Give Me a “Lived-in” Home


Dear Reader:

Yesterday was “tax” day for me. In trepidation I carried all my “stuff” in my bright yellow folder to the tax service I use. I knew taking money out of my annuity to pay for the home renovations last summer was going to “get me” since it was all counted as additional income….the question was just how badly?

As it turned out I do have to pay some ‘greenbacks’ to the federal government but I am getting triple over that amount from the state back. Hallelujah….Love you South Carolina!!!!! Whew! I survived another year physically and ‘tax-ably.’

(My accountant grinned from ear to ear as I did my happy dance around the room! )

IMG_9916While I was waiting to be seen I picked up a magazine called Coastal Living. Under “Letter from the Editor”….(Antonia) I read a great message that ‘hit home’ for me. Here is an excerpt from the page….

“My son once visited a friend’s beach house. He returned full of accolades for the place. ‘It was unbelievable, ” he said, ‘ Perfect in every way. Impeccable! Not a thing out of place.’ Then he hesitated. “Mom, Can we make sure our home never looks like that?”

Antonia understood perfectly what her son meant. She made the observation that as much as we think we want a home that is perfect…deep down we love the fact that it’s not.

She went on to comment on all the idiosyncrasies in her home…a back door that only opens and closes if you know the right push, or the wall-paper along the stairwell that still sports a tiny hand-print outlined in black magic marker by her then creative four-year-old who thought she was Picasso. Neither of these imperfections need fixing as far as Antonia is concerned…they add charm and personality to the house.

So I have decided to share my imperfections that make me happy too.

Right now my Happy Room looks like a hospital for plants…I pulled in Big Red and the poinsettias to weather out the cold front this week inside. I really like having them and will miss them when they return to the porch.


My kitchen is beyond outdated with the same light blue vinyl that was there when we bought the house in 1982. The cabinets and shelves have been painted but there is not a piece of granite to be found or even a backsplash….just the same cheap, er…excuse me extremely inexpensive vinyl.

There is also not a speck of stainless steel to be seen….but I like that since I can put photos of my grandchildren on the frig….magnets still work! It’s not outdated…just shabby chic….at least to me. (All the burnt vinyl is covered up with tiles and decorative big spoons)









One cool thing the original builders did do….was add a built-in veg/ meat-cutting area…..with all the signs of the Zodiac….and my Libra “scales” are right on top reminding me “Moderation in all things.


Does anyone remember that creepy movie with Julia Roberts….Sleeping with the Enemy?  Her husband was a psychopathic perfectionist who went into an abusive rage if all the can goods weren’t stacked evenly at the same height in the cabinets or if one towel or dishcloth wasn’t evenly hung. (That guy was really nuts!)

Anyway I think about that all the time while I throw my towels haphazardly over the rack holders to hang as they please. (Unless I have company and then I do take a little extra time to even them up a bit)









My Happy Place….  the blogging room stays borderline slipshod….translated… unsettled. I like that word for almost but not quite chaotic….living on the edge. My problem is books…I read so many and am always looking for a passage to put in the blog….so I am surrounded by my happy friends for easy maneuvering.













I found this poster on-line the other day and smiled…I actually had a wooden block with this message on it when the kids were small and company dropped in unexpectedly….it saved me from apologizing for the mess so much. (It fell one day and broke)


Like Antonia, my house has more than its share of idiosyncrasies…most of them in the electric field. To turn on my den lights, for example,  I have to turn one switch up, the next one down, wait five seconds and turn the first one down and up quickly. Whew!

When Tim put in a saloon swinging gate for me to separate the kitchen from the laundry room…it couldn’t swing both ways because of the kitchen cabinets….so if someone is out on the deck and comes in….they have to pull the gate/door towards them, not out….I have heard several panicked calls from guests (who might have indulged in a little too much wine) and thought they were trapped forever in the laundry room.


So until tomorrow…Sometimes I daydream about replacing the old carpet, fixing up the other un-usable bathroom, getting rid of popcorn ceilings and adding new lighting fixtures …but then I wouldn’t have my perfectly imperfect home. Besides….I have enough of everything. I have life.


“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*’I must be late for a very important date‘ – somehow I missed that Affordables had come to town…the really good one…like the one at Pawleys Hammock Shops that I love so much. To celebrate my good fortune with my tax service I went in and hit the 50% off winter sale.

The owner/and sales ladies were so nice….another Becky/owner ..and I am thrilled they have opened in Summerville.  (The bag in the picture is mine….loving it!) If you haven’t been, go check it out!


12313605_10101399828833804_898737305495134447_n*Prayer Alert: Amanda, Kaitlyn’s sister is in ICU with dangerously low blood pressure. Please keep her in your prayers, along with her loving family. God please be with Amanda and her family as we pray for healing and a new “health-over.”




About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to Give Me a “Lived-in” Home

  1. Johnny Johnson says:

    I know what you mean!!!! We did a complete remodel of our home that took nearly a year to complete due to some structural work included. After it was complete, I couldn’t find anything! It didn’t feel like home! I just didn’t feel comfortable! Now with little things settling in and relocating everything, the house is finally beginning to feel like home again. A door that makes a certain noise, the sounds the new Fridge and dishwasher makes and so on. It’s nice, but it has taken 6 months to feel like home again. Odd what the little things do to make you feel comfortable, and knowing where everything you use in your home is located really is a big deal!
    I hope you have your fire going today, Mrs. Dingle, it sure is cold out! But hey, it’s probably the last couple of weeks of cold weather before Spring begins to show up. Got to love the low country!


  2. Becky Dingle says:

    That’s what I keep telling myself Johnny about the weather….”Hang in there Dingle…it will soon be just a memory! ‘ I am keeping the fireplace burning and love an excuse for a fire anyway….so cozy! Your thoughts today are right on target as usual….I think we humans can only take so much perfection…I will gladly leave that up to God….while I stay perfectly imperfect and loving it!

    By the way…is there a “John” Johnson…separate from you…now and then I get an email or comment that doesn’t sound like your normal writings….just don’t want an imposter trying to be you. You’re the best.


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