Do you Romanticize?

Last week I watched the Oprah interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

This week I have been listening to the book by Michelle OBama.

I’ve decided that I romanticize peoples lives.

Isn’t life perfect with your pretty little crown, servants to do all the things and endless amounts of cash? People to drive you around and tend to every need. Not a worry about bills to pay or what’s for dinner?

Who would think that being a Prince and Princess would include hurt and heartache?

Come on!

President and Michelle Obama slid right into the White House and life was good right? The book was not about politics and I will not speak of my political affiliation. It was the story of her life. Her childhood, the story of meeting her price charming and how they made it happen.

They put theirs lives into the open and even Prince and Princesses have it rough. They have people who talk behind their backs. They have hard stories to tell and while they are in the public image, I still seem to think they just don’t have a care in the world with all their fancy clothes, mansions and whatnot.

I know that this is not true…..I’m not clueless, but I do romanticize other peoples lives.

Both of these stories made me think. And while I hesitate to share details of my/our lives, my story is the only story I have to share.

While I sat on the porch this week with lady friends, we discussed our wonderful porch. Do people know that we worked every night and every weekend for a year to create this home? I’m not looking for a pat on the back or a atta girl/boy, but it didn’t come without sacrifice.

Do people know when they see a photo of Steve and I that at one point, our marriage was questionable? Not without hard work, forgiveness and GOD, did we survive.

This family……. is my heart and soul but what family doesn’t have disagreements and as children become adults and make their own decisions is there not conflict and tears. Differences and hurt hearts. Don’t think for a minute that multi-generational living doesn’t have its downsides. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

Relationships outside your family take work. They don’t grow without time. They don’t grow without sacrifice. There are times when it will be hard and there are times when laughter is all that’s needed. My circle of friends is small but these two are my closest. I might not tell them enough or often how important they are, but I try to show them

While we romanticize others lives, especially the royals and the famous, today, when you are in contact with those close and not so close, remember everyone has a story and how they got there.

Posted in Cinderella Project | 1 Comment

The Itch to Switch

Why would you change something that was so pretty? I heard this a lot as I planned and prepared to change this wall.

I stenciled this wall a few years ago (2017) and while I loved it…….. I get the itch to switch. I crave change and most of the time, I spend little money on things so it doesn’t feel like a waste when I’m ready for a change.

You can see the post about the stenciled wall here:

I’m always thinking about the next thing

Not that I forget the amount of time it took to complete the wall. I vividly remember the fear as I stood on a very tall ladder, bending practically upside down to get the exact spot higher than my comfort level allowed.

I remember mixing up the paint color because I didn’t feel like buying more paint and I knew that a little of this color and a little more of this would provide the exact look I wanted.

When the change happens, I have to rely on my favorite guy to help me. He knows about measuring and figuring out how to make it happen. He helps me pick up the wood, measure exactly and decide if it’s glued and nailed or just nailed.

Yes……that is a thing

We made a plan and the day arrived to get started.

Big squares?

Little squares?

Medium squares?

So many decisions and then the angles….oh my word

And then I think it would look better with a tiny little trim piece on the inside of EVERY SINGLE SQUARE.

Yes I did

Then there is caulking

And priming

And finally finish paint x 4 coats.

And while it’s not a pretty blue stencil pattern

It’s classy, white and lovely

This is immediately inside the front door and if you saw the post about the Doors from France, the doors are immediate to the left. You can read about the doors here:

And while I might still get the itch to switch, the trim on this wall will remain but you never know what color it might be.

I’m already knee deep in the next project.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

The girl with the swirly brain

Posted in Cinderella Project | Leave a comment

Life Under a Tarp

Does anyone else see life lessons in the most mundane of activities?

I was mopping the floors and as I mopped, little paint specks kept grabbing my attention. Why are there paint specks when I diligently use tarps on the floor to keep the paint specks from happening in the first place?

As I scraped, I thought to myself …… self, sometimes when we try to cover up and make everything just perfect, under the tarp of life there are resolved issues (paint specks) that need attention.

Dang Charma that’s deep.

Just mop the dumb floor.

Then I was thinking about this afternoon.

Steve and I attending a funeral today. The 31 year old daughter of one of Steve’s fire department brothers. They worked together for most of his 25 year career. Our kids played together. We did ballet hair together. We sat through endless dance recitals and many holiday dinners at the fire station.

As our children grew up, we moved and while we no longer were in the same circles, today we will go and honor them. We will celebrate her life and give hugs to our old friends (screw you COVID)

Who would ever think that under the tarp, we call life, we would have to say goodbye to our child. No one wants to ever go through that tragedy and while we celebrate Katie today, we will continue to pray for her family in the upcoming weeks.

While you might not be going through the death of a child, remember people are dealing with all kids of things under their tarps.

Be kind

Posted in Cinderella Project | Leave a comment

The Doors from France

As I walked through the door opening to the master suite every day multiple times, I always knew I wanted something else. Something that would give the opening some pizzazz.

The opening was not always there. When we bought the old house, this was a wall….on the other side was the 4th apartment which had a front door on the porch. That sounds like a story all on its own. This photo is Steve framing up a door opening in 2015. Look at those stairs. So gross

I had a conversation with the owner of the Mustard Seed Collection Vintage store about my desire for a set of old doors. I asked her to keep her eyes open for something unique. It didn’t matter if they fit or looked pretty, I can fix those things.

I wanted unique.

She said “I have something in our storage unit. Would you like to go look? My husband is right here and can take you out.”

Steve looked at me

I looked at Steve

Yes please

They were hiding in the back of a giant storage unit behind another building.

They were so gross and so perfect all at the same time and they definitely came home with us

I already knew I wanted to strip all that disgust off and find the most beautiful original wood. It was shared that the doors were from early 1900’s France (she has a picker that travels the world and once a year, she is able to select some of his items) They were exterior doors used in a hotel.

Mom decided she would be able to work on the doors. Detailed and tedious work is exactly her style. She doesn’t mind doing the same thing day after day after day. I think she may regret this one.

Layer after later of thick, old paint had to be removed.

There were additional small doors and many details

The iron inlay was sand blasted and re-painted

Finally the wood

Not cute.

Not pretty

Not stunning

Plan B – they would have to be painted

New glass was cut for the small doors

A new frame was built so they would fit the opening.

Plan C – the transom idea was not going to work so an old window was used instead. Here’s the story on that.

Hardware was purchased

Screen was purchased? Yes screen

The new doors are immediately inside the front door.

Each big door has a little door. Each little door holds the black iron decorative piece and behind each black iron piece, there is screen.

Since the doors were initially exterior, the screen was so that the small doors could be opened for air ventilation but to keep out the bugs.

Did we need to add the screen since they were interior doors now? No, but I love the uniqueness and I wanted them to be authentic as they could

The back sides of the door are in our Master Suite area. You would feel the screen from this side

Immediately when you walk through the doors, our bedroom is on the right

Also in this room is a baby grand piano, a double sided fireplace and a whole bunch of plants

And for a real life view…….

This side of the room is next

We purchased the doors in May 2020. Real life happens and they were finished this week.

Expectations are usually WAY off from reality so if you decide to tackle a project, big or small, give yourself grace and always expect the unexpected

Posted in Cinderella Project | 2 Comments

Day 3 Lent Journal – Whose Shoes Today?

I put on my shoes, charged up my ear buds and headed out the door.

Holy rain clouds

Courtney grabbed a raincoat for me and said “are you going?”

I am

I got to the end of the driveway and it started raining. The rain doesn’t bother me but the thoughts of being far from home in thunder and lightning scares me.

So at the end of the driveway……… I turned. We have a large circle driveway.

We have stairs

More stairs

More stairs

And even more stairs

We have a ramp and stepping stones

I easily walked a mile with lots of stairs this morning. As I walked and looked at our home, I saw weeds that need to be pulled, plants that need to be pruned, stairs that need painting and so much more.

However I saw a welcoming porch that provides relationships, comfort and safety for so many people.

I saw new growth as we will welcome spring soon

While I had a raincoat, shoes that fit and a warm home within reach….. many do not.

As the rain pounded on my head and soaked my shoes, I knew that dry clothes and shoes were within reach. So many do not have that option

I might not have walked on the street today, but I definitely walked in someone’s shoes

I won’t bore you readers everyday with my journal. I’m going to try and post once a week instead.

Happy weekend friends

Posted in Cinderella Project | Leave a comment

Day 2 Lent Journal – Chapter 36 on Repeat

I put in my ear buds and started on chapter 36 of this months book club selection. Such a good book and while I should have been finished long ago…….I haven’t

Which way do I turn out of the driveway?

I don’t have a set plan

I haven’t marked off the mile

I’m winging it and I’m not very good at that. I like to be planned and prepared and this is a little out of my comfort zone.

I came upon a flock of birds. Notice that there is one has darker feathers. He/she is different from the others but is still part of the flock. Do you ever feel different than everyone else? Who in the world wants to be the same as everyone else? We all have our unique qualities and while they might be unusual or out of the box to others, YOU BE YOU.

As I walked past one of the houses that is currently being renovations in our neighborhood, I remember those days. I remember the days of calling the garbage guy and asking for yet another dumpster. 14 people. We filled 14 construction dumpsters. I just want to give these people a hug and let them know, one day, it will be done.

Do you sometimes feel like this tree? It’s so beautiful but the bad days, the hard times, the struggles and the yuck cover up all the flowers. You have to push and pull out from under the stuff to shine.

There’s was so much to see on my walk this morning that I didn’t listen to my book.

I guess I’ll need to read chapter 36 again.

Posted in Cinderella Project | Leave a comment

Day 1 Lent Journal – Walk in my Shoes

Today is the first day of Lent

Lent is defined as a period of 40 days that Christians observe from Ash Wednesday to Easter, often marked by giving something up.

I have not always been on board with Lent or even understood it’s significance, but the last few years I have “given up” something


Social media

I’ve prayed and tried to listen as I thought about 2021.

I had already picked out a book and a Lent sacrifice in regards to giving up sugar for the 40 days of Lent. While it’s a healthy thing to do, it just never felt right.

While speaking to friends and listening to a specific podcast, it was brought to my attention that it’s not always about what you are taking away, it could be what you are adding during this time.

I just couldn’t figure it out.

Walk a mile in my shoes Charma


Just walk a mile in my shoes


Is that my Lent sacrifice?

I’m adding a mile to my day?

It’s kind of cold for this Florida girl. No haters from the polar regions please

I don’t have someone to sit with mom

Could I think of more lame excuses?


But I won’t

Day 1:

I only shared with a few people my thoughts. I don’t want this to be about me but about what is learned from this experience. I have no idea what I’m supposed to learn. What am I supposed to see? What do I do during this mile? I want to follow the rules…….what rules?

Come on Charma. Just walk the dang mile

As I began my walk this morning, day 1, I rouletted a podcast to listen to and started.

I thanked God for our home as I left the driveway.

I walked down the road and stopped at Walgreens for some post it’s. I want the chance to rip off the post it every day as I walk a mile in His shoes

I walked past a beautiful tree lined street and thought of the children who are in school

I passed the house we looked at while searching for the perfect renovation house for our family

There was a lady in her car, sitting at a traffic light singing and dancing to whatever she heard on the radio

Camellia goals

And while I listened the podcast, a few things struck me

Desire harmony

Know who your people are

Know your Love language and those of your people

While I made every excuse as to why I need to walk a mile everyday…..I’m already looking forward to tomorrow

I might listen to a book

I might not listen at all

I might ask a friend to join me or make a new friend along the way

Whatever it is……I’m ready.

Posted in Cinderella Project | Leave a comment

Extroverts Unite

A friend sent me a text yesterday thanking me for being her extroverted friend. While it might mean to be funny, I think there is truth.

Being an extrovert, I’m always still a little shocked when it’s a “thing.” But for some socializing, making friends, being included, feeling comfortable, and so many other things is a real struggle.

I have told my introvert/extrovert story many times in friend/group settings but I feel it’s important to finally write it down

I am for sure an extrovert. I love to host parties, I love to make new friends and invite friends to be friends.

I have an VERY introverted daughter.

One day I was whining. Even as an extrovert, it’s nice to sometimes be invited to things and not always be the host. As I huffed and puffed about always being in charge of an activity, always handling the logistics of an event, inviting people, preparing the food list, asking people to bring stuff……..and the list of whining could go on and on and on.

I was told:

“Mom, not all people have the gift of being a hostess.”

“Not all people feel comfortable inviting people to their home.”

“Not all people feel comfortable enough preparing and leading a group of people”

“Not all people are confident enough for any of it.”

Ok, well dang it. I hear you

So each and every time I fold inward, I think of this story. And while I still like to be invited to things, I try to remember the gifts God gave me.

I look around and make sure that my circle isn’t closed. That there’s always room for one more.

And while a lot of my friends are introverts….. there are some extroverts out there too

Look around and open up that circle

Extroverts Unite

Posted in Cinderella Project | Leave a comment

Cereal and Chicken Noodle Soup

“Sorry your day was crummy” was a sweet message I got last night after returning from the hospital with Mom.

It’s wasn’t the best day

However it wasn’t because it was our anniversary. It was crummy because Mom felt bad and we had to sit in the ER for a few hours.

Our anniversary is the date of our wedding and while I love a nice dinner, our anniversary isn’t what I celebrate.

I celebrate us.

Our marriage

The people we are and who we are together

It’s about the years we have spent together making it work because there were times when I wasn’t sure.

I celebrate two great kids who are now adults building their own lives and families of their own. Parenting is hard and we did it together. We did it while Steve worked 24 hour shifts and many side jobs for the first 25 years of our marriage. We did it by sacrificing snd scraping by for many years.

It’s about times of sickness and times of pain. It’s about losing a Mom and a Dad to cancer. It’s about the extended family who sticks together and figures it out. “It” can mean so many things and losing parents is so hard. I celebrate that siblings can bond together and when things are tough, can solidify the family and love each other.

It’s about financial struggles and disagreements. It’s about making so many stupid money mistakes and having to dig out. It’s about working hard and finally feeling the freedom of debt free. It’s worth it……I promise.

It’s about teamwork and the year we spent every night and every weekend making this house a home.

It’s about the projects we do together. It’s the ideas that swirl in my head and how he can turn my ideas into realities. And sometimes I’m told “no Charma, that can’t happen” and while I don’t like it…….I know he’s right.

It’s not about the fancy dinners or big vacations. It’s not about getting my way or succumbing to his.

It’s about a partnership

It’s about sacrifice

It’s about holding my hair when I’m throwing up or finding the NyQuil when he’s up all night with a nasty cough.

It’s real life

And sometimes it’s cereal and chicken noodle soup at 8pm while standing in the kitchen after a really long day.

It’s about 36 years of marriage and hoping for 36 more.

Posted in Cinderella Project | Leave a comment

It’s the Little Things

Today, I sit in the hospital room for the 5th day.

I’ve made friends with nurses and food service workers. I’m already Facebook friends with some of the hospital staff.

It’s the little things

I don’t have to take time off work to care for Mom on a full time basis. I have a husband who provides for us and I’m able to be at home.

It’s the little things

My friend sent photos of her spouse as he fills her fountain every morning even on the coldest of days. I responded that Steve warms up my car on days I have to leave. He might not write me love notes or poems but he builds me things #lovelanguage

It’s the little things

I’ve had friends bring us dinner this week. Could we have just ordered take out or ate PBJ? We could have but instead, they blessed us with hot meals prepared with love for our family during a time when cooking is not high on the priority list

It’s the little things

Moms group of ladies, her friends, have checked in on her and worried about her probably as much as I have. It’s comforting to know that so many care and love Mom.

It’s the little things

There’s TV to pass the time. I’m almost finished with this months book club read, Netflix made a series about one of our previous books.

It’s the little things

My brother was able to come to Florida. We have tag teamed sitting at the hospital. His job works one week on and one week off so he didn’t lose any time.

It’s the little things

While big things are fun and create a big story, I’m more impressed with the little things

Have a wonderful day and don’t forget to let your people know how grateful you are for them and the big and little things they give to you

Posted in Cinderella Project | Leave a comment