Tuesday, July 25, 2017

show up

Tonight's post will be short, partly because it's 12:30 and what in the world am I thinking?! And also partly because I'm exhausted: physically, emotionally, and mentally. It has been a LONG. DAY.

Details will come later, but at this point, let me just say thing: I had my day somewhat planned out. I had good intentions to make progress in all the things that occupy my brain on a regular basis. But God decided that I would have different plans with a bigger priority. So, I went with God because... well... He's God.

But you know that whole Biblical thing of Him not giving you more that you can handle? I'll tell you what: I couldn't handle today. Physically, mentally, or emotionally.  BUT!!! God knew that and sent me friends and texts of encouragement and people who talked me through today and family who showed up when I needed them to.

People showed up for me today.

So if I can share one piece of advice from today (and from various experiences in my life), I'm gonna tell you to show up.

Show up.
Do the tough thing.
Sacrifice for a friend.
Or do the easy thing.
Send a text.
Or an emoji.
Bring a meal.
Babysit a kiddo.
Do yard work.
Visit an older person.
Give someone a gift.
I don't know what friend needs to  you to show up today, but it the opportunity presents itself, SHOW UP!! Because if you were in their shoes, you'd want them to show up too.

And I know this because today I was in those shoes and in the midst of chaos, my friend showed up. And then continued to show up.
God knew exactly what I needed and provided.

I'm pooped.
But just in case I didn't get my point across:
Show up!!


Monday, July 24, 2017


THIS is the face of an unhappy woman! Ok, I know you can't see my face, but if you could, it would look like this: 😤. Yeah, that's pretty accurate. A few months ago, one of my dear children drop my iPad on the ground and the screen shattered. I write all my blog posts from my iPad. I haven't fixed it yet because: money. It's just not a financial priority at this time. Plus I have an awesome computer to work from! But currently that awesome computer is waiting on an update that it says it is 100% done doing...and has been 100% done doing for the last 15 minutes. I am typing this on my itty-bitty phone. I don't have a big, honkin' phone screen. Just an itty-bitty one. Each letter that I type is less than a millimeter tall. Technology and I are not friends. Never have been, and I have resigned myself to the fact that we probably never will be.

That being said, if there is an abundance of misspellings in this post, autocorrect obviously didn't read my mind correctly and I'm not going to be able to see them either. So, let's just go with it!

But first, some Goldfish Crackers (because obviously I never completely grew up).

I'm approaching my 30-something birthday next month. I've spent a lot of time with my 20-something niece and nephew and a bit of time with my not 30-something mom. And one thing that seems to pop in my head with all of us is that it's never too late.

 It's never to late to change something about yourself or to try something new. It's never too late to build relationships or go down a new career path. It's never too late to change your eating habits and to make a step in the right direction for your health (Augh! Blasted goldfish crackers!!) It's never too late to heed God's call on your life, to follow a passion He has burning in your heart.

It's never too late to live!

You think you're beyond hope for your future, whatever that might be?
Well, you're NOT!!
There is an amazing future out there, waiting to be had by you! You're never beyond hope, if you're walking with God's strength and purpose.

So get your butt out of bed and go do things!!
Because you're awesome.
I said so, that's why!


Wouldn't you know it? My computer finally stopped thinking about being 100% done and is now ready for me to use it. Not beyond hope: I just had to wait for it. 🙄

Thursday, July 20, 2017

my secret

I'm going to share a little secret with you.
Well, if you know me well, you probably already know this about me.
It's kinda a big deal, to me anyway...

Truth is: I don't have this life thing figured out.
Parenting, marriage, friendships, God, even my own self! - how to do any of it well, I haven't a clue.
Every time I embrace some kind of accomplishment, I turn around to see 25 things that are staring me in the face saying, "Figure me out next!"

There are Legos all over my floor. I probably spent too much money at Target today. I forgot to purchase one of the items my hubs requested of me today. The guest and kids' bathroom has been cleaned at least 4x more often than the master bath. (There is TP dust EVERYWHERE!) I eat too much garbage. My kids eat too much garbage. (Taco Bell for lunch? And that was a bribe because I suck...) Not a one of us, except probably my husband, drinks enough water. The litter box has been waiting for a few days to be changed and the turtle needs clean water in his tank. I didn't floss my kid's teeth tonight because I was too tired. (Seriously, how much effort does it really take to floss his teeth?!) I walked into my daughter's room to say good-night and she immediately felt my sense of disappointment in her (mostly because her room looked like a red-headed tornado had whipped through there), but it turns out that my disappointment was mostly in myself because as I looked around at the variety of things that I had asked her to do already in that room, I realized that I just plain suck at momming. That is the precise moment when the heaviness of failure fell upon me.

I think it would benefit everyone in this family if I left, found a warm, cozy beach and hung out by myself for a while. Well, maybe it would benefit me the most, but I think everybody would appreciate my uptight, frustrated, stressed out absence for a bit!

I don't got this.

But here's my comfort in all of this. I might not have it together. I might be failing in 75% of my attempts at life, but for Pete's sake: I have my heart pointed in the right direction! I am trying! I am not giving up. I am constantly working to do things better as a wife, mom, friend, child of God, and self. And I think that's got to count for something!

Personally, I think God takes a look at the heart and effort and says, "It's okay, Kat. I've got you covered."

I don't have this.
But, as usual, God does.


changing the world

I find that I tend to repeat certain themes on my blog. It's not so much that I think y'all need to hear it, but more so that I need constant reminding on things. You'd think that I'd figure something out and it would stick, right? But no, I'm like a child: in need of constant training over and over and over again.

Today's reminder: Encourage.

In each of my kids' rooms there lives a notebook. Neither one is very fancy and they were both inexpensive. But what's inside is invaluable.

Every so often, right before I go to bed, I write a message to each kiddo, something that will encourage them when they wake up and read it the next day. Sometimes I also apologize for something I did earlier in the day (because I can do some pretty stupid stuff and say some real idiotic things as a mom) or I remind them of a behavior they are trying to change. But it's always something to build them up and encourage them for the next day. When I'm done, I leave it open on their bedroom floor where they will trip over it in the morning. It ensures they will read it. (Sometimes there's too much other junk and stuff to trip over on their floor so I will leave it right outside their bedroom door!)

My kids ask for me to write in their notebooks frequently. And I totally understand why. If I woke up each morning to an encouraging message awaiting me, I'd probably have an easier time getting out of bed! And then I would feel just awesome about myself and then I would do amazing things throughout the day and make the world a better place, I'm sure of it!

But like I mentioned before, sometimes as a mom I do stupid stuff like: not write words of encouragement in their notebooks on a regular basis. Soooo, I'm going to go do that now.

Do you have 30 seconds to send/write/say something encouraging to someone? You never know: your words could help someone change the world!


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

summer plans

Ummm, did anyone else see the beginning or middle of summer? Because I'm pretty sure I missed it. IT IS ALREADY JULY 18!! I can sit here and be flabbergasted at how quickly the time has flown, but I'm really, truly, not at all flabbergasted. *sigh* It was so crazy busy at the Cragin Homestead that I think we're all just starting to emerge from our own version of "survival mode." I, personally, am crawling out, hiding my eyes from the blinding light that pours through my kitchen windows because I haven't yet bought curtains for them...

Let me sum up June and the first half of July for you:

Kitchen Remodel
House guests
Wedding (semi-coordinator of said wedding)
House guests
Finish of Kitchen Remodel
July 4th Celebration
Linc's Birthday
House guests
 And BOOM!: we start school in 1 month.

I had some awesome plans set out for myself so that I could accomplish amazing things this summer. I was going to take time to write every day. I was going to make sure my kids got some awesome fun (educational) stuff done every week! I have a small mountain of upcycling projects that I just can't wait to delve into. They beckon me every day! I had plans written out in my bullet journal (which is a new current obsession, thanks to an introduction from my niece!) and I was going to accomplish ALL the things! EVERY SINGLE THING!

And here I sit, just now blogging for the first time in 2 months. And I cleaned up a piece of furniture today, the first piece I've touched. And I had my son read to me today. AND DID I MENTION THAT IT IS ALREADY JULY 18?!

Today's take away in all this malarkey? (Did you know that it was spelled "malarkey" and not "malarky?" I didn't.)
Here's the truth: We make our plans, but God directs them.

When I look back at this past month and see how He worked in our lives as well as the lives of the people we interacted with through our kitchen remodel and the numerous house guests we had, He knew, better than we did, what He was doing.

When I look back at the experiences and growth that has happened to our family over the last month, I wouldn't change God's plans back to my own for a million bucks. I mean, I'd consider it because a million bucks is a WHOLE lot more than I make teaching piano lessons each year and it would remodel the ENTIRE house, not just the kitchen....but I'd really only consider it for a minute...or five.

God makes it pretty clear in His #truthbomb from Isaiah 55: 9 ~  "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."

That's right: God just put us ALL in our place!

So go ahead make your plans, but just know that His are bigger and better and higher!


Monday, May 15, 2017

oh monday...

I am lying on my family room floor, eating Cheetos at 10:49 at night while I write this. THAT is the kind of Monday it has been: Cheetos at 10:49 on Monday night bad. The entire world was out to get me today, I'm 100% certain of that. And the thing that sucked most of all was that I woke up with a "determined to get it all done" attitude, ready to take on all the challenges and accomplish things left and right! And little by little, Monday tried to beat it out of me. Praise Jesus for amazing friends who text you encouragement before noon because the day has already made its way down the toilet by then!

Perhaps you noticed one key little word in the above paragraph (or maybe not. If you're like me you're reading this as you're waking up and things are still a big foggy.) The word is "tried." Yeah, that's right: tried! Monday did NOT take me down. It didn't finish me. I didn't give up but kept on keeping on (or whatever that phrase is...) You see, me and Mondays, we've been battling all school year long. I honestly have no idea why it is the way, but everything is an uphill battle on Monday; just a real struggle of a day! And today is our last Monday of the school year so I just think Monday decided to give me one last hurrah. 

But you know what, Monday?! I'm getting used to your crap and I'm a fighter! NO SURRENDERING TODAY!!

Now granted, I didn't handle all of today's garbage with patience and grace. Just ask my kids!! Any complaining was handle with absolute frustration and irritation 😳 and I'm pretty sure I just gave up on teaching my daughter Math today. And when I discovered that there was no ground coffee left for me to make a "Saving Grace Cup of Joe," I ran our booties to Sbux and got an expensive fattening, sugar-filled Salted (not really because the salt is seasonal *sigh*) Caramel Mocha Frappe. And when finding something for lunch became a hassle for everyone, I completely gave up and headed to McD's for all the unhealthy lunch choices. 

However!!!! We accomplished a TON of stuff that I could've just said "FORGET YOU, STUFF! I AM NOT IN THE MOOD!" That's right! We did school work. We purged half of the school room. We cleaned and did laundry and dishes and ran 25 errands...well it felt like 25, ok?! We had a healthy dinner and created and crafted together. And when the stupid stuff happened, like the low fuel light on my truck that came on in the middle of errands (ok, God, I'd be super grateful if you'd make the gas gauge in my truck just like the little old lady's bottle of oil: not overflowing, but just enough that I'd never run out...) I just added another errand to my "to do" list and "to did" it. 

I kicked Monday's butt and I deserve every single one of these Cheetos. I'm even gonna give myself props because these are the healthier Cheetos: no artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors! (Okay, that really only makes me feel a smidge better about my late night chip snacking.)

Friends: don't let your Monday (whatever that might be in your life) drag you down. Fight through it! Show 'em who's boss! And it's okay to keep it all balanced with some grace for yourself, ya know: like eating Cheetos at 10:49 at night. 😉

Tomorrow is a new day. ❤️

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

by the grace of God

A while back I had a wonderful gal leave me a voicemail about my blog. She blessed me with her words of encouragement and praised me for the job I was doing as a woman of God. She told me that as she read my blogs, she believed that I was more than surviving, I was thriving by the grace of God.

She's right, in one sense. I would be drowning in this whole wife/mom/woman thing if it weren't for God. But here I am, walking upright, striving to be who God wants me to be. I get laundry done and feed the people in this house who always seem to need to eat. I maintain a clean-ish house 😜 and my kids are decent at their math facts and reading skills. I've got amazing friends. And we live in the most wonderful neighborhood. And my truck still runs and most of my clothes don't have holes in them. So I get from one perspective, I'm thriving!

But that's not how it feels. Maybe it's just me, but usually I feel like I'm floundering. I could be doing everything a whole lot better than I do. I could be disappointing a lot less people. I could be a better wife and mom who knows how to get every stain out of all articles of clothing and who can cook healthy things and make them taste amazing so my while family will love every meal. I could be better at responding to emails and texts and messages. I could take more time to send out birthday cards and to make more phone calls to friends. I could be making better choices on how to spend our money or on how to educate our kids. I could...I should...😕

Mental picture time:

I am not sitting in a beautiful sail boat with a giant smile on my face and the wind blowing through my hair as the sun shines down on my skin.

Nope. I'm in a life preserver, bobbing along with the waves, exhausted and wet with sunburned cheeks and dried out lips. 

I'm surviving. 

But let me tell you what surviving means to me. 
A survivor is someone who has made it through difficult times and has come out stronger on the other side. A survivor is someone who lives in gratitude because of what they have been through. A survivor doesn't give up. A survivor can face the next trial with determination and confidence because they can look back and see what they already lived through. 

Yes, because of God, I am alive and thriving.
But because of God, I am also a survivor.

I know I'm in good company when I say I'm surviving by the grace of God.

Can I get a Hallelujah?!