Hope for the Weary Home


Hope isn’t about knowing how things will come about.

Hope is about envisioning the future and choosing to enjoy that now. Hope is really about rest. Resting in the imperfections of today because you believe that tomorrow there is possibility.

Sometimes the hope isn’t for the change as much is it is for the change in me.

I have great hope for this property that we purchased this summer. We bought it because we have a dream for our future.

Because it has great potential.

Because it is a fantastic mess.

And I like to torture myself by adopting messes and trying to bring out their beauty. It’s my favorite and simultaneously, it’s the worst…



kitchen remodel



Ten years ago, when we bought our last house I had one condition: NO SPRAYED ON CEILINGS.

Of course the house that I fell in love with had sprayed on ceilings. I all but guaranteed it by announcing my dislike of them.

This time around I had one main condition as we were looking for land. ABSOLUTELY NO POWER LINES. NEVER. NO WAY.

When will I ever learn? Here’s where that declaration got me…



I tried to make them look magical in this picture. Don’t you want phone lines too? I admit, they almost look pretty here.

wires But not here.

This is what you see when you stand on our little side porch that leads from the laundry room to our driveway. Yes, when our guests arrive our power lines are right there ready to meet them! This pole is my nemesis currently. It depressed me for weeks (months?) but I’m starting to get over it. Maybe? Of course it’s perfectly positioned to be the main thing you see as you pull up our driveway. Why? Even the dog is confused. Usually when I snap photos I just leave the power lines out.


The wires carry themselves proudly on down to the pole down by our pond…


That one is showing off with two huge buckety things at the top. “Look at MEEE everyone!”

power line city

You wouldn’t believe me if I didn’t show you a photo but it’s almost like someone LOVED wires so much that they wrapped them around 3/4 of our house. They come from the street and instead of going straight back to the pond they actually come around the FAR side of our house THEN go back to the pond. Our house is surrounded by wires.


It pains me to show you this one. However, no one ever sees our house from this area unless they walk deep into our front yard, the driveway is way over to the right… By the phone pole.


porch view

Here’s the view from our front porch. Really the only time you see the power lines is when you first get out of your car and come into our house, or when you walk outside the house. We have 12 full acres that are mostly power line free, we have a huge side porch with a view to the pond that is power line-less and lots of pretty tress to look at.

Do I have hope that one day the power lines will be gone? A little. Maybe we can have them buried? But mostly my hope is that one day the beauty of the property will be so great, that the wires will fade away and I won’t notice them as much. Beauty comes two ways, remember how we talked about arrows?

“Decorating is like placing arrows around. “Look here. And now here.” And anything you don’t want to see you either don’t put an arrow pointing to it, or you simply put an arrow in front of it. And anything you want to accentuate, you make sure it has a big arrow.”

*from the post Good Enough Christmas Decorating for When Life isn’t Perfect Because isn’t that Always?

Sometimes sweet little closeups on instagram and online can make it seem like our little place is pure charm I want to make sure you see what I try to choose to over look on a daily basis.

Daily I tell you.

Here’s our land and home in all of it’s imperfect glory. If this place would have been perfect it would have been out of our price range. Thank God for imperfections, right?!

So here’s what we are working with over the next few years to create a place for you to come to… Can you see the possibilities?





At times it’s debilitating.

We bought a house on 12 acres that happened to be an old sawmill. There are piles of metal and plastic trash that we keep finding. There are 10ish falling apart wood buildings. Tractor tires, broken things, power lines we won’t need. We need an army.


But there are also beautiful trees, cleared pastures and lots and LOTS of cut wood to use however we want. So this year my word is SLOW.

Because it’s the exact opposite of how I’ve felt. Normally in our circle of friends and in our family our house has always been the one where people gather. And with it now being the fixer-uppper I’ve had to learn that yes, I can still have people over, but large gatherings are still difficult.

It’s awkward to use a bathroom with cardboard walls and we still have outlets without covers and such, a toddler’s worst nightmare. I had a dream of already having gatherings and a big sale and fun stuff on our land and I’ve had to accept the fact that things are moving slower.


We are paying cash for updates as we go and naturally every project takes longer than you hope. So mostly here when I show you our monthly progress, I naturally focus on the positive changes we’ve made. But this time I wanted you to see the extent of work that is here because y’all it can be overwhelming if I let it. Inside, outside, pool, buildings, wires...so I show all the pretty on instagram and usually here because it encourages me.

pretty wires

I hope as you sit in your imperfect house and can’t help but notice the imperfections that at times seem hopeless, that you can still have hope. Maybe not that everything will change. But maybe that enough will change that you’ll forget about those things that seem daunting today.

smithus & the pole

Also, if you or your husband our your best friend happens to be a power line worker whose job is moving power lines in the greater Charlotte NC area, feel free to contact me so we can be BFFs.

hope. on a wire

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  1. awesome post. i’m always searching for the beauty in where i live. it can be challenging at times, but i’m learning to be grateful.
    p.s. i can’t wait to do a slipcover class in the fabulous barn!:-)

  2. Your journey on putting your house and property together is like life itself! We have to go through a period of challenges before we reach where we want to be, and we still need to learn how to dance in the rain. It’s hard but it can be as amazing as we choose to make it – thanks for the reminder :) Your property is beautiful and it’ll be more so as your vision turns into reality. Looking forward to seeing the process ox

  3. You have the best ability to keep things real here and to inspire and encourage at the same time. I will learn from you and not talk about what I will not have in a new house…we are hoping to sell and move this spring. I might of all ready jinxed myself by repeating “no cookie cutter house”! We have been looking at houses on and off for a year or so and it’s discouraging in our expensive market. It’s hard to start all over and go SLOW.

  4. Thank you for your great post. I get so very frustrated with my home. The honey (me) do list is so long that it consumes me. This morning I woke sure that the builder of this home hated women and that was why he put the laundry area in an unheated/uninsulated area of the house. I’m just grateful that my very minimal DIY skills kept the pipes from freezing last night. My hope for today is that warm weather will soon return to Atlanta and I can worry about other things besides old pipes freezing!
    Thanks for reminding me to have HOPE.

    • so true!
      Our laundry is on the back porch, with no insulation and every time I go out there I think of my mother in law who had to walk outside through a carport to an attached porch to do her laundry every day for the past 30 or so years in the mountains of NC.

      I agree, if the builder would have been the one in the home doing laundry, it would have been placed in the coziest place in the house!

  5. We lived in a rental for a year or two with train tracks running right through the back yard. After a while, you didn’t even hear them come barreling through. Go figure.

    I’m guessing that after awhile those obnoxious poles will fade as all that’s around them springs to life.

  6. The first lesson of blogging is how to exclude the mess from the frame and snap the shot, right? Then the question is, do you do this to emphasize beauty(to glorify the Creator of all beauty)or do you do it to hide your shame of imperfection(which doesn’t result in glory to God at all)…I think you’ve hit a great balance between the two. We NEED to focus on seeing what CAN be, as it shows our being created in the image of our very incredibly creative God who loves us too much to leave us as we are.
    But sometimes even His work is slow by our perception.
    Your place is wonderful; Providence!
    Things will get done–y’all are working hard!
    You’ve got boys to help, too. :)
    I can commiserate with power lines. And we get hurricanes.
    Blessings and Happy New Year!

  7. Wrap your poles with chicken wire, plant morning glory seeds at the base and in the late summer your poles will look stunning!

  8. I just wrote about this, I’m taking pictures of my real house everyday this year. Reality vs. Pinterest :) And we have giant power lines crossing our backyard. I’ve slowly made the back yard pretty (from paved over with rusted satellite dish) but that pole and line. They drive me crazy. And I’ll never be able to bury them because we live in a city and the pole is across the alley.

  9. Wow! Just found your blog. Love it! When subscribing to your blog, I went to your Facebook page. Whoa, 19,000 followers! Can you shed some light? Is it just your awesomeness or did you strategize to get that many? Teri

    • welcome teri! oh, Nesting Place is a really old blog–six years, which is elderly in blog years, so we’ve had a long, long time to build up facebook friends and subscribers, or I could just say it must be because I’m awesome because I’m the worst stategizer on the planet.

  10. Beth in the City says:

    I love how you keep things real. And you know what? Power lines are so much a part of my reality that I don’t even notice them very often. Unless there are birds and squirrels running across them. I see them, but I don’t. They mean warmth, light, phones. They don’t require me to analyze their position. The one thing I didn’t want in a house? A split foyer. Guess what we lived in for a couple of years that worked VERY WELL for our young family? Yep! Split foyer. And I would do it again. Not my first choice but who cares!

  11. baileywife says:

    As I sit here and look at your pics, my mind is doing a jumping up and down while clapping and yelling ” project, project, project”, these just excite me with all the possibilities….but easy for me to say cuz I’m not there. I don’t travel out of my comfort of home much, but believe me….I will be THERE when you do have a large gathering! Just wish we lived closer so we could bring our heavy equipment (my husband owns an excavating business) so we could help move things along faster for ya! ~Kim

  12. I cannot thank you enough for this post. I simply adore you and your style. I currently live in a major fixer upper with beautiful bones and 4 desperate bathrooms (among a laundry list of desperates). We have been here almost a year. Although I have worked like a crazy horse to get the necessities fixed up this year, our extra money is taking a post Christmas break; we, too, are paying cash. Sometimes the perfections on Pinterest, Instagram and my favorite blogs outrun their purpose for inspiring. I want to say thank you for showing us your ‘stuff’. It helps to cultivate a gratitude for what one does have, and a gratefulness for the process, instead of stirring up defeat, self pity and unhealthy comparisons to the façade of perfection. You are my favorite, Nester! Peace in the slow be yours.

  13. I’m with you on the power lines. I think the power companies WANT them above ground. It seems to me that there would be fewer problems if the lines are underground. We built our own house 17 yrs. ago on 6 acres, and begged/cajoled/bullied the company to have them buried underground. Met with lots of opposition, but eventually, got them underground. But the company got back at us with a HUGE transformer box in the front yard. I planted a tree in front of it! Good luck & keep trying! :0)

  14. Nancy Clark says:

    Here is something to think about to help you with the imperfections you see, but first I have to give you a little description that has lead to it.

    Twenty-six years ago our daughter planted a cedar tree in our back yard when it was just a little stick. The department of conservation came into her class and did a lesson of some sort. After the lesson all 3rd graders in our school got a stick wrapped in wet newspaper to bring home and plant to help the earth.

    In 2008 lightning stuck that cedar tree. No big deal, right? Nope. It was a big deal for two reasons. It split that tree right down the middle. The tree we babied an entire year so it would grow in an area where it should not grow (usually they need to be planted in a wet area). It grew to be one of the tallest trees on our block, and all but one of our four grand children knew that the story about their momma / auntie planting it.

    Lightning splitting that tree was not the worst part. The lightning strike split the tree almost half way down before jumping to the phone line and traveling into the house. The phone jack was close to a power outlet, so the energy from the lightning jumped from the phone line to the power outlet. The outlet had a surge protector plugged into it, but it was turned off. (We had just finished painting and fixing up the room where my computer usually was, but we went on vacation before we could get the computer moved back in and set up.) I had the computer and a printer plugged into the surge protector. Even though the surge protector was turned off, somehow there was still enough energy to cause that printer to start a fire.

    To make a long story short, the computer burned and the fire spread up the wall and over to the kitchen cabinets in that corner. We had just put new doors and windows in the house, so the fire burned itself out, but the smoke damage was unbelievable. I was in Salt Lake City when I got the call. My husband was at work 25 miles from home and didn’t get a call. Our cockatiel, puppy, and cat were all in the house.

    So, when I was finally able to get a flight out of SLC two and a half days later, I came home to a charred mess. The insurance company hired a company that would do all of the cleaning and repair work. Walls had to be stripped to the studs, all new cabinets, ceilings had to be removed. Every room had to be totally redone. Unfortunately, the insurance company hired a company that was not the best to say the least. We ended up in a law suit with the cleaning / reconstruction company due to 40 boxes of our possessions being “lost”, and many, many problems with the work they did. (Power outlet boxes with face plates secured would pull out of the walls. The recessed lights in the kitchen are so close to the top kitchen cabinets – floor to ceiling cabinets- that we can’t open cabinet doors without taking the bulbs out. The counter on the floor cabinets were not braced in the back at the corners, so they dropped an inch below the finished wall. It goes on and on.)

    In all, the insurance company put $154,000.00 in a house that appraises for less than $50,000.00. I would cry every time I saw one of the inferior jobs in any room in the house. It would make me physically sick to know that I had to live with it. But, after a while, I didn’t think much about these things. I learned to live with them. Now, even though I do recognize these imperfections, it doesn’t bother me. I have let it go. It took a lot of tears and time for me to get to this point, but I one day it occurred to me that this was home. Our daughters were raised here. We had lived all but 2 years of our married life here. The memories for almost every little thing we think about were made in this house.

    I hope you can find a way to get rid of those power lines that bother you now. It is a pain to try to get a picture you want while keeping them out of it. The poles are in some of the worst possible place. I pray that you will learn to forget all of these. You will have gatherings in your home, and you will make many memories there. You might even make some memories that involve one or more of those things. Ultimately, they don’t matter, and one day you will realize that you don’t even notice any of them.

    By the way, the tree is still living. You can see where it has produced a skin of sorts over both sides of the split, and it is producing more of the seed pods than it ever did!

  15. Also? Electricity and telephone communication are pretty awesome. Your place is fantastic. I can just imagine the discoveries you will make on that little 12 acre plot. Think how boring it would be if it had been perfect and had no surprises for you.

  16. We lived off the grid for many years. When I see power lines, I think “Yes, it has power!” Power is an awesome thing.

  17. I’m so with you on the power poles/lines thing. I live on a suburban street and we have a pole at the curb smack in the middle of our front yard. It is the terminus of the above-ground line, so the wires then go diagonally from the pole to the ground, right next to the driveway. If you look out the front window it is exactly the center of the view. All the way down the street, the rest of the poles are places at the side property lines, but not ours. I’ve lived here for 9 years and I’ve either changed or made peace with most of the things that bug me about this house, but oh, that pole. I’m grateful for the power, certainly, having also lived off grid, but sheesh. I’m going to take the suggestion of one of your commenters and plant some morning glories around it this spring!

  18. Thank you for sharing your imperfections!! We to have a potential place. We loved the 5 acres, the woods and creek for the kids to grow up with. We love the deer in the yard and camping by the creek, but boy did I have to sacrifice on lots of the house. I think its God way of keeping me humble. Now if only he can help me cultivate my creativity!! We also believe in paying as you go and no more!!! My God bless the old family couch. =P

  19. In 2008 when Hurricane Ike hit – Pike Electric came to our rescue in Houston, TX. We love them! I also love our power company, having worked there in the past. Some of the proudest good people you’ll ever meet.

  20. I loved your description of hope. I had been on the fence about my word for 2014. Last year it was faith…and after deciding that, we took a huge leap and moved our 3 kids 9 hours away for a new life and wonderful possibilities. Now, we’re here, we had faith, and it’s good and right, and…we’re just here. We’re in a holding pattern, renting til we find our landing place, getting life settled, making new friends, creating new routines, doing the hard parts of moving, realizing that moving is an adventure and it’s also hard. And I feel the Lord telling me that my word is “hope”. I was on the fence about it. Is that really the answer to my new year’s questions? After this post…yes, HOPE it is!

  21. Girl, I love your take on life! You are refreshingly honest and hysterically funny. ~K.

  22. I know what you mean about cardboard walls and exposed outlets, we are living in a house like that too. But your property is already so beautiful that I don’t even notice the power lines. Maybe tis the inherent beauty of the place, but most likely it’s because you are there.

  23. Thank you for being real! You inspire me.

  24. Everyday when I would workout in the living room I would look around throughout exercising and see all the projects, cleaning and organization that still needed to be done and it drained me. So I decided to start with a clean living room so that it wouldn’t be so draining, but my eyes still caught the unpainted piano supports, dirty ceiling (I rarely notice the ceiling unless I am stretching!), finger prints on the walls, wood burning stove that needed paint, etc., etc., etc. Then I realized there will ALWAYS be something to rob my joy. So I started being grateful for my little home, that it was ours to do with what we wanted. Thankful for windows that bring in light, shelter, beautiful views, warmth, matching furniture, the ability to workout, etc. Wow, that helped a lot. I was amazed at how much better I felt and how the other things didn’t seem important. But I forget and it is a choice I often don’t make, but when I do choose gratitude I feel better. Looking forward to choosing gratitude today. Help me remember, LORD.
    You have helped me embrace the imperfect. I SO needed that! Thank you!!!

  25. I think your property is awesome and I can sure see the possibilities. I have a fixer-upper house and large yard and I get overwhelmed so yours must be x 100 of my feeling. But enjoy the experience and focus on the good.

  26. Keep hope alive! I live in an 1850’s house with power lines on two sides – it’s just part of being in the historic district. Here I go with advice regarding your prob – boy can I give advice. Anyone can live in a new subdivision with underground power, but not everyone can live in the country with enough land for telephone poles. Plus, they aren’t the huge high-power tension lines. Here is another thought – telephone poles are “vintage.” Try to think of your little slice of heaven as an Edward Hopper painting like here http://www.pinterest.com/pin/242983342369596251/
    or here: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/242983342369596260/
    or like Dvid Ohlerking ‘s art : http://www.pinterest.com/pin/242983342369596310/

  27. “Hope is about envisioning the future and choosing to enjoy that now. Hope is really about rest. Resting in the imperfections of today because you believe that tomorrow there is possibility.” <– this is amazing. Thank you!

  28. I cannot see the power lines/ poles for the beauty of the trees, pond, and blue skies. Truly…if you had not pointed them out, I’d have never seen them. What a blessing to have 12 acres and everything else on that property….and your husband. What a man to be able to be so handy…and willing to make your dreams come true. You are abundantly blessed.

  29. Btw – our house is a constant chore. Last night, just before the freezing temps hit, my husband put foam board in some ducts that have been open for a very long time (ductwork that is connected to a furnace that hasn’t worked since we moved in. Luckily, half the house runs on the other furnace). I am actually typing without gloves, this morning. no joke. We’ve been here 13 years – how long does it take to adequately insulate? Not blaming him – I am equally at fault. Just too much else to do !!! Not sure a fixer-upper is on the list for our next purchase – but as you mentioned, Never say NEVER!

  30. This may sound strange…but I like the poles… I understand the wires may not be great, but whenever I see a utility or telephone pole, especially when they have the “T” shape? It reminds me of another tree in another time and place that has set my future! I think how much more appropriate for you and your family to have a space dedicated to teaching, learning, sharing Him – and your property boasts of that in all of the poles and rough wood, and the buildings that need repair or replacing…just like us and those you reach out to with your family’s vision… God bless!! :)

  31. I think your property is just beautiful – even with the power lines. Hopefully for you in the future they will come out and bury the lines. Your home updates look like they will be fantastic. So much more beauty for you to create. I have things in my house that drive me crazy too – angled walls – a kitchen that has been very well used (cupboards starting to break – laminate countertops) In time I can at least change the kitchen, but for now I just try to make it look the best I can. I know from growing up in the country on a little lake it was the best childhood, and that alone is something you are giving your children. It looks like they will have lots of fun exploring! Happy New Year!

  32. Maybe the power lines are God’s way of reminding you of the cross (t)and what he has done and will continue to do for your family and others on this special acreage!

  33. For me, power lines say “rural” or “in the country”. Therefore, I am quite envious of your power lines. Would llove to live back out “itc”. This will be the best childhood you could give your children, lines and all.
    Enjoy your slower life.

  34. Dear Nester, only you can make someone wish they had power lines to overcome! In several of the pictures I kept seeing crosses. I especially liked the picture right before the one of you and Chad – it was as if they were standing guard over you and your property. Or marching to battle for you. Thanks for sharing the real with us – so we know that we truly can embrace our imperfections. In our little house my biggest bane is crooked floors which makes furniture placement a challenge – just one of the joys of owning an older home.

  35. Thank you. Too often it is too easy to be so focused on the imperfections that we miss the joy.

  36. I just wanted to tell you that I don’t think the poles and wires look as bad as you make them sound. I’m sure it’s all relative (beauty is in the eye of the beholder) but I think your property is gorgeous already and I only wish we had land like that! :)

  37. Jennifer Ashlock says:

    Hope is a thing with… power lines :)
    I’m loving the transformation of your perfectly imperfect home. And your refreshing attitude about it all.

  38. I love, love, love seeing pictures of your place. The good, the bad, and the ugly. It makes me excited to see how it will change in the coming years and I hope it means you have lots of blog material so you won’t be leaving my Internet anytime soon :)

  39. Love this! As I was reading your post, I kept thinking that with what you have been blessed with, the poles and the power lines seem like such a minor thing. My goodness, I don’t think I would have noticed if you hadn’t pointed them out. I’m so glad you’re able to see beyond them on most days. Your words were so encouraging to me. There is much around here that isn’t what I wish it was, but I will hold on to hope that one day . . . one day : )

  40. Love the post,and love your beautiful home and land.We are hoping to move across the mountain here in TN to that area when my husband retires.Our daughter already lives in one of the “burbs” of Charlotte and we love it down there.Again what a wonderful “home”,any house can be a house,but only a certain house can be HOME

  41. Thank you so much for your perspective on perfection (or lack thereof). We are transplanted north easterners, used to cape styles on large lots and such. That’s what we looked for when we were transferred to the KC area and it took us months to reconcile ourselves to roofs with lots of angles and being at shaking hands distance from neighbors. Now we are trying to figure out how to fit into something adobe in Tucson. Your flexibility challenges me to see possibilities instead of problems and to have gratitude for what is.

  42. Your property is great and with all your ideas and abilities, you will make it all look beautiful. In a few years, you won’t even care about them. Trust me – these are not things to worry about. As I learned last year, there are so many worse things that life can send you. Enjoy your boys – they will grow up so fast. Hug them, smell them, listen to them and be in the moment with them. Document every little thing. Maybe when they grow up, you can worry about the poles.

  43. Thank you for this post. I struggle daily with my home. I try to remind myself to be grateful to even own a home but still my heart yearns for that fixer-upper. Your journey inspires me. I know eventually we will be in the place I dream about until then I will try to see the good in what we have and know that this house will one day be the home someone has always wanted.

  44. It’s all a matter of perspective and 20/20 vision. Your property is so beautiful in all it’s disaray. It looks like a wonderful growing experience for your boys–they’ll remember it forever. And someday they’ll have their children out there on your farm working and playing.

    I am learning to be slow too. By nature I’m highly impatient. But things in life that are out of my control (my mother’s cancer/transplant) help put what matters most in perspective. For me 2014 is FAMILY, which turns all other aspects into my life as SLOW.

    As for the 20/20 . . . my father and daughter couldn’t see powerlines until they both got glasses as children. So to some your powerpoles are naked trees. :)

  45. I really can not believe how similar our journeys are. We are a little further in the process than you. It takes a special patience and trust for sure. You already have the ability to see the beauty in the chaos. Your 12 acres have a romance about them — the chaos and patience will be worth it….. But I am totally with you about power lines. We got lucky and our power lines on our little neighborhood area are buried….Maybe it could be a summer trench digging project. :)

  46. Valerie H. says:

    What a great post-did you write it just for me?! We bought a 1923 craftsman style fixer-upper 6 years ago, and slow is definately the word around here! Me and the hubs had the week between Christmas and New Years off, and took the opportunity to install extra kitchen cabinetry. And when I say ‘we’, I mean I complained about lack of storage until my wonderful husband installed more for me :)

  47. Paola Norman says:

    The truth is in that photo that pains you I really wouldn’t of noticed the lines. I only noticed them because you mentioned them. I see the beauty of your property not the lines. As for the work you have done in your home I think it’s huge, I wouldn’t of been able to do as much as you have in the time you’ve done it. So bravo to you and your and your family.
    I do understand where your coming from, I think each of us in our own way see’s all the things that require change versus all the things that don’t. I think when you surrender to this magnificent process you won’t see the telephone lines. It is you that has taught so many of us ” it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful” so there you go (wink). I applaud you and so many ways and look forward to seeing how your beauty unfolds.

  48. Yeahbut (all one word) if you didn’t have power lines, you wouldn’t have POWER!

  49. Having lived my whole life in a rural area with pokes and lines running everywhere, I guess it never occurred to me to think they were hideous. I was thankful for electricity and phones. Now they are coming through building these HUGE metal tower monstrosities across our little area of the world–those are hideous!

    I know it will all take longer than you thought and cost way more (it always does, doesn’t it?), but three boys and a dog on all that land….aaah.

  50. I can so relate! Our little 50’s rancher has been completely gutted and remodeled in the last four years and yet it still feels like there’s no end in sight. Sometimes, I get on my blog and look at my home tour just so I can remind myself of all the work that’s already been done. It’s so easy to just see everything that’s still left to do! :)

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