“And this mess is so big…”

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“But all things should be done decently and in order.” I Corinthians 14:40

I had a closet.  It was horrid.  It started out with good intentions. But a year of searching for this and that and a few more items stuffed in, and well, I’ll let the pictures tell the story:

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The This closet was originally going to be my pantry. But…Mr. Piano needed storage for the stuff that will someday go to an office.  I wanted custom shelves…but, my brother never seemed to have the time for the shelves and they cost money…. the crates started out in a neat stack with a few things on top.  But… (yes, there is another but) eventually, Mr. Piano needed a piece of music from one of the bottom crates and the rest is history. Long story, short. We lived with it as is. Until we couldn’t. 

This past weekend I decided to organize the closet and use a utility shelf.  I wanted to paint it white, but I wanted the mess organized more, so I just went with the utilitarian gray.  Someday, I still have hopes of this being a custom organized pantry.  In the meantime, it is in much better shape.  I’ll let the photo’s show you:

100_1946 100_1945 100_1934 100_1939 100_1942 100_1941 100_1944This closet is now, officially, the most organized spot in my house.  This is sad.  I walk by and peek in several times a day just to calm the chaos swirling around in my head and my house. It is amazing how quickly the organizing thread can unravel.  It only takes a year give or take a  month or two.

(Yes, we have a curtain for a closet door.  Okay? Thanks.)

I’m pretty sure this closet is a metaphor for something.  Something that may be askew in my life.  Is it possible that while I’m organizing the hidden places in my home (and the not so hidden) that I will also be on a journey to find balance in those hidden places deep in my soul?

Balancing in Grace,

Sadie

“She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.” –Proverbs 31:27

On the Front Porch

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Yesterday I updated you on what I had been doing while not writing.  Today I had a break in the weather so I did some rearranging and staging on my new old front porch.    You can read yesterday’s post to see a lot of the in progress pictures and the before.

I’m linking up over at Imparting Grace so please click on over and check out the other links for more home inspiration. It’s all about “making our homes a place of grace”.  And while you are there browse around Richella’s blog – she will inspire you with her wisdom as well as her decor.

If you found your way here from the link-up party at Imparting Grace, Welcome!  I’m so glad you stopped by.  Please leave a comment and let me know you were here.  I love to meet new people.  That is one of the ways I find blogs that become my favorites.

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Just a quick (ish) update for those who haven’t been keeping up with our porch reno – We live in an older home that was our weekend home, but due to some changes last year, has become our full-time home (and here) while we wait on God’s direction for what comes next.  We lovingly refer to it as the Little House (aka StoneLeaf Cottage).

This blog was originally started to chronicle the Little House, but I haven’t’ done much of that as I have found other things to write about.  I think over the summer I am going to add more posts about the house. Stay tuned.

Our most recent project has been our front porch.  The porch ceiling was vinyl.  I don’t really care for vinyl porch ceilings, especially on old houses.  And, I desperately wanted a blue porch ceiling.  A southern porch at it’s best.  You can’t paint vinyl – yuk! And our vinyl had seen better days; it was sagging, which meant probably a leak was lurking. The floor boards were in good shape but had grayed over the years; the shutters were pitiful and the porch just was not overly inviting. I wrote a poem about it here. I’d had a swing for the better part of two years and had not hung it because one of the hooks was missing and the sag was where the hook should have been.  So, not knowing what I’d find or whether or not I’d have to replace all the old boards, we decided to do what any sane person would do.  We took the vinyl by the claw hammer and let her rip.  No going back.

That was the best decision ever.  Yes, we had to replace the old boards.  Yes, we replaced them with tongue and groove pine boards and yes, we painted them blue.  Summer Sky blue from Lowe’s.  Valspar I think.  Does Lowe’s sell any other brand of paint ;).  And yes, I have pictures to show you in a minute or two.  To make a long story as short as possible, we also freshened up the porch wall paint ( an Olympic color called Puppy Paws – not my choice, but we’re not painting the whole house, so we went with what was already established.)  And we painted the floor and today I did some “staging” and took pictures.  Lots of pictures.  I’ll try to refrain from sharing all 57 of them.  (all pictures were taken by me.  Please link back should you share any of them.)

Enjoy how our transformed front porch has helped “make our home a place of Grace”:

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100_1876I hope you enjoyed the pictures of our new old front porch.  You probably noticed how the accessories jumped around a bit. I had  fun trying out different combos.  The porch floor paint is a Glidden color, Handcast Pewter, in Valspar porch and paint from Lowe’s.  The cushions and furniture are from Oxford Garden.  You can go online to check out the where to buy link.  The rug is a lucky find at Wal-Mart.  The only one of this style left in their outdoor rug bin.  The colors could not have been more perfect for all the different blues and greens in my cushions.  It even has a beigy neutral color that picks up on the pinkish tan tones of the house color.  And, of course it compliments my summer sky ceiling paint perfectly. For now I’m ignoring the black retro railing because I can’t afford to change it to a wooden white railing and columns.  We will probably need to freshen the paint on it soon.

All the pops of color excite me and make me happy.  My swing makes me happy!

My front porch makes me happy!

click the quote for a song:

All I wanna do when the day is through, is linger here on the front porch with you

Swinging on the front porch in Grace,

Sadie

PS – The house you see behind the swing is the home we moved to when I was a teenager; my parents still live there. We’re so blessed to have them close by.

PPS – I still have a few things I want to add, like string lights and some kind of art on the wall, and maybe a hanging plant or two.  But I’m so excited for the progress.  I’ll keep you posted on any updates.

Pictures Worth Thousands of Words and Roads Less Traveled

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They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  For several weeks now my (non)posts have been missing about a thousand words each.

I have thought of things to write; I’ve even written a few posts in my head that never made it to paper or internet.  I have wanted to write, but the gumption just wasn’t there, or I was out of town, or sick, or busy….

So, I thought I’d catch you up on what has been going on and let the pictures tell the story (there may be some words, ok).

1.  The front porch received a much needed overhaul (this spanned April and May and included my brother. It is June and we still have a few tweaks to finish):

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New Porch ceiling being installed.  This also shows the general before shape of the porch.  (you can imagine the sagging vinyl that was over the original rot and sag boards.)
New Porch ceiling being installed. This also shows the general before shape of the porch. (you can imagine the sagging vinyl that was over the original rot and sag boards on the ceiling.)
Some of the old original ceiling boards after they were taken down.
Some of the old original ceiling boards after they were taken down. And a new board on top – not sure why.
My new blue porch ceiling.  I have wanted one for a long time. (The ladder is an indication that we also put in new gutters).
My new blue porch ceiling. I have wanted one for a long time. (The ladder is an indication that we also put in new gutters).
We also cleaned and scraped the porch wall and trim so we could paint.
We also cleaned and scraped the porch wall and trim so we could paint.
More cleaning prep before painting.
More cleaning prep before painting. Lucky my Dad has a pressure washer and is good at holding a board to protect the newly painted wall.
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In the midst of all the redoing (that began in April) my Iris’s bloomed. The underpinning to the porch will need some attention soon – the verdict is still out on exactly what will be done.
This view shows the newly painted ceiling, porch wall, trim and the new lights.
This view shows the newly painted ceiling (summer sky – Valspar), porch wall (puppy paws – Olympic), trim and the new lights. (And my neighbors porch that could use a redo).  The puppy paws would not have been my first (or second or third…) choice for the house, but since we are not going to do a major house repaint for awhile, we decided to just freshen up the porch wall, embrace our inner puppy and live with the color that the previous owner  chose.
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This shot shows the newly painted floor. It is called Handcast Pewter which is a Glidden color, however I had it mixed at Lowe’s in the Valspar Latex Porch and Floor – Satin finish. I love the color, but it is going to show dust and dirt really bad. In the background you can see my Oxford Garden Shorea wood furniture (love my swing) and the cushions and rug for my porch. It still needs to be staged and tweaked. Waiting on the rain to go away.

Proverbs 24:3-4 – applies to porches too, I would think:

By wisdom a house is built,
and through understanding it is established;
through knowledge its rooms are filled
with rare and beautiful treasures.

I'm so going to love my porch.  Once it is finally put together I'll do a post and show you the finished look and maybe give a few details etc.  Love my porch.  This little crooked house is the first time I've had a proper front porch in 29 years of marriage.
I’m so going to love my porch. Once it is finally put together I’ll do a post and show you the finished look and maybe give a few details etc. Love my porch. This little crooked house is the first time I’ve had a proper front porch in 29 years of marriage. Did I mention that I love my porch?

2.  We also took a vacation in April, but any posting I was doing that month was mostly on my other blog, Orange Comma, for the National Poetry Writing Month. Vacation was really a retreat.  We love to go to Fairhaven, which is in Roan Mountain, Tennessee, not too far from the North Carolina Border.  We love the peacefulness and we’re within an hour of several places that are touristy if we want that.  We mostly just soak in the peace and rest and read.  Here are a few pictures from this year:

They had added the sweetest little chapel since the last time we were there (October 2008).
They had added the sweetest little chapel since the last time we were there (October 2008). Psalm 122:1:

I WAS GLAD WHEN THEY SAID UNTO ME,      LET US GO INTO THE HOUSE OF THE LORD

The road leading to our Chalet - The Holly - you can see that the tress are just starting to spring up.  We were there the week of April 22 and it was still quite chilly.
The road leading to our Chalet – The Holly – you can see that the tress are just starting to spring up. We were there the week of April 22 and it was still quite chilly. Our chalet is on the left after the second curve just out of sight. We had a wonderful view of the mountain.
One day we drove over (up) to Blowing Rock, NC.  We had been there before, but had never actually paid to go see the Rock that made it so  famous.  You can see part of the Rock in this picture.  We were actually standing on the rock. Sort of.  It was nice, but there are other great views that are free, so I probably don't have to pay to see it again.
One day we drove over (up) to Blowing Rock, NC. We had been there before, but had never actually paid to go see the Rock that made it so famous. You can see part of the Rock in this picture. We were actually standing on the rock. Sort of. It was nice, but there are other great views that are free, so I probably don’t have to pay to see it again.
A group of very kind ladies offered to take our picture, since we had taken one of them.  So, for what it's worth here we are.
A group of very kind ladies offered to take our picture, since we had taken one of them. So, for what it’s worth here we are. I apparently don’t iron the hem of my sweater when I take it out of the dryer. The M on Mr Piano’s shirt is for Morhead State University, our Alma Mater. The mountains in the background are the view from the blowing rock.  I so love the mountains.  Give me a cabin in the mountains and some good books and I’m good to go.

3.  In the midst of traveling and redoing I took a week off to be sick.  No pictures available. Proverbs 17:22:

A joyful heart is good medicine

4.  The most exciting thing that happened while I was not writing a thousand words was that Mr Piano graduated.  He is now Doctor Mister Piano.  He received his DMA degree (Doctor of Musical Arts in piano performance) from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky on May 17.  WooHoo!  Finally!  Yea! We have some pictures to prove it:

Ready for rehearsal and the composite picture.
Ready for rehearsal and the composite picture.
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Here we are in Dr. Mohler’s extensive library. A reception was hosted for the graduates and it included a meet and greet at the Presidents home. The library is several rooms with over 46,000 volumes.
Diploma in hand.  We're ready for the next chapter.
Diploma in hand. We’re ready for the next chapter.  God has a plan.

Jeremiah 29:11:

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

5.  We celebrated 29 years of marriage on June 2.  It was Sunday and Mr. Piano had an afternoon rehearsal, so we went to a local Mexican restaurant for a meal and didn’t really do a major celebration.  We may take a day trip soon in honor of the event.  Either way every day with Mr. Piano is a celebration, so we’re all good.  Here is a picture or a few of the original event all those years ago:

da da da da....almost there, bride escorted by her father, Lowell Tackett
I was a true Southern Belle y’all – I have the dress to prove it.  Mr. Piano cried the whole time I was walking down the aisle.  True story.  They were happy tears.
Looking to the future!
We’ve only just begun to live, white lace and promises….
...a kiss for luck and we're on our way
…a kiss for luck and we’re on our way”.
Rocky was still crying...he was so happy
proof that there was crying by Mr. Piano – you can tell in this picture that there are some lingering tears. I think he is telling my mom how grateful he is for me 🙂
yellow fiat
“…so many roads to choose…”
We drove away in a little yellow Fiat. That car was responsible for our first married squabble, on our honeymoon, no less. I tried to drive it. On the interstate. It didn’t work out. I still can’t drive a stick shift. Needless to say, that car did not last long. That is not our little Fiat in the photo, nor is that couple us. I don’t seem to have any pictures of our car, so I found this one. Click on picture to take you to the source where I found it.

Ok, so I think this about sums up what I’ve been doing the past several weeks, you know, when I wasn’t writing.  If you already knew this stuff, then I apologize for boring you further.  I’ll try to come up with some fresh perspective to write about soon.

6.  Oh, I almost forgot.  I did visit several cemeteries on Memorial Day – one I had never been to before where several of my ancestors were buried, like my great great grandparents and uncles.  It was a peaceful, sweet little cemetery in the middle of a farm that is now privately owned:

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Two roads diverged in a wood and I — I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference

Doctor Mister Piano and I have always taken the road less traveled.  I have no regrets.  I’m excited to see what’s around the next bend.

Traveling in Grace,

Sadie