Abigail WhislerComment

Mackenzie and Jim | Laurel Mississippi Lifestyle Session

Abigail WhislerComment
Mackenzie and Jim | Laurel Mississippi Lifestyle Session

Mackenzie and I met at school on top of Lookout Mountain Georgia. We kept in touch via instagram over a shared love for words, creating images that stirred emotion, spirituality and most recently sharing a number on the enneagram.

I reached out to her about writing a post on my journal on the complicated but redeeming topic of “home” … one thing led to another and I found myself driving down to Laurel, Mississippi to spend a day with Mackenzie and Jim documenting their new life in the cute southern city living in a newly renovated home documented on HGTV’s newest renovation show.

Here are some images from our time and some beautiful words on the restoration of home:

Follow her along on instagram!

Restored, Repurposed, and Redeemed: What Home Means To The Hurts

“We are all old houses, altered by time and circumstances. Our lives are shaped by the good and the bad, and we take it all in and make it a part of us.” – Erin Napier, Make Something Good Today


A golden, velvet couch sits squarely in our study, a blend of our 1924 Craftsman’s past history with her present. The family of the previous homeowner, O’Dell, a woman who departed earth at one hundred and one year’s young, gifted us this family heirloom in the hopes that a new, young family would love and appreciate the sentimentality behind it. Every time I walk past the study, I’m reminded that while we’re making this home ours, we are only a part of it’s story, another chapter in this house’s book. 

Our home is a compilation of pieces with stories and sentimentality that tell our own story. Found in his grandparent’s barn in Cookeville, Tennessee, my husband converted a workbench originally belonging to his great grandfather into our dining room table. What once held paint cans, hammers, and tape measures, now holds sweet tea, casseroles, and birthday cakes. I recovered an old “Troop Library And Quartermaster” sign while decluttering an old, decaying building in Chattanooga, Tennessee. An ode to Jim’s past as an eagle scout, the sign is displayed proudly above our built-ins, welcoming visitors into the office. The banquette in our kitchen, built by our neighbor and friend Ben Napier, is inspired by the banquette in my own parent’s home nestled amongst the Blue Ridge Mountains in my hometown of Roanoke, Virginia. The numerous conversations born, the scrumptious bakes consumed, and spontaneous dance parties begun, the kitchen with loved ones was the perfect recipe for community. And at the heart of my childhood kitchen was the banquette. Growing up, the kitchen was the heart of our home, and the banquette was the heartbeat. This remains true in our own home today. 

I believe something beautiful takes place when we actively choose to restore and repurpose.

I share the same sentiments with a fellow Covenant College Alumna, Joanna Taft, when she states “Every time I look at a building that’s abandoned or needs to be restored, I think about the fact that I need to be restored, I need to be remodeled, and I’m on that journey, too… We have a community responsibility to be that good neighbor, to be that beacon, to say we care about our history.”

When we purchased our first home in little Laurel, Mississippi, far from family and familiarity, we knew we were not only choosing to invest into the wellbeing of this home, but into this community. It’s an honor, privilege, and joy to participate in a small way as fellow townsfolk love this town back to life.

Together, as we’re restoring, repurposing, and redeeming, we’re painting a small picture of how Christ works in our own hearts.

There’s room for brokenness and creativity, growth and grace. Vulnerable, messy, forgiving, honest life happens in-between these walls; and to these new Mississippians, that’s home.

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