Feed Me.

The home inspection is complete (and went relatively well!!). We are now in the process of negotiating those details, and even closer to an actual move. So, of course, my mind immediately runs 1,000 mph figuring out when I get to pick up my first paint brush/demolish something.

The dining room of this new house makes me all googly-eyed. Not because of how it looks now (hellooooo 1983), but because of what I know it can look like with a little TLC. First off, it is big. There is plenty of space for our dining set, a hutch, plants, and probably a sideboard.

There is already chair railing plus board and batten (#fistpump). We are planning to put hardwoods throughout the downstairs with the exception of the bonus room, so scratch that carpet out of your mind. New light fixture, painted walls… Ooo baby, it’s gonna be so good.

This is our dining table, which I bought for $500 about ten years ago at an antique mart with my mom in Franklin, TN. It also has two armed chairs for the ends, but those don’t currently fit in this rental kitchen… <deep breath, mama, we don’t have to live here much longer.>


I have really loved this set. And you can tell. She’s a little more chipped, dinged, and creaky than even the “antiqued” version I bought ten years ago… But I love that she will fit right into the decor of the new place easily, so I’m willing to put in a little work to make her shine. This is the current chair situation:

Green and tired, basically. So, the white paint gets touched up and the chair cushions get recovered. Here is a bit of my Pinspiration and fabric browsing…




I want to keep the dining room neutral overall, and I am kinda falling in love with the idea of some buffalo check cushions for these chairs. You see, I am surrounded by boys. Messy ones. There is no white, neutral furniture filling the common living spaces in my future for a very, very long time. (#notcomplaining #justrealistic). As a result, patterns are my friends. I’m not totally convinced this lighter buffalo check will work, so I’m keeping my eyes peeled for something in this idea, but maybe a little darker.

diningThis is the chandelier situation. Very… brass. I found a DIY tutorial online the other day forΒ  this rope chandelier. I think the concept could definitely work and be quite a focal point of the room. (Also, Lauren’s DIY blog is amazing if you have a minute to do some perusing!)

I titled this post “Feed Me” for two reasons… The dining room discussion, obviously, but also because I have relatively recently become very aware of what I need for nourishment. Last November my Macman was about 14 months old, and I realized that I was (and had been) running on empty. My patience was short, my joy was dwindling, I was not generous in my thoughts or my actions, and I felt so annoyed at even the slightest inconvenience. After I figured out that it wasn’t perpetual PMS, I started to go through my list of differential diagnoses (Welcome to the mind of a nurse practitioner – where everything becomes an algorithm.)

I realized that I was spending ZERO time in God’s Word apart from church sermons and Sunday School. It’s amazing how fast that can happen. (And if you’re looking down your nose at me, clearly you are aΒ  “better” woman than I am.) I felt the Lord nudging me to spend time with Him, but I kept thinking “Lord! When?! I move constantly from the time I get up to the time I lay back down again!” I recognized (quite begrudgingly, actually) that the only time I had without a toddler underfoot or lab coat on my back was in the mornings… in those very early morning hours when my husband left for work, usually before six am. That was my window to spend time with Jesus. I thought “You cannot be serious. I am so tired already; how in the world will I be able to function on LESS sleep?!”


Let me jump to the end of story and tell you that this 7 month habit has been the best thing I have ever done. Was it hard at first? How about a real honest hell-to-the-yeah. Did I miss some mornings? Yes. Did it eventually and quickly get easier? Yes. Have I ever gotten up and not learned something about who He is and who He says I am? Not one time. Those early mornings, curled up in the recliner, reading the Word and writing my prayers have been so sweet it makes me tear up just telling you about it. Somehow?, somehow…, somehow! my Jesus has supplied energy, patience, love, kindness, and joy in spite of an earlier alarm clock. It is nothing short of miraculous, and it nourishes me.

If you’re having a hard time finding the space in your schedule … or maybe you don’t even know who He is or what this is all about … let me tell you that there is nothing in this world like being with Jesus. He is worth every second… and not just the spare ones. Start somewhere. Be encouraged to set that alarm clock even 15 minutes earlier than you normally would or 15 minutes before your kiddo normally wakes up. I’ll be up. We can cyber-space-cheers our coffee mugs. I promise you will find and learn to crave the daily bread (energy, joy, patience, wisdom…) you need from the Giver of All Good Things.






7 thoughts on “Feed Me.

  1. lizzboo says:

    Enjoying your blog. I don’t read blogs. May look at some pictures, but don’t read. I read yours. You make me laugh out loud. Well, till today.
    Till I read the second reason you wrote this blog. ummmmm. I have no joy. I have been depressed, discouraged and let’s not leave out discontented. Forget that older women are supposed to encourage younger women. You have soooo encouraged me. I am a starving woman. I can’t remember the last time I actually sat down and read His word. The Sacred Writings. Oh, here, there and yonder — I read a devotion, search out a verse — depend upon sermons or your momma’s teaching in Sunday School — to feed me. NOT happening.
    Thanks young woman for encouraging this older woman. Keep on writing this blog. I am going to get my Bible, paper and a pen…. I am starving — and I know where I can go to be filled. Love you sista in Christ.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lauren Brown says:

    Neely, thank you so much for your words! I happened to check out your blog for the first time this morning, and it was the perfect encouragement for today. The hubby and I are both back in school (FNP x 2) and currently living in a smaller apartment. It’s so easy to have a military mind about these things and “just get through it” until we can get to “something better”. Thanks for the reminder to slow down and look to the Word for renewal!

    Miss ya girl! Congrats on the new house πŸ™‚


    • refiningcotten says:

      Hey!! So good to hear from you and congrats on school! I know being in school, the last thing you want to do (or I wanted to do) was pick up more to read. I wish I had known that the energy is found in the Word, not away from it πŸ™‚


  3. Brooke Henderson says:

    Loving the blog! This was a great reminder and encouragement to me! I used to attend church every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. Now at this stage of my life we are down to only Sunday mornings but I’m ok with it right now and maybe in the future we can pick up again other times. This was an encouragement to know other Christian women also struggle with this and a good reminder to dive into the Word more on my own and not just for family devotions so I won’t bite my childrens head off with every question πŸ™‚ Thanks again !


  4. Debbie Thompson says:

    So touched Neely. So very touched. Thank you for sharing. You have no idea how your writings are meaning to many;or, maybe you do. Anyway, keep it up my sister (in the Lord). Loving you!


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