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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

farmhouse funk...with Janie Fox's girls

A couple of years ago I had the chance to meet one of my very favorite blog friends...Miss Janie Fox.  She lives about 45 minutes from my parent's house.  It was inevitable we'd meet one day.  She took me on a tour of her gorgeous farmhouse, we chatted by her fireplace and right there a true friendship was forged.  Click here to see that post and her beautiful home... 

Since then they've had a house fire.  The house was spared, but everything had to be cleaned and restored.  SO she was in the process of moving back in when I came for this visit.  Next time I'll take some pics of her new improved farmhouse:) 

What was really special about this visit is that I got to meet her WHOLE family.  They had me and the girls over for a cookout, and I greedily snapped up pictures of their magazine worthy houses.  For some reason my settings were a little wonky and the lighting was poor, but I still had to show you all decorating ideas I got. 

This home is her daughter Annie's.  Her style was uber colorful, bold and fun.  She loved maps globes, clocks and fans...pretty much all the things I love to collect:)

She had an old chippy drawer in the middle of her kitchen table.  Loved that idea.  Now I'm on the hunt:)  And that kitchen island!  Whoa!!! 
Annie is the one in the ball cap.  She's recently lost a lot of weight and is a Beachbody coach.  If you need some weight loss motivation she's your girl.  Follow her on IG or Facebook...God is using her to help people with that battle.  She looked amazing!!

FANS! Love fans!!!  And what a gift being able to put together wall displays like that.  Seriously good!!
Love all the whimsy and unique items hung here and there.  So much imagination!!

Uh can you say genius shelf idea!!!  Just some pipes attached to the wall and the pictures are Velcroed on for stability.  LOVE this!!!

Cute clock display.  Funky with old:)
maggiedaniel on IG
This is Janie's daughter Maggie's house.  They just built it recently, but it looks old.  I ABOUT DIED when I saw it.  If I was to pick a house plan and build from scratch this is exactly what I'd do. 

Check out the barn wood ceiling, gorgeous floors and peek out onto the covered back porch!  It's like another house all on it's own.

Every cabinet was handpicked and gave the house extreme charm.  It was so inviting.

The kitchen had my mouth on the floor.  I tried not to drool, but I was impossible.  The old farmhouse sink and turquoise cabinets.  HELLO!!  The mismatched colorful chairs...the lighting.  Done so well.


The back porch was my favorite "room" of all.  It had a tin roof and corrugated metal ceiling.  It spanned the whole length of the house.  They had it separated into living spaces with a table and chairs, resting area and play for the kids.  Ceiling fans were installed to keep it cool.  Just loved it!!!

How cute is this pallet bed?!  That's just an air mattress all decked out and thrown on some old pallets...genius. The picket fence makes a sweet headboard.  Very cute.

The girls and I left that day inspired...not just from all the pretty things, but from Janie and her family.  Janie lives just the down the country road from them.  BLESSED!  The girls all live on the same large lot of land.  BLESSED! It couldn't be any more perfect.  They are friends.  They share the gift of decorating, the love of life, grand babies and a beautiful future. 

It made me want to set down roots so badly.  It made me want my girls that close to me forever!  God has a plan.  He knows the future, but Lord if I could put in a special, chickens and my chicks close would be REALLY high on that list;)

Be a blessing.

chippy painted furniture
tin ceilings...outdoor spaces
fun collections
farmhouse sinks
barnwood anything
Janie Fox:)

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Sunday, July 28, 2013

peanut brittle

It's been over a week since I've posted. A lot has happened.  My Grandma June went to be with the Lord Wednesday.  I got the call at 7 am.  Dad gave her medicine around 4 that morning and then fell asleep by her chair.  At 6 he woke up, looked over and she was gone...still warm.  He was there...right there.  It was peaceful. 

This grieving thing is strange.  You can think you're ready.  You can say your goodbyes...have that closure and then when the time actually comes the dam breaks.  I had my mini-melt down.  I knew it was imminent.  The night before I had to sleep in our spare bedroom because I was tossing and turning so much.  I couldn't fall asleep.  All I could think about was Grandma's homemade peanut brittle.  I'll never have it again.  It's weird how those are the thoughts that hit you square in the chest...taking your breath away.  I'll never hear her singsong voice whisper in my ear...come see me.  She always said that;)  Geesh!  I hate death.

The visitation is going on right now.  I never in a million years thought I'd miss my Grandma's funeral...but here I am so far away.  It is what it is.  I got that hard hug in while she was still alive and that's so much better than being there now.  I just called my mom and she said there are so SO many people there.  Just knowing how loved she was...that they are honoring her in death, makes my heart swell and my eyes fill.  You go rockstar!!

Thank you all so much for your comments.  They meant the world to me.  We've all been there.  This saying goodbye is something we can each relate with.  It's such a comfort knowing that we're not alone.  That the pain in those last moments are shared by many.  Love you girls.
We had a very busy weekend.  I'll be back to share deets later.

Be a blessing.

my rockstar grandma june
peanut brittle
a weekend with my favorite people
meeting a new friend:)
the Comforter

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Saturday, July 20, 2013

our last goodbye

I've been dreading writing this post.  Been dreading going back through these photos, but I know after my Grandma passes it will be even harder, so I'm doing it now.  This one is purely for me.  I wanted to capture my thoughts.  Capture her home.  Put it all in a time capsule, because I know this visit will surely be our last.

Aside from attending my father-in-law's funeral several years ago, I'm not sure if I've ever not wanted to do anything more than the day we went down recently to see my Grandma June.  It was such a bittersweet blessing.  A chance to see her again...but a chance to see her at the end

We loaded into the car.  I had prepared the girls for our visit.  We talked about death.  Talked about saying goodbye.  I knew as hard as it was going to be that even the girls needed to be a part of it too.  This is life...the good, bad and the ugly.  So encased in nerves I tightly gripped the steering wheel, and drove at a snails pace down the old country roads that bridged the short distance from my folks house to hers in the little town of Blue Mound.

When we were at home over Christmas she was still on her feet, serving us food.  Still doing really well considering her age etc...  Over the last couple of months it's been a rapid decline.  Her kids have started taking shifts to care for her.  Bless them Lord.  She's never alone.  She's completely dependent aside from eating and goes in and out of lucidity. 

my sweet daddy...caring for his momma

When we first got there I thought my heart would literally explode from emotion. I know that's not possible, but it felt that way.  I could hardly catch my breath.  Tears were just below the surface.  One unguarded moment and they would spill and they did...

How was I going to say goodbye to this woman? This matriarch of our family.  How can this be the last time I come through these doors?  The last time I sit at her kitchen table? The last time I swing on her porch swing? 


Every single holiday memory is in that house.  I can instantly conjure up the smell of yeast from her famous rolls.  I can hear the grandfather clock chime.  Feel the palpable presence of family, tradition and all things familiar.  I spent countless hours playing games with cousins in the closet tucked under the staircase, swinging from the giant weeping willow tree in her beautiful backyard...playing Barbies in my dad's old bedroom. 

I remember spending nights at Grandma's house and her rolling my hair in curlers and putting me to bed without socks on. Two things I really felt uncomfortable with, but you kept quiet at Grandma's house and let her do her thing.  She was strong.  She was in charge...she was GRANDMA JUNE!

The one word that always comes to mind when I think of my Grandma is gritty.  She's gritty to the core.  Life has thrown her some really difficult situations and she's always dug in, rolled up her sleeves and done the hard things.  I so admire her for that. 

I've always felt almost famous being her granddaughter.  She's a powerhouse in that little community.  Everyone knows June.  Everyone knows the Brown's of Blue Mound.  That's a good feeling...being known.  Being proud of your heritage. 

I can't help but wonder how it will change after she's gone.  Where will we gather?  Will we get together as much? Will I lose out on connecting with that giant family and feel like a stranger?  To be honest I already do...feel like a stranger that is.  Cousins have married and remarried.  Their broods just keep getting larger and what was once contained and easy to keep track of seems impossible now.  They feel like strangers...the miles don't help.

So I took advantage of that afternoon and I explored every nook and cranny.  I took pictures of everything that meant anything to me at all and tried to ingrain it in my memory. 

Remembering the woman that I love...the woman that had a part in making me.  Remembering the little things that made her June.

So we said our final goodbyes, as hard as it was, and as I got ready to leave she grabbed me around the neck and gave me a hard hug.  She knew it was our last goodbye.  That hug was rare and beautiful and made me feel loved to my toes....and as she pulled me close I thought we were going to have those final special last words.  My ears were pricked and my breath caught for a minute and then she whispered to me...that medicine they just gave me tasted like liquid fire.  Oh my sweet gritty Grandma.  I love you!  YOU are like liquid fire...and saying goodbye to you hurt so badly, but I know we'll meet again in heaven.  I know that I know! 

Be a blessing.

having grace to do hard things
people who serve
being blessed with the chance to say goodbye
the assurance of heaven and being reunited Grandma June
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Wednesday, July 17, 2013


I've always had a strong love for all things farmy.  I grew up in good old Central Illinois way out in the country, and I guess that rural upbringing just wired me to love the land.  There's no escaping it when you live down state.  Even if you live in town you're only 10 minutes from the edge, which equals pure country.  That's one of my very favorite things about going home.  It's all rural. 

It's something I miss a lot. I crave it with every fiber of my being.  It relaxes me being out in the open.  I'm pretty sure my shoulders lower a bit and I take a big exhale once we hit the Kentucky line.  Where we live in Virginia the woods are considered "country" and that just doesn't equate with me.  I know there are open spaces way out away from the cities, but obviously that doesn't work with my honey and his already lengthy commute.  So I remain a bit frustrated...a bit in longing.

Speaking of frustration I've talked about feeling overwhelmed for awhile now.  My mind is divided most the time.  When I'm doing anything other than something on one of my many to-do lists I feel this heaviness...a weight.  It's almost physical.  My head feels heavy.  There are just too many things I want to accomplish and only so many hours in the day.  The list runs in my brain constantly.  I lay in bed at night and try to put it out of my mind.  Do you do this too??  So I make lists and more lists and at the end of the day I always have this feeling that I don't get anything done.

Most of the lists involve my Etsy shop.  It's my baby.  I've seen it grow so much in the last year.  God has really blessed my efforts and honestly it gives me goosebumps to see what He's doing, BUT it's finally reached the point that I have to make some changes.  I thought limiting the days my shop was open to ten a month would free up some of my time to work on my art and other interests.   Instead those limited hours have created a little frenzy:)  Which is a great thing.  I just can't do it all by myself anymore.

Have you ever seen the movie Limitless with Bradley Cooper?  He's kind of a loser in the movie and somehow he gets his hands on a new drug that opens his mind to limitless capabilities.  All of a sudden he's using 100% of his brain power.  He can write a book in a day.  Learn to do anything.  He's a genius.  He cleans up his appearance, gets a good job, becomes very successful, buys a fancy apartment.  Nothing can stop him.  Until the drug starts messing with him and then it all goes whack.  But when it was good he was on the top of his game.  I daydream about just one day of having that ability....of feeling limitless...accomplished...on top of things.  One can dream right?

So I'm standing on the edge of a new thing.  A decision to either give it up-quit letting it run me- and do something else:( or give it over and somehow manage to do even more;)  I like option B!!

The other morning I woke up and I finally had clear direction that this weight I'm carrying isn't mine and I need to ask for help. The words let it it can grow kept repeating in my mind. So with that said...I'm giving up some of the load and hiring people to help me.  Hip hip hooray!!! Seriously I get a little panicky even thinking/writing about this.  If you would have asked me 6 months ago if I would ever feel comfortable with that I would have said no way.  But just like with most major decisions it takes His timing and His promptings to change my mind.

 I don't need a drug fix or limitless brain power to achieve my goals... honestly I just need His blessing...His favor...His constant direction.  I need help.  I want my life to be peaceful, purposeful and FULL with things He has put my hands to.  Onto limitless new horizons...
This scripture sums it up for me.
Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. Psalms 127:1
Build this house Lord...take it from me   
Give me your peace
Your wisdom
Help me make right decisions
Give me balance
Cross off all my to-do's
Lead me in every area 
I lay it all at your feet be truly limitless

Be a blessing.

painting with my girls today
heat lightning
new neighbors moving in
the veil being lifted
knowing He's is helping me
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Saturday, July 13, 2013

land of the living


Hello sweet friends...are you still there??  I'm sorry I've been MIA lately.  Life has been happening.  And it's been good.  Really good.  I can't wait to share some of our adventures back home and a little side trip we took.  It may take me a month of Sundays to edit and blog it all, but that's okay:)  

Going home is always emotional, but this time it was extreme.  My dad's mom is in the end stages of life.  She's 98 and her heart is giving out.  This trip I spent so much time reflecting on my own childhood, thinking about the past, watching my growing girls...pondering death.  Heavy stuff.

The words...Land of the Living kept repeating in my mind. 

I know there are seasons.  The Bible talks about them in Ecclesiastes 3...

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

As I watched my Grandma struggle for breath.  As I saw her frail form just sitting...waiting.  I couldn't help but wonder what it feels like to die.  What is she feeling WAITING to die??  It can't be fun.  I know as prepared as you are for the next life to begin, for God to take you on to our Heavenly home, it has to be scary.  She once told me that you have to be brave getting older.  It takes courage.  
That fear comes from the unknown.  Will it hurt?  What is heaven like?  Will I know my people?  I don't want to leave the loved ones.  Will God be pleased with me?  Forever is f.o.r.e.v.e.r.  Yikes!!!

And that's where the trust comes in because obviously none of us (except the rare few) have experienced death and then lived to tell about it.  So we trust, just like in the season of the living, that He is right there by our side to welcome us home.  That His hands are holding us tightly through the process.  That He knows the pain.  That He senses the fear.  That His grace makes it possible to get through matter how difficult.

So I'm praying for my Grandma as she waits.  Praying that God fills her with comfort, peace and bravery:)  And I'm lifting my eyes to the Giver of all gifts...very aware that I'm in the Land of the Living. My journey is hopefully still filled with many more days. 
I don't want to waste a single one of them. 

Be a blessing.

choo choo trains
a last visit
life ahead
a heavenly home
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