It Takes a Village

The saying “it takes a village” might be overused.

It might be cliche’.

It might be hokey.

However I believe with all my heart that it’s true.

My big kids don’t need me. They could raise their babies without my assistance. However they want me. That makes it more special to know that I can be of assistance. I don’t need to parent…..they have that job down pat.

When I stopped working a paid job, I was able to spend time with Dad before he left for heaven. Now, I get to spend time with Mom, play with Jack, go to lunch with friends, volunteer at wonderful organizations and fill in the gaps for others.

Recently I was approached about filling in a gap for our Pastor and his wife. Their babysitter had a sick kid and they needed somewhere for their sweet girls to spend a few hours until they got off work.

Of course!!!

As I prepared for their arrival, I told my friends about my upcoming day. “That doesn’t sound like retirement” was a comment. No, I guess it doesn’t. However retirement to me feels like the mission field. It’s opportunities to see the needs of others and help.

Not everyone has family in their town. Not everyone has a stand in grandparent to fill in the gaps in case of emergency.

Charlotte came to play.

Charlotte is 3 (almost 4 in November according to her), Jack is 2 1/4 and Luke is 5 days old.

I was the chief babysitter but we are a village. We are all hands on deck when help is needed.

Courtney is recovering but she took time to read to Charlotte and Jack while I made snacks for everyone else.

Justin is on paternity leave, but we are a village and sometimes he needs to take care of business or care for his wife and infant son. Jack is my best buddy and playing outside is his favorite thing to do.

Recently our friends traveled to Tennessee to care for their grandkids so the parents could go away on an anniversary trip. What a gift to their grown up kids. Peace knowing that your babies are cared for and loved. And the memories made with those grandkids will never be forgotten.

A village is what it is.

Stand in the gap in whatever season of life you are in. You might not be in the place currently to stand in the gap and maybe you need someone to stand in the gap for you. One day it will be your turn but for now, find your village.

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A Reinvention of the Spool

Months and months ago I got a call asking if I wanted a spool. A big, dirty, electrical spool that had been discarded by the side of the road.

Of course I do!

I had no idea what I would do with it or where I would put it, but I figured that somewhere in the rolodex of my brain I could figure it out.

Steve picked it up for me and it has sat.

It sat in the garage

It sat outside

It sat with other things stacked on top of it and it sat all alone

Maybe too much Dr Seuss for me these days

One day…….. not long ago I saw this picture

Light bulb!!

I would paint that spool to look like a flag.

Maybe not so vintage looking or distressed and definitely not a clock but it’s round and very patriotic and I think it will be fantastic!!

The top of the spool has big bolts like this

I wanted the top to be smooth so I took a piece of pressure treated, cut it into strips and covered the top.

The whole thing was painted red

I taped off for the stripes. I wish I had thought of making 13 stripes but 10 will have to do.

I added the blue section after having the paint color matched to the chairs I already had purchased

And painted in stars

One random day at my favorite thrift store, there sat 4 of the cutest blue metal chairs. I knew I needed them and snatched them up. Everyone knows I am the poster child for the Interfaith Thrift Store in Ocala Florida so don’t wait……. go! I promise you won’t be disappointed.

The table was finished and ready to be put in its place. However it’s place wasn’t ready for the table.

In the back yard

Beside the fire pit pergola and the pool house

The perfect spot for a picnic table and chairs

The perfect spot for little kids to sit and have a popsicle, a pbj or to make a new friend

The spot that was now fill of pallets and leftover pool pavers and bugs. Ewww

Two days of wheelbarrowing, grading and laying pavers by myself ……… there’s the perfect place for a picnic table and chairs

I bought a bright red umbrella for the little people that will join us.

I can’t wait for our next generation to come have fun!!

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We Waited for You

Today is your birthday!!!

Mommy was 4 days overdue and we were all very anxiously awaiting you. We all trust in God’s plan and know that your birthday will happen when it’s supposed to happen but we were really tired of waiting for you.

Last night, August 21st around 10pm mommy shares that her contractions are 10 minutes apart but they aren’t very consistent and then an hour or so later, Daddy said that the contractions were irregular again. We all tried to get some sleep. At 5am daddy wakes up BB and Papa and mommy’s contractions are 5 minutes apart and you are on your way. Uncle Kyle is called so he can get here before you arrive. Nana was woken and the rest of the family is notified that today will be your birthday!!

Around 5:30am the midwives arrive. The sounds of labor bring back so many memories. It’s seems like childbirth was just yesterday and not more than two years ago. This old house has seen so much life in it’s time.

At 5:48am the pool is put up in the downstairs bathroom.

I tear up as I hear the moans of labor. I pray and thank God for the gift of life. The gift of a woman’s body who can carry a baby and then deliver it into the world. I pray for my baby, your Mommy as she hurts even at 33 years old.

I pray for the midwives who have become our friends. They rub her back, they time contractions, they watch, they care. As skeptical I was this time 2 years ago, my confidence in their abilities…..I have zero doubt. They are companionate and they care for her. It takes a special person to be a midwife. That statement I also have no doubt.

At 6:30am Mommy is 8cm dialated

At 6:48 the tears roll as I wait and watch. I can’t wait to meet you. Your brother Jack and I have been practicing Happy Birthday to you, new baby, and we have a cake.

7:00am comes and I listen as Mommy prays. She prays in Latin and it is so beautiful. I learn later that she was praying the Lords Prayer.

The women pray over her. They pray with her. It’s an incredible picture of strength as I watch my friend give love and encouragement to my child as she labors. I watch as she gathers her face in her own hands and calmly instructs her. She lives through her actions and I know how passionate she is about her job. It might pay her bills but it’s so much more than a job to those who are in your presence.

The next two hours are a blur. There is moaning and struggling to bring you, sweet baby into the world. Birth is a blessed event and I am so honored to be apart of yours.

Mommy is in the pool. She turns over because it’s more comfortable for her to be on her hands and knees. As she pushes you into the world, she grabs beneath the water and raises you from the water.

We finally get to see what gender you are. It has been a surprise and what a surprise you were. A BOY!!!

Mommy raised you high and looked into your eyes…… she then looks at Daddy and says “I knew he was a boy and you were wrong!” This sassiness from Mommy is rare and we all burst into laughter.

As our friends tended to Mommy, your brother and I went outside to play. We have talked about you, baby brother for so long but Jack is only two and didn’t really understand who or what you were.

We put our feet in the pool and we blew bubbles

It was time for everyone to meet you.

Your big brother was so shy. He wasn’t sure what to do but just give him some time. You will be best friends.

Uncle Kyle is everyone’s favorite

Papa got a turn

Nana (great-grandmother) with her two little boys

Luke Ambrose Vernon Wissinger

9 pounds 2 ounces

21 1/2″ long

You enter into a home full of love.

You are honored to have your great grandfathers middle name and you will know one day how much he would have loved you.

You will be cared for by your loving and devoted parents.

You will be played with and be the best buddy of your brother Jack

Your grandparents, maternal and paternal will guide and treasure you for all of our days

Your uncles and aunts will be some of your favorite people in the whole world

You will have extended family and friends who you will think they are blood relatives because of the way they love you.

You are a gift from God and we will never forget it.

Welcome to the family little man.

P.S. no one guessed your birthday. You surprised us all

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When I’m Unsettled

What do you do when you are unsettled?

Do you go shopping?

Do you ask a friend to lunch?

Do you want to be alone?

I need to be dirty

I need to be sweaty and use my muscles.

I feel unsettled this week.

The baby is coming any second.

Jack is 2. He wanted to eat dinner with a spatula last night and would not stop until it happened

Steve is on the road today and his travel is taking three times longer than it’s supposed to.

The rain is so beautiful for a couple of days but the gloom we have had for days is hard on my soul.

I knew I needed to get out of the house today and this pile of pavers called my name.

Jack’s new picnic table needs a platform and we’ve been saving these leftover pool pavers just for this purpose.

Y’all it’s hot

These pavers are heavy and they have to picked up, put in a wheel barrel, moved across the patio, picked up again and put in a new place

The dirt is moved and the ground leveled

Sounds fun?

Try bugs and worms that have gotten very comfortable living around the pavers for months and months.

I might have screamed a few times

As I strain my muscles and feel the sweat roll down my face, I feel peace.

As I worked, I listened to a podcast – today was Annie Downs interviewing Lauren Daigel.




It was so good

I laughed and I cried.

I enjoyed it so much.

My favorite quote from the podcast was “Share the gospel and SOMETIMES use words.”

I haven’t been a great friend. I have had to apologize for being mediocre. I haven’t shared the gospel quietly or loudly. I’ve been put in my place.

I will be better.

But today I will move pavers until my muscles can’t move anymore. I will spread dirt and listen to podcasts while sweat runs down my face and my fingernails may never be clean again.

I will learn to not just say words but put action into place. Even if I don’t know what to do…… do some thing.

Here’s hoping to meet our new grandchild soon and I might try eating with a spatula soon.

Have a great day!

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When Sleep Doesn’t Come

I don’t know if I’m nesting due to upcoming birth in our home. I’ve been cleaning every room and purging like nobody’s business.

What do you do at night when you can’t sleep?


Watch TV?

Toss and turn?

All the above?

Currently my mind has gone to the current renovation…. the basement.

I love the planning phase.

I love to research and draw out, measure and allow the internet to fill my brain full of the possibilities.

The middle of the nights are long. Maybe I’m feeling compassion for the kids who will soon be filling their nights with a newborn.

Maybe I’m just a post menopausal woman and sleep is hard.

Whatever the reason, I’ve been searching for small space design tips, saving pictures of things

I love and creating mood boards

280 square feet is not much

It means that every square inch needs a purpose.

It means that you can see every space while standing at the front door.

I’m really enjoying the challenge and I can’t wait for the next step.

But for now……… it’s framed walls and dirty floors

It’s open walls that allow you to see all the way under the big house.

It might not be the fun part of renovation but every step brings us closer to the pretty parts.

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Some real life

What exactly is real life?

It’s not the pretty pictures on social media

Its not the excited “good morning” as the neighbor walks by

It’s not the flowery conversation on a Sunday morning in the church lobby

Real life is seeing the items currently in your bathroom. These include a laundry basket full of items that will be used when a baby comes because soon there will be a birthing pool in this room.

Real life is the laundry room that works harder than any other room besides the kitchen.

Real life is the kitchen rug who has seen better days, dirty shorts of the hardest working man I know and shoes from a certain two year old that got peed on yesterday.

Real life is a dedicated Momma. She wants to help in any way possible and currently it is painting the new underskirting of the house. It could be cooking dinner or ironing clothes, it could be watching a toddler or sanding a chair. She’s always our biggest helper

Real life is prayer. Watching our son on the porch this morning. Being so proud of the husband and father he is and relying on the Father to guide his steps.

Real life is getting ready to welcome a new life into our home. It’s exciting and scary all at the same time. This new life could come at any time.

Real life is often hard. It’s sometimes scary and a lot of times mundane. But this life…….the life that fills my days, is not one that I would trade.

Today, real life is Friday, August 9th. It’s the only August 9, 2019 we will ever have.

Make it a good one

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Starting from scratch

Our old house has a basement.

I’m not sure that’s what it is called because the water table in Florida doesn’t allow basements, but we have a room, with stairs that go down under the house.

I call it a basement.

It is our newest renovation.

It’s the last of the rooms that are unfinished.

The first time we visited the basement, it was damp and musty. It smelled funny and it was full of old grungy things.

For the longest time, we stored wood trim and baseboards while we renovated the main living areas of the old house. If you needed something, “look in the basement.”

Well it’s time for the damp and grungy basement to get a facelift. She will be fabulous and I’m going to take you all along for the ride.

She is 280 square feet of fabulousness.

As I researched small spaces, there are some NYC apartments smaller than our basement, so why not?

Let’s do it!!

It started with wood planked walls and ceiling and black painted concrete block.

The floor is slanted and the walls leak.

Step 1 was to have the floors floated and gutters and downspouts were installed to divert the water. More exterior water proofing is necessary but it will be awful, so we will talk about that later.

The concrete walls were sealed with water proofing material.

I did this part and it’s super stinky

The ceiling was pulled down which left 1000 nails to pull out.

The ceiling rafters were repaired and we have bathroom walls!

The wood siding has been removed and the walls have been padded out.

It’s not much to look at yet but in my brain, I see so much beauty.

We showed some friends the “basement” the other day and they asked how we got the idea to do the renovation.

It’s just in our heads.

And it’s chalked out on the floor for all to see.

Lots of measuring to make sure we got the most bang for our buck.

Do you know how many small house/space saving articles and photos there are?

Millions! It’s not hard to research small space living. And it’s fun.

This renovation will be a slow one so the photos will be far between but I promise. It will be worth it.

Have a fantastic week!!

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