Thursday, May 16, 2019

Grace at Home No. 339


Hello and welcome! I'm so glad you're here for this week's Grace at Home party. This party is a once-a-week chance to pause and celebrate all the ways we make our homes places of grace.

I haven't written about this yet, but my weekend was momentous. If you join me on Instagram or Facebook, you might have seen that my youngest son—my baby!—graduated from college. (By the way, I'm wearing heels in this photo—my "baby" is now 6'8".)


Happy times! But so many mixed emotions, as you might guess.

But we're not here to talk about me; let's look at what y'all have been up to!

Tiffany at A Nod to Navy remodeled her kitchen. Isn't this beautiful? Wait 'til you see the "before" photos!

We've been having absolutely gorgeous spring weather, so I'm excited to jazz up our outdoor spaces. I was so glad to get step-by-step instructions for creating a beautiful hanging basket from Pam at Busy Lifestyle Gal.


I'm always meaning to organize our photos, but never seem to get around to it. If you also struggle with this, you'll be glad to get this inspiring advice from Jen Wise at LifeTales Books and Personal Publishing. 


Do you struggle with meal planning? Me, too. I was glad to find these budget-friendly meal ideas from Robin at Fluster Buster.


And for my next meal plan, I think I'll make Instant Pot beef carnitas following this recipe from Corinne at WonderMom Wannabe.


If you need some inspiration regarding your relationship with God, read this post from Donna at Soul Survival. 

A big thank you to everyone who joined the last party!  I'm so grateful for each person who links up.

Now for this week's party! Grace at Home is a place for you to share anything related to making your home a place of grace. I invite you to link posts about
  • DIY projects
  • decorating
  • recipes
  • hospitality
  • homemaking tips
  • parenting
  • marriage
  • faith
  • self-care
  • soul care
Whatever you do to make your home a place of grace, I'd like to hear about it.  Here's what I ask of you.  Please include the permalink to your post, not your blog's home page.  Please let people know that you've linked up.  No more than three posts per person, please.  Note that if you link a post here, you are giving me permission to share your post, including a photo.  And visit at least one of the other party participants--that's what really makes it a party!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Grace at Home No. 338


Hello, hello! Welcome to the Grace at Home party, where we celebrate all the ways we make our homes places of grace.

Y'all, I can hardly believe we're in the second week in May. Believe it or not, my youngest son graduates from college this weekend. It seems like just a few months ago that my oldest son graduated from college. . . now we're about to celebrate the last college graduation! To say "time flies" seems cliché, but it's so true.

Now for some links from last week's party I thought you'd enjoy.

If you're looking for before-and-after inspiration photos for your house, you'll want to see this post from Kathryn at The Dedicated House. Kathryn transformed pretty much every room in her home, and recently sold the house after just one day on the market!


Now that it's May, you may be sprucing things up with outdoor planters. If so, you'll appreciate this tip for filling large planters from Jamie at So Much Better with Age.


Looking for a fresh new salad recipe? Check out this beautiful chopped margherita salad from Andrea at Living on Cloud Nine.


Mother's Day is coming up, but it can be a sad occasion for many. Michelle Bengtson offers encouraging words for mothers who have lost a child.


A big thank you to everyone who joined the last party!  I'm so grateful for each person who links up.

Now for this week's party! Grace at Home is a place for you to share anything related to making your home a place of grace. I invite you to link posts about
  • DIY projects
  • decorating
  • recipes
  • hospitality
  • homemaking tips
  • parenting
  • marriage
  • faith
  • self-care
  • soul care
Whatever you do to make your home a place of grace, I'd like to hear about it.  Here's what I ask of you.  Please include the permalink to your post, not your blog's home page.  Please let people know that you've linked up.  No more than three posts per person, please.  Note that if you link a post here, you are giving me permission to share your post, including a photo.  And visit at least one of the other party participants--that's what really makes it a party!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter


Thursday, May 2, 2019

Grace at Home No. 337


Hello and welcome to the Grace at Home party, where we celebrate all the ways we make our homes places of grace!

This week I've been slow getting back into the swing of things. You may have seen that our beloved dog died last week, and the grief of losing her has been intense. The writer Thomas Lynch says that grief is the tax we pay for loving. Isn't that right? We loved Cocoa very much.

Meanwhile, many of y'all have been busy! Here are a few links from our last party I thought you'd enjoy.

If you've ever struggled with getting a room decorated to your satisfaction, you'll appreciate these instructions for creating a beautiful focal point from Yvonne at Stone Gable.


If you're wishing that a room in your home had some industrial charm, did you know you can create the look yourself? Check out this tutorial for a faux industrial brick wall from Ashley at Cherished Bliss!

If you're looking for kitchen inspiration, you might like to see the updates I've just completed in my kitchen.


If you have cherished family photos and wonder how to display them, you'll want to check out this post from Whispers of the Heart.


If you're a user of essential oils, you might enjoy these springtime diffuser blend recipes from Joy at Artful Homemaking.


I'm always looking for recipes that use chicken, so I was glad to see this post from Kit at The Kittchen--lots of ideas for using shredded chicken.


Last but not least, if you've ever struggled with doubting God's goodness, you'll appreciate this post from Marva at Sun Sparkle Shine. 

A big thank you to everyone who joined the last party!  I'm so grateful for each person who links up.

Now for this week's party! Grace at Home is a place for you to share anything related to making your home a place of grace. I invite you to link posts about
  • DIY projects
  • decorating
  • recipes
  • hospitality
  • homemaking tips
  • parenting
  • marriage
  • faith
  • self-care
  • soul care
Whatever you do to make your home a place of grace, I'd like to hear about it.  Here's what I ask of you.  Please include the permalink to your post, not your blog's home page.  Please let people know that you've linked up.  No more than three posts per person, please.  Note that if you link a post here, you are giving me permission to share your post, including a photo.  And visit at least one of the other party participants--that's what really makes it a party!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter


Thursday, April 25, 2019

The loss of a friend


An old song* says that 525,600 minutes make up a year. The math checks out: 60 minutes an hour x 24 hours a day  x 365 days a year = 525,600 minutes.

The best I can figure, our sweet Cocoa lived about 7,264,800 minutes.


A much-wanted 12th birthday gift for my son Preston, Cocoa lived an exuberant, energy-filled life.
This photo was taken in the summer of 2018; Cocoa had just turned 13 years old. 13 in "human years" supposedly equates to 91 "dog years." She looks awfully good for a senior citizen, doesn't she?

We adopted Cocoa from the local humane society just after we moved into this house, and it's hard to imagine living here without her. If you’ve ever rung our doorbell, you’ve been greeted by her barking. If you’ve ever placed your food close to the edge of our countertop, you’ve had to fend off her stealthy snitching. If you’ve ever sat in one of our living room chairs, you’ve had to brush her hairs off your clothes. If you’ve ever tried to pet her “sister” Snickers, you’ve felt her nosing her way into your caress. 

Sometimes Cocoa would get so absorbed in licking your hand or your face that, when you tried to stop her, she'd continue licking the air around you. 

This photo is of Cocoa and Snickers, side by side in one of our living room chairs:


 Occasionally they'd share a chair, but more often you'd see them like this:

See how the throw pillow is on the floor beside Cocoa's chair? It never failed that Cocoa would jump into a chair and throw the pillow to the ground. 


Every now and then we caught our pups in a pose, like these:





But most of life was like this:



Or even this:



As you can see, Cocoa was no saint. Truth is, she could be awfully aggravating. She could make me so mad that sometimes I almost wanted to kill her.

But I never wanted her to die.

Cocoa ran and jumped and licked her way through millions of minutes until Monday night, when she obviously had a tummy ache. Tuesday morning she seemed a little better, but then on Tuesday afternoon she stopped eating and drinking. Deeply concerned, I made a pallet on the floor beside my bed so that I could keep an eye on her. I checked on her throughout the night. 

Sometime between 4:00 and 6:00 Wednesday morning, Cocoa took her last breath. 

I am deeply grateful that she did not suffer long. And I am grateful that I did not have to make a decision to end her life. I know this is a mercy. 

But my heart is broken. There's no other way to put it.

I think that old song is right. The only way to measure a year in a life is love. Cocoa lived more than 7 million minutes of pure, unconditional, unforgettable love.

I will remember the love.





Cocoa Parham
June 27, 2005 - April 24, 2019

*"Seasons of Love" by Jonathan D. Larson

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Open house: my updated kitchen


It's been a long time since I've shared a peek inside my home, hasn't it? But today I'm excited to invite you into one of my favorite spaces in this house: my new kitchen!


To give a feel for how much this kitchen has changed over the years, here's a look back.

Kitchen in 2010:


The cupboards are wonderful quality, but the kitchen feels like a sea of brown. So here it is in 2014:


I was very happy with these updates, especially the transformation of the island. But over time, the cabinets sustained some water damage, like this:


I knew that this damage had to be repaired, but it took me a long time to decide what to do.

Finally I consulted two friends: one who has remodeled four kitchens for herself and one who is a top-notch local realtor. Both of them advised having the cabinets painted.

To be honest, our granite countertops are not my favorite. I love the sleek, clean look of marble or quartz. But the countertops are in great shape, and the same granite is still being used in kitchen construction. "Your granite is fine," pronounced my realtor friend. And my friend with kitchen remodeling experience suggested that I start with painting the cupboards and just see how I felt once that was done. "You might find that the painted cabinets give you a whole new kitchen," she advised. She was right!


Everything feels so much lighter and brighter now!

Besides painting the cupboards, I made a few other changes as well—some complicated, some simple. Perhaps the most complicated was having the range hood altered. Here's how the old hood looked:

It was a custom-made hood, but I didn't really like the trim work, and the edges were so sharp! (Just ask my husband and two of my sons, all of whom are over 6'6" tall.) With some carpentry and painting magic, here's the hood now:


I considered replacing the range hood with a stainless steel one, but the cost was crazy expensive, in my opinion. So I looked for inspiration online, and found a hood I liked at Home Stories A to Z (Beth's kitchen is simply gorgeous!).

Another big change was the lighting in the room. I swapped out the three small lights over the island for two large lanterns:


I also changed the chandelier over the table:


The other changes were smaller. I swapped out the drawer pulls, but re-used the knobs, sticking with oil-rubbed bronze because it works well with the granite.


I wanted to add some blue to the room to work well with the blue in the adjacent dining room, so I got a new rug:


painted a terra cotta pot navy blue and gold:


and added a small lamp to the serving area.


I also wanted to add some blue to the window treatment. I still love my DIY Roman shade (full tutorial here), so I just painted over some of the green stripes with blue paint. Presto!


Here's a look behind the scenes of the cabinet painting process:


After removing all the cabinet doors and drawers to be taken to the shop, the painters taped off and tented the area. They removed the old finish, sprayed on a primer, then patched every visible imperfection.


Then they sprayed on two coats of the white paint I chose ("Alabaster" from General Finishes).

After seeing these guys work, I was filled with admiration for people who paint their cabinets themselves! 

All in all, I'm very pleased with our updated space. It's so clean, light, and bright. I'm glad I took my friends' advice. I do feel like I have a whole new kitchen!


Sources (no affiliation):

Island lanterns: Birch Lane Heritage, Wayfair
Chandelier: Laurel Foundry Carmen, Wayfair
Cabinet pulls: Emtek Westwood, build.com
Rug: Mistana Hillsby, Wayfair

What do you think?

I'm joining
Marty for Inspire Me Tuesday
Beth for Tutorials and Tips


Thursday, April 18, 2019

Grace at Home No. 336


Hello, friends, and welcome! A blessed Holy Week to you!

I'm glad you're here for this week's Grace at Home party, where we celebrate all the ways we make our homes places of grace. Here are some highlights from last week's party.

Since Easter is this Sunday, you might enjoy seeing the way Paula from Sweet Pea has decorated her home for Easter. Paula has a treasure trove of vintage items, and the way she incorporates them into her decor is just lovely.


Springtime has lots of us energized for decorating our homes. Decorative lanterns are popular but can be pricey, so I was glad that  Lisa from Fresh Vintage shared step-by-step instructions for making a lantern out of picture frames.


If you're still looking for items to fill Easter baskets, you might appreciate these non-candy ideas from Joy at Artful Homemaking.


If you need inspiration for setting a beautiful Easter dinner table, check out this post from Penny at Penny's Vintage Home. (And while you're visiting Penny, you'll want to stay awhile!)


If you're searching for a wonderful dessert for Easter dinner, you might like this easy carrot cake recipe from Crystal at Crystal and Company. Crystal's instructions are thorough, taking all the guesswork out of this classic dessert.


Holy Week brings thoughts of the sufferings of Jesus to our minds, but to be honest we struggle with the idea of suffering. Michele Morin from Living Our Days offers some practical wisdom from Elisabeth Eliot about knowing God in the midst of pain.


A big thank you to everyone who joined the last party!  I'm so grateful for each person who links up.

Now for this week's party! Grace at Home is a place for you to share anything related to making your home a place of grace. I invite you to link posts about
  • DIY projects
  • decorating
  • recipes
  • hospitality
  • homemaking tips
  • parenting
  • marriage
  • faith
  • self-care
  • soul care
Whatever you do to make your home a place of grace, I'd like to hear about it.  Here's what I ask of you.  Please include the permalink to your post, not your blog's home page.  Please let people know that you've linked up.  No more than three posts per person, please.  Note that if you link a post here, you are giving me permission to share your post, including a photo.  And visit at least one of the other party participants--that's what really makes it a party!
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter