Prompted To Write – A 31 Day Journey

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Welcome!  31 Days starts here!  For the month of October I will be writing daily from the ebb and flow of my life.  My hope is that God will use this season of writing to stretch me and bless you.  After all, he is the giver of this gift of laying down words.  I want what I do with them to honor him.

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DAY 1 – Introduction

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I had too many possibilities swirling around to choose (family snapshot memories, notes from trips taken this summer, A Journey With Alzheimer’s, Haiku, what I learned at a recent Writers event and on and on… but, Life right now is prone to interruptions without notice, so I wanted a topic that would challenge me to write, but allow for variety and be flexible enough to keep it very simple if need be. I also wanted to be open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.  Sometimes, I tend to forget that he will give me writing material if I just ask.  II Corinthians 3:5:

Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God,

I like to think of the structure for the 31 days as organized chaos that will produce disciplined writing. Each day the writing will result from a prompt that is incorporated into my daily living.  Some of these could be very light fare and some could go deep, depending on the needs of the day. For weekends I will still do my Weekend Toss which will include links to new bloggers I have found from the 31 Days links and either a scripture, devotion or prayer for Sunday.

I really hope you check back as often as you can to see how I’ve been prompted to write!  This page will Serve as our Table of Content and a link will be added for each post so that you will be able to find all the posts in the series in one place.  Come back tomorrow?

Writing in Grace,

Teresa

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Soaking In Possibilities

Having consumed too much caffeine earlier today, er, I mean Saturday, and by nature, being an oil burning night owl, I find myself sitting here in the quiet of my new, little, blue ceilinged french dining room, turned music room, turned office, listening to the gentle patter of the rain falling on dried tendrils of grass that so desperately needed sustenance, trying to write a one sentence post at 3:25 in the a.m.

It feels rather cozy to be sitting here in this place that has now become my space, letting the rain soak into my soul as it stirs up possibilities of things to come on this adventure I call writing.

Sitting here feels right.  This space has me wrapped in the soft cotton of creativity just bursting at the seams.  Or, it could just be the Mountain Dew talking.  I am embracing the change and settling in to a new rhythm.  Once the transition is more complete I will share the wherefores and why so’s with you.

For now, I just wanted to see how the writing felt.  Here.  Under the blue ceiling, with the rain just outside my window.

Before: When the room was on it's way to being a little French Country Dining room.  Afters: to come soon
Before: When the room was on it’s way to being a little French Country Dining room. Afters: to come soon

Soaking in Grace,

Teresa

 

 

Speaking Hope

I am excited!  If you know me at all, or have been a keen observer of things that pop up on my blog, then you have probably figured out that three of my passions in life are family, decorating and writing.

I have always loved decorating my home and even considered majoring in interior design in college.  I have had a dream for years, at least since my teens, that I would one day write a book.  For many years all I wanted to be was a homemaker.  When I never had children, I still wanted to be at home, but I always felt guilty for having that desire to not work public work as if somehow I had to have children to justify staying at home.

No matter what my work was, or where I was those three things remained constant.  I’m probably the only person I know who moves in and has pictures hung the same night, even before all the boxes are unpacked.  I am constantly decorating in my head and moving furniture is a regular occurrence at our house.

Writing is something that I finally embraced on a fairly regular basis when we moved to Louisville and I began writing for our church devotional booklets, started a writers group and eventually started this blog.

A couple of years ago when we moved back home, I was presented with the chance to be at home and I am still adjusting.  I love being home, but it has been harder than I imagined it would be.  I have all this time to decorate, nurture family and write.  Finding a regular rhythm has been difficult, but I am so thankful for the opportunity to have the time to pursue all my passions at the same time.

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So, why am I excited you may ask?  I’ll tell you.  Two of my favorite bloggers and their father along with their families, have started a new internet adventure called Hope*ologie.  For a small monthly fee you have access to the wisdom they have garnered over the years of doing what they do best.  The father focuses on family, the older sister on the home and the younger sister on quieting the soul.

I have said before that the two sisters are like two halves of me, the best of both worlds.  One speaks to the decorator / homemaker in me and the other to the writer / soul encourager.  Add their father to the mix and he speaks to the part of me that wants family to be a top priority.  To be able to go to one place and tap into all my passions is exciting.

It is so exciting that I wanted to share it with you.  I wanted to introduce you to three people who have made an impact on my life in a positive way.  I was privileged to see them in person last November when we went to The Barn Event.  It was everything I imagined it to be.  That is why I am so excited to join them for Hope*ologie.  Every month will be like a Barn Event from the comfort of my own home.

If you don’t think a subscription website is right for you at this time, no worries, they all three have wonderful blogs with lots of good information.  Their blogs will remain free and as always, they will inspire you.

No one affiliated with Hope*ologie, or their personal websites asked me to advertise for them. I just wanted to because I love them that much.

Speaking Hope In Grace,

Teresa

 

Favorite Emily – 31:4

Everybody has a favorite Emily.  I’m sure. I actually know, or know of, a few Emily’s. I could probably find reasons to say they are all my favorite Emily, but today I will focus on the one long gone. She inspires me in so many ways, but she is elusive and often obscure. That is probably one of the many reasons that I admire her.

She has a way with words that is both simple and complex.  Sometimes what you see on the surface is not what is really going on below the depths. She adds hue to the words in such a way that you want to pick them up and use them to color your world. You know that somehow if you could borrow from her palette you would paint a masterpiece.

In her later years she lived a quiet life among her flowers, wearing white and seeing only those close to her. She preferred to correspond via letters.  I imagine she found it easier to relate from behind closed doors using the written word to convey her thoughts rather than converse face to face.  This too is just one of the ways I can relate to her.

Amherst College Archives & Special Collections is the home of the original.Emily Dickinson. Daguerreotype. ca. 1847 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Amherst College Archives & Special Collections is the home of the original. Emily Dickinson. Daguerreotype. ca. 1847 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

If you are not familiar with her, allow me to introduce to you Emily Dickinson, one of America’s most prolific poets.   After her death, several of her poems were found organized in portfolio’s and even more were found in a chest.  They were written on scraps of paper and untitled.  I too am a paper scrap writer, jotting down random thoughts on whatever happens to be available.  At our house scraps of paper cannot be thrown away without being read first, as they might contain the words to my great masterpiece. Or not.

Her poems are collected here if you are interested in reading them.  In closing I will share with you one of my favorite Dickinson poems.  Okay, maybe two.

She sweeps with many-colored brooms

She sweeps with many-colored brooms,
And leaves the shreds behind;
Oh, housewife in the evening west,
Come back, and dust the pond!

You dropped a purple ravelling in,
You dropped an amber thread;
And now you’ve littered all the East
With duds of emerald!

And still she plies her spotted brooms,
And still the aprons fly,
Till brooms fade softly into stars
And then I come away.

Hope is the thing with feathers

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune–without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Sweeping colors in grace,

Teresa (aka Sadie Grace)

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

Five Question Friday

There is a blog that hosts a link party called Five Question Friday (I know, it is now technically Sunday).  I decided to answer this week’s questions just for fun and because I hadn’t posted for a week.  If you want to see other bloggers answers or link up you can visit My Little Life and join in on the fun.

The Five Questions:

If you were going to be stuck on a deserted island, which 5 books, movies, people and foods would you take along?

Books:   The Bible, Forsaking All Others by Emilie Loring,  Margin by Dr Swenson, a hymn book, and a poetry anthology  (as a book lover narrowing down to five books is really hard, but I think this group could keep me well read and entertained until I was rescued).  I should probably have a blank journal type book, but maybe I can write my stuff on the margins and the blank pages in all the other books and maybe Ty can figure out how to make paper for me.  I’m sure this experience will result in a best seller.

Movies: Green Card, Baby Boom, You’ve Got Mail, Funny Farm, Mary Poppins

Petit Fours & Chocolate Chewies from The Fresh Market

Food:  Pizza (counts as one, right, even with several toppings), walnuts (have to get those omega threes), CHOCOLATE, tomato bisque soup, cheese, crackers.  I’m assuming there will be a freshwater source and plenty of fruit on this tropical island to add to my diet, thereby making it pretty balanced.

People: this one is harder, or maybe not so much.  I’d take my husband of course, he is my main support.  There are a lot of people that I love dearly that I wouldn’t take for various reasons, so I’m thinking the rest of my family could be safe at home, living their lives, praying for my safe return.  So, the other four that I would take – For survival etc I’d want a Doctor( Dr. Andrew Weil), a handyman (Ty Pennington), a comedian (Robin Williams or Chonda Pierce) and a minister (Billy Graham).  I would take these people for what should be obvious reasons.

What is your thought on year round school?

My first instinct as a former teacher is to say no, no, no – I like my three reasons for teaching – June, July and August (off that is).  However, as a former sort of Nanny for a couple of young girls that attended year round school I’d have to say that the schedule is really not that bad.  All their breaks (three that were three weeks and one that was five weeks)  were spread out in such a way as to feel balanced and the time off was about the same as a traditional school year.  So, I could probably do that.  And, it is probably better for the children.

What is your most embarrassing potty story? 

I’m sure I have many…

What’s the temperature where you are?

Cold, we did have sunshine today  – I think earlier I heard  Mr. Piano say it was 55 – that was probably during the warmest part of the day.  I had the inside temp on 73 and was still bundled up in blankets while I read a book.

Are you a winter/spring/fall/summer person?

Definitely Fall – that was the main reason (and the heat) that I was glad to move away from Florida.  Have to have my October blue skies and fire leaves. Fall is also one of the main reasons that I miss my beloved Tennessee mountains.  Spring would be a close second, if I needed a second runner up.

PicMonkey Collage

So, there you have it.  Feel free to leave a comment and tell me some of your answers to these questions.  And please don’t feel free to make me one of your five people as obviously I didn’t choose you – I wanted you safe at home.  I still love you very much though!  However, if you choose Mr. Piano, then I go with, can’t do without him.

Surviving in Grace,

Sadie