SUCCESS: savor or share?

The problem:   Millions of kids around the world—OUR world—are growing up in orphanages, and they are not growing into successful adults. Please don't stop reading.     Most of them are failing by any social measure, and their children often end up in the same alternative care system that failed them.   At Hope Unlimited for Children, our graduates aren't failing. ... Keep Reading...

Pushing the PAUSE button on our farmhouse build

This CANNOT be happening . . .   Such was my thought last Saturday when our builder arrived to do a first "stake out" of our new house. We gave him our plan, and he and Renaissance Man started measuring.     And when he said our original location wouldn't work, they moved over a few yards and reassessed.     The excavation guy was there, too, and all three juggled measurements. I'd stayed within the limits I was given. How could this be happening?   They said the house would fit best if I'd change the angle.   Absolutely not! There's a particular view I want when I walk out my front door.     Even the boys tried to help . . ... Keep Reading...

Living intentionally in a broken world . . .

I left you here three evenings ago with a story of chaos and danger . . . and a request for prayer for our children and staff in Vitoria, Brazil. A prayer that they would be kept safe through the night—and the days and nights to follow.   Thank you to everyone who prayed for them! Thank you for your emails and texts and comments.   I heard late yesterday that the police and government officials had reached an agreement. And today I am thankful to report that we've received an "all clear" from our staff. In fact, a group visiting our southern campus is being cleared to also visit Vitoria later this week. At last count, there were over 130 documented murders, but the death toll is sure increase as order is restored and ... Keep Reading...

SAFELY THROUGH THE NIGHT . . . A prayer in the midst of chaos

It was early morning when I last flew into Vitoria, Brazil.   Making my way immediately to Hope Mountain, the northern campus of Hope Unlimited for Children, I was met by lots of activity, learning, beauty . . .     . . . and lots of color.   There's no way I'd go there today.   Five days ago—last Saturday—police in Vitoria went on strike. Anarchy erupted. You may have read about it in the newspaper.   I knew nothing about the situation until late Monday night when Hope's CEO-founder/missionary-on-the-ground, Philip Smith, called to ask for prayers.   There was gunfire on our 100-acre campus.   By morning I learned more: Bandits are taking control ... Keep Reading...

SALVAGED TREASURES: New old finds for our Finally Farmhouse

Happy new week to all! Before catching you up on the Finally Farmhouse, I must say THANK YOU to everyone who's shown such wonderful support for the Valentine Project I posted about last week. You simply have no idea how the little gift of a Valentine can make such a difference in a young girl's future! If you missed it, click the link and check it out. Go ahead. I'll wait.   Transformation. Restoration. Second chances.   I'm a big fan.   Since my last post focused on the life transformation of precious young girls, today's focus isn't even in the same league—but it's a whole lot of fun!   Renaissance Man and I have been salvaging treasures for our in-the-works farmhouse.     This ... Keep Reading...

The Valentine Project: YOU can transform a life in 5 minutes

TRANSFORM a life? In 5 minutes?   Highly unlikely under normal circumstances — but there's nothing "normal" about these circumstances.   Let me tell you a story . . .   They began life as little girls living in poverty; a reality which, by itself, does not equate with a bad home life. But these little girls weren't just poor. They were abused, exploited, abandoned.   They were children for only a very short time before their innocence was lost.   By their 12th birthdays, many of them were prostituted—often by their own parents. Drugs, alcohol, and theft were their norm. Exposure to murder wasn't unheard of.   Today ... Keep Reading...

Finding The Perfect Farmhouse Floorplan: Harder than I thought! I almost gave up . . .

Last time we met here, I was struggling to get a farmhouse design out of my HEAD and onto PAPER.   The 2x6s were closing in on me. How's that for a little house-building humor?   Actually, if I'm totally honest, my struggle went further back than that . . .   I thought I'd design our house from scratch. I thought I knew which rooms I wanted where.   I thought it would be easier than it's turned out to be. ... Keep Reading...

My house-building process surprise: IT’S ALL IN MY HEAD!

Not long ago, I watched Still Mine, a Canadian romantic drama based on a true story about an octogenarian farmer who wants to build a house for his ailing wife.   One particular scene stood out for me. It was between a city bureaucrat and the old farmer, Craig Morrison.   City:  Do you have your plans? Morrison:  Plans for what? City:  For the house. Morrison:  I don't have any plans. City:  Well, how do you know what you want? Morrison: I know what I want. City:  How do you know? Morrison:  Because it's in my head, that's how.   Lately, I've found myself identifying with Morrison as I'm trying to finish designing our new house. I thought with a degree in interior design the process would be easy. Wouldn't you ... Keep Reading...

Channeling the Seven Dwarfs — and a couple more

Yesterday I woke up HAPPY. No longer SLEEPY, I got up and walked into our cozy little kitchen-living-office space to start breakfast. Renaissance Man headed outside to begin his long list of chores. While taking my allergy meds (so I wouldn't be SNEEZY!), IT scurried across my floor and out of sight.   A mouse. In my little, tiny house.   Yes, I know it's cold outside, but there is NOT room for both of us—and I'm not too BASHFUL to say that loud and often.   As I stood reeling from what I'd just seen, Renaissance Man opened the door and said,   After we eat some breakfast, I'm going to need your help. Sorry. The ground wasn't frozen as hard as I thought, and I need you to drive the tractor and help me ... Keep Reading...

Grieving my New Year’s Resolution: Facing the sugar addiction

I've had a relationship with sugar virtually my entire life.   Many of my fondest childhood memories involve sugar, but "innocent" memory-making has turned into over half a century of ingrained habits, extra pounds, and increased health risk.   How do I just up and quit eating sugar without letting go of those "sweet" ties to little girlhood?     Birthday cakes: the very first one (and many, many since) — chocolate with sugary-sweet chocolate icing   Drinking "coffee" with grandparents — milk with a little coffee . . . and a lot of refined sugar   Butterscotch milkshakes at Dairy Queen with Granddaddy; Grandmother's cakes; Brach's wrapped candies   Cherry Coke ... Keep Reading...

Merry Christmas from {Adventurous} My Place to Yours

Well so much for those "all about Christmas" posts I hoped to write after getting moved . . . Believe me. I wrote every one of them in my head.   Instead, I'll just count it a major accomplishment that the move is behind us, everything (including the tricky laundry) now has a place, and Christmas presents are wrapped—except several ordered online and shipped ahead of me to Texas—because I didn't plan well enough . . .  but you won't make me count those, will you?   It's five days until Christmas, so I'm going to assume if you're reading this, you're skimming quickly (I get that!), so I'll give you a very quick peak at the new digs where we'll be adventurous for the next few months while building our Finally Farmhouse. ... Keep Reading...

THE PARTY’S OVER: Final Goodbye to My Old House

As I finish organizing our new space and preparing some "all about Christmas" posts to share with you, here's one last look at the beautiful old house Renaissance Man and I called "home" for over a decade. I wrote this letter a few days ago—on our final day together. December 1, 2016   My dear old friend,   It's time to turn out the lights and say, "Goodbye".     Today Renaissance Man and I will sign away our caretaker responsibilities and turn you over to your new family. After enjoying your company for so long—and then wondering if you'd ever sell—it's a bit surreal that today has actually arrived.   What a pleasure it was making memories within your ... Keep Reading...

What I’m Learning While Moving Out of My Old House

The end is in sight!   It had better be! Cleaning happens Tuesday— because the soon-to-be owners of our old house do their final walk-through Wednesday. Closing is on Thursday. And Friday our new adventure officially begins.   But oh, the things I'm learning (or remembering) while preparing to move . . . In no particular order: I've got the best husband in the world—and we make a great team. I'm not getting any younger, and this move is creating aches in places I didn't know I had places! If you wait long enough to file important papers, you can just shred them instead. It feels good to pass things along to people who can actually use them. It's nice to sell a few things, too. But Craigslist doesn't work ... Keep Reading...

Slowing down to say, “Thank you” . . .

Still packing here and counting the days until we say our final goodbye to our old house . . .   But I learned a long time ago that it's always important to say, "thank you".   You kind and faithful readers are in my thoughts and prayers today.   ... Keep Reading...

DISAPPEARING DOILIES: Packing away Yesterday’s treasures

Still packing here and preparing for adventure!   The past couple of days I've spent a lot of time sorting and packing vintage linens. LOTS of vintage linens. If you've spent much time here at My Place, you know I love vintage linens!   Every time I thought I'd gathered up the last one, I'd find another . . . and another. I had no idea I used so many little vintage beauties in my "everyday" decorating, but I do!  Do you?     Little touches of Yesteryear tucked in around the house add such nice warmth and softness.     I wonder how many I can sneak into my Adventure housing (aka travel trailer) to enjoy while we build our Finally Farmhouse?   What about you? Do you ... Keep Reading...

One step closer to ADVENTURE

Will someone please tell me how it's the middle of November already?   Happy Monday to all, by the way. I don't tell you enough, but I really appreciate you stopping by! I know your time could be spent elsewhere, so I'm honored you want to spend a few minutes at My Place. I hope by now you know you are ALWAYS welcome.   As you know if you're a regular here, last week was one of "critical timing" at our house. Everything had to hit *just right* if we're going to stay on schedule to move out of our old house and into our new temporary quarters at Wild Rose Farm by the end of the month.     Monday began with a rental delivery and lots of trench digging. Thanks, Renaissance ... Keep Reading...