Look past the ugly

Imagination is sometimes the only thing you need to be able to create.

Can you look past what it currently is and see it’s potential?

I’m sure it’s easier for some than others but I can only encourage. It’s so fun to look past something’s current state and imagine it as new and improved.

This shelf was a holder of sorts. I picked it up at a garage sale for .50. It was brown with little handle holders. Keys? I assume would be its job.

I didn’t want to change it’s job, I just wanted it to look more appropriate for our old house. It’s like getting a new hair style. You aren’t changed on the inside, only your outside looks a little different.

What a little paint will do.

This was a curbside pickup. My SIL knows my love for the curb and all it’s goodness.

Wow was it ugly.

It sat in the garage for a long long time. I couldn’t figure out what to do with it. I knew it needed an updated paint job. No doubt about that.

And it was really dirty and had some questionable sticky things on it. Ew.

I thought about going outside of my farmhouse style.

This is a prime example of how sometimes……..it just doesn’t work.

I spent days, taping off and painting the black and white squares.

I would look at and say “I don’t like you, but I’m going to finish and maybe I’ll like you later.”

I did not like it

I did not like the black

I did not like the white

I did not like it at all. Sam I am.

So what did I do?

I sanded it again

I primed it again

I painted it again.

I went back to what I love.

Chippy gloriousness.

Now, it is a holder of important things.

It sits immediately inside the mud room door, which is there door most used by the family.

It holds purses and baby bags

It holds shoes in the weird little cubbies that I didn’t know what they would be good for.

And the key holder does exactly what it wasn’t intended to. It’s holds all our keys!!

The sign that hangs above says it all.

However …. if you look closely to the sign that is on the exterior door? It’s really the message that says it all.

Don’t ever forget:

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The evolution of the back yard – part I

We have been asked to participate in the Historic Tour of Homes in a few months. I’m excited!

I have wanted to create a book of before and after of our renovation for a while now and now is the perfect opportunity. It allows people to see how far we have really come.

As I peruse through photos, I’m in awe of what I’m seeing. I think in the midst of the chaos and the exhaustion, it’s easy to forget where you start and where you have ended.

The backyard has been our latest renovation and I couldn’t begin to write one post on the progress. It would be a mile long.

Today I will go back in time when our backyard was Jumanji.

You know, the living vines,the giant tress that went no where. Dying trees from the inside out.

Broken down chain linked fence

Dense brush and debris

Options included clearing out the debris and leaving it a dense wooded backyard full of half dead trees and zero opportunity for grass growth.

We chose to have a company come in and clear out the trees. 40+ trees were removed. This left us with a football field of grass. It was clean and a beautiful blank slate.

This was just in time for a giant white tent.

A tent that would hold all of our family and friends.

A tent that would celebrate our daughter and her new husband.

This phase of the backyard was worth every minute and every dollar.

But it was time to move on.

Get ready for the next phase. I’ll be posting photos soon!

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I’ve got things to do

Ya’ll I’m not supposed to be the sick one.

I’m the one who cares for the sick.

Or at least that’s how I think it’s supposed to go.

However the cooties have invaded my body more in the last three months than I care to admit. I’m that person who has had to call……. again…… and say “I’m so sorry I can’t come, I’m sick again.”

I hate it so much.

This time…has been the worst. It’s like I’m a preschooler. I have ear infections, a sinus infection and wait for it, conjunctivitis for goodness sake. I cough like it’s my job and I keep my poor guy up at night. And to top it all, I have had zero voice since Sunday. That’s four days of silence. Am I being punished??!! Me not talk for 4 days is just wrong.

And little man Jack does not understand why his BB won’t hold him or play with him or read to him. BB always does all those things. So now, when he sees me, which is not often, because I’m sequestered to my room to try and keep others from getting this nastiness, he reaches for me and yells BBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBB!!!!!! And what do I do. I reach for him and mouth the words “I’m sorry baby.” Which he can’t hear because not a croak will exit my throat.

NOT

ONE

SINGLE

CROAK

I’m trying to find light in this whole situation. How do I do that?

Does eating a bag of ruffles do it?

Super long naps?

Watching 3 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix? Watching Magic Mike? I’m not proud……

I’ve watched and read every blogger I follow on IG every day just waiting for something new.

Here’s hoping that the two giant antibiotic shots and the plethora of drugs currently residing on my nightstand do something quick.

Cause this sickness needs to GO.

I’ve got things to do.

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To Love Well

What exactly does the statement “to love well” mean?

I had a sweet friend tell me this morning, “thank you for loving me so well.”

Your welcome?

Thank you?

I’ve pondered over the statement all afternoon.

My response was “when there is absolutely nothing else that can done, love and love well.”

Am I loving well? That’s definitely a quality I want to possess.

We all know what love is. There is spouse and children love. There is friend love. There is the love of items…

I went to the dictionary and my favorite definition of “well” was

1) thoroughly

Love thoroughly. Some are easy to love all the way inside and out. Some are a little bit of a stretch but deserve it just the same. I’m completely positive I’m not loveable 100% of the time.

2) carefully

This is a good one. Love carefully. Love comes in waves sometimes. Some people need to be loved gently. They require gentleness and kindness. Some don’t even know that they need to be loved carefully but to those around them, it’s very obvious. Be extra vigilant. Look around. Get your face out of your phone and look at people around you. Some are just waiting for eye contact. A smile. Anything!

3) soundly

Soundly could mean different things but I take it as deep and throughly. I think that is where my circumstance came today. I wanted this person to know how much I cared for them.

I want to love people well.

Some days I need to be loved well. This year I have sent messages with a tag line that says “I love you beyond measure.” I want to love as Jesus loves me. There is not condition to my love. You can make choices I don’t agree with. You can be 180 degrees opposite from me. We can disagree and I might cry but that has no merit of my love for you.

How are you loving people well? I always hear that you should find people in your season of life and connect. I agree and I disagree. How do we learn from the people that are ahead of us in life? How do we gain knowledge and insight to things we do not know to navigate?

How do we share our life experiences with those that are in different seasons than we are. How about those Mommas with the little people? Some don’t have Mommas and Daddy’s to ask advise. Some need to sit at your feet and soak in your knowledge and experience. Some need to cry. Some need for you to offer to take those littles for an afternoon so that they can take a shower and a nap in complete silence. How are you loving well?

I did not mean for this to turn into a sermon but as I experience life and a comment like “thank you for loving so well” shakes my core, I think it’s important to rattle some cages.

This morning was not the easiest of mornings. I felt a little unloveable. I struggled with my attitude and my body felt unhealthy and dang it, I had stuff to do. However, prior to our second gathering, the band circled behind the stage. The circle held tension. I don’t know why but it did. Why did the first gathering go so good when the attitudes were sucky? How can we not be joyful as we sing songs titled “Unstoppable God” and “Nothing is Impossible” and “No Longer Slaves.” How can we sing of such power and grace and have a bad attitude. I can only speak for me but after we held hands and prayed the words of the songs we were privileged to sing this morning and lead others to Jesus with, my attitude changed. Jesus loved me well this morning. He grabbed me by the shoulder and shook a little. Nothing is Impossible with me you silly girl. You are not a slave, you are a child of the Utmost High. I AM the Unstoppable God Almighty and don’t you forget it.

So today, make a plan for this week. Find someone and love them well.

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A whole stinking year

Hey Dad,

It’s been a year today.

One year ago today at 4:05pm, you changed your address.

We miss you.

The first of everything this first year has been hard. We celebrated your birthday and ate chicken wings. We celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas. You weren’t here and it was very obvious.

However, we have lived life.

Remember this picture from last year? It was Jack’s first time seeing Santa.

As I look back at pictures. I can see how sick you were.

I’m so sorry that I didn’t see it all the time. I think sometimes I just didn’t want to see.

Now……I see it.

Now, we can talk about how strong you were. You got up and did whatever you wanted to whenever you could do it. I wish that I had told you how proud I was of you. I can now see the days that you struggled so hard but because you didn’t want to give up, you did it sick and all.

We had friends over last night and we talked about how I can now go to the garage without you. 6 months was the amount of time that it took before I could go and not sob. I wasn’t sure I could do it anymore but time heals. I had to allow time to grieve.

Mom has been brave.

Mom is stronger than she gives herself credit for. She wants to be tough and I just keep telling her that she’s allowed to be sad. Learning to live without you after 64 years is hard.

Hard cannot begin to describe it.

Today I wanted to be able to celebrate your “Heaven day.” I didn’t want to cry all day. A few tears fell as we sang “it is well.” It’s been my theme song all year. A few words from the song makes my heart rejoice.

The mountain that has been in front of me, will be cast into the depths of the sea. The mountain that I have climbed is your departure.

Through it all

Through it all

My eyes are on you.

Through it all

Through it all

It is well.

I don’t have to wonder if you are in heaven. I don’t have to wonder if we will meet again. I don’t have to wonder about those kinds of things. I just have to trust in God’s plan and in His timing. Thank you for living your life so that I didn’t have to worry.

I still miss you like crazy. I miss our time in the garage.The laughter and the joy. I miss you questioning my design choices. The rolling of your eyes when I distress a piece of furniture……again. I miss seeing you on the lawn mower. I miss watching you be with jack.

Speaking of Jack. The boy loves cars! I can hear you laugh everyone he picks up a toy car and studies it like it’s his job.

When we cleaned out the basement a couple of weeks ago, we put all your model cars into a tote for Jack. Now, every time we go outside he wants to sit and go through that tote and put out every car. Some of them he even says “Papas car.” He knows.

Today is not the end of sadness.

I’ll still miss you everyday.

But we made it Dad. We made it a whole stinking year without you.

I know you are proud of us

I’m proud of us

Happy heaven day Daddy. Tell everyone we say Hi.

See you soon.

Love,

Your baby girl

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It’s a different kind of Christmas this year

Christmas traditions are just that. Special things that are done the same every year.

2018 Christmas has included many traditions. Such as family arriving from out of town. There is nothing more of a gift to me, than my kids all being under the same roof. We laugh a lot. We eat endlessly and it doesn’t matter what we are doing…..we are together.

One of our favorite traditions is attending and serving at “Christmas Eve at a Farm.”

I completely missed taking photos so I stole some.

Here’s my boys.

I was lucky enough to help lead carols

And Steve handles the flashlight while the children were read the Christmas story.

It’s really the best night of the year.

Christmas morning brunch was provided by Kyle and Kiko and was absolutely delicious.

Our traditional Christmas movie was held in our attic movie room. We have attended a movie for many many years every Christmas afternoon but now that we have our own movie room and we have a toddler, it’s so much easier to just walk up the stairs.

Our movie this year was the documentary “Won’t You be my Neighbor.”

The movie was so different than what we usually watch but as we viewed this poignant film documenting the life of Fred Rogers, there were tears, laughter and a new found respect for the man he was.

My favorite quote from the movie was:

“As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has – or ever will have – something inside that is unique to all time.

While all our traditions ran as planned this year…… it was still different.

I was gifted with the crud the entire week before Christmas. I was flat in bed and had to be cared for for more days than I care to admit to.

We have a toddler in the house this year. The Christmas tree was abused and some of my expectations for decorations were quickly discovered to not be appropriate. Jack is worth it.

There is a missing person this year. We are just about to remember my Dad’s “Heaven Day.” His presence was greatly missed and no matter how joyful the day has been, we still gravely miss him.

A few weeks ago I was strolling through YouTube and came upon a song. It was titled “A different kind of Christmas this year.” It was written during the loss of the song writers Father in Law.

It talks about the million little memories that remind us you are not here and how as we sit around the dinner table we realize the legacy you left. And as Justin prayed at lunch, even though you are in heaven, we know that you are near.

We made it.

We survived Christmas this year.

It was and still is the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior and that will never NOT be the reason we celebrate. But we knew that the “first” holidays are always the hardest and I’m pretty proud of us.

We are so blessed to have our family and friends. So many that fill our lives with joy.

Merry Christmas 2018 from our family to yours.

I’ve linked the song for you to hear.

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The Week Before Christmas

This week my stomach hurts

Not because I’m sick but because my nerves are all in a bunch.

There are presents to buy and presents to wrap.

There is a huge gift to assemble and it won’t take a couple of hours, more like a couple more days.

The decorative small Christmas trees are all laying on their sides because a little boy likes to put them nite nite

There is dog hair everywhere. Obviously it’s shedding season.

We have something every night this week and I’m tired already.

As I started to write this post in the morning, the very same evening I was hugging the toilet….wait for it…… in a hotel in South Florida as I am helping Mr. deliver work stuff before Christmas.

I feel this way Every. Single. Year.

The Holiday Spirit shows up right before Thanksgiving. Deck the freaking halls as I stalk every blogger. Then my steam just kind of …….loses steam.

I have to plug in and unplug those dang Christmas lights every night.

The artificial tree seems to lose more of its needles every year and every year I say I’m going to buy a new one and I never do.

Whine Charma….why don’t you whine some more

Nope.

I’m going to embrace the wonderful things and be grateful that I don’t really have something to whine about.

This past Sunday, not one but two people were spoken about. They were hit by another person in a car and the driver of the car DID NOT STOP. Can you even imagine??

We were also told of the overdose epidemic in our town. I’ve been here with family. Family that have had to say goodbye to their child, grandchild, niece or nephew, friend, boyfriend or girlfriend. It’s not a joke. It happens.

I will, for the rest of This week remember how we took Jack to the walking Nativity Scene and I spoke Gods word into his ear as we walked through the miraculous story of creation and the Birth and Resurrection of our Lord and Savior.

I will remember the time when I pointed out Baby Jesus to Jack and how he called him a Goat.

He really liked the goats.

I will remember this week when a brand new baby bed was donated to Interfaith and Steve and I and some friends bought it for a family going through a tough time and getting ready to welcome a sweet new baby. I don’t really believe in coincidence. I believe that when we are faithful, wonderful things will happen.

I will remember this week that my family did not have their home burn to the ground along with all of our possessions. However I know a family who did.

I will remember this week that our son was accepted into the Florida Conference of Historians. I don’t have a clue what that means but I’m over the moon excited for him.

I will remember this week as we witness a miraculous miracle in the life of our daughter.

I will continue to remember the real reason for this season.

It doesn’t have anything to do with presents or Christmas trees. It doesn’t have anything to do with how clean my house is, because it’s a wreck, when company is coming to visit.

It’s all about Jesus.

It’s all about the family we love and the joy we get when we are all together.

It’s all about the friends who fill our lives with joy.

I might have to go back and read this post every day until after Christmas but I will remember.

I will remember.

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