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what makes your heart feel alive

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Jeff and I have been talking a lot lately about what “makes us tick” or, more eloquently put, what makes our heart feel alive.

I think society encourages us from an early age to be sensible and doing the things that make your heart feel alive don’t always sound sensible.  Get on the honor roll.  Your SAT score will dictate how successful you’ll be in life.  Go to college.  Get a job with a retirement plan.  Settle down and fall in line.  I wonder how many people are living a “plan B life” because they were told to be sensible?

Now, I’m not talking about throwing caution to the wind, shirking responsibility or just doing whatever you want at all cost, no matter who it hurts.  I’m not talking about selfishly pursuing whatever makes you happy.  I’m also not talking about what moves you emotionally or the depth of love you feel for your family.

I’m talking about doing things that stir excitement and adventure within your soul.  Things that make you want to spread your arms and breathe in deeply.  You can’t believe that this is your life and you’re getting to live it.

For some, it might be travel, experiencing nature, or pushing their physical limitations.

For me, it’s finding, saving and living with things that are old.  It’s more than a hobby and more than a business.  It’s more than just the way I decorate my home.  When I am in an old home or pouring over old things, there’s that stir.  It makes me feel a part of something bigger.  I can’t fully explain why wide planked floors, worn woods, wavy glass, hand-carved dovetail joints, crazed ironstone and frayed quilts evoke such a strong feeling within me, but they do.

In past years, as Jeff and I have discussed what we want our next home to be, I have really pushed towards buying an old home.  Jeff didn’t get it. He understood I liked old things and the home was an important thing to me, but he didn’t really get it.  

“Why can’t we just build a new home that looks like an old one?”

He would point out perfectly valid impracticalities and challenges of owning a 100+ year old home.  And that stir in my heart that would feel squashed under the weight of sensibility.  Now, in fairness to Jeff, he didn’t realize the weight his practical arguments had on my hopeful heart and I have to confess to being a dream-squasher at times, too.

This past weekend, he took me to dinner at a restaurant in an 1800’s home.  I sighed over the floors and exclaimed that he has to take note of the door on the way back to the bathrooms.  Our conversation naturally meandered to talking about old homes and, of course, I took it in the direction of living in one some day.

I don’t just love the idea of living in an old home.  That would be thrilling, but what I love more than that is saving an old home.  Buying one that has been neglected or the victim of some poorly done 1970’s renovation and make it beautiful again.

Something in that conversation made Jeff get it.  I could see the lightbulb behind his eyes.

“Saving old things makes your heart feel alive.”

I had never thought of it in those terms, but yes, it does.

So, I was trying to think of how to end this post.  Write about our dreams and plans?  Examine why these things make my heart feel alive?  I sat here…the letter keys still on the keyboard with my fingers just resting on top.  Maybe this isn’t the kind of post that has a neat bow at the end.  Maybe this is the kind of post that just “puts it out there” and leaves it to rest on the mind of the reader.

Maybe it makes you wonder and then discover what makes your own heart feel alive…




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Comments

  1. Alicia says:

    Thank you for digressing a bit to express yourself so honestly. That’s what I like about your blog – you’re transparent. You’re real.

    You are 30+ years younger but I can relate so much to what makes your heart feel alive. November 2014 I moved into the very first home I’ve ever lived in as an adult and it’s 100% mine. I’m very blessed by God. It’s a 1950’s (842 sqft) bungalow that was lightly renovated for a coastal look and was pretty much turnkey ready. The best house at the best price was my prayer and that’s what God provided. I LOVE my home! It doesn’t have state of the art appliances, hardware, etc. But it is cozy, clean, wonderful floor plan, 6000 sqft lot and the cutest home on the block…or the neighborhood for that matter! I live on the end of the cul-de-sac and I’ve noticed passengers driving by slowly as they look at my property. (Hopefully they’re not casing the place.) I’ve seen and been in million dollar new construction homes in the same county and driven home to my little bungalow and smiled as I drove into the driveway and saw my little home smiling back at me!

    Though the home didn’t come with original hardwood floors, they did leave the kitchen with it’s original 50’s sink and counter top, as well as leaving the bathroom with it’s original cast iron tub. I plan on having it resealed but my plumber advises “they don’t make them like that anymore” and suggests if there aren’t any water leaks to leave well enough alone. The bathroom floors and tub tile work are original. Not my favorite color (white square tiles on bath surround with trim in brown and cobalt blue tiles; floor in shiny brown tile) but they are in great condition!

    Just two weeks ago the granddaughter of the original owner drove by and asked to look at the home. I was delighted to welcome her in and heard her reminisce. What a joy to hear the story of my little home. That’s why it smiles at me whenever I return home. There’s been heartwarming family memories made in this home and there’s a score of hand prints (and a few paw prints as well) in the patio cement for posterity!

    Your words are inspiring. What makes my heart smile is this home and the adventures and warm memories that my life, at 68, will add to it’s history. I’m committed to keeping that smile on it’s face for future owners and for the community as well.

    • Kelly says:

      Alicia, you made me cry – it is so wonderful for you to be so proud and content with your house and to feel it smiling back at you!

  2. Beautiful post. I feel the same way when it comes to old things – that pang in my heart and wondering about the lives that touched this home, or this piece of furniture. . .

    Your words are inspiring, keep up the great work!

  3. I think sometimes we get going so fast we forget to even ask ourselves if we are enjoying our lives. Yesterday, I had a three hour meeting with my family about what our ideal life would be. Everything from how do you want to feel when you wake up to what do you want your history lessons to be like.

    We all really wanted to actually enjoy being alive. To enjoy how our food tastes and to wake up rested. I noticed that I had no trouble getting the kids to bed last night, they were so looking forward to resting well.

    I am learning to slow down and pay attention to my levels of peace throughout the day. I hope to grow more and more in this.

    • Girl, yes! The more you slow down…the more you hear that calling. For those of us working full time jobs on top of our other full time job of parenting- we need this more than anyone else!!! Slow down, listen. YOU are still there.

  4. I grew up in Texas in a Queen Ann home built in the 1800’s, completely furnished in antiques.. Then I married a Navy officer and moved moved moved.. Retirement and one last move..to a Queen Ann home built in 1892. . upon seeing pictures of my “last Voyage” home my hometown friends all wrote me and said:You have bought your home on Pine street (My childhood home) I did not even realize that I had indeed done that. So Old homes were in my soul and appeared the first chance I got. I understand exactly what you are expressing.. I am 89 years old (Old house /old owner) but my home still makes me happy. Jeff will have to be ready to fix”things” frequently. And Marian you will have to be willing to do without to help with the repairs. But it will be well worth these small sacrirfices to be happy with and in your dream home. Jere
    PS.Old houses were built to last ..mine is still standing after 124 years, so go for it.

  5. Cheryl says:

    ❤️ Speaking from your soul😊. Dosen’t get much better than that. And my soul totally understands. I feel the same way when I feel, see, sense, into a space and can envision a clear transformation. You Rock It Marion😉.

  6. Rebecca says:

    Your post is so heart-warming – I am so glad you and your husband are on the same wavelength now. I am a bit wistful, as I feel I am floundering. I have been very successful in my career; I have a wonderful job, great colleagues. And yet … and yet. I need to find what makes my heart sing. Thanks for the inspiration.

  7. Tracey says:

    Thank you for the thought-inspiring post, Marian. I enjoyed letting my mind wander to what makes my heart feel alive. I agree with you whole heartedly! Life is too short to be “stuck” in a life that is unfulfilling. We may not be able to change everything, but we can start by changing one thing and go from there. I am sure you have inspired many to think about ways to bring more joy into their lives. Thanks!

  8. Laura Cina says:

    Thank you for giving words to what my heart feels. I’m constantly feeling the tug between what makes my heart feel alive and what makes sense financially. Many days (even today) I feel like just abandoning my dream and settling for a sensible life. Then that still small voice whispers to my heart. Thank you for sharing your insight. You always inspire me.

  9. Tammy says:

    I have been reading your blog for years but this is the first time I’ve left a comment. I am similarly affected by what is old and has a history of thoughtful design and craftsmanship that doesn’t exist (for me anyway) in the bulk of mass-produced fodder for obscene consumption that is so ubiquitous in the marketplace today. Well pardon me as I tumble off my soap box and offer this point of view. I have a deeper soul connection with something that has been wrought out of an ethic of proud craftsmanship and then has been appreciated and cared for by others before me. I declare that I am an empath that can feel the pleasure that others took from the use and admiration of an object. My sister is an empath and can feel people (here and gone) but I feel through pieces and places! Perhaps that we are kindred spirits in this way is why I have been following your blog and shouting “Hooray for you!” all this time. I just wanted to say… I get you, Soul Sister!

    BTW: I love! Love!! LOVE!!! The tufted sofa! I have an old sofa that needs reupholstering, it doesn’t have a tufted back, but it could 😉 it does, however have arms that reach forward and then cup around to hold a bolster in place on the ends of the sofa. I bought it at auction and was informed that it had originally come from a very old, historic grand hotel that was the jewel of Spokane, Washington. Your completed sofa is a great inspiration to me.

  10. Yep, it’s about soul. Old homes, furniture, even random bits of architectural salvage are living things to me. I’d so much rather have old, uneven, dinged-up wood floors than the shiny, new engineered wood ones. I’ll choose the old basket with the handle smooth as silk from use over the new Longaberger one every time. My heart flutters over these things like it used to over youthful crushes! In fact, even reading about your shopping trips and seeing your finds gives me that gushy feeling. Finding your blog was like finding an old friend I’d never met. I look forward to reading it everyday. Thank you, Marian!

  11. Virginia says:

    I love living in an old home. My husband and I have been in an old farmhouse on several acres in the country for a few years now. It is a slow process to fix it up and get rid of some of the less than appealing renovation pieces from the past, but it is so exciting when you pull the drywall off to find original tongue and groove walls and ceilings or hardwood floors. There are still many things to do, and living in an old house means the work is never done and there are many things to deal with that you wouldn’t have to consider in a new home, but it is worth it. You should not give up on your dream. No one should. Without dreams, life wouldn’t be nearly as fun.

  12. He gets you!!! That’s my takeaway from this post. Jeff finally gets you! Hurray!

  13. Always stay true to your heart I say. My husband and I have fixed up 6 houses, 4 old ones, and 2 new ones, I will take a 100year old plus house over new any day. We have redone a Victorian, 2 Farmhouses, and for the past 11/2 years a Victorian cottage remuddled in the late 60’s, worst of the old houses we have ever worked on. It is a lot of work and money, to take out the 70’s, and make it look like it would have in 1870. It is finally starting to come together, but so much of the original had been removed, it creates a lot more work. Worth it if you can survive the process!

  14. I love this post and I fully subscribe to your philosophy too! Exploring anything old or treasure hunting is what I would pick to do on any given day if I had every option in the world. My mom passed it down to me and now, as a mom, my 6-year-old son has the bug too! Thank you for such an honest and beautiful post!

  15. I always tell people that I don’t save puppies and kittens, but I DO save old furniture, homes and junk. Things other people would discard give me the most joy to restore. Just today, I took a bunch of old metal floor lamps, door knobs, bike wheels and other various metal objects to a welder friend to make useful objects out of. I can’t wait to see them all finished! I hope I’m not the only one who “gets it” and that they sell in my shop!

    • Sheila says:

      I had the wonderful pleasure of living in Newtown, Ct for 13 years. Living in Ct was such a different experience from living in NJ, where I was born and raised. There is such a sense of history and the past that even the inattentive observer can see and that is because of the large % of antique homes. Newtown has a town historian and one of the things he has done is catalog all of the antique homes. The last time I looked, over there were over 750 antique home built before 1900, 150+ before 1800, all still occupied. I’ve been in a few and I understand what you mean, the character is not something you can repeat. My biggest issue with these houses is how incredibly uncomfortable they can be in the winter, even with a modern heating system. I have a friend who built a replica late 1700’s home-wide pine floors, center hall staircase and a New England keeping room with a huge fireplace and hand hewn ceiling beams. Absolutely gorgeous and none of the winter breezes in the living room. So it can be done, Marian, the old and the new.

  16. Teresa says:

    I live in a house built in 1913. I can’t see any drawback to owning an older home if you have basic handyman knowledge. My old house seems to have far less upkeep than my friends that live in generic ramblers built in the 60s. It’s more like the old saying “they don’t make them like they used to”. Most people don’t even realize it’s an old home at all because the floors have been refinished, until they go to open a window and they see it runs on pulleys.

  17. Wow, Marian. Just Wow. I am at that crossroads thinking about the life I have led up to now. Rocky… to say the least. And, while just gathering the courage, starting to pursue my dreams of living a purposeful, creative, passionate life, (which coincidentally began with painting murals – then progressed to furniture – now I have 2 booths and i have ideas of wanting to make this all into more), I have a family member wanting to talk to me about the sensible job I need to get instead. And I hear “I have no confidence in you, your talents, your business sense, and I think you better leave all those ideas to those who can, and who have husbands to support them and help them.” And I think, they are right. I shouldn’t do this, I am a woman alone. How will I take care of my kids, my housework, my business, my facebook page (started it in Oct haven’t posted anything yet), my blog (I didn’t make it yet), other social media… in order to get the word out there that I can help others – I feel a greater purpose when I am helping others, exploring their talents, creating beauty, bringing back the forgotten and cast aside things…living with old things, appreciating their chippy, crazed, and worn selves and reviving them. I hear the sensible ones and the naysayers in my head…discouraging me from these endeavors. “Get an admin assistant job, 9 to 5 with benefits. Do that other stuff on the side.” And then there is you. You have had a way of speaking to me, time and again, just when I need to hear words of understanding and encouragement to stand up and do what makes my heart sing! This will bring goodness to many and to my family. God gave you talent and a voice and I needed to see it and hear it today to be strong in my new understanding of my purpose. Thank you! …On a second note, my now-passed Father said to me at the end of my failing marriage to a man looking for greener pastures.. “Honey, he never “got” you…he didn’t try to see what made you so special.” In all the trauma and drama of infidelity and divorce, my Dad boiled down to the core – I hadn’t understood that until he spoke those words. I think, as I read your post, how blessed you and your Jeff are. “Getting” someone doesn’t happen in all marriages, it takes work, patience, open-mindedness, open-heartedness and love on both sides – to explain and to understand. Congratulations to you both! I am so happy to hear your love story and I thank you for your candidness and letting us in. Through this sharing there is LOVE.

    • Tammy says:

      As I have read your comment today, Lisa, I am sure that you will make the impact on the world that you feel the echos of in your heart (pshhh to the naysayers)! You have so eloquently shared here and have moved me with your passion and stirred in me affinity with your well expressed thoughts. So go on, be glorious and share what makes your heart sing, you obviously have a beautiful voice for it. And your kids….well, how special for them to have a mother who models this commitment to her true self. Won’t they benefit along the way by what you’ll teach them about the practicalities of stuff, creative careers and business. And doesn’t it thrill you to think that you can instill in them the glory and awe of being your own unique genius!! And even when they are teenagers, rolling their eyes in the back of their heads because you’ve braked for one more garage sale, or bought your umpteenth furniture piece, they will get that you are a stand for “living a purposeful, creative, passionate life”. So go forth and let this be the springboard for your blog, your FaceBook page. You obviously have something worthwhile to share.

  18. Jolieanne says:

    You are a great writer and blogger! It was a good read for me, I have your book and I really understand your choices. Glad you can express your desires so well.
    Would love to have an older home but I love all the conveniences in our home! I have lived in a tiny house, a new modern house with a loft, a 1936 historical home and my big house that looks like a cottage, all have provided good memories! From reading your blog I have changed how I buy things. I do not run out and buy shiny new decor…I look for items with history or something I can paint over or re-use.

  19. We have had the very same discussions here at my house. The difference is that I DO live in an 1850 house. My husband talks often about “building new to look like old”…
    The history, the past, of my house keeps me company. I truly feel like I exist here along with all of the others that have left their trace – when I walk into a new construction home I feel…lonely.
    I’ll tell you this though – even a very well kept 1850 house has an endless list of things to be done with/to it. You DON’T need to rescue it from a bad 70’s renovation to keep busy! Our house didn’t even have running water and electricity until the 1960’s. It escaped MUCH of what could have (potentially) been done to it.
    It’s still a constant labor (of love).
    -b.

  20. michelle sickels-weidman says:

    love everything about this post. we are kindred spirits! the thought of passing up an “old thing” to purchase something new hurts my heart. i’d rather save the old and be part of it’s story. in with the old!!!

  21. Isobel says:

    Hi, I have been fortunate to live all my life in ancient houses full of history and life.

    I grew up in a farm labourers house built in 1912, went to a school built in 1865.

    Since then I’ve lived in houses ranging in age from a 1600’s “Hall” to the 1960’s hateful bungalow I live in now.

    It is completely devoid of feeling and character.

    I will love it and hug it and call it George until it is a psudo-1920’s feeling/looking bungalow.

    I’ve been carting about a green and cream tiled art deco fireplace (its concrete around a cast iron frame and takes 6 to lift it), all my adult life.

    I now, finally have a forever home and will install it and give it life, here around which, the entire house will be redesigned.

    However, nothing beats a home of great age, full of layers, to be pealed off and revealed.

  22. After reading this post I’m reminded of two quotes from Rumi: “When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” And “Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love, it will not lead you astray.” I find great meaning in these 800 year old quotes, perhaps you do too.
    And I also totally understand your feelings about all things old, especially houses. We are currently fixing up our 100+ year old New England home and I while buying something newer would have been so much easier, I just couldn’t. Next up is adding operable shutters (ones nailed to the house just wouldn’t do!) on all the windows. I scored ones the perfect size on craigslist and at $75 for the lot, is an incredible find! Our current home search was certainly a journey, when you decide to undertake yours, I look forward to hearing all about it!

  23. Frances says:

    I completely get it!!! Every time I drive past an old house that has been abondoned and sometimes boarded up I want to pull over and walk though it. I think about the family and the happy times shared within the walls. I love the old details and dream of some day restoring one myself.
    Here’s to the dreams deep within our hearts!

    God Bless,
    Frances

  24. For me, it is flowers. I love them. I’m making an effort to plant more flowers this year: perennials, bulbs, and seeds. They make me feel incredibly happy.

  25. Aunt Susan says:

    Cousin Stephany and fiancé bought an old church in Akron for next to nothing and plan to renovate for their home. Consider other types of buildings if they come along. How fun that you enjoy your “job”. I finally love my current “job”, being retired!!!

    • Aunt Susan says:

      PS I put the word job in quotes because when you love it, it really is not a job. You go gal!!

  26. Vicki King says:

    Hello fellow Empath up there! Have you ever been in an antique store and a piece of furnture gave off evil vibes? I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. So we can “read” things, and people. Not their minds, their intent, their character. I also recognize that we have lived many many lifetimes on earth, and I do believe that Marion last lived in the period that she loves. Her soul, which stays the same, recognizes the things she liked, used, and loved. I know this theory may be far out to some of you, but there are enough people given various gifts to know it exists. Read Edgar Cayce, read Bridey Murphy. Wonder no more, sweet gifted lady, we appreciate your love for old things, and join you ourselves, b/c we know why.

  27. That is so interesting Marian. I have been so burdened by life that I honestly don’t know what makes my heart feel alive. Need to ponder this.

  28. Suzanne says:

    You are a blessed woman – to have a husband that desires to ‘hear your heart’. Don’t forget to tell him, unless you already have:)

  29. The thought of leaving my old home makes me sad, sick and scared!! The thought of living in a new home makes me want to run and hide. I dreamed for years of an older home. I spent hours looking at real estate ads, riding in neighborhoods with older homes. It was my dream, mine alone. One day my dream came true, my husband came along for the ride and because we are partners and my dream was his. That was 16 years ago. We have spent many dollars and hours, as well as tears and joy. In the last few weeks we have been discussing “down sizing” this house is much to large for us to keep up, but we can’t imagine anything else. Even when I look for smaller it is always old with work that needs to be done. Once you have ” that feeling” in your heart, you can’t change it.

  30. Naomi S. says:

    I SO understand your feelings about old, used, things with history that show their age or need restoring. You could have been talking about me and what makes my heart sing. I am nearly 72 years old and only once in my life when I was between nine and fourteen years old did I live in an old house. It was an old Victorian with pocket doors and porches and a parlor. It is my favorite of all the places I have lived and I have such a longing to live in another old house that needs love and restoration. At my age with my economic resources that will probably never happen and I will remain in this “dumb 1960’s ranch”. But I still dream and look at old houses and pine for one and know exactly how it feels to experience the excitement of contemplating owning or restoring one. And I feel that, too, about things other than houses–old objects and furniture, art, textiles, etc., etc., etc., Thoughts of those things are present in my mind and heart every day, all the time. I hope you do get to buy and restore/decorate an older home and I hope you write about doing that so I can live it vicariously. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this heartfelt subject.

  31. Cindy in Oklahoma says:

    I loved this post… “What makes your heart feel alive” will be the topic of my next journal page …because if there is one thing in life that makes my heart feel alive it is making another list!

    Seriously, I think the people who follow their hearts and choose professions and/or hobbies which satisfy an interest or a passion are the happiest… To me, it’s really a matter of taking the time to identify a talent or a gift uniquely yours meant to be enjoyed and shared with others….

    “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”

  32. marylisa noyes says:

    The cottage I live in is exactly what makes my heart skip. We bought it as a weekend place back in 1997 after looking for 3 years. I almost didn’t get out of the car because it was built in 1906 but had undergone a hideous 1970″s redo. The interior wasn’t grabbing me either but it was on an incredible waterfront lot on Puget Sound. 3 years ago we moved in full time. Through almost 19 years of restoration I am so very happy with our decision to call this our home.

  33. Perfectly said and felt

  34. Your words are so beautiful and yes we should all take time to just be. Look around at our life and the direction it’s going. Are we doing work that truly makes you happy? Are we doing what we feel called to do. Are we using our God given talents for good? If not we have the power to make changes. You are such an inspiration to so many! Thank you.

  35. Cynthia Absher says:

    My thoughts are those exactly. I wake up excited every day to sand furniture. Weird but true. Thank you for putting my thoughts into words.

  36. Cheryl says:

    Oh Marion, you do stir ones soul with your writing and all you do. I too am moved by my surroundings, and know I am Blessed. What stirs me for my own surroundings may be somewhat different in some ways but I have a deep appreciation for beauty and inspiration. Whether I’m witnessing it while others are inspired and creating, or I am inspiring others, or being inspired myself to create. i yearn to find the platform to expand an share inspiration and creativity as you have. Your platform is so encompassing, artfully carried out through your speaking, writing and creating and sharing. Thank you for all you share❤️🌹😊.

  37. Cheryl Davis-Blankenship says:

    Dear Marion,
    What makes my heart feel alive is following people like you. I desire to create a space for myself and my family that is comforting and beautiful.
    I was blessed to come home to California almost two years ago now.
    My daughters and I left a community that we loved to care for my Dad.
    He only lived for two more months after we got here.
    It was an honor to help him move through his dying time.
    Now, my fifteen year old are here on 5 acres of my Grandparents original 1929 Homestead. I want to dream big and live large here. This land has always been my safe place. Now I must learn to create a home and to create a b&b business and art studio out of my heart and into reality. The Desert calls so many people to Her.
    I want to create a way to live here and to share it with others who are passing through. I have many ideas but I need focus and a plan to share my family Homestead here in Joshua Tree. It isn’t old. But the Nordic drive my ancestors came here with lingers on on my heart. The old and the new come from an ancient love.
    Thank you for inspiring me.
    Sincerely,
    Cheryl Davis-Blankenship

  38. Linda S. says:

    All of you speak to my soul and my heart’s desires. Since I was a child (I just turned 59) I was in love with the Victorian homes on the older side of the tracks from our 1957 split level home in the suburbs of Chicago. The turrets, gingerbread, porches, stained glass, etc., enchanted me. When my grandmother passed away when I was 13, I inherited much of her things that no one else in the family wanted – beautiful victorian chairs and tables, and my pride and joy, my Maxfield Parrish print of “Daybreak” that started a life long passion of collecting his gorgeous prints. Seriously, what 13 year old girl redecorates her bedroom like that?! My friends and family always thought I was a little nuts…

    I dragged my things to college and all over the place as my life took me to live in IL, RI, CA, MT, the Caribbean, CO, and then back to IL, to finally get a “sensible” job and be near my family. No matter where I was living I always dreamed of living in the country in an old farm house. I went on, on, ad nauseum, every time I saw a house that I wished I could live in… And I kept collecting antiques and farmhouse furnishings for my hopefully dream house I could one day live in.

    Fast forward a year ago… I lost my job in the suburbs in a wave of layoffs in the truck/automotive industry. Where was I going to get another job at my age making what I needed to make in the land of high taxes and few jobs? I spent a few months trying to decide what to do. I’ve never been married and have no kids so I was really lost. I started taking road trips to the rural areas in IL and discovered the hills in NW IL. And I knew that there was where I was meant to be.

    I started looking at real estate online and after several trips, 2000 miles and about 100 drive-bys, I found my dreams house. A 1922, 5 bedroom farmhouse, with a 2 sided wrap around porch, on the side of a hill, on 2.2 acres. There are woods on one side and cows on the other. My house looks across a valley to beautiful rolling hills filled with crops, cows and horses.

    The house is filled with all original woodwork (thankfully never painted), tall ceilings and not to many horrible renovations. I cashed out my retirement account and began the remodelling. It is almost ready to move into. The locals think I’m a little crazy but I’m used to that.

    Yes, I know that it is a crazy thing that I did but I have never worked harder and have never been happier.

    I have a lot to learn – small town farm life, well water and septic tanks, and endless plumbing and electrical challenges, to name a few. To the lady who wrote about her clawfoot tub, I just had mine reglazed and it is gorgeous! The plumber is in the process of installing the period looking tub/shower plumbing and I hope to take my first bath next week.

    Whew, sorry I got so long winded but all of you kindred spirits inspired me to confess my crazy dreams.

    I’m running out of money, I’ll need to make an income, and I’ll be all alone for the most part, but I believe in my heart that it will some how work out. That’s the thing about dreams… you just have to take a chance.

    About 3 months ago I discovered Miss Mustardseed and have been reading through everything. She is so inspirational and I have enjoyed all her posts and ideas. Can’t wait to move in and start trying out her ideas, methods and decorating styles.

    Thank you all for your creativity and inspiration.

    Keep dreaming,
    Linda

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