Friday, February 20, 2015

don't wait

I don't think I've ever shared it here
but I have another blog.
Well, one I started for someone,
its not "mine" per se,
rather it belongs to a friend
who is battling a recurrence of cancer.
I started it with the intent of it being like a prayer chain.
I didn't know what else to do for her.
She's like Grace Kelly + Martha Stewart + Julia Childs
rolled into one woman.
No joke.
 My cooking skills are not worthy,
her home immaculate,
but writing or a blog?
I got that.
I started it and got my friend Holly Mathis to help me
with the banner since at the time I had just started this
and didn't know how to play around with blog templates. :)
It went live and like the game of six degrees of separation
and thanks to the amazing technology of today
people from all over the world were praying for her.
Now my friend is not the type of person to shout things from roof tops.
I might be that person.
If I love you I'm gonna tell you.
Sheepishly I took my laptop to her
{me being one of the last hold outs for a smart phone}
and showed her what I had done.
I told her I would never share her name or anything
that could identify her family for privacy's sake.
I told her how much I wanted to do something for her
but didn't know how to help.
I told her that I felt that God put it on my heart to do for her.
I told her it was ok if she wanted me to delete it.
I was open to however she thought best.
I left it with her and told her to talk it over with her husband.
Shortly after they decided that they would use it
to share updates with their friends and family.
Her husband now writes the entries and I simply post them.
This was three years ago.
Now I know unfortunately that there are other ways
like caring bridge and other sites to do the same thing.
I say unfortunately because now I have to use two hands
to count my peeps that are battling health issues.
My warrior friends.
All women.
Women are truly warriors aren't they?
There's a reason I'm telling you this I promise.
So earlier this week my friend's husband sent me an update to post.
 I get them on email and my heart stops every time.
She's been living with cancer for three years now.
Fighting it head on with a grace that I've never seen before.
But then again she fights it the way she lives.
In posting the latest update I have to go through an email address.
Honestly I only check it during the posting process.
Its not really "mine" to check you know?
Normally its friends of my friend volunteering to help in any way.
This week there was one that I didn't know what to do with.
This person didn't mean harm or foul.
But she asked for the real story.
As in should she make a trip to specifically see my friend
"one last time"?
She said she couldn't ask our friend directly
because although they corresponded regularly
my friend never ever not even once mentioned her health trials.
She said she didn't think she could ask her husband directly
because that was just too hard a question to ask.
So she was asking me.
Without knowing it was "me"...I'm just the stranger behind the blog.
I didn't know what to say.
So I sat on it.
 I got to thinking about a few summers ago.
It was close to a year after my friend's diagnosis.
We were about to leave on our annual pilgrimage to the south to see my peeps.
I can't remember exactly what was going on
but we knew my friend wasn't doing so well at that time.
My husband, very well meaning, told me that I needed
to go see her before we left.
He was afraid she was going to die while we were gone.
He knew I loved her and he didn't want us leaving
without me having that with her.
He told me to go tell her goodbye.
I drove to our church in tears with my then three year old wild child in tow.
Church staffers were like what in the world just rolled in when they saw me.
I was in search of a minister friend who also knew my friend.
Sorry to say friend so much but I don't want to use real names.
So I find my minister friend.
We go in a room and I lose it completely.
I'm bawling my brains out,
my little one in absolute shock and awe at the sight of me.
I tell my minister I don't want to leave.
I can't say good bye to our friend I tell her.
So I just wont go on my trip.
If I don't go, maybe it won't happen.
I tell her how I bought a book for my friend.
I'd bought one for my mother-in-law the year before.
It was an "all about me" book where you fill in the blanks
and answer questions, kind of like a get to know me book.
I'll spare another long story but in sum it brought
my mother-in-law and I together into what is now
a very beautiful and loving relationship.
It was a gift that brought peace to us both.
I had wanted my friend to have it but not to be offended by the gift of it
but rather for it to be a gift that keeps on giving,
the story of her life so that her future grandchildren would have
her story, in her own handwriting.
I lay my heart on the table in front of my minister.
I put the question to her of whether to give or not give it to our friend.
Together we decided it was a gift of love,
not one of pretending to read the future.
I asked myself if I would regret not giving it to her.
The answer was yes.
I had to do it.

I waited until the last possible moment before we left.
I took it over to their house.
Her husband answered the door and said she was resting.
I knew we were leaving and there wasn't time to come back.
I thrusted the book at him.
He looked at the title.
Perplexed doesn't begin to describe the look on his face.
When I get nervous I ramble.
At super sonic speed too.
Its just a book I said.
You know.
Like an all about me book.
Ha ha.
Its a silly book.
My mother-in-law just did one.
I got one for myself too.
Got one for y'all too.
Ha ha.
That's me weird nervous giggling by the way.
Secretly inside I'm thinking
please don't think I don't believe in your wife's strength
or in God
or in His plan.
Please don't be mad that this is something I feel compelled to give your wife.
He said thanks and went back inside.
We never talked about it again.
I'm glad it did it though.
I know she has it and if she feels the need she will write her story.
We went on our trip and for two weeks I held my breath.
On the way back to Texas we stopped in Barney, Georgia
and bought a box of the most delicious peaches I've ever had.
We took some to my friends when we got home.
Turns out peaches are her favorite.
Last year as we drove home to Texas from Georgia on I-10
I pointed out the exit where you make a right and go to Barney.
I reminded him that peaches are my friend's favorite.
He kids me about my sense of navigation.
Because it was 140 miles total out of the way.
Its the little things you do for love I said.
This would make her smile.
He rolled his eyes at me and drove the detour.
All 140 miles.
He's a keeper.
Which is why when I got that email earlier this week 
I asked him
how he thought I should respond.
He was like nope, don't go there.
Whatever you say will be said again.
Her husband shares her story not you.
Any details should come from him.
Then he said something so true.
He said no one is promised tomorrow.
If this lady wants to visit she should make the trip,
not because you tell her to,
not because she thinks something will "happen" soon.
He was right and I knew it.
You do something if you feel compelled to do it.
Because your heart is telling you.
If something weighs on you,
won't leave your mind,
you can't shake a feeling,
that's your inner most you talking to you.
You should listen.
He said, yes, she's sick and its bad.
But tomorrow
 she or you or I,
any of us,
could get hit by a car,
have a stroke,
die instantly.
Young or old,
no one is promised tomorrow.
Recently a woman I used to run with lost her daughter.
Her daughter was in the prime of her life.
She was living the adventure of a lifetime.
Brave, young, fearless,
a glass not empty or even half way but full if you will
with so much of life to look forward to.
I will not pretend to know what her family is going through.
They were able to donate some of her organs,
knowing that she was a big believer in organ donation.
In this way she will help others to live
and will continue to live on
in the hearts and memories of those who knew her.
 I've been thinking a lot about her.
Weird right?
I didn't know her personally.
I saw her pictures on face book and read stories about her
that her sister and friends shared.
She was beautiful and lovely and well loved.
I think of this young woman and
I just keep saying to myself you just never know.
You just don't.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

my plan

Some of you may know that tomorrow is the first day of Lent.
Every year as part of this season
I do a "40 bags in 40 days" project.
In my opinion the place to read all about this is the blog Clover Lane.
She talks about her process here.
It's where I first heard about it.
You can find pretty printables on pinterest like this one
but for me this year a plain piece of notebook paper will suffice.
On your list write down 40 areas of your home
that are cluttered or unorganized,
places that bother you or just aren't working for you and your family.
It can be a drawer, a closet, a whole pick.
My friend Erin takes a blank list and writes down
the area she works on that day as time allows.
It doesn't matter how you do it, just do it.
Once you have your list to keep track
{blank or fully identified}
then every day
grab a huge garbage bag
and cleaning supplies.
Your mission?
To hit one area from the list repeating this mantra...


List: check.
Cleaning stuff: check
Trash bag: check
First I take everything out of the space I'm cleaning.
Yes, sometimes it gets worse before it gets better.
Then I sort through it into one of three piles:
keep, donate or trash...

Here's where I try to be brutal...
Keep = I use it often and I really need it.

Donate = I don't really use it but one day I might need it.
STOP right now!
Be brutal...if I haven't used it in a year
right then and there
do not hesitate...
 put it in the big black trash bag.
No going back in the bag,
no second thoughts.
It's GONE baby GONE!
Let it help someone else.

Trash = I haven't used &
nobody else can use it either
based on its condition.
Put it in the trash bag unless it can be recycled.
But it too is gone baby gone!
Good riddance.

Once I'm done with the designated area
I dust, clean, and wipe down surfaces,
washing things as necessary...
then I take the bags of trash to the trash bin
and put the donate items in my car immediately.
That way I won't be tempted to go back through them.
The next time I'm out running errand
I run stuff by the nearest drop off point.
{for me its to one of two church re-sale shops close by}.

So look around your house and get your paper for the list ready.
Tomorrow morning its ON!
For more great tips on the 40 day challenge check out clover lane.
This quote was on her blog recently and it spoke to me...

My plan exactly.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

house in the 'hood

The weather has been gorgeous here in Texas the past few days.
Speaking of gorgeous here's one from my beloved
Enjoy my favorite house in the 'hood...
How's this for a start?
Where do I begin?
If that's not storage perfection I don't know what is.
Loving the board and batten detail on the wall and of course,
look up at that lantern.
Get ready for this...
mudroom of my dreams.
Is it just me or is that a chalkboard to the right?
Perfect for reminders and making lists that you can see as you dash out to the car.
This is also a "you had me at hello" entry.
The door?
The bell glass jar lantern is just what I have in mind for our new entry.

I think this is the study...

because the lighting in the adjacent room
makes me think this is the dining room.

There is a typical floor plan for most houses in this area of the last decade or two.
These newer ones tend to be front loaders like this one
which moves most of the ground floor rooms over to one side
but with a huge family room in the backside of the house.


The breakfast area...

Another trend I've noticed in new builds are steel doors.


I love the look.
Putting that on our list to look at for the new build.
I'm also digging that the fireplace is so tall...

I wasn't sure about the black surround
until I saw the kitchen and I get it...
use what you have and make it flow.
I have other ideas for our new surround
but the super tall area for the fire...check.

You know I love me some subway tile.

I cant tell exactly what color these are but I like them.
I even like the outlet placement in the tile
plus look at the outlets in the baseboards throughout.
Good idea.

The butlers pantry connecting the dining room and kitchen...

I'm loving the little shelf above the sink.
Which they also did in the kitchen.

I spy my favorite farmhouse faucet... 
This inspires me to paint our pantry...
Notice the outlet in here...

Ours is similar and I keep our dust buster plugged in here.
You've got to keep it close with three boys.
Upstairs there is a big open space at the top of the stairs.
Here they might call this a game room or the kids' area.
The master bedroom and bath...

So much to love about this bath...

the separate toilet area,
the soaking tub,
and the white subway tiles with just a bit of trim detail.

I'm definitely going to investigate the pull down racks like these...

The secondary bedrooms are light and airy.

Plus you have to love a laundry room the size of Texas,
with lots of storage to boot.

One last little detail to outdoor fireplace.

The weather is so divine right now
that this is where I'd be if this house were mine.
Whatever you do today I hope it makes you happy :)
all images via

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

a whole lotta shaking going on

Its been a few years since our dining room was updated.

This was 2011 right after the painting was finished. 
Want to see a before?
I know.
Take a minute and talk amongst yourselves.
The red walls were from the previous decade owner.
The chairs and rug were from our last home.
To save money I recovered the chairs myself,
had the walls and ceiling painted,
added curtains that I miraculously made myself.
You know I have a thing for rugs right?
Well as I rolled up the red one you see above
I noticed the back side was pattern free.
So I flipped it over until I got a new one.
Which never happened :)
Its the same rug, reversed.
The biggest "splurge" of the room beside all the fabric
was switching out the chandelier to a lantern.
I don't know about you but I love a good lantern.
I scored the Pottery Barn Bolton on sale and have loved it ever since.
Except for one little thing.
It rattles.
As it any vibration in the universe would cause it to rattle.
And not just make a little rattle like a rattlesnake might
but rather make so much noise that one might think
all the glass in the house was about to break from an earthquake.
My boys room is right above the dining room.
Now imagine how much noise said lantern might make
with a herd of growing boys running above might cause.
So I've been trying to remedy the situation shy of getting a new light.
I tried some sort of putty but it was glaringly noticeable,
what with all the clear glass.
Then I was about to buy museum putty off of amazon when it hit me.
I knew I had some clear glue dots leftover from a school project.

I figured what the heck.
If the little glue gel dots didn't absorb the vibration
then I would go to plan B.
Whatever that is.
They were clear and they were free.
I was in.  
So I set about carefully undoing the prongs
and removing the glass piece by piece...

then placed a dot on the inside rim of the lantern top and bottom,
replaced the glass,
then put another one on each metal prong before I pushed it back
to secure the glass in place.
Make sense?

Then the true test.
I banged on it.
Just not as much.
What in the world?
Then it hit me.
It was metal on metal sounding now.
I turned on the light again.
See the faint glimmer of light along on edge of the top "roof" of the lantern?
I guess it came this way because it has rattled since day one.
What's a girl to do?
I wedged a ton of little glue dots along the perimeter
where I could see light filtering through.
Then knocked again.
Dead silence.
Victory at last!
No more shake, rattle, and roll.
At least not from the lantern.


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