writer elise

I'm Elise. I write. Because I must.

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Help For A Friend

Two posts in a week…y’all try not to panic.

This is going to be a short one too.

I want to ask y’all for help. Not for me, but for a friend. A dear, dear friend. Her GoFundMe page will give you all the details (link at the end of this post) but I just want to tell you a little about her. We met through work and quickly became friends. Not coworkers who are kinda friendly. Life long friends. She’s like a big sister to me which is awesome because that’s usually my role in friendships. And with my younger siblings.

Sherry is one of the most kind and loving people I have ever known. She’s just a good ol’ country girl who will bend over backwards to help one of her people. Which I why I’m asking y’all to help her.

You see, Sherry needs a double lung transplant. She’s been on the transplant list for a while now. She came close to getting her new lungs once but things went wrong – with the lungs, not her. Sadly, she’s been out of work so long while she waits that she and her partner (an awesome guy named Kevin) are now really, really struggling financially.

That’s where y’all come in. If you can spare the cash – even just a few bucks – please click this link and help her out: Sherry’s GoFundMe.

If you can’t donate, maybe send up some prayers. Those help just as much as money.

Thanks y’all!

Blessings and love,


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This World

orange sunsetI do not recognize the world we’re currently living in. This is not the world I was raised in. This is not the world I thought I would live in as an adult. This world hurts my heart. And my soul. And my mind. I wish I could just wave a magic wand and heal this poor, broken, out of control world.

But I can’t. I can’t fix the world in one big movement. No one can.

As a Christian, I want to say that the answer is simple. Everyone needs more Jesus. We – humanity – have gotten so far from our creator that we’ve become a lost and broken people.

But I’m a realistic person. I know that there isn’t as simple an answer to such a complicated and broken world.

All I know is that I want the world be better.

I want people to realize that our differences are beautiful and should never be a source of fear or the inspiration for hate. I want people to understand that if their religion says they should kill people then they’re putting their faith in something that is deeply wrong. I want our American media to remember that journalists are supposed to report the news, not sensationalize it or incite fear or hate. I want people to stop worshiping celebrity or wealth and instead put their stock in things that really make the world better – like music, art, science, and, yes, Christianity.

I want the people who are using Christianity as a basis to judge others to remember that we are all sinners and have no right to judge on another – only the Big Guy has that right.

I want people to see just other people – not skin color, religion, sexual orientation, political party, bank account size…

I want people to spend more time reading books. More time sitting on front porches with friends and family. More time watching it rain or snow. More time watching the sun rise and set. More time watching children play or cats nap or birds fly.

I want people to lean more on their own brains and their own two hands rather than technology or the internet or the TV…

I want people to stop yelling and blaming and being so cruel.

More than anything though I want people to be kind.

To be empathetic.

To be compassionate.

To be accepting.

To love.


Love, prayers, and blessings to each of you.




Project Pallet Bench

Y’all, I made a thing. Look.

Finished Bench

That’s my new writing bench. I love (LOVE) to write outside. I’d tried using my patio table but the chair to table height was off and just didn’t work. So I looked at all the spare pallets in my hay barn and thought I’d build myself a bench. Want to know how to build one too? Keep reading.

Step one: Tear apart some old pallets. I used 4 for this project but could have gotten by with 3. I wanted a selection of different board widths and ages so I pulled boards from 4 pallets. The darker ones in the picture up there were from one that had been water damaged. Cleaned up they came out amazing and are my favorites.

Step two. Figure out your dimensions. I wanted mine to be roughly chair height so I used a comfy (and worn out) lawn chair to help me get my height and decide on the angle of the back. (I like a straighter back than most folks.) I used a bench seat cushion to determine the length and width of the seat. And some back cushions to determine the height of the back. You may need to purchase lumber for the frame and the legs. I didn’t because I had some super old pallets that were made with straight cross braces. You’ll see what I mean in a second.

Step three: Lay things out.

seat layout

The layout for the seat. Make sure you won’t need to trim things or swap out board before you put things together. It is a lot easier to adjust things before screws come into play.

Step four: The base. I made mine pretty beefy as you can see below. It will be sitting on my back porch which isn’t a huge deal until I tell you that I’ve had 80 mph winds out there. I wanted to make sure this thing could take a beating if it had to. Those straight pieces are what I was talking about. Older pallets have straight braces like that. Newer ones have notches cut out of the braces to make them lighter. I am lucky to have a lot of old pallets so I’ll be able to make a few more benches if I want to. Once you get the frame for the base put together (use some long lag bolts) put on the seat boards with wood screws (make sure you get galvanized ones).


Step five: The legs. I set my seat on a hay bale to get my height right. Once I got the legs on I flipped it over. To add something cool. This is a heavy bench and thanks to my Rheumatoid Arthritis, I’m not as strong as I’d like to be. So I added casters to the bench so I can easily roll it into the barn for winter storage. Or into the house in a pinch if bad weather is looming.You’ll notice that the seat has a slight angle to it. I slopped it back a bit for comfort. Again, I like things straighter than most folks so adjust to suit your preferences. You’ll also notice that I sistered a second short leg to the main legs. I did this simply for the casters. If you’re not putting your bench on wheels, you won’t need to do this.

ready for legsready for casterscasters

Step six: The back. You’ll want to put the base of the back in first. Bolt a board between the back two uprights (that will become the arms). I recommend testing out chairs to see what angle for the back feels comfortable to you. Set this base board at that angle. Use lag bolts to secure it then screw on your boards for the back. After you get them on, finish the back by adding the rest of the frame. You may also have to square off the boards. I know I measured each one right but they ended up a little off so I had to trim them a bit.

the base for the backthe backthe finished back

Step seven: The finishing touches. Last I added the arms and then a single long pallet brace across the front. You could get all fancy and add more details or arch the back, etc but I wanted to keep it simple.

finished touches

The last steps are to sand it. I highly recommend washing it after you’re done sanding. It will get then bench cleaner than any tack cloth can and let’s face it, even sanded pallet boards are still dirty.


When I washed mine I knew that I didn’t want to stain it as I’d originally planned. Look at the beautiful contrast between each board. I couldn’t bring myself to cover it up. So I grabbed a can of oil base¬†polyurethane and went to town. Boy was that wood dry.

with and without poly

The seat and back have poly on them in that picture, the arm doesn’t. It took three coats of poly before I had a nice shine on everything. The wood just drank it up like water.

with coushins

All in all, I spent maybe $50 on this project. The pallets were free. The screws and bolts were pretty cheap. The cushions I got on clearance in the fall of last year. It took me about 5 months to build but that was just working on weekends and evenings after work. And around RA flares. And later around a streak of humid, rainy weather that kept me from putting on the poly. Not too bad for someone with RA I think. I know I could build a second one faster now that I know what I’m doing. I’m going to build a little footstool/table to go with this one next.

And I’ll go back to writing my second book too. It is already going better now that I have a great place to sit outside and write.

If you have any questions, please ask. I learned a lot in this project and didn’t even cover all of it in this post.