Isn’t this just the best time of the year? Here in the deep South the trees are budding out and the ground is getting warmer everyday. Our thermometer registers a balmy 74* today! It’s beautiful! No great and important thoughts come to mind today, just wanted to share some images that made me remember that “YES. SPRING IS COMING!”
Love, love, love the color on this barn! Now who would ever paint a barn that color? I WOULD!!!
Aww, sweet family. Though their faces do look as if they are scowling, don’t they?
The deal is…I care for the little boy named Levi and Alex cares for the little dog named Finn. This is a good and proper way to do things in our house because Alex doesn’t change diapers very well and I don’t like standing around in the cold and wet waiting for a dog to ‘go’.
Today, our well oiled plan became a little turned around. Alex has been feeling particularly bad since we have entered the monsoon season here in our town! Really, we are all either floating away, have sandbags at our door or are molding! Hurry Spring! And, since there was rain predicted for three days straight…this was going to be one of those “Let’s stay in our pajamas all day and chill out” kinda days. Levi and I both thought it was a grand idea!
The housekeeper was going in to do Alex’s apartment and since he was moving so slowly, I went in to lend a hand and let Finn out to take care of his business. It was pouring rain. So, I intended to just stay in the doorway. No such luck…I had to step out on the porch. And, it was wet with standing rain. And, I did not have my shoes on…day in pajamas and chilling, remember? Well, Finn finally bonded with nature and decided to come back in. As I stepped back in I took off my socks so as not to wet the floor. And, quick as a wink! Finn grabbed one of my socks and ran over to the chair. “Get my sock,” I shouted,”I don’t want him to put a hole in them!” Alex tried to get it, the housekeeper tried to get it, and I was on my way to try to get it, when Alex said, “It’s gone. He ate it.” “What do you mean- he ate it?” I yelled. Housekeeper said, “He shore did, Ms Tonja. He swallowed that sock right down. I never saw anything like that! He swallowed that sock! He did!” “Y’all are crazy…look under the chair, he probably dropped it,” I said. Alex and Housekeeper looked at me and said together, “He swallowed the sock!” “Well, can he still breathe?” I asked. They assured me he could. And, when I looked over at him, he looked quite pleased with himself…had himself a little sock snack here on this rainy day! And, he wasn’t worried about it a bit!
Well. I knew this could cause trouble so I went to call the vet. They said to watch him. Yeah, well, I did that. I watched him eat my sock! But, in a little bit the doctor called back and said for me to bring him in middle of the afternoon to get an x-ray. OK. I can do that. It will cause me to have to go and get dressed though, put one makeup, too…but I can do it. And, that’s what I did, Went and got ready, because with my luck, he’d try to pass it and get an intestinal obstruction. But, no..that sock was in the belly and in the belly it was going to stay.
And, as I dressed, I watched my wonderful day all snug inside…OUT of the rain…go floating past.
After the Vet saw the xray, he said, he was going to try to go down through the throat and try to catch it with an endoscope, but if that didn’t work, it would be surgery. When he called me later, he told me that there was no way the sock would have ever moved. And, so, Finn now has a 2 inch incision on his belly where he was sliced open and relieved of the sock in his tummy.
I went to pick him up later. They said to be there around 5:45. Around 5:30, here comes one of those downpours that renders windshield wipers useless as well as headlights…because of all the lightning. If you know me you know I do. NOT. do .lightning. Unless I have to pick up a poor, hurt dog and bring him home. So, I prayed all the way to the vet that God would move His little thunderstorm a few miles in the direction of His choosing and give me time to get the dog and put him back in the car. Obviously, the thunder was too loud for Him to hear me, because when I got out of the car at the vet, all I could hear was a sonic boom as I sprinted to the door…in the pouring rain…and much lightning.
Saw the vet…Finn OK. Give up mega bucks to the receptionist in order to get my sock back all soggy and wet in a zip lock bag like some kind of prize at a fishing rodeo! What did I want this nasty sock for? But, I gingerly put it in my purse, along with what was left of my paycheck, and waited for the ‘dog of the hour’! And, then I heard him…”whine, whine, yelp, YELP,YELP, whine, whimper, whimper.” I was a goner. How dare they hurt my Finn! No, they were just trying to bring him to me…his mama. The Vet said, that he was going to give him another shot and it would probably knock him out by the time I got home and that we should be careful because he may run into the walls and look at things and not see them. “Stoned?”, I said. “Stoned”, he said. And, there came poor Finn…walking slowly…ears down, head down, no smile, no jumping up to slap my thigh. He was pitiful. And, they gave me his meds and they gave me his leash. And all of this drama inside was accompanied by the drama going on OUTSIDE. Finn and I and the sock got to the door and I knew there was no way we could safely make it to the car amidst the lightning striking in a circle round my car without me carrying the 25 pounds he was…minus the sock. So, I prayed, again, and bent to pick up the animal that was hurt and in pain. And, I immediately remembered people’s stories of how the dog turned on them and bit them when they were hurt, and so since I was praying anyway, I asked God to remember what He did for Daniel when he was forced to be in the den with hungry lions and would He please do the same for me with the hurting Finn…especially since I was forced not only to carry the animal, but endure one of His firework shows at the same time. I pushed opened the door and made it down the steps and carefully shifted the dog to my hip so I could open the door. I got it opened and …”who put those gloves and muzzle on my front car seat?” Oh, no, it must belong to that lady that just took that 80 pound boxer in and this must not be my car, even though it is the same make and model and color. I can tell all this because the sky…she is so lit up. Shift dog back to carry in both arms, round the back of my car to ease, oh so carefully, between her car and mine, and to shift the dog and open the door halfway and try to carefully sit the dog on the front passenger seat. FYI…there are only 2 cars in the lot. Only 2 cars in the whole lot! Plenty of room not to have to squeeze in so close to another car and make life so much the harder…I’m just saying!
Finn goes on the seat and I shut the door and run for my life to get to the driver’s side before certain death from being struck by a dagger of lightning occured. Opened the door and there is Finn…standing in my seat…whining, ears still down and eyes looking so doggone mournful you could cry. So I gently picked him up and held him…all 25 pounds, above the steering wheel, until I could slide the ampleness that I am under the steering wheel. With door still open, I carefully lay him down on the towel I remembered to bring. Keeping one hand on his head, I straighten my body and slam my car door. And there we sat…in the thunder and lightning show…hoping all I’d ever heard about the car being the safest place to be and all…but deciding it didn’t matter anymore…I’d just trust the Maker of all the lights and noise. And we sat for a good 5 minutes. Me, panting and blowing…Finn…in la la land. Then I cranked the car and carefully drove home.
I called Alex from the car and told him to meet us in the garage to help. He did. We got the dog in. And got him settled. And, they he lay…stoned out of his head…probably wondering why his people went all ape on him and freaked out and cut him open. Or maybe he was just seeing pink elephants.
He lay carefully on Alex’s bed and slowly lay his head down. Who knows what dreams he dreamt while under the influence. But, I didn’t stay around to find out. I put back on my pajamas and got into bed. Yelling to whomever may care, “I’m hereby OFF DUTY!”
And as I reflected on this day before sleep overtook my eyes…I thought how chaotic it had been, but yet…perfectly orchestrated. My housekeeper was here to care for Levi when I had to leave, both times. The Vet said, “You’re lucky, most Friday afternoons we are so wrapped up, there would be no way I would have had the time to do this surgery. Today, we only have 2 doctors and very few patients, and I have all the time I need.” And, I told him, and he agreed…”No luck involved…ochestrated by the Father.” See, this dog is more than just a dog to Alex. It is his companion, his friend, his heart. As Alex, due to his disease, is homebound 99% of the time, he misses so much. But, Finn is there, beside him, to love and comfort and share. Finn watches patiently as Alex suffers, offering a warm body and a lick to the hand. He waits until Alex feels like it , and then they sing together….howling loud enough to wake the dead! And, if Alex is up to watching some TV, Finn is watching, too…from his perch in Alex’s lap. And, though Alex is in pain himmself…he is tenderly and carefully tending to Finn.
I know many of you love your animals like this, as well. But, to end this story, I just want to say that God sends His love and comfort to us in many ways. He offers us arms to lean into and He lets us sit in His lap. He picks us up and carries us when we hurt too much to go on. He promises to meet our needs. And no matter how hard our life may be, He knows the best way to be with us. In Alex’s case…He sent Finn. Mischievous, impish, yelping, sock eating Finn. And, we thank Him for His goodness!
Job 12:7-10 – But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. (NIV)
I don’t know what it says about me that it is taking me so long to ‘show and tell’. I am usually quite a succinct person and can tell you all you need to know in a few sentences…well, sometimes. But, for some reason, that doesn’t seem to be what is happening in this instance. Perhaps, I’m just enjoying sharing it so much that I want to relive every. little. detail. So, when I get wordy, or tend to carry on about some insignificant, trivial piece of info that you have no interest in…kindly ignore, please…and just look at the pretty pictures!
On now to the den…Here I chose to ground the seating area with a dark brown sea grass rug and to build the decor off of a ‘sand’ colored couch. We purchased a new sleeper sofa and then chose the most marvelous assortment of pillows to bring in pops of color.
Then, I used those colors in the art and in the 2 chairs.
The bench under the canvas is one of my favorite pieces in the house. It is worn and distressed with the most lovely shades of blue and green. It is as smooth as can be and has an unusual placing of the brackets under the seat. Plus it is a perfect height for Levi to run his cars and trucks on or hide away his favorite flamingo!
One of the chairs is new, the green one, it reclines and swivels and rocks. Then the white rattan barrel chair is one we found at a consignment shop. It needed some touch up painting and reworking the cushions, but is wonderfully comfortable. And, it rocks and swivels…much to the delight of a certain little boy. Below is one of my favorite pieces of art….I saw it once and went back months later and it was still there…much to my delight. It says…”Happiness is BAREFOOT on the BEACH.”
Next to the rattan chair is an end table that was in the trailer that we bought next door(story coming soon).It matched almosted perfectly and didn’t even need paint! Serendipitous! This wonderful lamp is a garage sale find. It was terra cotta colored. I worked on it for several days at home, bought a new shade and brought it down with me. Actually there are 2. You’ll see the other one later on in our story. The whole grouping is quite cohesive, don’t you think?
This aqua/green/turquoise table was found a few months ago when I went to a yard sale with Shirley in Moultrie. We were walking around and I had found a little table that I was going to put beside one of the beds. But, Shirl saw this table and said, “Tonja, come here! Buy this table! It’s perfect for a sofa table at the Sand Castle!” “Are you sure?, ” I said, ” I don’t know if it is the right color or size.” “Buy it!”, she said, “it’s perfect! I know it is.” I looked at Tina and she said, “I’d go with what Shirl says…she just knows these things.” And, so, I bought it and hauled it around in my car for a month before I went back to the beach. But, when I took it in..I must say…she was right! I love it and the color is different from any other color there…but it blends with everything! Love it!
Aren’t these ‘real sized’ girls the cutest things? I had to have them! The one in front is drinking a Diet Dr. Pepper. Remind you of anyone? 🙂
Below is a papier mache box I bought at Michaels. Then, I covered the top with the most beautiful shells! I saw one like it when I was in Maui for $170.00~ I think I have about $20.00 in this one!
The little pail on the floor next to the etegere says Flip-Flops. And, the wonderful throw and pillow on the green chair, are specials gifts to myself that I bought in Maui! This green chair is where I do all my computer and FB and such when I am here. It is shorter to the ground and my legs touch the floor!!!
So, on to the bathroom. There was a fiberglass tub and shower surround. We took that out and had a ceramic tile shower built. The vanity was rebuilt, though we copied the original and added a new sink and granite top, and a new toilet was added. The bathroom has a nice sized linen closet and also holds the new washer and dryer. And surprisingly, it is very roomy. Also, the shower now has lovely tinted glass doors.
So, from this…
So, here come the bed rooms….First, the one we call Alex’s room…BEFORE…
We haven’t gotten the hardware to hang the dresser mirror yet, but it is as wide as the dresser.
The second bedroom…AKA Levi’s room…
On top bunk…eventually the playground of Levi…
But, right now we put up a Pack-N-Play. Below, a resist painting I did of Levi’s feet…cute in the room!
Books for the little man…some were his Dad’s when he was a wee one…
Doesn’t this painting have the most wonderful use of color? Just looking at it makes me happy.
On to the Master Bedroom…..This room has a softer, more pastel feeling…by accident. I had bought a quilt for this bed, but after we got the art and accessories in…it was too harsh. So, we went to a Linen Outlet and found this soft yellow quilt and we added khaki sheets, and bed skirt. Wasn’t it the man on A-Team, waaaaay back in the 70’s who said, “I love it when a plan comes together.”? (Yes. It was). But, it was all so amazing how the pillows, bought to go with the other quilt, and the art we bought on the first day…just because we liked it, and the tag sign I bought on a previous trip, and the green lamp on the table from an outlet store and the bedside night stand bought at a used furniture store… all came together and made a room that is cozy and comforting and a joy to stay in. The only problem here is the closet space. Some previous owner took out the walk in closet and made it into a 1/2 bath. It really is nice to have, but it leaves the room with only a very small closet. Which is why we had to buy the little chest. There is also a little table and lamp on the other side of the bed now too.
Again, this mirror needs to be hung.
The house has wonderful closet space for its size. Alex’s bedroom has 1 large closet and Levi’s room has 2 large closets. There are also 2 nice closets in the hallway and a pantry. So no complaints in that area.
There is still work to do. Window coverings, more rugs, outdoor shower, Landscaping and fencing. But, it will come.
OK…That’s it. That’s my little cottage near the sea…The Sand Castle. And, though it is very small…it’s is quite large enough to hold all the joy and laughter and good times we intend to have there. I want these walls to hold the remnants of children playing, and girl friends laughing, and Don and I speaking softly. I want the air to hold the contented sighs of folks walking in and crashing on the sofa, of a tired friend sitting around the table sipping on a cool iced tea, of someone curling up on the sofa with a good book. I want to smell the sweet coconut oil of sun tan lotion, the yummy aroma of hamburgers on the grill outside, and the wonderful scent of shrimp boiling. I want to see friends and family sitting around the table waiting to share our time and love together. I want this to be our second home…not just a beach house. I want to instill in the children the majesty of our God who made the mighty ocean, the mysterious world beneath, the glorious sky above, and the crunchy sand we walk on…all for us! Made for us to enjoy, because He loves us. It is He who allowed us to have The Sand Castle and to Him we will always be grateful!
First of all, before we do before and after pics, let me explain a little about what we did inside. Walls were sheet rocked, all ceilings were redone to get rid of that popcorn, all interior doors were replaced, all trim was replaced…crown and shoe. The toilets were replaced, the bathrooms rebuilt, new central heat and air, all new light fixtures and ceiling fans. The only thing untouched was the floor. It was in good shape and other than being steam cleaned twice, it was left alone.
The colors I chose remind me of the colors I love in the ocean. Each room is a different shade. That was scary for me to do, because I could just hear my Mom saying ‘every room should be the same so the house does not look chopped up’. 🙂 But, my thought was that the rooms would flow together like the colors do in the oceans. And actually there is such a subtle difference in the colors, it’s hard to tell they are different. All the ceilings are painted a very pale blue. The trim color is called ‘Pure White’…though here it looks like ‘Pure Grey’! The color on the far left is the ceiling color…it does not look that blue in real life! The middle color is quite aqua, but is just doesn’t show up.
Now. Our builder finished most of everything so that we could move in. The painters were finished, and all was ready. This is when my fun was going to begin! My friend, Shirl, was chomping at the bit to get started, as well! We made it to the beach late on a Friday afternoon with 2 SUV’s, a budget, and a house to fill! And, I had had cataract surgery 2 days before…so no heavy lifting for me! Ha! And, it rained everyday. And, the huge dumpster in the driveway that had been used during construction, had not been picked up and was right smack dab in our path! But, we were not deterred! We soldiered on!
We went through the house, room to room, and made lists of what we needed to buy. Then went to her house to spend the night…and make more plans. She had nothing to eat except leftover lemon pie, and half a gallon of sweet tea. A good enough supper for us! We were up the next day, which happened to be my birthday, early…EARLY! And, off we went. Now we had 3 bedrooms, a den, 1 1/2 bathrooms, a dining room and a kitchen to furnish. And, we brought NOTHING with us…except 2 lamps and a tiny bookcase that I had redone. Hard work ahead…but oh! what fun!!! First we went to buy the big furniture…a sofa, a chair, 2 beds and 4 mattresses. To be delivered. Then we hit the consignment shops…bought a bedroom suit, a table, 6 chairs. This we had to haul in our own vehicles. Back to the house, pick up another car, go back and get chair, etagere, 4 small tables, a large mirror, and a bookcase. Since we were on two cars, we had loads of room and decided to stop by Wal-Mart on the way home. Cause, I mean, furnishing a home? How can you not stop at Wal-Mart? And while we were there…Shirl bought me a birthday cake! Which made me happy in more than one way. It was my birthday and I couldn’t have a real birthday without a cake…and we needed something other than leftover lemon pie to eat because it was all gone! Then we went back to her house. And each got a fork and we had a birthday party. Oh, we still had some sweet tea left, too.
I love Shirley. Shirley loves lists. She loves to make lists of the lists she needs to make. She keeps it all in a notebook. And, she keeps to a budget, too. I am not talented in either area. I make grocery lists and never take them to the store with me! She keeps all the receipts and the money in an envelope. And, she doesn’t lose it. And, she writes down every dime she spends. I, however, do not do any of those things. I try, but, something will catch my eye while I have a receipt in my hand…and I’m a goner and the receipt is never to be found. And if I try to put all my lists in a book, I lose the book! Shirley knows this about me, and loves me anyway. That’s what a true friend is. I hope you have a friend like that.
Birthday cake! It’s what’s for supper!
So in between furniture deliveries and appliance deliveries, we made numerous trips to Target, the antique and decor store that was full of booths, back to Wal-Mart, K-Mart, and once we had to eat something other than leftover lemon pie and birthday cake, so we went to the best steak house in town and sat and ate and enjoyed it so much! But, friends, let me tell you…that birthday cake from Wal-Mart was delicious and it travelled with us back and forth from Shirl’s house to my house and back the whole 4 days!
Then back to shopping for art and accessories. We had to completely furnish the kitchen with cookware and dinnerware and utensils and then bathrooms with irons and towels and tissue and shower caps and bedrooms with linens and art and lamps and rugs. And, then there are nails and light bulbs and everything you could possible think of that you have in your house, we had to get. And, we did it all in 4 days…with beds made, art hung and accessories in place. Both of our cars were packed to the gills…over and over and over! We were tired, we were dog tired. It rained and rained. I fell on my rear going into one store, and Shirl’s feet got so cold, she wore socks with her flip flops! But, when we locked the door and headed home…it was perfect!
I worked hard and tried to keep from bending over due to my surgery. Shirley worked hard and kept the lists and kept the receipts. At the end, I presented Don with a wad of receipts of where almost every dime had gone! I could never have furnished the house in the time frame we had with out her. I don’t think I could have done it at all without her. She worked rings around me, and we laughed and played and had fun and slept well. It looks as good as it does because her touch was on everything. I am blessed and blessed again by her friendship. And, I thank God for putting her in my life.
OK, I’m trying to figure out the best way to do this without showing way more pictures than you’d ever want to see. So, I’m going to show a before picture and then some afters. I’m going to start with the kitchen and dining room. The cabinets were so old and dirty and greasy and stained and unhealthy for all living things.
KITCHEN…BEFORE… In this pic, we removed the cabinets over the refrigerator cutout…so we could have a ‘real people’ size refrigerator! The wall paper…..well…the only word to say is ‘nasty’. This really is a great kitchen, though. There were loads of cabinets, though not too much counter space until we created the cut out bar. The tiny door on the left in the picture below is a pantry. (Can you see how pretty the original back door is?)
BEFORE…..This is the sink area… And this is how it looks now…
I used a glass tile in aqua with an iridescent finish…A little ‘out there’…but, if you’re ever gonna be a little ‘wild’, a beach house is the place to do it! And, I tend to like a little ‘wild’, now and again.
I chose a granite with a sandy colored pattern that actually reminded me of sand underfoot. I loved the pattern in the slab.
This bank of cabinets and countertop below shares its wall with the den. But, it also served to cut the kitchen off from the rest of the den and dining room and to block out the beautiful light coming in at the big windows. We didn’t need these cabinets…there were already plenty…though we did need the counter top. After it was decided that this was a load bearing wall and couldn’t be removed…we decided that was for the best and just cut out a big hole in it instead.
So it went from this….
And the dining room went from this…
This table we found in an antique store in Panama City and I loved it immediately! The panels on the sides are what sold me on it! And can you see how the piece at the bottom is curved. Nothing had to be done, but a little sanding to the finish. Also it is beat up and scarred already, so no worries that it will ever get messed up. If it does, we can just sand it away! All the chairs around the table will eventually be white! We found 6 chairs and they are all different. Actually, the table is designed for 4, but you can always squeeze in a couple of extras! Right?
The clock below does have hands, it’s just hard to see them…
I’ve got Pop’s fishing hat by the door, ready for him to use…
And above these wonderful boxes is this sign I made.
The sign speaks to me of God’s unfailing love and mercy…of the majesty of His creation…and of the power He holds to control the world and everything in it! (This is beside the front door, but in the dining room.) Jeremiah 5:22…”God made the sand to hold the ocean back. The ocean can not go past it. It will do that forever. The waves might roll, but they can not sweep over it. They might roar, but they can’t go across it.” TMB
🙂 As you can see hanging on the back door…I may not make and keep up with lists, but I do know where to stick a post-it note so I don’t forget it!!!
So, I will end here and finish showing the rooms in the next post. Then comes the funny story about the trailer. Oh, it does just go on and on, doesn’t it?
So work began on the house. The outside is stucco and required a good power washing and painting, with work done on the eaves and trim. A totally new roof was added. Then it got a coat of paint. I spent a good amount of time picking out the paint colors…with help from Mr. Sherwin Williams. But, it seems no one thought I had made a good choice for the outside. Well, the men, at least. They said I needed something…anything…else as an accent color other than the green I had chosen. But, no. I knew it would look good, so I insisted.
The colors were a beautiful aqua, a green, and an off white with grey undertones. And, we put on a metal roof. The front porch was a custom mix right on the job, as I wanted a slightly darker shade of the house color. It turned out to be a shade of teal, which I liked very much. We worked on the porch color back and forth from PC to Dothan via our cell phones! Isn’t technology wonderful? See what you think about the colors…
We replaced windows, and added the storm doors and outdoor lighting. Fortunately, we were able to use the original front and rear exterior doors which made me very happy. They have loads of character. And, as you can see a little in one of the pics, we painted the trailer the same colors as well. At least now everything matched and looked clean and cared for…on the outside, at least! We redid that storage room with the missing door, and now it has its door and is filled with shelves. Plans are on hold to finish the front with a white fence…but we have to get all the rest finished first. They also put in an area for an outdoor shower. We are waiting on some landscaping work before we completely finish the outside work. There will be a gate added to the fence so it will be easier to go back and forth.
(These ominous clouds are part of Hurricane Isaac which was expected in these parts, but turned another way. Remember, it delayed the Republican National Convention in Tampa Florida.)
PS…They had to go back and paint the shutters green on the trailer!
Isn’t this a great old tree in the front yard? The ferns have taken up residence in between the spaces around the trunk of the palm. I think it needs a little haircut, though!
(Sorry, the grass wasn’t cut in the above picture.) And, that’s the look on the outside…next we’ll get into the inside. Oh! what a mess it was! But, our builder, Mike , worked his magic and now it looks terrific! I can hardly wait to show you! And, in case you couldn’t tell…that’s our beach way up top…gorgeous, isn’t it?
Oh, by the way…the house has its own name now…THE SAND CASTLE!
Because…who lives in a castle…….?
See you soon with the inside! Oh, it looks so good! I think you’ll love it! I bet you’ll even want to come and spend some time with me. Well, I think that is a fabulous idea! Come on…we’ll have a beach party!
I am a Christian woman who has survived many years on the planet. God has blessed me with a wonderful family: husband, 3 sons, a dear DIL, and a precious grandson. I also have dear friends to keep me inspired. I am an artist of sorts and am finding my way through the great blessing of retirement. I recently retired after 20 years as a music teacher. Life is good!
"All your sons will be taught by the Lord; and great will be their peace." Isaiah 54:13
Read their stories... Adam Alex Ian