The last two years have been hard. I’ve had lots of first world problems combined with the sudden illness and ultimately death of my dad which led to lots of things slipping in my life. When I tell you I barely survived the last two years, I mean it. I never tried to sugarcoat things on social, but I didn’t dive as deeply into how my life was literally hanging day by day, sometimes moment by moment. I won’t bore you with the complete laundry list of responsibilities I’ve had on my plate since 2021, but I’ll tell you this…. nearly two straight years of TV (shameless plug: you can watch my Magnolia Network episode here) combined with two MAJOR renovations (The Villas at Spanish Court and the Fuller White House) alongside lighter renovations like Creekside and other rental properties), launching a national rug collection, and tons of other things you may or may not know, about did me in. It was by the grace of God that I survived physically, emotionally, financially and I dare say even spiritually. My Father sustained me and I’m definitely seeing the light, but I am hell-bent on straightening some things out in my life this year. It’s scary putting this out into the universe like this, but my hopes would be that this entry finds it way to the eyes of someone who needs it most. Let’s dive in.
The thing I miss most about 2020 is the time spent outdoors. From March to probably September that year, I rode my bike nearly 15 miles every single day. I was tan. I was tone. And probably in the best shape of my life. I didn’t have near the responsibility on my plate I have now and I was able to take great care of my body. I can’t sugarcoat this. In the last two years, I’ve barely exercised. Fast food, coffee and sugar have sustained me. And my body is 20 pounds heavier. Ugh. Now listen, to see me, I don’t look to be overweight (or maybe I do, lol). But I feel overweight and my clothes don’t fit. That’s why I’m mostly wearing leggings every day. So I’m committed to getting my health back on track this year.
I want to drop that 20 pounds I took on and plan to switch my collagen to the TRIM version (I’m starting with Pineapple Shortcake YUM!). My friend Brittany (@thorncoveabode) told me about how she used TRIM when she needed to drop some pounds and it worked very quickly for her. It contains zero sugar, supports fat metabolism, and when combined with exercise, inhibits fat storage and provides all the usual collagen benefits like healthy hair, skin, nails and joints. I trust Brittany and thought I would give this a whirl too.
While I don’t have the time to ride my bike fifteen miles every single day again, I do plan to start making more time to get outside. I can’t STAND to exercise indoors, so I hope to go out for lots of walks, hikes, paddles and eventually get back on the trails with my bike.
And lastly, I have GOT to cut my sugar intake. I never thought I would say I’m addicted to sugar, but here I am with an extra twenty pounds to prove it. Chocolate and candy are my weaknesses and it’s crucial I give it up. In addition, my kryptonite has been flavored coffee creamer, ugh. Why does it have to be so good?! So a few months back I did make the switch to Prymal Coffee Creamer and I REALLY love it. There are so many amazing flavors like Salted Caramel, Santa’s Cookies, Buttered Rum and more. Courtney, the founder, made Prymal when her diabetic dad refused to give up his flavored creamer. She was like, “FINE!” And she made a coffee creamer as rich and yummy as International but without the sugar. Try it here and use code COTTAGE15 for 15% off.
Ok this is hard one to swallow. Let me start by saying, I’m fine. I’m fine. Everything is fine. 🤪 BUT, I’ve taken greater risks these last two years than I’ve ever taken. I’ve bet BIG on almost an entire street of Minden, and I believe with my whole heart that is exactly what I am supposed to do. You know the old adage, “Do it scared”? That’s exactly what I did. It’s like jumping off a cliff with my eyes closed and praying there is a net to catch me. 😳
All this to say, nearly every penny I’ve earned the last two years has gone right back into renovating these properties. In case no one has told you lately, it isn’t cheap. And truth be told, there is a strong risk I may not see a return on investment in my lifetime. But ultimately for me, it’s less about the money and more about trailblazing and leaving a legacy for those that come after me. I mean, my villas would have been eventually torn down and lost to history. But I saved them and hopefully they will be around for hundreds of years after me. And my story will continue to be told.
“Remember that girl whose life was altered after she got divorced, bought an old cottage, painted her door yellow and started saving historic properties all over Minden? And she paralleled the restoration story of her heart alongside the renovations?”
My prayer is that people see Jesus in my story. The heart of Christ is being manifested in the salvation of historic properties. THAT is what is important to me. So I’ve poured every penny I’ve earned right back into my business.
That means, I’ve hardly saved or invested ANYTHING the last two years. Luckily, I have AMAZING financial advisors at Meriwether Wealth & Planning in Minden who have walked alongside me every step of the way. So I didn’t make decisions in haste or without guidance. But I am also determined to start saving and investing again this year.
Prior to 2021, my investment plan was mostly tithing 10% (investing in the Kingdom because I wholeheartedly believe Malachi 3:10) and saving 10%-20% combined between stocks, mutual funds and a general savings account. While I did keep up my tithing (because He has NEVER failed me on that 3:10 promise), my personal savings the last two years was ZERO. So I plan to slowly ramp that back up.
And lastly, keeping it completely real, I had ZERO debt prior to 2021, but did have to take on some pretty significant risk to complete these projects, and now I’m fully committed to liquidating that as quickly as possible.
Ugh, this one is super hard to admit. While I still love Jesus with my whole heart, the last two years I haven’t spent the time with him that I spent prior to 2021. That is SO hard to type. Before, I was on my swing for nearly an hour every morning and evening and I was in The Word, my journal and nearly constant prayer. Now, I’m lucky if I get a few minutes here and there throughout the day. It seems like as soon as I wake up, someone or something (my phone, ugh) beckons for my attention and HE takes a backseat. I’m ashamed to even admit that. But it’s the real, raw truth.
Therefore, I’m committed to getting back on track again this year. One book I LOVE that has helped me so much is Confessions of a Prayer Slacker by Diane Moody. And I also plan to revisit The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson (my all time favorite book which I FIRMLY believe helped me in believing for and securing my cottage).
I feel like much of my stress the last two years would have been alleviated had I stayed in The Word. So I’m looking forward to spending time with our Father again this year.
Ok let me explain this. There is a REASON why you have been seen very little new pictures of my personal cottage the last two years. Y’all, IT IS A TRAINWRECK. And I can’t even tell you how accurate that is. It’s served as a stopping off point for me in the evenings, a catch-all for social media collaboration supplies, a storage for construction and decor supplies for my projects and my dining room table is now my office (because sitting at my table, working, and overlooking Academy Park brings me a peace that I can’t explain and can’t get if sitting behind my actual desk in my office). My poor assistant, Jessica (who helps me keep my life straight more than you know) comes over at least once a week and tries to make heads or tails of this mess. (God bless her for her kind, patient, loving me well soul.) And to tell you the truth, I’ve about been at my breaking point with my house the last two years. (I don’t know what that means other than I was about to break because my home stayed in a constant state of chaos and I felt like there was nothing I could do about.) Until now…..
I am about to begin a GREAT PURGE. Most of you know, but I have a little booth at Heavenly Treasures, one of our amazing local antique stores, where I’ve been dumping things the last year or so that I want to get rid of. Now, don’t get excited…. I wish it was filled with lots of heavenly treasures (and maybe they are to you, lol) but I’ve mostly been taking things I don’t want. I plan to continue to do that, as well as I am about to host the most random Facebook garage sale of my junk that you ever did see. So stay tuned for that. (And I am NOT exaggerating when I tell you this… so far in the pile to list is old hair extensions, unopened makeup, unopened curtains and much more. It’s truly a smorgasbord.)
I’ve got to get rid of some things before I go absolutely crazy.
I’ll close out this post with where I started. I’m fine, I’m fine. Everything is fine, lol. I truly do mean that. I am OK. But I’ve got to get “back to zero” as my sister says, get things back into kilter OR I will implode. I have pushed my limits these last two years and I WHOLEHEARTEDLY recognize that. And while by nature, I am a go getter, Type A, Enneagram 3 (please like and comment on all my posts because it makes my soul happy- I jest), these last two years have been a little much for even me. So here I go, bringing you along with me as I find my “zero” and discover a new normal while continuing to blaze trails I love to travel.
Will you join me?
(And stay tuned for a post soon with the results of my recent Simply Southern Cottage survey and a peak behind the curtain of some changes and updates (and exciting things) coming up this year.)