What You Can See…When the Clutter Is Gone


A row of tiny, shiny rubber rain boots. The lyrics of a song that bring back memories of anticipation and romance. The way light pours through old, decrepit windows. A gallery wall of creativity. A hallway, that, although not decorated or changed at all, happens to be one of my favorite rooms in this rental.

And three little fuzzy heads nestled together on the couch, giggling at cartoons.

These are a few of the landmarks within our home that repeatedly bring a smile to my lips.

For when the clutter is gone…you can finally see what makes you smile.







Simple Project-Back Patio

Remember my list of simple, achievable goals for our little rental? I have finally taken care of updating our back patio!

Here is what it looked like a short while ago:


A little messy, right? And that lovely strip of dirt (that never grew any grass!), would become a lovely strip of mud every time it rained (which of course, always seemed to fall on grocery day…)

Something had to be done.

This was the first time we have ever had a patio, and I was excited to make it into a more livable, fun space! So after a couple months of subtle changes (gifted patio furniture from the parents, found a temporary shed in which to place all the lawn equipment/toys, moved the grill, and rounded up some new + used stepping stones to fix the mud path issue) and scrubbing the vinyl siding clean…..

Here is now how it all looks:


The kids have far more space to play, and enjoy the backyard, and the seating area makes it feel more grown up (it’s amazing how “adult” you can feel setting up patio furniture…), and a bit more….well….OURS.

I’m excited for autumn weather, leaf piles, walnut gathering, and more opportunities to relax in our little outdoor nook with mugs of tea, watching the leaves gracefully fall.

And….I’m also excited for next year’s changes that I’m already planning: more potted plants on the patio, pillows, and maybe a chalkboard hanging on the fence for the kiddos.

Simple, subtle changes. Sometimes, they’re the best ones.


When Renting =Frustrating

Always a renter, never a homeowner.

Well, someday that step will finally be ours, but until then, we continue our adventure of living in various cities, apartments, houses-and the numerous experiences they offer.

From a 200 square foot room that we called home in the early years of our marriage, to the current brick abode filled with echoes of little munchkins, we have learned to adapt and enhance each temporary space we have been given.

But to be honest, renting can be frustrating.

It becomes so easy to be swept up with what you cannot do: can’t repaint the walls, can’t plant a garden, can’t remodel, can’t replace old windows, can’t sand and re-stain the hardwood floors,  can’t repaint cabinets, can’t have a playground for the kids in the yard, can’t build a shed, etc…

Can’t. Can’t. CAN’T.

Before you know it, you are so frustrated by the restrictions that come with renting that you look about your home no longer with an eye of thankfulness and opportunity, but with discontent and resentment.


The home no longer a gift, but a burden to bear.

But it is a gift. An incredible gift! And as Myquillyn Smith at The Nesting Place says, “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful”

So I sat myself down, and penned a list of creative or practical tasks I CAN accomplish here in our rental home.


  • finish repainting all the trim and doors in the house (white on white-they’ll never know) the prior tenants left countless dents and marks all over the house. Never underestimate how much cleaner a house feels with freshly painted trim
  • find a temporary shed (I am intrigued by this tent model) in which to store our lawn equipment, bikes, etc.. (currently on the back patio)
  • spruce up the back patio and transform it into a cozy +fun outdoor family area
  • hang curtains in front of laundry closet
  • DECORATE! hang pictures, guitars, mirrors, paintings, etc..
  • replace the throw pillows on the couch to update the living room a little
  • transform the spare room into a dual guestroom/writing room
  • clean and Rainex the exterior windows. Sparkling windows make everything inside all the more beautiful
  • replace and update bathroom towels +rugs to freshen up the bathrooms
  • fill and touch up paint the various holes and marks all over the walls (the owners left touch up paint under the sink!)
  • plant as many flowers, herbs, and veggies I want, so long as they’re in containers. It may not be my dream garden, but I can work with that!

You know what? That is a big list!

When I kick myself into examining exactly what I CAN do while we live here, I realize that I have plenty that can make our home more lovely, more beautiful, and a little more ours.

The truth is, I don’t have time to focus on what I can’t do. That list is long, I better get busy!