Living Room // Before + After

One of the many things I’ve learned the past few months is that DANG it’s nice to be married to a contractor.

For those who don’t know, Creighton is a project manager for a residential home builder here in Dallas. So when he bought this house in 2017 (eight months before I was in the picture), he had a clear vision of what the 1957 home could become.

Though I’m now helping him with decision making + decor, this living area project was all him…and I couldn’t be more proud of him or happy with his decisions!

So sit back, grab a cup of coffee, and enjoy a good ol’ before + after of our home’s living area.

B E F O R E

Here’s a look at the living + dining room from the front door right after Creighton bought the house in 2017. Directly on the other side of the living room/dining room was a den and the kitchen.
Sometimes I think the “open concept” trend is overrated, but is was certainly the way to go with our home since it’s only 1,800 square feet. Thus, down came the wall that separated the living/dining + kitchen/den.
Carpets were ripped out and replaced with hardwood floors.
Added some new recessed lights throughout the space.

A F T E R

VOILA! The end result.
And now with a little furniture! There are still so many decor projects I’d like to tackle in the living area, but slowly + surely, it’s getting there.

That’s it, folks! Hope you enjoyed.

KAT
(Currently listening to “River” by Leon Bridges)

Faithfulness in the Boring.

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Tish Harrison Warren’s book Liturgy of the Ordinary recounts a shocking study from The University of Virginia on boredom. In this study, participants sat alone in a room without technology or additional distractions, with the exception of a button that claimed it would shock them if pushed. The study showed that 2/3 of male participants and ¼ of female participants willingly decided to shock themselves rather than sit in silence during the fifteen-minute study.

I was appalled at the stupidity of the participants upon hearing about the study a few years ago; now, well over a month into quarantine, I’m starting to get it. I, like so many of you, have recently become well acquainted with the feeling of boredom.

Our days have begun to look more mundane. We’re confined to our homes. We are yearning for connection in what feels like “lesser ways,” such as Zoom and phone calls, while busying ourselves with what feels like “lesser tasks,” such as doing the laundry or making a meal for our family. We are bored over the ordinary of our daily lives, and if we are being honest with ourselves, we are also discontent.

But then I am reminded of Ecclesiastes 2:24-26, which says: “There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from Him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? For to the one who pleases Him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner He has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.”

I receive from that passage that my mission as a follower of God has not changed, even if my “toils” have. Through diligence in a strange work-from-home schedule, through the way I treat my family and neighbors, and yes, even through menial tasks such as the laundry, I can find joy in God when I recognize Him as the Giver of the gifts in my life. In other words, my mission to “glorify God and enjoy Him forever” remains constant, regardless of the season of life. As 1 Timothy 6:6 says, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”

It is in these moments of boredom and discontent we can take comfort in looking to the life of Jesus. Jesus chose a life of humility during His 33 earthly years by having an ordinary job, in an ordinary town, while being surrounded by ordinary people. Friends, there is nothing wrong with God calling you to the ordinary. Take heart in remembering that God is teaching you, refining you, and making you more into His image through your faithfulness in these small, ordinary moments.

KAT
Currently listening to “Fields of Gold” by Drew + Ellie Holcomb

God of the Seasons

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[The following essay was written by your’s truly for my church’s daily email devotional, but was inspired from an old Champ post. Enjoy.]

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Spring has never been my favorite season. Growing up in south Texas, spring simply felt like an add-on to summer and attending college in Nebraska, an add-on to winter.

But the other day while on a walk, I noticed the green buds on the trees and felt such delight—and not just in the beauty of the freshly sprouted leaves, but in the fact that Spring once again did come. It’s something that we humans have no control over, yet we can trust that year after year plants will produce new growth. Winter won’t last forever; spring will come.

It’s an elementary truth, and yet it somehow felt profound this year. Yes, the meteorological seasons have changed, but so has the “season” in our lives. We as a world have found ourselves in a “season” of struggle—a season of fear, uncertainty, and unrest. A “season” where we see deep sickness, sorrow, and fear around us and can’t help but wonder when God will relieve us of these pains.

But then we see the budding trees and freshly sprouting flowers, and remember the truth: God is at work. He is bringing new life, even in the midst of sorrow in our world. Isn’t that the beautiful juxtaposition of it all? We are in a literal season of newness and growth and a “season of life” that contains sickness and pain.

In these times, we look to His Word for assurance. It is there that we are reminded of His omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence. We’re reminded of His love and compassion for us. We’re reminded that we have a Savior who can sympathize with our sorrows. And finally, we are reminded that He is producing in us something new—a “new” faith; a “new” perseverance; a “new” perspective; a “new” hope. Isaiah 43:19 says, “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

We can trust God with the uncertainties of life because He’s the same God who allows spring to come each year. Surely the God who is in charge of the seasons—of the redemption of fruitless plants after the cold and harsh winter months—will oversee the “seasons” of struggle in our lives as well. We can trust the God of the seasons.

KAT
Currently listening to “Every Season” by Nichole Nordeman

How Are You?

Funny times we find ourselves in, friends.

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Not a picture of my hair, but might as well be. Have not touched my hair (shy of maybe adding a scarf for some half-hearted flair) since quarantine. Like I said above, funny times!

How are you? 

Have you missed people asking you that? It’s often such a trite greeting. But today I realized: no one has asked me that since I began working from home last Friday. Typically we ask this question at least a dozen times throughout the day…

  • to co-workers we pass in the hallway
  • to neighbors while on a walk
  • to cashiers at the grocery store

The list can go on and on. “How are you?” was a normal part of our days.

But since having a break from people and normal daily greetings, I’ve found myself wondering…how actually are those people doing? Beyond the typical answer of “fine,” I’d truly love to know how people are feeling right now.

I wonder how my co-worker is? She’s probably feeling antsy. I’ll bet this is a tough time for  her social and servant-hearted personality.

I wonder if my neighbor is tired. Raising three children is hard enough, without social distancing. I hope she knows how courageous she is to care for her children so well.

I wonder if my cashier has a family to provide for or student loans to pay off. The uncertainty of the economy is probably stressful for them right now.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that my perspective has changed. This pandemic has led me to wonder more about other people; to sense their feelings in a new way.

So if you haven’t been asked today, how are you? I care.

KAT
Currently listening to “At Least For Now” by Justin Bieber

Changing Tides.

It’s January 2020, which means we’re just one month shy of my big, fat Austin wedding.

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This season has been wonderful, special, a little overwhelming, and just plain ol’ interesting (quite the combination of emotions, huh?). There’s nothing normal about a season of engagement, but I feel like I’ll always look back and cherish this in-between time of life.

For now, the tides are starting to change in my life, and it just feels right. Here are some glances into this season of my life:

WEDDING PLANNING:

In case you live under a rock and have yet to hear, let me be the first to tell you: wedding planning is no joke. But with the help of my mother-in-law/wedding planner (who I swear may also be a magician/miracle worker), things are really coming together!

Last week included bridal portraits and day-of scheduling, and this week we’re finishing our rehearsal seating arrangement. (Side note: a newly engaged friend recently found her wedding dress and said to me, “I think that’ll be the hardest part of wedding planning!” …Now I’m no monster so I kept my mouth shut, but sister has obviously never made a seating arrangement.)

Anyhow, here’s a little glimpse into wedding stuff as of late…

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We’re getting married in Austin at this beautiful church! It was a pretty easy decision for us—Creighton’s family has many ties to it + it is crazy similar to my home church in Dallas, so there was an automatic comfortability there for me. Now we’ve just got to go back in Feb and exchange some vows.

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A view from our reception venue.

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My handsome groom while trying on tuxes.

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Warning to all my friends and family: My love for monograms is going to come out STRONG at this wedding. Feel free to make fun of me for it (I definitely deserve it).

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This was my bouquet for my bridal portrait session. It’s a combination of peonies, hydrangeas, and ranunculus. I loved it in person, but it blended into my dress in pictures. So I’m thinking about adding some pink for my wedding day bouquet! 

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Introducing my wedding band! A sweet little sapphire ring (because this girl loves her some blue and white).

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Food tasting = hand down the most fun part of wedding planning.

SHOWERS.

Wedding showers are definitely an awesome aspect of the engagement season. Creighton and I were celebrated at three different showers—the first was thrown by my students and their wonderful moms (so special for me!), the next was hosted by Creighton’s parent’s friends, and the last was a young adult shower. All were sweet reminders that Creighton and I have been pretty dang blessed in the friend department.

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So far the decor and cheeseboards for these showers have been top-notch.

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See what I mean?

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Lots of “Shoe Games” have been played at these showers. 

Rosemary Beach.

My sisters and I took a “sisters trip” the other week to beautiful Rosemary Beach, Florida. It was so wonderful that we’ve since deemed it a yearly trip!

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I’m convinced that Becca and Sarah are two of the most special people on the planet. 

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Love to you this week,

KAT

Currently listening to “Extraordinary Magic” by Ben Rector