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


  1. wonderful words!

  2. hope is the word of the year at our house. the thought of hope kind of scared us because big changes are going to happen for our family this year. after reading: Resting in the imperfections of today because you believe that tomorrow there is possibility. we can do this hope thing. thank you♥

  3. It’s so nice to see pics of your home in Charlotte! You may see them as full of imperfections, but having just moved from North Carolina, they are a sight for sore eyes. Once again I have to thank you for your honesty. I find it terribly important for people to know that the majority of our homes are always a work in progress with something we may consider unsightly just around the corner. Beautiful pictures are nice, but I appreciate seeing the real work, imagination and sweat that are required to turn a house into a home. You home is fantastic and has incredible bones….. and all that land!! You’re a lucky girl! Thanks for sharing~

  4. Oh thank you! We just bought 7.5 acres after we sold our house (notice I didn’t mention buying a house, just land). An aunt is graciously loaning us her 1980’s mobile home until we are finished building. It’s old, it’s blue, the walls are covered in blue and pink rocking horses. It’s livable and we can paint and it’s FREE! I’m trying to see the good. It’s going to be interesting but we’ve been at my mom’s for a year so guess what, we are doing it all backwards but we are doing it all to live simply! Thank you for the attitude adjustment!

  5. Beautiful. Our previous house had a huge powerline that ran diagonally across our front yard (well, actually across our 5 acre lot). I absolutely HATED it, but it was a main line (I don’t remember exactly what it was called, but it was something very important to the power company) and there was no way they would even consider moving or burying it. Anyway, we built a lovely house there.

    (Yes, we BUILT a house with a power line in the front yard. Funny thing is, I was so young and naive that I didn’t even notice the power lines when we looked at the land. But then when we were choosing the exact spot for our house to be built, I was like, “Hey! Who put that gigantic power line right in the middle of my way?!?!”)

    I do have a little good news for you, though. We lived there for 1 year before we re-located for my husband’s job, and by the time we moved, I didn’t even notice it anymore. Well, maybe I did notice it sometimes, but I guess I just grew accustomed to dismissing it mentally and enjoying the beauty that naturally surrounded our house in the country.

  6. Cindy Smith says

    I love your transparency! It inspires me daily as I struggle with being content with the imperfections of my house, my life, myself, the people I love…it kind of all carries over from one area of life to the next. You have made imperfection fashionable and I love that! It’s all about perspective. It is refreshing to know that you have days (like the rest of us) when you don’t LOVE your house 100%. Thank you for letting us in to your world, offering us hope and encouraging us to change the lens with which we see things & people.

  7. It IS always nice to see this side of things – that we aren’t “the only ones” whose house is NOT going to be finished in a month! I grew up in the country with power lines everywhere, then moved back to power lines, so I don’t really notice them so much. But. When we bought our house 11 years ago (so our house isn’t finished in 11 years, either, lol – finally on track thanks to Dave Ramsey!) we had a septic tank, which I was perfectly happy with, but joining up with our town’s water system had already been voted through, so, you know. What I wasn’t expecting was the GIANT silvery cover in our yard to the new vacuum system. I cried for days, I’m a bit embarrassed to admit. Years later, it’s rusted on top and pretty much blends in. So not really the big deal I made out of it. Which is usually what happens when I make a big deal out of something. I *am* getting much better!

  8. Oh, Nester! I’ve come to love the power lines in front of my house…love sitting on the porch watching the birds on the wire!

  9. hi! totally can relate to you post. i’ve been going through tough times lately and today is the day i broke down and cried my heart out as i was driving. it always help me to google verses to motivate and lift my spirit up – lol and just wanted to share it with you!
    “hope that is seen is no hope at all” Romams 8:24

    • Ayan, I had to go look up that verse! Thank you! Also, I heard in the news that today is the most depressing day of the year. Scientific or something, the first working Monday in January is the worst! That actually made me happy too!

  10. i’m surrounded by people with beautiful homes (example- my sweet s.i.l. is the pleated poppy). comparison is too often “the theif of joy,” and more than i care to admit i groan about our fixer-upper because it’s not what i want it to be. in your post you said “But maybe that enough will change that you’ll forget about those things that seem daunting.” i’m realizing what needs to change isn’t the nasty baseboards, concrete flooring, florescent light box, dated tile counters, etc… it’s my perspective. i pray those powerlines won’t catch your eye, and distract you from the beauty of your home. i pray the same for me. :)

  11. Oh I just loved this post and so very much needed it. We’ve finally finished our fixer-upper house and have put it on the market and will be buying my parent’s farm…. which is more of a fixer-upper than we’d anticipated at first. I love the reminder to step back and go slow.
    Also- Hope was my word for 2013 and I found that what I thought the word would mean for me for the year and what I have only begun to realize it really means for me is a huge gap. I love what you said about Hope being really about rest. Here’s what I’ve learned about hope: Hope is more inactive than active. It means we let God be active while we rest in the assurance that He’s got it all under His control.
    Thank you so much for sharing the reality. I continue to adore the Instagram cuteness too!

  12. And you will make it beautiful! That’s my word this year – beauty. It’s all around me…even in telephone poles :-) …and yet so often I miss it. I don’t want to miss it anymore. Thanks for helping us to see the beauty in the every day.

  13. I know your frustration all too well. In my head, I know that I am blessed and should be patient. But my heart, and my design-brain, has such a pretty house sitting in it! We are 8 years in, and I can say that Slow is a good word. But when I stop and look back at all that we have done, it is a joy that we are bringing life and beauty to a magical place that could be left to wither. That is an investment.
    But if you ever need anyone to sigh with….


  14. I don’t want to seem super positive, because I’m not (and frankly I think those happy-go-lucky people are blessedly ignorant), but when I look at all those falling down wooden buildings I see a ton of old wood. Wood we could use right now to put a floor down in our attic so we can store things there instead of inside our house (no garage). Old wood for lovely hand-painted signs, imperfect benches, a long farmhouse table. For “primitive” shelving, window boxes, planters, raised garden beds. I just love old, weathered boards. Thanks for showing all the imperfect views! I think they’re just as lovely, probably because they seem more real than perfectly chosen ones.

  15. I see your point, but if you think how the power lines bring in modern day conveniences, such as hot water for your tea when you’re designing your next stunning project, it’ll be worth it to overlook the power lines. =) Can’t wait to see the amazing transformation in the coming years.

  16. Megan McGrath says

    Welcome to Charlotte! I know you’ve lived nearby for a while but it’s still fun to hear ‘welcome’, right? I’ve lived in Charlotte my whole life, and you’re currently inspiring me to love and not feel limited by the little house we have right now. So, thank you for that! I’ll keep my eyes peeled for power-line-buriers… :)

  17. Hi Myquillyn! I just came across your bog and I’m in love. You have so many great projects and it really gives me ideas of my own! Thanks so much for sharing!

    Stop by my blog sometime and say hello!


  18. I love this post so very much! I have power lines too. And bologna colored counter tops that aren’t going anywhere soon. But I also have a vision, even if it’s taking teeny tiny baby steps to get there!! Your 12 acres is a dream for sure, power lines and all. Enjoy the journey.

  19. Ah, yes. We are currently in the world’s smallest apartment (okay, not really) and I frequently mourn not being able to have large gatherings of people over. We invited two couples over to watch the Super Bowl and are considering inviting another. We will have to sit on the floor, but I hope we will always remember this first year in our tiny apartment and the happy times we had here. We are wanting to buy our first house this spring/summer, but this little place will always hold a special spot in my heart.

  20. Loved this post. I have to share something that annoyed the heck out of me when we first built our house. We live in Florida, so to have a pool was a dream come true. Our lot was wooded, and we loved the idea of established trees, since our other home had minimal landscaping. But after the building started, we noticed a major problem. We have an open floor plan and our vision was to see the pool as you soon as you entered our home. Unfortunately, there was that this huge live oak dead center behind where the pool had to go, and what you would notice first, when you walked in was the ginormous tree trunk. They had to modify the style of the pool and make the pool narrow in front of tree, which wasn’t as visually appealing. …Many years later, I still am not thrilled with that tree. It’s messy, etc. But I have a piece of a rustic garden gate propped in front of it, with some plants and flowers surrounding it. The rest of the landscaping adds to our privacy, and the enclosed back porch I have decorated and styled like an extra room. We love being out there, especially in the summer when it’s in the 90’s and you can take a dip. It’s a sanctuary where I feel peace and feel connected to God. So in the end, I feel very blessed to have what we have. I see the positive that has come our way in this home and thank God for His abundance.

  21. I have a yellow ‘curve ahead’ road sign at the top of our yard that breaks up my beautiful sunset view. it makes me bonkers. i’m waiting for a plow truck to take it out.

    perhaps you should yarn bomb the pole? it looks like a perfect candidate.

  22. Thought of you today when I put 5 boxes of Christmas away and I couldn’t believe that what I thought was minimal Christmas decor took that many boxes! Two for ornaments, two for lights (admittedly, we only used one strand and didn’t check the rest), and one for just a few other items like the nativity set. Crazy!

    Nice post :) today.

  23. I had to smile when I read this post because I’ve been in renovation for years with a wonderful DIY husband who loves to do it all himself. He does wonderful work but things go slowly. Hope is essential along with patience. I’m still learning.

  24. Hope is my word for the year. I hope I will have hope even when I feel there is no hope. Because if I give up hope what will be left? That is how you should look at your power lines….What would your life be like without the power that those lines bring to you and your family……

  25. Lol! Adorable post! All the pointing out of poles made me laugh! I comment this all the time to you- your such an inspiration to me. You give me hope! And always remember that your frustrating circumstances are somebody elses wishes and dreams. : ) Someday soon, it will be mine too- debt free and a beautiful fixer upper in the making… in the meantime, I will keep the words HOPE and SLOW in my heart too. Thank you!

  26. I can sense the inner battle between being overwhelmed and not. I’d feel exactly the same way in your shoes!
    But let me share what I see…. I see slow… a removed from hustle and bustle, stop and smell the roses, appreciate the little things, home. I see promise, and I see hope.

    I will be praying for you as you work to fix the things that need fixing, look for help on the things that require professionals, and restore some semblance of order. Afterall, we all have that urge to nest.

  27. We also purchased our dream house last year!! We don’t have power lines anywhere near us, but we discovered that we do have rattlesnakes in the area. Yikes!!

  28. I am also reminded that your home is fitting to your blessing of three boys. And really if you had a perfect home, how could you encourage all of us here? And yet, even in it’s imperfections it is still so lovely. Because you have lots of land, a cute house, and many more possibilities…but also because it is finally yours. So many blessings in the imperfections.

  29. Thanks once again for your honesty. I was beginning to think you were going to be the next Martha and the farm was going to be Turkey Hill! When you mentioned the sawmill I swear thats all I could think of! I love the picture of you and your husband with the powerlines in the background, reminding us IDHTBBTBP!!!

  30. My sweet husband is a journeyman lineman for our local power utility. It is 40 below zero here in Michigan. I know a trip to NC would be a blessing for him right now! We are sitting on 16+ inches of blowing snow and all I could see in your photos was the beautiful sunshine and green grass!
    I appreciate your post, it gives me hope for my own home.

  31. Thank you for this post! I needed that! I’m not dealing with a fixer-upper property, but I am dealing with still trying to get unpacked & settled after moving (to Charlotte, btw) 17 months ago. Silly us, got pregnant with #3 literally upon arrival…I had to start all over with organizing & make a nursery. Now, with 3 kids, I’m struggling to get it all finished because of the day to day stuff like laundry & cooking. I wonder if I would be any further along if baby hadn’t come 3 1/2 weeks early? Anyway, thank you for allowing me to forget for a moment & read all about your life instead! I love renovations and old farmhouses with all their out-buildings!

  32. I so appreciate your posts that share the authentic/imperfect world of design and the realities of life. Please keep it up–it inspires me and there isn’t a whole lot out there in the design world that shows you how to make do and improvise. Thank you!

  33. I just had to laugh at the power lines. Life in the country! When I was 14, my parents pitched corporate, suburban life in California and bought 300 acres in RURAL southern Oregon, to raised sheep! We moved ourselves, except for the baby grand piano, which a large Mayflower truck delivered one summer day. One problem. The house was atop a somewhat steep hill and the power lines ran across the base of the driveway, at the bottom of the hill, down near the barns. The Mayflower truck couldn’t drive up to the house because the wires were too low. What to do? Improvise. We lined the hay trailer with bales, hooked it up to the tractor, and unloaded the piano onto the hay bales. Then my dad drove the trailer up the hill and we somehow managed to get that piano into that tiny little house! We took pictures, but this was 35+ years ago, long before digital cameras and instagram – otherwise I’d show you how crazy it was!

    You will be in for lots of improvising, as you’ve already learned, and find that aesthetics come second (or third, or fourth) to other essentials – like POWER and WATER and other issues yet to be discovered! Our refrigerator was filled with medication for the sheep, our freezer filled with ice trays full of colostrum for bummer lambs. Our furniture was covered with icky blankets because we were always so dirty! We only got two TV channels, and every time we changed the channel, one of us had to go out to the front steps, lean over to grab the antenna pole that ran into the ground along side the house, and twist. Someone inside would yell, “Stop! Go back!”, and we’d twist again, until we found that magic spot! Needless to say, we didn’t watch much TV.

    These are only a couple of the stories from our adventure into country life. You already have lots of fun(ny) stories and there will be many more to come!

  34. you’re the real deal.
    thanks for consistently sharing the imperfections and how they’re shaping you and molding you in your heart.

  35. I am not sure that if you had not written about the power lines that I would have even noticed them. I was so focused on the beautiful color, the sky, your lovely place, that I seriously had to go back to look. Funny on what people notice and see first.

  36. My 75 year-old home is surrounded by power lines. I get ya!
    A synonym for your word, hope, is also “restoration” and that is why you are there.
    God give you blessings and wondrous happy surprises as you have hope.

  37. Funny, but when you mentioned how much you dislike seeing the power line in your yard, it reminded me of a cellular tower I recently saw that was disguised to look like a pine tree. It was quite effective. I googled this idea and found that there are others that have been disguised to look like palm or pine trees. Maybe a solution…???

    HOWEVER, I find the “imperfection” of having power lines through your property as well as debris that you find from an old saw mill, to be charming. It’s not such a perfect place that I’d feel uncomfortable visiting. It makes it more welcoming, if you can understand that.

    And finally, THANK YOU!!! I needed to hear this and drink it in: “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.”

  38. Lynne in NC says

    I love the way you write, your words bring a smile to my face and warm my heart (even in these frigid temperatures).
    Thank you for this post and the photos, too. In all of the falling down buildings I see possibilities for weathered wood that can be reused in other projects. It seems overwhelming, I’m sure.
    Since this is your wished for home, you and Mister have time to take it slow. That’s hard when we want things done yesterday. I know it is for me and Hubs.
    I love how you share your struggles with wanting jobs completed and paying cash to avoid debt. I am very encouraged whenever I read this in your posts. I want so many things, but don’t want the debt.
    I love how you share the imperfectness of your surroundings. This encourages me to stop, look around, and appreciate the sometimes small changes we’ve made that have huge results.
    Thank you!

  39. Love your perspective, attitude, and wisdom. And your new home :).

  40. Thanks so much for sharing and reminding us to hope and rest in the imperfections around us.

  41. What a wonderful post! Your new place is beautiful and looks peaceful. We bought a similar project on 10 acres 3 years ago. We emptied out 4 commercial dumpsters of junk. We had an eyesore greenhouse and barn that were beyond repair. But we could not tear them down. Well mother nature took care and a tornado hit (everyone was fine) but the answered prayer was the insurance company paid to fix all the mess plus we used some saved money to restore the barn and got a new metal roof and a brand new beautiful rock greenhouse. Funny how things happen and work out because we just had the house reappraised and it’s almost double what we paid for it. It’s a beautiful and wonderful home we could have never afforded if it was fixed up.

    I share because I want to encourage and I look forward to seeing your progress. We still have things to do but it’s nice to see progress and enjoy the beauty.

  42. After 10 years of looking at electrical lines, we finally buried them this year as part of a whole house remodel (ours were only about 400 yards into the yard). It really did make a big difference. Next year, we are having the propane tank moved out of the center of the back of the yard. Hallelujah! In the meantime, I would plant a clematis on that pole and enjoy the view in the other direction!

  43. I like this post. I want to have hope for my house, but I’ve never liked it and I don’t think I can love it. The layout is really messed up. Our house began (so we have heard) as a very small 2 bedroom shack with a little upstairs that has very slanty ceilings. Yes, the work “shack” was actually used. The previous owners added a two-story addition, which added a big living room and a master suite upstairs. We have 2 sets of stairs that go 2 different places that aren’t connected. Then we added another addition onto the first one, basically another living space/playroom/study, which came out beautiful. That’s the only room I love. Our house is laid out like a train. Kitchen, dining, living room all in a line. You don’t know how many times a day I run from the kitchen, through the dining room to the living room and back. It’s a lot. My kids bedrooms are off a hallway that connects to the place where the kitchen eating area and dining room area meet. It’s a mess. I really need help. Or we need to move!

  44. Nestor, I laughed out loud when I read the buckety things! I love your blog, your faith, your humour – you! Your family and extended family have been instrumental in opening my heart to forgiveness and hospitality and hope (and now debt free living, darn it) :). Thank you for sharing your journey.

    Lone Tree, IA

  45. This was so encouraging to me to read. We bought our first home two years ago for the sake of its location right in the middle of the ministry the Lord was calling us to, but man, debilitating is the word that comes to mind. I have been struggling to even TAKE beautiful small pictures around me of anything but my sweet children because there is a lot of potential but not realized beauty. So it can be discouraging to see all the beautiful homes out there in blogland and feel like there is no hope for this place. We have had to do so many necessary repairs that cosmetic updates haven’t even gotten to enter into the picture yet! Thank you for sharing honestly.

  46. I just came across this from Ann Voskamp’s blog, and I love your blog. I love your pictures, attitude…and just want to say that your land is so incredibly gorgeous, and the power lines don’t even matter. I know you are critical of them and they bother you, but you know they really don’t matter. To have open space to run, trees, brush, wild flowers and plants, a pond to canoe in…
    it’s beautiful. :) God Bless.

  47. You speak the truth that is in all our lives-we all have power lines to HOPE through. Great post.

  48. I have a tip, as a person who also has poles in my yard. Use a staple gun to put up chicken wire to about 15 feet, if you can. Plant clemantis (or some other beautiful vining flowers you like). Clemantis are perennial and need no maintenance at all, and make it look beautiful, attracting butterflies in the process. You could even get very creative and figure out a combination of vines to provide four-season interest (three seasons of flowers, one of berries) — check the library for ideas.
    Yes, Hope.
    Those poles can become things of beauty that draw everyone in.

  49. Thanks for sharing! We’ve been working on our fixer-upper for almost a year now. I packed everything away at Thanksgiving and am about to start work again. Your post was encouraging. My word for the year is Present. Here, showing up, in the moment, being the gift. Take care!

  50. I’m a little behind on reading the blogs I love. We are covered up in planning for our charity’s fundraising event March 1. It’s exhausting. I really needed your post today. Thanks for sharing. <3 My word for the year is JOY. I'm choosing it daily…even when it feels really far out of reach.

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