There's no question about it.
Autumn is my favorite season.
It's often short-lived here in Missouri and we often spend a day or two each September with a taste of Autumn before jumping back into high temperatures for another week or so.
However, I am hopeful that yesterday was our last day in the 80's for a while.
Bring on the colorful leaves, misty mornings, Pumpkin Spice-everything, scarves, and cozy hooded sweatshirts.
Since making my decision to put down the camera and focus solely on my new role at school this year, I've had a lot more weekend time at home.
It's not basketball season yet and our nephew's football games have been in the evenings, so I have been able to wake up on Saturday mornings and spend some time in the quiet of the farmhouse front porch, taking in the crisp, cool morning breeze.
When the long summer days start to get shorter and the hot, humid days start to get cooler, I feel a renewed sense of urgency for enjoying every moment in my home with Mr. Farmhouse and the girls.
I start to think more about crock pots with simmering soup, evenings spent around the fire pit, and the smell of fresh-baked cookies wafting through the house.
When we first announced to the world (okay, our little world) that we were buying the farmhouse, I posted a picture and a friend of ours tagged Stephanie in it.
She said, "This house looks just like the house I grew up in!"
And at that moment...the story began unfolding.
She and I have been corresponding since we made contact that day about everything from the wells on the property to the way you have to put your hip into the interior doors to get them to close just right.
It has been a joy to have conversation with Stephanie about the home we have come to love and call our own and to get to know her sweet mama through our talks!
We have been saying for the last several months that the next time she was in Adrian, she would have to come visit and this weekend we were able to make that happen!
Stephanie, her brother Keith, and Keith's wife Tracy came out to see the farmhouse this afternoon.
They brought the aerial image you see above of the farm in the 1970's.
Our girls have been looking forward to meeting Stephanie ever since I told them about her several months ago.
Today, it happened.
She and Keith walked them through the house and gave them a tour, sharing details of what the house was like in year's past.
Mattie showed them her bedroom and closet (and offered to show them again at least four or five times). The wallpaper that Stephanie picked out as a young girl is still in the closet!
Claire shared the transformation to her girly bedroom from the one that was Keith's bedroom in high school.
Harlee's bedroom wasn't even a room back then...but instead a loft area that overlooked the stairwell. She enjoyed showing off her basketball room and reminding Mr. Farmhouse once again that he still hasn't built her a wall.
What a beautiful snowy day to introduce the girls to the adults who grew up here.
Thanks for coming out, Highley family.
Last week, I wrote about my grandmother's time (for the last sixty years) as the organist for Adrian Christian Church.
This got me to reminiscing.
I have so many memories in the church and one of my favorites is visiting with "the quilting ladies".
For the first 25 years of my life (at least), there was a group of ladies who met every Tuesday to quilt in the basement of our old church that used to sit smack-dab in the middle of town.
Before I was in school and in the summertime after I started school, I can remember going to the church with our grandmother and great-grandmother on quilting day.
I can still hear the chatter of the quilting ladies and picture them sitting around working diligently on their masterpieces.
I can picture so many special women who have gone on to see Jesus before us sitting around those quilts.
When I think about these women, I think of patience...
I think of attention to detail...
I think of friendship.
When I think about these women, I can see in my mind some of my most precious spiritual mentors through my young adult life...
I can hear their laughter as they shared stories of the good ol' days...
I can still smell the food they brought to share a meal together each week.
Looking back, I realize how much I learned just watching these ladies work...week-in and week-out.
The quilting days of Adrian Christian Church have come to an end.
But it just takes a second for me to close my eyes and be transported back to that church basement, back to a simpler time...spending time with some of the most wonderful ladies I was ever privileged to meet.
What a sweet, sweet memory.
It's such a great word.
So fresh. So promising. So full of hope.
Happy New Year, friends.
Here we are. January 1st.
I used to set goals for the new year in several different categories.
I made these big elaborate lists and sometimes I stuck to one or two of my "resolutions".
A few years ago, however, I began trying to really focus in on one word or phrase each new year.
One year it was "balance", another year it was "no".
This year, I've had three words and/or phrases running through my mind over the last few weeks, so I think I'll use them all as my focus for 2018.
Our minister has been preaching for the last several weeks on the transformation that should come from knowing Jesus.
I want to focus this year on being transformed because of Who Jesus is.
I want people to be able to see Him in every aspect of my life.
I want to be transformed.
I read an article this week about the addictive nature of a cell phone for young kids.
I was convicted about the addictive nature of technology for myself.
I know that technology can be a good thing, but I think sometimes satan uses good things to distract us from our purpose.
The purpose of being a good wife.
...of raising Kingdom kids.
...of building deep relationships with people.
...of creating a home environment that is beautiful for our families.
...of taking care of ourselves so we can pour into others.
This year I will set limitations on social media usage and spend more time focusing on face-to-face interaction with those I love.
Do fewer things, better.
I am notorious for working hard to balance too many spinning plates.
I can usually multi-task without much problem.
I say "yes" often to lighten the load for others.
I get a lot accomplished and a lot of times, those accomplishments are just "good enough".
This year, I want to simplify.
To do fewer things and to do them better.
What are your goals for 2018?
Do you set resolutions?
If you could choose one word to take with you this year...what would it be?
Make it a great year, friends!
New Year's Love from the Farmhouse,
Labor Day Weekend marks the unofficial beginning of my very favorite season.
For the last few years, it has become a tradition to put out all my fall decorations on Labor Day.
This year was no different.
Wait, yes it was.
This year was very different.
This year, I spent Labor Day getting the last of the "back to school madness" organized and ready for the bulk of the school year that is upon us.
This year, I was planning to have time to search the garage to find the fall decorations.
And I didn't have time.
So when I went to Dollar General to grab a foil pan for Matthew to put the brisket in that he was making for supper tonight, I spent $10 and bought a few fall items.
I spent yesterday afternoon cleaning house to prepare for the decorating process, but didn't get finished.
Sunday evening, I changed all the Scentsy in my house to fall scents and this morning, I lit my fall candles.
I drank my coffee in the quiet this morning and prepared for a long day of transforming the farmhouse to a peaceful fall sanctuary.
Mr. Farmhouse was off work too, so he started smoking a brisket early this morning and he and my brother got to work bringing some more of our outside belongings from the old house.
By 11:30, I realized that all of the fall decorations might not be coming out today.
I had made a huge dent in the laundry, finished up the dishes, and done a quick run-through of the rest of the downstairs.
I hung some pictures in our bedroom and in the living room that I had been putting off and made some notes about the week coming up.
I worked on some school plans for this week and edited a few photography sessions.
I enjoyed some more coffee about mid-afternoon.
I organized Mattie's room and contemplated hanging some of her wall art, even though we'll be redoing the sheetrock in a month or two.
Decided against it, lol.
Now, I'm drinking coffee again and listening to Matthew & the girls play outside while I grade some papers.
This is the life.
Whether I live in a fully-decorated fall farmhouse or not. ❤️🍂🏡🍁❤️
Something really big happened on Friday.
You might remember that we have owned the old house and the farmhouse for the last month.
We went ahead and purchased the farmhouse so our sellers could move along with their lives and were still waiting on our sale to go through.
We knew it was happening, just didn't know when.
And then...last Monday, we got a phone call.
It was happening.
It was time to sign papers and officially sell our house!
This process that started last spring was finally coming to a close.
It was a long-awaited phone call.
A huge relief.
A blessing to finally get rid of the feeling that we were holding our breaths until everything came to a close.
We signed Friday after school to finalize the sale.
Earlier that day, on Friday morning, sweet Dylan & Bailey went and signed the papers (how stinking cute are they???) to start making the house we had loved for so long into their own home.
It's a joy to see these "kids" who share so much of our story jumping in and making our old house their home.
We are excited for them to finally be through this process, even if they are having to keep Harlee's LeBron James cutout on the wall for a few more weeks until we can get her wall built and move him to his forever home!
Thanks for sticking with us through this process, faithful readers!
Can't wait to share the future of the farmhouse as we start to transform the upstairs with a few extra walls and a bathroom!
Coming soon! ❤️🏡❤️
Let's be real.
I have made MANY impulse purchases of items from Target that happen to be clearanced.
Usually, those little clearance tags with the red outline call to me from the aisles.
"Look at this amazing throw pillow that needs to be on my couch!"
"Ooooo...an aqua- and coral-colored organizational basket!"
"Matching clothes for the girls!"
So I made my first ONLINE clearance impulse purchase at Target.com.
It came in a nice big box and sat in the living room for a few days.
Then one night, Mr. Farmhouse got home early from checking cows and I said, "Hey, can you do me a favor?"
"Can you put something together for me?"
(sigh) "What's that?"
And in that moment, I revealed my amazing clearance purchase of this adorable yellow cabinet for the kitchen.
Mr. Farmhouse was not impressed.
In fact, I think "the ugliest color of yellow I've ever seen" was inserted somewhere in the conversation.
But he loves me.
Banana Split Yellow, yet adorable.
Happy Almost Weekend, friends. ❤️🏡❤️
June 5, 2004.
Many people have asked me or made guesses about where the "654" on Farmhouse654 came from.
It's not our house number.
It's not our street number.
It's not the number of dollars we have spent on the farmhouse, so far...I wish it was only $654!
It's our wedding anniversary.
Mr. Farmhouse and I went on our first date in September of 2000, to the Homecoming bonfire.
As a junior cheerleader, I needed a football jersey to wear and as a freshman football player, he had one.
From that point on, we were pretty much inseparable.
I married my high school sweetheart two short weeks after his high school graduation.
People thought we were crazy.
Settling for each other before really "seeing the world".
But while people thought we were crazy...we KNEW we were crazy.
Crazy for each other.
Committed to each other.
Excited to grow up together and grow old together.
We got married on June 5th, 2004.
And we just celebrated our 13th anniversary.
654 is the day our married life begun.
We've had ups and downs.
Good days and bad days.
New jobs, new homes, and three beautiful daughters added to the family.
654 was the start of everything we know and love.
And that's what I think of every time I write for Farmhouse654.
"I have no idea how you have stayed positive through this whole situation. You are almost six weeks past your closing date with a smile on your face."
Our loan officer texted me to let me know how surprised he is that I have kept a good attitude through the ups and downs of our home sale and purchase.
Of course, he doesn't know about the late-night stressed-out texts to my dear friends, the tears that I've held back more than a few times, and the numerous conversations Mr. Farmhouse and I have had about whether or not we were making the right decision with this whole situation.
However, in the end, I've never really worried that it wasn't going to work out.
I just knew that eventually, the right thing would happen.
I wasn't worried about being homeless. After all, we could always take our three kids and our three dogs and move in with my parents. 😳
No matter what, we would figure something out. We always do.
My friends often refer to me as "Polly-Hannah" because I just don't get worked up about too much.
In fact, the time that I feel the most "worked up" is when one of my friends is going through something difficult that I can't fix for them.
I can usually talk them down, even when I'm really struggling to keep it together myself.
My mom always used to tell us, "Happiness is a choice. Every morning when you wake up, you have a choice to have a good day or a bad day. It's up to you."
And I really think she's right.
It doesn't matter what happens in the day-to-day events of life...we can choose how we react.
We can't control one thing that happens around us, but we can control how we choose to deal with whatever is thrown our way.
This whole house sale and purchase has seemed like one tough situation after another.
Documents not where they needed to be when they needed to be there.
Inspections, inspections, and more inspections.
Appraisals and repairs and...did I mention inspections?
There were hiccups and hurdles and bumps in the road.
We were supposed to close on June 16th and then June 30th and then July 5th...yet here we are.
With a final closing date of July 26th.
However, I have tried to keep a good attitude.
To trust that God is in control.
To know that no matter what...I have a choice in my reaction to our circumstances.
Life isn't always rainbows and butterflies, I know.
There are really, really rough situations.
There are really, really hard days.
But no matter what someone is going through, a positive attitude sure can do a lot for a one's outlook on life.
I choose happiness.
I choose patience.
I choose joy.
I choose Polly-Hannah. ❤️
In the old house, we didn't have a dining room. We had an eat-in breakfast nook that could seat all five of us if we moved the table out from the wall enough to fit one of the girls there.
It has worked perfectly fine for us, but one of the things that was really exciting to me about the farmhouse is that there will be a separate dining room for us to spend time in, eating as a family or entertaining.
Of course, the farmhouse table I bought on Craigslist was the perfect focal point for the gathering room.
I also found these chairs on www.target.com, but they were unavailable online.
We decided that Mr. Farmhouse's grandma's China cabinet would fit nicely in the gathering room, but instead of filling it with his great-grandma's dishes that we had been storing at the old house, we decided to use those dishes!
The beautiful dishes his great-grandma had left us had been sitting in the China cabinet for ten years, collecting dust. They are beautiful and special and we decided that there is no reason to keep them there taking up space and not being lovingly used by our family!
And now, it has all come together.
The farmhouse table and chairs make a stunning centerpiece.
The China cabinet is now a display case and will be admired and enjoyed, instead of overlooked.
The piano now has a home in a room away from the hustle & bustle of the main living room.
The dining room leads directly into my office nook, which I'll be working on this week. I also have plans to build a sliding barn door to close off the laundry room when needed.
I'm still missing a few prints of the kids to put on the wall and need to hang this cool old window I found from a friend's garage sale.
But for now...it's beautiful. I could not love it more.