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Getting dirty

There’s something cathartic about getting dirty.
Something uniquely satisfying about tackling a project you’ve never done before.

Last week, I shared some pictures of my newly improved front porch.

I’ve spent every morning since enjoying the new space. Some evenings, too. In the above picture, you can see part of the sidewalk leading to our front porch from the driveway. What you can’t see is its length.

You may have noticed all that beautiful, black mulch in the flower beds on either side of the sidewalk. You may have also noticed that the sidewalk is black. That’s because every time it rains or the sprinklers come on, that black mulch washes onto the sidewalk. Since I’ve been spending time on the front porch, I’ve grown tired of looking at the black sidewalk. Which is why I decided it was high time I installed some edging to keep the mulch where it’s supposed to be.

The installation instructions weren’t complicated: Dig a 4″ trench the length of the area you wish to install the edging (which was two 60 foot trenches), cut the edging to length using a hacksaw, place the edging into the trench, drive metal edging spikes in every 4 feet plus at the beginning and end of the flower bed, then compact the dirt around the edging.

You wanna know what’s more cathartic than getting dirty?

Driving 9″ metal spikes into the ground with a sledgehammer.

Actually, hitting pretty much anything with a sledgehammer is extremely gratifying.

Next on the agenda is firing up the pressure washer and cleaning up that nasty sidewalk. That should be awesome.

And here’s a picture of one of my new Gerber daisies:

Just like me: A delicate flower…

What’d y’all do this weekend? Do you like digging in the dirt?

Doing stuff

image courtesy of

Monday marked the first day of FREEEEEEDOOOOOOOM!!!! the kids going back to school after their week long spring break. It was nice to have everyone home last week, but I must confess that towards the end of the week all that togetherness was starting to harsh my mellow. Me likes my alone time.

Since it’s now officially springtime and whatnot, I decided it was high time to spruce up the front porch. I’ve been wanting to get some rocking chairs to put out there since we moved into this house. And since we’ve lived here for 8 or 9 years, I thought I would find some over the weekend, thereby missing the official 10 year procrastination mark. Besides, I figured I could enjoy my morning coffee out there for the next couple of weeks before temperatures and humidity rise to levels capable of melting my face off.

After two unsuccessful shopping ventures Friday and Saturday, I finally found two black arirondack rockers at Garden Ridge Pottery on Sunday afternoon. If y’all don’t have a Garden Ridge Pottery in your neighborhood, I suppose the best way to describe it would be Hobby Lobby meets Pier One meet Oriental Trading Company. Sort of. They sell furniture, plants, silk flowers, housewares and “miscellaneous”.


Once we got the chairs home, assembled and out on the porch, it became evident that the new addition didn’t really complete the look I was after. The term “putting lipstick on a pig” comes to mind.

The front door needed refinishing, the windows were dirty, the large pot of dirt out there needed filling and the impulse buy of two ferns from the grocery store needed to be hung. An ambitious project, but I was ready, willing and able to accomplish everything I wanted to accomplish on Monday. I went to bed Sunday night with every intention of getting to work on my project bright and early Monday (mid) morning.


That was before I woke up in-explicitly at midnight and couldn’t get back to sleep. I tried reading. That seemed to work until I turned off my book light, set down my kindle and shut my eyes. Wide awake again. I eventually got up and went to the couch, figuring I would fall asleep watching the television. Three and a half hours later, I was exhausted and a little perplexed why Animal Planet would devote a 30 minute time slot to Mike Tyson and his dream of pigeon racing. But I digress…


My point is (and I do have one), what I wanted to do was get the kids off to school and go back to bed. I was tired, grumpy and completely out of sorts. I didn’t feel like going to Walmart, buying hooks, potting soil and something to put in the pot of dirt. I didn’t feel like doing all that stuff I told myself I was going to do. And honestly, my world wasn’t going to come crashing down if I chose to go back to bed and leave all that stuff for another day.

But you know what?

I went to Walmart.

I refinished the door.

I potted a fern in the pot of dirt.

I hung the ferns.

I even dragged the spring wreath out of the garage.

I did all the things I set out to do. And yes, I was even more exhausted when all was said and done. But sometimes you have to suck it up and do the things you set out to do. You keep your promises and follow through with what you said you were going to do. Even if those promises are made to no one else but you.

Now, to get some flowers planted!

Sometimes especially then.

My first new visitor.

This post is part of the One Word at a Time Blog Carnival: Goals, hosted by my friend Peter Pollock. To read more posts on the topic, please visit him at


There are those who savor Christmas long after December 25 has come and gone. They continue to enjoy the glow of the Christmas tree and associated decorations which help us to celebrate this most holy of seasons.

I am not one of these people.

Perhaps it has to do with bittersweet memories of Christmases past, maybe it has to do with my living room looking like war-torn Beirut—littered with boxes, bags, paper and forgotten gifts that have yet to find a proper place. Maybe a combination of both. Whatever the reason, by December 27, I’m ready to put it all away and prepare for a new year and a fresh start.

Today I was boxing up the final remnants of the indoor decorations, a porcelain, rather large nativity scene which occupies the surface of a hutch in our formal living room. When I retrieved the box marked “Nativity – Fragile”, I remembered I had put the silver and pewter pieces which occupy this space 11 months out of the year into said box.

As I was putting the pieces back to their rightful place, I noticed the silver candlesticks were very tarnished. And since this is a time for fresh starts, I could not in good conscious put them back without a proper cleaning.

As I began to clean the first candlestick, a couple of things occurred to me. First, the top portion of the candlestick is covered by a glass shade. If I only cleaned the parts that were showing no one else would notice. Next, the tarnish was significant, probably because they mostly go unused and unnoticed.

I began to clean from the bottom up. I was tempted to clean only the parts that would show (Did I mention that I hate cleaning silver?), but the cleaning became cathartic.

I thought about all the tarnish in our lives. Many of us are sure to keep the parts the world sees shiny and presentable. But what of those parts we don’t show the rest of the world? The parts only God can see? Surely He is worthy of a clean heart and a renewed, shining spirit. And perhaps if I pay more attention throughout the year, cleaning away the tarnish won’t be such a laborious task.

I ask that you indulge me one more analogy. As I placed the candlesticks back on the hutch, I decided to light the tea lights the candlesticks held.

The result of the endeavor was this:

The light shined brightest from those places unseen.