On Having A Basic White Girl House

Paper Plate Wreath

“Quirky Paper Plate Wreath Close Up Showing Hot Glued Sprinkles and All So As To Prove To Myself That I Have Not Made A Boring, Basic White Girl New House For Myself That Drives Me Batty. (Picture me whispering to myself, ‘I am still weird. I do still have character. This house is not stupid. We’re going to make it. We have not one, but two cat print dresses. Surely we’re not basic yet. Are we? Maybe cat print curtains would help??’) Sigh. Nobody has ever accused me of being relaxed. Not even once. I think I don’t know what to do with myself without a bunch of kids and projects under my feet. All this middle aged learning and growth stuff. Maybe I could learn to draw cats?”

That was my Instagram post this morning. Because I’ve clearly gone all She Bat. That’s why.

This morning Mark and I were having coffee in the sunroom (mostly he works on work stuff and I read a book, or think deep thoughts, or visit with Jesus, or spend way too much time on Google News crying about how if we all just came together maybe we could save the world, or chair dancing to Chris Brown while praying for his talented but mouthy soul, or blog stalking someone I like, or plotting for where we will live next, or when I should get that consultation with the plastic surgeon to fix my under eye bags, then I think probably I should stick to plotting about where I live now, which leads to me sharing all my wonderful, circular thoughts with Mark who is trying to do work) and I was all squirrelly about how sadly, I am not getting our new house right at all, and it it basically stupid, and has no character, and I cannot even do any of the things I want to do without him because I am not awesome with power tools like Nikki, and most likely I would cut a finger or two off if I tried, and how am I even supposed to play the piano without all my digits? Not even blepharoplasty would make up for that loss. Probably it would not. But it might. 

And Mark sighs, puts all his devices down, looks me right in the eyes and says, “Who is Nikki, and why am I supposed to care about her?”

Me grievously offended, “Oh please, Mark. You totally know who Nikki is. I’ve told you all about my flea market friend who used to live here and is sassy like me, but now she is in Savannah and I will most likely never see her again, and she just had to evacuate because of that hurricane, and now she is at her friend’s house redoing her bathroom, and being all pissy that Lowe’s will not rent her tools to make the project faster, but so far it’s looking really good, and she is Awesome, and I showed you a picture. REMEMBER?”

Mark stares blank faced and replies, “How does this have anything to do with our house?”

Me in a huff, “Because, MARK, if I were like Nikki and not all spacey living in my head, and more connected to my Body (did I tell you she is an ESTJ like you? ) then I could put up those faux brick panels that I want, and paint them the Briarwood color of our cabinets, and do the German Schmear over it, and put it in on the wall behind our bed, and I wouldn’t even have to wait for you to think it’s time to do quirky stuff that adds character to our new house, and I could do the picture molding in the dining room, and the bead board in the bonus room, and I could extend the crown molding, and I could make everything happen All By Myself Whenever I Wanted.”

Marriage Advice From A Pro – Always use pitiful, passive aggressive statements to help your spouse understand how sad you are about being clumsy with power tools so that they know they, And Only They can save your life, making your home, your world, your life, and the universe everything you hope and dream of, plus more, plus glitter, plus unicorns, plus all the glitter covered unicorns. #alltheunicorns

So then we went through a long list of the Great Ideas I’ve had that he has not been excited about, and we talked through every one, then he fixed a barstool for me that I want to make a plant stand, or pumpkin stand, or something, then I moped around woefully making my breakfast smoothie, and using my foam roller on my dumb shin splints so I can keep walking even though I cannot run, and maybe beat pre-diabetes, and then Mark wrapped me right up in his super strong arms before he left, and a little tear squeezed out of my eye as I burrowed into his chest and I whispered, “You think I’m being high strung about this, don’t you.”

And he kept snuggling me and replied, “Maybe a little bit. We’ve only been here 2 months. And you said you wanted to live in it for a little while so the house could tell you who it was, and we’ve come a long way already…..” and then. Well. I will leave all respectful groping out of it, but you can tack that on to the Marriage Advice portion of this post, too. #resepctfulgropinghealsallwounds

So I went for my walk, and enjoyed all the Fall out, and posted my wreath on Instagram, and my friends were all sweet and supportive, and gave me compliments because I think they’ve all been watching the Kollektivet YouTube Video “Compliments” which is AMAZING, and you should stop reading right now and go watch it if you don’t know it, and then I started texting nice things to Mark.

love notes to mark

The drugs line was just a self aware nod to the fact that I might be both hormonal and mentally unstable, and in need of some Progesterone to make me good as new. Don’t stress out about me trying illicit substances to balance the crazy out. Mark and I have both come to the conclusion that I am wired equally Weird and Awesome, and managing the freak outs is worth all the fun things. (Mostly I record that sentence, and play it over and over for Mark once he falls asleep each night, and that is the secret to our happy marriage. So much great Marriage Advice today. I hope you are writing this down.)

In closing, I am aware of God’s goodness and kindness to me in this weird, transitory season through the stability of my husband (who stands firmly on the ground holding onto the Kite that is his wife, whether she’s flying in sunny skies or being battered by storms, and he never lets go. Ever. And she is safe to caper about because he’s got her. She also loves to talk about herself in third person.) through the sweetness and humor and sass of my friends, through the new mercies His Word brings, and in having lived long enough to know that everything changes always, so I won’t be weird forever and I am glad for that.

This kind of weird, anyhow.

Clearly that was in Firstly Closing.

In Secondly Closing, here is the photo evolution of our Foyer so you all can decide if you’re siding with Mark or with me about the progress in our house.

More Marriage Advice – Always ask everyone to take sides in anything you and your spouse are talking through, making sure to add a nice Curve that sways the odds in your favor. Use absolutes like “Everyone” “Always” and “Never” often. They are the best words to bring out any time your perspectives differ. 

Foyer during build

Foyer during build – July 2016

Move in

At the Final Walkthrough – August 8, 2016

Spraying ceilings

Mark shows chestfullness while spraying ceilings Wimborne White, but shields your eyes from full frontal nippleage with the t-shirt covering his mouth and draped over said chest.


Painting walls Sherwin Williams Anew Gray at 50%, Installing the Door Blind, and Removing the Boob Light and Throwing Up The New Chandelier

Wimborne White

All doors, trim, and wainscoting going Farrow and Ball’s Wimborne White instead of that wretched Pinky White (poorly named Divine White) plus new bronze door knobs installed


Blue Tape and Wall Art


Adding a cute bench from Joss and Main

Foyer rug

With a little rug and pumpkin and lamp and family photo, she is complete. For today. I don’t know if I want a gallery wall over the bench. The living room already has one with mirrors, and the dining sports a botanical gallery wall, so I imagine it would be overkill, which is presumably just right for someone trying to be #notbasic, yeah?



Somebody Has A New House


Last we saw our beloved heroine, she was trapped in a house deep in the wood with that big, bad wolf doing his best to huff and puff and blow her to kingdom come while she hobbled around on a newly repaired ACL valiantly trying to outmaneuver death by fangs.

Oh wait. Those were just a slew of Realtors bringing 25 families through the cabin in 48 hours resulting in a bidding war whereby Red made a million dollars and left the woods for the great unknown.

Or something like that which explains a 5 month blog hiatus and a brand new home.


The contract came on the cabin far more quickly than we were prepared for, and we had no solid plan set for where we were going, other than this weird umbilical like pull from my guts to a specific, small section of a town closer to Nashville.


After 23 years of married life, Mark is not too weirded out by me having intuive pulls toward a place to invest in for a season, and we had a contract in place on this newly framed spec house on April 10, 2016.


While it is clearly smack dab in the middle of a close subdivision, and could not be a further cry from the privacy and hibernation of cabin life, we were looking for something utterly different, and this sweet little cottage was it from the moment we walked through the door.


While we could have paid a fat sum to upgrade this to a semi-custom home where we chose from the builder’s options, after going through the model and looking through the choices for flooring, lighting, finishes, ect, we decided we were far better off sticking with our DIY thing, and doing away with the builder grade stuff after we moved in. Because his upgrades were poopy, that’s why, and crazy expensive.


We loved how the floor plan was all cozy and charming. 2,300 sq feet with most of it downstairs, and a bonus room over the garage. We loved the sunroom, and how the lot backed up to a little 1950’s home on 2 acres, and all we would see is their trees and the HOA owned field behind our neighbor’s place.


It is for sure the tiniest yard we’ve ever had, but we’re all about trying something different this go round.


It’s already been a whole new ballgame moving into a home with just one Extroverted Only as opposed to a whole passel of kids, but we’re figuring out a rhythm.

Oh hey, guess what has already been replaced through the whole house?

All the random ceiling fans and boob lighting.

Whoop Whoop!


I swear some lighting design guy from the 1980’s has made the “Wealthiest People In The World” list year over year because of his wretched brilliance in getting every builder in the North American Continent to purchase and install his hideous mammary globes. Oh to be immortalized for creating something so homely that mimics something so cute. But I digress.

 I’ve gone back and forth on blogging through customizing a spec home. Who even blogs anymore? It’s so 2014, yeah?


Is it just vapid and banal and who even gives a rat’s keister if I document the process?


I think I do.

I care.


This is House Seven for Mark and I, and each one of our homes coincides with a life season. {I do understand there are plenty of people out there who happily live through multiple seasons all under the same roof, but clearly we are not those people!}

We project together. We renovate. We improve. And then We Move.

My weird, intuitive guts feel like we’ve got 2 years here, and I *think* it will be fun to record taking this perfectly fine builder grade house and all the escapades that happen while making it a home. You guys are welcome to follow along if it feels fun to you, and if not, I will be zero offended.


When you’re Movers, there comes a point where it gets both silly and confusing to say, “Hey, remember that one time at old house…….wait, was it old, old house//” therefore our homes have a moniker to differentiate them.

Pine Tree. Federal. The Blue House. Riverstone. Scottish. The Cabin.


Without further ado, I introduce you to Monarch Cottage.

I mean, Mark will never call it that. And probably in the end, it will bear it’s street name. But I needed a name for my new Instagram account {because I deleted old Renovating Stephanie. Because I am absolute wherever I am, but changeable as well. HA!} and street names and IG are too stalkerifick for me, and I thought about who I wanted to be in this house, and how I was all cocooned and hibernated at the cabin, and now my nest is mostly empty and it’s time to figure out how to be a new version of Stephanie, and I was like, “Monarch Cottage. That’s it.”

So yeah. Cheers to a new season and all the xoxo’s from me to you.

On Taking a Social Media Hiatus plus Spring Things

Hi Friends.

I heard I freaked some of you out by my abrupt leave taking from Social Media. While I know our little Instagram Housie Community is tight, and loves for real, it simply did not occur to me that I would make people nervous by hitting the “Temporarily Disable Account” button, so for everyone who was worried I had decided to live in a van down by the river, or run screaming for the hills, or check myself into Pine Rest, or whatever other scenarios those with great imaginations might have considered, I am so sorry. #forrealandtrue Also #heartsandhugs.


Here’s what happened.

 Wednesday night I was sitting with Mark on our Back Porch, watching Liam play football in the yard {he was both teams, which is a great way to ensure you Always Win} and all the sudden I realized I was leaking fat, hot tears. They just kept rolling down my cheeks, and I couldn’t even find words for why when Mark asked me what was wrong.

Out of nowhere I was fried.

Except nothing is really ever out of nowhere, is it.

I’m pretty okay at tuning in to other people, and nature, and animals, and the energy of the world around me, but generally I stink at tuning in to Stephanie til’ my body starts letting me know via migraines, or stomach pain, or exhaustion, or sudden tears that I’m not so awesome as I thought I was.



Do you guys remember where we started here?



There was so much purpose in saving this place from decay, and its’ 9 years of being unloved.


So much purpose in homeschooling my girl, and seeing her well on her way to being an independent, strong, healthy, self-aware adult.

In providing a place for my middle son {who is so great, but maybe always felt somewhat less than great #becausebirthorderandINFP} a place to heal, and recover from hard things.

In being a sweet, quiet, Nature Home removed from the chaos of Ben and Mad’s newly wed life as they finished their degrees, and entered 2 years of service and care for college kids.

In watching Liam love our property, and run, and play, and flourish.


Then ACL surgery took a toll.

Brooke’s leave taking was inexplicably hard. I’ve never had a runaway before.

I whirled to turn her room into a Guest Space, because even though I knew we were listing the Cabin, it was too hard to walk by it empty every day.

In the 6 weeks that its been said Guest Space, we’ve had two out of state friends/family stay, which was lovely, but I think also hard for me to grieve well because I kept focused on company, and moving forward, not on how very sad I was.


Moving from 5 months of enforced sitting to a whirl of activity with a pre-listing inspection, and carrying out the minor repairs, and Spring Yard Work, and 30 people through my home in 2 days, and 6 offers, and needing to choose a home, and find interim housing in the same weekend that out of state family was in, and paperwork, and money things, and contracts, and new loan, and empty nest syndrome, all while  trying to navigate a new normal with my girl in her less than safe/stable environment, and prepare for what is next just……yeah.

I had one of the agents from my Realtor’s office email me to say a man who had come through the cabin, and looked through the Before and After book I left out, had gotten in touch with her to see if I do this just for myself, or if I am hirable, as he has homes he would like to renovate, and I was like, “Where is there even space in my head to think about if I want to do that or not? My Whole Brain Attic Is Full To The Brim!”


I think it the wisest course of action is for me to take some time, and simply be quiet during this transitory season.

Listen to Jesus.



Sit with my trees and just breathe while I still have them.

Gain some equilibrium so that I can walk into this next season ready to learn, and grow, and embrace a whole new life, because I have this certainty that the end of a 23 year era has come, and something new awaits Mark, Liam and I.

I was telling some girlfriends that perhaps I should introduce myself this way from here on out. “Hi. My name is Stephanie, and I will be all fun, and love you so hard, til’ one day I surprise both of us by running out of juice, powering down, and retreating to my yurt to rest in silence til’ I start to power back up. And your name is?” Maybe that way I won’t startle or scare friends who’ve not known me for years and years.

For anybody who is as freakishly interested in Temperament Theory as I am, or if you would simply like to understand yourself, and the people in your home/close friends/significant other/whatnot better, here is a link to a decent, free MBTI test, with helpful info after that explains how your brain rolls, and how it will process career, friendship, purpose, romance, parenting and more.

Even though at 40 I can still be slow to discern what is truly going on in my own self, I would be toast in navigating life without this gift, because I am wired in a way that’s on the quirky side, and I am still learning how to be me well.

Thank you all for being patient with your cabin friend. For always offering kind, encouraging, loving words that build up. You girls have supported the Renovation here, and my own personal renovation, and you remain a valued, valuable part of my every day life. I’m not lost and gone forever, like your Darling Clementine, just powering down for a bit.

I may blog the things I have missed {like how to remove an old fiberglass pool, or how to repair your ancient windows, or various other randoms} so feel free to check in here every once in a while.

You can also find me via theyammeringcabin@gmail.com, which I really need to change to the current blog name, but we’re not gonna stress out about that today.



Why We Are Moving + Cute Realtor Pix


Oh Hi, You Guys.


The Cabin is sold.


We had 30 plus showings in a 48 hour stretch, multiple offers all at asking price or above,


so we picked our favorite, bought a new construction home one town over,


and will move out of the Cabin beginning of June.


These are the Realtor’s Photos, and while the editing is a bit different than what I’m used to, the photographer did such a great job capturing wide angles that I’ve never gotten with a little old iPhone.


Some of you might wonder, “What the Backlava are you people doing moving again? You worked so hard on this place. Don’t you just want to rest and enjoy it?”


To that I would reply, “We have enjoyed it. So very much. But we’re movers. A friend once said I am a Gypsy at heart, and it seems she is right. The Cabin is House #6 for us. New little Stone Faced House will be #7.

Mark and I have done Full Family Life together for 23 years now. When you start all preggers at 17 & 18, and have 3 children in 4 years, your world consists of the care, nurture, development, and keeping alive of said darling beasties. Their friends, and school, and romantic relationships, and food, and sports, and faith, and jobs, and driving, and future, and health, and juvie, and whatever else they may get into fill up your every waking moment.

Some sleeping moments, too.

When that Full Family Season comes to a close,  it is Mark, Stephanie, and an Extroverted Only left in the house, then it is time to build a new life that fits the 3 of us well as a unit.

And as individuals.

We think this next move is a step in the right direction.”


And I for sure have emotion about moving on from here.


I think on the 2 years we’ve been here, and remember.


Remember Jake moving home to live in our back garage with his pup, and getting on his feet again, and how healing that was for all of us.


Remember Brooke and Liam laughing on the porch swing in their masks, pop music blaring as they took a break from carpet pulling .

There was so much cat hair and dust and debris {renter boys literally did not own a vacuum in the 2 years they lived here} that outdoor time was needed to breathe well before diving back in.


Remember Mark pressure washing the roof, and how terrified I was that he would fall and meet his doom, or break his neck, ending up in a home for the bewildered {or worse!} and how I said to him, “If you are reckless with my favorite person, and fall off that roof, I will not forgive you.”

The broken elbow from that roof caper was tough. So was having to accept Mark’s mortality, and Not-25-Anymore-Ness. Roof clips, and harnesses, and learning good house and life things and not being the wrong kind of bish to my husband were positive, though.


The hours Mark and I have spent on that Back Porch – me with my red wine, Mark with his beer and pipe – talking, and laughing, and enjoying the birds, and trees, and seasons, and peace, and each other have been priceless after a season of church work where we poured ourselves fully into other people, and forgot to enjoy the good gift of our marriage.

And man, is it good.



I think on the precious things that we’ve experienced here, and the hard things.


Having a ladder be gone from under my feet resulting in a torn ACL, surgery, and the 5 months on the couch made for one of the most personally miserable seasons of all my 40 years. Not moving. Or working. Or contributing. Or doing – not because of a desire for rest, but because of immobility and inability  – just were the worst.


It was really hard to wake up 5 weeks ago to Brooke’s room empty, and my girl gone to live with a boy in an environment neither stable or safe, 2 months before her 18th birthday.


Life in a house together is both beautiful, and ugly, yeah?


Great Joy and Deep Pain have come together under this metal cabin roof, and are both representative of Family and the Human Condition.


Yet I remain certain that loving well counts.

That working to repair what is broken and moving toward decay physically, {in a home or a body or a property} spiritually, relationally, and emotionally, is holy, God Imaging business, and worth every ounce of blood, sweat, and tears that goes into it. And I believe that there will be a good harvest from it all one day, if not here, then on the Day coming when all is well.


I will miss this view.

But I am utterly convinced that there is a future where my beloved man and I will move forward together, using what we’ve been given to continue to love well, repair what is broken, and see the goodness of a never failing God at work in, and around us.

Thanks for being part of the Cabin Adventure with us.

We’re not done yet.


Cabin Life Update


Have you guys ever fallen off a ladder while Cabin Projecting, spent 16 weeks of your life with your hindquarters literally glued to your striped couch, and felt for all practical purposes that your life was over?

Did you perhaps fall into the pit of Limited Mobility Misery? {think Andy Dwyer with a far less sunny disposition….}

Did knee surgery to build you a new ACL stink to high heaven, and you’ve hated the past 5 months with a passion unrivaled to any season you’ve experienced thus far?


Me either.

But anyhow, those who may have felt that way are exactly 15 weeks out of surgery today, and recovering slowly but surely, and are more encouraged about their ability to Move. Plus, Spring is here all new beginnings and beautiful, so yeah.

I thought I’d spit out some words today.

Okay, so I totally missed sharing any Christmas at the Cabin for 2015, and I know you guys probably all cried about that, so dry your eyes.






PSX_20151224_163531 (1)













Boom. Christmas in April.


Christmas in April was not actually my intent when I sat down, buuuut clearly that’s where we went, so I’m calling it good for today.

Though we didn’t know it at the time, 2015 was our last Cabin Christmas because our house is going on the market next week!

It seems I’ll need to post again about Why, and Where, and Latest Cabin Projects, and such before we move on.

{You Guys. I Am aware it is April 1, and some people love to play hilarious April Fool’s Day pranks, but I swear, This Is Not One of Them! We had our pre-listing Home Inspection this past Monday, and we really and truly will hit the MLS by next weekend.}

More to come.



My Cabin + White Dove = Love

Okay, so you friends may be asking “You have only been here 18 months? Why the flock are you updating Cabin Colors when you Just Painted Everything?”

Oh wait.

Maybe that wasn’t you.

Yeah, never mind.

It was Mark.

PSX_20151027_115930 (1)

Lancaster Whitewash {Sad, Yellowy, Pitiful White. My nemesis.}


White Dove {True, Non-Yellowy, Non-Greeny, Non-Bluey White. My Hero.}

So here’s what happened.

Back when our cabin was a hideous, monstrous beast in the Spring of 2014, and we were making renovating plots and plans and lists and money spreadsheets before closing, I decided on Benjamin Moore’s White Dove for the entire interior, and Lancaster Whitewash for the bonus room where our TV and big sectional would hang out, just to break up the White Dove party a little bit.

LR at purchase


It was Bad in here, yeah?

But when I started priming, and everything around me was whiter than my own personal keister, I chickened out of my Whole House White Dove Party, used it on the trim, all cabinets, and bedrooms instead, and Then took that 5 gallon bucket of Lancaster Yellow-wash, and painted up my world.

Processed with VSCOcam with m6 preset

Oh it was better than College Scream Band Renter Boy Grunge for sure.

But I never loved it.

Not even once.


Yes, this is a not great photo, and I should indeed be ashamed for posting such eyeball assaulting nonsense, however it was raining on the day I took it, and I edited up the light way too far, and now it looks like a clown at the circus.



Lancaster Whitewash in the Day.


White Dove not in the day.

Otherwise known as the night.


Won’t it be nice when I someday get a real, live camera, and stop using Mark’s iPhone or Liam’s tablet for photos? Then maybe things will look more uniform, even when the light outside is different. Or maybe not.

And let’s be honest.

You guys are mostly here for my winning personality and hilarious outlook on life, the universe, and everything else far more than my awesome photos, yeah? {{I do hope you say yes, otherwise you are sure to be sorely disappointed.}]




Oh hey, this is fun.

Mark did that faux shiplap for me a couple weeks back, and I’m all heart eyes about it. And him.

He’s pretty great.


So anyhow, moral of the story is, paint is cheap enough, and if you get the color wrong, even if it is the week you are heading in for knee surgery for you wretched old ACL tear, and Christmas is 7 days away, and life feels like the opposite of a bowl of cherries, it’s really not that big of a deal just to try again, and get it right.


In closing, here is Gimpy’s paint party back from December. If I can paint the world, you can paint the world.



Ladytalk With Yvonne – Episode 1

Transcript of the interview with Renovating Stephanie, famed blogger and Instagrammer. This interview aired live at 7pm Mountain Time, on Thursday January 14, 2016. It was conducted by Yvonne, the evening talk show host on 620 AM, Glitter Radio.

YVONNE: Hello Everyone, and welcome to tonight’s episode of Ladytalk with Yvonne, where we discuss all sorts of things that Ladies like to discuss. It’s nippy out this evening, so grab your hot chocolate….What’s that, Joe? NO, I did not say it’s nipply out. Nippy.  As in chilly or cold. Yes, that is too what nippy means. Fine, grab your Webster’s dictionary and look it up. Excuse me? You think I’m prolly wrong, and I’m talking about Ladyparts on the air again, which violates station policy? Joe, I have never once talked about Ladyparts on the air, and you know it. I  think you can prolly take that opinion and shove it up….{Yvonne Sighs Loudly, takes a deep breath} Ladies, I apologize. Our station manager Joe has the view that “Ladytalk” is somehow code for indelicate topics, and is ever on the hunt for reasons to shut this broadcast down. Not today, Joe. Not today. Friends, add some whiskey to your cocoa, if that will make this segment more fun – I know I will –  and let’s say hello to tonight’s guest, Instagrammer and famed blogger, Renovating Stephanie. Hi Stephanie!

RS: Hi, how are you, Yvonne?

Yvonne: Fine, and you?

RS: Oh me? Gosh. Besides falling off a ladder a couple months ago, tearing my ACL, having knee surgery – which has resulted in the geriatric folks lapping me at the grocery store –  I’m doing well. Just. Really, really great.

Yvonne: What’s that, Joe? Did she say she’s straight? NO. She’s Doing Great. As in, she is well. Is she in reality straight? I don’t know. She Is always talking about her smokin’ hot husband who has giant biceps, and how much she loves their bedroom, so I would guess yes……No, Joe. Tonight’s topic is not actually “Married Women Who Love Other Women And The Men Who Love Them.” Honestly. {Yvonne slurps whiskey cocoa.}

Welcome to the show, Stephanie. So great to have you on the air with us.

RS: Thanks for having me, Yvonne. I’ve just got to say, you sound super cute. Like, from your voice I picture a blonde woman who is very thin, likes flowers and soft fabrics, loves to ski, and is really crafty. Not crafty like a fox, just good with crafts.

Yvonne: Oh I absolutely understood. And your intuition is astounding. No wonder you are such a famous blogger. That actually leads me to my first question. Many of our listeners want to know if you can make a living doing what you do. How would you answer them?

RS: Well. I do enjoy temperament theory, Yvonne, and I am an INFJ, and it Is said that if anyone is to have clairvoyant abilities, it’s my crew of special snowflakes so…..Oh who am I kidding. I totally Googled you and read your bio.

Yvonne: Clairvoyant and Honest all in one package. You astound me.

RS: Thanks, Yvonne. I astound myself sometimes. And to answer your question, while I’m sure some people can make money blogging, I just don’t care for ads and pop ups when I’m reading on someone else’s space, and I like to be queen of my own page and autonomous, and money making comes from advertisers, so I make zero dollars blogging. It’s really fun, though, and a great outlet.

Yvonne: Hmmm. Our next question is from Stacey in Texas, and she wants to know if you find blogging to be a good outlet, where have you been this past few months? She and all your great readership have missed you terribly.

RS: Yeah, that’s a good question. I’m kind of an all or nothing girl, and after the fall off the ladder, I went all in to hibernation mode. It was pretty tough going from lots of movement, activity, freedom, independence, and spontaneity to life on my couch plus physical therapy.

Yvonne: That must have been tough. JOE, I see you opening your mouth. Don’t do it.  Do not even think about opening your big, wide yap. {Yvonne drinks deeply.} No. I am not listening. Shut it, Joe. Just shut it, Joe. You think this would not have happened to her if she had not been trying to do men’s work?

RS: Actually Yvonne, Joe has some good insight there. I mean, not in the weirdo way he intends it, but yeah. I was pretty feisty over all the what if’s. You know, just one moment of over reach with the drill when I knew I was tired, and in an awkward position, but said to myself, “I’ll just finish this last window.” And then Poof! That ladder was just gone from under my feet. I do regret not listening to my body, and being smarter, and have definitely what-ifed. Over Thanksgiving my grown kids came home, and one said, “Mom, I feel a little worried about you. I’ve never seen you like this before. It’s like if you were a bear, I would be afraid to poke you.” And I was like, “WHY WOULD YOU POKE ME??” So good-ish question, Joe. Being immobile can stir up a lot of things that are not happy, or pretty, or nice, but having support has been vital in saying the things, and then moving on out of the emotion.

Yvonne: Tell me about your support team.

RS: That’s my favorite question so far, Yvonne. In our house, Mark has been beyond amazing, like he always is. It’s really cool to be not at your best and be loved accepted in the midst of the ugly. He and my 17 year old have born the brunt of my care, shuttled me back and forth to the Doctor, gotten Liam to and from school. They cook, and clean, and wait on me hand and foot. Both my grown boys have pitched in when they’ve been here. My family has truly been a good gift from God to me. It’s hard to have your own regular life to live, and need to pick up a partner’s slack, but my people have done it.

Yvonne: They astound me.

RS: They are pretty darn astounding. I agree with you, Yvonne.

Yvonne: What about support outside your immediate family?

RS: Absolutely. The second part of my support team has been my GG Squad.

Yvonne:  Yes, Joe. She is. She is talking about G-strings right on the air. Fire me now. Please. Do it. {Ice clinking, Yvonne drinking} I’m sorry, Stephanie. Please continue.

RS: Yeah, sure. I’m sort of surprised Joe didn’t mock me for being a 40 year old woman using the term squad, but he seems to have a rather one track mind.

Yvonne: Did you hear that, Joe? {Yvonne mumbles to herself.} Please continue, Stephanie.

RS: Sure. So I these have 6 lovely friends…..

Yvonne: We just had a call from a listener in upstate New York asking if you would share the names of your “squad” so she can live vicariously through your fabulous life.

RS: I mean, yeah. It is pretty fabulous. And absolutely, I’ll share. The girls are named Special K, Tyrone, Mommy Dearest, Farm Girl 1, Farm Girl 2, and Curly. We are all in different states, but stay in touch throughout most every day about the latest in our home projects, activities, our feelings, our families…..It’s been an unexpected gift of immeasurable worth to have found them. Kindred friends are not easy to find. So many variables come in to play to make something work or keep it from working. It was kind of like magic, just when I needed it most. Jesus is good to me.

Yvonne: I can only imagine. Let’s go back to the blogging for a moment.

RS: Sure.

Yvonne: What is your daily readership at?

RS: Like how many people visit daily?

Yvonne: Yes.

RS: It varies. Some days 2,000…..

Yvonne: Really! That’s astounding.

RS: Alright, it was just the one day that I wrote about Disordered Eating. Most days I publish something, it has around 200 reads.

Yvonne: Aha.

RS: When I let it languish for months, it sits at 40.

Yvonne: Your fame astounds me.

RS: Yeah. Hey, Yvonne? Are you driving home tonight?

Yvonne: {slurringly whispers} Honey, I’M the interviewer. I ask you the questions. And don’t worry. I’ve got a ride with Joe.

RS: Oh Mylanta.

Yvonne: Alright, we’ve got one last question, and it comes from Joe.

RS: This cannot be good.

Yvonne: Joe asks, “Stephanie, What does your recovery timeline look like?”

RS: That was a surprisingly normative question. Thanks Joe. So the sprained ankle and MCL have healed, and I’ve got a donor graph to be my new ACL. It takes about 6 months for that tissue to become my own, and another 6 months before I’m back to my full on regular activities without all the precautions, so it’s not speedy like a growing bunny rabbit population or anything, but when you’re talking about ladders and doom, it could’ve been a lot worse.

Yvonne: Yes, Joe. She did. She totally just said, When I recover, I am going to start a revolution to take down the patriarchal establishment, and first to go is Station Manager Joe. Mhhmm. You are correct. It is my influence, and all the other feminists trying to take over the world here at Ladytalk with Yvonne. You are on to us.

RS: Hey guys? Thanks for having me. I’m going to head on out now.

Yvonne: Oh absolutely. Thanks for joining Joe and I. It’s always a pleasure to work under him, and thanks listeners for tuning in to tonight’s episode. Stay tuned for next time when we talk about more things that Ladies Like to Discuss.







Fall Cabin Things


So to make up for my failure to share Cabin Renovations in real time, I thought I’d take this opportunity to spam you all with a bunch of Autumn Themed Pictures.

You will like it. And if you don’t like it, you can just keep your pie hole closed.

Or better yet, open your pie hole and shove some delicious pumpkin flavored thing into it, and then maybe you’ll feel more charitable toward all my Fall Cabin Things.


I grabbed this fabric back in the Spring with intentions to do exactly what you see here.

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I liked it in theory.


I added a few Fall touches to see if I could settle into liking it in reality.


{Hey aren’t these little pumpkins cute though? My Fabulous Flea Market Friend Courtney posted this tutorial on her blog, and that’s how these guys came into being.}


I turned my attention outdoors to stop fixating on how those curtains just didn’t feel right in my house.


Live Pumpkins Helped.


Faux Pumpkins did as well.


I popped my paper plate wreath up on the door.

He was cute.


But in the end I was simply compelled to return to those trusty old mismatched curtains that are lovely to me. I then breathed a deep sigh of relief as the world fell into place once more.

True Story.

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Oh look how Right you are, mismatched curtains, and how you bring out just the perfect amount of fun in the other Fall Touches sprinkled round!


Mr Mummy Fox came out to play, and sadly was mocked to scorn by two people in the family who shall remain nameless, but whose initials are Mark and Brooke.


I think he’s absolutely perfect. {Big heart eyes to you, Mr Mummy Fox!}


Bonfires have been fun.


So has pumpkin carving.


I love that my hydrangeas are still blooming, and how lovely their Life looks mixed with the small deaths of Fall. Such a true picture of the rhythm God built into the world. It just feels hopeful, and good, and right.


I like stalking Neighbor Joe’s trees from my front porch. You guys know what he does on Halloween? He reverse trick-or-treats. Like, makes a bag FULL of prizes, hand delivers them to the 4 neighborhood kids, and keeps his light off at night to avoid the hooligans. So. Cute.


I like how cute Brooke is with her cozy blanket as she keeps an eye on Jake’s pup frolicking in the leaves.


I like moving that paper plate wreath to the Back Porch and stuffing an owl in him.

He totally deserves it.


And in the Fall I also love the vivid picture about the things that change {like the leaves.}

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

And that which is immovable {like the tree itself.}

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Heb. 13:8

 For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10

Whatever life season you are in as we begin November, I’m praying Good, Solid Ground under your feet in the moving forward. I think that’s it for today, so I’ll make it official.


My Life’s Work is Complete…..Or At Least Our Bathroom Is!


Alright Guys, if you would like to call me a Total Blogging Failure, I will understand and I will most likely agree with you.

Actually, I will definitely agree with you, but I do have plenty of excuses and sob stories that involve this space right here.


Have you ever tried to blog while your fingers are claws because all you do is peel wallpaper in tiny strips from drywall that was not primed first?

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Have you ever tried to blog when all you do is freak out, then pray because your husband lives in the attic where it is 120 degrees, and all he does is try to fix the whack job electric that went haywire in the 1996 remodel, and you just want him to keep on living for the next 50 years or so?

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Have you ever tried to blog when you all your free time goes to shopping at Lowes where you spend way too long talking about stupid stuff like the new shower fans?


Have you ever tried to blog when your husband writes you love notes in glue on the back of the beadboard you’re installing on the ceiling?


Have you ever tried to blog when oceans of trim are going up, and it’s your job to fill every nail hole, man that caulk gun, then prime and paint the entire world?

And can you even imagine how many conversations revolve around the word “caulk” {but without the “L” sound, because who says “CAWLLK?”?} And Then can you imagine the conversations that happen when a spouse literally gets confused about Which Thing you are asking for? “Baby are you asking for the Caulk Gun or ????”

Nobody can blog in the middle of that awkwardness.


Have you ever tried to blog while a nasty old toilet sits upside down in front of your house like an embarrassing Flamingo Lawn Ornament that is totally stressing you out? And then when you take the photo, you become aware that the fascia and gutters were never painted, so now you have another freaking chore?


Have you ever tried to blog while floors are going down


and toilets are going in, and Somebody has to keep the 5 year old from drilling a hole in his head with Dad’s tools, plus ensure that he gets food and conversation and outings sometimes?


Have you ever tried to blog while listening to these two yuck it up all the day long when getting delirious from 18 months of Never Ending Projects, and then you end up laughing deliriously with them, because it’s either that or CRY?






Have you ever tried to blog when all is finally said and done, but you cannot even think of where to begin because all you want to do is lay on the floor in your fully finished Master Bathroom, stare at the ceiling and quote Scarlett O’Hara while declaring repeatedly, “I’ll never be hungry again. I’ll never be hungry again! As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again!!!!”

You haven’t?

Well neither have I, but I’m giving it a shot today.

Wish me luck.


Post 1 about MB Hideousness can be found here.


Post 2 is here.


And Post Three here.

We started this project July 27 and completed it October 27. During that time we also built a deck, finished clearing the Back 40 with the help of heavy equipment, added some storage in the kitchen, filled our pool hole, gave the exterior another coat of stain, and painted all the fascia that still showing hunter green and rust. While we were 100% committed to our bathroom reno, we were clearly not 100 % focused. HA!

Cost wise, we came in way under budget, which is always a win.

Originally this was the one cabin project we had intended to have our contractor take on, but clearly the plot changed, and we saved 60% by making it a DIY plan, therefore we declare this Master Bathroom Renovation to be Utterly and Thoroughly Worth It!

Just this once.

Never Again.


So. Thanks for being my buddies, and sticking around, and encouraging me and things of that nature.

I like you guys.



Behind the Scenes of an Internet Friend Meet Up Day

Fl Market 1

You guys are never going to believe what I did yesterday. This Somewhat Suspicious “What If They Are An Axe Murdering Catfish Person?” girl met not one, not two, but TEN INTERNET FRIENDS yesterday at the Nashville Flea Market, and it was beyond amazing.

From left to right please meet Bryanna, Courtney, Wendy, Diann, Melissa, Nikki, Patsy, Lauren, and Inflatable Doll Me.

Fl Market 2

We were joined by Lindsey and Cole for some 12th Avenue shopping and eating at the end of the day. {Sadly, we could not all leave our day jobs for Internet Friend Meet Up Party Time, but it was super fun to have ice cream together!}

Fl Market 3

If you are wondering about Behind the Scenes things, and have pressing questions like, “Is Wendy’s skin as gorgeous as it looks on Instagram?  Was it Patsy’s birthday? Is Nikki the quiet, reserved girl she seems to be? What is hiding under Lauren’s cute shirt?” the answers are yes, yes, no, and not a baby.

{For real. Nobody has a secret pregnancy to announce, I just think it would be fun to see Lauren in a less flowy shirt next time. Because, Dang that girl is cute! #iamthecatfishstalker}

Fl Market 4

One of my favorite things about being with the girls was simply getting to hear people’s voices, put their IG personality together with their real life personality {Every Single Person is Just Who You Think They Would Be, which I Loved!} and having uninterrupted time to visit, and then visit, and then visit some more.

The shopping was totally secondary. For real and true.


 Are you guys ready for some Fun Facts I learned about the friends?


Bryanna has a gorgeous speaking voice that was Made For Radio, plus a face that is lovely, and a heart that is sweet, but since jealously is a sin, and I just love to do the right thing, I wasn’t covetous over her coolness at all.  She and Wendy are related through marriage. They are also real live good friends as well, which is a testament to their combined awesomeness.  I liked that.

Bree wore dark jeans, a white button down, her brown hair stayed smooth and straight all day, even in the rain, and I thought she was one Classy Chickadee. Her taste in Flea Market prizes was impeccable as well, and she scored some amazing treasures for her farmhouse.


Wendy blogs at Life On the Shady Grove, has a home that is beyond beautiful, and looks exactly like she does on social media. I’ll let you in on a little secret though. There is more to her than meets the eye.

Wendy is a petite blond, with a peaches and cream complexion, a gentle and compassionate writing voice, and is all around just cute as a button, therefore you might think you could pull one over on her, if you were the kind of person who would do  such a dastardly thing.

But. Were you to cross Wendy in a dark alley, first you would be afraid, and then you would lose. There is a steel behind her softness, that is good and right. A quiet protective spirit that lets you know she can Momma Bear with the best of them, and you’d better not mess with her people, or else. I. Love. That.


Nikki is my Sass Sister. She’s the only friend that I did not “meet” on IG til’ the day before our real life meet, but it did not stop us from throwing snarky comments round to one another all through the day, and laughing gratuitously. That was fun. And speaking of dark alleys, I would LOVE to see Wendy and Nikki meet up in one some day. I don’t even know who I would bet on.

Nikki is an interior designer, and carpenter, and all around Maker of Cool Things. She wore work boots with her plaid shirt, tromped around to her favorite vendors like the pro she was, made faces, and still managed to look beautifully feminine and super awesome. If you’d like to stalk her up, she has a clever little blog right here.


Courtney {who blogs at The Hamby Home} is one of those people who is just fun, happy, and puts everyone at ease. She’s a great conversationalist, fellow snack enjoyer, queen of all things crafty, and is awesome at Organizing and Keeping Up With The Details. Plus her face is adorable. So was her shirt. #iwillnotcovet #iwillnotcovet


Melissa is practically my neighbor, and while we are newer IG friends, I was not even nervous to hop in her Giant Vehicle and let her tote me around. I found Melissa to be a peaceful, soothing, generous, settled, lovely woman. Melissa chauffered Patsy, Wendy, Bryanna, and myself around all the day long, found us a fun place to eat, and was all around MVP of the day! We packed her vehicle all crazy full of Flea Market Goods, and she was willing to pack it even fuller to try and a special prize back for Patsy. In addition, Melissa  makes Beautiful Wreaths {you can find them at her Etsy shop here!} is a sweet and devoted Momma, and has a great eye that finds beauty in unexpected places. I like her.


Patsy is our Sweet Southern Belle.  Gracious, gentle, soft-spoken, tender-hearted, and hospitable, with mad-baking skills, mad-decorating skills, and all around loveliness.

She was my first Internet Friend Meet Up Ever, was 100 % Axe-Murderer-Free, baked me delicious muffins, was fully engaged with me and her darling daughter all at the same time. When Maggie was born, this Momma let go of her shop, and altered the plans for her dream home to be available to her baby girl. It is a beautiful story that I encourage you all to read right here. You will be ever glad that you did.


Look how cute Diann’s stuff is!! Her IG presence is sweet and kind and gentle {she and Patsy both have that Southern Belle thing going!} but let me tell you, this girl can Laugh! She is a supporter, encourager, affirmer, and was willing to hunt for whatever any friend was hoping to find at the Flea Party Day.  Diann is somebody you could sit at a coffee shop with, start a conversation, look at your watch {fine. look at your phone!} and be like, “Where did the last 2 hours go?!” The longer I spent with her, the cuter she was to me. I do confess, I checked out her beautiful, well-behaved hair many, many times through the day. But I did not covet. I swear.


My Sweet Lauren. I don’t even know what to say about this red-headed, doll-faced, precious friend. {For real. Her face is perfect like a porcelain doll, but without the whole creepy Lack Of Animation Porcelain Thing going on.}  Lauren was one of the very first people I didn’t know in real life that I real-live-visited with on Insta. It was such a good and positive experience, that I was encouraged to keep visiting, and being my Sassy Self, and making new Insta Friends, which led to the whole thing that was Real Live Internet Friend Meet Up Day.

Her voice is all Southern Honey, soft and sweet, with a lilting laugh, and her speech only builds up. Ever. I swear, she did not say one contrary thing once, and she was just as kind to the fellow Flea Marketers who would randomly visit as she was to the crew she came with. Can you even imagine?

Oh Hey! This is her blog,  so you can check out more of her darling farmhouse.


And then here’s my cabin.

As I’ve posted these snippets of our homes and selves, I’ve thought on a question you guys might be thinking on as well.

If you take a handful of women from 3 different states, in 3 different decades of life, with different home styles, different personalities, different careers, and different back stories who are meeting for the very first time over a simple shared interest in Home, How Much Commonality Will They Have?


Crazy Big Commonality, that’s how much.

Do you know why?


Melissa spoke so well when she said that the beauty of the IG Home Loving Community is found in the hearts of women who hold the same values of kindness, compassion, support, encouragement, and love.

That sweet spirit of nurturing provided all the base we needed to connect, enjoy, and have so much fun with one another.

And there you have it. A day made in Insta Heaven.

In closing, if you are considering an Internet Friend Meet Up, here are a few quick tips on having a successful adventure. #1) If you have red flags, discomfort, or unrest at all about your potential meet up, Do Not Proceed. Trusting your gut, and honoring your intuition are more valuable than being “nice” in a moment. #2) Always let multiple people know who you are with, where you will be, and go on ahead and turn “find my iPhone on.” Even when you’re 300% sure it’s safe. #3) Everyone has limited time, energy, and resources, therefore only do a real life meet up when Both parties are interested. Sometimes we feel a deeper connect with someone than they do with  us, and that is okay. Just regroup, continue to be kind, and try again with a friend where there is mutual commonality. #4) Repeat steps one through three as many times as you’d like. The gift of friendship is good, and worthy of investing in, even when it comes to you over the interwebs. HA!