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Boots McBlog bio picture

bonjour, y'all!

I'm a dash of Jackie O.  A pinch of Elly May.  A splash of Quelques Fleurs.  A jigger of pickle juice.

My friends call me Boots. My name is JoBeth.  I'm a southerner who adores a great tune, a delicious meal, beautiful flowers, a frilly dress, good manners,  leadership books and the perfect shoe.  For 13 years, I've been married to a curly haired guy I call "The Angler" and we love calling Little Rock home.   

I have a master's degree in nutrition. I spent 10 years helping others reach their health goals. Today, I work in business development helping organizations, small businesses,  and women become the best leaders they can be.   

Whether it's fashion, photography, food, faith, or gracious leadership, my prayer is to creatively inspire you to 

eat well • live beautifully • lead graciously

Thank you for stopping by!



Disclaimer: the views expressed on this blog are my own and do not reflect the views of my employer)

The opposite of fear:: Learning the true meaning of fearlessness in 2013

A few weeks ago, we turned out the lights, locked the door, signed the papers and handed over the keys to our sweet little home.

Then,  I wrapped up my thirties.  Tonight 2013 will come to it’s close.

Tis the season of endings.

I began this year with a word emblazoned on my heart.  FEARLESS.

I chose this word, or it chose me, because I could feel the Lord nudging me to move things I had kept on the strategic life plan to my daily to-do list.   Clutching onto the words of 1 Timothy 2:7 and a well drafted action plan, I began the journey.


winter in paris 2

Twelve months later from stepping out in faith, my work life, my home life and my health have helped me to define fearless much differently than I did in January.

I’ve learned the opposite of fear is not a roaring courage.  Instead, I’ve discovered the opposite of fear – true fearlessness- is the presence of peace.  The peace that passes understanding, that stretches beyond comprehension. 

At work, God enlarged my territory. I was given the opportunity to grow my leadership – in perhaps the most uncomfortable, humbling way. I expanded my role, changed my title, and inherited a heap of messy budgets and a team battered, worn, and completely distrustful of me. I was determined to whip it all together and expected immediate excellence and leadership from those around me. I fell back into my perfectionist ways and expected not just excellence – but perfection of them.  Quickly discouraged, I pridefully felt I was the new coach of the bad news bears.  Why could they not be as “with it” as me?  Worst of all, I feared they would see my frailties beyond the office?  What if they realized I’m not super woman, and discover I’m completely…human.

winter journey 2

At home, as you know, we decided to sell the McCottage.  What a whirlwind and a roller coaster of anxieties that turned out to be.  Six weeks from a decision to sell it to sitting at the title company.  What just happened?!   Where will we go?  Before my fears could get the best of me I realized everything fell together so perfectly, I could only see God’s hand in this and be at peace despite our unknown destination.  Even despite the other private chaos that was unseen to so many…

paris winter

Beyond work and home has been a quiet struggle that a few know.  At the time I was “taking over at the helm” at work, one of my greatest fears was realized. (This is quite personal and I’ve debated whether to share in such an open forum, but I’ve found the stories of other women in the same place have brought me comfort – to know we’re not alone in what seems like the loneliest journey, one we are supposed to keep private)  You see, 2013 was the year The Angler and I were going to grow our family.  I had no reason to believe this would be a challenge.  This delayed start for us, has always been our choice.

Because of my “advanced age” we were given a brief window before the doctors wanted to intervene.  In July, the barrage of tests began.  There were some initial scares but thankfully, nothing major was uncovered. In September, our hopes were beginning to be realized …and then it went away.

In the last days of October the sign went into the yard to sell the house  and I got a referral to “the specialist”.

On Nov 5, I met with the specialist for the new patient work-up.  Three days later, we accepted the offer on our house and just a few days later more unexpected good news arrived!  We were shocked.  We did it!  On our own. No help from any doctors. We’d have a sweet little souvenir to take with us from the McCottage.  God’s timing seemed perfectly in line with my idea of  the perfect story to share with my friends.  My head went into painting the walls of our future home, wondering if the tiniest bedroom would be blue or pink.

peaceful winter

My doctor confirmed the positive test four times with lab- cautioning me that my levels weren’t quite what they wanted to see. I was sure I was an exception. Just days before Thanksgiving and  my entire house was emptied, the little dream was over.

All I wanted to do was to crawl into MY bed – in MY bedroom – in MY house.  But  the McCottage didn’t really exist anymore and the pressure to get OUT and let the buyers in was on. There was no time for rest or recovery.  Maybe it’s for the best there was no time for my pity party.

In this storm of health and selling our home so quickly despite a slow market, we landed at my inlaws for a few weeks – until our next home is available/ found. We made it to their country home just minutes before the bad weather blew.  What a life metaphor because this bad weather turned out to be a gift.  We were iced in for 4 days and I rested.  I took deep breaths and thought these days of endings were over.  I was free  to let our new dreams begin!

The next day, the doctor called with unexpected news. My labs showed I was still pregnant and that the ultrasound indicated it was ectopic. It seems my trait of “not letting go” transfers in my DNA.  This barrage of stress continued.

Thankfully, I didn’t  have to have surgery. I took two shots of Methotrexate  - a chemo drug that afternoon to dissolve the misplaced attempt at life. It felt weird.  And I felt so helpless through it all.   But I didn’t feel scared.  I did not fear.

I knew and still know God wants good for me.

paris winter 2

I’ve had some out of body experiences lately, looking at this frenzy of my life in 2013 – especially the last few weeks. When I have shared my story with friends, they’ve cried.  They exclaim, “I don’t know how you’re doing this!”   At times, I’ve had the same thought, but then I realize I know exactly how I’m doing it.  I’m able to get up each day and get dressed and arrive to work because I’m bathed in prayer. I’m girded in God’s love – the love that castest out all fear.  My family, my dearest girlfriends and prayer warriors have lifted me up. I got vulnerable with my team at work, shunned my perfection, and told them what was going on in my life.  Turns out, those Bad News Bears are some of the godliest people of faith I’ve ever met and they have gone to bat for me in prayer and encouragement.  And in the midst of the darkest night, I awoke and found an email from a Facebook/ college acquaintance who said she had no idea why, but God had asked her to start praying for me and my future family last year and she has been fervently praying ever since.  In between her lines, I could read God’s handwriting, “See?  I’ve got this!”

I am embracing A.W. Tozer’s words,

“When I understand that everything happening to me is to make me more Christlike, it resolves a great deal of anxiety”

That’s where I am today.  Fearless.

I have no idea what the next few days, much less what 2014 and my 40s will hold, but I do know who holds that future and that future is to make me more like Him.  I don’t know if we’ll ever be bigger than a family of two or if we will land in a house I love.  BUT I feel God’s promises to my core, “I’m not letting you go.  I’m telling you, Don’t Panic.  I’m right here to help you” – Isaiah 41:3.   These are the same words I typed on this screen back in January.  They were true then…and they are true now.

Yes, I’m finishing 2013 battered and weary, yet I’m unafraid and at peace.  And isn’t peace what the holiday season is all about?

If you have an anxious heart today, I pray you discover this peace that I have found. If I can pray for you, let me know.

This  month we sang of peace on earth. Please know, it is not just a Christmas prayer – it’s a year round reality. It can be yours in your heart, just as it is mine.   Jesus came to earth two thousand years ago for times like these. To give us hope.   When the shepherds found him lying in that manger dressed in swaddling clothes, they knew the hope of the world had arrived.  They heard the  Angels sing of this Wonderful Counselor. The Almighty Father.  The Prince of Peace.

Christmas may be over.  Nativity scenes are being packed away.  We shouldn’t leave him in that manger.  Allow his peace to carry with you this next year.  Allow yourself to be fearless in Him.



I’ll be taking a break from blogging for awhile. I plan to rest and use the next few weeks as an “alt-ctl-delete”.  In that time, I hope to remodel this site and come back writing from a new office in a  new home.

Au revoir 2013.

Until we meet again, I hope y’all  have a Fearless New Year.

Peace be with you, sweet friends.






~ the good in goodbye ~

I’ve been working from home the last couple of days to help coordinate the workmen who are here to help dot the i’s and cross the t’s before we hand over the McCottage keys on December 5th.

I’m thankful to have some extra time amongst these walls. In the late afternoon of autumn, they become the prettiest coral hue.  You see, the light is reflecting off of the hundred year old maple which stands in our front yard.  The color bounces off  Miss Maple’s leaves and into the front rooms of our house.

miss maple

I’ve stood here breathless staring at that tree who has given it her all this year in the most radiant red across all of her branches.  Cars have stopped and pointed.  Folks have asked to take her picture.  This majestic tree in front of our humble house has a paparazzi.  She’s kinda like the Jennifer Lawrence amongst the fall foliage.  Everybody wants a piece of her.

In the 13 years we’ve lived here, this year is her most stunning show. I’m grateful for that. It makes saying goodbye a little easier.

There’s an art to a good goodbye. Not everyone knows how to graciously depart, nor is there always time.

Some of us, in our more selfish moments, have probably been the author of a bad goodbye.  Most of us have been on the receiving end of a one.  It’s the worst.

miss maple 2


A bad good bye is like reading a favorite book, rooting for the hero.  Then, you turn the page to discover the last chapters have been ripped and tattered.  The jagged paper gives few clues and only offers a path to dead end questions.

Like a slash from a serrated knife, a bad goodbye leaves a messy cut on either side.  We know in time jagged edges will heal.  We also know, it’s a gash that will forever leave a scar.

Good good byes make moving on easier. They are a clean cut. They tie up loose ends. All questions seem answered and everyone rides off into the sunset.

They have a Dr. Suess-ness to them. “Smile because it happened”.   A warm glow is felt in the center of your chest.

dont cry 1


The McCottage chapter of our lives is winding down.  Boxes are being packed.  Only nails remain were once art and mirrors hung.

I’ve forbidden myself from dialing up Amy Grant’s “If These Walls Could Speak” on Spotify.  It would surely send me over the edge. Everybody knows I’m a sentimental sap.  ( Did I just say “sap”?  That was a completely unintentional arboreal pun.)

Even without the music, a lump rises in my throat. I look out to Miss Maple and think of all we’ve  had in common in the time I’ve spent living beneath her branches. We’ve weathered storms. We experienced days of drought.  We’ve basked in the sunshine.  We’ve each had our moments with the paparazzi. Then with the sudden changing winds, our flair became a memory.  We’ve experienced winters of nakedness and humility.  And we’ve repeated this cycle of rest and regeneration.

Through it all we’ve grown. Stronger. Older. Wiser.

Of all the homes I’ve lived, this is the house I grew up in.

I look to Miss Maple and smile because the McCottage happened.  I’m grateful to know amongst her inner rings, thirteen of them were the McElhanon years.

I know she feels the same because that warm red glow in the center of her chest has burst forth to the very tips of her branches.


miss maple 3



Cheers (and happy tears), Y’all -


McCottage Style – a peek outside

There’s a saying, “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it”

Four weeks ago, The Angler and I were standing in Home Depot.  I asked him to buy a new exhaust fan and shower head for my bathroom, that somehow led to new tile and carpet in the Master Suite….which led to a for sale sign in our yard…which led to an offer after 8 days on the market.

If all goes as planned,  we have 3 more weekends left in the ol McCottage.  We’re stunned and excited.  When the ink dries, I can’t wait to tell you about the “new” owners and how God has orchestrated everything so amazingly.

I’ve spent this morning trying to absorb  this will be the last autumn the beautiful 100 year old Maple out front will turn fire red for us.  Or that I won’t be decorating for Christmas.   Or that we wont get the multitude of  inquiries left on our cars or taped to our front door / mailbox asking– “Do you mind calling us and sharing your exterior color?”   or ” Will you tell us WHERE you found your shutters?!”

It’s bittersweet.  I plan on leaving this all written for the new owners, but I thought I would also share with you – just in case your own cottage needs a facelift.


mccottage style - exterior


You’ve seen her interiors multiple times on the blog.  Meet her exterior.

If you live in Little Rock, there is a high likelihood you’ve seen her before.  She sits on the corner of Cantrell and McKinley.   When we bought her, she was Heights Taupe all over with chocolate milk door, a screen door and one measly pair of louvered shutters on the front window.  There was a hunter green awning that stretched across the front.  She needed some love.

We replaced the wood siding with Hardiplank – which has been a dream.  When it came time to choose a color,  a co-worker who lived in Hillcrest at the time had just painted her home this shade.  I inquired and she told me it was Ashen Green, but she didn’t know the brand of paint.   So, thank you internet for introducing me to Ellon Kennon paints who happened to have an Ashen Green in her collection.  I ordered a sample pot of the color which was a richer hue than my friend’s home. ( All of Ellon Kennon colors are gorgeous, by the way)   When I handed it to the contractor he gave me the craziest look – as if to say, “You really want green?”    The results,  as you can tell, were completely fresh and charming.

mccottage exterior 2

Next came the shutters.  I have always loved the look of functional shutters.  I was shocked to learn just how much the shutters plus the hardware cost. Knowing that The Angler is pretty handy,  I asked him if he could try to build them.  Didn’t he do an awesome job?  Yes,  The Angler is my super secret shutter supplier.

We then, scoured the internet for the hinges and shutterdogs ( those little S shaped tie backs) and found them on ebay for a very reasonable price.  In total,  we paid for all four windows, what one window would’ve have cost us had we not gone DIY.

I chose the natural red cedar finish for the shutters to give a color balance to the green.  We stripped the chocolate milk brown door which was original to the house and stained it to match the shutters.   I added black and copper lanterns beside the front door and in the rear french doors of the home.

mccottage 3 exterior


Since her facelift,  I can’t tell you the number of homes we’ve seen throughout the city pop up with the mccottage color scheme.  I’ve always been glad to share here secrets.  And I look forward to creating a new face for our next home – if she needs it.

I’m praying everyday for the new owners that the McCottage will be a haven of love, laughter, and grace for them just as it has been to us.

Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like this little home.   We’re going to miss her.







McCottage Style ~ a peek inside

Over the past few weeks, I’ve turned to my instagram account (find me @bootsmc) to document the fall fluffing at the McCottage.  My photography friend Marta commented that I should start a home blog. Marta is somebody with impeccable style and taste, so I took her words to heart.  While I don’t have the time to devote to all things house blog,  I did want to seize this moment to capture and remember this time in McCottage history.

McCottage Vignette 1a


The McCottage is our first house.  We bought it 13 years ago and it’s where I’ve honed my personal style. My philosophy in home decoration, I’ve discovered,  is that a house should be just that… a home – A place where you LIVE. I don’t save china for special occasions. I use white sheets, white towels and lots of BIZ bleach. While my eye is drawn to symmetry and the reflection of light found in prisms and mirrors. I am also drawn to the curious, worn out misfits that make a house uniquely ours – the collections of antiques passed down from grandparents, the sentimental books and what nots scattered about.  I also love a good bargain whether it’s from a flea market or a sale table at my favorite design shop ( I’m surprisingly frugal.) The exceptions are the upholstery pieces we own. In our early marriage,  I insisted on hard wood frames and down wrapped cushions from Hickory Chair. This was a good call and made a believer out of the hubs.

In the vignette above,  my mother crossstitched the WELCOME sampler and it hung in our home growing up.  The table was passed down from my grandmother.  The doorknob was taken from a door that is original to the McCottage but was stashed in the attic.  The disco ball just makes me happy.  Our dog Sadie Francis loved to chase the light around the room when it would bounce  through the windows and off it’s tiny mirrors.  This little corner in my house pretty much sums up what I call “mccottage style”.

McCottage Great Room 2a


McCottage Great Room 7a


The McCottage great room has wonderful windows and the prettiest light. Two full length windows flank the fireplace, while a picture window stretches across the front of this long ( 12 x 28 foot) room.  When we bought the house there were two huge ceiling fans that hung down in this room. The previous owners had  painted the walls a glossy tan. There were wolf art and dream catchers everywhere. Now she’s painted Sherwin Williams Autumn Blond which has been a great neutral throughout the years. My drapes are a wonderful golden yellow check with French brush trim. While trends come and go, I think checks are classic and unfussy. The iron rods were forged from fence posts parts I bought online.  The same iron smiths who made my curtain rods also made legs for a antique balcony railing from Belgium. Topped with glass,  this became our coffee table… or the catch all for the one million remotes we seem to have.  The dhurrie rug behind our sofa was a purchase we made on our honeymoon to Sedona. I recently rediscovered it packed away in a closet. I love how it ties in all the fall colors.

McCottage Great Room 4a

Turning to the details of the home – I adore the way older homes allow themselves to be transformed with the slightest seasonal touches. They are the coziest backdrop  especially throughout fall and winter months.  Something as simple as a dough bowl of mini white pumpkins atop the sofa table make a statement.

McCottage Great Room 5a

Or the miniature orange, green and white striped pumpkins in pitch pots and ruffly kale in cache pots along the mantle. The pitch pots I found in a garden shop’s going out of business sale years ago.  I love the crustiness of them. The white french cache pots were a wonderful score at Home Goods. I originally bought them for my office, but they managed to find their way here.

McCottage diptych

Things got a little “pinteresting in our Front Entryway.  This is a hand drawn pattern The Angler and I drew and handpainted.  The tiny demilune is a prefab MDF 20 inch table round that I cut in half and upholstered with the pleated linen skirt, tape, and upholstery tacks. Voila’ tiny table.

McCottage Entry 1a

The dining room recently went from 2003 black and white toile with apple green strie´walls to this chic Atrium white with gold and dove grey draperies.  Of course, I had to keep my apple green somewhere, so I added an autumnal  splash on the table.

McCottage Dining 4a

McCottage Dining Room 1a

McCottage Dining Room 2a

Making our way into our kitchen, I love the cottage charm this exudes.  My first attempt at cottage kitchen included the black and white tile backsplash that previous owners installed. I painted the walls Bougainvillea pink and had a black toile and rose toile print on the windows.  It didn’t take us long to grow tired of the bright.  So we swapped checkered board for beadboard, pulled up SIX layers of flooring to reveal the original woods, installed Jenn Air professional grade appliances and a prism ladened chandelier.  The one thing that has remained true since my first attempt at kitchen decor is the Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue ceiling.  It is one of the first things we painted and I still love the classic effect with any color walls, but it looks especially great with the ivory.

McCottage Kitchen 1a

McCottage Kitchen 2a

The Palladian Blue walls inspired the east end of our home and tied in with the original tile found in the hall bath.   We added the chest type vanity and more toile.  I was really on a toile kick in 2001-04. Can you tell?  I  have a layered shower curtain in this room.  Two toile panels are on swing rods that allow them to move out of the way.  Beneath them is a twin sized matelasse bedspread that I had monogrammed with The Anglers initials.  I added drapery tape and loops at the top to make transform it into a long shower curtain.

McCottage Hall Bath 2a

McCottage Hall Bath 1a

To the right of the hall bath is the first bedroom which we use as our office.  More palladian blue for it’s soothing effect.   The European mount antlers I took from my Momma-Ross’ garage – a prize my dad shot when he was sixteen years old.  The chippendale plate rack was a wedding gift that was built by my parent’s best friends.

McCottage Office 1

McCottage Office 2a

And across the hall is our Guest room and Half Bath.  This room was the original master bedroom, so it is a great size for a 1940s home.  I outfitted it with antique twin beds covered in white bedspreads and embroidered linens.  A chest and nightstand from my grandmother’s house keeps it’s original worn paint and looks great against the retiring blue walls.

McCottage Guest Room 1a

McCottage Guest Room 3a

McCottage Guest 2a

On the opposite end of the house is the Master Suite.  We recently added carpet to this space and I really can’t believe I’ve gone this long without carpet.  I love the warmth it brings to this room.  Looking at this pic it is hard imagine this was knotty pine paneling with acoustic tile ceiling when we bought the home.  This has become my cave in the house…along with my walk in closet and fresh white bathroom. McCottage Master 1a

McCottage Master Closet 1a

McCottage Master Bath 1a

McCottage Master 2a

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour through our home.   As you can tell, we have loved her dearly, all 1837 square feet.  I hope the next owners love her just as much.  If you’d like more pics and information on our home,  we listed it today with my friend Debbie Teague at Janet Jones Realty.   She’ll be glad to show you the McCottage or the proper name I like to call her –  ”Sage Cottage” in person.

mccottage for sale

From our home to yours…








Embracing Change

Hello there, old friend,

Tap. Tap. Tap.  Is this thing on?  Excuse me while I blow away the cobwebs on this blog and try to remember how this works. Several of you have called, emailed, tweeted and asked where I am.

It’s hard to believe that 2013 has just a couple of months left. Somewhere around April, my world hit warp speed and the months have sped right on by.

I had started this year with a word – FEARLESS based on the verse I claimed for 2013:  2 Timothy 1:7 -

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

I learn time and time again, be careful what you pray. God will answer you in his mysterious, unfathomable ways.

For most of us, the greatest fear in life is change.  And as you might guess, change has become the theme for my 2013.

change quote

The funny thing about change is that outside the confines of my home,  I have a professional reputation for change. Friends often give my name to their business associates and claim I’m the go-to person for their company to “shake things up”.  I relish this reputation. I thrive on innovation in the work world.  But in my private world, I like my routines and my trusty methods that help me refuel my creativity bank.  I wouldn’t say I’m obsessive compulsive, but it’s not uncommon to watch an episode of “Big Bang Theory” where The Angler looks over at me and says ” You are so Sheldon Cooper”.   I like what I like, how I like it.  That’s not quite the recipe conducive for personal change.

Change has hit me from all angles this year – professionally, my health and in my home.

I accepted a new hat at the office – a bigger hat that fit right over the one I was currently wearing. I went from 2 employees to 27 employees, three projects to develop at a time to multiple programs to restructure or build. It’s been a wonderful, exhausting, daunting, challenging change.  I’ve wanted so many times to stop and blog about the leadership lessons I’m learning – the difference between reading about it and actually doing it.  But – timing isn’t right.  I’m taking notes and will share someday when time has allowed perspective to permeate the lessons…and when my staff won’t identify themselves as “lessons”.  ha!


miranda's office


Health wise, I’ve encountered some physical setbacks I didn’t anticipate. Stress does funny things. In the treatment of the physical, the medication I was given had depression and anxiety as possible side effects. Lucky me got to experience both. Two months on the prescription plunged me into a dark place, put me on edge and layered the world in an emotional fog -all while trying to wrangle my new role at the office.  It’s been awhile since I’ve cried out so desperately to God. My dearest friends rallied around me and lifted me up in prayers and provided texts of encouragement. And that is the blessing I’m taking from the experience.  The darkness caused me to put my focus back where it should be – not on myself – but on God’s light and promises. It has allowed me to walk in peace and faith as I heal and hope.


The biggest change of all has been a spontaneous decision to sell the McCottage.  The Angler and I have called our little place home for over 13 years.  ( I told you I like my routines).  This house is the place where he and I both have resided longer than anywhere else in our lives. With all of it’s old house charms and quirks, it’s become part of us. We’re kind of this threesome. Him + Me + The McCottage.  We don’t know where we’ll go when the new owners come along.  This is not us at all -The Angler who is risk adverse and me who likes a plan.  But again, God is working and giving us peace.

The sign goes in the yard tomorrow and our little home has never looked prettier. I’m so proud of her.  I’m thankful for all the million and one “honey-do’s”  The Angler has undertaken to get her show ready. We pray the next couple / family / owner finds her just as charming.

McCottage Great Room 1a

I spent a few minutes yesterday capturing some pictures of our home and the projects we’ve accomplished.  I thought it might be nice to create a digital scrapbook and share it along with you.  Perhaps,  it will inspire change for you as well.   While I agree with Socrates that we should focus on building the new, sometimes it’s nice to stop and honor where we’ve been…and to return to my dear old blog.

Hope to see you back here soon -










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