Free Birthday Advice to My Daughter Who May or May Not Need My Motherly Wisdom

Abby and I just doing what we do best–being silly.

It is a very emotional day for me today because it is my baby’s birthday. Okay, she isn’t exactly a baby, but she will always be my baby. Where does the time go? Really, like where? It seems like yesterday she was learning to talk and walk, she was “exploring” the yard for treasures, and she was snuggling with her special blankie and wanting me to read her a bedtime story. Some days, I was so tired from work and all of the other extra activities that I would beg (almost bribe) her to just go to sleep without a story.

In those exhausting moments, we don’t think about our babies growing up and moving away. We don’t think about the day we won’t be together on their birthdays. We are just trying to get those kiddos in the bed, the laundry done, and the next day’s clothes ready.

Looking back with a few years of wisdom under my belt, I would have chosen reading her favorite bedtime book over folding and putting away the laundry. At the time, I was trying so hard to be this super woman–to prove to the world that I could work a full-time job, keep a perfectly clean house (ready at all times for a Southern Living magazine spread), be actively involved at work, community, and church…oh, bless! This list could go on for days. One thing I am thankful for is there was no social media at this time. I would have worked myself to death trying to be super and perfect because I would have had to post everything from what I made for dinner to the knobs on the furniture. (Seriously, my FB newsfeed is full of so many statuses of moms being super moms–from extreme birthday parties that are near Hollywood productions to family vacations that rival royalty. It is shear madness.)

If I could shout one message to the world right now, it would to put down the phones and enjoy time (real time) with your children and loved ones. Put down those phones (like put them away in your purse or on a shelf) and truly hold your kids in your lap. Not have them in your lap while sending GIFs to your bestie. Stop watching YouTube videos while at the dinner table. Talk to your kids. Ask them questions about their day, about their friends, about silly things….Laugh with them . Read a story to them (don’t ask Alexa to do it). Because one day, you will wake up, and your baby will be 22.

FREE ADVICE TO MY DAUGHTER WHO IS 22 AND MAY OR MAY NOT NEED MY MOTHERLY WISDOM.

“It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.”  –Mark Twain

Standing up for what is right and what is moral and good is not easy. It will never be easy. You might be standing alone. You might be shunned or mocked (or trolled on social media) for doing what is right, but you must be the good in this world.

“Every brick they threw at me, I used them to stand on.”

There will always be someone throwing stones at you. Use them to build a strong foundation. Don’t let those brick-throwers get the best of you or get you down because if you do, those bricks will soon cover you. Don’t throw them back because when they go low–you go high (by building!!).

“You are unique. You have different talents and abilities. You don’t have to always follow in the footsteps of others. And most important, you should always remind yourself that you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing and have a responsibility to develop the talents you have been given.”
― Roy T. BennettThe Light in the Heart

“Some people dream of success while others wake up and work hard at it.”

Never be afraid of something that is new or difficult. Accept the challenge. Show yourself that you can do hard things.

“If your dream is a big dream, and if you want your life to work on the high level that you say you do, there’s no way around doing the work it takes to get you there.” –Joyce Chapman

Keep doing the work to get you there.

“Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate and make sure you know exactly what it is you want. No one can hit their target with their eyes closed.”
― Paulo CoelhoThe Devil and Miss Prym

“To really change the world, we have to help people change the way they see things. Global betterment is a mental process, not one that requires huge sums of money or a high level of authority. Change has to be psychological. So if you want to see real change, stay persistent in educating humanity on how similar we all are than different. Don’t only strive to be the change you want to see in the world, but also help all those around you see the world through commonalities of the heart so that they would want to change with you. This is how humanity will evolve to become better. This is how you can change the world. The language of the heart is mankind’s main common language.”
― Suzy KassemRise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem

“If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.” –Nora Roberts

Paw Riley and Abby

Happy birthday, my sweet, little Abigail. I love you more than words could ever express. I would give anything to read your favorite bedtime story to you tonight. *big hug*

Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me today as I wished my daughter a happy birthday. Remember time stands still for no one, there will always be dirty laundry, and those babies are little only once! Now, put that phone down and go snuggle on the couch with a good storybook *big smile*

Rock It Like Prince|Overcoming Fashion Fears

Strike a pose and have some fun!

Hey, y’all! Welcome to Sweet Sorghum Living–a place to sit a spell with a good cup of coffee (which today just so happens to be National Coffee Day–which I celebrate 365 days a year *wink*). So, grab a good cup of coffee (iced or hot or both), and let’s chat about fashion. Which is totally out of character for the blog. Mainly, because I hate–absolutely hate–my photo being taken. I don’t mind a silly selfie or a group photo where I am hidden in the back. But to be at the center of the photo–the camera staring at me–me trying to figure out what to do with my hands–my face. I absolutely do not smile with my teeth, and I have a really big, round head for someone who is only 5′. Bless! I am breaking out in hives just thinking about it.

My dad (better known as Paw Riley), me, and Abby (my daughter–who got her career started at 16 when she created and launched the Vintage Inspired Passionista blog).

Now, my dislike (hate really is a strong word that we should all remove from our vocabulary) of having my photo taken is genetic. I get it from my dad. He also has the round face and big nose–which we try to hide in photos by being silly. I am thankful my daughter did not get the awkward photo gene. I have also tried really hard to teach her to be confident in who she is and to express herself through fashion. That is easy preaching, but hard living.

Being silly is fun, but it also helps me cope with having my photo taken. I also like props–to hide my imperfections and insecurities.

Deep breath. Where was I? Oh, yes. Fashion and overcoming fashion fears. First of all, what are fashion fears? Anything you are afraid to wear–whether it is a particular color or trend, and it is anything you are self-conscious about wearing out in public. It is the clothes you see in magazines or on Pinterest that you really love, but you would never actually buy because you believe you are too short, too tall, too old, too chubby, too pale, too… to wear. It is the little voices inside your head telling you that if you wear those skinny jeans your muffin top will show or that blouse will announce to the world that your head is big and round. It is the outfit you put on in the dressing room–take off–and swear off food for life.

Fashion fears suck, and those voices inside our heads are mean. Now, it would take me days and days of blogging to explain why I say mean things to myself when I am standing in front of my dressing room mirror. But, today is more about overcoming one fashion fear at a time + about challenging all of you to face one of your fashion fears and to say one nice thing about yourself each morning (no negatives!!!!).

A big thank you to my daughter for taking time out of her crazy busy schedule to patiently take photos of me.

On this Try-Day Friday (which is a lovely idea from Dia & Co.), I am wearing a color I would not normally wear. I avoid this color because I am fair with blondish hair and green eyes. I always feel like it makes me look pink and draws attention to my rosacea. Deep breath. Trying to be positive and have the right attitude because that is what I learned from Dia & Co.

Now, without further ado, let’s take a look at the photos my daughter took of me facing my fashion fear of wearing burgundy (maroon, cordovan, or oxblood).

Simple pencil skirt dressed up with a pop of burgundy + boho accessories (necklace by BluKatDesign and bracelets my daughter made me for Mother’s Day).

To face my fashion fear of wearing burgundy even more, I tossed on a boho top in varying shades of burgundy and deep rust.

Oh, I almost never wear a “round” or crew neckline. Which means, I conquered TWO fashion fears on Try-Day Friday! #winning **p.s. do y’all spy the furbabies?**

I wore this outfit to a meeting I had on Thursday. So, technically, I tried one day early *wink* It was a fun outfit that really got me into the spirit of fall. *fingers crossed for cooler temps*

Just swinging with Mattie and owning who I am–a 40-something artist trying to find her way in this big world.

What I have learned from Prince, my dog Mattie, and Dia & Co.–express yourself, be positive, be bold, and have some fun. *cue Raspberry Beret*

Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me today as we chatted about overcoming our fashion fears. Also, thanks for being my therapist today as I muddled through some of my insecurities. I challenge all of you to Try-Day Friday and to #rockit like Prince by sharing your photos to my Facebook page or tag @ChasidyHathorn on Twitter|Instagram + tag @diaandco.

I will revisit this topic and challenge again because I think it is important to face our fears and to not be afraid to admit our insecurities. Together we can make this world a better place–but it starts with being kind to ourselves and forgiving ourselves for not being perfect. *cue Put a Little Love in Your Heart*

Bloopers!

No, Mom. I do not want to give sugars.

Abby: Act Natural
Me: **Karate Kid**

Jazz Hands

 

 

The Real ‘Housewife’ of Johnson City

Mattie doing what Mattie does best *wink*

Mattie doing what Mattie does best *wink*

Hey, y’all! Welcome to Sweet Sorghum Living–a place to sit a spell with a good cup of coffee and enjoy good conversation about everything from gluten-free goodies to easy DIY projects. Today on the blog, I am sharing some fun photos that capture a day-in-the-life of a “housewife” who runs her own art business from the comfort of her home while wearing Nike shorts + oversized, paint-splattered Southern Belle T-shirts and explaining why I was MIA from the blog.

Ziva imitating Mattie

Ziva imitating Mattie

Okay, so the first two photos in this post are of my furbabies. Yes, there are probably  a thousand other things with which I could have started, but these babies keep me smiling and make being at home entertaining because there is never a dull moment with them. My Instagram tells the story. According to all the social media and marketing experts, my IG should be filled with pretty, staged photos of my art, but it is not. It is filled with adorable pups being adorable…with an occasional photo of an art project or event happening. Yes, I am a social media rule-breaker, but that is okay because I am having fun, the furbabies are having fun, and sharing the fun with the world is fun *wink*

Display from the Farmers Market in Johnson City

Lolly Molly Art display at the Farmers Market in Johnson City

My day begins with a Diet Dr. Pepper and some sort of breakfast food–I am not terribly picky. I am just as happy eating leftover pizza as I am eating bacon and toast. While I eat, I check email and try to catch up on social media…though, most days, I fail at this; however, I am trying to pay more attention to the marketing side of my little art business.

It is really hard sometimes working from home because there are many distractions–from laundry that needs to be done to Ziva barking at the UPS guy–bless the UPS guy’s heart! Ziva loves packages and her barking is merely her way of screaming “Mom, there’s a package at the door!” I must admit that I spend way too much time being a “housewife” and not enough time marketing my art business. I know this is a bad thing, and I am trying to change. If y’all have any advice, I am listening–so please feel free to comment on this post *big smile*

This is a large mixed media painting inspired by love of bikes and Henry David Thoreau.

This is a large mixed media painting inspired by my love of bikes and Henry David Thoreau.

After I finish breakfast, I play “potty time” with the pups–Lucy (who is about 18 years old and runs the house), Mattie (who is the baby and diva), and Ziva (who is the nosy toddler). This task seems simple, but it is not because there are cats and squirrels outside + neighbors walking their dogs. Life is full of distractions, and it is how we handle those distractions that separate us from the pups. We can go chasing squirrels all day, or we can buckle down, get the job done, and then go chase squirrels *wink* But, I must admit there are days when I chase squirrels, and I think it is perfectly okay to do so *big smile*

I had fun playing with texture...and figuring out how to add a pop of bright color.

Just having fun playing with texture and color

Once everyone has gone to potty, I get all my chores out of the way–laundry, Swiffering, dishes…I think and create better in a clean space…and I admit that I am a cleaning freak. Getting new cleaning supplies is like Christmas to me…it is a bit sad.

Having lunch with my favorite VIP (Vintage Inspired Passionista)

Having lunch with my favorite VIP (Vintage Inspired Passionista)

Once the chores are completed, I spend the rest of the day in the studio planning, sketching, painting, and building. Sometimes, I am in the basement sorting wood, cutting wood for little houses, or building frames. The creative time varies because I create solely on inspiration and whim. I get a vision and work until the vision has been brought to life.

Abby and I love going to Bristol. I have submitted my art to a local gallery there--hoping to hear something from them soon.

Abby and I love going to Bristol because there are some fabulous places to shop and dine + the downtown area is inspiring. P.S. I have submitted my art to a local gallery there–hoping to hear something back from them soon. It feels good to take a risk with something that is so close to the heart, but so scary at the same time!

Now, on days when I do not feel creative or on days when I feel trapped inside my house, I go on mini adventures in and around the Tri-Cities area. Sometimes, you just have to get out and about–being a housewife + a very small business owner doesn’t mean that I am a slave to my family, to cleaning, and to my computer (because my computer is the lifeline to my business). It simply means that I have a flexible schedule to do the things that I need to do and want to do.

It has taken me a long time to accept being at home…to accept that my art business is a “real” business…to accept that I do not have to do what I went to college to do (and it’s been so long since I went to college that I have forgotten what my initial career choice was *wink*). I am in a place in my life where I can take time to figure out who I am and what I really want to do with the talents with which God has blessed me.

Shopping at TJ Maxx with Abby--sometimes, it is good to go shopping for a deal instead of answering emails and mopping floors.

Shopping at TJ Maxx with Abby–sometimes, it is good to go shopping for a deal instead of answering emails and mopping floors.

There was this one weekend not too long ago that the hubby and I decided to paint the living room. Stay tuned for more.

There was this one weekend not too long ago that the hubby and I decided to paint the living room. Stay tuned for more.

Being at home has its struggles. Explaining what I do is not always easy. Am I really self-employed when I lose more money than I make? *wink* Is “Starving Artist” my job title? Am I really a small business owner? Or am I a very, very tiny business owner? Perhaps, I am a housewife with a serious hobby….

Like I said, it is really hard to explain to others when I don’t even know myself *wink* BUT, what I do know is I am playing it by ear from one day to the next. I am researching, taking online courses about social media and marketing, and creating happy art hoping when people see it they smile. Hoping when people buy my art and take it to their houses that those art pieces will make others smile. I know I want to spread happiness one piece of art at a time, and at this moment…that is enough.

Whew! Enough chatting about all of that. Now, let’s take a look at what has kept me away from the blog over the past couple of months. Believe me–it has been a busy summer filled with adventure, paint, and family *smile*

Courtney Bennet (owner of Salon Confidence in Jonesborough) with Abby at the grand-opening celebration of Courtney's salon. On the wall behind Courtney is "Confidence the Peacock" that I painted for Courtney.

Courtney Bennet (owner of Salon Confidence in Jonesborough) with Abby at the grand-opening celebration of the salon. On the wall behind Courtney is Confidence the Peacock. To see another peacock painting by SassyHat (my artist name), click here.

Complete selfie fail in Nashville *haha* I spent a good portion of July going to and from Nashville--which is a fabulous city with the most delicious all gluten-free restaurant! Stay tuned for more.

Complete selfie fail in Nashville *haha* I spent a good portion of July going to and from Nashville, which is a fabulous city with the most delicious, ALL gluten-free restaurant! Stay tuned for more. P.S. see the hubby in the background…he was IGing his photo while I was attempting to capture myself with Nashville in the background…it was a good try *wink*

Occasionally, I create custom houses. This was a Neshoba County Fair Cabin that I created for a special gift.

Occasionally, I create custom houses. Pictured here is a Neshoba County Fair Cabin that I created for a special gift. So far, this has been the most challenging little house I have made.

One of the art pieces that I created for the Jonesborough Days Art Walk. This is Uncle Sam's Fair Cabin--made using reclaimed wood, picture frame moulding, paper, metal, and paint.

One of the art pieces I created for the Jonesborough Days Art Walk. This is Uncle Sam’s Fair Cabin–made using reclaimed wood, picture frame moulding, paper, metal, and paint. Each little house takes about 5 days to create, and I usually build 4-5 houses at a time.

A sneak peek photo of Uncle Sam's Laundry Day. This mixed media painting won 3rd place at the Jonesborough Days Art Walk. It took me about two weeks to create it.

A sneak peek photo of Uncle Sam’s Laundry Day. This mixed media painting won 3rd place at the Jonesborough Days Art Walk. It took me about two weeks to create it.

It was a busy summer, but a good summer! It was filled with special moments with my little family, and I wouldn’t trade those moments for anything–not even a “real” job with a “real” title and “real” money *wink*

Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me today as we chatted about random things in my life. If you are a starving artist, housewife, or small business owner, do NOT lose heart because you are doing what you love–and that is what matters. Don’t make excuses or be ashamed! Be proud of what you do and who you are! It took me too long to accept that where I am in my life is perfectly okay!

Chalkboard art inspired by my teaching days

Chalkboard art inspired by my teaching days

 

 

Let Us Begin and Begin Again

In the parlor of Hathorn Hall

In the parlor of Hathorn Hall

Hey, y’all! Welcome to Sweet Sorghum Living–a place to sit a spell with a good cup of coffee and enjoy good conversation about everything from gluten-free goodies to handmade goodness. Today on the blog, I am chatting about my outfit of the week and why it is special.

Normally, I do not blog about fashion–for a lot of reasons. Mainly, because I do not like having my photo taken and because I struggle with finding my style. I have read so many blog posts that tell people to dress however they want at any age, but I am very Southern and very rooted in looking sweet and classy with a touch of sassy. Besides, I really have no desire to shop in teen stores, and I do not want to wear a graphic tee that says “You Got More Issues Than Vogue” or “He’s Got the Pole I’ve Got the Bobbers” (even though I am digging the saying of the last one–and I don’t even fish–I did a few times when I was a kid….).

What I am saying is…I like the fact that I am over 40 because that means I survived my 20s and 30s. I don’t want to go back to those days, and and I do not want to look like I am trying to. I just want to be sweet and classy with a touch of sassy *wink*

Mattie and I just sitting a spell on the porch swing.

Mattie and I just sitting a spell on the porch swing.

Do I sometimes think about the body I had when I was younger or the face that I had that was fine-lines free? Sure. But then I think about how far I have come as a person.  And I am happy with who I am and where I am going.

20150518_164207_resizedAs I have mentioned before, I have lost a good bit of weight since my Celiac diagnosis. And because of this, I have been able to shop in my own closet for clothes, and that feels good. It is not that I am a clothes hoarder, but I have kept a few items over the years that I really love…hoping that either I could wear them again or that Abby would add them to her ever-growing vintage collection. I am happy to say that I am wearing those dresses, skirts, pants, and shirts again. So, today on the blog, I wanted to show off one of my favorite dresses from the past + sport my new custom necklace by Lisa Hamilton of beadsoul.

I love my new charm necklace from beadsoul because it reminds me that I did have the courage to begin, and there are no limits to how many times I can begin again. So, today, let us all begin…to do something we have been putting off…to repair that relationship that is broken…to open that Etsy shop…to start writing that book…but let us BEGIN *big smile*

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Giving Mommy sweet kisses because Mattie is a Sweetie Wheatie *smile*

Giving Mommy sweet kisses because Mattie is a Sweetie Wheatie *smile*

Sometimes, Mattie and I just chat about the meaning of life and what new bows she wants from

Sometimes, Mattie and I just chat about the meaning of life and what new bows she wants from CuteNCurlyBowtique on Etsy.

I am still not sure if I am fully comfortable with having my photo taken, but I am getting there. If I managed to conquer the selfies, I can surely conquer posing without a selfie stick *wink*

20150518_164410_resized_1Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me today. If you decided to begin a project or  new career or anything else that you have been wanting to do–please let us know in the comment section because we would love to say a big congrats and be your cheerleaders *big smile*

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Thanks to some sweet encouragement I finally had the courage to begin my Etsy shop. A big thanks to Tracy of Sincerely Yours by Tracy for designing me some sweet thank you notes, story cards, and tags for my shop!

Thanks to some sweet encouragement, I finally had the courage to begin my Etsy shop. A big thanks to Tracy of Sincerely Yours by Tracy for designing me some sweet thank you notes, story cards, and tags for my shop!

Tips for Keeping Your Sofa Looking and Smelling Like New

Lucy (who sheds enough for three dogs) and Mattie (who doesn't shed at all)

Lucy (who sheds enough for three dogs) and Mattie (who doesn’t shed at all)

Hey, y’all! Welcome to Sweet Sorghum Living–a place to sit a spell with a good cup of coffee and enjoy good conversation about everything from home renovation to handmade goodness. Today on the the blog, we are chatting cleaning tips.

I am often asked how I keep my furniture looking like new and smelling so fresh when there are three furbabies running around and living inside my house. My tips and tricks are actually pretty basic and easy to do.

Mattie taking a snooze break on the sofa in the master bedroom.

Mattie taking a snooze break on the sofa in the master bedroom.

You will only need four items to keep your furniture looking new and smelling fresh–vacuum cleaner, lint roller, baby wipes, and Febreze. For best results, clean your sofa and fabric chairs twice per month. I clean mine more during “pollen season” and when it is wet outside.

Just a few items and a little bit of time to keep your furniture fresh.

Just a few items and a little bit of time to keep your fabric furniture fresh.

Check out my quick tip video for more details on how to keep those fabric sofas and chairs looking and smelling like new.

Step-by-Step Cleaning Guide

1. Vacuum the entire piece of furniture. Be sure to remove the cushions and get in all the nooks and crannies.

2. Go over the chair or sofa with the lint roller.

3. Wipe the sofa/chair with baby wipes. Go in one direction and then another. It may take several wipes to get it all clean.

4. Spray the sofa/chair with Febreze being sure to follow the instructions on the bottle.

To protect my sofa/chairs, I toss quilts/blankets on them. I realize that a lot of folks out there are frowning upon the fact that I allow my dogs on my sofas–but they are more than “dogs” to me. They are members of my family, and they enjoy lounging while watching Big Bang *wink*

Ziva taking a little nap on the sofa in the family room.

Ziva taking a little nap on the sofa in the family room. Notice the quilt that is covering the sofa. When it gets dirty (because those giant paws are going to get something dirty), I simply wash it. Sofa protected and momma happy *smile*

Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me today as we chatted about tips for keeping those fabric sofas and armchairs looking and smelling like new.

Do you have any special tips or tricks for keeping your furniture looking like new? We would love to hear about them, so please feel free to post them in the comment section.

Are you keeping up with us on Facebook and Instagram? If not, be sure to go like and follow us now  because you don't want to miss a moment of the randomness *smile*

Are you keeping up with us on Facebook and Instagram? If not, be sure to go like and follow us now because you don’t want to miss a moment of the randomness *smile*

Snow Days in Johnson City, Tennessee + Mattie (Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier)

Snow sprinkles on the front  porch swing

Snow sprinkles on the front porch swing

Hey, y’all! Welcome back to the blog! I am sorry that it has been a bit since I last posted. Y’all know how crazy life can be + all the snow and snowy mud has kept me busy mopping and bathing furbabies *smile* Thankfully, the snow is all gone, and we have had a few warmer, sunnier days. I don’t know about y’all, but I am soooo ready to get out in my yard and do some cleaning and gardening. *daydreaming moment*

20150224_102932_resizedBefore I share some of the snow days pictures, let me explain why it has been such a big deal and shock to my system. I am from the Deep South–the very heart of Mississippi. I have never seen so much snow at one time–much less for so long. This year, I saw my first snow plow and experienced negative temperatures. It was crazy cold, and everywhere I looked–I saw white. After experiencing all the snow, I have decided that it is just not me…it is pretty for a day or two…and those negative and single digit temps–definitely not for me!

I must admit that I whined a lot to the hubby about the snow and cold. I am not proud, but I just didn’t know how to act being trapped inside wearing all my sweatshirts and monitoring the temperature in the basement–hoping the temperature sensor wouldn’t sound. Any who…enough of my silly complaining. It is time to sit a spell with a good cup of coffee and look at snow days photos *smile*

Mattie had a really big time playing in the snow.

Mattie had a really big time playing in the snow.

Mattie is the only fan of snow in our house.

Mattie is the only fan of snow in our house.

Mattie taking a break from playing big.

Taking a break from playing big.

This photo of Hathorn Hall was taken on the first big snow day.

This photo of Hathorn Hall was taken on the first big snow day.

View of the front yard from the porch

View of the front yard from the porch–I love how pretty the bottle tree looks in the snow *smile*

Mattie's tracks in the snow *smile*

Mattie’s tracks in the snow *smile*

Bless poor Sugar's heart--it was her first big snow!

Bless poor Sugar’s heart–it was her first big snow!

This is the back parking pad and alley way.

This is the back parking pad and alley way.

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A view down the street

A view down the street

I had to capture this photo because I believe this is the first big icicle I have ever seen. We are not going to talk about how old I am--let's just say I am over 40, but less than 50 *wink*

Just had to capture this because it is the first big icicle I have ever seen. We are not going to talk about how old I am–let’s just say I am over 40, but less than 50 *wink*

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Abby and Mattie doing a little photo shoot in the snow for the Vintage Inspired Passionista blog.

Abby and Mattie doing a little photo shoot in the snow for the Vintage Inspired Passionista blog.

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Mattie working it for a close-up

Mattie working it for a close-up

Mattie growing tired of being still and wanting to play in the white fluff.

Mattie was growing tired of being still, and she was wanting to play in the white fluff. Be sure to head over to KM Designs on Etsy for absolutely adorable handmade dog collars.

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Mattie is done working for the day. Time to play *smile*

Mattie was done working for the day. It was time to play *smile*

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Thanks so much for sitting a spell with today as we took a look back at the snow days in Johnson City, Tennessee.

It's about 1:30 am here in Johnson City, and it is bright outside--not from the moon or street lamps...but from the reflectivity of the snow--which is on the ground and falling from the sky. The streets are covered in snow...with only a hint of tire tracks from a couple of cars that went by an hour ago. Looking out my window, everything looks so peaceful, beautiful, and clean. There's a crisp, fresh smell in the air and no noise. It is like God is speaking through it all saying "Be still and know...."

“It’s about 1:30 am here in Johnson City, and it is bright outside–not from the moon or street lamps…but from the reflectivity of the snow–which is on the ground and falling from the sky. The streets are covered in snow…with only a hint of tire tracks from a couple of cars that went by an hour ago. Looking out my window, everything looks so peaceful, beautiful, and clean. There’s a crisp, fresh smell in the air and no noise. It is like God is speaking through it all saying ‘Be still and know….'”–from my personal Facebook page on February 26, 2015

 

 

 

Throwback Thursday: Looking Back at 2014

2014 was a full of adventure and moving and moving on. It was a year where I had my gluten-free cupcake + I ate it *wink*

2014 was a year full of adventure and moving and moving on. It was also a year where I had my gluten-free cupcake + I ate it *wink*

Hey, y’all! Welcome to Sweet Sorghum Living! Y’all come on in and sit a spell with me *smile* Today on the blog, I want to reflect on 2014 and say a big, huge thank you to all  of you that have read and supported my blog. I cannot thank y’all enough for all the sweetness, the kind words, the encouraging comments and emails…for everything! I am getting a little teary eyed thinking about how far SSL has come since its first post. I admit that I am not very good at posting on a regular schedule–life gets in the way *wink* but y’all have stood by the randomness, and I thank y’all for that *big hug*

As I was checking out all the blogs from 2014, it was really hard to pick the top ones. The Fall Foliage Report was a big favorite–and thanks so much for all the shares on Facebook…I am blushing thinking about it! *Drum Roll* According to the readers, the top SSL Fall Foliage Report was Historic Jonesborough. I must admit that I absolutely adore that darling town.

Burst of color outside the Jonesborough Presbyterian Church

Burst of color outside the Jonesborough Presbyterian Church

The Gluten-free Top Picks of the Week was a favorite to share on Pinterest. I admit that I don’t have much time to cook, and I like to keep the food preparation easy and quick *wink* I know I must be babbling, but I really did have so much fun trying new foods, eating gluten-free cupcakes, and attending the Whole Foods Market grand opening in Asheville. I can’t wait to see what gluten-free goodie adventures I go on in 2015! Don’t fret–I will share all the details with y’all *smile*

Matt Muenster of DIY Network's Bath Crashers and Abby at the Birmingham Home + Remodeling Show.

Matt Muenster of DIY Network’s Bath Crashers and Abby at the Birmingham Home + Remodeling Show.

Last year, I went on several adventures with my favorite VIP, Abby Hathorn. We attended the Birmingham Home +Remodeling Show and the 4U Ultimate Girls Day Out. We had many more road trips, but y’all will have to head over to the Vintage Inspired Passionista for those!

Looking back, the sleepless nights...loud, creative discussions...and the back pain were all totally worth it. P.S. I am so glad that I do not have to do a major kitchen renovation in my new house. P.S. the hubby painted the walls + we put a new top on the island. I cannot wait to tell y'all about it!

Looking back, the sleepless nights…loud, creative discussions…and the back pain were all totally worth it. P.S. I am so glad that I do not have to do a major kitchen renovation in my new house. P.S. the hubby painted the walls + we put a new top on the island. I cannot wait to tell y’all about it!

Last year, the little family and I moved from Trussville to Johnson City. Whew! I am getting tired just thinking about all the renovating of Sloss Castle and the packing up to move to Hathorn Hall–a 1920 home located in the historic heart of Johnson City. Be sure to check out the blog post all about the first time I saw Hathorn Hall. Click here.

This was the first picture I took of Hathorn Hall--this was during our whirlwind house hunt in the Tri-Cities area! I immediately fell in love with the front porch *smile*

This was the first picture I took of Hathorn Hall–this was during our whirlwind house hunt in the Tri-Cities area! I immediately fell in love with the front porch *smile*

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One of the most popular repurposed projects on SSL was all about repurposing an old chain link gate. I must admit that I miss that arbor–Note to Self: find an old chain link gate and make an arbor for Hathorn Hall *smile*

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My goodness! So much happened in 2014–and honestly, it is really hard to pick the top events. I know that my perspective changed this year–while in a car wash–yep, I had an enlightenment in the car wash. I know that I struggled with being a housewife, and I know that God blessed me beyond what I deserved.

Once again, a big thanks for all of the love and support. Y’all are the best! Happy New Year!! I don’t know about y’all, but I am excited to see what God has in store for 2015.

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Hathorn Hall Holiday Home Tour: The Parlor

Bronze, gold, copper--I have a thing for metals *wink*

Bronze, gold, copper–I have a thing for metals *wink*

Hey, y’all! Welcome to Sweet Sorghum Living–a place to sit a spell with a good cup of coffee and enjoy good conversation about everything from Christmas decorating to handmade goodness. Today on the blog, we are continuing our Hathorn Hall Holiday Home Tour. So, y’all come on in and sit a spell in the parlor *smile*

During the front porch tour, I mentioned my love affair with red tartan plaid. I had a little bit leftover from the lighted garland project, so I just had to make a bow for one of the trees in the parlor.

During the front porch tour, I mentioned my love affair with red tartan plaid. I had a little bit leftover from the lighted garland project, so I used it to make a bow for one of the trees in the parlor.

Sweet burlap bows combined with berries

Sweet burlap bows combined with berries brings a bit of rustic into the parlor.

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Warm metals + red

Warm metals + red

silver goblets + pinecones = simple and easy mantel display

silver goblets + pinecones = simple and easy mantel display

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Delicate gold netting adds just enough sparkle.

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Believe it or not--it was the hubby's idea to put three trees in the parlor. I loved his idea--because I love decking the halls and trimming trees + they represent my precious, little family--the hubby, Abby, and me

Believe it or not–it was the hubby’s idea to put three trees in the parlor. I loved his idea–because I love decking the halls and trimming trees + they represent my precious, little family–the hubby, Abby, and me.

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Mattie wants everyone to know there will be no sitting a spell in her chair *wink*

Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me today as we toured the parlor. Stay tuned for a Hathorn Hall Holiday Night Tour! Tomorrow we will peek inside the family room–which will soon undergo a color change–I have the most fabulous colors chosen to warm up the large and awkward space! Shhh…I can’t tell. The hubby doesn’t know of my entire plan yet *wink*

Mattie wishes all of you a very Merry Christmas!

Mattie wishes all of you a very Merry Christmas!

 

I Am That Parent

Mattie loves having her picture taken.

Mattie loves having her picture taken.

Hey, y’all! Welcome to Sweet Sorghum Living–a place to sit a spell with a good, hot cup of coffee and enjoy good conversation about everything from gluten-free snacks to DIY projects. Today on the blog, I wanted to share my fur babies with y’all–my distractions *wink* When people ask me how many children I have, I tell them one child and three fur babies–known as “The Girls”…bless the hubby’s heart…he is the only male in the house!

Ziva (Giant Schnauzer on the couch) and Mattie (Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier) were exhausted after their shopping trip to Pet Smart.

Ziva (Giant Schnauzer on the couch) and Mattie (Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier) were exhausted after their shopping trip to Pet Smart. Head over to the Instagram to see a video from their Pet Smart adventure.

The hubby and I are parents to an only child. And because of this, we have been asked a million times over the years when we were planning on having another child. Our response has always been the same–“We feel very blessed to have one healthy and happy child.” This, however, is not a satisfactory answer to the majority of those that have interrogated us about the baby topic. Bless, it all started when Abby was a toddler…and she is almost 19 now.

And they sleep...so sweetly.

And they sleep. Yes, I allow my dogs on the sofa…I just put quilts on the cushions…it is a win-win.

I don’t normally get into the real reasons why Abby is an only child. But let’s just say that my pregnancy was not an easy one…Abby was born about 5 weeks early…and she weighed a whopping 8 lbs and 13 oz. I was miserable and unhealthy the entire time I carried her. She is a miracle…it is a miracle I survived carrying her.

We have all seen Steel Magnolias.

I am not a selfish person–I try very hard not to put my needs above those of my little family’s. Abby needed a mom more than a sibling. And if people want to judge me for making that call–so be it. But don’t call me selfish because I didn’t want to risk my life and health for what others deem “normal” or “traditional”….

The hubby and I agreed that we were happy with one child–this decision was made with lots of prayer–and it was made between God, the hubby, and myself.

Look at the sweet face!

Look at the sweet face! Ziva is the needy one–but she keeps us entertained *smile*

It really boils my blood…actually raises my blood sugar…when women judge other women about having babies. Seriously? It is each woman’s choice on how many children she does and does not want to have or adopt. Yes, I have been told way more times that I want to think about–that the hubby and I should consider adoption since having a baby wasn’t an option. I think adoption is fabulous. But we did not want to adopt. We discussed it. We prayed about it. And believe it or not, we were happy being a family of three.

Lucy, who is almost 18 years old, has been with Abby almost her entire life. Abby dressed Lucy up, strolled her around, and had many conversations with Lucy.

Lucy, who is almost 18 years old, has been with Abby almost her entire life. Abby dressed Lucy up, strolled her around, and had many conversations with Lucy. And to this day, Abby makes time for Lucy–where they sit and chat about life.

I think that we as women are too quick to snap at other women about their decisions. For instance, I did not breastfeed *gasp…call the firing squad* and once again, I was called “selfish” because I was not doing what they considered best for my baby. No one ever asked me why…nope. I was just accused of being a bad mother because I wasn’t in the breastfeeding club. Did I ever try to explain to the judge and jurors why? No, because they had already made up their minds about me and my choice.

For the record, I have nothing against breastfeeding mothers. I admire and respect them. But at the same time, breastfeeding mothers shouldn’t have anything against moms who use formula + bottles. Love and respect for all *smile*

Mattie checking on Lucy after Lucy had a coughing spell.

Mattie checking on Lucy after Lucy had a coughing spell. About four years ago, the vet told us that Lucy would be lucky to live another six months. She proved him wrong…really wrong.

I hope y’all don’t think I am whining about my life and the well-meaning people that thought I should have had more children. I just wanted to share why my fur babies are so special and to let other women know that it is their decision on how many children to have or not to have…to let other families that do not fit the “norm” or “traditional” family model know that it is okay. Better to be happy than normal *wink*

Ziva is very proud of her new coat.

Ziva is very proud of her new coat. Notice the toy stuffing on the floor *smile* We got Ziva about three years ago for Abby because she really wanted her own puppy, and we needed a “guard” dog. I am not sure if Ziva has ever spent the night outside. She prefers beds, blankets, and fluffy pillows…but she is very alert and protective of her little family *smile*

It is in my humble opinion that we should not be quick to judge others because we do not know what they are going through….We as women should not criticize other women for deciding not to breastfeed or choosing to have only one child or no children. We should support each other…and be kind *smile*

Mattie showing off her new tutu.

Mattie showing off her new tutu. We all refer to Mattie as “the baby”–she loves to be held, snuggle, and give kisses. She makes a bad day better *smile*

Mattie working it for the camera.

Mattie working it for the camera.

"Is this my good side, Mom/"

“Is this my good side, Mom?”

Mattie know she is cute and has been milking her adorableness since we put the tutu on her.

Mattie knows she is cute and has been milking her adorableness since we put the tutu on her.

Thanks for sitting a spell with me today as we chatted about something that has been bothering me for a long time. It is my hope that we will be more supportive of families–no matter how many children are in them…that we will be understanding of women who have difficult decisions to make about having babies or breastfeeding…or staying single….It is time to stop the judging and start the healing.

P.S. I am super proud of my only child and all the things that she has accomplished. For more on the happenings of Abby, check out her blogs Vintage Inspired Passionista and Sixteen & Successful.

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Why I Feel Guilty About Being a Housewife

Original wall art by LollyMollyArt--I just love old, rusty bike rims!

Original wall art by LollyMollyArt–I just love old, rusty bike rims!

Hey, y’all! Welcome back to Sweet Sorghum Living–a place where you can find everything from gluten-free food ideas to DIY projects. When I started SSL, I had no overall goal. I just wanted to share with people my love for home renovation, junking, and creating. I also wanted to share my struggles with living with diabetes and Celiac. Since I began this journey, moving and starting over has become a conversation topic. Trying to find myself…at my age…in a new city…is constantly on my mind and in my prayers. It is easy preaching, but hard living to say “Let go, and let God.” or “In God’s time, it will happen.” Believe me. I know the best pep talks. I give them to myself daily, but there is one thing that I cannot seem to pep myself up about…it has been a struggle…personal battle (self versus self) since day one…being a housewife.

When my daughter was 16, she started her first blog, Vintage Inspired Passionista. A few months ago she launched another blog, Sixteen & Successful. In has been difficult for me to balance being her mom with being her business manager. Tough love takes on an entirely different meaning! I homeschooled her during her high school years so she could pursue her dreams. It was a crazy busy, but I have no regrets. And I am so very proud of her *big smile*

When my daughter was 16, she started her first blog, Vintage Inspired Passionista. A few months ago she launched another blog, Sixteen & Successful. It has been challenging for me to balance being her mom with being her business manager. “Tough love” has taken on an entirely different meaning in our business meetings! I homeschooled her during her high school years so she could pursue her dreams. It was a crazy busy, but I have no regrets. And I am so very proud of her *big smile*

I really don’t mean to complain about being a housewife because I know lots of women who are housewives…and they love it…they embrace it…they feel like it is their calling. I know lots of women who would love to be housewives…to stay at home with their kids. I have tired to convince myself that I am not just a housewife, but a domestic engineer…CEO of Hathorn, Inc.

You have to understand that having a title and making money is expected. No one wants to brag on their daughter who is a housewife. Or at least that is how I feel. No husband wants to tell his work associates that his wife doesn’t work. It makes her sound lazy, unskilled, or like a trophy…a gold digger. Or at least that is how I feel. Filling out medical forms is stressful for me. “Employer”…I have no employer, but I promise that I am not worthless or lazy. I am not living off the government. I promise I have been employed in the past. Please don’t make me fill in that blank….

No, I am not a CEO of a business…and my math skills would never allow me to be an engineer. I am a housewife. Partly by choice. Partly because of circumstances. And those medical forms are just too nosy and judgmental.

"Facing Forward"--original sculpture by LollyMollyArt. It tells the story of no matter what life tosses at you, no matter how dark the path is, no matter how many questions...keep facing forward...keep moving forward.

“Facing Forward”–original sculpture by LollyMollyArt. It tells the story of no matter what life tosses at you, no matter how dark the path is, no matter how many questions…keep facing forward…keep moving forward.

Honestly, I am not whining. Don’t get me wrong. I am a pretty good whiner. Not that I should be bragging about my excellent whining abilities…but this post is far from feeling sorry for myself or complaining about life giving me lemons–which life hasn’t given me lemons, and even if it had…I have no desire to make lemonade…however, I do enjoy lemon slices in my iced tea. I digress. Back to the topic at hand…why I feel guilty about being a housewife.

My guilt has reached an all new high…I guess it is really more of a low…because guilt really shouldn’t be high on anyone’s list. Before I explain why I feel guilty, let me preface with this–the hubby has no problem with my being a housewife. He loves my being home with the opportunities that being at home offers: working on my art, writing my blog, managing our daughter’s busy blog schedule and demands, and being able to do other things that I love. He truly is the best, and he is super supportive of my creativity.

Please understand that I love my little family. And most days I do not mind being at home doing all the housewife duties–from laundry to errands. But there are a few days where I feel like I am throwing away my talents…that I am not being true to myself…that I am taking more out than I am giving in…yes, it is about the money. I am not contributing to the bank account. I feel like I am a bum…living off the kindness of the hubby. I feel guilty because I do not have a real paycheck. My writing and art aren’t exactly bringing in the big bucks haha…but perhaps one day *wink…dreaming big*

Yes, my guilt is all about the money. I am not lazy. My house is usually beyond magazine quality. I take very good care of my family. But no matter how hard I work at home, no matter how many extra duties I have, no matter how many words I write, or creations I create…I still feel like I have accomplished nothing…because there is no pay stub to prove the value of my labor.

At the end of the day, I know that this is something that I have to wrap my head around. I have to come to accept that my value is not based on dollars and cents. It will take time. And I am okay with that. Because hopefully through my struggle, I can help someone who is also struggling. And together, we can help each other *smile*

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Thanks for sitting a spell with me today as I chatted about why I feel guilty about being a woman without a real paycheck. If you are a housewife or have been a housewife and have any advice for me and other housewives, please comment. I know I could use a little advice *smile*