The road ends, but the journey continues...

Life Is In The Doing

I’m just doing the doing. More some days than others. A steady doing of doing that is mostly mindful, often delightful, surprisingly productive and always so very daily.

Hubby and I took on several home improvement projects since buying our little rental home October 2021.

Doing needful maintenance the landlord avoided doing – even when we volunteered to do certain necessary items.

Doing homey stuff the landlord didn’t allow us to do – even if it enhanced aesthetics such as hanging plants on the front porch or planting flower gardens.

Now that we’re homeowners again, we’ve been busy.

TWL on roof Spring 2022
Terry on roof Spring 2022

From power washing the vinyl siding, to cleaning the gutters in the Spring & Fall, to planting/hanging porch plants and garden areas, to sanding, sealing, repainting said porches, stairs & railings, to replacing the crummy kitchen countertops, sink & oven fan/hood, repainting said kitchen, changing out all electrical outlets/switches & updating some electrical issues, to installing new, working ceiling fans/lights in the kitchen, Living Room, Master Bedroom and hubby’s office, to replacing the flimsy flusher pixie toilet in the hall bathroom…and more.

All without breaking the bank or dumping too much money into the place from an investment point of view.

Here are a few snaps of just one of the many projects begun & completed as mentioned above –
before & during prep of the kitchen (notice new hood in last photo):

Who knew we’d ever be able to afford granite in our modest home? When we ordered new counter tops, it was during a small window of time when supply of cheaper laminates were limited and granite actually was only a few hundred dollars more to buy & install!

BTW: this phone video is titled, “Glee over our Granite!”

If you listen closely to this vid, you’ll hear my signature laugh against hubby joking with the sales lady speaking in a typical South Carolina accent.

Kitchen 7
Lookin’ good even before we re-painted the walls (Sherwin Williams ‘Greek Villa’) and installed the new electrical plates/outlets/switches.
FYI: the kitchen is done, but I have no final photos to show here – I’ve been too busy baking & cooking up a storm and making foodie & coffee messes!

I guess we have been busy.

Our lives have certainly been enhanced by the doing.

Plus, we get to enjoy the fruits of our labor and share it with our kiddos over Christmas Holiday this year. Our first time to host (for various reasons) in about 6 years.

Can’t wait!


  1. Annika Perry

    Laura, there is something inherently creative in the doing up of a home, caring for a house and your post shows the joy this can bring. I’m smiling at your lovely laughter and oh, the granite is wonderful! I hope you had help to lift it up as it must have been so heavy! A lovely and uplifting post and thank you for the reminder of the blessing of ones home, of just doing! Hoping you had a fabulous Christmas with all your family. Wishing you much joy and peace and good health in 2023! Hugs xx ❤️

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thank you, Annika for visiting my new kitchen via my post! Sending virtual ‘fika’ vibes to you – would love to share a cuppa java together with you, my friend.

  2. fauquetmichel

    I have just lost the comment I have just written., Laura .
    A saying comes in my mind at reading you ” do well and let say”
    Thank you for your beautiful commment about my family at Christmas
    Love <3

    • laura bruno lilly

      Good saying, Michel!

  3. fauquetmichel

    Thank you ,Laura, for your comment about my family at Christmas, Day,
    Happy New year 2023
    Love <3

    • laura bruno lilly

      But of course!

  4. Lavinia Ross

    It all looks beautiful, Laura! Wishing you and your family a peaceful and happy Christmas and holiday season, and a bright new year ahead. ??❄️

    • laura bruno lilly

      Lavinia! Thanks for the happiness wishes – Wishing you all the best this season has to offer – filling you with hope and healing as you enter the new year.

  5. fauquetmichel

    I have just read your name among the two winners in the L. Marie post:
    Love <3

    • laura bruno lilly

      Friends across the oceans…that we are!

  6. fauquetmichel

    A total renewal of the house and the beautiful result are blessings of God.
    Love <3

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thank you, Michel! I wish for you and your wife extra blessings this Christmas Season. hugs to you both

  7. fauquetmichel

    I agree with you , How many houses my wife and me have re-made and also the gardens.?
    Work done brings us a real satisfaction to the the mind and the soul . <3

    • laura bruno lilly

      Yes, it certainly does. Especially when done with your soul mate!

  8. marymargaretripley

    You have definitely been busy! Enjoy the fruits of your labor and your family this Christmas ? ❤️

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thanks – have a great holiday!

  9. Andy

    Looks great. I’m glad Jen doesn’t follow your blog. It’s difficult enough her seeing FB posts of friends’ partners doing all sorts of clever DIY stuff. It’s definitely nit my forte! ??

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thanks, Andy – even if you’re keeping Jen in the dark with my blog – HA!

  10. cedar51

    agree with all the comments, and hope that Christmas time shows your family that you have been “doing the doing” – I would love to change a lot of things in my private rental as well…but it never seems worth it, as it doesn’t belong to me. A few months ago the property manager decided that the shower head needed replacing, now it’s all shiny and white – instead of chipped and cracked grey/black metal thing! The dude changing it out said actually the whole cabinet needs an upgrade!

    • laura bruno lilly

      I totally get what you’re going through…I don’t understand the landlord mentality of not investing in their investment – especially when the tenants are ‘good’ tenants and take care of living environment (like we were and you are). Thanks for stopping by, Catherine. I hope your weekend is a colorful one!

  11. Cheryl, Gulf Coast Poet

    How gratifying, Laura, to be able to transform your house yourself. Every time you look at the lovely kitchen and the delightful flowers, you can give yourselves a pat on the back! The granite looks perfect! <3

    • laura bruno lilly

      Perfect is a great word that describes how we feel about our modest reno…not ‘House Beautiful’ but ‘home us’!
      Hope all are well in your family and you’re able to enjoy the holidays, too.
      Take care.

  12. Jennie

    Laura, can you feel my big smile? You have really been busy! The house and many projects look wonderful. I’m so happy for you, especially having the family over for Christmas after many years. Bless you!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Caught your huge smile, Jennie! Blessings back atchya!

      • Jennie


  13. Marty

    The granite countertops are beautiful! Well done… on everything. ?

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thanks, Marty. I know you just finished with your own kitchen reno – and are onto the bathroom (if I remember correctly)? Hopefully all will be calm by the Holidays – yours are coming sooner than ours, but I’m confident Gorgeous has it all under control!

  14. rl2b2017

    Hi Laura! Wow – your new kitchen looks beautiful. I can’t think of anyone that deserves it more. {{Hugs}} ~smile~ Roseanne

    • laura bruno lilly

      Aww, you’re too kind, Roseanne. Thanks – I don’t take it for granite (just had to say it and I knew you’d appreciate it, too)!

      • rl2b2017

        HAHAHAHA! That’s my kind of humor, for sure 🙂

  15. anne54

    I am so impressed with everything you have done! And the results look fantastic. “Just doing the doing” is a great expression….it has that feeling of getting things done one thing at a time, making steady progress but at your own pace.
    Enjoy Christmas in your new space!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Spot on! You just defined my approach (needful as I am a slow-turtle type) in your descriptor of my expression of ‘doing the doing’.
      I wish for you a peaceful and hopeful holiday season, Anne.

  16. Looks like some good doings! The granite looks gorgeous!

  17. Ally Bean

    Nothing better and more rewarding than updating a kitchen. I love what you’ve done, the counter is pretty, and look forward to learning about all of your home projects. Carry on!

  18. zippyquilts

    Congratulations on all you have accomplished! I laughed at your granite counters; when I asked why the heck I was getting granite in the laundry room, for heaven’s sake, I was told that it was cheaper than laminate these days. Who knew? Now we both know 😀

    • laura bruno lilly

      Ain’t that somethin’? Well, maybe it’s a Carolina thing!

  19. Jane's Heartsong

    I tried to reply on my tablet but no go. So, will repeat here. I love your laugh, the salesperson’s accent and your husband’s talking all blended together. It was a pleasure to see how shiny granite can become-glad you were able to make the purchase- and a relief to hear that you can make changes to your home that wasn’t allowed before. Enjoy the company this holiday season!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Jane, you do have a musician’s ear…the interplay of speaking, laughing; the rhythms and cadences of speech.
      You’re right about the granite – also how it looks different once installed on-site…so much better than I thought t would look even after having viewed the slab in the stone lot. Natural materials are like that.

  20. marissthequilter

    You most certainly have been busy. I got quite breathless just reading about all the things you have done. Well done to you both!
    So glad to read that you are now settled and homeowners. Wishing you peaceful and happy times in your new home.

    • laura bruno lilly

      It was surprising to realize we’d done so much in such a short span of time…while still doing life and ‘doing’ my music and sewing. That’s rewarding for me to see from time to time, ya know? Thanks for the pat on the back, Mariss!

  21. Janis @

    Although I’m not too excited about the Doing, I am happy when it’s Done! Your kitchen looks lovely and I’m sure you are enjoying it while baking and cooking up a storm 🙂

    • laura bruno lilly

      Well put, Janis! Great to hear from you.

  22. petespringerauthor

    “I’m just doing the doing,”—I’ve never heard that phrase, but it’s a good one. Why am I having a flashback to what seems like a 100 years ago to the BTO song, “Takin’ Care of Business?”?

    I’ve always envied those who can do most of their own home maintenance because I don’t have a lot of skills in that department. When we were first starting out as a young couple and had no money, I tried to do everything myself. I usually got to the finish line, but about 2-3 times longer than it should have taken.

    Based on my last post of blogging pointers, I’m glad that you’re not apologizing for your absence. You just keep “doing the doing.”

    • laura bruno lilly

      Ha! BTO – now you got me hearing it – what’s that called? Oh yes, an ‘ear worm’.

  23. Laura

    Wow! Love, love, love! Truly blessed to be able to own and create the nest together! Of course, it is okay to answer yourself! Sometimes only you know best! Ha, ha! This post makes me so happy! 🙂

    • laura bruno lilly

      “Of course it’s okay to answer yourself!” HA! Thanks for the validation, Laura! Happy to share with you the happiness this Sunday.

  24. Khaya Ronkainen

    Congrats to home ownership, Laura. How lovely to be able to finally make these home improvements, and without breaking the bank! This is all a BIG accomplishment. You should pat yourselves on the back…and such joy is your laugh in “Glee over our Granite!” Give thanks…indeed! <3 <3

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thank you, Khaya! I’m listening to your kitchen table interview and heard your laughter, too! What a delight to hear friends from afar that we mostly know in the silence of words. I will comment on that interview in future for sure – very layered as much of your insights are – I am still savoring/processing your newest poetry collection! Preview? Excellent!

  25. LA


  26. deborahbrasket

    Love your gleeful laugh! Homemaking is such a pleasure. You and hubby co-creating your living space. Doing it together. What joy. I love your granite too!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Happy to share the glee with you, Deborah! Hubby has tapped into his inner Bob Villa with this place big time – very fun to watch him tackle each project, learn new skills and produce a quality end result that’s pleasing for us both.

  27. L. Marie

    Oh Laura!! I’m so happy for you! The granite is gorgeous!!! Isn’t it wonderful to work on something that is absolutely yours???? I’m grateful to God also for this blessing in your life.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Oh yes, you get it – the relationship between landlord and tenant is precarious at best. This homeownership blessing is not one we take for granted at all. Thanks for joining in our Dance of Joy!

  28. piecefulwendy

    Having a “new” kitchen is one of the simple joys of life, and what fun that you were able to get granite! You have been busy homeowners as of late, those projects are a lot of work, but return reward is pretty keen. Yay for hosting Christmas! I hope you savor every moment!

    • laura bruno lilly

      You’re right – a simple joy that yields a huge return reward! I hope your Christmas is savored this year as well.

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