, we have so many sweet things to be thankful for. As you take time to look around, what are you thankful for this week?

Give thanks in everything, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18

xoxo, k.

Hooking up with some amazing inspiration on this Monday! Head on over!


Five Minute Friday: Turn

Every week, a whole heap of fabulous women get together and write for Five Minute Friday. Today's prompt is...



The sun shone brightly as we ran through the cool morning breeze. She turned away from me as we dodged the lower lying tree limbs, and giggled. She reached back to me as we went, but as my hand grasped to feel her tiny smooth fingers, my own fingers moved through hers as if she were a ghost. And then she was gone.

I woke up to my heart thumping in my ears, the fear of losing Miss E somewhere in the woods haunting me deep down to the bottom of my soul. And as I sat up to catch my breath, I realized almost immediately what the dream had meant in that moment.

She's getting older. A little braver. A little more ready to walk a few feet in front of or behind us. As her fourth anniversary on this earth creeps up on us, I can sense her independence growing. Her want to figure things out on her own. I am so so proud of her, but my heart aches for this very moment. This time that feels like a tipping point of sorts, teetering on the old and new, the young and old, on the brave and not quite so sure.


Though she be but little, she is fierce!
Oh, this girl of ours. She's done quite a number on me, and we haven't even gotten to the hard stuff. Hope y'all are enjoying your Friday evening!

xoxo, k.


Good Enough. Again.

Because the message bears repeating, and I still can't grasp the concept. Because even when I think I'm finished with this very message, my sweet new friend texts me and says, "I just expect too much from myself. And then I fail. Thank you for sharing your experiences and love for God."

She sees my love for God. She may be just one, but she sees it.

And as the tears rolled down my cheeks at the poignancy of her words, it hit me. Last night, I sat for more than five minutes for the first time since 6 am, and couldn't slow my mind enough to enjoy the moment of quiet bodies asleep upstairs. Surely I should be doing something. There's so much to be done. And then the list of a thousand to do's pops into my head, and I had to reread what I just read on my phone and rewind the show I was watching.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Somehow I've persuaded my thoughts to tell my "stay at home mom" self I don't have any excuse but to be busy all. the. time. Because if I'm staying at home, the judgment police will show up on the doorstep of my mind revealing my worth to be solely measured in house chores completed, baths given, and pinterest projects conquered.

Because I feel like if I'm not 100% to all the people, then I'm nothing at all to anyone. 

Somehow we've convinced ourselves, that at home or not, children or not, married or not, that we're just not ever going to measure up. And I don't know about you, but when I get to that point? I just stop. I freeze. Because I can't move any further into that place, but I can't turn myself around either. I know it's destructive, but I can't seem to get out of it. We've been told these things so often that it has crept into the cracks of our souls and we just can't seem to come up for air to see the Truth that lies ahead.

What if I told you that these are lies and there's a Truth so big and so important, that it could change your life? What if it meant that you're good enough, and the you  you are at this very moment is meant for a greater purpose? That the hard moments you feel you've failed the most were placed there to bear the burdens of others around you? To show others that we're all in it together?

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10

What a beautiful picture. Changes your perspective, yes? To be God's workmanship. Just as the sun and the moon and the stars. He wouldn't have it any other way, the way you do your life. The way you throw yourself into house chores by night and into your children's lives or your corporate job or your marriage by day.

This work that we do. We are called to it. And the beauty of it all is this: We aren't in it alone. If anything, there is One who is there behind the intricacies and details of every move we make.

You know what that gives me?  




You are good enough. And so much more.

xoxo, k.


Giving Thanks {One}

It's November. And my head is spinning from a whirlwind of encouragement and love spread through the month of October. So much so, that I have no idea where to go from here! But I do know this: I will write. I will encourage. And I hope you'll continue with me on my journey.

I'm trying something new (for me) this month. Since I try to hook up with some inspiring folks on Mondays, I'm going to use this, the first day of the week, as a common theme throughout the month. I'll still post some crafty crafts from time to time, but I think it's clear that God's plan is not for me to glorify Him in that way!

This morning, as my brain lay empty in the vast wasteland that some people call "writer's block," I read a verse, and how fitting it was on this first Monday of November:

Everything is for your benefit, so that grace extended through more and more people, may cause thanksgiving to increase God's glory.
2 Corinthians 4:15

Wasn't that exactly what my 31 Days of Encouragement about? It's simple: the more you put in, the more you get out. The more grace extended, the more and more people receive.

Here's the thing about the enemy: He can't stand this. His sole purpose is to separate people. to find a fault then dig his heels deep so that the crevice of negativity, and destroy the power of relationships we have in one another.

How do we stop it?

We give thanks. Even in those who are driving us crazy and have weird personality ticks, we thank our sweet Lord for their presence in our lives. We find the good. We find the light. Darkness can't live in those places. When we seek just the smallest glimmer, the tiniest fractal of light, we defeat the enemy and grace carries on.

Happy Monday, friends!

xoxo, k.
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