Thursday, October 18, 2012

The End

No really, it's the end of this blog.

Don't freak out, Mom. I'm not quitting. I'm just moving. :-)

I hate having to change blog addresses, but it was my only remaining option aside from just quitting, which really isn't an option at all. When I scroll through my old blog posts (especially from several years ago) it makes me sooooo happy! I just LOVE seeing all of the pictures of the kids when they were so little and all of the places we've been and things we've seen and done--and reading about all of the crazy things the kids have said and done. It is aptly named, "Story of My Life" and I'd really like to keep writing it. Too many good things about life that I would otherwise forget entirely.

BUT I can't keep putting pictures on this blog. It's either going to take way, way, way, way, wa-a-a-a-a-ay too much time and effort, or it's going to take $2.49 per month. The money wouldn't be that big of a deal if you could pay up and then not worry about it for a year, but they automatically charge your credit card each and every month--something James is sooooo not okay with. So I was left with only one other option.

I have created a new identity and a new blog, with a fresh and new and empty web album in which to start uploading lots of photos!

So, sadly, this is the end of this blog. I hope that it will always be here so I can access my former life (ha!), but I'll be continuing in a new location. If you're interested, the new site is:

But first, be sure to check out the house pictures below if you haven't already. :-)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Half Bath

Okay, so this isn't an upstairs room--and I think I've posted "finished" pictures of this already, but I always love seeing the "before" and "after" shots right next to each other. :-) I can't be the only one. Just think of all of those shows on HGTV. ;-)

This is the half bath on the main floor. Otherwise known as MY bathroom. :-)









Sam's Room

From just inside the door...


Looking back at the door...


A before shot...


Same wall, after...


And the jail doors James built for the closet. When you're not taking a picture with a flash (!) you can't see inside the closet, it's just dark. And that's Matt Dillon in the corner. He's been with us in Texas, New Mexico, and now Alabama--for the past 8 years or so. Almost like part of the family. Ha!


Joe's Room













Katie's Room














Guest Room

I didn't have a "before" shot from this angle, but this is from just inside the door...










For some reason the colors look super dark and almost dreary. The reds and blues are deep, but not depressing. Ha! In real life the colors are rich and pretty. None of the pictures showed how fantastic the blue wall is (it looks black here!), but it's still way better than the "before" pictures, right? Who wants a Pepto-Mustard room?! Ha!

Chapel Room



And after!


When I walk into this room it just feels so warm and comfortable and I LOVE it. But I must admit, when I went to take a picture of it I felt totally different about it. Somehow when I looked through the viewfinder and everything was framed in I thought, "Whoa! Look at all that JUNK!" Ha! It just looked like so much STUFF and CLUTTER. But in real life, I love it. It just feels cozy. :-)


And yes, I re-stained ALL of the wood in that room. It was insane. It will never happen again, so long as we live here. Ha!

House Pictures!!!

Okay, I've been killing myself trying to figure out how to get pictures on my blog without having to go through a bajillion different steps. I've done tons of research and have been experimenting with different methods and have been learning new tricks. And at the end of the day I have come to a simple conclusion.


So I'm down to my last option and a half. (The "half" is thrown in there because I'm not sure it's really a possibility at all), the very last option being to just cough up the $30 per year to be able to do things the old fashioned way. After everything I've been wasting so much time on, that one is sounding better all the time! Ha!

BUT... I do have pictures to share tonight! It occurred to me that I had never posted any pictures of any of the upstairs rooms once we finished them. Of course, most of them still aren't completely finished (we still lack curtains and bedskirts and things like that), but they're so close to being finished it makes me very happy. :-) We'll start with one of the upstairs bathrooms.

This is BEFORE...


This is mid-project. (Remember how many layers of wallaper and border were in there? Was it 3 layers of wallpaper and 5 or 6 borders?! Along with two or three layers of paint! HA! I had forgotten what a nightmare that room was to work on!)


And AFTER. ~sigh~ What a relief to have all of that ugly gone!!!




And this is the work room before...


And after...


Okay, so we're really not FINISHED in here and it's a little cluttery, but HEY, it's a work room, right?! I haven't actually unpacked my sewing/craft stuff yet, so it's still in boxes in a corner in there. But you can see that James has his official Bob Ross painting easle in the corner and his vinyl cutter on the other corner, then my sewing machines over on the right. We usually have that table set up in the middle for whatever. Katie likes to go in there and work on crafts of all sorts--or paint. As for the improvements in there, we kept the grasscloth on the top part of the walls because we thought it was cool. :-) We painted the bottom paneling green, painted the blah brown trim green, and took the wood floor out of the chapel room and reinstalled in here. It's the PERFECT work room. :-)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Chairs, TVs, and "Back Doors"

James bought a chair. He thought it was his. When I first saw it I wondered why it was here at all. But within the hour it had become mine. It took a complete 24 hours of badgering, but in the end James has finally relinquished it and I think it officially belongs to me now. All of the kids agree that—while I am not an old lady yet—it looks very much like an old lady chair and suits me much better than their Dad. And it FITS me better. It’s too little for him, but just right for me. It’s not particularly pretty (thus the, “Uh-oh… why did you bring this home?” thing going on in my head as I outwardly said, “Wow, it’s in really good shape”—ha!), but the color works and it didn’t take long for even the style to grow on me. I’m guessing it’s at least 20 years old and somehow things that are out-of-date have taken on a strange new appeal for me of late. But more on that in a minute. The chair is in good condition and very comfortable. James has a nice, cushy chair in the living room downstairs and now—for the first time ever—I have a nice, comfortable chair, too. I’ve had a chair and been very thankful for it but it’s never been particularly comfortable—but this one is, and it’s up in the chapel room. That’s another reason I love this chair. I love the chapel room, but never go there. Now I have a great chair to sit in. :-) I rearranged the furniture up there today and love the room even more now. The room itself is pretty but I love all of the junk that’s in it, too. The word “junk” is probably more literal than you would think. Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up. ;-)

Here lately James and I have both found ourselves strangely drawn to things from our childhood. We will be walking through a flea market/antique store and one of us will see something and say, “Hey! I remember those—I used to have one when I was a kid!” And it will bring back strange, happy memories. It could be a toy or a game, or even something odd like a glass Garfield mug. If you’ll remember, we’ve got 36 shelves in the chapel room (!) and lots and lots of them were still empty after having moved in. We’ve been slowly picking up a few things here and there to fill them with and it’s just been so much fun. We’ve only bought things super cheap and it’s all stuff that other people would think, “Why in the world do you want that?!” but it makes us happy because we remember when… James has picked up a couple of old metal lunchboxes (not collectors’ items, just JUNK) and we found some old board games from 20 or 30 years ago—the ones we grew up with in their original 80’s boxes—and things like that.

James and I were talking about the happy feelings and fond memories that those childhood items bring to us and he said that he’s been thinking about stuff like that a lot lately. And how all the people he used to watch on TV are dead now. (Disclaimer: he watched people like Lawrence Welk—at least one full generation behind the original airings! Ha!) Still, all of this can only mean one thing.


And I’m so okay with that. “It is fun to get old.” Okay, so 35 isn't exactly knocking on death's door (as far as we know, right?!), but I appreciate things so much more now than I did when I was younger. Not the THINGS so much, but the memories, the relationships, the events. You recognize your blessings far more after a few years than you do in the beginning. As much as I have always loved my kids and enjoyed every part of their growing up, I’m so much more AWARE of things now than I was 10 years ago. I try to relish my time with them (whoa, that sounds way too over-the-top, but for lack of a better word…) because I see how quickly the last 10 years have gone and know the next 10 will fly by at the same rate or—heaven forbid—even more swiftly.

All of this brought to mind by an old chair that now sits in my den/chapel room. (Still can’t figure out what to name that room! It feels like a den, but it seems completely contrary to have a “den” in the uppermost floor of a house!)

Did I mention that James bought a TV? And a security system? Both while I was away at Ladies’ Retreat. “While the cat’s away,” I tell ya’. ;-) We never had bought a TV since moving to Alabama, but now that our chapel den (how’s that sound?) is nearing completion James has been checking prices. He found a good deal and got it all set up while I was away. We watch so little that we really haven’t missed having a TV, but it was nice to have a family pizza party the other night and watch a movie on a real TV instead of a laptop! :-)

Then there’s the security system. ~sigh~ What can you do? Ha! James had looked into it and discovered that it reduces our insurance by a LOT if we have a home security system—enough that it’s cheaper to buy it and pay the monthly fees to have it than to NOT have it and pay the extra on insurance. Crazy. I hate it. It’s just one more thing for James to be freaky about. Ha! When I got home from Retreat and walked in the door there was a strange chime and then a British woman’s voice saying, “Back Door!” She said it again when I closed the door. And about 318 more times that afternoon. We have three children, you know. They don’t often sit still and twiddle their thumbs—and I wouldn’t want them to. The crazy box would chime and the voice would declare “Back Door!” or “Garage Door!” or WHATEVER door had been opened. Every… single… time. It totally destroyed the peaceful atmosphere that I like to imagine my home has. Ha! I told James that if it said something USEFUL it would be different. Something like, “Joe just went in the GARAGE DOOR and is attempting to use the WOOD BURNER on the pile of DRIED LEAVES by the ROTTED DECK” it would be different. But just to inform us of every single time somebody goes in or out?! It was maddening. But I have a good husband. He loves me and he listens to my concerns. Either that, or he was tired of the griping and weak British mockery of “Back Door!” and decided to shut that option off. I’m happy with the outcome, whatever the motivation. ;-) And he’s been good to not be freaky about the alarm itself (as I was just sure he would be) and so far we haven’t had any incidents and nobody has accidentally set it off and had to explain it to the cops. We’ll see how long that lasts.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Learning New Tricks

I can do this. I know I can. For six and a half years now I have relied on the simple "Upload Picture" feature on Blogger. (Yes, I had to go look it up and see how long I've been blogging. My first post was in April 2006. I was astonished just now to see that there were 35 comments! Six of them were from me, but still. Ah, for the good ole' days before that wretched Facebook took over the planet. ~bleagh~ Blogging is so much better. And used to be sooooo much more fun when people DID it and came to visit one another's blogs and chit-chat.) Anyway, I have exceeded my picture capacity with Blogger's automatic Picasa Web Album thingie and now must pay money monthly to continue using it. Though I've been blogging for free for six and a half years, I can't make myself consider paying to do it if I can help it. So I've done some research and have figured a way around it. It takes a few extra steps, but nothing out-of-this-world time consuming like what I had to do in the previous post. I'm thankful to be able to add pictures again. Too bad I don't have any grand and glorious ones to add this time. Ha! But I'll slap a few up here in a little while.

Last night was been a great night. I worked all day toward having a clean house (minus dusting, as a certain friend so masterfully illustrated for us—ha!) and cooked and baked all sorts of goodies. Then Brother Hopkins, the Washburns and the Ridlespurges came over for our house dedication service. We’ve been wanting to do that for a long time and had hoped to do it around State Convention or Ministers Convention, planning to invite anybody and everybody who wanted to come. For one reason or another it just never worked out and James finally said, “Let’s just DO IT!” We would have loved to have had some more people join us, but it just didn’t work out that way. We’re so thankful for the friends who came! We had a really nice little service, dedicating to God what already belongs to Him, then went through the house and prayed over it. Then we just sat around and ate and visited for an hour or two. ~sigh~ I loved it. I’m so glad that we finally “officially” dedicated our home to the Lord. And I just LOVED having people here! And I especially loved that my house was clean (well, you know…) and smelled strongly of spiced apple cider and freshly baked gingerbread. ~Mmmmmm~ This is the best time of year. Next to winter itself, of course. ;-)

We had a wonderful Ladies' Retreat! I'm always amazed at how God helps us. Each one is so different from the last but just so, so good. There were lots of good, rich things shared from the Word of God and just such a good cohesiveness and unity there. I LOVED having Sister Shelton and "Red" with us! What a blessing they were. Everything still seems like a bit of a haze to me, but that could be because I was in such a haze all throughout the Retreat. I went in feeling completely exhausted and a little bit under the weather--not really sick, just congested mostly. And stuffed up mentally more than physically! Ha!

Sister Shelton did a great job ministering to us. The first night she preached about how much God loves us, next was about us loving the Lord in return, and finally about our love toward one another. Good, good stuff. Of course, her spirit is as big a blessing as her ministry is and I just loved being with her. And she is soooooo fun. Can I confess something? The first time I saw Mary Shelton, she scared me to death. Ha! She was singing at the Assembly and--as I would learn is common--she was WAY "into it." Being the rather reserved person that I am, and with very limited exposure to... well, let's just say it--hillbillies--I was just a little overwhelmed! Hahahaha! She is quite comfortable acknowledging herself as such and she has such a fantastic sense of humor--otherwise I can assure you I never would have said such a thing! Ha! The more I've seen of her over the years the more I've come to appreciate her sincerity and her spirit. And I just fell in love with her at Tennessee Ladies' Retreat last year. She is one in a million and just SUCH a blessing. I love 'er. :-)

I must say that the highlight of the Retreat for me this year was the devotions. Sister Tammy jumped in and took that job so willingly, even though I know it's not what she had in mind when she asked me a few weeks ago, "What can I do to help?" Ha! She just did sooooo good. She always has such good, good stuff to share. Substance. I like hearing things with substance, and you can always count on that from her. :-)

Here she's wearing her Invisible Cloak of Busyness, displaying all of the things that distract us and can so easily come between us and the Lord. (Our theme was "Nothing Between," by the way.) I was going to try to give you a quick run-down of her devotions, but if you click her name on my sidebar you can go and read them for yourselves--at least the shell version of them. :-) They were just so, so good and thought provoking. The next picture is from her last devotion. She talked about leaving a lasting image, much like the ones found in the aftermath at Hiroshima. But our won't be a "crime scene" image, it will be the record of our victory--like the "Hall of Faith" in Hebrews 11.

We had lots of fun, as always, though we played fewer games than usual. Sister Shelton got her guitar out on Saturday night and we all visited and sang and had a grand time. Poor Liz. She was sooooooo tired and she missed out on all the fun. :-)

Let's see... what else. I have committed myself to NOT teaching or doing devotions next year. Or possibly ever again. Ha! I would love to fully devote my time and energies to simply planning the Retreat itself instead of trying to juggle the class prep, too. I'm not good enough at multi-tasking to be able to do it without showing up to Retreat utterly wiped out and on the verge of being sick in bed! Ha! DELEGATE. I must learn to DELEGATE better.

I would write more about Retreat, but I can't think of anything right now. It will all come back to me slowly, but probably won't ever make it to the blog. Anyway, here's a picture of the whole group, minus photographer Susan Mason.

I've stayed plenty busy since Retreat. I'm so glad it's over. Ha! I LOVE Ladies' Retreat and I LOVE directing, but it really is nice to be able to breath the "it's all over" sigh of relief afterward. :-)

Can't remember much about Monday, but Tuesday was a happy day because I got all caught up on the laundry and ironing. It makes the rest of my week feel so FREE when I know I'm on top of that. Yet, it happens so rarely.

Hhmmm. I really can't remember what we've been up to this week. I know James has been busy in the basement and has been WONDERFUL to not drag me in to all of the dirty work down there! He's been mudding over cinder block walls and doing some texturing down there. Today he cut a big hole in a wall (sheetrock, not cinder block--ha!), hoping to create an opening large enough to be able to maneuver a couch through. He had investigated carefully but still managed to cut through a wire in the wall. Sam said it sparked everywhere but "Dad is fine." When James was telling me about it later he said--completely ignorant of the pun--"I was shocked, just genuinely shocked when I cut through that wire." Hahahaha! What a nerd. It's still really bizarre that there was a wire in that particular wall, but I'm thankful James is still around to be "shocked" by it--and he was able to get it fixed and taken in a different route.

I made some super fantastic corn chowder today, then Katie and I made some homemade bread to go with it. Yum. I ate way too much at dinner time. Yet I'm tempted to go have one more bowl. Ha! Don't worry, I won't. :-)

Madison is here to stay the night with Katie tonight. Kate is sooooo excited. I love seeing her have so much fun. While I was working with her in the kitchen today and watching her crazy, jovial antics--and complete over-elation to most any little thing--I couldn't help but think of how little she has changed since she was a toddler. Sometimes I fail to recognize the little ray of sunshine that bounces around the house. I love that girl so much. :-)

What else??? I know there's all kinds of stuff, I just can't think of it. Maybe it's because I really shouldn't be blogging and I'm only doing it because I'm sooooo not in the mood to work on the project that I'm really supposed to be working on. I started on it earlier, but it's moving rather slowly. Probably because I'm not in the mood. But alas, duty calls.