Sometime around Halloween, this spider appeared. It looks real, right? Well, thankfully, it's plastic. But it still catches me off guard when I see it out of the corner of my eye.
I never know when I'll find it ... or where. My cat loves to bat it around. The kids find it and take it somewhere else. Every now and then my husband gets a kick out of moving it where he thinks it will scare me. And while it never actually scares me, it makes me pause a moment and evaluate the situation before moving my hand any closer.
To make matters even more fun, I discovered that there's actually two of them.
When you think of romance in relation to rooms in the house, I can almost bet you won't think about the laundry room. But our guest today does. Read on to find out how Shannon Taylor Vannatter found romance in her laundry room.
So, in our house is a tiny bedroom. It should have been 10 foot by 10 foot. But since the furnace and washer and dryer were in the hallway, they moved the wall into the bedroom. Which made the bedroom 10 by 7. In the early years of our marriage, we had a twin bed in there for guests. But since guests usually came in twos—my husband’s dad and step-mom or my two cousins—it didn’t work very well.
For 10 years, I was a hairdresser. For 7 of those years, I had a beauty shop at my house. Once I quit doing hair, we turned my old shop into a bedroom and it eventually became our son’s room. When guests come, he sleeps on the couch in my office or spends the night with a friend. The tiny bedroom became a junk room – a catch all for seasonal use items, craft supplies, and stuff we didn’t use anymore but was too good to throw away. Eventually, there was a path through it.
When our furnace and air conditioner called it quits a few years ago, we got a heat pump, air conditioner unit. A few months ago, we turned the old furnace nook into a linen closet. And finally after planning to do it for four years, we recently cleaned out the junk and I now have a tiny laundry room.
I love it. I REALLY love it. I painted it yellow because if I’m doing laundry, I want a bright, happy color surrounding me.
We can shut the door when we’re watching TV and not have to turn the volume up so high. I can run the washer and dryer at night and we can sleep without hearing zippers clank. There’s a folding table, so I don’t have to haul the towels to the bed to fold them. I have a drying/wrinkle free rack. There’s room for extra canned goods and craft supplies. There’s room on the wall for a fold down ironing board—even though I never iron. And there’s storage. Storage is one of my love languages since clutter rubs my OCD the wrong way.
My folding table used to be the countertop in an old general store in our tiny town. When they tore it down, my husband asked the owner if he could get a few items. We got the old store countertop and a wooden shelf with bins. A marking on one of the bins says: Velvet 5 cents. The shelf stores gift bags, paint, light bulbs, cleaning and pool supplies, an extra crockpot etc. My husband is planning to build doors for the shelf with chicken wire and fabric, per my design, to hide the clutter. I love chicken wire. And I love fabric.
I bought cute signs to put on the wall. The curtains are some I made several years ago for my kitchen. But we remodeled and opened the kitchen into the family room and went with more neutral colors, so they didn’t work there anymore. I’ve always loved them and they fit my laundry room just fine. The blocks show wood rocking chairs, wicker furniture, tea pitchers and geramiums. It says, front porch sittin, screendoor views, sweat tea sippin, neighborhood news.
And sewing is a whole other thing. My sewing desk is supposed to arrive in a few days. In front of the window will be my sewing nook. I don’t sew clothes, but I love making curtain toppers and comforters. I’ve always had to haul everything to the kitchen table to sew. Very soon, my sewing machine will be ready to use any time. I’m excited about that. Especially since I have a trunk full of fabric I’ve bought over the years for various projects or just because I liked it and couldn’t leave it on the bolt.
And the nook in the hallway where the washer and dryer used to be is now a coat closet. It’s big enough to hold all our coats in a centralized location in the house. And there’s floor space for storing all those seasonal items. And more storage on a shelf above.
It’s not all finished yet. There are still items strewn about the house, waiting to go to our shed, friends, or goodwill. For a while there, it looked like the junk room exploded into the rest of the house, which really pinged my OCD. There aren’t doors on the coat closet yet. My cute signs aren’t hung up yet. My ironing board isn’t on the wall yet—I do all my ironing in the dryer anyway. I haven’t stained the storage cabinets to match the folding table yet. But we’re getting there.
Why am I sharing this on a blog about romance? Because my husband tore down walls and cabinets, moved stuff five times, redid plumbing and electrical, and put down flooring to make it happen. He hates home improvement projects. But he did it. Because I wanted it. And he loves me. To me that’s the height of romance.
For a chance to win a copy of Shannon's new book, A Texas Bond, leave a comment below. Have you ever found romance in a room that might not be considered romantic (keep it clean, please)?
Award winning author, Shannon Taylor Vannatter writes contemporary Christian cowboy romance and has over a dozen published titles. A romance reader since her teens, she hopes to entertain Christian women and plant seeds in the non-believer’s heart as she demonstrates that love doesn’t conquer all—Jesus does.
She gleans fodder for her fiction in rural Arkansas where she spent her teenage summers working the concession stand with her rodeo announcing dad and married a Texan who morphed into a pastor. In her spare time, she loves hanging out with her husband and son, flea marketing, and doing craft projects.
Connect with her:
Recently, Shannon joined Scrivenings Press as co-owner/acquisitions/content editor.
A Texas Bond
(Book 3: Texas Hill Country series)
Finding his family is only the beginning…
He came to find the children…
Will he stay to win her heart?
Learning he’s an uncle shocks Ross Lyles—but after years of handling his brother’s bombshells, at least this surprise is a blessing. A pair of five-year-old blessings Ross is determined to meet, if he can convince their aunt to give him a chance. Fiercely protective, Stacia Keyes is worried he’ll try to take the children…and lassoing her trust is harder than he ever imagined.
Available at Walmart from mid-Feb to mid-March. Or online:
A Texas Bond - ChristianBook
A Texas Bond - Amazon
A Texas Bond – BarnesandNoble
February. Valentine's day. It's supposed to be romantic, right?
Do an image search for "romance" and you're going to find all sorts of things. Flowers. Chocolates. Kissing. Hand-holding. Weddings.
But is that all romance is?
I'd like to say that romance is going to look different to everyone.
Everyone has a recipe they're known for bringing to meals or potlucks. My grandmother was known for her rolls. She originally got the recipe out of a newspaper, but then tweaked a few things here and there to make it her own.
Well, now that Grandma is gone and has passed the recipe on to the rest of us, I'm sharing it with you, too. It's in my newest book, Writing Home, made and passed on by my character Christiana. But I wanted it more accessible, too. So, check below for a handy printable card. Or, if you'd rather I mail an already printed card your way, message me with your address.
My character loves this recipe because it's straight-forward and easy. No kneading required. I hope you love it, too. These bake up light and fluffy, the perfect addition to any meal. Have you ever made rolls before? Do you love them as much as I do?
Twenty years. That's a long time, right? Well, on February 7th, it was our 20th "date-iversary."
Maybe not everyone knows the day of their first date, but I do.
You see, it almost didn't happen. It had been spontaneously scheduled the semester before, right after my now-husband broke up with another girl. But we didn't know each other that well then. When we came back after Christmas, we started hanging out more. And by the time February rolled around, we'd decided maybe this date meant something after all.
Then, his car broke down.
My daughter is six. Recently, she's found our wedding album, and is completely obsessed with looking through it, finding people she knows, exclaiming over how young everyone looked (thanks a lot, kid). And, of course, that leads every so often into a discussion of what she might have at her wedding. Something I'm totally not ready to think about yet.
The picture above is her at age three, wearing my wedding dress. It was a fun pinterest idea of something we can pull out at her own wedding and display, if it doesn't completely embarrass her.
My four-year-old son is evidently now engaged to two different friends, who are both three. One asked him to marry her, and the other just declared that they were going to be married when they grew up.
So, what's the point of all this?
I love Goodreads because it allows me to look back and see if I've read something or an author before. It also keeps track of how many books I've read each year.
Every year, I set my goal at just higher than the number of books I read the year before, so this year, I guestimated I'd read around 125 books. I read over 135 instead. I may keep my goal at 125 for next year, though, because with three books coming out, that's a lot of reading not counted on goodreads. :-) Worth it.
I posted back in July about the first half of the year and what I'd read. Here's the link for that, if you want to see the first six months. And here's what I read in the second half of the year for my various challenges and groups I'm in.
As you all know, my word for this year was Stretch.
As I started to think of all I'd accomplished this year and what I hoped for next year, I played around with several different options for a word, but one kept coming back to me again and again.
What do I mean by that and what am I hoping to gain with it?
Merry Christmas from our messy living room to yours.
Things may not look exactly the same this year, but we can still celebrate this wonderful time of year.
Blessings on you through this holiday season!
If you remember ALL the way back to the beginning of 2020, when things looked so bright, and we had no idea about any of what was headed our way, I decided my word for 2020 was going to be "Stretch." The year before I'd chosen to be brave and start trying to put myself out there more. This year, I wanted to continue to push myself and see how far I could reach.
Let me tell you, I think this year stretched me in some ways more than I could have stretched myself.
This is a place for me to share thoughts and ideas not just related to writing. Thoughts about what's going on in my life, about an idea I got that I thought shareworthy, or just a funny anecdote.