Monday, May 14, 2012

A few final thoughts

I know I've been blogging a long time when I can't even remember what year I started.  And then I'm afraid to look.  Because when I do, I see that it was five years ago.  Five years, that I've been trying to get it right, consistently write good posts and find some kind of affirmation that perhaps what I've written has touched someone or made a difference, or at the very least made them chuckle a bit.

My life was so different back in February 2007, when I started writing Over the Backyard Fence.  I had three young kids at home and I was a part-time-work-from-home/stay-at-home Mom.  We lived in a very quiet neighborhood, and there were times when I longed for a neighbor who I could chat with on a whim, or pop in and share a cup of tea.  I started reading blogs and found lots of women who were stay-at-home-moms and homemakers.  I started up my own blog and before I knew it, I had a nice group of "neighbors" to share ideas and stories and a cup of coffee or tea.  I even got to meet a couple of them IRL (that's,  in real life) and some of the friendships carried over to long conversations on email.

In many ways, I long for those days again.  When the month of May meant Field Day, kindergarten graduation, MOPS end of the year luncheons and counting the days until the pool opened.  They were good times.  Then, as happens when families grow and mature, things get a little more complicated.  My life looks so different now than it did back then, in many ways that I've shared on my blog and many that have been kept private, as it should be. As much as I enjoy writing about decorating redo's, gardening and my favorites, The Daybook and Friday Fave Five, lately I find it hard to be as authentic as I'd like to be.  And, quite simply, that makes it hard to keep on writing.

All this to say that I think my blog has run its course.  I've been thinking about this for some time now and have decided to shut 'er down for a while.  Having learned to never say 'never,' I can't say if it's temporary or for good. Enjoy the summer.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Kitchen's finally done!

Last August (gee, was it really that long ago?) I wrote about redecorating our kitchen.  As with most projects around here, we got about 80% done in a hurry, and the remaining 20% has been accomplished bit by bit.  Well, guess what?  It's finished!  I won't go through the details of how we painted the cabinets and added crown molding to the top and left off some doors and. . . you can read about that here.

For a refresher, here's the kitchen "before" (actually, the photo is from the brochure when we bought the house.  My kitchen would NEVER be that tidy!)

And here's the "after". . .

The upper cabinets are white, and the lower ones and the island are butter yellow.

Except on this wall, both upper and lower are white.  I don't know why it appeals to me, not having everything 'match,' but I do like it.

This is my favorite part.  The island used to have two cabinet doors on the lower part and it was SO hard to keep organized and hard to find things.  Dan replaced them with four large drawers on the bottom.  He made them big enough that I can keep pot lids, and mixing bowls, and baking supplies.  I love it!

Yes, I tidied up the counter.  Try as I might, I'm just not a neat freak!  Wish I was!

This is the part that I finally finished today.  Painted the open cabinet on the right ... a country red.  And put the door on on the far left.  It holds glassware and I thought it would be neat to leave it open or put a door on with a glass insert.  But, it was too hard to keep it neat enough to display.  The door next to it is done in chalkboard paint.  I cleaned it up for the picture.  It is usually covered in notes.  It gets a lot of use, but not "pretty" like menus and fancy writing.  Just notes like "give the dogs heart worm pills" and "Luke, pick up your socks!"  We're not very fancy around here.

The kitchen table -- there's a bench under the window, so we just pull the table out for more seating when there will be more than three of us.  The table tends to move in and out a lot!

So, that's it!  Through the window, you can see a glimpse of the back porch, which is VERY close to being done.  More to come on that project!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Saturday, May 5, 2012


 Thinking a lot about how fragile life is.  How beautiful and precious.  Sharing five lovely moments from the past week.

1.  My friend Mary had a birthday breakfast for me and another friend.  Heidi, the other birthday girl, is someone I've known since childhood, and in the past year we've rekindled our friendship.  It was the prettiest birthday party . . . flowers adorned the table, pastel balloons (when was the last time I had balloons tied to my chair for being the 'birthday girl?'  I can't remember!)  A lovely table set with Mary's mint green china.  I felt celebrated.  Friendships old, new and rekindled abounded at the table.

2.  Another Mary in my life shared her news that she is expecting another child.  A gorgeous spring day, we stood on her front step and I hugged her, holding back tears of joy.  She is young and beautiful and so happy.  Her family is young and full of possibility, her husband is a gem.  I'm so happy for them. Precious. 

3.  Letters. . . my nieces have taken up letter writing, which just pleases me to no end, and thrills the senior generation of my family.  So precious to see their familiar script on an envelope in my mailbox.  These are young women who are so busy with college and jobs and athletics.  Families are treasures.

4.  Paul's office. . . Dan and I were at his mom's this week.  In his dad's office, Paul's presence was palpable, the room representing a life well-lived.  Photos of his wife, children, grandchildren.  Shelves filled with books on the subjects he loved.  Plaques that honored achievements in his life.  His familiar handwriting filled post-it notes and scraps of paper pinned to a bulletin board.  Life is fleeting and oh, so precious.

5.  Renewal, spring, flowers.  I'm going to give it another go with one particular area in my yard.  I bought some flowers to plant and some good, sturdy fence to keep the dogs out!  I planted this morning, marveling at how something so beautiful begins with 'just' a seed.  Light, warmth, water, and the love of the God, brings us all to grow.

What was precious in your week?

Linking up with Susanne, at Living to Tell the Story.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Dad Clark

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers for my father-in-law.  He passed away peacefully a week ago today, surrounded by his family.  I don't think you are ever prepared to lose a loved one.  Even though his health was compromised for a long time, Paul was such a fighter and determined to remain independent for as long as he could.

He was such a good man, and when I think of him, I am especially thankful to him for showing me some of the most beautiful parts of the Rocky Mountains that I've ever seen.  When Dan and I were first married, one of the things that his family introduced me to was taking jeep trips up in the mountains.  Now, I had grown up with a family that hiked and camped a lot, but had never done the 'jeeping thing.'  Wow, was I in for a surprise! We drove to some of the highest peaks, on narrow, winding roads, and saw scenery that I thought only existed  in retouched photographs.  Sometimes it was a bit nerve wracking, when something would break down and I'd wonder if we'd have to carry the vehicle home in pieces. (We never did).  Dan's dad led us to some amazing places . . . and back again!

This is one of my favorite photos of Paul, taken with Emily the Christmas before last.  He was a quiet man, especially when the family all gathered and we were all competing for conversation.  But he had a smile that would light up a room, as evidenced by this picture with his only granddaughter.  He will be missed.