From Carports to Garages 

Potential was the only good word for the carport when we purchased the old house two years ago. 

It had a rusty, bent up roof 

The walls were mismatched, made from leftover materials. There were weeds and brush growing through every crack and crevice. Most of the studs holding up the walls were rotted off at the bottoms. 

But seeing through the ugly and distraught and visualizing what the can be, is what we do best.

Three open bays, a garage without a door and a shed on the end is what we started with.


The House was the main priority for the first year of restoration. We still have a lot a lot to go, but 2017 has seen the carport come to the top of the list. 

The roof was first.

The roof alone was a huge transformation 

The old walls were torn down.

There were old real estate signs and windows behind the walls.

New walls were built but oh my goodness those windows hold my heart.

The end was closed in and so that our junk (treasures) were hidden.

The door openings were all framed in so that doors could be installed 

Each and every opening (5) has a pretty door and an automatic opener. 

Here’s the first door going in. It was an exciting day! 


They each have pretty black hardware hat mimics a carriage door.

New lights that match the house finished the look. 


The next step is concrete. 

Coming soon! 

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No more whining 

I whined a little the other day about being uncomfortable in a social situation.

Yes I was uncomfortable and Yes I wrote that blog so that I would have something to do while being uncomfortable.

However that’s not me. 

This is me! 

Silly with spit flying while hanging with my people.

Steve sent this picture to me while we served at the Hope Hospital Shelter following Hurricane Irma. It included a note that said “no new projects…..”

He knows me.

He knows that I am talking about a projects that was finished or one that’s about to happen. These two girls friends 💜

We laughed……a lot. 


A selfie at Lowes with my guy. Smiling and looking like a hot mess. 


The moral of the story is:

Just be the best you that you can be. 

Have a great Saturday! 

Charma 

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As I sit in a room alone – with many 

I love to tag along with Steve when he goes on business trips.

The hotel rooms.

The pools or the ocean at my disposal. It’s like a mini vacation for me. 

For those that know me, know that I am not shy. I am the opposite of shy. However when I am thrust into a room with hundreds of people that do not know, I am still not shy, but when everyone else is speaking a different language it’s quite unnerving. I don’t know what to say. I feel…..just weird and way out of my comfort zone. 

Steve has work to do and people to see. I say “I’ll be fine, you go do what you need to do. I’ll just sit here and try to disappear or I’ll go outside.” I listen to those sitting around me at the table speaking of equipment and fire service.  Pumps and other strange things. 

I have visited the food table numerous times. I’m not even hungry for goodness sake. 

Steve wants to introduce me to his collegues. Shake hands. Small talk. They are super nice but I still don’t speak their language. 

I talk old house

I talk paint colors and furniture styles

I talk Grandbabies

Where is karaoke when I need it. 

Reprieve…… 

“You can go back to the room if you want.” 

“Yes please.”

This hotel is huge.

I have forgotten our room number and I’m for sure going to get lost trying to find my way back to our room. 

I’ll just wait outside.

It’s a beautiful evening in South Florida and  I’m becoming friends with the mermaid.


I still like to go with my guy whenever I can.

I guess I just need to learn a new language. 

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White chairs and a little boy

Long before we moved to the old house I was gifted a set of parson chairs. They were in excellent condition but the upholstery was not exactly what I had in mind. 

I purchased yards and yards of white  fabric, hundreds of nail heads and Mom recovered them for me. 

After thousands of staples were removed, many hours of pulling here and arranging fabric here, White parson chairs were completed. 

They waited months and months to be placed perfectly around the old farmhouse table I found in a thrift store. 

My vision complete. 

We actually use the dining table almost every day. Unlike our previous home where most dinners were eaten around the TV balancing your plate on your lap. 

I still love the white parson chairs . I still love the look they provide in the old farmhouse dining room. 

Fast forward move in day July 2016 to now September 2017. 

I am thinking of what’s about to happen.

This little man, is almost 5 months old. 


He will soon be sitting up by himself.


Which means he will soon be joining us at the table for meals. 

Whoa 

White chairs and a little kid? 

Um…….. no thank you 

A month or so ago, I searched Craigslist for a set of chairs for a table I am restoring and getting ready to put up for sale .

I found the perfect chairs! 


There were 8 and I only need 4.

However my white dining chairs have been on my mind lately. 

4 white chairs were painted white for the restoration table and 4 black chairs were painted for ………..


Love the new look. 

Have a blessed day,

Charma 

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So I missed national dog day 

This is JR.

He is a 12 year old Yellow Labrador Retriver. He has been part of our family since he was 6 weeks old.

His official name is Moses Burning Bush Jr. But we just call him J.R. 

JR has always had many physical ailments. Whether it be food and skin allergies or a bad hip, it’s always been something. 

When JR was 6 months old and the cutest little dog you ever did see, the vet told us that he had servere hip dysplasia and he would need to have some sort of treatment. 

JR went to a doggy specialist and it was decided he would need to have a hip replacement. Tests were run and X-rays were taken. It was determined that his leg was not large enough for a new stainless steel hip and that option was taken off the table. That bill would have been a big pill to swallow.

Plan B was to remove JR’s hip socket and fill it in with muscle and tissue. He would have more quality of life and less pain as he grew. 

The surgery was completed when he was 10 months old. 

He was and is loved by all. 

A boy and his dog 


After coming home from surgery, JR had never been a super active dog because of his abnormality.  He dealt with pain and did not run and jump like normal 10 month old puppies. However after surgery he acted differently. He became fearful of many things but mainly hardwood floors. Carpet was good. Concrete, wood, tile or any other smooth surface floor made him weird.

Yes.

Weird.

As he walked very hesitantly on smooth  surface floors, approximate 8 feet prior to reaching a carpeted floor, he would turn around and walk backwards the rest of the way until his back feet would touch the carpet. He would then spin around and feel very confident in himself.

He would be fearful of items in his path. 

Now, 11 years later he still walks backwards. Here is a sample just taken this morning.


He is also fearful of stairs and today, as he tried to ascend 2 small stairs to our porch, this is what I encountered. 

Yes I know.

So sad

Poor dog. The new normal requires help from his people to make it up the stairs.

Each and every morning, faithful JR gets the newspaper for my dad. 

He jumps as you say “get the paper” excited to please his master. 

However 10 minutes later we are still waiting for JR to make it up the stairs. 

However he is ever faithful and very compliant. He is a wonderful listener and does whatever you ask of him. Even take a bath.

Happy Dog Day, Week, Month and Year to the best dog ever. 

We love you Jr,

Your people 

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That time we went on vacation 

Facebook provides “On this Day” option. It shows you things that have happened in the past years. I enjoy looking back and seeing things that might not have been easily remembered. 

Today, this picture showed up on my Facebook “On this Day.” 

This picture was actually taken in August of 2009. It was the first out of state vacation Steve and I had taken without children. We flew to Colorado and enjoyed a fun filled week just the two of us. 

We finished out the week and flew from Denver into Dallas on our way home to the Tampa Airport. From there we would travel home to Bradenton. 

As we gathered our belongings from the airplane in Dallas to change planes, my phone rang. I had my hands full and we had a very short layover, I did not recognize the phone number so I didn’t answer it.

As we continued to try and get off the plane, the phone call I didn’t answer left a voicemail. Something in my gut told me to listen to it. 

I pressed the voicemail button.

“Hello Mrs. Kern, my name is ??? and I am the chaplain at Bayfront Medical Center.”

I hung up…… 

I held my breath

This is the phone call a parent never wants to receive. 

Steve is standing, waiting for me to meet him across from where we exited the plane.  We were going to grab something to eat and quickly make it to our next flight.

Our eyes meet as I called my voicemail again. 

“Hello Mrs. Kern, my name is ??? and I am the chaplain at Bayfront Medical Center. We have your daughter here in the ER Trauma Unit and we need for you to call us back as soon as you possibly can.”

I can’t even speak.

The airport is so loud.

Steve looks at me and tries to get me to tell him what in the world is wrong. 

I scream. 

One because the airport is so loud and Two because I am freaking out. 

I tell him i just received a call from and why would a Chaplain call if she was still alive?

I just knew she was dead. 

We are in Dallas Texas and a complete stranger is going to tell me that my child is dead.

I dialed back the number. 

I asked to be connected to Chaplain whatever his name was.

He answers

Courtney has been in a serious car accident and she is in serious condition. The trauma Dr’s are working on her and we need to come to the hospital right now. 

No Mr. Chaplain whatever your name is, we are in Dallas International Airport and getting ready to get on a plane for the next two plus hours. You have got to tell us more than that.

“Get here as soon as you can.” 

8 years later and my heart is thumping as I remember the details.

I hang up, 

Share the information with Steve and immediately go into crazy mode. 

I have 30 minutes to get people moving. 

Who do I call?

I call Kyle. Kyle is her closest family member and he needs to be with her. Now. 

Kyle was soon to be 20 years old. He would need to drive across the Skyway Bridge alone and be with his critically ill sister. 

Kyle was supposed to pick us up at Tampa Airport but I would figure that out later.  

I call our friend who used to be our Music Pastor. He was no longer a Minister but he would still have his credentials and would be able to get back to be with her.

I call my oldest friend Michele. She was the closest thing to a mother, Courtney had. Michele answers and she is in Atlanta. She will be there as soon as possible. 

I don’t know how she did it, only angels could have flew that fast, but Michele picked us up at the Tampa Airport.

The flight was the longest and shortest of any flight I have ever experienced. It was nighttime. I prayed and cried. Cried and prayed. Steve had to explain to people that we were ok but not ok. 

We arrived at the hospital to family and friends. 

Courtney had many fractures in her left side as a car t-boned her. These fractures included a fractured ankle, a broken clavicle that required surgery,  broken ribs, collapsed lung and mini brain bleeds. Her vision was serverely compromised and she still deals with double vision at times. She had three different chest tubes because her lung would not stay inflated. She (we) spent two weeks at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg and 10 days in a Rehab facility. 

She was 23 years old in this picture and it was taken soon after she came home from rehab. 


It was such a scary time. 

She was such a strong and resilient woman then and now look at her. 

I am so thankful to God today, this week, last month and 7 years ago when my family trajectory could have been completely changed. 

As we have traveled through Hurricaine Irma this week I felt as if a happy ending story might brighten up some spirits. 

Have a blessed and a wonderful Sunday friends. 

Charma 

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Stronger 

The men in my family are a breed of their own.

They are humble and difficult at the same time. They are protectors and Daddy’s. They work ridiculously hard and sometimes even when we say “stay in” they don’t because there are things to be done. 

We are on the other side of Hurricane Irma. We are in clean up and get on with it mode. 

I watched as my husband, my Dad and my Son in law prepare our home for Hurricane Irma.

I listened and watched photos of my sister and brother in law care for my father in law who live 2 hours south of us. 

My husband Steve, my Dad and my Father in law are very much alike.

They have always been hard workers. Manual laborers when necessary. Smart and get it done kind of men. Do it yourself because no one can do it as good as I can kind of guys.

Steve and my Dad were firefighters. Public servants. While my father in law was a construction supervisor. Hard core men.

While my husband is still agile with a few aches and pains here and there, my dad and my father in law are not able to do the  kind of work they have always been able to do. Whether it just be the aging of bodies or illness, we watch as they struggle to do the things they want to do. 

My sister in law Nancy posted this picture as she has helped to clean up Hurricane Irma debris from Dads yard. 


At 87 years old and not steady on his feet, he stills wants to be helpful. Cane in hand, he mustered the energy and stability to grab a branch and take it to the front of the house. 

He could sit and watch as others will do it for him. However that’s not Bill. He’s proud. He does not complain and I shed a tear or two when I saw this picture. He is the apitamy of strength even though his body fails him.

I have spent the last three days serving at a special needs shelter at our church.

I have watched elderly and special needs individuals live in conditions unlike what they are used to. I have heard very little complaining but much thankfulness. It cannot be easy for them and I say this to offer advise as we live with and by people that have needs. 

Sometimes they want your help and sometimes they don’t. They have that right. It’s a fine line to try and help someone who have always done it for themselves. Remember that they were once young and resilient. They do not want to be treated as an invalid. They deserve respect and kindness. 

Even though Bill probably shouldn’t have drug that branch to the front by himself, he wanted to. He wanted to feel as if he could contribute. He deserves that.

Serving at the shelter has changed me. I’ve always loved to help people but now, I will help differently. 

I’m grateful for the opportunities to live and learn through experiences. Even at 52. 

Happy Friday friends.

Love,

The girl who is a new aunt 

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