Home renovation projects: they can wear on you.

Viva la tiny bathroom!

You stumble over construction supplies, and everything is forever out of place. The cat dips her paws in the polyurethane your husband’s using to top-coat your wood floors. (And then she proceeds to lick it off.)

Everything takes so much longer than it’s ‘supposed’ to take.

Need a glass of water? Too bad. You can’t have it right now. Your entire kitchen, including the sink, has been blocked off for a week. The water pitcher doesn’t fit in the bathroom sink, so you take it to the tub.

In the process, you skillfully avoid the other dishes in your tiny bathroom. (You also try to avoid thinking about how you really should clean this bathroom.)

You fill the pitcher, and wait. But naturally, you do something else while it’s filtering. You get immersed in your task, forget you were thirsty, and then wonder why, an hour later, your throat is parched.


Photo courtesy of charity:water.

The terrible thing about the whole renovation process is that it’s disruptive. And the silver lining is the same.

Going through an elaborate process to get water isn’t what I would choose. But I don’t take clean water for granted as much as I did before. Now, I appreciate every filled glass.

It’s a (little) bit like going to a developing country, where people draw water from wells, walk long distances, and carry it home.

A place where the process of getting clean water is time-consuming, arduous, and absolutely essential.


Make a wish …

Tomorrow is my birthday – I’ll be 28. I always get reflective this time of year. And the thing I’ve been thinking about? Water. (Great for reflectivity.)

It’s really easy to get comfortable when you have conveniences at your fingertips. But what happens when the little things you count on – like being able to have a glass of filtered water whenever you want one– are stripped away?

When I consider this, I’m just blown away by everything I already have, everything I already take for granted.

So, for my birthday, I’d like to ask you to consider giving to charity:water.

I’ll be making a donation, and I’d be honored if you’d join me.

charity:water is a non-profit, committed to bringing clean, safe drinking water to developing countries. Private donors cover all operating costs, so 100% of our donations go directly to water projects.


If you’d rather not donate at this time, of course I understand. If so, consider doing an act of service instead. Go above and beyond for someone else, and be sure to share your story with us in the comments.

It’s the story of our lives: We are empty, we are filled, we are overflowing. Sometimes in the span of seconds.

And so often, it doesn’t take much … to fill a cup, to listen close, to hold out a hand.

That’s all. And that’s everything.

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  1. Joy June 3, 2013 at 1:05 PM - Reply

    Happy Birthday! What a generous and thoughtful request!

  2. Rachel June 3, 2013 at 3:12 PM - Reply

    <3 Happy early birthday my sweet Caroline!

    • Caroline McGraw June 3, 2013 at 3:14 PM - Reply

      My dear Rachel, thank you so much for the wishes and the donation. You are the best. <3

  3. Sandra Shaner June 3, 2013 at 4:07 PM - Reply

    Your post is taking me on a slightly different direction. Your comments about being filled to overflowing and gratitude helped me realize it’s time to pass some of that overflowing along to someone else. I’m gratitude that, despite being social security age and having to work hard to shed couch potato persona, I’ve been able to lose 35 lb since last July. It’s time to take some more of my fat(ter) clothes to the Mission for other women to wear. The last time I took a load of fat(ter) pants, they said they segregate the larger sizes so they’re easier to find, and they’re always needed. I went to my dresser and pulled out nightgowns and socks, leaving just enough. I’m not quite at “1 to wear, 1 to wash, 1 to spare”, but that’s where I’m headed. Thanks for your posts and keeping us alert to potential changes.

    • Caroline McGraw June 3, 2013 at 4:11 PM - Reply

      Sandra, I love that! What a great connection. Congratulations on the change in your life — and how powerful that making those physical changes led you to ‘pass that overflowing along,’ thereby ‘leaving just enough.’ Thanks for sharing your story with us. 🙂

  4. Maryann Dayton June 5, 2013 at 3:06 PM - Reply

    I guess that I missed your birthday by a couple of days because of my email change. I hope that it was great just like you <3 Happy belated birthday Caroline! Luv ya!!

    • Caroline McGraw June 5, 2013 at 3:23 PM - Reply

      Thank you Maryann! It was, indeed, a beautiful day. Looking forward to the year ahead! <3

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