Wednesday, January 30, 2019

4 Reasons You're Neglecting Your Porch (And How to Stop)

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Currently, Kelsie.

A porch is always a significant selling factor when it comes to buying property. This addition is something of a home bucket list item. It’s a quaint feature which provides real character to any property. The moment you see a porch, you may imagine sitting on a porch swing or drinking your morning coffee while chatting with your neighbors. Many of us love porches, and many of us would admit to being significantly swayed towards a property that has one. The trouble is, once we’re inside those homes, we fail to realize what we’ve got. That’s because, despite what they’d have us believe on the big screen, porches often go unused. If you aren’t careful, they’ll become a neglected home feature which you barely even notice.

That can be heartbreaking, especially if the porch was the reason you bought that property in the first place. The trouble is that porches go clean out of our minds once we’re inside our homes. While we focus on things like decor and interior renovation, we often fail to consider exteriors. And we fail to consider our porches right along with them. When that happens, there won’t be a porch swing. You’ll never drink coffee as the sun comes up. Instead, your porch will fall into disrepair, which threatens to ruin your property rather than bring it to life.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’ve neglected your porch up until now, you’re not alone. Many of us make this mistake, and it stops us from ever being 100% happy with our homes. But, it isn’t too late. As with anything in your house, it’s always possible to turn it around. All you need to do is consider whether these issues are behind your lack of use here.


It’s not safe.

One of the main reasons for lack of use here is an unsafe porch. If you risk putting your foot right through rotten wood as soon as you step off the main trail, you’re never going to try it. Equally, a porch which is experiencing foundation issues could become a hazard and a half. If your porch foundations sink so far that they come away from the top beams, you’ll never be able to use the space. Even worse, issues like these tend to be a vicious cycle. Things get this bad because you don’t use your porch the way you should. Then, you find yourself unable to use it as a result. It never ends. Until you take action, that is. The good news is that most porch issues have easier fixes than you would imagine. Reinforcing rotted porch panels with new wood could see you standing anywhere. Equally, turning to company like Helitech who offer porch mudjacking could cover you for any foundation issues. In an ideal world, you may find that you don’t even need to do this much. Often, issues here have even more straightforward fixes. It may be that a coat of varnish is all it takes to return your porch to its former glory. But, you’ll never know that unless you get out there. So, go on. What are you waiting for? Investigate the damage, and work out your easiest options for repair.

You haven’t made it look the part.

Sometimes, neglect here is nothing to with the actual condition of our porches. It may just be that you’ve neglected decor in this area. That alone could see you turning away from your porch rather than putting it to good use. Think about it; if a room in your home doesn’t look right, you close the door until you can tackle it. That’s what you’ve been doing on your porch all these years. The trouble is, you never get around to addressing it. Once you’re safe at home, you can ignore it altogether. By this point, the paint is flaking, and the whole thing looks a bit of a mess. There are still piles of leaves in the corner from last autumn, for gosh sake. You know what I'm going to say next, though, don’t you? It’s past time you tackled decor here, too. Your porch is the most prominent part of your house to passers-by, after all. It’s the first thing guests see when they arrive. So, making it look pretty matters far more than you’ve given it credit for until now. Lucky for you, decor here is often easier than it is in your house itself. All you need to do is invest in the right outdoor paints, and figure out how to craft a porch you can use. White is a popular color for porch beams, but it’s not your only choice. Bright porches can also work really well. Yellow is always a fantastic option, as is baby blue. You may even find that you want to strip paint off altogether and expose any wood for a rustic country vibe. This is fantastic for those who don’t have the time to keep on top of upkeep. If you aren’t sure which look you prefer, head online. There’s plenty of porch inspo out there which could see you wanting to spend every spare moment enjoying this space again.


You haven’t given it a purpose.

It may seem strange to talk about giving your porch a purpose. To some extent it does, after all, take care of that itself. Wrap-around porches frame properties. Some porch designs work to secure the foundations of a house. Others offer added levels of protection. Sadly, none of this is going to help you using the space. That’s why it can help to bring an added level of purpose to an area like this. You don't have to go wild with this if you don’t want to. Even something as simple as a classic porch swing could provide the incentive you need to get more use here. You’ll find it much harder to neglect your porch when you have the option of lounging with a book when summer rolls around. It’s certainly a better bet than a blank canvas with no seating at all. If that doesn’t work, you may want to go even further. Placing potted plants here could transform this space into a small garden for the whole family to enjoy. At the very least, that means you’ll spend time here watering the plants each day. You may then find that you stick around, seeing as you’re already outside. You may even want to turn your porch over to practical purposes, such as excess storage space. That may not mean you use the area more, but it would ensure that the area no longer went to waste. You may even find that turning this into an outdoor kiddie play area is your best bet at ensuring continual use. There are a whole load of possibilities. You get the idea though; purpose makes for a happy and well-used porch.

There’s no privacy.

If none of the above is behind your porch neglect, it may well be that privacy is the issue. The idea of sitting on the porch and chatting with neighbors is nice in theory, but it doesn’t always work out. If you don’t know your neighbors that well, for instance, you may feel overly exposed every time you head out. That alone could stop you from using the space. This issue becomes even more pressing if you don’t get along with your neighbors. Before you know it, years will have gone by without you using your porch properly. Unless you tackle the issue of privacy now, of course. In reality, there’s no reason you should put up with porch exposure. There are plenty of things you can do to add a level of privacy which keeps you happy. If you’re opting for the garden idea, tall and hanging plants can keep your porch a little hidden. By choosing the right spots for these, you could cover your neighbor’s view altogether. If that doesn’t make you feel safe, there are other options. There’s even such a thing as patio curtains which could help keep you out of view. In extreme cases, you may want to opt for an entire porch cover. This would stop anyone from seeing you when you’re using the space. It may seem extreme, but it’s a step worth taking if it saves your porch going to waste.

If any of these pointers ring true to you, it’s time you get out and made some changes. It sounds to us like your porch is long overdue a little love, so go transform it into something you'll spend hours and hours in! Good luck!


Friday, January 25, 2019

Florida Beach Vacation Spots

Now that we're in the middle of our fourth snow storm of the winter... I've got beach fever. We had an amazing time in Puerto Vallarta on our adults only getaway last summer, and Eli loved dipping his toes in the oceans of North Carolina on our family trip. It's safe to say that I think the whole family has beach fever. Although we'll likely be staying home this spring break (lots going on people- LOTS!), I'd still kill to be on a beach somewhere. We've been to Orlando before, but we've never visited the southeast side of Florida. It's no secret that the state has some of the most beautiful beaches in the nation. Here are some fabulous Florida beaches that you should consider for your next vacation.

Clearwater Beach

Located just southwest of Tampa, Clearwater Beach is continuously named one of the top beaches to visit in the United States. With beautiful white sand beaches and shallow water, Clearwater Beach is also a great place for families to visit. I can literally picture Eli scooping shovelfuls of sand into his little pail. Here, you'll find great opportunities to enjoy the water with kayaking, boating, and dinner cruises. From Pier 60 to the Clearwater Marina to Sand Key Park, you'll definitely have a lot to do in the area.

Daytona Beach

Perhaps best known for the Daytona 500 NASCAR race, Daytona Beach is another great family beach destination. Located on the eastern side of Florida, the city also has the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. The beach has an awesome pier and boardwalk that were recently renovated, and families can enjoy food, shopping, and great thrill rides, including an oceanfront roller coaster that's scheduled to open soon. The 23 miles of beautiful sandy beach are worth visiting as well.

Panama City Beach

Source: Aaron Burden
Known as a top spring break destination for college students, Panama City Beach is a great option for those looking to avoid going quite so far east. PCB is located just east of Destin, and it's a very affordable option. The water is a great place to fish or scuba dive, and there are two state parks in the area. There are several touristy areas where you can eat and shop, as well as dolphin tours and a Gulf World Marine Park. If you visit at certain times of the year, you can avoid the craziness of spring break and have a great time as a family! Aaron and I visited briefly during the day a few years ago and it was actually quite peaceful.

Sanibel Island 

Best known for its incredible shells, Sanibel Island offers a calmer and more private beach option. The island is located west of Fort Myers, and is a great destination for both romantic getaways and family vacations. Consistently ranked as a top travel destination, Sanibel Island is an excellent choice for fishing, shelling, golf, tennis, birdwatching, and more. This is a great place to relax and enjoy luxurious resorts and fine dining, and it's totally on my list!!

Sunny Isles Beach

Source: Lance Asper
Sunny Isles Beach is just north of North Beach, Miami, where we visited a couple summers ago. Although it may not be as well known as other options, Sunny Isles offers gorgeous views of the Atlantic along a beautiful white sand beach. Resorts in the area are plentiful and not far from the hustle and bustle of South Beach or even the natural adventure found in the Everglades. Sunny Isles has free morning yoga on the beach, along with Florida's largest urban park, Oleta River State Park. The Newport Fishing Pier has been newly rebuilt and is worth a visit.

No matter which Florida beach you choose to visit, you'll definitely enjoy both the beauty of the ocean and lots of fun activities that will please any traveler. We had a great time on our Florida vacation, and I'm sure we'll be back to visit another one of these locations soon. Happy planning!


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

My Word for 2019

Last year was my first year "choosing a word". I wasn't sure if it was just trendy, or something worth doing, but I am happy to report a year later that I am a huge fan of having a word of the year. Looking back on 2018, my word was "cultivate", and boy did it ring true! I found myself pruning and preparing for something new. I was forced to live in chaos at times, forced to be patient when I didn't want to be, all the while focusing on the beauty that lay ahead, promising to be worth it all. And so, that leads me to my word for 2019: listen.

I'm going to be real with you here: I'm not always a great listener. I often rush into trying to talk and process and solve the problem, but I don't always listen long enough first. I'm not proud of this, it indicates my faults: my desire to rush to share my own words rather than hear another's. That I am selfish at heart and that I feel like I can trust myself more than others, that I need to drone out their opinions or speak my piece. And I don't want that. Listening requires patience. It is an act of faith, of grace. It is loving and kind. I want to do a better job of listening to people's hearts, their hurts, their joys. I want to do a better job listening to my friends, and serving them in that way. I want to do a better job listening to my husband, and honoring him in that way. I want to be slower to speak and quicker to listen. Because listening, and truly hearing, prepares us to speak and act well.
A huge part of listening this year is continuing to seek God's will and listen to hear His direction. As I've alluded to lately, He has definitely been on the move in our lives in the last year. I feel like we have had all sorts of crazy things happen and all sorts of huge decisions present themselves, and it has been hard to make these decisions without feeling doubt here and there. Were we doing the right thing? Were we marching towards our dreams? And yet, we keep putting one foot behind the other, stepping out in faith and trusting that the Lord has far bigger plans for us as we seek to follow His will. (And friends, I'm so excited to share more about this in the coming months!)

It isn't like I can just call God up on the phone and hear His voice, so listening in this sense requires prayer, requires reading His word, requires laying down my own selfish ambitions and desires- separating my emotion and listening to where He is leading us, even if it's not necessarily somewhere I want to go. And it takes patience. It takes shutting off my own worries and shutting out the shouts of the world. I find peace in knowing that God listens too. That He hears my voice and my cries, and that He knows me better than I know myself. That He is willing to give grace to me and show me the love and kindness that I am often to hesitant to give others.

"My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry." - James 1:19 (NIV)

"But he said, 'Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!'” - Luke 11:28 (NIV)

So with that, I commit to striving to listen this year. To be slow to speak. To show others grace and kindness, to love them enough to hear them out, or even to just be there to listen without saying a single word in return. And I'm striving to listen to the Lord, now more than ever, as He takes us on this incredible journey.