War Eagle!!!

Who’s ready for some Auburn football?!? We are!!! Or at least the family room is ready for another exciting season… ūüėĄ



Grace for the win…

I think it’s time for us married people to huddle up and bust out our best cheers¬†for better marriages and stronger families. Please hear me out:¬†Marriage is hard. It may be different for you than for me, but none of us are lounging on bear skin rugs sipping wine in front of a roaring fire…¬†Can we agree on that?

The news recently has shined a spotlight on infidelity. It makes me wish all these families who are reeling in heartbreak could suit up and rush the football field, busting through a paper banner that says F-A-M-I-L-Y so we could cheer for them and wave posters that say, We are rooting for you guys!!!

I think it matters how your friends respond when things are hard. Personally, I love it when my friends say, I love your family. It’s a different sentiment than just loving me.¬†It tells me they are rooting for all four of us¬†– for our little team. I keep thinking how meaningful it would be for every marriage in crisis to hear their friends and family say, We love you both. In the case of infidelity¬†it means, We don’t think you’re pathetic for trying to forgive and stay together – and – We know sometimes good people make terrible mistakes. We need to cheer for the quarterback AND the running back because a¬†Family wins or¬†loses as a team.

For Bryan and me, the biggest¬†struggle we face is an illness¬†that wants to beat us down. Your struggles may be totally different, but to paraphrase Voltaire, you can’t¬†pull out a scale and measure another man’s grief. It’s all hard, people. Marriage in all its forms is an enormous act of faith – and endurance. You and I don’t really want to swap out all our heartaches and problems, do we?

thewaywemet 1

Today, Bryan and I were featured on the Instagram account The Way We Met. I love our story and I love Bryan very much, but if you think we have it all figured out then you are nuts.

thewaywemet 2

The pressure-cooker of an incurable disease does not make a marriage easier. What does make it better is God’s faithfulness. He has never let us fall through his fingers and He never will. We see His love shining through our friends and family and it fills us up. I cannot over-state what that means for our lives. I want that kind of love and grace and encouragement for all these families dealing with whatever it may be.

I think we all need each other. Are you in?

“No pillow is as soft as a clear conscience.” – French Proverb

I was on the phone with my¬†√ľber-organized friend Kristina today who said my blog posts about getting organized are¬†making her feel bad. Say, what? This woman lived across the street from me for three years. She knows about the laundry room. She knows about the caveat on my blog!

“Kristina, you know I’m not taking pictures of the messes around here!” I said.

“Well you should! We will all feel better!” was her reply – and since I love her so much, here are some pictures of the not at all organized parts of our house…

One of my children struggles to maintain the organizational systems I’ve implemented in her room, such as labeling the drawers so she knows where to put her clean clothes. This is our status quo. It’s fine, you know? Choose your battles?

I didn’t have time to photograph her room a couple weeks ago when we made it look so nice – which only took 3 days! I am not kidding¬†– if I can see carpet, we are in pretty good shape.

I have another child whose room is always neat and tidy with the glaring exception of a pile of debris in his closet. He is like me – it doesn’t bother him unless he has to look at it. (See further examples below…)

I got the¬†Christmas decorations boxed up in time for New Years (yay) and then left the¬†containers in the living room until this summer when I finally shoved them in the closet under the stairs. They’re too heavy to lug up to the attic by myself and when people were here visiting I’d forget to ask for help!¬†Anyway, the kids climb in this closet playing hide-and-seek, so now the Christmas stuff is knocked over and spilling out into the camping supplies.

I have lost 0 minutes of sleep over the Christmas decor situation.

This is the shelf in the big armoire in my office where I shove things I want to keep but don’t actually use, such as my desk calendars from¬†the past 15+ years…

This is a great example of my working theory that the house is clean when the parts you see look nice. I just don’t open¬†this cabinet. I open the cabinet to the left which has cute baskets of neatly organized office supplies and stationary. ūüôā

This is my laundry room… looking awesome! Cleaning supplies mostly in a bin! Floor mostly clear! Door opens freely! No conspicuous trip-hazards!

This is real life, people. When in doubt, assume we got nothin’ but real life happening at our house. ‚̧

Now, may I please go back to taking pretty pictures? These are gross.

Closet Makeover Reveal!

You may recall that my resolution for 2015 was to GET ORGANIZED.¬†One of the first projects I tackled in January was our master closets, but then a pipe burst in the bathroom wall in May and¬†we spent 8 weeks getting everything repaired.¬†ūüė¶

So, closet - beforeI am finally ready to reveal our closet makeover!

First, I will remind you what¬†it looked like before… I had¬†a wire closet system and I was using plastic shoe racks which regularly fell over. I had wall hooks for necklaces¬†and¬†hung my bags on hangers. Scarves were tucked in a basket. It was ok – not great.

The goal was to make it more functional and better looking. I wanted a mirror to check out my outfits from head to toe and a better storage solution for shoes and bags.

Everything in my closet is clothing I really do wear. Doing an annual purge¬†means I don’t need tons of hanging space.

I group my clothing by type and by color to make it easier to put together an outfit in the morning. Since I am not a professional blogger (just a professional mom) I didn’t stop to make the hangers evenly spaced and photo-ready! Ha!

All my bags are on big brass hooks so I can see them.

I asked Alfonso to make the shelves deep enough for my¬†ladies size 12¬†shoes! He included¬†space for more boots than I own¬†– I should have been specific about the spacing, but no biggie. I have 20 pair of shoes on the shelves and my¬†flip-flops and tennis shoes are in a big basket. The two shelves you don’t see are my high heels.

I found a mirror at TJMaxx so I can see my whole outfit. #awkwardselfie

The bird hooks are from Hobby Lobby (spray painted gold, of course) and the vintage brass hooks are an estate sale find.

The shelves have space for baskets (socks, underwear, scarves) and this glass bowl where I keep my jewelry. I¬†wear costume jewelry so it’s fine to dump it in a bowl.

The up-side to that pipe bursting in the bathroom is that we decided to replace the wet carpet with hardwood floors in our bedroom!

I have been an organizing fool this summer… There’s more to come! Both kids’ rooms are de-cluttered, newly organized and slightly redecorated just in time for school to start next week!!!¬†ūüôā

Quick Refresh

Now, my love of brown and wood and leather and baskets is an enduring love but my favorite color changes – a lot. Thankfully, I don’t feel like I have to redecorate every few months… I can just¬†swap out the covers on my throw pillows.

Lately, I’m in love with white. It’s so fresh. And you know I love owls… So…

I spotted these pillow covers at Hobby Lobby on sale for $5 and $8 each. How crazy is that?!? Check out the quality…



I think they’re definitely sending out a fresh, happy, easy – and perhaps wise – vibe. Ha!! Whatever… I like them. I used some down inserts I’ve had for a long time.

My buddy approves.

This month in the yard: July

It’s prime summer time, folks! June was rainy, rainy, rainy and yet¬†sunny, so everything is thriving! (Except my poor burning bush, but it will make it.) Let’s take a tour, shall we?

First of all, and this is important, I read recently that Ferns are the Fiddle Leaf Figs of 2015. ūüôā

Ta da!

I got my first Canna Lilly bloom! I planted 5-6 Cana Lillies from bulbs in April Рsome in pots and some in beds. This one is in a pot is the biggest, which surprises me.

My sunflowers have exploded! I had forgotten how much FUN they are to grow! They grow so fast and so big and so effortlessly!!! Get some. Seriously.

As much as I have always loved this combo, it’s just too much in one spot. Next Spring, I am moving these Hosta Lillies someplace less crowded.

The Firecracker Gladiolus are just about to pop! I grew them from bulbs so this is pretty exciting. And yes, there’s dirt under my fingernail in this photo. <sigh> It’s an occupational hazard.

The Hosta Lillies are all blooming.

I planted Caladiums from bulbs and they are finally popping up. I put some in a pot on the side porch and some in a flowerbed by the driveway.

My Hydrangeas are huge – but they will not bloom! I have a theory that it’s because I¬†haven’t cut them back in a couple years – I read that they will grow larger if you don’t cut them back. Next year: chop!¬†We’ll see what happens.

So, just to clarify, I am completely in love with my Purple Coneflowers. ‚̧

Coneflowers are mounding perennials which means they will spread out from year to year. Photos like this really make me appreciate the colorful gardens I see in Southern Living. My coneflowers have a lot of work to do!

Here’s another Canna Lilly that emerged from a bulb. I am done with bulbs – they require way too much patience!

The last of my little purple Day Lillies…

Claire is demonstrating how soft and lush the lawn is right now from all the rain and sun this summer…

¬†That’s it folks!

The goose with the golden planter…

The spray-paint fairy has struck again! And this time she waved her magical spray-paint wand over a goose that lays golden-hued planters.

My inspiration was this flower pot that I spray-painted gold a couple years ago…

Since my 2015 New Year’s resolution is to organize our entire life, the last thing I want to do is bring more stuff into our house. So, I decided to look around the kitchen for containers I could spray-paint gold.

How many mixing bowls does one family need? ūüôā

I spray-painted the inside of the glass so the paint won’t scratch off with use and cleaning.

I think they look pretty and the plants are happy. #win

The Ancestry Wall

A few years ago, I got the idea of creating a gallery wall with old photos of my kids’ grandparents, great-grandparents and even great-great grandparents. I slowly began collecting old photos and various frames, referencing gallery walls on Pinterest for inspiration. Originally, all of this was going on a blank vertical space at the end of our staircase until I realized… it wouldn’t fit!

Scratch Plan A.

The professionals suggest that you lay it out ahead of time and create a paper template to stick to the wall – and use laser pointers for accurate alignment. I kept shuffling frames in the den floor over the course of a couple of weeks. (Silly, I know.) My son walked in and said, “Mommy, why are you thinking about this so much? Just put them on the wall.”


So I walked over to the Plan B wall – the hallway off the kitchen and hung the picture of my grandfather with his teammates on the cotton mill village men’s baseball team. Then I picked up frames and hung them up one by one, quickly and without over-thinking it.

I love how it turned out!

There’s a story behind every picture and now the kids will have a visual to go along with stories about their great-grandfather Everett who was one of 9 boys, and their great-grandfather Harold who went to work in a cotton mill when he was 9 years old…

The wall also means my great-aunt Mattie and her husband Lonnie will be remembered even though they never had children to pass along their names or DNA.

I am in love with this wall.

This Month in the Yard: June

I was just looking back at the pictures I took around the yard in early May – and – wow! It’s amazing how much everything has grown in 6 weeks! We’ve had a very rainy Spring¬†and Mother Nature has worked her magic…

First, we need to discuss my new “happy place”. I am loving the side porch/pergola! We stained it since cedar otherwise grays over time. The plants are filling in nicely so that the space has a little privacy.

This picture was taken in the morning sun and it’s still pretty shady – it’s all shade by afternoon.

This picture is two weeks old because the Asiatic Lillies came out in¬†mid/late May and did everything they were going to do in two weeks – now they’re gone. Bummer! They were pretty though.

The purple Day Lillies emerged as the Asiatic Lillies went away, which was a nice trade-off. My Gladiolus bulbs are popping up just behind the Day Lillies.

I am amazed every year at how fast these shade loving coleus grow!

The Hydrangea has a bloom! Remember last year it never bloomed at all!

I am really pleased with the flowers off the back patio – they are FINALLY filling in! This is the third summer for what I had envisioned to be Southern Living lushness. Last year was pathetic. This year brings great hope!

The Purple Coneflowers are gigantic! And they’ve spread since last year. I hope they take over!

Purple Coneflowers

More purple Day Lillies back here as well as two varieties of Cana Lillies in pots and in the ground (an experiment with bulbs).

Here’s a close up of a¬†Day Lilly. I love the purple and yellow combo!

Bryan’s Blueberry bushes are loaded up this year!

Quick shot of all the trees which seem to be happy and green this year… Of course, it’s not August!

The Lantana is loving this spot by the creek which gets speckled sunlight.

My sister-in-law, Kathryn, gave me this gorgeous Calla Lilly for my birthday!

The Magnolia has a couple of blooms! It sure is growing s-l-o-w-l-y but gets prettier each year. It still looks more like a shrub than a tree.

Here’s what isn’t growing… The Trumpet Vine (bulb)¬†that I’d intended to scale the playhouse appears to be dead. Some of the¬†bulbs I planted off the back patio, in some pots, and in a side bed haven’t sprouted. I am done with¬†bulbs. The Cana Lillies are slowly, slowly emerging as are the Gladiolus – all bulbs. The Flowering Cherry by the neighbor’s house is still trying to live but it looks rough and the new Burning Bush looks stressed. I’m giving¬†them both time.

All in all – very happy with this year’s garden!!!

Living outside…

The weather has been A M A Z I N G this Spring – sunny and warm on the heels of a really cold winter! We are loving it! Bryan and I keep kicking the kids out of the house so they don’t miss it.

I love it when Bryan joins us for a bike/scooter ride.

This is the perfect time of year to eat outside. Bryan likes the new side porch – and I like having lunch on the back patio. I cooked an Indian yellow curry with chicken and peas that was so spicy but really good!

So, basically life is pretty slow right now – just the way I like it. Our weekends have been freed up for gardening and just playing. Our afternoons are suddenly wide open now that guitar lessons, theater and German classes have all ended.

I am sitting out here on the patio to blog this evening – sweet bliss!!! All I can hear is birds chirping and the neighbors’ air conditioning unit. Ha! Life is never perfect, but I’ll take it.