I have a secret to share with you today.
Last week I left you hanging with this picture of our adorable new pup CharliGirl begging for you to join her in our newest outdoor space, a Charleston inspired paver patio.
Today I’m here with the Big Reveal of our new patio but I’ve also teamed up with a group of lovely bloggers to share in a Blog Hop of Remarkable Outdoor Summer Spaces. Click To Tweet I’ll have links to each of their outdoor spaces at the end of this post but for now I have a lot of pictures to share so let’s go!
Let me start off by saying that the biggest thing I learned in April is that I’ve become very, VERY lazy about carrying my “real” camera with me and I’ve relied on my iPhone way too much. While this is good for Instagram, it is not so good for blog posts 🙁
Caution: Poor quality pictures ahead!!!
It has been another busy month, filled with ups and downs and everything in-between. Isn’t that just how life is?
Early in the month I had the chance to attend the Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference in California. It was a huge opportunity for which I’m extremely grateful and I owe a debt of gratitude to my husband for making it happen.
These conferences aren’t cheap by any means and the fact that Mr. OTN was willing to spend his hard earned money to send me caused me to realize (I learned), once again, that my husband believes in me and supports this writing journey of mine. For better or for worse 😉
I learned, (though I already knew) how much I miss the company of my writer friends when we are apart.
I sent a portion of my book manuscript ahead for review and went in a little fearful of what they might say about my writing. After meeting with the reviewers I was very encouraged and felt ready to push forward with greater intensity. After thinking about their suggestions I also realized that I need to change up my story quite a bit.
I was encouraged to use my life experience when writing this story, but not to think about it as our story (hubs and mine), as doing so will keep me from allowing my characters to step outside of my life own experience. I’ve learned that this has freed me to become much more creative in my writing.
I am having so much fun!
We were invited for Easter dinner to the home of Greenville friends, Mark & Leslie Hoyt. This is the most fun-loving couple I know!
Here’s Leslie after testing the cheesecake. LOL!
In the interest of saving a friendship I’ll share with you a more flattering picture of this lovely lady. I’ve learned through experience that it is always best to share the most flattering pictures of your friends.
Another thing I’ve learned is that I never grow tired of spending time in downtown Greenville and it is also most beautiful this time of year. Hubs and I took an entire Saturday and spent it downtown at Fall’s Park on the Reedy River. Writing, napping, and snapping photos with my iPhone.
After a day in the park and dinner at Pomegranate – a local restaurant with Fabulous Mediterranean cuisine – we went to see our local hockey team, the Swamp Rabbits, play game 5 in the playoffs. I learned that sitting iceside can be a scary place to be!
I accomplished quite a bit of writing during the month of April. I’m writing in my dining room now, which is nice because I can spread out all my books and papers and leave them there (until I have company – then I stash them under the table). I’ve learned that the only problem with writing here – well, anywhere in my house really – is that I get distracted with decorating and wanting to change things up for the seasons.
Case in point: As my eyes wandered away from my computer they were drawn to this plain frame. Very soon it was bedecked with Spring flowers.
April included a Celebration of Life for me. I learned quite a lot in the months leading up to this celebration and one day I will write about it here.
That almost wraps up my April except for:
We’ve had a few dogs in our lives and in the past two years both of our Beagles have passed on. We still have our ten-year-old Boxador Sasha, but things have been a little quiet around here with all us seniors! In April we learned that a dog we’ve been waiting for would soon be ours.
You’ll have to wait until next month for the full reveal of our new CharliGirl!
Until then, blessings y’all 😉
I’ve been known to link up to the following great parties!!!
IShouldBeMoppingTheFloor, TheDedicatedHouse, Dwellings, ProjectInspired, InspireMeMonday, BetweenNapsOnThePorch, CelebrateYourStory, Making Your Home Sing Mondays, What Joy is Mine/Monday Musings, Darling Downs Diaries, The Art of Homemaking, SmallWonder, MomentsOfHope, Glimpses, SittingAmongFriends
TalkOfTheTown, HomeStoriesAtoZ, AStrollThruLife, CoastalCharm, CedarHillFarmhouse,TuesdaysAtOurHome, TheWinthropChronicles, Rich Faith Rising Unite Linky, Testimony Tuesday,Cheerleaders of Faith,Tell His Story
SavvySouthernStyle, Posed Perfection, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Word Filled Wednesdays, ChristianBloggerLinkup, Mom’s Morning Coffee, Women with Intention, Coffee for Your Heart, MessyMarriage, ThreeWordWednesday
ShareYourStyle, ImpartingGrace, EmbracingChange, HaveADailyCupOfMrsOlson,MyRepurposedLife, ADelightsomeLife, KatherinesCorner, I Choose Joy, Thought Provoking Thursday, SincerelyPaulas, ThankfulThursdays, ThoughtfulThursday, Tune-inThursday
FrenchCountryCottage, TheCharmOfHome, RootedInThyme, TheDedicatedHouseAnythingBlueFriday, ShabbyliciousFriday, Sweet Inspiration, Faith’nFriends, Missional Women Faith Filled Fridays, Dance With JesusFreshMarketFriday
I hold in my hands, or head maybe, the secret to having Blooms like the Biltmore! Long, long ago, when I lived in a land of rich loamy soil and mild summers, I was quite confident of my gardening skills. In fact you can see one of the posts I shared in my Washington State gardens HERE. Alas, since moving to the red clay land of Upstate South Carolina my green thumb has wilted.
Last year I did all the right things. I brought in organic topsoil, mixed it with mushroom compost, and native clay (which they call soil), watered, fertilized, and planted beautiful plants from one of Greenville’s best nurseries. Everything seemed to be doing fine until summer wore on, and the drought that came with it. In spite of our watering system, I lost nearly one-third of everything I planted. 🙁
Well, because I inherited SISU from my Finnish mama, I’m here to tell ya’ that I’m not giving up, and I’m back at it this year, prepping, planting, and praying over every single thing I place in the ground.
Now, let me share with you my secret to having blooms like the Biltmore!
It seems like I haven’t been here to chat with y’all in forever and yet, the time has flown plumb away! Did you catch that? “Plumb away.” I’m sounding right Southern y’all.
I’m enjoying my blogging break, trying to take time to fully breathe and take in my surroundings instead of constantly rushing to the “next thing.” I find it hard . . . to be still, to rest, to wait. Mr. OTN is fond of saying, “Just do the next right thing.” Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what that is. Right now, it is continuing to write for myself. One day that writing for myself may be shared here with you. I hope so.
In the meantime, here are a few things I learned in the month of October:
I learned that choosing colors for this house is nothing like choosing colors for my old house. We have a lot more shade here and the colors I put on these walls look totally different than in a light filled home. If you are following me in Instagram you’ll know that I’ve been painting from room-to-room. It is such a good feeling to make everything new and fresh.
I learned that though the “greige” color I previously painted in my living room was nice it wasn’t right for me. Every time I looked in this room I felt like something was missing, so I spent a lot of time moving things here and there and still . . . it was lacking something. COLOR! I learned that color makes me happy as I finally chose and painted Benjamin Moore’s Beach Glass on my living room walls. I am at peace 😉
In a trip back to Washington State I learned that staying in the guest cottage we once owned feels strange. Wonderful but strange. Knowing that we gutted and restored nearly every surface of this cottage made me feel proud and happy, but also made me wonder why we’d never spent the night here when it belonged to us. I’m thankful to our friends John and Debbie who bought our old house and let us come back again for a visit.
I learned that going through my in-laws pictures can be fun as I came across Mr. OTN’s high school graduation picture. How young he looks here. Cute too. I wonder if we would’ve dated each other if we’d met in High School. 🙂
I learned, as we’ve been taking regular day trips into the mountains this Fall, that one can find the most amazing treasures in the most out-of-the-way places. I also learned that when we are driving down the highway at high speed and I yell, “Stop!,” Mr. OTN is a very good sport, even when he has his own destination in mind and limited time to get there. He is so good to me. I do think I would have dated him in high school.
Finally, with all of the traveling and exploring we’ve done this past month I learned that some of the greatest beauty lies right down the street from home. The colors of Fall are gorgeous here in my neighborhood!
I hope and pray that no matter what is going on in your world, you will take the time to stop and feed your soul by capturing moments of beauty around you. They are everywhere if you’ll only take the time to see.
Blessings dear ones,
I’ve been known to link up to the following great parties!!!
IShouldBeMoppingTheFloor, TheDedicatedHouse, Dwellings, ProjectInspired, InspireMeMonday, BetweenNapsOnThePorch, CelebrateYourStoryMaking Your Home Sing Mondays, The Beauty in His Grip What Joy is Mine/Monday Musings, Darling Downs Diaries, The Art of Homemaking,SmallWonder, LifeGivingLinkup, MomentsOfHope, Glimpses, SittingAmongFriends
TalkOfTheTown, HomeStoriesAtoZ, AStrollThruLife, CoastalCharm, CozyLittleHouse, CedarHillFarmhouse, KatheWithAnE,TuesdaysAtOurHome, TheWinthropChronicles, Rich Faith Rising Unite Linky, Testimony Tuesday,Cheerleaders of Faith,Tell His Story, IntentionalTuesday
SavvySouthernStyle, TheBlissfulBee, Posed Perfection, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Word Filled Wednesdays, ChristianBloggerLinkup, Whole Hearted Home, Mom’s Morning Coffee, Women with Intention, Coffee for Your Heart, MessyMarriage, ThreeWordWednesday
ShareYourStyle, ImpartingGrace, EmbracingChange, HaveADailyCupOfMrsOlson, MyRepurposedLife, ADelightsomeLife, KatherinesCorner, PrettyPreppyParty, The Deliberate Mom/Shine Blog Hop, I Choose Joy, Live Free Thursday, Thought Provoking Thursday, PartyAtMyPlace, 100HappyDays, SincerelyPaulas, ThankfulThursdays
FrenchCountryCottage, TheCharmOfHome, RootedInThyme, TheDedicatedHouseAnythingBlueFriday, ShabbyliciousFriday, Sweet Inspiration, Faith’nFriends, Missional Women Faith Filled Fridays, Dance With Jesus