The END of Life as we know it . . .

This post first appeared here January 16, 2012. I've reposted it on occasion—to give myself a check-up on how I'm doing. For some reason, I feel compelled to reprise it again this year. How are you doing?   Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.   I can't help but wonder . . . Is the opposite true, too?   Is it possible that life in its truest and best form actually BEGINS the day we stop being silent about things that matter?   The day we give voice to someone who has none ...   When we value the life stories that came before ours ...   ... and let the generation after ours be born to tell ... Keep Reading...

SIMPLIFY: Five Minute Friday

  START   When we sold our big house over a year ago with plans to downsize, I thought it meant getting rid of more "stuff". But after living in this 300-square-foot fifth wheel while waiting to build, I've realized there's more to simplifying than simply getting rid of things.   Sometimes simplifying involves decluttering the mind.   Often it involves decluttering the mind. Rethinking things.   There have been times I've wanted something out of storage. Something I was willing to share with someone.   Perhaps . . . as long as my "stuff" isn't extraneous, packed away, and I'm willing to use it to bless others—or it blesses my family . . . perhaps its okay to keep it.   But if ... Keep Reading...

2018: In a word . . .

January 5: How’s 2018 treating you so far?   So far, so good here.   We made an after-Christmas trip to Texas to see family and attend the wedding of a longtime friend’s son—and missed the snow at home in Tennessee. I know some of you are covered up in it. Welcome to Winter!   As we traveled, I read a lot of blogs. Lots of 2017 recaps, New Years resolutions, and words of the year. You’ve seen those, too, huh?   I’ve chosen words in years past, but I wasn’t sure I would this year . . . except one keeps coming to mind. I guess it chose me.   MIDDLE   Yes, I realize MIDDLE is an unusual Word of the Year. It’s not easy to explain either! But I’ll try . .   You see, I’m ... Keep Reading...

Thankful to put 2017 behind us . . .

2017 was one of THOSE years. You know . . . the kind you’re really glad to see end. The one where putting an X on the last day and turning the calendar page to a new year brings relief—and hope.     Surely you’ve experienced one or two of those.   When January 1, 2017 arrived, I'd just written the goodbye letter to my old house—the one we'd restored and called “home” for 11 years—and was eagerly anticipating building our Finally Farmhouse at Wild Rose Farm. We were six weeks into our Big Adventure, living on our land in a fifth wheel so we could be onsite during construction.   We’d just spent Christmas back in Texas with almost the entire extended family, and I was on an emotional high. Life ... Keep Reading...

40-year-old Discovery: Marking the months

When packing to move last year, I rediscovered something in the back of one of my Grandma's old cookbooks. Something I'd forgotten was there. Something she tucked away 40 years ago when I was a junior in high school.   Do you remember when magazines included calendars that could be pulled out and enjoyed all year long?     I love the artwork in this series. I guess Grandma did, too.     My working calendar is on my phone, but every year I still buy a paper calendar—just for the pictures.   How about you? Do you still enjoy paper calendars? Is there a particular subject you like?   Here's mine for the year ahead. We live in hope!   Thanks for ... Keep Reading...

Last-minute thoughts: The Christmas Countdown

  It's Christmas! The Holiday Hustle's in full swing.   With decorating long-ago complete, the *twinkle factor* remains high in the background as the pace of the season picks up in its final sprint to Christmas Day.   Open houses, office parties, and holiday concerts have spread their holiday cheer.     Christmas cards and letters make their way to destinations near and far.   Santa Baby and Jingle Bells bring smiles—and a spring in our steps.   It's Christmas!   Little ones have whispered their wishes in Santa's ear—and parents act as elves as they wheel shiny new bicycles out of stores, preparing to find a hiding place until their big reveal on that magical ... Keep Reading...

DIFFERENT: Five Minute Friday

'Tis the season . . .   It's different around here this year. Last weekend's early Christmas with the grands and a few little packages already in the mail have allowed the quiet to settle in. As I sit in this tiny 300-square-foot trailer, I wonder what next Christmas will look like. Will we be in a new house a few yards away? I hope...   Will the lessons I'm learning during this adventure between the big old house we restored and whatever lies ahead truly make a difference in my everyday?   It's good we can't see the future. Never would I have thought we'd still be living in this fifth wheel 1 year + 2 weeks after selling our house . . . and that we wouldn't yet have signed a contract with a builder (although ... Keep Reading...

FREE OPEN HOUSE PRINTABLES — so you can keep a few doors closed!

Have you ever considered having a Christmas Open House  . . . but talked yourself out of it because you just didn't have time or energy to clean every.single.room?   Don't ever do that again!   If you have stairs, it's easy to keep the entire second floor off limits.     But there's another way to say OFF LIMITS. It's subtle, kind, and communicates—and I've used it on multiple occasions.  :-)   Print cute signs and put them on the doors you want to stay closed. Here are a couple of different styles.   RETRO CHRISTMAS MidCentury Reindeer Games   VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS   Victorian Santa's Workshop   These two images are available FREE for immediate ... Keep Reading...

The Not-so-glamorous Side of the Holidays: READ THIS IF YOU SHOP ONLINE!

It happened so fast! ... Keep Reading...

Favorite Ideas for Gift-Giving

Three weeks until Christmas, and your time is precious, so here are a few quick-and-easy (very random!) ideas for you this morning. These are NOT affiliate links.   Two Christmases ago, Renaissance Man surprised me with a set of sheets from BOLL & BRANCH. I love their company story—and was "wowed" by their detailed packaging—but let's be honest:  It's the verdict two years later that matters.   This is the only set of sheets I now use . . . and they get softer with every wash!  A+     A long-time family favorite both to give and receive:  PENZEYS SPICES. If you like to cook (or eat!), these high-quality spices are a "must".     RIDGID POWER TOOLS have been "must ... Keep Reading...

CHRISTMAS ORNAMENT COLLECTIONS: Oh, the stories they tell!

December 1   Are you in countdown mode?   It's hard for me to believe that, for the second year in a row, there will be precious little Christmas decorating going on at our house. One year ago today we sold the big ol' house we restored in town and began a year of fifth wheel living at the farm . . . waiting to build our Finally Farmhouse. We're still waiting—but we *think* we'll be able to move forward in January.   Can you believe Renaissance Man asked me the other day how may trees I want to put up for our open house next Christmas? :-) Seriously? We don't even have a house! How can I possibly think about having an OPEN house?   But in this season of missing my pretties, I had a special treat. If ... Keep Reading...

Going Green at Christmas

Can we really make a difference in our world?   Sometimes it seems we ask ourselves that question more at this time of year than any other . . . and we're a little more intentional about trying to make that difference. If you've spent much time here at My Place (thank you for that!), you know I'm all about making a difference in the lives of children. Holiday shopping in our family includes local giving opportunities like Angel Tree and Coats for the Cold and Christmas in Jefferson County.   I hope you're looking for those chances to give where you live, too.   There's one topic, though, that isn't "first" in my mind during the holidays, but I started thinking about it recently when considering tips for “going ... Keep Reading...

Christmas at Biltmore Estate

How about a short field trip on this Friday before Thanksgiving? Anyone needing a break?   Renaissance Man and I had to be in South Carolina earlier this week—and WE were needing a break— so I made my request:   How about on the way home we stop at Biltmore to see the Christmas decorations?   He agreed—and so we did!   And now you can, too!   Let's "travel to a whole new state of mind" to Asheville, North Carolina. Today we're visiting Biltmore Estate, America's largest home, built over a century ago by George Vanderbilt for his family—and still owned by the family today.   I know you're busy, so here are just a few bits of inspiration to think about as you're baking those ... Keep Reading...

SILENCE (followed by laughter!): Five Minute Friday

It's time for another Five Minute Friday—writing for five minutes from a single word-prompt.     START   Those rare moments when every sound stops and life envelops.   The motionless standing over a sleeping child’s bed—watching, dreaming, grateful.   The beauty of a snow-covered field at dawn before the world awakes—glistening.   The quiet tears falling down the face at the graveside—missing, lonely, grieving.   The peace that comes from saying, “Here I am Lord. Use me as you will.”   But sometimes . . .  Sometimes silence is the precursor to hilarity. It’s the pregnant pause moment when your mind says, “Did I just hear what I think I ... Keep Reading...

REST: Free Write Day 31

  START   Thirty-one days of free-writes . . .   Let’s give it a rest!   Thanks for indulging me and encouraging me to push myself through these last four weeks. It’s been an interesting experience.   Previous 31-day series have had themes. I’ve worked ahead a lot. I’ve enjoyed every.single.one of the posts.     This time was different.   There was no theme to grab on to. Each topic brought a variety of thoughts to mind.   There was no REST in the writing.   But I’m glad I pushed through. Glad, too, it’s over. :-)   I think I’ll still enjoy the Five-Minute Fridays (although it’s possible I’ll skip a week or two). But IF I do a 31-day ... Keep Reading...

REFINE: Free Write Day 30

  I love this photograph. It's the perfect combination of plain and fancy, simple and sophisticated. Both extremes are beautiful in their purest forms.   Both have value.   This photograph perfectly portrays what comes to mind when I think of "refined" people.   START   A refined person is NOT necessarily one of great wealth or aristocratic upbringing. They are NOT someone who's snooty or old-fashioned. They don't always know which fork to use.   I've known many refined people, and they all have things in common—regardless of bank balance or upbringing.   A person of refinement is kind, polite, respectful.   They are always thoughtful—in words and ... Keep Reading...