Leave a Comment

I have a confession to make.  

I’ve never been one who likes to read books.  

Ouch.  That hurts to admit because I am a teacher.  I have my Masters in Elementary Education!  I used to TEACH kids to read, for pete’s sake!

But I’ve never been a “reader.” 

Granted, I love to read my Bible.  Devotional books.  Magazines.  Blogs.

But I am not one of those smart type of people who are always reading the latest best seller, or some intellectual book to make them better at their job, ya know the type??!  You are probably one of them.


I always cringe when I am in a group with other women who are “readers.”  They will start talking back and forth about their favorite books and characters.  I stand there frozen like a deer in the headlights.  Like a DUMB deer in the headlights!

I’ve always thought if I was really smart, I would be an avid reader.   My mom was an avid reader!  She was reading a book every single day!  I always wished I could be like her in that way.

But I have a hard time sitting still long enough to get into a novel or book.  I’m always thinking of all the things I could be getting done if I weren’t sitting there reading that book!  Do you do that?  

And then my mind wonders, and I lose my place.  I kept thinking that when all the boys are out of the house, maybe then I would have more time to read.

However, I am very proud to say that over the past few months, I have become somewhat of a “reader.”  Baby steps, y’all. 

I have read several small business-type books, and a book by Stephen Curtis Chapman’s wife, Mary Beth, called “Choose to See.” I enjoyed reading it because Stephen is from Kentucky, and I have followed him in Christian music since I was a teenager. 

And then my sweet “gift mom” (because she is a gift from God,) gave me a book to read that a friend of hers had written.    It’s called Grounded, and the setting takes place in Kentucky.  

There were so many parts of the book that reminded me of my childhood years and of all the wonderful things I learned from my grandparents.  

Each night, I couldn’t wait to get to bed and read a few chapters of the book!  It was so much fun getting lost in the story line.

I felt like a true “reader.”  I was so proud of myself. 

And now, I am wanting another great book to read, so I need your suggestions.  :)

I like good, wholesome story lines, and ones with a good ending.  If it is a great faith-based book, that is even better!  I think I would like it to be another realistic fiction book but the setting can be past or present.

So help this wanna-be-reader out! 

Share your favorite books with me!  

And thank you so much! :)





*There are affiliate links in this post.

Subscribe to Beneath My Heart

Family Letter to Our Host Daughter


Happy Friday!

I wanted to share with you an update about our host daughter this summer!

We are hosting her through Project 143.  It is a wonderful program that brings HOPE to orphans through hosting. 

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 11.50.49 AM


We are hosting a sweet little seven year old girl, (who looks ridiculously like our little Eli) and we are super, super excited about it!

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 12.14.29 PM

She will be staying with us the whole month of July!  

As part of our paperwork, we are asked to write her a letter, and I wanted to share it with you. 
Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 12.11.21 PM

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 12.11.36 PM





We would be honored if you would pray for us as we prepare for her visit.  And we would also love for you to pray for her.  I know it will be a little scary for her to travel over to the states at her age, although she will have a chaperone.  Pray that the Lord would keep his hand upon her until she is safely in our home. :)

There are still more orphans that need a host family this summer.  

I found this information on the P143 Yahoo group board, and I wanted to share it with you:

What Are You Waiting For?

Don’t miss this wonderful opportunity!
NOW is the time to choose a host child. As director of Project One Forty Three’s International Host Program for Latvia I can promise you that now is the best time to choose a host child.

Why? You may ask…
1. We are beyond the half way point in our photo listing summer hosting sign ups. This is the time when you will find MORE LARGE GRANTS and THE MOST SCHOLARSHIPS placed on the children!
2. You still have ample time without rushing to complete your paperwork!
3. There are still many, many wonderful children on our listing WAITING, HOPING to have a family with whom to share their summer!
4. There is still plenty of time to fund raise to offset the initial costs of hosting!
5. THERE IS NO OTHER TIME LIKE THE SUMMER to give as a family, open your home, share your beliefs and express your love to a child who needs this most.

The Ultimate Answer…
Giving is like a mirror… The blessing you give – you will receive…

…Give, and it will be given to you:
good measure, pressed down, shaken together,
and running over will be put into your bosom.
For with the same measure that you use,
it will be measured back to you.”
Luke 6:38

I myself I am a witness to the truth of this scripture from my own personal hosting experiences. But also, as the director, I see countless orphan children blessed… but I also hear the countless miracles of changed families who were also unexpectedly blessed by their hosting experience.

Won’t you be blessed this summer?
Host An Orphan. “Give, and it will be given to you:”

~Angie S.


If you would like to prayerfully consider hosting a child this summer, you can find out more information by clicking the button below. 



And of course you can email me at [email protected]


Have a blessed weekend!

Subscribe to Beneath My Heart

DIY-ing our Basic Brick Ranch into the Cottage of our Dreams – Part Two

Leave a Comment

Welcome back!

house transformation series

Yesterday, I showed you some of the first projects that we completed when we moved into our ranch three years ago.

We moved into our home in June, and we planned to live there for a couple of years before we built our addition. 

Well, that lasted about 4 months!  Ha!  We were ON TOP of each other and were needing some more space, so that fall, we started breaking ground on our addition.

That sliding glass door was in 11ft x 11ft bedroom #3 in the house plans at the bottom of the post. 


We had plenty of land on the right side of our ranch and decided to build a two story addition in that spot.


However, there was a huge pine tree in the way that had to be cut down.


So we cut that baby down!  Boy did it smell gooooood.  :)  My boys were in awe of this part.


That had a lot of fun climbing on that tree!

Cy had help with the footer of the addition, but he studded up most of the rest of the addition by himself.  

And it began to look like this…


Here is a video of me showing you the inside of the addition.  I tell you in the video that we were going to do a “jack and jill” bathroom upstairs, but as you can see in the new floor plan below, that did not happen.  We ended up changing things around.  


If you look at the house plans below, you can see that we basically tore down the wall to bedroom #3 and turned that space into a hallway to the master bedroom.  We also added the staircase to the upstairs in that space.

 When we were in the middle of building our addition, and I was sharing it on my blog, I would have readers ask me how I came up with my building plans.  Y’all, I wish I could tell you that we knew exactly what we wanted and what we were doing, but that would be a lie.  :)  We were totally winging it!  We just needed space and needed it quickly!

So the plan was to build a master bedroom/bath on the bottom floor, and put the boys upstairs.  Done!

Our House Plans



I found a picture of the bedroom wall that we knocked down to create the hallway to the master bedroom.


In the picture below, you can see the old door to the bathroom and bedroom #4.  We took those down and drywalled over the opening to create a flat wall space.   Now, bedroom #4 is our master closet. :)  And the bathroom is still a bathroom, but you can only enter it through the master bedroom.


In the spring of the following year, we wrapped the addition in hardy board and would eventually paint it and the brick to match.


Whew!  That is all for today!  Come back tomorrow to see more of the renovation INSIDE our ranch!


Subscribe to Beneath My Heart

DIY-ing our Basic Ranch House into the Cottage of our Dreams – Part One


house transformation series

This week, we are going to take a look back at all of the work we have done on our house in the 3 1/2 years we have lived here.  

I get so many questions and email from readers wanting to see more about the progress of our house, so I thought I would do a series of all of the projects we have done over the past three years to make this house feel more like “us.”

So here is where the story began…

We purchased this basic 1400 sq foot ranch on 5 acres about 3 1/2 years ago.  


It was definitely was not the house of my dreams, but we fell in love with the land and the location, and we knew we could make changes to the house that we would eventually love. 

The very first thing we did within days of moving in the house was to tear down the glass front porch.  We don’t think it was on the original house, but was added later.  We knew we would never use it, so Cy began ripping it down.


Once that was removed, we decided to build our own columns on the front porch.  


We knew these columns would only be temporary because in a few years we would be adding a new, larger front porch with a gabled roof.  Here is what it looked like before we painted the columns white and the door black.


And here is a before and after shot.


 I do not have any good pictures of the front of our house now, but you can see in the one below that we painted the brick white, the door black, and added a new light.DSC_0221_thumb

It looks much better, but it is not there yet.  We are hoping to build a new front porch this year that will look something similar to this…



We have a long driveway up to our house, and you couldn’t see our house from the road.  So another thing we did when we moved in was to make our house more visible.


Cy took a chainsaw to the bottom of the large tree in front of the house and cut off some of the lower branches.

The boys helped him take the branches to the burn pile.  That’s Luke and Adam below…


Look how little Eli was!!!  He was only three, but he was a hard worker!!


 Now you could actually see our house from the road!


 We moved in our house in June 2011, and we spent most of the summer cleaning up the property (it was very overgrown) and working on our front porch.  


That fall, we began building the addition to our house!  I was so excited about having more space!  :)

I will be sharing the addition with you tomorrow in Part 2 of my series!  Be sure to stop back by!

Have a blessed day!


Subscribe to Beneath My Heart

Lessons from Chicago


Yesterday was a wonderful day!

Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 8.13.04 PM

I spent it in Chicago with my son, Jonathan, and Cy.

Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 8.13.13 PM

 We were there for Jonathan’s to audition for the fall season of The Voice.

Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 8.12.35 PM

It was the first time Jonathan has auditioned for a show like that.  

We arrived late to our hotel, Mile North Chicago, Friday night.  It was a very nice hotel.  Much nicer than we usually stay at.  It didn’t even have vending machines or a continental breakfast!!  HUH?  This Kentucky girl likes her vending machines and continental breakfasts! :)

Saturday morning, we walked a couple blocks down to the Corner Bakery.  It was scrumptious, and they had great fountain cokes!  :)


Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 8.12.55 PM

 Then we started walking toward the Navy Pier where the auditions were being held.  It was bitter cold!


 We waited in lines outside for a while, then we waited in a huge room with over 1,000 contestants, and then we were escorted to a smaller room with over 300 people in it, then we were broken into groups of ten and taken to the audition rooms.


 Jonathan auditioned with 9 other singers in room 325.


 I got to go in with him since he is only 15 and a minor.  (So happy about that rule!)

There was one judge at the front of the room behind a desk and her computer.  She called each contestant up to sing, and they each sang a verse and the chorus from the song of their choice.  Jonathan was the last to go.  He did such a great job, and I was so proud of him.  I know that takes a lot of courage.

When he was finished, the tension began building in the room as the judge looked over her notes.  And then she said, “Okay.  Jonathan….stay seated, and the rest of you are free to go.  Thank you for auditioning.”

My heart stopped.  Jonathan looked at me, and we both kind of looked at each other like, Huh?

They escorted the other contestants out of the room and shut the door.  There we were….the three of us.  Jonathan, Me, and the judge.

She asked Jonathan to come back up in front of her desk.  She asked him questions like if he had ever auditioned before, what experience he has had singing, and other questions.  Jonathan was so cute with his answers and his “yes, mams.”  I was loving it.  Then she asked him to sing another song for her.

Here is where it got interesting.  hee.hee.

For the auditions, they tell all of the contestants to have two songs ready.  So Jonathan has been practicing his two songs for several weeks.  He was singing Make it Rain by Ed Sheeran, and then Sitting on the Dock of the Bay.

So when he told the judge he was going to sing Sitting on the Dock of the Bay, she wrinkled up her nose and said, “No, don’t do that one.  Do you have something more current?”

That was the point that Jonathan looked at me like a deer in the headlights.  :)

He wasn’t expecting that.  He had practiced his two songs, and he didn’t have a third song ready.  (Note to self:  have more songs ready for the next auction.)  

So he stumbled around which song to sing, but finally decided to sing Taylor Swift’s Blank Space.  He did great! 

When he was finished, she asked him to come up to the table, and she took a picture of him on her cell phone.

Now the goal in this audition was to get a red card.  If you got a red card, it meant that you made it to the next round of auditions.

She looked at Jonathan and said, “So here’s the deal.  I like you a lot.  You are super cute, got a great voice, and your young.  I’m just not positive you are ready for this type of competition, so I am going to consider you a ‘maybe.’  I’m going to mull over this tonight after auditions, and if I give you a call tonight, you will go to the next round.”

Then she asked Jonathan some more questions, gave him some good advice on song choice, and we were free to go.

Although he didn’t get a red card, we were THRILLED with the whole experience.  She saw something special in Jonathan and his voice, and it was a huge encouragement.  

We jumped on a Trolley and road to Giordano’s for dinner. 


Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 8.12.25 PM

 I had a ton of my readers suggest that we go here for pizza, and it was delicious!

Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 8.12.14 PM

The cheese on their pizzas is insane!!

Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 8.11.55 PM

 After dinner, we went back to our hotel and chilled.  We talked about the audition and called a bunch of family members.  It was fun reliving the events of the day.  Of course, we were waiting for the phone to ring.  We were really hoping for that call back.  Unfortunately, no call.  :(

But we had a lot of great talks about this experience, and talked about everything we learned from it.  We also discussed how important it is to trust God with the plans HE has for our lives.

This morning, we woke up and at breakfast at Wild Blueberry (another suggestion from my readers.  thank you very much!)

Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 11.59.20 AM

And we made a stop by Garret’s popcorn to get some treats to take home to our boys.  

So we didn’t gain a “red card” on this trip, but we did gain about 5 pounds each!  :)

So here are the lessons we learned on this trip:

1.  Bring warmer clothes.


2.  Wear loose clothing to make room for all of the food you will eat.


3.  Time with family is the best gift on earth.


4.  It is fun to dream.


5.  God is in control.  We don’t have to worry about our future when we know it is safely held in God’s hands.


6.  Our worth is not determined by whether or not we win or loose a competition.  Our worth is determined only through Jesus Christ, and He says we are priceless.


7.  Life is an amazing, wonderful adventure!!!


Thanks for all of your prayers and support of Jonathan as he chases his dreams!  It was so special to share it with you!!


Subscribe to Beneath My Heart

Favorite Pins Friday!


Happy Friday!

Right now, I am sitting in my car working on my computer on my way to CHICAGO!!  I am so excited!!  Me and Cy are taking Jonathan to try out for The Voice!!   

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 4.28.52 PM

We aren’t thrilled about the bitter cold temperatures, but it will be a great time together!  

I am going to be sharing sneak peeks of our trip and whether Jonathan makes it to call backs on my Instagram feed.  

If you don’t follow me already, please click here to follow!



Say a prayer for us.  I think this mama is gonna be more nervous than her son! :)


Now, here are some of my favorite pins

from Pinterest this week!!  


























































Have a Blessed Weekend!


Subscribe to Beneath My Heart

Bible Study Begins Tomorrow!


Hey friends!

Happy Sunday to ya! :)

Last week, I told you about a bible study that my sister and I were hosting online called Love Like Him.  

Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 9.05.01 AM


Well, I wanted to remind you that we start tomorrow.  YAY!  We would love for you to join us.  

You can download the study HERE.    (It’s $2.99)

And you can request to join our private Love Like Him facebook group HERE. (We will not be adding anyone else to the facebook group after tomorrow so we can all start and go through the study at the same time.)

I read the intro to the study this morning, and I wanted to share it with you today.

Life moves quick.  We like fast food, short lines, and overnight delivery.  We want microwave meals, minute rice, and drive-thru everything.  My blood pressure’s rising just thinking about it.  

But one thing we cannot rush is relationships.  They take time and heart.  And intimacy with our God proves the same.

This God of ours speaks to us through His alive Word.  He bends down from heaven nd meets us in th emiddle of our messy today through His Word.  And His Word has depth that cannot be discovered with a quick read.  It has layers of beautiful truths and unwavering promises that await unfolding…over time.  

So that’s what we’re going go do.  Together we’re going to pause and discover.  W’re going to slow down and glean life from His Scriptures.  

About the Study Guide:

Each week, we will have a new passage to read and observe.  With study questions as our guide, we will dig into the text looking for truths, promises, and commands.  

This eight-week study can be completed in as little as ten minutes a day, though we encourage you to linger longer in His Word if time allows.  And because we assume some life interruptions, we’ve planned for five study days instead of seven.  

We will spend the first four weeks in 1 Corintians 13 and the last four weeks looking at four aspects of Christ’s love.  You will need this (Love Like Him) study guide, a Bible (we love the ESV Study Bible,) a journal, and pen.

Begin each day with prayer, asking God to open your heart to His Word.  And then keep your journal open ready to note your discoveries.


Doesn’t that sound wonderful?!

Don’t worry if you have never done a bible study before!  We have women who have never-ever studied the bible to women who have been studying it their whole life in our facebook group.  We have new moms to grandmas in our group.  We come from all different backgrounds and denominations.  It doesn’t matter, y’all!  It’s just about GOD and HIS WORD and growing closer to him.

Cyndi and I would love for you to join us! 

Please let me know if you have any questions at all!


Have a blessed week!!  


Subscribe to Beneath My Heart

Favorite Pins Friday!

Leave a Comment

Whew!  Another week is over! :)

It’s been a while since I have done my “Favorite Pins Friday” post!  I had a good time looking through Pinterest for my most inspiring pins. 

I have to admit that I am CRAVING Spring decor!  I am ready for winter to move on along, and I am ready for buttercups and butterflies!

How about you?

So here are some bright and cheerful pins for you to enjoy!

(click on the link below each picture to view the source)















blue and white











yellow door





















pink and brown





boots yellow






Have a Blessed Weekend!!


Subscribe to Beneath My Heart

Love Like Him (new bible study)

1 Comment

Hey friends!

I’m in the car with my sister heading back from Nashville today.  We were at the Thrive Conference, which was a Young Living essential oil conference.  (My first non-bloggy conference.)  It was a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to share some of the stuff I learned with you!

My sister and I led an online bible study group the first 15 days of January.  We did Katie Orr’s study, The Focused15.

We had over 500 women in that facebook group, and it was such a blessing to study God’s word with them!  Many of the women wanted to continue with another study, so we are doing one called Love Like Him beginning February 16th. 


Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 9.05.01 AM


We have created a private facebook group for this study, and you can ask to join by clicking HERE.

We will be adding members all week, but will close the group on February 16th.   Only because we want to go through this study as a group and when we add people in the middle of the study, it gets a little confusing. :)

Love Like Him is an 8-week study, with each week focusing on a different aspect of Christ-like love.   You will dig into various passages that detail God’s beautiful love, while also being challenged towards self-reflection to determine if His love is visible in your everyday life.

This study only takes about 10 minutes a day, five days a week. 

This bible study only costs $2.99, and  you can download it HERE.

Cyndi and I would love for you to join us in this bible study.  If you have any questions, just let us know!  xoxo

Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 9.19.53 AM


Subscribe to Beneath My Heart

Haven 2015!!! Tickets go on sale on Monday!!!!!

1 Comment

Oh my goodness!!  

I can NOT believe it is time for tickets

to go on sale for Haven 2015!!! 


haven email

Jon Acuff is the New York Times Bestselling author of five books including his most recent, Do Over: Rescue Monday, Reinvent Your Work and Never Get Stuck.

For 16 years he’s helped some of the biggest brands in the world tell their story, including The Home Depot, Bose, Staples, and the Dave Ramsey Team. Most recently he’s spoken to hundreds of thousands of people at conferences, colleges, companies and churches. Featured regularly on national media, Jon has been seen on CNN, Fox News, Good Day LA and several other key outlets.

In addition, Jon is also a big proponent of social media with blogs that have been read by 4 million people and more than 230,000 twitter followers. In 2010 he used his influence with his tribe to build two kindergartens in Vietnam. Jon lives with his wife Jenny and two daughters in Franklin, TN.

Visit John’s site HERE.


We have been super busy planning the BEST Haven yet!  

Meet or reconnect with some of your favorite bloggers

and sharpen your DIY and Blogging skills all at the same time!

I hope to see you there!!!

If you have been blogging for four years or more, and would like to apply to be a speaker,

you can do so HERE.


More details coming soon!!!!



On Monday, you can click HERE to purchase your tickets.


Image Map

Subscribe to Beneath My Heart

content and images copyright © 2009 - traci, beneath my heart- privacy policy

Designed by Chena Designs Development and Hosting by Evenpar Solutions
Web Hosting By RFE Hosting
Free Counter