Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Year that was...2012

I always love putting up the new calender and exchanging it for the old. Fresh and clean with no pen marks, red lettering, strike thrus, or smudges. A blank slate for optimism, hope, and a fresh start. Looking back on the past year is requisite; something that we inevitably do in life. It's a time to reflect on our accomplishments, things that have changed and evolved, but also a time to see where we are heading and taking inventory of our own personal lives.

A header that I made but never used, 
this image just speaks volumes to me about life.

Hallway bath repaint in late January and February.
A start on lightening up my walls and surroundings.

Looking back on this last year I didn't feel like I had accomplished very much. This has been one of those years that even though there have been many good things, over all it's one I would rather not have had to walk through. My New Year's wish, instead of resolutions, is always said with a hopeful and optimistic prayer, that this next year will be a better one than the last...

realistically, that doesn't always happen.

Immediately after the bath refresh came the Living Room RePaint.

What a huge difference in my daily frame of mind.

There's just something about a clean white wall
that visually and emotionally "lightens the load".

Within a week I was on to the Master Bedroom,
and my quest for the perfect shade of "greige".

I had realized that the darker colors I had loved 9 years ago were causing me to feel overpowered and claustrophobic. Sort of like the walls were closing in on me. It all had to go and this was the last bastion of dark and "heavy".

I still wake up everyday feeling the freshness of this change.

With the old darker color I was getting tired of all the dark wood,
 but once the paint was changed, I looked at it differently.

The bedroom RePaint ended the major projects of last year.
It was late Spring when my world needed to refocus.

(a few small projects like the trompe l'oeil print on canvas)

My new slipcovers for the Dining Room chairs were a huge success.
They got to put on a new "dress".
Joy, oh Joy!!!

and then the Dining Room became my "happy place".

June brought one of the highlights of my year;
getting to spend a week with this gal.

and then heading up to St. Louis 
to share a weekend with Elizabeth Maxson,
our dear and precious mutual friend.

After this trip, projects became few and far between,
but I managed to play a little with some fun Fall decor.
My favorite time of the year;
but then I've said that a gazillion times.

But this next photo sums it all up...
this guy.

I haven't talked about it too much here on this blog, but he's the center of my life. God has placed him there to love, trust, and to take care of me. I like to say that my hubby is the "pole" to my "tether ball". I may be hit and bounce around every which direction, but my guy is always the stable, unmoving, center of my life. Ten years ago I had 3 massive heart attacks and almost died. After that, our lives changed. We both had a wake up call to the important things in life...like waking up every day with those that you love still here. But this year he was the one with health challenges and I was the one that had to be strong for him. He was the one feeling like he was walking on quicksand...and I had to be the one that was immovable and unshakable. 

Without God as my strength, we would have been flailing. 

For several years he'd been having occasional attacks of vertigo, then they started becoming an everyday occurrence that changed everything. He's just never been "sick". Oh, you know occasionally a bout with the flu, but nothing serious. Last summer started a journey to not give up, but to seek God for guidance in a place of uncertainty. Tests, doctors, more tests, more doctors...I know that many of you have been through something similar. If it's not you or your husband, it's our kids or loved ones. It takes everything out of you, but then with God's help, He fills you up with His Spirit, His outlook, His Word. 

Fast forward six months and we've been seeing a specialist in St. Louis for Meniere's Disease. It's a tough one, with no cure (they say). We had no help in our area, only a fatalistic litany of defeat for the future. But we were not going to roll over and play dead with this...we faced it head on and now we are seeing positive results. He's not over it, but he's improving significantly. 

So many of you out there know people that are dealing with this life changing condition. The first thing we did was radically change our diet. no salt. Actually, we had to rethink our whole outlook on eating and how inevitably it defines our health, and then eventually, our life. Meniere's is basically the inner ear deteriorating to the point that fluid cannot be regulated so you feel dizzy, nauseated, like your head is under water (filled with water) and dreadful...most of the time. Can't drive, can't eat, can't walk with confidence...can't think straight. OK, I won't dwell on this, but let me tell you there are options out there that work. You don't have to live with this...it CAN get better. 

As with any illness, or life changing circumstance we've learned that there IS hope. God has a good plan for our lives and He has answers that no man does. not doctors, not ourselves, not our friends...He's the one with the way to make things change.

So if you thought that my posts had changed, well, they had. I had changed. I am changed. Walking through something life altering has a way of changing a person. Hopefully, for the better, but still changed. My Bible Study blog went on "hold", because I couldn't concentrate on much other than getting through each day with my husband. Encouraging him became my priority. But as I said earlier, what I lacked in output, I gained with God's "input". If we let circumstances defeat us, there is no "lesson". I want to learn all the lessons I can from God. Don't ever go through a "problem" without seeking God for something deeper to be given you.

I know this has been long, but now seemed like the time to share it all. If I haven't commented, please know that I haven't meant to slight any of you, there have just been days that I didn't have it in me. Thanks for hanging in there with me. I love you all; you have become such a big part of my life. I'm still here, just different. But still believing for a better year.

My prayer for each of you this year
 is for you to stay strong, seek God, love without limits.


  1. Dear Debra,
    I am keeping you and your husband in my prayers. My very best wishes for a Happy New Year. Keep the light within and it will guide you through the battles. Your blog has brought me and others such pleasure.

    Big Hugs,
    Susan and Bentley

  2. Your home is beautiful but most importantly, your heart for God shines through even MORE beautifully! Praying for strength for each day and bright hope for tomorrow for you and your husband. Blessings in 2013!

  3. Debra,

    What a lovely, thought-provoking, live for now post. You and your hubby are so lucky to have one another. I know from my daughter that vertigo rocks your world. I feel for both of you and will be hear to listen as the year progresses. Happy New Year!

  4. Debra,
    I am just getting to know you in blog world but you are one of the sweetest bloggers ever. I love this post and that you shared with all of us your health trials and accomplishments and the work that is ahead. Your faith is your rock and the love of your family and that wonderful hubby is what it is all about. My prayers are with you and I do see a great new and inspirational year ahead for you. It is so great we can always renew and redo and repurpose our lives. Happy New Year dear blog friend.

  5. What a beautiful post and so much from your heart. He is lucky to have you by his side as he walks this path. I have had years when I couldn't get in the car and leave here for nothing. Too much fluid. But I learned little things on my own and I am totally different than just a few years ago. I have to dump my E tubes several times a day, peroxide out my ears at least once, and I use vinegar to reduce the swelling and fluid.
    Praying for you and your hero. May this year be better for both of you. Keep seeking God's wisdom, he will not lead you wrong.

  6. Debra,
    I know that a year of rough challenges has a way of making you weary at times, and you are entitled! Be gentle on yourself as you focus where you are needed. Thank you for your "voice" in the blog world. We hear God's mercy and grace through you. Think of all who will be pointed to the Lord through the sharing of your trials. I pray for health and strength and renewal, physically and spiritually, for you and your husband this year!


  7. It is so scary. I had a unusual case of being dizzy and found out it was TMJ so I am fortunate that with a bite plate it seem to cure it. Prayers for you and your hubby. Dianntha

  8. Thank you for sharing your story, Debra. It describes my life for two and a half years, up to this past August--different health issues and different loved ones, but life-threatening and debilitating. I felt like I was reaching a point where I could lose my faith. God has brought so much healing and so many good people and situations into our lives. I can look back and know now that I should not have despaired, but trusted--so hard when you are in the middle. Thank you for sharing your story and your beautiful home. Isn't it a great blessing that God has given us beauty--in nature and in what we can create--to soothe our souls and lift us up? I wish you and your husband good health and much peace and joy during 2013.

  9. Debra, When I began reading your post I was expecting the same gorgeous images and decorating inspiration as always. And then suddenly I saw the photo of your husband and I began to read about your struggles this past year with his symptoms and his diagnosis. And I was left sort of speechless. I never would have guessed that you all were going through such difficulites, and I'm so very sorry to hear this. Thank you for sharing it today on your beautiful blog. Because it really reminds us all that behind every blog is a real human being. Dealing with all the ups and downs of real life. Bless you my friend, for being so honest. And you're right. We can all relate to the worries you've been dealing with. But I absolutely believe that with this post---you've just opened the dam for a flood of new prayers for your dear husband. And that's an amazing thing. Wishing you both the gift of God's faith and love and strength in 2013,
    Leslie (aka Gwen Moss)

  10. Debra,
    I know that you appreciate and have personally experienced just how powerful prayer is - know that I will be praying for both of you.

  11. God's blessings to you and your husband Debra.
    I wish you both a happy and healthy New Year.

  12. Thank you for sharing. I know God will continue to lead the way.


  13. Debra - How the love of the Lord shines thru your words. You had mentioned to me your husband had a health problem. I am so glad he is doing better. What an awful feeling that must have been. Just know that you are both in my prayers daily.

    Your home is beautiful and warm and welcoming. Love looking at your photos of your lovely home.

    Happy new year to you and your family.


  14. What a wonderful post! First it was nice to see all you've accomplished last year (guess I can call it that now!). But, I had no idea that your husband was suffering from that disease. I also didn't know that you almost died from several heart attacks! Gosh! Y'all have been through so much. I agree with you though that sometimes we get closer to God when we experience turmoil in our life like that. I often wonder if it's "his" plan or not. I have a few chronic health conditions that are kept in check with medicine and follow-up visits to the doctor, but nothing like y'all have been through. I'm so sorry to hear that. I'm glad to hear that your husband is getting better though and that you've taken steps to avoid more problems in the future. That's all you can do. Our lives are not fully in our hands! You've heard the expression before, I'm sure. We make plans and God laughs. Wishing you a wonderful 2013!

  15. Your post is very relevant to me, but first let me say that I am sending many prayers for your husband's full recovery. Knowing that there are options and choices must relieve a lot of your anxiety. Your post clearly illustrates that we are human beings behind our blogs and although we choose to write about the lighter side of life, we all have our problems and challenges.

    This year my life was turned upside down with my husbands health problems. Life can change in a heartbeat, as you well know. The goodness and prayers from all of you wonderful ladies has made the journey much more negotiable, there have been blessings everywhere. And we can find solace in our every day lives, projects, dreams and sharing ideas. We all need outlets.

    I thank you for sharing this as we go into a new year. Much health and happiness to you and your love.


  16. Hello dear Debra... such a heartfelt post and I know you needed to talk about things... so happy to hear your husband is making some progress and getting some better... my little niece who is only 29 has Meniere's disease as well, so I know how difficult life can be... but you are a strong lady and your faith will get you through this... I am always here for you dear friend, please know that... you have inspired and encouraged me through many a rough time of my own, for which I am forever grateful... wishing you and your family a Happy New Year filled to the top with all of God's most special blessings... xoxo Julie Marie

  17. My Dear, Kindred, Girlfriend,

    Both you AND the love of your life will be in my prayers. I'm glad that he's seeing positive results and I just know that it will continue in the new year.

    As for you, well, you continue to be an inspiration for me and you're a friend whose style and grace...(and now, yes, strength too) I admire and work to emulate every. single. day.

    Hugs to you Debra and my very BEST for you in 2013! xo, Kimberly

  18. wishing your husband all the best as he faces this challenge. together you will figure it out and beat it!!

  19. Debra,
    So sorry to hear that your hubby is having these health issues...I will be sure to keep both of you in my prayers. He is so lucky to have such a loving wife. Hoping that 2013 will be a much better year for y'all. Happy New Year!!


  20. Debra,
    Dear One, thank you for sharing your journey of this past year with all of us. I know that itcouldn't have been easy for you, but know that you may be helping others facing the same or worse in their own lives.
    Many are lost without a Shepherd. Your testimony may help them to seek and find the way!!!
    Prayers are coming your way for you and your sweet, dear husband. May God grant you re~newed health in 2013!!!
    I, dear friend, would like to share your journey and your burden as we walk through the pages of our blogs together! Know I am only a short e~mail or message away!
    May God abundantly bless you!!!

  21. Dear sweet Debra,
    A lesser woman would have crumpled up in a little heap in a corner, but not you. God has made you strong enough to get through any and all obstacles. Your faith leads you when the world tries to misdirect you. You and I both know that through Him and by Him, all things are possible. Miracles aren't just in the Bible. We see and love them everyday.
    I'm so humbled that God placed you in my life. It is a privelege to know you.
    I want you to know, you and David are never far from my heart or my prayers.
    P.S. And on a silly note...when you figure out how to bottle your energy...I'll take ten!

  22. I am so very glad you have found some options that are helpful for your husband. (I've been struggling with vertigo since getting kicked in the head by a student last March.) We are so lucky to have our faith to enable us to do what we have to do. I hope 2013 brings you countless blessings with only fun challenges!

  23. Debra, what a wonderful post for the first of the year. We all have so much to be grateful for despite setbacks, and I love the hope and encouragement that you ended with. Continued improvement for your husband's condition so he is feeling just like his old self this coming year!... Donna

  24. It is so hard watching loved ones suffer. I'm glad to know your husband has found some relief for his condition. I've read about this condition and know how debilitating it can be.

    There are only so many hours in the day, and if your blog has to take a back burner for a few days, so be it! Your personal life has to come first. Thanks for hosting your party every week and taking the time to visit when you can.

    Happy New Year, Debra!

  25. Debra, I will have you and your husband in my thoughts and prayers! Thank you for sharing your journey! The wonderful thing about blogging is we can have prayers going up for a need all over the world! Thank you for this precious reminder of how much God loves us and has us in the palm of His hand! I am praying for a New Year filled with only wonderful blessings for you and your family! Betsy

  26. Debra, I first enjoyed a lot the photos of your fantastic home and then I was moved by your words...
    I wish you a good 2013, good health for your husband and thank you very much for your inspiring blog.
    Besos, Silvina.
    P.S: I really love your vintage suitcases

  27. What a beautiful post. Not only is your home beautiful, but so is your life.

    - The Tablescaper

  28. Debra, What a personal and transparent post! Thank you so much for writing this!!!
    God bless your dear husband... I prayed for your husband... may God heal him! You have a beautiful spirit, attitude and outlook.
    We know who holds us in His nail marked hands!
    You have been such a blessing and encouragement to me!!
    Happy 2013... my God use you and bless you!

  29. Thank you for sharing with us. I had a very hard year as well and like you I give all my trust to God. It is so very important to have an angel at your side when life and your health is failing. My husband was my angel who took care of me this last year.

    I have a family member who suffers from Meniere's and has had surgery, it did help her and has returned back to work. I will keep you and your husband in my prayers. Take care


  30. Debra, you are one of the most inspirational people I know. Even though we've only met in blogland, I consider you a friend. You and your husband will be in my prayers. With God all things are possible. Sometimes it's hard to share such personal issues, but it gives us a chance to lift each other up. The past year was a rough one for us as well. Stay strong.

  31. Oh sweetie, I'm so sorry you've had to go through this. For a while, they thought that my husband had Meniere's. It is a nasty thing, but I'm so glad you are finding some things that are helping. You are one of my favorite people out here in Blogland. I've been out of the loop lately, but I've missed you.

    Thinking of you and hoping 2013 will indeed be better.

    Hugs to you and Mr.CG,

  32. My love to you, sweet friend. I am sure your husband is so thankful for your steady love and support. I am so inspired by your love for him.

  33. You did get quite a bit done this year, Debra! Those were major transformations; the painting made a big difference. We are hoping to get painting done this year and I'm undecided as to color right now.

    Happy New Year! I hope this year will be better for you and your hubby.

  34. Thank you so much for sharing this with us, Debra. What a horrible illness. I am so happy that you are finding some help and relief for him. I know that God will be there for you this year and you will have many people praying for you. I am so happy to have found your blog this past year and I am looking forward to what comes next.

  35. Thank you for sharing your and your husband's health journey with us. I truly can relate and like you just keep relying on God. He's the only way I can make it!

  36. It takes a strong woman to write a post so potent and uplifting as this. Our health is everything and it being taken away is a real wake up call for those affected. Hubby and I lost weight and eat healthy only to have our obese DIL reticule us. We pray that her health holds out but don't know how long that will last till she 'gets it'!

  37. Thank you for this update.
    Your home is beautiful, but it is your words of encouragement that blessed me.

    I would like to share one or two brief phrases you used on my FB page...

    I will wait to see if OK before doing it. no names, just 2 sentences that hit me, and I think will help others.


  38. what a busy
    and productive year
    you've had

    your home looks lovely
    and welcoming

    which i'm sure
    is a reflection of its owners

    have a wonderful 2013!


  39. Your home is beautiful and I love the white walls and that gorgeous high ceiling but you are so right, it is our loved ones that matter when it all comes down to it. How lucky that through your health trials you can be that support for each other.

  40. Oh Debra you have been so supportive to all of us. I thank you for helping us and supporting us all, I pray for you and your husbands health. May your new year bring blessings. Di

  41. Blessings to you! Have you tried specialists in Columbia? My sister-in-law has some eye issues (corneal transplants) and I know that is where they go. They live not too far from Springfield, so not too far from you.

  42. Debra...I have enjoyed reading your blog...seeing all of your beautiful projects...and i hope that 2013 finds you and your family with many blessings of good health and joy...My thoughts and prayers are with you both!!!

  43. Debra, Since I started following your blog I have felt a connection to you and now I understand why. I have meiners disease. I have had it for guiet some time now (years in fact) and I want you and your husband to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I have been attack free for over 10 years now. I amy have a tiny feeling of dizziness but not diabilating any more. I have the best ear docotor and surgeon and have had the surgery to place a shunt insside and after recorvery it is wonderful. I understand the ups and downs completely. I have suffered for years and lay on the floor in the bathrrom many a night too sick to go back to bed.
    I will be praying for you both. Blessing to you both in the new year and please let me know if I can be of any service to either of you. I have been throuth the battle and come out the other side and made it. Praise Jesus.

  44. Debra, you had beautiful changes to your home and thanks for sharing what you have been going through with your husband. Hopefully others will find help for someone that is suffering with this disease. I didn't know you had three heart attacks years ago. God has certainly carried you through.

  45. Hi Debra,

    Your words today are wise, both from experience as well as thought. Thank you for sharing, and in this way, hopefully others may gain knowledge, not only of your words, but your actions.

    Yes, you are definitely more than a lovely lady who takes 'pictures of pretty little things'!

    All the best in health and happiness in the coming year,


  46. Wow Debra, that's quite a year. I am sure you are looking for a better one this time around. Praying for you and your dear, sweet husband. Having a child with Down Syndrome, I know it's not fun dealing with health issues. My daughter had open-heart surgery when she was 4.. months! So sorry to hear what a difficult time you have had. So glad you are a woman of faith. I know I can't say anything that will make it better, but know you are loved, and missed.


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