“If your Nerve deny You, Go above Your Nerve”- Emily Dickinson

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It dates back to when I was 17. My sister and my friend were going to hike Mount Washington with her dad. Mount Washington (6288 Ft.) is the tallest mountain in the northeast and known as “home to the worlds harshest/most extreme weather”. I was invited to join, but hesitated. Let’s be real….bottom line…I chickened out! I didn’t think I could do it. At that point in my life, if I couldn’t do things “well”, then I just didn’t do it. That was my perfectionist mentality for a very very long time. If I did something, I wanted it to be “great” ! But, how can you be “great” at something, if you haven’t done it? They came back from their expedition elated, filled with fun stories talking about how crazy the weather was with smiles on their faces. Disappointment and regret sat inside of me, and it stayed there…

Fast forward in time. I became a nurse, a wife, and a mom and all of my goals and desires halted. I did everything for everyone else and that was what my life had become. Until a year and a half ago. I read the book “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown and it completely shifted my outlook and approach on living. I even blogged about it here: https://lilysparrowprimitives.wordpress.com/2016/03/16/daring-greatly-2/ . For so long I didn’t do hard things because of fear, shame, anxiety, and inadequacy. The voice in the back of my head was, “who do you think you are?”, “a mother’s priority should be her home and her kids”, “you should have done that when you were younger”, “your body can’t handle that physically anymore….you missed the window of opportunity” . But then I thought, what does this show my girls? When you become a mom, that is all your life is? That I don’t have a sense of adventure anymore? That being older means giving up on tough goals? That my life is solely wrapped into them? I slowly started doing things for me and I stopped caring about the voice in the back of my head.

I also considered….what is this life? I look around and think….how many people are just wasting this!!! Walking around and not seeing the beauty in every aspect of this life that you have been granted!! Every single day that I am blessed to wake up with air in my lungs and a body that functions well is a gift!! I don’t want to waste this swimming in pile of regrets. I want to live each day to the fullest that I can. Yes, there are days of frustrations and hard times, but those days are also filled with grace and love and beauty too!!!

Over the last year I have done things that challenge me to a point that I never have. Achievements that make me smile and say…”I’m so glad I did this”…and it didn’t matter if I did it well, but that I accomplished it. Many of them have to do with hiking. You see, I married an avid hiker. For the longest time he would go on these amazing adventures and I would see these awesome pictures and think….”so fun, but I could never do that”. I’ll just stay at home and read my books about adventures and interesting things. Last spring I finally got the courage to do my first solo hike (i blogged about it here: https://lilysparrowprimitives.wordpress.com/2016/04/25/573/ ). I also hiked my first 4000 footer (Cannon) and hiked The Franconia Ridge Trail in NH (one of the most epic hikes in the whole country). I had Mt. Washington listed for the fall, but we got snowed out several times (go figure!). So, I did my first fall hike (Mt. Liberty) and winter hike (Pierce and Eisenhower). The summer came and I knew I wanted to get Mt. Washington off my bucket list. I wanted to finally get rid of that disappointment and regret that still lingered inside.

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Sunday (7/9) was the day. We have another hike potentially for the end of the summer that has a lot of exposure and Dave wanted to prepare me for that. So he chose…Mt. Washington via Huntington Ravine Trail. This trail is known to be the very hardest/technical climb east of the Mississippi. The night before and the morning of….I had a pit in my stomach and that same “voice of doubt” in the back of my head. I fought it off by writing inspirational quotes on my hands and arm. The thinking and waiting was tough. I was glad that we decided to go with my BIL (Jim) and SIL (Carolyn). The night before I thought…why am I doing this? Well, My answer was….because I CAN (physically, emotionally, mentally) and because there will be no greater feeling than accomplishing this!!! This is over 18 years I’ve held onto this. We hiked the early portion of the trail and I felt confident (even passing the “very dangerous trail” sign), but I will admit….when we got to the foot of the first major transition point on the headwall…that was scary. The hike continued to worsen with finding foothold and handhold moves that were tricky climbing up the rugged rock (I am so glad I had a few rock climbing sessions under my belt from this winter). Eventually, you have several huge boulders you have to meander around (with exposed cliff drop offs behind you and very little footing)….these were nerve wracking. The last crucial point in the trail is a “chimney”….I froze here. I sat there thinking…”I dont know if I can do this….maybe I should turn back?”, but in reality…turning back was more dangerous! Dave was able to get up the chimney with his longer legs, but my boot kept slipping and there was no way my legs could reach where his did. (he later admitted…..he was very nervous for me at this point). Thankfully, Jim gave me his knee to step on to extend my footing and give me the ability to push up and over and I was able to grab onto the rock and reach for Dave’s hand. I will tell you….the moment I finally exited this trail….was sheer relief! I would never tell anyone to do this unless they were a heavily experienced hiker! One false move….you could die or be severely injured (thankfully I went with Dave and Jim!). By the time I made the summit of Mt. Washington, I was tired, ecstatic, and maybe in a state of shock. 18 years later I accomplished an adventure that I should have done years ago, but truthfully, I think this made me enjoy it that much more. Some ask….why hike? Firstly, I can do something with my husband that he is completely passionate about. Finally, because there is nothing that compares to the feeling of being so small on a mountain. When you are so little and everything else is so vast and big…..I know that without a shadow of a doubt…there is an amazing Creator who cares about the big things and small things in life! There is nothing more beautiful or humbling than that.

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I will leave you with a slideshow of highlights from our trip….

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Pinch Myself Moment

Hi Everyone,

First, I would like to make it known that one of my very favorite “go to” blogs is Marian Parson’s.  For those of you who don’t know who Marian is by her real name….she is Miss Mustard Seed! marian1She is also the developer of one of my favorite milk paint lines as well.  If you have read some of my furniture flip blog posts…you know that I use a lot of her products including her milk paint, hemp oil, and wax products.  Reading her blog pushed me to start painting furniture pieces and seeing more of the hidden potential in things.  She also has great tutorials on reupholstering, sewing, styling, creative business advice, thrifty decor, etc.  I feel like I am friends with her by just being a regular reader of her blog.  Marian’s writing style makes you feel like you are just sitting right there with her and having a conversation.  She is inspiring to me because she took her amazing talents and passions and made a career out of it.  She makes money doing what she loves!  Last April she announced that she would be coming to “Sage Farm Antique’s Fall Spectacular Event”.  The event was in Rochester, NH…about an hour away from me!   She was going to be speaking at two different presentations and one being about home decor on a thrifty budget.  As soon as I had read that….I knew I wanted to be there!!! I wanted to finally meet this wonderful lady in person!  Today I did just that!!!
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I arrived at the event early because not only was Marian going to be speaking, but it took place at an antique market hosted by Sage Farm.  Inside the Rochester Fair Grounds was a bunch of antique booths and vendors as well as yummy fall foods!  I did some browsing, got a coffee & cider donut, then headed soon after to get to the “special event” so I could get a front row seat (something I never would have done in school) !!!

About 5 minutes after I had found my seat….Marian arrived with her mom!  Her mother ended up sitting right next to me….and was the sweetest and so down to earth!!!  Marian presented and spent the time to answer questions, then wrapped it up by talking to some of us after.  Her mom was nice enough to take a picture of me with her daughter!

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It definitely felt like a celebrity moment for me, but so much more real because I felt like I already knew her!  The whole day was a “Somebody, please pinch me….is this real? kind of day”  If you have never heard of Miss Mustard Seed….here is a link to her blog…check it out!  I hope you love it as much as I do!!!  http://missmustardseed.com/

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Quick Flip Project

So it’s been a little while (eek…sorry about that) !  Life has been CHAOTIC in MY HOUSE!  Every day feels like a whirlwind, between the kids starting school, me starting a new job, and life just being plain old BUSY.  It’s been hard to find a minute to just breathe, never mind accomplish something!  But, last night I was finally able to set aside a few minutes to sew a curtain for the bathroom.  For a little while I thought about leaving the window plain without any treatments, but I felt like the bathroom needed just an added pop.  I also think that a curtain dresses up a window nicely and adds a nice décor element. So here is my quick flip project for the week!

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Mommin aint easy!

Emma went to Kindergarten 2 years ago.  Ibackpack remember the anxiety I felt sending my first born out into the world.  Feelings of “did I prepare her enough”.  Would she find her teacher ok?, Will she make friends? , Will she cry and miss home? , Will she go to the bathroom when she needs to?, Will she be brave and stand up for herself?, Knowing she is quiet and sensitive…will she not get lost in the crowd? I remember that first day of school so vividly.  I had a knot in my stomach the whole night before and morning.  I couldn’t believe that this tiny little baby I had brought home from the hospital was big enough to already go to school….all day long!  She was leaving the nest and having to learn that kids can be mean and not 3fingerseverything is just like home.   I remember trying to hold back the tears the first time I saw her wearing a backpack bigger than she was!  The moment that big yellow bus came and I got one last hug….happened in an instant and it was all over!  I balled my eyes out as the bus pulled away and I saw the 3 little fingers signing “I love you” out the window.   Then I turned and saw this sweet little 3 year old holding my hand saying “it’s ok mom, we will be ok”. 

 

I didn’t feel completely alone because I had someone else who needed me during the hours of 8-3.  My little buddy, my side-kick, my helper Hannah.  We filled our days with fun adventures and memory making.  We truly had time to bond now that it was just the two of us!  Of course, the time has now come….my youngest is about to head off in a little over a week and it’s hard all over again for different reasons!   I have some of the same worries I had 2 years ago, but some different as both girls have different personalities.  I still worry that she will become just another face in a sea of 5 year olds.   I worry that she will give in to peer pressure because she longs to be a good friend, that she won’t eat her lunch, that she won’t pay close attention to her teacher because she gets easily distracted, and I worry that she will get so tired because she still regularly needs rests.  Hannah is ready, I know she is. 

  It’s time for me to let her grow up, but I also worry about myself.    I worry about the once coveted silence will be deafening, I worry that I have no purpose if I’m not spending the majority of my time with at least one of my children.  I worry that I won’t be needed as much.  The years I have been able to be at home with my children have been the absolute hardest and best years….I would not have traded them for anything.  The memories, the bonding, the hard days were worth it. But it’s a loss knowing that this time went too fast and is over.  I’m excited for them and all they are going to learn and experience, but it ain’t easy being a mom!

A Bathroom to Remember!

Hi Everyone!

I am finally having the chance to sit down and write a post about our new bathroom!  I have been waiting years for our bathroom to be different and this summer was finally the year.  As you all might recall, a little over a month ago, I was vulnerable and showed you our old bathroom that needed a significant face lift.  Here are some of those pictures.

 

We decided to make our own vanity to save some money.  We had an old dry sink that we decided to flip.  Unfortunately, I did not save a picture of my own dry sink, but I took a picture of one that my mother in law has that is almost identical.  Here is the before and after of the dry sink turned into sink vanity.

 

Finally, the bathroom is finished and it is now my favorite part…making it pretty and put together!  There is still a few small finishing touches left to do, but I am happy to say that it’s just about done! Now it’s time for the big reveal.  It’s like when you watch “Fixer Upper” with Chip and Joanna Gaines and they are just about to pull apart the big screen that has the picture of the owners “old house”  on it.  Picture me yelling “EVERYONE ARE YOU READY TO SEE MY NEW BATHROOM!!!”  ha ha.  Well, without further adieu…

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an antique sifter and a cabin & mountain pencil sketch I found to display above the toilet

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Well worth the wait in my opinion.  Glad the project is over and I don’t have to cringe when people need to use our bathroom!!!

 

WAY TOO LONG!!!

Hi All,

Well, this post is titled “Way Too Long!!!” because it really has been way too long since I have given you any updates.  The bathroom project is finally finished, but before posting any pictures I need to wrap up some finishing touches.  I am hoping that next week I can finally give you my official “after” post!  This summer has been BUSY!!!!  But then again….what summer isn’t?? Really!

Today, I am going to share with you something I am really really excited about!!! I recently was gifted, by one of my good friends, with the most amazing antique.  She asked me several months ago if I had any interest in taking an old antique spinning wheel off of her hands.  You can only imagine my excitement!  To say ecstatic was an understatement!!! “Um yeah!!! Of course!!”  It was an antique “Great Wheel” that has been in her husband’s family since the 1800’s.  Unfortunately, she didn’t have the space to keep it in her house.   She knows that I am a true lover of antiques and in particular, early American styling, so she graciously offered it to me.   The only kicker was finding a way to get up to Maine and get it to fit in the car.  Of course you all know me well enough that no matter what….that spinning wheel was going to fit and make it home !!!    So here it is in all of it’s glory!!! I love it and I love my dear friend for thinking of me especially, she’s the best!!!

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Bathroom Changes

To say that it has been a little chaotic in our home over the past week….is a bit of an understatement!  We have been in the midst of planning a bathroom renovation project and an anniversary trip away!  For years we have been wanting to renovate the bathroom in our home!  We moved into this house 10 years ago, life happened, we had a puppy and we got pregnant!  Honestly, having a bathroom construction project was not conducive at the time while we had babies and toddlers crawling around.  We have finally arrived to the point where…IT IS  TIME!  This was the year to do this!  I am so ready for this bathroom to be flipped!  I hate it!  It has always been the one room in our home that just makes me cringe 😬  .  When guests come over, I secretly hope that they don’t have to use our bathroom because it is so ugly!  It screams….”welcome to the 50’s” !  I did my best to make it somewhat “ok”, but it’s kind of like the old saying goes, “It’s like putting lipstick on a pig!” .

For a long time, we thought about doing the project ourselves. My husband is very handy and skilled at doing home renovations.  But the reality that it is our only bathroom came into play and we needed it done on a quick timeline.  So, with all that being said, next week we are having a contractor come to start this project and I couldn’t be more excited!  Here are some before pictures of our current bathroom….Showing these to you is me being completely vulnerable because I am not wanting everyone to know just how bad our bathroom is!  Although, I am so excited for the “After”  photos !  I will keep you all updated on the progress 😀

The dreaded hideous vanity mirror with fluorescent lights …our only outlet is part of this!  I mean really, who doesn’t love a shell shaped sink?

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There used to be curtains on the window, but the contractor had to come to take the casing off to do measurements for a new window.  There also used to be a white dropped ceiling ( so the metal bars on the ceiling with lime green paint weren’t visible)

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I think I Fell in Love…!

Wow, I looked back and it has been WAY TOO LONG since I posted a “before and after” post !!!  So without further ado, here is my latest and greatest project that I have been working on !!! First, it comes with a warning….WARNING: this is my favorite project to date and I still don’t know if I’m going to officially sell it!!!  I LOVE IT!

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It started with a phone call from my friend Bryon who had just scored a new amazing dresser for himself.  Being the good friend that he is, he knew I was in the business of making furniture awesome again.  He wanted me to do something great with his previously cherished Ah-mazing empire dresser.  Bryon sent me a quick picture of it and asked if I thought I could do something with it. “Absolutely! YES! YES! YES!” … was more of my response!  I will admit that I have a deep infatuation with empire dressers.  They just scream “manly” to me.  The lines and styling are very masculine and timeless.  They will never go out of style….well, at least not in my humble opinion!!!

This empire dresser has been well used and loved…as it should be!  It had scattered scratches and dings and a few missing pieces of laminate.  I spent some time with my wood glue, clamps, and putty and patched up those “rough” areas.  The next step was a gentle sanding of the entire piece.  Finally, I chose this deep, rich, navy blue milk paint to continue giving the dresser a more masculine feel!  The color of this milk paint is called “Artissimo” and it is by Miss. Mustard Seed.  It is absolutely yummy!   I distressed the edges gently and top coated it with hemp oil which just makes a wood and paint combination pop!

Finishing touches included finding and putting on these gorgeous white ceramic knobs that have an “antique” feel to them.  Set of 12 Ceramic Solid Metal Knobs and Pulls White Door Cabinet Drawer Handles Dresser Room IndianShelf Handmade Online New Antique FinishI also ordered more drawer liner paper from my favorite online source….Spoonflower.  This time I went with a pattern called “safari herringbone” and I think it just makes the inside of the drawers really pop!  Seriously though….who wouldn’t love opening these drawers to find this pretty paper inside?  Ok, now brace yourself….here is this beauty!!!!empiredresser1

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Be Like Grandma Gatewood

I recently came across this story about Grandma Gatewood….do you know about Grandma Gatewood…well, if not…read it!

The Grandma who went for a Walk Alone through 14 States

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At the age of 67, Emma Rowena Gatewood told her adult children she was going out for a walk. Little did they know that her “walk” would make her the first woman to hike the 2,168-mile Appalachian Trail from Mount Oglethorpe in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine solo, and in one season. She was a farmer’s wife from Ohio, a mother to 11 children who gave her 24 grandchildren, and a survivor of domestic violence.

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 In 1950, Emma had read an article in theNational Geographic about the famous trail, which she would later find out had greatly exaggerated the ease of the hike, giving her the impression of leisurely walks and clean cabins at the end of each stretch. In 1955, when she decided to embark on her little impromptu stroll, she wore Keds tennis shoes and packed barely any hiking gear normally required except for a blanket, raincoat and a plastic shower curtain.

As people began spotting the 67 year-old grandmother making her way alone through forests and wild lands on the longest hiking-only trail in the world, local newspapers picked up on the story. Nicknamed “Grandma Gatewood”, by the time she had reached Connecticut, Sports Illustrated had done an article on her and she became a celebrity before the hike was even over.

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There’s a tradition along the Appalachian Trail for some hikers to receive “trail magic”, assistance from strangers living along the route in the form of anonymous kind actions, gifts, food or places to sleep. As Grandma Gatewood’s celebrity grew with every state she conquered, more strangers encouraged her with “trail magic”.

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This remarkable farmer’s wife from Ohio had always found solace in nature, ever since her husband began physically beating her on a regular basis just a few weeks into their marriage. On more than one occasion, he had nearly beaten her to death, breaking her ribs and teeth, threatening to have her committed to an insane asylum if she tried to leave him.

GATEWOOD (1)When she needed to escape their marital home, Emma often ran into the woods to find peace. Eventually, she was able to get a divorce, but never re-married, content in her solitude and confident she could take care of herself.

When she completed her 14-state two thousand-mile hike, Mrs. Gatewood was invited on the Today Show to speak about her experience. “For some fool reason, they always lead you right up over the biggest rock to the top of the biggest mountain they can find”.

When asked for hiking tips, she said, “Make a rain cape, and an over the shoulder sling bag, and buy a sturdy pair of Keds tennis shoes. Stop at local groceries and pick up Vienna sausages… most everything else to eat you can find beside the trail”.

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By the age of 75, she had hiked the Appalachian Trail three times, making her the first person to do so. She also walked the 2,000 mile Oregon Trail from Missouri to Oregon averaging 22 miles a day and traveled to every state in the country during her lifetime.

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Personally, I think Keds should dedicate their next campaign to the story of Grandma Gatewood!

Article Source:  http://www.messynessychic.com/2015/11/26/the-grandma-who-went-for-a-walk-alone-through-14-states/

 

After I read this article I just thought…wow, this woman was determined and nothing was going to stop her from accomplishing her goals.  She DARED GREATLY!!!  What an inspiration!  What holds you back from accomplishing a goal?  What are you afraid of?  Get out there and do it….if Grandma Gatewood could do it at her age…so can you!!!

A goal I have for this summer….hike Mount Washington!  I have lived in New England the majority of my life and have yet to hike the tallest mountain in the North East.  I am nervous and excited all at the same time.  I no longer want to look back and say….I wish I had done that….now is the time!

 

Breathe the Fresh Air

Journal – tagged "News!":                                  Photo Credit: Peg and Awl.  http://pegandawlbuilt.com/

It has been a busy week!  I haven’t done any new furniture flips this past week because I have mostly been enjoying Spring in New England.  The warm weather has finally started to arrive here and I have been soaking it all in!  Last week I spent most of the week doing yard work.  My gardens needed some serious tending to after the long Massachusetts winter.  They were sad and needed a “make me pretty again, please!” moment.  After getting them all prepped with raking, weeding, and flipping the soil, my youngest daughter and I went to Home Depot and got a bunch of flowers to plant.  It was fun picking out flowers together and then finding the perfect spot to plant each one.

I will admit that I was never a gardener, but over the past few years I have slowly started to become more comfortable after putting some real effort into it.   I learned a lot along the way about what worked, what didn’t, and what I could do better next season.  It is always fun to see a tiny little plant blossom after you provide the necessary care toward it. One of the most important things that I have learned is that placing a plant in the proper environment is so important, as well as caring for it properly.  Another important part of gardening is to not give up on the process.  Don’t give up on plants too easily, just change up what you are doing with them.  Consider watering more, watering less, adding fertilizer, repotting it, or moving it’s location and sometimes it will bounce back and be just as amazing as it was meant to be! Little baby plants are symbolic to people… if we are feeling dry and uninspired….change things up, do something different so that you can bloom and thrive!

Yesterday, was one of those “perfect temperature” kind of days (high 70’s with a light breeze).   I had a lot of work that I should do around the house, but I decided to not waste a day of beautiful sunshine and go for a hike.  My mother in law had my daughter for a “grammie” day and I used it to my full advantage.  I initially contemplated going on another solo mountain trip, but I really did need accomplish some tasks and not spend too much time away.  I decided I would go to a new local spot that I had heard great things about, but never actually done myself.  I went to a state forest in Newburyport, MA called Maudslay State Park.  If you live in the area and have never been….go!  The one thing I regret is leaving the map that I printed up….on my printer!  Yeah, I realized this just as I was parking my car in the parking lot.  They have a map at the entrance, but it was not a very detailed one.  There are a ton of different trails that you can walk, but the blazes on the trail are not well marked.  With that being said, I didn’t want to wander too far away without knowing where I would end up.  Some of the trails go right along with riverside and it is right near the ocean.  As you are walking you can smell a mix of both forest and ocean all the at the same time.  What is better than that?  I found a comfortable spot to sit right by the water, read my book, and just enjoy the time listening to the wildlife around me.  One thing that I am so thankful for is having a father who was a science teacher.  Growing up he instilled in me a respect for animals and a love of nature.  It has allowed me to share that same love with my own two girls.  When you take the time to just sit, observe your surroundings, and pay attention to the details…Creation is astounding!  I am going to leave you with a few pictures of yesterdays hike and I can definitely say that I will be going back….with a map!  Enjoy your week and embrace the fresh air and beauty around you!

“Some old-fashioned things like sunshine and fresh air are heard to beat”

~ Laura Ingalls Wilder