Day 9: Refinishing what’s been covered.

Last Wednesday, my sweet Cody Bell and I closed on a little duplex in Montgomery.

It’s a simple little place, one side for us, another side for a renter.

We spotted it one day while we were visiting friends, so of course we peeked inside.

We saw a fixer.

A place with good bones, but need for quite a few cosmetic repairs.

Nothing the Bell’s can’t handle.

It’s an old place.

Built in 1946.

Purchased in 1955 by a sweet little family… and we are the second buyers since 1955.

Behind the house is a shed where we have found dozens of newspapers from WW II and others dating back all the way to 1917.

We purchased the house from two cousins who inherited this estate from their grandparents.

They are older, I assume their early 70s and full of stories behind this little gem.

In fact, one of them got a little teary eyed in the closing because of all the memories she had with her family in this place.

It gave us such a sense of honor being entrusted with someone’s family home. 

I won’t lie, when we walked back in their after the closing, and the smell of moth balls engulfed my nose from the carpet that had remained one decade too many, I wondered how in the world this place was ever beautiful after being tainted by “modern trends” that flooded through the 60s,70s,80s, and 90s.

But just when I thought we were going to have a whole lot more work to do, we peeled back those carpets to begin.

That nasty, rotted, smelly, carpet.

And there, laying below all that terrible, smelly, carpet was hard wood floors.

Original hardwoods.

1946.

Perfect, just needed a little refinishing.

They had been covered and hidden away for all these years.

All it took was two crazy 20-something-year-olds to take a chance and peel back the layer of filth to find the treasure underneath.

I think remodeling does something to you.

Mentally and Physically.

Physical exhaustion from doing the work and cranking it all out knowing the faster you get it done the faster you get to enjoy it.

Mental exhaustion for the feeling of no release from always having to schedule your life around “construction.”

But I love what this work does for my heart.

Showing me every single time that there is always something beautiful to be found when we take the time to uncover the mess and get to the bottom of it all.

It even teaches me a little more about my own heart, where it has covered up beautiful things with lies and mess and all it needs is some fresh perspective to awaken it back to life.

In 30 days of wishful doing we are remodeling ANOTHER house, and refinishing what’s been covered all these years.

Stay tuned for more pictures and updates of what we do the place along the way!

Day 5: #foodfriday Mrs. Wendy’s Sweet Tea

I know sweet tea isn’t food.

But in the South, it’s a staple.

Growing up, my Mama never let sweet tea run dry in our refrigerator.

I am pretty sure there was sweet tea in our sippy cups. 

I can’t even count on my fingers the amount of times people came over to our house just to sit + sip tea and just simply visit.

My friends would come over and immediately open our refrigerator asking for “Mrs. Wendy’s sweet tea.”

People were always coming to their house, some blood related, some not, coming just to be there.

Some were just killing time.

Some wanted wisdom.

Some came for just time together.

But no matter the reason,

it was at their house that they had that tea. 

That tea that my mama mastered.

She learned it from my great grandmother.

And it is, it really is the best sweet tea.

I’ve tried my hardest to be able to make my tea taste like hers.

But it NEVER tastes the same.

But I think the reason that tea tastes so perfect is the reason we all drink it.

Because yes, I’m not lying y’all, its amazing.

And yes, mother, if you’re reading this I know the key is to “let it sit” before adding water.

BUT

We drank that tea at supper every night as kids.

We drank tea when we had a bad day at school and my mama fixed us a glass to make us feel better.

We drank that tea when all my friends came over after school or church.

We drink that tea at #PlunkettTuesday dinners.

My mother stewards hospitality in the most honoring way.

She opens her home every single week for everyone to come over and sit around her + my Dad’s table.

She is a mom to those whose parents live in other cities, states, and countries.

She has spent her life allowing her home to be a haven for people to comfortably walk into without knocking…

Just to sip on some sweet tea.

Her sweet tea really is the best.

BUT

Her hospitality is what makes us all crave it.

Because,

It means more time learning from her.

In 30 days of wishful doing, I challenge you to be a person who loves people well.

A person who allows the world around you to experience the power of Jesus through your kindness, your joy, your listening ear….

and maybe just a glass of sweet tea.

The People.

I grew up in a little town resting on the outskirts of the capital city, filled with farm houses, a country store, and an old railroad track.

In the evenings my Daddy would pile me and my sisters in his old pick up truck to drive us to the country store for candy bars and a pack of bubble gum.

It was kind of routine the way we would all ride together.

On the way my Daddy would say “now girls, your mama doesn’t need to know that I am getting you a candy bar. Lets just keep that between us now, alright?”

Sugar wasn’t exactly a thing we got to have regularly, so we would always nod in agreement to his plan.

We would pick out our candy and scarf it down on the ride home in hopes to hide our secrets even though the chocolate residue on our faces gave us away.

I can remember feeling so guilty about hiding my candy consumption from my mother that I would run through the doors and say, “Daddy got us candy at the store, mama!”

While my sisters rolled their eyes at my big mouth, my mama would kneel down in front of me and say, “Mercy, Child!”

img_8311It was as if “mercy” replaced “Good Lord you’re covered in chocolate. I can’t believe your Daddy gave you that much sugar before bed.”

instead,

 it was always mercy.

Mercy in her heart, mercy out of her mouth.

mercy.

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img_8320Over the years of listening to my Southern mama talk, I realized I picked up on her tendency to use small phrases to fill in holes or gaps where we are uncertain what to say but feel the need to say something… “bless it…”

We can’t help it.

It’s habit. It’s nature. It’s just what we do.

img_8258Montgomery is Southern as they come with monogrammed decals and hair bows bigger than a head, but it’s home and it makes sense to us.

These words that we use, sayings that we say, quotes from Lawyers in Monroeville, AL are things that remind us that we are home.

img_8236img_8238img_8337Our city is working towards greater goals, casting nets for a bigger vision and attempting to draw in its locals with a renewed set of lenses to see the city for what it is becoming and no longer reaching back for what it might have once been.

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Filled with friends that understand our random sayings, family that remembers our roots, and faces of new comers attempting to grasp on to what there is to love about this place.

It’s the people.

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The people that make this city so wonderful and warm.

The people that say one word to describe an entire thought.

The people that work along side you and do life with you.

The people that draw out your creative side and partner with you to try new things.

The people that grieve what you grieve and have joy in what you delight in.

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The people that care about your business that’s prospering or that was abruptly stolen.

The people that invite you over for coffee to ask about your life.

The people that make you laugh without saying a word.

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It’s the people that make this place so perfect.

It’s the people that make any place what it is,

but I am glad that my people are here.

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These adorable shirts can be Pre-Ordered starting today!

Email: Laura.Bell91@yahoo.com with your shirt size and we will reply you a link for pre-order.

Tees:$20

Sweatshirt: $30

Shirts are true to your normal t shirt size.

Tomorrow, we will be at the Market at Chapel Hill at the Waters selling coffee, shirts, and so many other fun goodies. 

We would love to meet you there 🙂