The Story of A Mantel

I’m grieving today. It hit me like a ton of bricks. The rising gut wrenching feeling in your belly when you know your emotions are going to overflow through your eyes in tears streaming, lip quivering fashion.

It’s happening. And I don’t like it one bit.

But I’m telling myself that it’s going to be okay, the sadness and grief is worth it and the BEST is yet to be.

It HAS to be.

{But first, the backstory…it’s long…settle in for a bit!}

One of my favorite photos of our slice of heaven.

Two years ago, I sat around a table with some pretty incredible women eating sushi in Las Vegas. One of those women was Melissa Michaels, long time friend, design blogger and author extraordinaire. Seriously, she’s amazing. I poured out my frustrated and disappointed story to her. 😭😭😭

 How we purchased Memaw and Granddaddy’s house on a STUNNINGLY beautiful slice of heaven which we adore.

 How we poured multiple six-figures into preserving it, improving it and making it ours.

 How we dreamed of adding on to give our family more space as well as to provide more room for hospitality on a grander scale.

 And then how we came to find out that the foundation repairs we invested were actually for nothing because of unfixable cracks and deterioration.

My heart was broken. 💔 My dreams shattered. 😭 And I was scared because I deeply value memories. Not just mine, but also the precious memories of my immediate and extended family. And I treasure our sweet family relationships deeply.

Ernie and I were left to simply pray and ask, “What now?” 

That day around sushi, Melissa said to me, “Why don’t you build a guest house to live in while you figure out what to do with your house?”

It was literally a lightbulb moment for me. 💡 So I started designing and working with an architect on a plan that would work for us temporarily and then be an amazing space for hosting friends, family or angels unawares.

I did this on faith that the Lord would provide for Memaw and Granddaddy’s house. That HE would make the way clear. 💫

All through the process of building the guest house I wrestled with the Lord, asking for guidance, wisdom and HIS will. The questions were, “Do we salvage all we can and demo?” “Do we move the house?” “Do we give this house to someone?” “WHAT do we do?” 

One morning I woke up and I knew the answer. This house was for my parents. 

Mom and Dad live next door in their mobile home where they raised their five kiddos {Joshua is still there.} and hosted alllllllll kinds of amazing people over the years. Their home has so many wonderful memories too! But it’s 30 years old and Ernie and I dreamed of helping Mom and Dad build a house that would be perfect for this season of their lives….with a dining room…something that Mom always wished for, but she put in her request for the Lord to give her a dining room in her mansion in heaven. 

So, that’s where we are. We have moved into the guest house after putting a lot of our stuff in storage.  Mom, Dad and Joshua will be moving soon out of their house into an RV while we do the switcheroo of moving out the mobile home, building a foundation, moving Memaw and Granddaddy’s house over for them and getting it settled for them – including light repairs and necessary remodeling.

THEN we will begin the process of building our new home {just finished the plans!} in the same spot as our current house. It’s basically the same footprint, but two stories to give us more room and space. Since Ernie and I both work from home, and we homeschool, and we LOVE having people in our home, we need SPACE for everyone. 

I’m still sad about things not going as originally planned, but THIS is the way that the Lord has guided us and we will trust Him every single step. He truly makes everything beautiful in HIS time. And his timing is perfection. 


Back to the mantel and the fireplace… This was one of the first projects I did to love on Memaw’s house. It brought me so much joy to update and restore. The fireplace wall was a focal point of our living space. So many conversations and memories have been made around it in the last few decades…so many. And I’m confident that many more will be made as well once it’s all put back together again.

The guys prepping the house to move did all they could to preserve this wall. But it all came crashing down.  If Mom and Dad want it put back up, we will do it for sure. 

I want to forever remember all the beauty that came from this space. It has brought me SO MUCH JOY to share this space, my creative side, and the celebration of life and family. Here are a few of my favorite mantel/fireplace designs from the last few years. 💗

This next one made it into a full page in Woman’s Day Magazine. SO grateful for the amazing opportunities given to me to share inspiration with the world.

All of this to say, I’m understandably a bundle of various emotions. More than anything, in the middle of all the changes, I am hopeful, excited and anticipating a glorious future.

I’m looking forward to sharing this journey with anyone who would like to follow along.

I’ve been needing to blog again and this is the perfect place to start. I will share photos of the guest house soon!




  1. I am so glad you are blogging again. I missed your blog you have such great decorating ideas

    So as I understand it you will put you grandparents house on a new foundation?
    I had to dig my around my foundation last year and put 50 tons of gravel to keep the water out. For all of the cracks I was amazed it could still stand. We have clay soil where I live and if you don’t have foundation problems you will get them sooner or later.

    1. Awww, I’m glad to be blogging again too!

      Yes, we are putting it on a new foundation. When we had foundation work done we weren’t told that the footers were only 3″ deep and that they were either deteriorated and gone or severely cracked. Our Alabama clay is the worst! For the guest house that we just built we took out a lot of dirt and brought in better foundation soil which was packed down. We had an engineer do an impact test to make sure it was good to go before pouring the foundation. We are praying that it will last much longer with a better foundation…high quality concrete with fiberglass, rebar etc. Fingers are crossed! LOL

  2. “The Lord works in mysterious ways his wonders to perform.” Homes, special places, meals, gatherings, and yes, even mantels…..i have many childhood memories of my growing up home, and another home where i raised my children. The homes….they were the dwelling places…..the memories, they are the richest blessings. Family is everything and the sharing of our memories keeps the circle of love full, alive, and growing. Our loses are genuine…..but those memories are so dear and satisfying. Best wishes to you all.

  3. Whew! At the beginning of the blog post, I was afraid that something terrible had happened to your family…I was relieved to know it was a house situation instead. I know it is disappointing to have put so much money into the house already and then have it be a waste. That is a wonderful story about God giving you guidance about what to do to save the house and bless your parents. It’s nice that you have pictures from blogging to remember the fireplace and mantel in your grandparent’s house. I thought about you the other day, in fact, and wondered if you were still blogging. I live in Alabama too and met you at the first Haven Conference. I had to take a big blog break to take care of my elderly parents.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your heart! My brother has moved into our late parents’ house where we all grew up, and to see him remodeling it hurts my heart. I’ll be praying for you during this transition!

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