Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Sweet Home Alabama - The Last Days

Alright, let's wrap this trip up shall we??  It seems like it's been forever since it took place and I realize that the whole thing is old news.  But for the sake of completing something that I started, let's just keep going.

We left off at Wednesday and the "If Only" post about the dreamy B & B idea.  Earlier that week I talked with one of my friends and previous customers, Melissa, and she invited Bill and I to share Thanksgiving dinner with her and her family.  When I say that I "talked" with her, I mean that we texted.  We hadn't actually had a spoken conversation before and come to find out, we were both hoping that the other wouldn't think the situation was just weird.  Thank God, neither of us did!  Since we are who we are, we knew that we couldn't show up empty handed.  Also, and not that there is anything wrong with it, we also knew that stopping by the store to pick something up other than drinks wasn't going to sit well with us.

So, what did we do?  We baked two pumpkin pies, nope, not the pre-baked ones in the cute little aluminum pans.  We bought everything that we needed to bake the pies from scratch, crust and all.  Now, settle down, before you start thinking and asking out loud "Are you crazy??", let me just tell you, YES!  WE ARE!!  But technically I think we would argue that we aren't really crazy at all, it's just who we are and what we do.  Nope, it's not too much trouble, or even a little bit of trouble, it's truly just who we are!!

We had a lovely time with the Wright family and friends and even though it wasn't our home or our family, it was a close second!!  We are so thankful for the way social media can bring people together.  It truly felt like we had known each other for ever!  A gift from God for sure.

Friday, our last day there, we had offered to help Evan around his office with whatever he needed help with.  I was so excited about this day, yes I am fan girling - so what? It was a dream come true.

Let's see.....I used to work for a florist, I've always loved design, creating and color coded, organized shelves full of supplies/props, so this seemed like the perfect day to me!!

Evan had a wedding that coming weekend that he needed to do the flowers for and his office was right in the middle of a renovation and he was a week out from his first holiday open house!  There was plenty for us to do. On that Tuesday we had met up with Evan for lunch and he took us back to his office.  We started to clean things up while we were there and move some of the furniture back to where it belonged.  Friday we split up and I helped Evan with his flowers and Bill painted those huge urns, primed and painted a fireplace mantel, painted a mirror frame, moved furniture and hung things on the walls. 

Evan was even kind enough to let me play around with his mantle design.  I knew he'd change pretty much everything that I did and that was okay, because I would do the same exact thing!  It was still a blast and I loved every minute of it!

All day long, I just kept looking around and thinking "I can't believe I'm sitting here, working with Evan G. Cooper!".  Now, I know that he would say that he's nobody special, I know that because it said it more than once to me that week.  Yes, I would agree with that in the sense that he really is just a regular guy with amazing talent and an amazing personality.  He's making a name for himself in the event planning world.  But from an IG followers perspective, this was a pretty spectacular opportunity!!  I was in awe of the fact that I was there!
We finished up the day and went out to dinner together.  It was a really great, really fast week!  I couldn't believe that we were heading home the early next morning.  We made great friends, saw a lot of great houses, and made great memories that I will hold for a lifetime. 
We plan on heading south again, hopefully sooner than later.  In the meantime, we're hoping that Mr. Evan G. will make a trip North to visit us!!  I think he'll have to wait until the weather warms up quite a bit.
Thanks so much for following along with us!! 
God Bless,
Lorraine and Bill

Monday, January 12, 2015

How do I.......?

Disclaimer:  I am fully aware that I am being overly dramatic.  I'm not as bad as I am bound to make myself sound in this post.  I am merely dumping my exaggerated feelings here, in this place, where they will stay.  I fully intend to pick myself up and move on.....eventually, but.....for now,

HOW DO I????????
First let me back up for those of you who aren't currently aware of what is going in my life, which is probably very few of you, considering the only people that I know read this are people that are family or friends in real life or follow me on IG and FB.
Saturday we took our daughter, Jessica, of "Tea Tidbits and more", to college.  If you know us, you know that she is my right hand gal, heck we could even go as far to say that she's both of my stinkin hands and my brain!!!!!  She has been such a GINORMOUS help to me and the rest of the family.  It's Monday, it's raining, we're here and she's......there!  Needless to say, I am LOST! 

I can't apologize for that.  I warned you!!  Highly Dramatic!!!!  But still, the stinkin song keeps playing through my mind, over and over and over and over and.....well I think you get the point. I was having a hard enough time this month figuring out what to do with myself without cookies to keep me busy, now I have no cookies and no Jessica!  I seriously could go sit in a corner and rock and be perfectly content.  I won't do it.  The floor is uncomfortable and I'm not a fan of being uncomfortable.  So instead I am giving myself this day, this dreary, cold, rainy, lonely day to "grieve" the separation between myself and my arms and brain.  I'm doing a whole lot of nothing and IDEC!!  (I don't even care - for those of you not up on the text lingo of the younger generations)
On a happier and much less dramatic note, Jessica is doing fabulous (of course, who would've doubted that).  Okay, I was starting to wonder as Friday after Maggie left, tears found their way to Jessica's otherwise dry eyes and it was pretty much over from that point on.  It was an emotional departure. 
Maggie - the little girl that Jess babysat and we will continue to babysit!!  #maggiedaysarethebestdays
We got her there, un-bunked the beds, unpacked her stuff, did the orientation stuff, president's dinner etc. and then walked her back to her room.  Let's just say that the final "see ya" wasn't at all dramatic.  It was OVERLY dramatic, mostly because of the 10 year old who depends on her big sister even more than I do.  A brother may have shared in the dropping of tears ritual - he shall remain nameless.  We had to pull Julia off of her sister and drag her away.  It was heart wrenching and slightly annoying, because, HELLO??  I'd like to have some room for my tears too!!!!!!!  But I put on my big girl undies and remained the rock for my emotional children, hey it's what we moms do.
As you may have seen on IG, these were our "not about to fall apart, we're totally excited" faces. (lies, all lies.)
So honestly it was a blessing, because I don't really enjoy crying.  It's not a good look and I do like to feel needed, so I guess it was a win win!!  Orientation weekend kept our girl busy, which even though she was dreading it, it did end up to be a blessing.  Turns out that the 9:00 p.m (P stinkin M) kick-ball game was optional!!!  OMGTY!!!!!!  (oh my God, thank you -I don't know if that's a thing, I just made it up, right there!)  She, instead, played bored games, I mean BOARD games and met a few more people. 
Joe's elbow on the left, Julia lounged on the bed, Jay was in the chair and there are Jess's little feet!
From as much as you can grasp through texting, I thought she "sounded" great at the end of the evening.  11:40 PM and she was jumping in the shower and heading to bed!  Sunday morning had the kids rising early and heading to the city for breakfast, praise and worship and a session or two.  She got to meet her roommate and they hit it off.  They did a bit more rearranging of their dorm room and got to know each other better.  Later in the evening she headed off to Wal Mart with some other girls from her hall.  I truly didn't doubt that she would settle quickly and jump right in, it's just who she is.  But I think there's always a little tiny nook in the corner of a mother's heart that harbors such doubts, more like "what ifs" if you will.
The Library
We got to talk to her on the phone yesterday too and I swear she "sounds" like a college student.  I don't know what that sounds like exactly, but after an emotional weekend, it was so good to hear her sound like that! Monday morning Wait!  Today is Monday! THIS morning, she and her roommate "K" went to breakfast with a few other girls and played a game.  Today is the first day of classes, which were delayed due to ice.  I'm anxious to hear how her day went.
I'm getting a new perspective on being a mother.  It's hard not being with her.  Not because I'm a hovering mother, but because I'm used to being with her, to experiencing life with her.  Remember this is the girl who, when taken to Disney with her friends in January, opted to hang out with me and her dad and the friends readily agreed!  So this, it's weird.    I need to be aware of myself and my tendencies to try to be a part of everything.  I realize that I have to let her go.  She needs the space to spread her wings and begin to find her place in this world. 
Jess and Shelby
I know that she'll share everything with me when she can, so remembering that will be key.  Also, she knows me, so I'm sure that she will give me some room to be a meddling momma here and there.  :)
The time goes so quickly friends.  Enjoy every minute you have with your people!!!!  I'll be back later this week with a wrap up of the Alabama trip!!  After that, I have no idea!!  We'll see how this new chapter goes!!  I do have some bedroom pics to share as we are changing and rearranging bedrooms!  So stick around!!! 
God Bless

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Sweet Home Alabama Part Three

Hey there!  Welcome back!!  Moving on to the next property that we looked at, I want to preface this by saying, when we found this place on line, the first line of the description hit our biggest dream of all.  It simply said, "Could this be your bed and breakfast?".  Now, if you don't know us, I'll tell you that owning and running and B & B is our biggest dream to date.  We've stayed in a few and with both of us having a heart for hospitality, to say it caught our eye would be an understatement!

Now I have no idea if we could ever even pull off a dream like that.  But I don't think we ever thought that we'd see a hint of possibility, but here it was!!  Again, I'm not saying that anything is happening.  There are no concrete plans, but there are dreams and wishes and tiny prayers of big things.  It's in God's control as I've mentioned before. 

This property is at the other end of the road that the sweet cottage is on.  It boasts of 12 acres, a silo, horse barn and so much more.

 Hey, a girl can dream, right?!

We entered through the back of this massive home, but trust me when I say it has a grand entrance!!  A nice wide front hall, large staircase, and access to several rooms on the main level.  This home was full of surprises, including the "original" claw foot tub complete with original fixtures!  

We can totally picture making breakfast in the large sunny kitchen for our guests.  Hosting tea time in one of the beautiful sitting rooms, filling the two front balconies with guests as they enjoy their event (hosted by none other than the fabulous Evan G. Cooper).  The 12 acres is dying for some extra TLC.  Bonfires, Hayrides, Horses, Stables, expansion of the B & B with specialty suites, gardens where we'll pick fresh herbs and flowers for our meals and bedrooms.  That little red run down "shack" is the perfect little residence for the innkeepers.  We walked hand in hand around the entire property sharing dreams and ideas with one another and with our sweet Lord, whose hands our future rests.

This experience was so amazing on so many levels that it's unreal to me that we even experienced it.  God is so good and He never ceases to amaze me.  The way that He longs for us to give Him our future, plans, hopes, dreams, fears and hearts.  He's good for it, He won't let you down.  My best laid plans don't hold a candle to what He has planned for me (not even a three wick candle!) 

Like I continue to say, I haven't the faintest clue as to what is going on in our lives.  All that I can say is that we are trying to be diligent in seeking His will and His timing for our lives.  We are careful to look for the next step that He calls us to take, no matter the size of the step.  Knowing that any size step toward His plan is a goooood step, no a great step.  We can't go wrong when we surrender all that we are and all that we have to our Father in Heaven.

Jeremiah 29:11 says "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Sounds like a good deal to me!!

Until next time, God bless!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Sweet Home Alabama Part Two (lots of pictures)

In my last post, I jumped right to Tuesday so that I could answer some questions.  But now, let me back up and start from the beginning of the trip.

Bill and I figured that it would be a good idea, since Alabama was now on our radar and we were going to be spending a week in a place that we've never been to,  that we may want to check out the housing market there and connect with a realtor.  Monday, we did just that!  Prior to our trip we found a realtor and had a great conversation with her about our situation, what we were looking to get out of our trip and made sure that she knew that time spent with us was not a guarantee of sale.  We are not in the position to buy or sell and this was merely research.

She graciously accepted our request and gave us her entire day!!  She had quite a list of homes for us to look at and they covered quite a range of housing specifics.  Here is some of what I shared with her on the phone about our interests:

1. we would love to downsize
2. but we're not opposed to a larger home (since the pricing there is beyond reasonable)
3. we are ready for more of a neighborhood environment (living in the middle of nowhere is taking it's toll)
4. but we're not opposed to some space
5. The perfect condition, the feel of country life but close to people and places
6.  of course she had to know that three of our five children would be moving with us, in addition to two large dogs and two cats
7.  currently we have goats and chickens.  We are okay with not having space for that
8. but are not opposed to having space for that

Yes, she had her hands full with us!!  God bless her, she pulled together exactly what we needed to see and it gave us a great opportunity to really think about what we would want "if" we were to ever move.

So here are some shots of a few of the houses that we looked at.  It was Tough to only pic a few pictures to share because we absolutely LOVED each of these homes.  So if you want to see more of them, just let me know ;)

First up was a smaller, completely updated home, in a neighborhood, with a very small yard.

It was beautifully decorated (I can't help but notice those things).  It was small, but a good small.  Four bedroom, two bath, fireplace, eat in kitchen, laundry room and it had a great outdoor space with a water feature.  We loved it!  The yard size and outside storage space concerned Bill and rightfully so. We would have a lot to get rid of and the small yard would take some getting used to.

Next up was a magical sort of dream home.  We fell in love with this place before we ever even reached Alabama!!

I didn't get a great shot of the front of this beauty, but trust me.  It's a stunner!  The back yard had all of these great little sitting areas and it had such a magical, whimsical feel about it.  Even though the greenery and flowers were not there to put on a show, their sleep state allowed my mind to wander around the possibilities of a warm day, with everything in full bloom and I ate it up!!  The inside did not disappoint either!

From the moment we peeked through the glass paneled front door and saw the marble floor, grand staircase and gorgeous cat with blue eyes looking back at us, I knew.  It would be a tough one to walk away from if need be.  Classical music wafted through the air and pictures of us dwelling there came to mind as we went from room to room soaking in all of the beauty that this home offered.  Big windows with light flooding in, spacious rooms for entertaining or relaxing, not one, but two gorgeous sun rooms filled my mind with thoughts of lazy afternoons reading in the warm sunlight.  That kitchen!  Oh.my.word.  It was sublime.  Not a large space but a beautifully functional space with gigantic windows looking out to the magical back yard.  Built in old sconces, a gorgeous island and perfect details.  Yep, I'm still smitten with this beauty!!

Sadly, the location is just a teeny bit questionable.  So very sad.  So I tucked this one into my heart and dreams and moved on.  We headed out to a more rural area and a sweet three bedroom cottage on ten acres!

This home takes the sweetest cake!  It was adorable!  Sweet screened front porch, beautifully decorated, great space, on the smaller side.  Actually smaller than the first small home that we looked at.  This is a three bedroom, one and a half bath.  The ten acres are beautiful with space for plenty of animals.  Currently a gentleman is keeping his horses in the back six (I like saying that) and is willing to leave one of the horses with the property for it's new owners.  If that were to be us, we would offer to let him continue to keep all of his horses on the property thus giving us a perfect way into the community and history of this place.  We could picture long picnic tables under the many pecan trees filled with food and friends and family!  There is a pad for another dwelling in the back yard and would be a great spot for a small (ahem) cookie business, in-law suite or anything else that you could think up!  The covered area off of the detached garage is the perfect place for an outdoor entertaining area and the resident chickens would have a place to stay!  Plus a home with a great scripture on the chalkboard warmed my heart to bits!!!  I even joked that the owner had written Richies instead of riches :)  lol

The kitchen was small but warm and inviting, with wood counter tops and open shelving.  We could totally see ourselves in this space.  My one concern with this home was the size of the living room.  It's the first room that you walk into, it has two windows and four doorways, so there's not a lot of wall space for furniture.  It opens into the dining room with french doors, has a doorway to a very wide hallway and a door into one of the bedrooms, plus the front door.  It would be an adjustment.  But we really loved this house as well.

There is one more home that I want to share with ya'll, but I'll save that for the next post!!!  Thanks for coming by!  I hope you enjoyed looking at these houses as much as we did!!

God bless,