Ten Years of The Painted House

I started this blog in June of 2006–10 years ago!  While it has morphed through the years and fluctuated between daily posts to lengthy blog breaks, The Painted House has been a welcomed source of encouragement, friendships, and fun for this introvert.

This is the first photo I ever posted, our little family of four, newly transplanted to the North Carolina mountains from Texas.www.tphblog.com Oh, I miss those little ones!

Thank you so much for reading along here at The Painted House.  The community you offer is a blessing.  To the future!

Awkwardly Yours

Remember that time when my squishy baby legs grew so fast that my junior-size jeans couldn’t even skim the white leather of my Reebok high-tops?  Crop pants weren’t just an option but a unintentional fashion statement.

It wasn’t a pretty time (no matter how many times my Daddy told me so).  Awkward is mild in describing my transition from little lass to tween–orangutan arms of epic proportions and the kind of toothy, gummy, uninhibited smile that pays for an orthodontist’s mortgage and maybe his pool.

www.tphblog.comBonus awkward points:  playing with toes

But if you are an awkward tween survivor, you can attest that change brings beauty and strength on the other side.

www.tphblog.comThe living room in progress and host to furniture in need.  Color swatches = trusting my instincts.

A couple weeks ago I did an Instagram tour of our home based on fellow Instagrammers requests–photos of in-progress rooms.  What I thought would be a simple snap of photos around the house actually turned out to be a huge design lesson to me–one key point being, I am in a state of awkward change akin to a young child changing into an awkward adolescent en route to become a lovely and mature young adult.  Maybe your house is in an awkward stage, too?

www.tphblog.comThe cute calm before the awkward storm.

www.tphblog.comNew door detail on an old cabinet we’ve had for years + nomadic accessories + cool chair awaiting transformation

My house right now is preteen Angela–leaving a sweet ranch house behind and growing into a new image of herself.  Just like preteen Angela, my house has potential and really good intentions.  But much like my teeth–not everything is in the right place yet.  And much like my cropped pants that weren’t supposed to be cropped pants, my house just isn’t quite dressed right.  But this encourages me rather than discourages me.  I like to think I pulled through Aqua Net bangs and mom jeans (though there were sure to be other blunders down the road), and my house, too, will eventually make the transition to a lovely, mature-ish adult.

www.tphblog.comUnintentional cropped pants and bangs…bonus: our 80s living room.  And, shoulder pads.

The snapshots of the house helped me see the rooms in a different way than when I’m physically occupying the space.  I could see where I am hitting my goals and where I am veering off course.  The photos I shared (and didn’t share) helped me to clarify my purpose and direction in this house from the last house.

www.tphblog.comCurrent entry scene as furniture awaits reupholstery and a new resting spot in the house

The adorable shoebox rancher was deceptively roomy but much smaller in scale than our current house.  Smaller furnishings and accessories tucked in nicely at the rancher.  It’s traditional 1950s spirit called for an eclectic mashup of chinoiserie and mid-century modern–at least that was my prescription for the house.  Anyway, those things don’t always translate from house to house–where ceilings reach 2 feet higher and rooms stretch longer in width and length.

www.tphblog.comThe chinoiserie pieces we kept are in the bathroom for now + a chair that I just need to paint already!

Plus, there is the natural evolution of my personal style and curiosity.  While buying all new furniture isn’t in the budget, we are buying key pieces but making existing furniture work where we can, doing our best to support the vision for the house.  But the interim can be awkward–as I’m finding my way in a look I’m still defining and discovering for myself.  I’m learning how to combine the beloved vestiges of our past with new vistas–and my first tries aren’t always right.

www.tphblog.comFurniture from the loft + bevy of art = the leftovers party in the playroom

But now I know I’m just in my awkward stage, and this too will pass–please help me to remember it when sometimes things can’t happen quick enough.  But each little change and tweak gives me encouragement that I am closer to my goal.  And, I’m totally going to take more photos of the spaces I’m working on for my own deliberating purposes–and I’m trying to trust my instincts and question my tendencies more and know how to distinguish between the two.

www.tphblog.comNever awkward: being true to yourself and personality

The best part of this awkward stage?  Having photos to laugh at later.  Yep, it’s a good reminder to be generous with the camera clicks with my children in their tween years.  They’ll thank me someday.

www.tphblog.comThere is a bedside table plan, I just need to execute it.  In the meantime, this awkward arrangement.

Blogging Like It’s Nineteen-Ninety-Two-Thousand-Six

I’ve been blogging since 2006, which would lead some to assume that I’ve learned many a technical thing in the span of almost nine years (wow).  But, nope, I haven’t.  Or made money.  Or something, right, to keep going?

www.tphblog.comThe Playroom

It seems like it’s time for a State of the Blog Address.  After much thought on what to do with with it while it sputters here in the dark ages, I’ve decided…


…to keep blogging like it’s 2006, for better or worse.  That means pure joy, no pressure, fun, on whim.  That also means that while I do care about how it looks here and it does pain me that it needs a visual overhaul, I’m going to be fine with it until I have time to polish things up around here, remember, no technical skills.  But right now I want to work on our home, prepare for homeschool (again) next year, and just write for the fun of it without the downer of maintenance (for this season, you get it, I know).


More than working on my house this last year (which was mucho), I’ve worked on myself even more.  And, many things were revealed, straightened away, fortified, or booted out.  I finally realized that the elusive balance we crave can only exist when we don’t try to do it all.  Because you can’t and I can’t.  This is hard for someone like me who wants to do it all and has a million and one ideas to test out.  I’m embracing good enough when good enough is acceptable, which, really, is almost always.  The stubborn perfectionist in me just cringed.


Blogging was just something I couldn’t cut from my life.  I do it for the fellowship with all you other creatives and the warm-fuzzy that comes from occasionally inspiring someone else with something I do here on The Painted House.  I just had to realize the blog balance comes from keeping things low-key here…uh, like it’s been.  I’d like a little background music for this:  seasons change, and this blog may someday.  Or it might always be 2006 around here.  Because I do have a million and one ideas.  Mind. Never. Rests.

www.tphblog.comWe are adding trim to the doors of this cabinet, painting it, and moving it to the dining room…using what we have!

I know it’s all, tell us something we don’t know, but I just wanted to say it all out loud, ya know?  That this a-little-here, a-little-there is intentional.  I’m still around here.  Just on a little slower time.

www.tphblog.comThe upstairs sleeping alcove…awkward space turned cool with mattresses from the loft…painting pizzazz in progress.

Thank you for sticking around here with me.  I am looking into obtaining some technical skills this spring that the kids and I can work on next school year.  I’ll share that post soon–SO EXCITED!  Hopefully learnin’ stuff will have a positive effect on ye olde blog.  And, things are getting done around here…guest light arrives next week!  And I promise to show good enough pics along the way.  Here’s to you, and to me, for knowing where we’re at and embracing the steps along the way.

And, you know you can find me in between posts on Instagram, that adorable, precious, time-suck app.


While I sat in my car crying in the hospital parking lot, a doctor sliced open my husband’s neck for a lymph node biopsy.  Days earlier a CT scan suggested that my husband had lymphoma.  While we prayed that the biopsy would not confirm this, I let my fears consume me in the waiting–I was immobilized.  I managed to stop the sobbing long enough to call my friend Erin and ask her how I should pray when frozen.  She told me not to worry about the words right then, that my tears, heart, and each breath would be enough for the Spirit to intercede for me.  We hung up and I sought distraction and maybe solace in music until the procedure was over.  And that is when “God Will Lift Up Your Head” by Jars of Clay played at just the moment I needed it.

The band included this reworked hymn on their 2005 album Redemption Songs and the words cleared my mind’s fog that day,”Into the wind your fears, hope, and be undismayed.  God hears your sighs and counts your tears.  God will lift up, God will lift up, God will lift up your head.”  Call me crazy, but then, and now, I knew that I was experiencing an undeniably supernatural moment.  The song ends with, “through waves and clouds and storms, He gently clears the way, wait, ’cause in His time so shall this night soon end in joy, soon end in joy, soon end in joy…”  Just like that, my sobs of fear turned to sobs of hope.  How did I deserve the promise, that whatever the biopsy, this night would soon end in joy?  The song became the soundtrack during my husband’s illness, stage-IV non-Hodgkins lymphoma, playing in loops to buoy my hope anytime it started to sink.  Six and a half years later, I still can’t listen to the song without crying.

Callan6mo_39First round of chemo


Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 12.25.22 PMOur photo session with Magic Hour, organization of photographers who serve cancer patients and their families

If you have read TPH for a while, you know our story.  But I can’t tell you how meaningful it was to me to relate this experience last weekend, face-to-face, with a member of Jars of Clay.  The Ugly Cry happened, y’all.

Jars of Clay celebrated their band’s 20th anniversary with a music-filled weekend in Nashville that we were lucky enough to attend.  Coincidentally, it is also the 20th anniversary this year when my husband and I met and fell in love…and also became Jars of Clay fans with their first album.  If you love music like we do, it can be hard to love contemporary Christian music.  Jars of Clay changed the contemporary Christian music game, massively, influencing many artists who came after them.  And, they are still the standard against which I measure any new Christian band or sound.  We’ve followed every album, attended many of their concerts through the years, and even had one of their songs used for divine intervention, no big deal.  It was a pleasure to celebrate with them last weekend.

They performed acoustic rarities Friday night at the offices of Blood-Water, a non-profit organization the band founded that helps the AIDS/HIV and water crises in Africa.  It was cozy and intimate, but the poor guys (good sports) had to pose for many photos with fans–our goofy family included.

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 1.24.23 PM

The band hosted coffee and tours at their Gray Matters recording studio on Saturday morning.  The kids came along, too, because they are big fans themselves.

IMG_4433Outside Gray Matters in Nashville


A band amasses mucho memorabilia over 20 years–t-shirts, posters, stickers…Grammies and Dove Awards, too, just lying about.  We chatted with the band, and when we cornered Charlie Lowell–keyboardist for Jars of Clay–I mustered up the courage to tell him how their song pulled me through my husband’s illness.  I almost didn’t because why would he want to listen to just one more fan story, I assumed.  But he graciously listened like I was the only one there, even with the ugly cry and snot.  It felt full-circle to me.IMG_4437

IMG_8656Sitting at the studio, practicing their “serious album cover” shot

IMG_4445They delivered a fabulous 20-years-of-music concert in the historic theatre in Franklin, Tennessee. (Franklin, by the way, is too cute for words.  I’ll be back.)

jars of clay www.tphblog.com

IMG_8663Q&A with the band before the concert

And, you know what, of all their many songs, they played “God Will Lift Up Your Head.”


Twenty years is a long time, with the multiple lifetimes we’ve packed in; yet it goes by fast.  The years are a gift–and all the good and bad within those years, too.  Two weeks ago my husband had his annual CT scan, that time of year when I alternately ignore it from fear and pray over it with desperation, depending on the moment.  It came back clear, thank you!  And, so, we are now two years out from his last reoccurrence.  Twenty years out will be a dream come true…thirty years…fifty years out so I can see the day when our children will change our diapers.

When I could barely eek out that prayer six years ago for him, for us–for our children, that they could have years with their father please–God promised me joy.  It is written on my heart forever.


IMG_8662And now that chubby baby knows exactly how wonderful his father is, the nuances of Daddy’s personality, the absurdity of his corny jokes, the dedication to his family’s happiness.  That little boy can now say deliciously preposterous things like, “You’re the Daddy…you can do whatever you want.”  Every year is a gift.

Thank you–Charlie, Matt, Dan, and Stephen–for a fabulous music weekend.

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