Friday, July 24, 2015
There seem to be so many things that need to get done before we leave on the 7th; getting the camper ready, which due to a mouse family taking up residence, it needed to be completely emptied, stripped and scrubbed down with a bleach solution), packing, filling orders, Evan's birthday cookies, not to mention the daily things that need attention. I don't want to get there and realize that we have no idea of what to do or where to go. So, I thought I'd ask for your opinions.
Like I mentioned, we will be camping for the week (we have a large pop-up with air conditioning) and our children's ages are 18, 15, 13 and 11! So with six of us, we need to do things as cost effectively as we can.
We do plan on eating out once or twice, but intend to prepare most of our meals at the camper. So, here are my question(s) to you or ya'll:
What are the "must see" attractions in or around Montgomery?
What things aren't really worth the time or effort?
Where do you go for some family fun at a fair price or free?
How do you beat the heat? It gets pretty hot up here, but I understand that it's a whole different kind of hot in 'bama!
We did follow a link that a follower shared on my facebook page and it looks like there are plenty of things to do!! Which is awesome, but a bit of feedback from you would be awesome!
We are hoping that this trip brings a bit more clarity for us. We are ready for a change and God has seemed to plant a seed in our hearts of Montgomery. Honestly, we'd love to open a shop there and become part of the community. There are still quite a bit of unanswered questions and obstacles to get through, but we are seeking the Lord's will and just doing what we believe is the next step.
We are looking for "less house, more home", in other words, we are ready to downsize our home, property and schedule. On our last visit, we spent quite a bit of time with a realtor and saw many homes that we loved. We get updates on new homes that hit the market and are keeping an eye on a few that we would purchase right now if we could.
Even is Alabama isn't a part of the plan, it's been fun exploring what we want and where we want to be. It's led to lots of conversations about what it is that we're looking for out of life and how we can best impact the world around us. We feel that God has given us the gift of hospitality and would love to share that. Montgomery seems to be bursting at the seams with creative business owners and that excites me - there doesn't seem to be much of that around here.
So, I better get back to filling those orders and prepping for this trip!!! Can't wait to get down there and see you all (hoping to meet some new friends -let me know if you'll be around that week)!
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
We left off at Wednesday and the "If Only" post about the dreamy B & B idea. Earlier that week I talked with one of my friends and previous customers, Melissa, and she invited Bill and I to share Thanksgiving dinner with her and her family. When I say that I "talked" with her, I mean that we texted. We hadn't actually had a spoken conversation before and come to find out, we were both hoping that the other wouldn't think the situation was just weird. Thank God, neither of us did! Since we are who we are, we knew that we couldn't show up empty handed. Also, and not that there is anything wrong with it, we also knew that stopping by the store to pick something up other than drinks wasn't going to sit well with us.
We had a lovely time with the Wright family and friends and even though it wasn't our home or our family, it was a close second!! We are so thankful for the way social media can bring people together. It truly felt like we had known each other for ever! A gift from God for sure.
Friday, our last day there, we had offered to help Evan around his office with whatever he needed help with. I was so excited about this day, yes I am fan girling - so what? It was a dream come true.
Evan had a wedding that coming weekend that he needed to do the flowers for and his office was right in the middle of a renovation and he was a week out from his first holiday open house! There was plenty for us to do. On that Tuesday we had met up with Evan for lunch and he took us back to his office. We started to clean things up while we were there and move some of the furniture back to where it belonged. Friday we split up and I helped Evan with his flowers and Bill painted those huge urns, primed and painted a fireplace mantel, painted a mirror frame, moved furniture and hung things on the walls.
Evan was even kind enough to let me play around with his mantle design. I knew he'd change pretty much everything that I did and that was okay, because I would do the same exact thing! It was still a blast and I loved every minute of it!
Monday, January 12, 2015
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Now I have no idea if we could ever even pull off a dream like that. But I don't think we ever thought that we'd see a hint of possibility, but here it was!! Again, I'm not saying that anything is happening. There are no concrete plans, but there are dreams and wishes and tiny prayers of big things. It's in God's control as I've mentioned before.
This property is at the other end of the road that the sweet cottage is on. It boasts of 12 acres, a silo, horse barn and so much more.
We entered through the back of this massive home, but trust me when I say it has a grand entrance!! A nice wide front hall, large staircase, and access to several rooms on the main level. This home was full of surprises, including the "original" claw foot tub complete with original fixtures!
We can totally picture making breakfast in the large sunny kitchen for our guests. Hosting tea time in one of the beautiful sitting rooms, filling the two front balconies with guests as they enjoy their event (hosted by none other than the fabulous Evan G. Cooper). The 12 acres is dying for some extra TLC. Bonfires, Hayrides, Horses, Stables, expansion of the B & B with specialty suites, gardens where we'll pick fresh herbs and flowers for our meals and bedrooms. That little red run down "shack" is the perfect little residence for the innkeepers. We walked hand in hand around the entire property sharing dreams and ideas with one another and with our sweet Lord, whose hands our future rests.
This experience was so amazing on so many levels that it's unreal to me that we even experienced it. God is so good and He never ceases to amaze me. The way that He longs for us to give Him our future, plans, hopes, dreams, fears and hearts. He's good for it, He won't let you down. My best laid plans don't hold a candle to what He has planned for me (not even a three wick candle!)
Like I continue to say, I haven't the faintest clue as to what is going on in our lives. All that I can say is that we are trying to be diligent in seeking His will and His timing for our lives. We are careful to look for the next step that He calls us to take, no matter the size of the step. Knowing that any size step toward His plan is a goooood step, no a great step. We can't go wrong when we surrender all that we are and all that we have to our Father in Heaven.
Friday, January 2, 2015
Bill and I figured that it would be a good idea, since Alabama was now on our radar and we were going to be spending a week in a place that we've never been to, that we may want to check out the housing market there and connect with a realtor. Monday, we did just that! Prior to our trip we found a realtor and had a great conversation with her about our situation, what we were looking to get out of our trip and made sure that she knew that time spent with us was not a guarantee of sale. We are not in the position to buy or sell and this was merely research.
She graciously accepted our request and gave us her entire day!! She had quite a list of homes for us to look at and they covered quite a range of housing specifics. Here is some of what I shared with her on the phone about our interests:
1. we would love to downsize
2. but we're not opposed to a larger home (since the pricing there is beyond reasonable)
3. we are ready for more of a neighborhood environment (living in the middle of nowhere is taking it's toll)
4. but we're not opposed to some space
5. The perfect condition, the feel of country life but close to people and places
6. of course she had to know that three of our five children would be moving with us, in addition to two large dogs and two cats
7. currently we have goats and chickens. We are okay with not having space for that
8. but are not opposed to having space for that
Yes, she had her hands full with us!! God bless her, she pulled together exactly what we needed to see and it gave us a great opportunity to really think about what we would want "if" we were to ever move.
So here are some shots of a few of the houses that we looked at. It was Tough to only pic a few pictures to share because we absolutely LOVED each of these homes. So if you want to see more of them, just let me know ;)
First up was a smaller, completely updated home, in a neighborhood, with a very small yard.
It was beautifully decorated (I can't help but notice those things). It was small, but a good small. Four bedroom, two bath, fireplace, eat in kitchen, laundry room and it had a great outdoor space with a water feature. We loved it! The yard size and outside storage space concerned Bill and rightfully so. We would have a lot to get rid of and the small yard would take some getting used to.
Next up was a magical sort of dream home. We fell in love with this place before we ever even reached Alabama!!
I didn't get a great shot of the front of this beauty, but trust me. It's a stunner! The back yard had all of these great little sitting areas and it had such a magical, whimsical feel about it. Even though the greenery and flowers were not there to put on a show, their sleep state allowed my mind to wander around the possibilities of a warm day, with everything in full bloom and I ate it up!! The inside did not disappoint either!
From the moment we peeked through the glass paneled front door and saw the marble floor, grand staircase and gorgeous cat with blue eyes looking back at us, I knew. It would be a tough one to walk away from if need be. Classical music wafted through the air and pictures of us dwelling there came to mind as we went from room to room soaking in all of the beauty that this home offered. Big windows with light flooding in, spacious rooms for entertaining or relaxing, not one, but two gorgeous sun rooms filled my mind with thoughts of lazy afternoons reading in the warm sunlight. That kitchen! Oh.my.word. It was sublime. Not a large space but a beautifully functional space with gigantic windows looking out to the magical back yard. Built in old sconces, a gorgeous island and perfect details. Yep, I'm still smitten with this beauty!!
Sadly, the location is just a teeny bit questionable. So very sad. So I tucked this one into my heart and dreams and moved on. We headed out to a more rural area and a sweet three bedroom cottage on ten acres!
The kitchen was small but warm and inviting, with wood counter tops and open shelving. We could totally see ourselves in this space. My one concern with this home was the size of the living room. It's the first room that you walk into, it has two windows and four doorways, so there's not a lot of wall space for furniture. It opens into the dining room with french doors, has a doorway to a very wide hallway and a door into one of the bedrooms, plus the front door. It would be an adjustment. But we really loved this house as well.
There is one more home that I want to share with ya'll, but I'll save that for the next post!!! Thanks for coming by! I hope you enjoyed looking at these houses as much as we did!!
Monday, December 29, 2014
Another part of this trip for us was exploring our dreams. No, we haven't had dreams of Alabama per se, rather finding opportunities to do what we love. It just so happens, that the dream trail led us to consider Alabama as a possibility. Life since the job loss has been....interesting. It's had it's moments, but overall, it was a good experience. God carried us and continues to do so, but it also gave us opportunity to ask ourselves some good questions. Like, what do you really want out of life? What is the one thing that makes you "come alive"? If you could do anything, what would it be?
I honestly fell into this cookie thing by no attempts of my own. God has definitely had His hand in this and it's been fun to look back and see just where He has shown up. Now I'm not saying that we're moving to Alabama but I am saying that we are open to what ever and where ever God has for us! It's a freeing place to be! We're not trying to write our own story, we are simply giving God the pencil and letting Him do what He does best.....write His own story on our lives.
Our time there was incredible!! My emotions and feelings fluctuated between feelings of being a "star gazer", if you will, and the confidence that I'm gaining in knowing that I was supposed to be there and it was "no big deal"! For example, the south jersey stay-at-home-mama in me is still freaking out that an event planner in another state wants my cookies! I'm still freaking out that I actually went to Alabama to meet said event planner and on top of that.....THE GOVERNORS MANSION!!!! I.Can't.Even!!
Then the flip side is taking all that I've gained over the past two years, specifically the past six months and feeling like I was exactly where I was supposed to be! The fan in me wanted to take pictures of every little thing and "selfie" the heck out of Evan and Laura, but the cool, calm, collected side of me wanted to just take the experience as it came, like I've been there all along. It was weird. And I loved every minute of it!!
Okay, back to the story!! Here are a few more pictures of the mansion.
Thursday, November 27, 2014
Hey ya'll!! I can't help but say that after being in the south for almost a week! I really thought that I would post daily about our time here in Montgomery, but our days have been fuller than I expected and we've been exhausted by the end of the day. Sunday night we were in bed at six o'clock! Bill was fast asleep and I was not too far behind him!
There are some pars of this trip that I'm not quite ready to share yet, like what God has been impressing on our hearts, but that day will come sooner than later I believe. In the mean time, I'm going to need a bit of time to process all that this week has been for us. In short, it's been fabulous! We've gotten to meet online friends who are now face to face friends and have seen some of the beauty of the south, in its nature and it's people.
Here are just a few shots that I can share with ya'll.
Friday, November 21, 2014
Monday, November 17, 2014
While the battle blazes on for the case of Christmas prep before Thanksgiving, we have our own battle here on the home front. It's not a deadly battle, thank God, or even one to merit a meme, but it is a battle none-the-less.
God has been teaching me how to be brave over the past five years or so. Especially so over the last three years, I have heard His nudging and calling to let go and let Him navigate and orchestrate. So with anticipation we've decided to take a break from what used to be, and my hubby and I are embracing change and taking a trip to Alabama!! The kids are not happy at all about us leaving them on Thanksgiving and I'll admit, it feels a wee bit selfish. But we feel that it's something that we have to do and that week just made sense for a number of reasons.
So I guess the point of my post really is this......This is our first Thanksgiving without our children, our parents, aunts, uncles and cousins. We'll be in a different state, where we have some contacts but no one that we "know" or "knows" us. What do we do? Turkey sandwiches from WaWa? Wait, they don't have WaWa there. Could we find a restaurant that isn't already booked up? Should we make a mini Thanksgiving meal in our hotel suite? I don't know.
We would love to experience a true Southern Thanksgiving.....but where do we start? Alabama friends, what are your typical Thanksgiving dishes?? What should we know about Thanksgiving in the South? What are your traditions? We'd love to know!!
Can't wait to see Alabama and the sweet people there!!! God bless, Lorraine
Monday, November 10, 2014
Oh sorry, I'm back with ya now. A few weeks ago I was asked to create custom decorated sugar cookies for a special little girl turning 8!!! Her party theme has to be one of the most popular tea parties ever. Are you a fan of "Alice in Wonderland"? I am!! I loved the original when I was little and I love the new version with Johnny Depp even more. He is such a fabulous actor and does an incredible "Mad Hatter". Anyway, the tea party scene is a classic and I couldn't wait to jump in and start designing and creating.
Thanks to Kara Anne from Kara Anne Custom Paper & Lettering, I knew exactly where to start. She created an amazing custom invite and it provided me with so much inspiration I couldn't wait to have these cookies come to life.