Before the Anniversary

Steve and I will soon be celebrating our 34th wedding anniversary. What I mean by celebrating is usually dinner and a movie. I’m not belittling our celebration, it’s our comfort. It’s time together. It’s easy and uncomplicated.

January is the month that he is away from home more than he is home. It’s work. It’s trade show season and it’s not a surprise. It’s just fact.

This morning I chatted via text with a friend who asked if we were available for a little road trip this weekend. I unfortunately had to say no. Steve is out of town and I have a day date planned with my two best girl friends.

My friend said, “nice…..or maybe not so nice.”

I responded, “not so nice. I actually really like him. I miss him when he’s gone.”

The response back was “wow that’s really weird…..two people who actually “like” each other…….what do you call this unusual phenomenon?”

I know his comment was on the sarcastic side but really……it made me think.

I really like my husband. I really do. He is kind and thoughtful. He is a gentleman and truly looks towards the needs of others before himself.

Now, don’t for a minute think the last 34 years has been all rose petals and such. It definitely has not and there have been times that I wondered if we would make it, due to my own stupidity. I mean REALLY stupid. But as we have walked this crazy road of life together, we truly complete one another.

We have raised two fabulous kids and have watched them become wonderful adults. They still want to spend time with us which is a giant accomplishment in itself.

We have renovated a 4500 square foot nasty NASTY house together. Board by board working side by side.

We have celebrated new life and mourned deaths together.

It’s called life. Sometimes it’s a beautiful celebration and sometimes it’s got wrenching sadness.

I have watched as we became grandparents. The unconditional and deep love you show to a little boy.

But through it all, we are friends. The one who holds my hair when I’m sick. The one whom I hold the tools for as I watch him use the skills God so greatly gave him. The one whom I laugh the hardest and cry the softest.

My person.

Today, not in two weeks on our actually anniversary day…. I celebrate.

I celebrate not only that we’ve made it this long but that I like you.

I really really like you .

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The Evolution of the Backyard – Part II

We had a wedding.

Then we had a grand baby!

What does a grand baby need?

A swimming pool of course.

“Need” might be stretching it a little.

Steve and I knew we wanted a swimming pool. Our two previous homes had pools and our football field backyard was the perfect place for the final phase of our home renovation.

Pool construction started in April 2018.

We knew we wanted a rectangle with a sun shelf. The sun shelf is perfect for babies and old dogs who still love the water

It was fun to pick out the tile, edging and pavers.

Due to early summer storms, it took longer than expected to complete the pool, however the end result is exactly what we were looking for and we were even able to use the pool for about a month before the water was too cold to get in. I know, us Florida folk are wimpy when it comes to cold water.

The pool is located across the driveway which meant a fence would be a necessity completely surrounding the pool area.

New planters and a beautiful black fence were installed

Excuse my open garage doors……..

A 6′ sun shelf on one end and a sitting shelf on the other end.

A metal bench with cute upholstered cushions

2 single loungers as well as a double lounger allow for many sun bathers.

The brown boxes were built by Steve and I and they hold large umbrellas that will shade the above mentioned sunbathers!

A black iron cafe table allows for sweet mornings of coffee and bible reading.

Phase III will show the new pool house.

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Nailing it to the Cross

Do you wake at 1:30 am and your thoughts have taken over?

You toss and turn but the thoughts won’t let you sleep?

No?

Just me?

So many of my people are in my thoughts tonight

People that are hurting. People that are traveling a difficult road right now. People that are mad. And then there are people that are so happy and content. People that are living life to their absolute fullest.

So many people.

I had a conversation with two friends this week. It was deep and emotional. It was long and felt as if it was 20 minutes. There was coffee and cocoa, laughing and tears.

Those are the best aren’t they?

I love to have a take away……

This was it.

“When I have a thought that is consuming. A thought that continues to eat at my soul. I physically take my hand, pull the thought from my head and nail it to the cross.

Ya’ll!!! I can’t even.

I love it when someone says something that fills me to the top. Gives me encouragement and shows me ways to love and be loved.

It’s now 4:10am and I have to get up in 1 hour and 50 minutes for church. We have rehearsal and we are singing What a Beautiful Name. It’s definitely a favorite of mine.

Powerful lyrics. So powerful.

You have no rival, You have no equal

Now and forever, Our God reigns

Yours is the Kingdom, Yours is the glory

Yours is the Name, above all names

My friends words resonate over and over.

I’m taking the thoughts of anger, frustration, the unknown and the fear and I’m nailing them to the cross.

Right now.

And later? Definitely a nap

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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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