highs and lows.

The radio station that I regularly listen to used to have listeners call in on Monday mornings with their ‘high’ and their ‘low’ from the weekend.  It was amusing to hear what kinds of things people called in with.  But it also made you think about life and how it really is all about the highs and the lows, and how often they happen in the same week.

But this week the balance got a little out of whack around here.


Mr. Q’s bff (I’m pretty sure they don’t call each other bff’s, but I can, right?) came to visit from New York to help him celebrate his birthday.


Mr. Q’s 100 year old grandpa’s health has been steadily declining and this week they officially put him on hospice care.  Grandpa Bud has been ready to go for a while now.  He hasn’t had much quality of life for the last couple of years.  Mr. Q has breakfast and lunch with him every day, which is an awesome thing and I know Bud enjoys seeing him, but nonetheless Bud has made it clear that he is tired and ready to be done with this thing we call life.  He says that no one should live to be 100.  So although it’s hard to see Bud declining, it is not unexpected and it will ultimately be a blessing when Bud goes.

And another low:

And then while my mother-in-law was in town to attend a meeting about her dad going on hospice care, her husband’s incredibly amazing workshop burned down.

You might remember when I blogged about Tom’s fabulous workshop about two years ago.

When Tom & Naomi moved back to this area from New Orleans several years ago they bought a fixer upper property.  Their plan was to fix it up over time doing all of the work themselves.  They live on a very modest fixed income, so they have to space the work out over time as they can afford the supplies.  It’s absolutely nothing like an episode of Fixer Upper where the work is done by a team of people in the space of a month or two.

Their initial priority was to build a workshop for Tom to work in.  He is an amazing woodworker.  I showed you the trim he made for the front of their house …

But before he got to that trim, Tom spent several years getting his workshop up and running.  He’s been continuing to work on it while also working on the house.  The upstairs of the workshop was nearing completion.  Naomi had just called me last week to ask if I would help them stencil the ceiling (which I thought would make an awesome future blog post).

They heated the workshop with a giant wood burning stove.

They thought it was safe.

They were wrong.

Although there is no official word on the cause of the fire, it’s likely that it was a spark from the wood burning stove.

Not only did Tom lose his workshop, but he lost everything in it.

His tools and supplies, his books, his photos of past projects.

What used to look like this …

Now looks this …

But worse yet, he also lost some of his most precious things like this amazing miniature train chapel car that he built many years ago for Naomi.

Which now looks like this …

Remember the tiny boats that he carved …


Yes, these are just things.  And no one was hurt, which is absolutely the most important thing here.  We haven’t lost sight of that and we feel totally fortunate that this wasn’t so much worse.

But I know many of you are fellow artisans and can probably understand the loss that we are all feeling, most especially Tom.  Many of the pieces in that workshop were ones that he put his heart and soul into crafting by hand.

My sister-in-law Heather has set up a Go Fund Me page for Tom & Naomi.

So today I am doing something I’ve never done before (and hopefully won’t ever have to again).  I’m asking you to consider showing your support for my blog with something more than just a comment.  Even if all you have to give is $10 or $20, if even just 100 of you can give a small amount … well, you can do the math.  It will add up.

It will also go a long way towards helping Tom & Naomi rebuild.  Although they are insured, the insurance is never going to pay out enough to replace all of the equipment that was in the shop, and certainly never enough to replace the handmade details that made the workshop what it was.

So thank you from the bottom of my heart if you are able to help.  And even if you can’t help with a donation, just knowing that people care would be a big boost to Tom & Naomi’s morale, so please leave a comment that I can share with them.

32 thoughts on “highs and lows.

  1. How sad and yes I will donate something to their go fund me page. I remember the workshop post.
    As well I’m sorry to hear about Mr Qs grandfather. Although cognitively we can let them go, it’s an incredible loss for those left behind.
    Both their lives have touched your readers. I’ll remember your family in my prayers.


  2. Twenty years ago this past Christmas our house that was built in 1824 burned down. We saved 7 pieces of furniture, my green sweater, a report card found behind some tall baseboard, and ourselves. What should have been the worst time in our lives for a widowed mom and 7 kids turned out to be some of our greatest ever gifts. The house’s maintenance had been declining for years with only lick and a promise repairs. Lost were all my handmade quilts, hoarder’s stash of fabric, every picture, and all my husband’s sweat and toil on past additions to house our brood. In its place were every neighbor, friend, and community member lining up to help. We were under-insured but the house was replaced. Teams of neighbors aided the contractors with the demolition. Friends picked up dirty laundry and deposited clean. Every child was chauffeured to scouts, and ball games. Meals were delivered to our temporary home. For months, We were LOVED. My daughter explained it thus: “We had a fire, not a funeral.”

    The loss of Tom and Naomi’s home and workshop are a loss beyond any scope. He is a master craftsman. In the reconstruction I wish them many silver linings.

    Prayers also for you and Mr. Q on the good-bye’ing of his grandfather. Just the visual of their shared meal rituals is indelible.

    Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh my stars what a week it has been for your family. My sincere condolence for your in-laws. Just heartbreaking knowing the heartfelt work that went into the creation of the workshop. I hope he has the strength and stamina to rebuild. I will definitely contribute something, this is a community thing, not something they should face on their own. I’m happy that you got to photograph his creations, that would be a good thing to frame and give them as a permanent affirmation that you love and support his artistry. His creativity has probably taken a big hit, but hopefully he will move forward. And Grandpa Bud, he’s ready to have peace and simplicity. Wonderful grandson he has. There’s a song by a Texas singer songwriter Larry Joe Taylor (has to be 3 names) that is called ‘Uncle Bud’, when you get a chance, YouTube it – because he’s kind of a local treasure, it may not be on there, but it is a great song about treasured relationships. Thanks for sharing your highs and lows, it allows us into your life, and that’s why we love your blog.


    1. My in-laws met with the insurance adjuster yesterday and were able to show him my photos of the workshop from before the fire. They were so grateful that I had take so many pictures that day. I had to laugh that finally my obsessive photo taking for the blog has paid off! And I’m going to check out that song, thanks for sharing that Laura!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I got the singer wrong, it’s Gary P Nunn who sang Uncle Bud. But if you want a smile today you can listen to Larry Joe Taylor’s ‘screen door’

        Liked by 1 person

  4. This post makes my heart hurt. That was one amazing workshop. You are so generous in spirit with sharing your tips, skills, ideas (not to mention your contests and giveaways and chuckles) it’s time for us to give back. Get out your credit cards, ladies and gents! Prayers and kind thoughts to your family.


    1. It really was an amazing workshop. Every time I visited I marveled at how fabulous it was. I have to confess that I was envious of his toasty warm space and always thought about how many pieces of furniture I could get painted in there in the winter! So now my heart breaks a little that he has lost that. Thank you so much for your kind words and support Cynthia!


  5. What a difficult birthday week for Mr. Q. I’ve already shared Heather’s GoFundMe post on FB. You know I’ll be donating. Glad to hear that Carlos came out to offset some of the sadness.


  6. What a loss. I donated and shared on my Facebook page. Hopefully we can all share and donate to ease the pain a little for him.


    1. Thank you! Yes, Tom has incredible talent. Hopefully he will be able to rebuild another workshop, it may not be quite as elaborate the next time but at least a space where he can continue to create beautiful things.


  7. I feel so bad for Tom. Now I will really cherish the end tables I have that he made. I also shared the Go Fund Me page on my Facebook page. Hopefully I will get a few more donations for them. Thinking about Mike and Grampa Bud too.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ohhhhh my. I am so very sorry to see this. I am sending a big hug to you and prayers for Grandpa Bud. It sounds like he’s had an amazing life, with an obvious love of family. That is a gift. No matter what age, it’s hard to let go even if he is ready. I know how special those times are an am glad you can be there with him that much, Mike. That alone is tough and then to have a loss like Tom and Naomi is just heartbreaking. Yes, thank goodness for your photos, that should help immensely. Like you said, safety is the utmost importance, but it doesn’t diminish the loss felt. But…I do believe that it is people’s character that foretells how they respond to challenge, not necessarily the challenge itself. From what I see, Tom’s creative spirit, although tested greatly, will have opportunity to shine. That spirit, which has created such beauty with skill and precision, will serve them well. I know he will apply that gift in the days, months and years to come. Rebuilding and re-imagining and restoring to something that will be different, but beautiful in it’s own right. And I happen to know a few people right here that have the gift for thrift that can keep eagle eyes out, should he provide a wish list.


  9. Funds on the way, shared on FB too! My heart goes out to your whole family. It is the absolute least I can do for all the great advice you have poured into my lap everyday! Thank you, Muwah!


    1. It was an amazing workshop. Every time I stepped inside I thought about what an amazing space it was, and how lucky Tom was to have it. I only wish he could have had it longer than he did.


  10. God Bless you and your family. I’m crying for the good, bad and ugly you all are going through. I was a nurse for 25 years and know that death and dying can be a beautiful thing. Your family having time to say all the things you need to say and the time to spend with Mr. Q’s grandfather is a wonderful, blessed thing. The fact that he’s tired and ready helps but the pain and release when he’s gone will still be there.I pray for your family to be blessed knowing that at his end of time, the grandfather leaves this world for the next knowing he is loved, cherished, provided happiness & joy to his family & friends, and is leaving behind a legacy of kindness & goodness behind in this world.
    The loss of the workshop full of hope and memories is a travesty. I don’t have much but I cherish what I do have. I have little left over at the end of the month but God has blessed me a bit recently and I will give what I can. You give so much of yourself to perfect strangers that I feel honored to be able to give a little back. My prayers are with you all.


  11. Hi Linda.
    I just read your other blog post and I am sad to hear about the loss of Mr. Q’s grandpa. But he is smiling for sure, seeing his wife again.
    I am also so sad for Tom and Naomi. I can’t image losing so many wonderful handmade treasures. I have made a small donation to the Go Fund Me page and would like to send them huge hugs.


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