Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Forward progress

Good morning Folks ~ Thought I’d do a quick update as I go along with this remodeling project.

Last night I watched a you-tube movie, ‘A Home of Our Own’ with Kathy Bates, 1993. What a great movie about perseverance, the story of a Mom taking care of her ‘tribe’. Near the end of the movie, a line struck me to the core and I burst into tears and just sobbed and let them flow, (feeling much better afterwards.) I am always amazed at the ways I am encouraged in my life now as a widow. Quite a bit has been through movies, a line here or there and I am thankful for each one. The line this time was said by the Mom to her teenaged son. “You work with what you get & you try to make it better.”

My dear husband and I moved into this little place in 1973. It has undergone changes through the years, inside and out. We were ‘tiny living’ before it was ‘cool, hip or trendy’ to do so. We made this into our ‘haven’ from the crazy, hectic world that we live in. It is paid for. I am thankful for that. It is not big or modern, does not have the lastest and supposed greatest this or that, but it is ‘home sweet home’. Several projects were left not completed when my DH left this planet, and some we had in our minds will not even be started.

Changes can be hard, the biggest for me losing my soul mate, my love, my best friend. He was the architect/designer/builder and I was his helper/sometimes designer. I would get ideas and we would talk them over and he would figure out the how-tos. We were a team. We worked great together.  I miss him and that so much. But, as we all know, life goes on. We can either go forward, or stay stuck in the past, wishing we had what we once had. Being a widow is really rough for the first 2-3 years, crying was at the drop of a hat, anywhere. Hearing a power saw in the neighborhood, going into Home Depot, one of our favorite places to shop, hearing songs, etc. could turn on the water works. Slowly, but surely the fog starts to lift. Your heart feels lighter, you laugh, but you never forget.

Last summer I went through 2-3 months of a depression that just came out of nowhere. I think my loss and the whole lifestyle change caught up to me. I prayed, read my Bible, and devotional books and was lifted back up into my more normal positive self.  It is where my DH would want me to be, it is where God wants me to be.

So, here I am at the start of this year with projects started and although change can be hard, it can also be freeing and uplifting. I am excited and thankful.

Yesterday morning I worked in the bedroom clearing the desk space where DH’s computer had been where I moved it to after he was gone. (I moved it here just to pay bills online from his computer. BIL gently suggested that I pay from my computer, we both teared up, and he told me to take my time in deciding. I did put info into my computer & have been happily paying bills (as much as one can be) from my computer. Going into his computer each time to pay bills made me feel sad.) His computer had been in the living room by his chair and that’s where he did his computing for years. By changing things around, the old familiar and now empty spaces are transformed, and hopefully for the better. In my case, it has been. Some widows leave their old homes where they’d built a life with their husbands. I cannot afford to do that. It wasn’t until recently that I could even contemplate doing such a thing, but as I told my BIL & SIL, I could now, if the right thing came my way. For now though, this is where I am, it is what I have been blessed with, and I want to thankfully and contentedly work with what I’ve got, and it is a lot compared to a lot of people around the world.

Ok, here we go, below is the living room in the beginning of 2011. Both the book case on the right and the desk unit on the left, are curbside finds. The book case was given to a young couple from church last year. I am keeping and dear BIL and I are moving the desk unit into the bedroom.


Soon after DH left, I wanted to change the space a bit, to hide the ugly old TV for one thing.

Below is the new look in Jan. 2017. I made a faux mantle with old wooden top to something or other. I had screwed a piece of 1x1 to the wall for the back edge to rest on, and the front edge rested on the TV. I pulled everything out of other locations in the cottage to decorate with, and covered the TV with fabric.


This is the new look I’ve been living with since Jan. 2016, after my friend Jessica gave me the floral plate. I wanted a newer, lighter look.


Here is how it looks today as I prepare to work with BIL Todd, Saturday to repair wall, do some other work and then repaint before bringing in the new (to me) bookcases and media stand. That wall is 9 1/2 ft. long and the new things will just about fill up that space and the depth into the room will be 12” for the bookcases, and 16" for the media stand. The new flat screen TV given to me by friends last summer, will go on the new media stand which is about 6” higher than where it presently sits, and I want Todd to make me another faux mantle between the two bookcases, over the TV. I love having a mantle. The curtain/tablecloth covers a doorway from years ago that we cut into the wall. It will be wallboarded over, as will the little vent area at the ceiling and the crack in wall patched.


Here is the bedroom space May 2013. I won’t show you what the bedroom looked like before this, til maybe some future date when it is completely redone.


Space now as it is dismantled. The desk unit in the liv. room is going to go next to the curtained linen closet, it is not as deep as the linen closet by about 3 inches. I can hardly wait to get it in there, more storage. I may paint it, haven’t decided yet, that will come after it is moved from liv rm to this space. The whole bedroom will eventually be done in the faux beadboard paneling and crown moulding put around the ceiling. I’ve got to take all of the artwork down from this space, which saddens me, as they all mean something to me, bringing back lots of good memories. I’ll just have to find new homes for them. Lace curtains on the right lead into the hall, and the bathroom is just to the left in the hallway, on the other side of that bedroom wall. You might say I have an ‘en suite’ bathroom. Winking smile


Anywho, that’s where I am this morning, about to take down artwork and clear out a couple more areas so that Todd and I have room to get started. Needless to say, things are piled here and there in bedroom and living room, not where they are supposed to be or will be, but things will get straightened out in due time.

Thank you all so much for your kind and loving support, your encouraging words, your prayers all mean a lot. I know I talk a lot about this journey I am on, but I hope it will help any widows out there and that it will help those of you who come in contact with them as to what ways or how you may help them in their time of need. Love & compassion go a long way for everyone, but especially widows & orphans.

It is another gray, wet day here in s.e. FL. perfect for working indoors. Rain is expected off and on through Friday.

Happy living life moment to moment each and every day. Count your blessings. Let your loved ones know how much they mean to you.

Love & hugs ~ FlowerLady


ellen b. said...

A mantle above the tv will be nice. I miss having a mantle. Love that mirror. Sounds like a lot of good ideas for your redos. Soon I'll be traveling and spending some time with my sister who was widowed in 2016. God bless your BIL Todd for helping you.

Nancy J said...

Changes, we have them in all sizes, and some come with happiness, or some with immense grief. You have managed to come through with love and memories, sharing with us, and your faith shows every time I read your words. Love the new layouts, and with someone to help, it all seems to go faster. Hope your days are not too hot or too cold. We all need days like Goldilocks would enjoy.

Rebecca said...

These are such significant and attractive changes! Thanks for showing us (me). It's one of my favorite things to see -- how people maximize and personalize their homes... ♥

I'm "proud" to know you, Lorraine! And you are blessed to have your BIL and SIL to help make it all happen!

Ruth Hiebert said...

Change is hard.Oh how true that is, but we are better off if we keep moving forward.

Marilyn @ MountainTopSpice said...

Dear Lorraine, truly the Lord has been your help and strength to get you through these dark days, and the times of great sorrow and despair. So thankful that your BIL and SIL have been there to help you through the difficult times. When life gives us lemons, sometimes making lemonade is not easy, but it can be done, with the help of the Lord. You have made some lovely changes to your home through the years, and I agree with you about having a mantle, it is so nice. I don't have one now, but wish I did. Someday we hope to install a wood stove in our home, but even still I probably won't get a mantle out of that. I pray that the Lord blesses you with strength and grace to get through each day, and that you find new projects that you can do to make your little home that much sweeter :) Many hugs to you dear friend!

Yesteryear Embroideries said...

I have always loved the movie A Home Of Our Own! Hang in there and trust in the Lord to help you during those hard days! Change is hard for everyone!Your home is lovely!

Eggs In My Pocket said...

Your home looks so cozy and happy! I love that movie! Hang in there........hoping for brighter and happier days for you!

Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow said...

you are an amazing woman :)

Morning's Minion said...

I so enjoy before and after photos--there is a special satisfaction in repurposing spaces and bits of furniture to create a more comfortable place to live. You are remarkably creative! Like you, I'm the 'carpenter's helper' in our projects--luckily J. and I have similar tastes in style.
Widowhood brings a unique loneliness as well as a host of practical issues. Several of the women in our family have lost husbands at a relatively young age--all have been brave.
Looking forward to your next installment.

Karen said...

I love all your updates and changes, Rainey. Such a lovely home you have. I know what a team you and DH were and cannot imagine how hard it is to lose the love of your life. You've shown great courage and strength and I'm always lifted up by your posts. Sending warm hugs and much love.

Betsy Adams said...

As hard as it is, we all do need to keep MOVING FORWARD. You are doing a great job--and are an inspiration for others, especially those who need to do what you are doing, and that is making do with what you have and gradually improving things.....

I'm proud of you... Keep up the good work.


Anne Payne said...

I love a mantle too! You are going to adore having more storage in your bedroom. Lots of work but the benefits will be great in the end. So glad you have a wonderful BIL to help you out. God is good. All the time. All the time. God is good. Love you, my friend! xo

Henny Penny said...

You've made so good changes. It all looks nice, and a mantel between the bookcases will be pretty. Reading the first part of your post about losing your husband was so touching. It would be awfully hard to adjust to, and lonely too. Glad you're blogging. Having blogging friends helps a lot, don't you think? I love them!

Cheryl said...

Lorraine, I love how that line from the movie spoke to you. As an onlooker, I can say that you are doing such a great job of making adaptations to your new circumstances and moving forward with purpose. Your husband would be so proud! I sometimes think of how much my life would be different if something happened to my husband. We work much like you and your hubby did as far as the division of labor. :) But I look at you and you are an encouragement to me! God is faithful to His children!

BeachGypsy said...

It's all looking great and I'm so glad you're sharing it with us! So glad your BIL is helping with projects...looks like you're getting alot done! After our cold spell here and all the ice, we are back up in the 70s now, it feels so much better!! It was a misty day here and some fog rolling in this evening.

Junkchiccottage said...

Lorraine this is a beautiful post. It is hard to move on when you have had such a huge loss in your life. I am glad you could recognize that grieving needs time and everyone's grief is different. I do not think it ever ends just has brighter spots in the process. That is why you probably had the two to three months of feeling so sad just out of the blue. Grief is certainly a big journey after losing someone so special. I am excited for you to see that you and your BIL are moving forward for some changes in your sweet home. I love hearing the excitement in your words to start these projects. I cannot wait to see how things come together.
Enjoy this part.
Happy Friday.
Happy Weekend.

Kit said...

I love your new plans. It will look great. I don't think I could ever leave my home. This is where my life has been and good or bad, I am staying. :) Have a great weekend! Love, KK

Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow said...

I remember that Kathy Bates movie from ages ago and now you make me want to find it online again! :)

You are making wonderful and interesting changes :) So glad to see that you have help and everything is progressing nicely and looks great!

Darcie said...

I never think it is a coincidence when a line from a book, movie, stranger...touches us to our core. God speaks in so many ways, if we just pay attention, it helps and guides us. I love all the small changes you've made to help you move forward. You are always close in my thoughts.

Pam's English Garden said...

You are making progress, Rainey, and it's looking good. Wishing you a Happy New Year. P.x

Freda Cameron said...


I was thinking of you and went back to my old blog to find your link.

I empathize with the roller coaster emotions of being a widow. Your post gives me hope that you are moving forward. Sometimes, we take small steps. Sometimes, bigger. Your words resonate with me.

After I lost my DH in 2014, I found this message, posted by another widow. I hope you find some comfort in these words, too:

Saudade is a Portuguese expression that is almost untranslatable. The best way to describe it is: the presence of absence. It is a longing for someone or something that you remember fondly but know you can never experience again. It is an awareness of the absence of a person or thing, which puts you in a deep emotional state of sadness. The presence of absence grapples with those who should be here but aren’t. It is a form of homesickness and deep yearning. You are among thousands of people but none is the one you want to be by your side. Saudade is the moment you realize how important people are in your life and the moments you have taken for granted.

by Laurie Burrows Grad article


Terry said...

Hi Lorraine,

I look forward to the after pictures. You are an amazing woman! An inspiration to us all.

Thank you!

Sandra @ Thistle Cove Farm said...

Your home is lovely, warm and cozy and a testimony of love. Rainey, thank God we have Him, otherwise, neither of us would have made it. I don't blog much, just too overwhelmed with trying to finish unpacking, tending to animals, my pipes in the barn froze and burst, yadda, yadda, yadda. Thank you so much for finding the Andy Stanley video; I tried for about twenty minutes then gave up. You've got THE TOUCH woman; bless you!

Debbie - Mountain Mama said...

Your home is lovely, cozy and clearly loved, Lorraine. I look forward to seeing your changes - sometimes we all need to make little changes to see things with fresh eyes again!

Sandra @ Thistle Cove Farm said...

Rainey, keep on keeping on any way you can and are able. Your home is lovely and the changes are good for you. I never changed anything at the other farm as it seemed like too much trouble. When I moved, I made a lot of changes but with the same furniture and it's been good. It's all a process.
I'm ready for the next storm, expected tonight; I'm told 5 inches of snow. Be well, you're tucked in prayer.

gld said...

You do have some projects going! I admire your decorating style so much. I will be waiting to see the finished spaces. This is a very good sign I think.

Good luck with it all.

M.K. said...

I'm very pleased and proud of you for making these big changes to your home! It is a good thing, but it's very hard, and I think each person must wait until she is ready. You have helped me think about widowhood, that's for sure. You've also helped prepare me for my own mother's transfer into being a widow, which just occurred this month. If any woman should be able to make that change strongly, easily, it would be her ... but she has had many weepy moments, and after 62 years together, it will be a challenge to have her entire day to herself now. Blessings on you as you move ahead!

outlawgardener said...

Change can be difficult but also exciting. I like the way you continue to change things around create great-looking spaces in your cottage! You're always in my thoughts and prayers. May God continue to bless and keep you.

GretchenJoanna said...

It will feel so good to have all these changes completed and your surroundings all freshened up. What a blessing to have Todd -- I know I couldn't manage projects like this on my own. Just having someone to brainstorm with or to give feedback is a huge thing. I completely lack confidence in my design abilities. I can't wait to see how everything develops in your home, God bless it!!

Amanda said...

During 5 years grief counselling for Cruse here in the UK I was charged with helping people who were in some way 'stuck' in or overwhelmed by grief at a range of bereavements. I met those who had lost siblings, parents, friends, even children and all were inspiring. But it was almost always the widows who moved me most. The sheer enormity of the loss, the depth of the grief (and fear, and anger, and loneliness, and, and, and ...), but most of all their extraordinary courage and the great dignity that comes from that, whatever sort of mess they might consider themselves to be. Their stories humbled, terrified and uplifted me - often all at the same time! It was always such a privilege to be trusted, opened up to and given insight. I pray I'm never in those shoes, having to go forward without my beloved Gary. But if I am I pray that like them AND YOU, I find the courage from somewhere to lift my head and heart and carry on the life we've started together. Thank you for your powerful example.