Favorite Living – 31:18

Today is for living.  Living is a favorite thing of mine.  Who wouldn’t say that?  But there is living and there is living.  There is the living that is about existing and surviving.  We have all experienced that at one time or another in our life.

I’m talking about the really living.  Embracing life. Finding purpose in life.  Enjoying life.  Participating in life.  Today I will participate in life and enjoy time with friends at an event that will have my husband on cloud nine. (Read – sports event). I could personally do without the event, but I love my husband and love to see him happy.

It is also an opportunity to spend time with friends from church.  That is important to me also.  Living is not always about what you are doing, but why you are doing and who you are doing with.  Doing life with family and friends is living.

“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” I John 4:11

Living in Grace,

Teresa

Favorite Aunt Nancy – 31:8

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Aunt Nancy, as a young girl, in the middle beside my mother and her brother. Aunt Ruth is hanging from the porch rail.

My Aunt Nancy has been gone for thirty-two years.  I still miss her.  She was my confidante, my advocate, my partner in fun.  We had such good times together.  I would stay at her house as often as my mom would allow.

I remember once, when she lived in a large house across the corner from our house, she gave me the use of one of her upstairs rooms to make my own.  I would hang out there listening to Jeannie C. Riley sing Harper Valley PTA – I knew all the words.

I don’t remember us ever doing anything profound or taking major trips together.  We just hung out.  We had a soul connection that is rare.  I would go to the grocery with her, or out running errands.  I remember she and my grandmother would hit all three grocery stores in town in order to take advantage of all the sales.  They’d have store flyers in hand, along with their lists and then buy meat at one store, bread at another and so forth.  It was exhausting and took the better part of a day.  I wouldn’t trade those times for anything.

She loved to sing old songs and play her accordion.  I remember once sitting on the front porch with her, accordion playing loudly.  Sometimes I find myself humming a verse of an old song, and I remember it is one that I heard Aunt Nancy sing.

I have so many snapshots of times spent with her.  Like the time we painted a bedroom pumpkin orange.  It was bright.  To this day, orange is my happy color.  I’m sure it has something to do with being exposed to that paint.  And the memory of a good time.

That was the same summer she let me watch the movie Ode to Billy Joe.  I remember her telling me that was probably a movie my mom wouldn’t want me to watch.  I remember it being rather haunting.  I grew up without a TV, so watching at Aunt Nancy’s house was a treat.

During this particular visit, even though I wasn’t old enough to drive, she allowed me to drive up the back country road to the store on the corner to purchase some supplies.  I had my younger cousin with me and when we arrived back home, I gave him the wheel and he drove back up the driveway.  I felt so grown-up.   That was one of the best summers with Aunt Nancy.  I spent a whole two weeks just hanging out with her.  That was the same visit in which I made chili and mistook the cinnamon for chili powder.  We ate it. My cousins still remember this event.

A year or so after that, she was living in yet another farm house and again I was staying with her.  This time, I remember painting the windowsill in an upstairs bedroom for her son.  I also remember catching the oven on fire.  She was down the road at my uncle’s shop and I went to the door yelling at the top of my lungs, but she couldn’t hear me.  I finally managed to grab the flour and throw it on the fire.  I can’t remember exactly what happened, but I know I had the oven on, not knowing that something was already in there and it caught on fire.  She still trusted me after that.

It’s funny how our memory takes snapshots.  I have so many scenes in my head of times spent with Aunt Nancy.  Just a portrait here and there of a moment spent with her.  Moments talking about boys I had crushes on, moments dreaming about the future.  Oh, how short that future was.

The summer she passed away I didn’t realize how sick she was, how soon she’d be gone.  She was in the hospital and wanted me with her.  I was babysitting and couldn’t go until later in the weekend.  The Sunday I arrived, everyone finally cleared out and I was sitting in the chair by her bed.  We were talking about Rocky, whom I hadn’t begun dating yet.  She knew I had a crush on him and she loved the idea of me dating him, because he was related to her husband’s family.  We were just sitting there innocently, dreaming about the future when she asked me to go get the nurse.  I never saw her alive again.  It was the most heartbreaking moment of my life, having to let her go.  I know she is in heaven surrounded by God’s grace and beauty.

I lived with her family for two weeks, just trying to keep a daily routine of meals and laundry going.  But, I had to go off to college.  I was too young to take on such a big role. I wish I could have kept them safe forever.  Safe from the pain of losing a mother and the heartaches they endured as a result.  There is pain in loss, but there is healing in memories.  I treasure the memories I have of Aunt Nancy.  I have an album full of memory snapshots that I browse through when I’m missing her.   Sometimes I imagine what it would be like to have new “pictures” to add to that album.

Treasure the times you have with your loved ones.  Make sure your memory album has lots of snapshots for future reference.  Relish the everyday moments because they are precious. Never forget, that even in death, God knows what he is doing and he always has a plan. He can heal our hurts and give us peace.  No matter how much someone loves us (and Aunt Nancy loved her family very much), God loves us even more.

Remembering in grace,

Teresa (aka Sadie)

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.

Love Speaks in Everyday Moments

Today I had a date of sorts with my husband.  It wasn’t planned.  He needed an ink cartridge and one was not to be found in the small burg in which we live, so a trip to the neighboring college town was in order.  I decided to go with.  So, it was an impromptu date.  I’m calling it a date because:  1.  It was just the two of us and 2. It involved our new favorite Italian Restaurant for lunch.

It wasn’t romantic – we didn’t  hold hands or kiss or flirt or anything like that.  We were just together.  The fact that it was just the two of us was not all that remarkable since we don’t  have kids and often it is just the two or us.  The fact that we ate lunch out doesn’t really make it all that special either since we tend to eat out often.  And, even the fact that we were together was not all that remarkable, because, these days we spend a lot of time together since neither of us leaves home on a regular basis to go to work.   So, maybe it wasn’t really a date.

That doesn’t matter.  What matters to me is that we are together.  We still count.  We  go with the ebb and flow of life with each other and even if we’re not officially on a date we can still enjoy each other’s company.  We have settled into a rhythm of life.  We can know what the other is thinking without saying a word.  Sometimes in the silence of just being together there is magic.  Being together is like being wrapped in a blanket on a cold winter’s day.  You feel safe, cozy, protected and blessed.  Your eyes meet, you smile and you know your world is right. You know that love speaks in the everyday moments of life and even an ordinary trip for an ink cartridge is something special.

 

And every time he plays, I fall in love all over again.

Loving in Grace,

Sadie