The Gift of Home (Before & Afters)

*IMPORTANT:  I began writing this post for my friend, Bre’s book launch, the night before we found out about Luke having a large mass on his brain.  In a panic, we flew him home from LA that same night, and I messaged Bre on Instagram to tell her that I wouldn’t be able to participate in the blog hop for her book launch.  I was so disappointed because I know how much time and energy it takes to write a book, and I wanted to help support her and celebrate with her.   However, over a private message on Instagram, Bre voice texted me back, through tears, to tell me not to worry AT ALL about not posting.  She then began to PRAY for Luke and our family, again through tears, right over Instagram.  I began crying as I listened to my dear friend pray for Luke.  At that point, we didn’t know what the mass was on his brain, and my heart was full of worry.  I was so very thankful for Bre, and her first reaction was to PRAY for us.  I’ve known Bre for almost a decade, and she is the REAL DEAL!  So it is my HONOR to share her beautiful book with you today!”


Today, I have the honor of sharing my sweet friend, Bre’s new book launch!

Bre and I have known each other since about 2014.  I found her blog, Rooms for Rent, online and fell in love with her style!  I actually asked her to be a contributor to my blog, and she did for about a year.  You can read a few of her posts here and here.  

But then she “blew up” and had to focus more on creating content for her fast growing blog.   I wasn’t surprised AT ALL at her success online, and I’ve been cheering her on ever since!  She’s a rockstar in my eyes!

She has a special talent of decorating homes, and I find inspiration from her all the time, (especially her phenomenal tablescape ideas!). But Bre is as sweet in person as she is online.  

Bre is always focusing in her books and on her blog about how to love the home you live in.   So today I wanted to share with you how I have learned to love the home (or renovation, haha!) I live in, and that is by finding  JOY IN THE JOURNEY!

We live in a world that wants instant gratification.  We want our coffee served quickly and our packages on our doorstep within a day.  And in our homes, we feel the same pressure to have them instantly look like the beautiful homes we see on instagram.  We don’t want to have to live in a rental or smaller home….we want the dream house NOW! 

I’ve been guilty of those same feeling too.  But I am 51 years old now, and the Lord has taught me a lot over the years.  And the one thing I have learned for sure is….there is JOY IN THE JOURNEY.

Our homes and the loved ones that live there with us create the most beautiful journey there is. 

Every home, except one, that my husband and I have lived in over the last 25 years has been a fixer upper.  Each home needed love and attention.  They were rough around the edges, but had tons of potential.  

And each house actually reminded me of how we are as humans.  We all need love and attention.  We are all a little rough around the edges with lots of potential.  

My children are getting older now, and I can truly say that some of our best memories have been working together as a family on each house we have lived in. 

Our Kentucky home took us 8 years to finish. This is what our home looked like when we bought it.  (Just a 1200 sq ft ranch.)


And this is what it looked like when we finished…


8 years.  8 long years.  haha!

But man, it was worth it!  It was worth eating breakfast off a coffee table because we had no kitchen…

It was worth it.  

Having our “office” and our bed in the same room, and letting letting Eli play on the computer to keep him occupied while we renovated…totally worth it!  haha!

Though I thought I would lose my mind at times, I wouldn’t trade one second of the chaos!  There was so much JOY IN THE JOURNEY!   There is something that feels so good to work hard…to look bad at how far you have come.  

Like the Joy on my boys faces when we made these shelves for their rooms in 2014!

We bought another fixer upper in Kentucky that we were going to flip (but decided to keep,) that took us over three years to finish!  You can see more before and after photos in DAY ONE of our Wilmore House Tour HERE.

There are SO MANY wonderful memories of renovating this home as a family, but one of the main ones that sticks out to me is when Jonathan and I stayed up till almost 1:00 am laying a custom tile pattern on our bathroom floor by the light of our head lamps because we had no electricity in the house yet!  That was a CRAZY night!  CLICK HERE to see more pics and video from that night.

Although it was not an easy task, Jonathan and I were so proud of the final result!  You can see the entire bathroom makeover (sponsored by Wayfair,) HERE.

Now the current home that we are living in (that we just sold,) was a fixer upper as well! We renovated the exterior of our home all by ourselves.  I designed it, Cy built it, and the kiddos helped the whole way through!  See more before and after pictures HERE.

One of the best memories I have as a family working on this house was the day we tore off the back deck together to make way for a new one….

It was the perfect summer day, and we had a blast!  You can catch it all in this episode of Notes from Home...


When I look back at all of these photos and videos of all the homes we have renovated, I want to cry.  Partly because I can see how much the kids have grown since then, and I wish I could go back in time to be with them again at that age. But mostly from pure JOY from the JOURNEY we have been on together as a family.   All the laughter, all the tears, all the good days, and all the bad ones too…the successes and failures, the late nights and early mornings….I WOULDN’T CHANGE A THING!

Not only have we made a ton of wonderful memories, we have been able to teach our children a lot of important lessons along the way…

  • Hard work pays off.
  • Good things are worth the wait.
  • Money doesn’t grow on trees.
  • Teamwork makes the dream work.
  • Trials are just opportunities to learn and grow.
  • Dreams are worth chasing.
  • Family is everything, and
  • There’s  JOY IN THE JOURNEY!!

Sometimes I wish I was rich and had those big beautiful dream homes that I see on instagram.  But deep down I know that I already have ALL that I’ve ever dreamed of!  No money can buy the memories that I have made with my husband and children over the years as we worked together to make our house a home.

It’s not my home that I love, but the JOY I found in the journey along the way.  

Now, if want to enjoy a wonderful book about the Gift of Home, CLICK HERE to purchase Bre’s book!  I have both of her books, and they make gorgeous coffee table books when you finish reading them.  :)  They also make great gifts as well!

CLICK HERE to get your copy!

And thank you again, Bre, for being so kind to me when I couldn’t celebrate your book launch in January.  You heart is as beautiful as you are!  xoxo, Traci



  1. This was a beautiful post, and had just the words I needed to read today.

    Thank you for reminding me to take joy in the journey (both my home’s journey, and my family’s journey).

  2. I love following your family’s adventures!! I also love seeing the “reality” photos. You gave a gift to see the potential in how you upgrade each home!! Many prayers for continued joy for you and your beautiful family!!!

  3. I also follow Bre! (I have both of her books). I love you both so much. You are such an inspiration in all you do and share.
    Thank you for letting me be apart of your families journey. So thankful that Luke is doing well.
    I can’t wait for your next post!
    Thank you Traci❤️

  4. Thank you for sharing this post. It has been so fun to follow you for several years during these renovations. You are so talented and I have always wished I could do the projects you both can do. Many times I have commented back to you, wishing you could come do my home. :) I love your style and how you can take something old and make it look new and beautiful. You truly are gifted (Cy too of course). I’m so happy for you in your new journey of building your home on your new property. Its going to be so fun to follow your journey. You have for sure taught your children so much through these house renovations and I think you will find them sharing all the memories in the years to come. Thank you for sharing your friend and her new book launch. I’m anxious to buy it. Its perfect timing, as I was trying to think of a housewarming gift for my daughter to take to her in April. This will be perfect. Have a great day.

  5. What an amazing person you are ! I have so enjoyed your transformation of my friend’s old home. It is truly beautiful now!!! Congratulation on your sale. I look forward to following your future projects
    Good luck to you and your family and much live to your son after his surgery

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