Civil War-Era Home Renovation (Update)

So, here is what we are up to on our Civil War-Era Home renovation.

Brance has been stripping the paint off of the original stairwell in the entry. You wouldn’t believe how many layers of paint were put on this beautiful mahogany wood in over 100 years. Well, maybe you would. But, pinch me, I can’t believe how gorgeous it looks in all its natural glory!

Mahogany Banister

I am thinking we will either lightly varnish OR, more likely, wax the wood once we are all through. I am also thrilled with how nicely it goes with our door. Ahhh, I am getting so exited about seeing it all pulled together.


I thought I would go ahead and throw this light fixture pic in. I am considering one like this for our foyer. I am definitely transitional in my style (with a bit of rustic thrown in for good measure) and since our door and stairwell are both traditional, I am looking for something more contemporary to help balance everything out. What do you think?  I’d love to know and please, please  share/show any ideas you might have!


Initially, I was leaning more toward a pendant light, but a semi-flush light is really striking my fancy these days. Who knows. I have some time. Hopefully not too much ;).

We spent most of today Continue reading

Mom, today can be different

Mom and Daughter

(This is Abigail and I during our trip to Martha’s Vineyard this spring)

Being a mom is one of life’s greatest privileges and joys. Really, truly.

And yet, sometimes, in the hustle and crazy of the everyday we sort of lose sight of that. Somewhere between the meals, the carpools, the lessons, the baths, the playdates, the homework, the concern, ALL the instruction, and the breaking up of fights. Somewhere between 6×4 and “Where are your shoes, we’re going to be late?!”, we forget the purpose of it all, the joy that should be ours.

We forget that this “mom with kids at home” thing is short-lived and we only get one chance.

We forget to cuddle and hold hands and giggle together while lying on the rug.

We forget to let our hair down, to have fun.

We forget to LIVE.

But today is a new day, a fresh start. Today can be different.

Dealing with loss and sorrow

Tulip Breaking Virus

(Anonymous 17th-century watercolor of the Semper augustus)

I am writing this post in honor of a dear friend of mine who has experienced a lot of loss in her life recently. Hers was in the form of a potential adoption of a child that fell through. A child that she and her husband had spent months caring for. And most recently a failed third, and final, round of in vitro. The way she handles loss continually inspires me.

This may sound strange to you. But many of the beautiful moments/things I have experienced in this life have come mingled in sorrow or at the heals of loss. Does this even seem possible to you?

Loss and sorrow can overwhelm and embitter. OR they can be a catalyst for growth. They can be accompanied by a peace. Mingled with joy, even.

It all comes down to how we respond.

Harboring resentment and anger only poisons our own well. Looking enviously at those who seem to have it better imprisons us in our sorrow. Rejecting or ignoring our situation, is living in a state of denial, and stunts our growth.

And yet, these are often our natural response to loss and sorrow. I think we have all dabbled in these three and can recognize the stench that accompanies.

There is a better way. It’s called surrender. I won’t say that it is the easier way.  But it most definitely, most certainly is the better way.

Do you want peace in your present circumstances, regardless of what they are? Do you want hope for the future? Do you want joy mingled with your sorrow?

Surrender is the only way.

Surrender means letting go. Letting go of our expectations for what SHOULD happen in life. Letting go of our bitterness when said expectations do not happen. Letting go of the Continue reading

Increase marital heat WITHOUT crushing on someone else

KissI read an article on a popular blog recently that saddened me and frustrated me all at the same time. In it, the author encouraged married people to foster crushes on people other than their spouse. Her reason. Because it could turn up the heat in their primary relationship.

She wrote, “A crush can be entirely harmless. It can add a little bounce to your step. Who among us doesn’t feel a charge from flirtation? Someone else wanting us? … Come on.”

Call me old-fashioned…

But, I think that is TERRIBLE advice and I hope I can do this justice as I attempt to explain WHY.

But first, to be fair, the author did reference an internet survey where women reported that their crushes, mostly secret, resulted in more desire with their partner. The participants also claimed that these crushes did not impact their primary relationship.

Okay. So I am not going to argue that the survey, or article, is wrong in their observation (just conclusion). It is very likely that, “sex begets sex”, as the author of the blog post humorously observes. I don’t think anyone would deny that our minds/thoughts play a powerful role in our sexuality. It IS very likely that a crush could add “fuel back onto that home fire”.


And that is a big but! It does not mean that we SHOULD foster crushes on people other than our spouse. It does not mean that it is really, truly healthy for us as individuals OR for our marriages. In other words, it does not mean that the end justifies the means.

Most of us would agree that pursuing an exciting sex life in our marriage shouldn’t mean that anything goes as long as we get the desired result. Even the author of the article recognizes THAT when she gives warning signs for a crush that has become dangerous.

Couple at parkA better way

I think we all want to be in loving, hot marriages, right? But I believe that there are much safer ways, than extra-marital crushes, to stoke the home fire. Ways that don’t risk burning down the entire house. Do you know what I mean!?

Here’s the deal. I view my marriage as Continue reading

A mirror and a close call with garbage collectors

Yellow Mirror
I experienced a first recently. I actually rummaged through someone else’s garbage on the sidewalk! I couldn’t help myself. Someone had set out an antique wood mirror and I love old things. I felt a little funny when I first noticed it and pulled it from the trash, so that I could get a better look. Especially since garbage is set out RIGHT smack-dab in front of people’s homes.

Except for one spot that would need some work, the mirror was in great condition. And the shape; I loved the shape with its unusual arched top. I could definitely see this mirror hanging in the entry of the civil war-era home we are renovating. Possibly painted green or blue (oh how I love green and blue in their various shades) or even a bright yellow or red. It would just pop against fresh white walls. But alas, I was out for a walk and my reasoned self convinced me that I really didn’t need yet another project. So I set the mirror down among the trash again and on I walked.

Turquoise Mirror

Yet as I walked, I wrested with whether I had made the right decision. Surely I had. We are in a small apartment, with hardly any storage, where we already had furniture stowed in strange places. Places like the a corner in our bedroom and in the hallway beside the bathroom, even behind our girls’ bed. In what odd nook would the mirror find itself? But it was solid and beautiful and unusual and I could always set it out with our trash the following week if I changed my mind. That was it, I had to have it.

So I turned back and hurried because I had seen trash trucks and workers out already and hoped with all my heart that it hadn’t already been picked up. It’s funny how a decision can alter your behavior so much. As I approached the street it was on I could see a trash truck right about where the mirror had been left. I broke out into a sprint, my heart beating wildly, feeling a little ridiculous as I dashed madly toward the trash collectors gathering up the week’s garbage.

Blue Mirror

I just got there, mind racing, as the collectors gathered THE garbage, including the now precious mirror. I frantically motioned to one of the collectors who, seeing me, mistakenly grabbed the mirror and headed toward the trash truck with it. I froze. I couldn’t believe what was happening! He thought I was telling him to toss it. Finally, gathering myself, I yelled windily, “No, please, no! I actually WANT that mirror!” Continue reading