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


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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The Hideout -Day 2

Day one of our new project ended with 80% of the walls painted. All that lacked was me on a ladder hanging backwards a little on my head trying to reach the upmost part of the underneath of the stairs.

Wow…. try to close your eyes and think about that last sentence.

Day 2 started with the paint and ended with paint.

However the middle of the day was filed with luscious shiplap. It’s faux and I’ll tell you why.

Real shiplap looks like this.

It’s fabulous! However the Hideout is meant to be a sweet little space that did not require $21.48 per boards to cover the walls. However I still wanted the look.

Being a blog stalker and a Pinterest looker sometimes has its advantages

Many DIYers have been on the shiplap wagon for a couple of years so I’m a little late to the game but to save cash, the DIYers would use this:

At a whole sheet of plywood for $13.98 I was sold. We bought 4 sheets.

Now, normally my Mr. would run the sheets through the table saw but since he’s currently in a sling, our neighborhood lumber yard was kind enough to cut them into 7″ boards for me. Thanks Clark!!

Here’s a sneak peek

The faux shiplap was really easy to install.

We cut the strips to the right length and I would glue and nail them into place.

We finished the shiplap on 1 big wall and half of another and I was able to get on two coats of paint.

And look who is never far away from me.

Stay tuned!

Day 3 will commence this week.

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$1.49 plus tax

I wanted this exact Pottery Barn stocking holder for Jack. I definitely wanted his initial and the metal was just an added bonus.

When I saw it the first time, it was $30+.


It then went to $20.

Better but still…….no

I knew I could come up with something myself.

Hobby Lobby to the rescue

For $1.49 plus tax for a wooden letter and cabinet pull, I was able to create a one of kind stocking holder for Jack.

I cut a piece of scrap wood left over from the pool house.

I stained it to match all the other wood in our house, painted the letter bright white and glued it to the top, I then screwed the cabinet pull to the bottom of the wood piece and presto……. a stocking holder

Sometimes you just need to do it yourself.

Merry Christmas stocking everyone.

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The Hideout – Day 1

This week I began a project that’s been on my list of TO-DO’s for a long time.

Here’s a sneak peek video of what it looks like before I get started. The video also explains the reason for the hole in the first place.

The Hideout’s main purpose is for when grand babies get old enough to stay the night without parents, but are not quite old enough to stay upstairs alone.

The Hideout can be used as a bedroom or a reading nook. It can be a napping spot or for just playing.

I think I might use it too.

When the new staircase was installed, we knew there would be a great space for creating a hiding spot. We thought a panic room, but that’s not so smart to blog about a safe space in case of emergencies, right?

So today, Day 1, included pulling all the crap out the Hideout that’s been stored.

Throw away…..Donate…..Haul to the garage for another day.

Drag the shopvac up from the garage and get busy sweeping up all the cobwebs, dirt and any other creepies that don’t belong in the space.

Nails in the ceiling?

Why yes, since the space is over the stair landing and there was new hardwood floors installed……nails in the ceiling. They will have to be bent over and disguised since the floors above need all the support they can get. I even found a wrench

I was also able to get a coat of paint on 80% of the walls. The walls will be getting a special treatment so this paint is just to hide the colors of the studs and the drywall.

Day 2 is quickly approaching and it will include finishing painting and starting on the wall treatment.

It going to be fun!!

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She Joined the Club

What club you ask?

It’s a club no one wants to join

It’s the dead parents club.

I am NOT trying to be disrespectful so please hear me out.

A few months ago, I was watching reruns of Gray’s Anatomy. There was a scene where Christina Yang was talking to a George O’Malley. His father had just died and this is what she said:

“There’s a club. The dead dad’s club. You can’t be in it until you are in it. You can try and understand and you can sympathize but until you feel the loss you will never understand. I’m really sorry you had to join the club George.”

George responses, ” I don’t know how to exist in a world where my dad doesn’t.”

Christina replies, ” Yeah that never really changes.”

I’m in the club.

I have friends and family who are in the club.

NO ONE WANTS TO BE IN THE CLUB but it will happen.

Last weekend……. it happened to my best friend.

I’ve been privileged to walk beside her. To listen and be apart of her story for a couple of years now.

Are you ever in awe of another person?

I wanted to make sure that I understood the real definition of awe, so I looked it up and the definition is:

an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear, etc., produced by that which is grand, sublime, extremely powerful, or the like

Yep I was right.

In awe of her strength

In awe of her compassion for others

In awe of her Love for Jesus.

As I lived life with her the last few weeks, I’ve watched her travel back and forth to Georgia to care for her ailing parents. Not just one parent, but both.

I’ve listened to stories of family dysfunction and heartache and then watch her do it afraid.

Last Friday, her father met Jesus.

Last Monday, her mother joined her father.

How does one deal with the death of both parents at the same time?

I’ve struggled for almost a year at the loss of Dad and I hate being in the club.

Absolutely, Positively hate it.

The services were planned. They would have one service for her parents. Two caskets at one time. How does one deal with such heartbreak?

Jesus. He is the only one who will fill the void of despair.

Friends are a gift straight from Him and there is no other explanation for the friendship we have.

It’s a gift.

We asked “Can we come to funeral?”

And her response was “It’s so far. You have busy lives and I’ll be just fine.”

Well sometimes you do it anyways.

You get in the car with your people and you just go anyways

The look of surprise and relief as we entered the Memorial Chapel was all we needed to know that we did the right thing.

Tears of Joy

Hugs of compassion and knowing that we were in the exact place we were supposed to be.

We all have matching bracelets and of course we all had them on. It’s just another way of supporting the ones you love.

There can even be smiles

Squeeze your people tight.

If something nudges you to call someone, DO IT.

If you are supposed to travel 10 hours in one day to support your people during one of the hardest days, just do it.

Sometimes there are no do-overs.


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On this day

Yesterday was my birthday.

I am now 54 years old.

Dang ……. I can’t believe I’m that old.

What a year from 53 to 54 it has been.

Today, our pastor spoke of writing a journal and how the journal will show each and every time how God is showing up in our lives. When the ugly shows up and you wonder where all the good is, you can open up the journal and look back and see clearly that He’s been there the whole time. That’s a big part of why I blog. I can look back and see very clearly:

How I was doing?

How I was feeling?

How did I spend my time?

Who did I spend my time with?

Last year in December and on my birthday, my friends took me to breakfast

Last year in December we took Jack’s first Christmas pictures

Last year on Christmas Eve the whole family attended Christmas Eve at the Farm

Last year on December 30 my Daddy met Jesus.

In January I cried a thousand tears as we had memorial services for Dad. One in Florida and Mom and I flew to Ohio to have a service for family up north

I almost froze to death

Later in the month we saw Jen Hatmaker

In February we celebrated 33 years together

And Jack took swimming lessons

And evidently I needed a vacation…..badly

My baby girl turned 32 and Uncle Kyle made us laugh

In March, my tribe was reunited in a big way

And I started my first book club!

In April we attended Easter gathering together

The pool began and I picked out all the goodies that go along with it

The attic stairs were finally finished

May was full of fun with the girls

And Jack William Wissinger had his first birthday

May brought Mothers Day and blueberry picking

June was filled with game nights

The vegetable garden

The splash pad

Father’s Day

And Mom and I began to volunteer at the Interfaith Thrift Store

July included


A weekend getaway

The pool continued

And some sweet time with friends

August brought family to town!

House scraping….. again

Water in the pool

A sweet gift and a reminder from my tribe

The pool house started

In September, I got this cute picture

Our family was featured in the Ocala magazine

I planted a butterfly garden

I laughed

And I spent time with amazing people

I encouraged myself

Halloween was fun!

In November

We went to the zoo

I had the privilege to vote

We celebrated BIG

And December is here again

3G Sunday!

I’m an Uber driver this month and we celebrated St Nicolas Day

I know this was long and some might not have made it to the end.

This was a test for me. As December has now became a really hard month as we now celebrate Dad’s graduation to heaven.

That’s right I said celebrate. It’s been a long hard year and I’ve watched my family grieve. But I’ve also watched my family celebrate victories and laugh. I’ve watched them rally hard. I’ve watched them pick themselves up and have a day when it would have been easier to stay in bed and pull the covers up.

I’ve spent this year, at age 53, struggling to be happy sometimes. But I can look back at the photos and the memories and see smiles and laughter and remember that God is so good. He fills my life with so much joy. So many good friends and I lead an amazing life.

Here’s to 53.

I’m ready for you 54.

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First is Final

First is Final is my action word for the year 2019.

Why am I already talking about 2019?


Do you ever put you credit card in your pocket because you don’t want to carry your purse. Then you take your pants off, throw them on the closet floor and forget all about your credit card until you are in Publix and go in your wallet for your card and it’s not there?

Asking for a friend.

But really, I’ve already been thinking about what I really want to work on this coming year.

Not a New Years resolution

Not really a word for the year because honestly, by January 17th I’ve already forgotten what my word was.

When I was a full time employee, we were required to do self improvement courses. I usually enjoyed them and during one particular seminar, the speaker mentioned “First is Final. It meant that the first time you pick up something or start something, you do it until it’s done.

I know that somethings have a process and it’s impossible to finish something the first time. However there are times when you CAN finish. If someone asked you for something and you can do it then and there, do it.

It’s completed.

You are happy

The other person is happy.

Now that I’m a stay at homer, I currently have 127 projects started and none finished.

I’m overwhelmed

It’s Christmas

It’s the end of the year

It’s a lot of things and I’m tired of juggling the balls and whose fault is it?


Instead of leaving my credit card in my pocket, I will take it out and return it to my wallet. I won’t lose my credit card anymore or at least think that I’ve lost it for maybe 12 days.

Instead of starting a new project after scrolling Pinterest. STOP scrolling PINTEREST…..JUST STOP. I will finish the project(s) I’ve already begun.

This list is an accountability for me. If you see or hear me talking about something other than in this list, you are obligated to put me in my place.

1) Kate’s chairs are done!!!

2) The cute little jars for the laundry room – these are done too!!

3) Jack’s big boy bed

4) Jack’s Stocking holder – Finished!

5) The fireplace in the parlor needs an updated blog post because it’s so cute and it’s getting a facelift already.

6) Install Shiplap in the secret room. WHAT secret room??

I have some Christmas items to assemble too and I’m sure there are more projects started than what I’ve listed. But I’m going to get my “first is final” going right now.

I know…’s Christmas and there are gifts to buy and parties to attend. I know there is less money now than other times of the year. I know all that and I agree. I’ve added free Uber driver to my current day, so I get it. Not enough hours in a day right?

But what better time to start than now? Not tomorrow and not next week. The new year? Nope, too many days from now.

However I will need to wait until therapy is over today. Since I’m currently in the parking lot.

Happy Friday friends,


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