LOVE FOR THE GABLED FARMHOUSE

Show me a house with lots of steep-pitched gables, and I'll show you some old house love.     Condition is irrelevant.   I fall just as hard for the ones losing the battle. Maybe harder.     I have a friend who once told me she'd really wanted her custom-built home to have lots of gables—but her husband only saw their risk:  Too many intersecting angles/valleys; too many potential leaks.  And so she got her cookie-cutter house.   I don't want a cookie-cutter house.   I want a Folk Victorian Farmhouse. one-story (though my heart skips a beat over the two-story beauties) big front porch bay window 2/2 double hung windows corbeled chimney decorative ... Keep Reading...

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...