Friday, July 31, 2009

A Clothesline of My Own


Oh happy, happy day.


The last time I had my very own outdoor clothesline was in California way back in 1988(!) I remember being a young mom and hanging clothes in the backyard, stopping suddenly while geese flew and honked overhead, watching them and feeling enchanted all the rest of the afternoon. And even without the geese, I've always found hanging laundry outside a very dreamy, retro sort of thing.


At our last house, I had access to a clothesline, though, in our neighbor's yard from 1993 to around 2002. Nancy loved for me to use hers, even to the point of being a little hurt if I didn't. But sometimes she wanted to hang her clothes or our neighbor on the other side did, so the clothesline could become a rather crowded place and you had to choose your wash times wisely.


And yes, our own yard was so minuscule that there was no room for a clothesline. Trust me, I tried for 15 years to find space for one. We have no dryer, by choice, so I've always hung clothes inside the house, though a few times I lugged our wooden dryer rack outside, usually to have the clothes blow away or the rack fell down. (Are you getting why I'm so excited today?)


And technically, remember our little apartment where we lived for 6 months last year? Well, there was a clothesline just outside our kitchen window, one which I shared with our neighbor upstairs, always wondering if my clothes were in her way, etc.


Oh but now, after all these 21 years, I have a clothesline of my very own. Now I can be like all the other homemakers on the block.


And I'm hoping the geese will fly joyfully overhead soon.






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Being a celebrator of just about everything, I especially loved Kim's post today.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Yesterday I realized I'm no longer in my twenties. Alas.

Tom and I watched The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (we know, we know. But for whatever reasons, we thoroughly enjoyed both films). And as I watched those beautiful young women I was reminded of how it felt to be young. How I once believed I could do anything and had forever to do it. And how I felt pretty most of the time and the way I could lose three pounds over any weekend I chose to eat a bit less (ah, those were the days).

You know. The way I could walk for miles with movie musicals playing inside my head like my own personal theme songs (no headset needed). And the way, in one day, I could paint a whole room, tend to a young daughter, clean the house, do the laundry, cook the meals--and not be dead afterward.

Anyway, when I watch movies with young women in them, somehow (miraculously) I suddenly feel as though I'm one of their group. My younger years return to me--and for those ninety minutes--I'm in my twenties (or even 30's) again, looking good and thin and feeling like the whole world is mine to do with it anything I wish.

But yesterday--mostly--I just sat there and felt 50-years-old. With greying hair and a body which has become, well, tubby.

But hey. Someday those young ladies in Sisterhood will be 50, too, and you know? I hope they will have led lives even half as wonderful as mine. I hope each will experience marriage with the kind of sweet guy I have, a guy who greets our cats each morning by name and steps out the backdoor and speaks to the birds at our feeders, as well. And treats me with kindness and makes me laugh until the tears come. And I hope they'll have a child who changes their whole way of thinking and being.

May I never forget that there are things in this life better than being young and beautiful and dreamy-eyed. Wisdom, for one. Loving God with your whole heart and soul, for another. And may I remember that the decade of my 40's was the very best of them all. For it was.

And I'm expecting my 50's to be even better. Or, truthfully, I'm trying. My 40's were pretty awesome (but only I would think that).

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Uh-oh. I've caught the Mid-Summer Blahs.

I'm tired of the same ol' sunny days (blasphemy, I know).

I'm tired of my garden (it can go to seed for all I care).

I'm tired of yellow squash (and we've only eaten one-and-a-half out of hundreds).

I'm tired of mosquitoes, yard sales, pulling weeds and slapping Japanese Beetles into buckets of soapy water.

Or maybe I'm just tired.

But here's one thing I know: This, too, shall pass.

And in the meantime I'll forgive the less-than-great circumstances in my life, lest my head suffer from that serotonin thing again (heaven forbid). I'll mix things up a bit and not spend so much time home alone, doing the same ol', same ol'. I'll reach out and touch others with kindnesses. And I'll spend additional time with the One who has the wisdom to direct me out of this nameless, faceless cloud, step by step...

...and add a shot of real coffee to my hot chocolate. :)

And as long as I don't panic and make life-altering-for-the-bad decisions, all will be well again. Life will be sweet, laughter will live close to the surface and the simplest things will inspire me.

Thank-Goodness for that.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Of This Cold July


A special thanks to each of you for your kindnesses concerning my blogiversary. I love how those kinds of posts bring out my readers--I enjoy hearing from each of you.

Jodi asked if we'd had any damage from the tornadoes in our state, and fortunately, no, no damage here. The tornadoes have been a tad east and south of us... how sad to watch the local news this morning. But oh my, we've had some wild thunderstorms here all of July, ones which make me nervous as I've told you before.

And guess what? Most likely Buffalo will break a weather record this month--and in my opinion, it's a wonderful record, indeed. Barring a sudden heat wave, this July will go down as the coldest July on record. Wow. Now, are Tom and I complaining like some people, especially those with swimming pools? No siree. (And how funny to be thankful for not having a swimming pool, lest it become another thing about which to complain. heh.) No, we'll rejoice in a cold July anytime because we really, really do not like hot, humid weather.

And I especially love that I've not had to haul our air-conditioner up here from the basement... and how pleasant to ponder all the money we've saved. :)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Another Blogiversary


Morning in my garden with its overgrown, out-of-control look. We don't even like squash all that much, so why do I grow enough for a village each year? Probably because squash is easy... you can be a horrible gardener with a black thumb and yet squash will grow for you. You can neglect it, not even glance at it and it will reward you with tons of the stuff and make you feel like a Gardening Somebody.



Also growing in the Land of Squash? Cherry tomatoes, lettuce, green onions, pumpkins, peppers, cucumbers, watermelon, zinnias, asters, marigolds.
Our butterfly bush has grown into a butterfly tree. Sheesh. And I even keep whacking away at it, pruning and pruning so it doesn't burrow in through the windows. But still it grows. And smells divine.



My favorite yard sale find yesterday? This recipe box which has that 1940's look. Love it.






I found this last week at one of those country farm yard sales. So cute.


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Oh! And today marks another blogiversary for me. Five whole years of the best of times and the worst of times and all the times inbetween. Thanks so much to each of you who still read here-- I appreciate you, your comments and your prayers. And thanks for reminding me that kindred spirits really do exist.





Friday, July 24, 2009


I belong to an email group where, probably once a year, the topic, "Which Grammatical Errors Make Me Insane" pops up. And oh how the emails do pour in!

"I absolutely hate it when people use 'whose' when the correct form was 'who's'."

"I can't stand to read authors who use an abundance of hyphenated words."

"My skin crawls when people say things like, 'There is tons of flowers in the backyard.'"

"Spelling errors in email ruin my day. How hard is it to use spell check?"

People. People. People.

Life is too short! Why (oh why) do we make ourselves sick over this kind of tiny, inconsequential stuff? Isn't what people are saying more important than how they're saying it? Who wants to lose friendships while racing around like Grammar Police? Who wants daily stomach aches?

Well, not me. Like I said, Life is way too short for this kind of stuff. And for keeping score whether someone thanked me within the appropriate time limits or whether my friend invited me to her house as many times as I invited her to mine or whether someone sent an email for each one I sent them.

And on and on and on to infinity.

Want Life to look and feel new and amazing? Let it go. Let it all go ... and be and live free. Empty out the irritability and walls and Rules Everyone Must Follow To Please Me so there will be space for all the joy God is so longing to pour inside, instead. There isn't room for both, even though, oh... we'd like there to be sometimes.



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Colossians 3:15
And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ's] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always]. (Amplified)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Okay. So I believe I'm developing this love-hate relationship with my house and yard. But what I really desire is a love-love relationship.

How might that be possible? If I stick with this:

"... whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things..." Philippians 4:8

Now, have I been faithful to do that? Uh, no.

No, I've been thinking about how quickly the weeds grow in my garden and that it's going to take me eons to paint the large room upstairs and wow, the concrete we're going to have poured inside and outside of the garage is going to cost a fortune. And I've been wishing we didn't have to eat at all because making meals just gets in the way of any progress and we sure do have lots more laundry to wash out here on the farm and am I ever going to transplant the zinnias from my garden to the flower beds?

And I've been thinking how Tom's obsession with tractors is making me insane and Magic Jack is unreliable &*%$# and why did I pass up those perfect bookshelves at that yard sale and why can't those darn squirrels leave the bird feeders alone?

Good grief. If that Bible verse said, "Think on all the negative stuff," why, I'd surely get an award. But it doesn't say that.

Isn't it wild how we need reminders to do things God's way? And today I'm being reminded to switch from negative gear to positive, even if I must do it twenty times in a row until it 'sticks.'

I can do that. With Christ I can do all things He asks of me. And I can't wait until I return to the love-love relationship with this old farm (and with His help, that won't take all that long, either).



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Today Tom and I watched Nick Cage's, Knowing. It's not for everyone by any means, but we enjoyed the suspense, special effects and story.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Another favorite find from the countryside yard sales this weekend? The book, The Silence of The North. For only 25 cents I found one of the most amazing wilderness adventure books I'd ever read (and I've read many).

It's the true story of Olive Fredrickson up in the northern wild country of Canada, beginning at age nine in 1910. What a hard life! Made me want to stop my complaining. Also, it reminded me how wisdom can save our life... and a lack of wisdom can complicate it or even end it needlessly. (You'll have to read this book to see what I mean. Amazon.com has some inexpensive copies.)

Just had to mention this book... If you like rugged adventure books of life and travel up North and stories of man versus beast, well, you'll love this. I couldn't put it down.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Of Dreams and Tennis Courts



Another country town had its annual town-wide yard sales, so Tom and I traveled miles of country roads (roads and skies exactly like those old Captain Kangaroo countryside farm videos), to step upon acres and acres of yards belonging to 1800's farmhouses. I probably missed scads of good stuff placed upon tables because with amazing 70 degree breezes upon my face, I stared at the tall, old houses and their barns until I had them memorized and could carry away ideas for my own yard, too.


Here is something I bought for a dollar, something which conjures up the old days:




And while we drove to more yard sales at more farmhouses, that sign behind me made me long for a tennis court of our own. There's a country house near us, bungalow style, which has an old clay tennis court set-off behind it, surrounded by trees and a tall, rusty 'cage'. Always, that place charms me, instantly flashing images of white-clad folks in the 1940's batting tennis balls over the net. I always think, "What a great place to have a bed-and-breakfast inn." Then I sigh a happy sigh, everytime, on our way to the little market in the next town. And Tom and I usually proceed to wish aloud for a tennis court in our back meadow and we sigh some more and say how cool that would be. And how expensive.

Anyway. We ate lunch at an outdoor rummage sale at a church, circa 1830, on a (normally) quiet hilltop, across from an old white school, and overlooking acres of fields below. And finally, a few more sales later, we grew tired and drove home.

And when I unloaded the tennis court sign from the car,I still craved our own tennis court, even though Tom and I only played tennis one time, when we were first married, and ended the game in a huge argument. (Hence why we've never played again, although 30 years later, the problem would not be potential arguments, but most likely, the fact that we're out-of-shape.) But if we had a tennis court, I reasoned, the overnight guests I'm still seeing inside my head could play.

I stood outside with the sign, facing the barn, wondering if we could hang it there, when the idea hit me. I ran inside to tell Tom about my sudden vision.

"Hey Tom! I know how we can have a tennis court for free!"

"For free?" Tom asked, looking rather doubtful.

"Well, we'd have to buy a net and posts--maybe we could get them at a yard sale, even."

"How could we get a court for free?"

"Well, you know how we're going to have blacktop poured in front of the barn? Well, we could have the guys sink in two post-receivers, or whatever you call them, coming out from the center barn doors. That's a pretty large space out there and I think it would be big enough for a court!"

He smiled. Thought that was a cute idea. He said instead of arena football, we could have arena tennis." (I asked what that meant, and he said arena football is held on a smaller-scale field. Heh.)

Of course, a tennis court wouldn't actually be free-free, but hey. We're going to have the blacktop poured anyway. A net across it and maybe a few painted lines here and there would be like an added bonus for almost nothing.

Dreams. They're exciting. Even if they never come to fruition, still, it's fun playing with ideas inside your head. Remember my Secret Garden behind our barn? Well, that's a dream on-hold. I started it but currently, it's a weedy mess. One thing I'm learning on this small farm is to see--not individual projects standing alone--but rather, all together. I mean, if the only thing on my plate was a Secret Garden, well, I could have half-completed it by now. But alas, there were the borders to put around the flower beds beside our house. And the borders around the main garden. And all the lawns to mow and the house to paint and decorate and the orchard trees to fertilize and water. And there's the dream of a museum in our barn loft and the never-ending housework and --

Well, you know. So I'm learning to crave balance. To think and work one flower bed at a time, till it's completion--but-- to remember all the other flower beds and gardens and house projects... and not carry home more projects than I can complete in a summer (or a winter, etc.). And to remember that dreams with God's approval happen, as long as I do things His way. Otherwise, I'll feel so overwhelmed that I'll just sink down in front of the tv and wish it would all evaporate away.

Trust me, I know that feeling... and I'm learning how to make that feeling go away, instead.




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I loved that adorable little wicker stool at the top of this. It was perhaps my favorite find this weekend, next to the tennis sign, of course. Isn't it sweet?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Sadly, today I had to choose to no longer read a certain Christian country-living blog. It wasn't a blog I read daily, but whenever I did read it, (it seemed), the author described how the old days are better than these. And how most people today don't know how to live or care for their children or do anything 'right,' actually.

Once she saw young people shopping for 'green products' and she stated they were only doing that because it was a fad, not because of any personal convictions about the environment. She wrote that months ago and it still horrifies me... To judge motives of strangers like that! And well, too many posts were like that one. I've felt for months I should let that blog go, but I kept giving her blog one more try... and one more try because I do like the way she writes (just not often the what).

I don't care to read blogs, even Christian ones, where the author concentrates on what is going wrong in our world. Don't we already know what is wrong? Isn't that what the nightly news tells us each evening? Don't we get enough bad news from the newspaper, from online and from just living Life?

I need blogs which point out the creative ways in which God is moving upon hearts and in neighborhoods. He's still alive, He still touches us with His compassion and hope and He still spreads that compassion and hope through us to others who so need it.

I want to be reminded of how good God is, not of how bad His children can sometimes be. And for those of you still there on my blog list, I thank you for reminding me of just that.


On Wednesday, a brand new Super Walmart opened in the Town of Niagara, so guess where I headed today? I realized everybody and his Aunt Sue would be there, (oh, the humanity!) yet I wasn't bothered by the crowd, but rather, delighted. How fun to experience something new with so many people. I kept wanting to grab women's arms and ask, "Isn't this great?" But I refrained and just gazed into their delighted eyes.

Of course, I know how some of you feel about Walmart. Myself, I'm not a huge fan. But oh... I'd never in my life visited a Super Walmart and ours is special. Well, I think so, anyway. They even have lots of the organic/natural foods I'm used to buying at Tops and Wegman's (if you don't have a Wegman's, well, you are missing out. They are huge,cool supermarkets and I'm not the only one who takes my out-of-state guests there for tours. Spend some time in the produce, bakery and deli sections with their workers all dressed in spiffy uniforms and hats, and well, you'll feel as though you'd flown to Europe. Or maybe South America. Or anywhere else except here.).

So I spent a bit over an hour at Walmart, and though I knew I was forgetting some things (I'd forgotten my list at the house), I realized it was time to leave before it stopped being fun and adventurous. Time to make my retreat before that GetMeOuttaHereI'mSoOverwhelmed feeling hit. You know that feeling? Trust me, I'm well-acquainted with it. When we first moved to New York many was the time I'd run out of a store after only 5 minutes because I was not used to so much stuff upon so many shelves.

So I bought my groceries and the cute little pull chain with ceramic doo-dad for the linen closet upstairs (which I finally finished painting) and took off through this town which I could probably show you around with my eyes closed. I remember 12 years ago standing outside Marshalls at the Fashion Outlet Mall thinking, "I never, ever would have imagined, way back in California, that one day I'd know my way around a town so near Niagara Falls. From any point in this town, I could find my way home... and I love that."

I made the long country drive home, unloaded groceries, fixed a turkey sandwich then carried it to the front porch where I read a lovely book I bought this week at our library, Gift of the Deer. Only because this day is dark with clouds and rain could I sit out there--on sunny days the porch has turned oven-like, even with the curtains closed, by 10:00 a.m. But on this cloudy day I could sit out there till evening if I like. And I just might do that.


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Our summer miracle? Our air-conditioner is still down in storage in the basement! This is the coolest summer I recall in all my 16 years in Western New York. The majority of our days have been right around 75 lovely degrees. People with swimming pools are complaining, but not me, for we have no pool. Besides, I'll take three extra months of Springtime any year!




I showed this closet to you when I began painting away its extreme dreariness months ago (the before photo declares its horribleness). This week I finally got up there and finished it, though I do want to paint the clothes pole, white.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Creative Inspiration

Oh my. Probably half of you already visit Kim's Daisy Cottage Blog, but in case you don't, I do hope you'll pop over today and see Kim's sister's house. Wow. All that creativity makes me want to jump out of this chair, run upstairs and paint something! (So what am I still doing here?) :)

Monday, July 13, 2009

I've not been in Blogland awhile because, well, I've felt a bit pensive and reclusive. The ol,' 'I wanna be a hermit' thing has buzzed inside my head again. Just a phase, don't worry.

I remembered the old days when I almost never could find anyone with whom to share thoughts like those you find here in my blog. Most other people only wanted to chat about surface stuff from the tops of their heads, not from the bottoms of their hearts.

For a couple years back there in Nevada I even despised the thought of small-talk and I'd stay silent, (at church, especially), rather than take part in silly, going-nowhere conversations.

But I lightened up (as a sane person should) and learned to do the small-talk thing. It was either that or spend lots of time standing in corners, talking with no one. And I learned to appreciate the very, very few people (two or three?) in my life who enjoyed speaking from their heart the deeper things.

And then in July of 2004 I discovered blogging! Nearly 5 years ago I suddenly found a means by which to speak from my heart to anyone who chose to listen. It was like finally writing a book to explain myself and share what I believed God wanted to say through me, without requiring the acceptance of some picky, non-understanding editor. And ever since, I've never begrudged anyone in my 'real life' for their tendencies to do the small-talk stuff if that is where they are and what they prefer (as true compassion does). Blogging has met my need to get out what has always bubbled-up within me, some of it since I was just a teenager. And oh, how good that feels.

Mostly. Yet last week I thought, "You know? Sometimes I miss keeping my thoughts to myself and just hugging them close within the special rooms I've chosen or while taking walks. I miss having new thoughts--or experiences-- without automatically forming them into concrete sentences so I can later include them in my blog."

Sometimes I just want to think and hear and listen without feeling I must share it all here.

And actually? I believe God was just reminding me to think more often of Him and me than I do of Him, me, and the whole blogging gang together. You know, all one-hundred of us (or so). He was simply reminding me to treasure the time He and I have alone, to appreciate what He gives me, and then--afterward-- just allow Him to direct me in what I share here, rather than feel I must share every bit.

Some thoughts are not meant to be shared either at all, or not until farther down the lane after they've been meditated upon and sifted. And so I think all this wanting to keep some thoughts for myself was a simple reminder to relax.... to not feel pressure to form those 'instant sentences' inside my head... and to just enjoy God and Life. And write about them only when The Spirit moves.


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"Meditate upon these things; give yourself wholly to them; that your profiting may appear to all." 1 Timothy 4:15


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"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength."

Saturday, July 11, 2009




You know how they say, when you lose a spouse, don't make any major decisions right away? Well, I recalled that last week on a day when I'd slept less than six hours the previous night.

I was cranky. Grouchy. Sleepy and feeling lazy like you wouldn't believe. And then I walked out to the garden, gazed around at our four acres, and heard these sorry thoughts:

"Good grief. What have we gotten ourselves into? Look at this place! Look at all the weeds. And why is the stupid lawn growing so darn fast? Why didn't we buy a place with a yard half this size? And why are we always buying houses that have to be fixed-up, painted and repaired?"

Yada....yada...yada..... You know.

But then Wisdom spoke in the midst of all that whining. "Hey Debra. Your body and mind are tired. You didn't sleep well, remember? The worst thing you can do is make decisions and judgements when you're weary. You're not thinking according to what is real, but rather, according to the tired way you're feeling at this moment.... and feelings are changeable."

Wow. That helped. A lot.

Later I asked myself, have I bailed out of a friendship because my friend said or did something unjust when she was tired/cranky/going through a rough time? Have I abandoned projects or churches or groups during their uncomfortable seasons of adjustments, instead of waiting it out?

Wait to speak. Wait to move. Wait to run. Wait until God says to go--or stay. But wait until you hear from Him.

That's what Wisdom was whispering to me this week.


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"Be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to become angry..." James 1:19


"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me..." (All things which He asked me to do.)

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The little ladies on our front porch.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Mary Jane's Video




Oh, if you love Mary Jane Butters, you will love this video which I found by way of the sweet, peaceful blog of Clarice (thanks tons, Clarice! I'd never seen Mary Jane on video before... what a treat to find this!).

I discovered the Mary Jane's video this morning at 5:00 a.m. and could barely keep myself from racing out the back door (it was still black outside) to begin farm-like projects. To work hard. To continue taming our few wild acres into productive and lovely ones. (Perhaps instead of calling our place, Healing Acres, we should have called it, Wild and Weedy Acres. Sigh.) And I love being reminded that Mary Jane began her farm as a single mom living at the end of the road in a house with no plumbing. Out here, I need lots of inspiration and those kinds of stories give me boosts to hang in there.

I'm thinking all you farmgirls and farmguys at heart will love this video.



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Need some more ways to save money? Our local tv news station shares ways to save each morning at 6:15. Here's their list of money-saving links. One of the websites delivers your home supplies free and even applies online coupons to your order for you!

And there's more. Here's their list of homemade household cleaning remedies. Non-toxic ways to clean--love that.

Our local morning news program is a treat. Rather than just drone on and on about local bad, depressing news, they share a bit of bad news, then the weather, then, say, some helpful hints (sometimes sharing their own tips in a humorous way following the tape). Then they might run some film on newsy local happenings (some of them heart-warming), the weather, then ways to save money (after which they sit at their desk chatting about saving money). Then one (quite funny) guy on the news team will appear at a local shop or school or museum or fun place to interview the folks in charge and those who frequent their business/activity. (What a terrific way to discover places to visit in our area!) And so it goes in this similar pattern.

I'm always reminded of the Mary Poppins song, 'Just a Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Medicine Go Down,' while watching our local news each early morning. They share so many good, positive things that it makes it easier to swallow the bad stuff. :)



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I bought a couple yards of black and white gingham yesterday and placed it over our table. Adds a bit of drama.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

So there I was at Salvation Army today practically standing on my head to read some of their book titles on shelves barely above the floor, when I heard it. Fleetwood Mac's song, Dreams. Wow, suddenly I was whooshed back to my senior year of high school in a tiny California mountain town. Funny how songs can do that to you, scents too, of course.

"Thunder only happens when it's rainin'..." I loved that song as a young girl of just 18 and I stood before the books, listening, remembering all I felt and thought back in 1977. Well, only parts. Who can remember everything? Old friends, old teachers, my walks to the high school just around the corner from my house and my longer strolls to the post office nearly everyday, for no one in town had home mail delivery. Sights, sounds and smells of pines and smoke from wood stoves (nearly everyone heated their homes solely with wood). And dream-stepping, dancing, through my days in a land only a teenage girl knows her way around.

Ah, memories.

But you know? All these thousands of days and miles later, I'll take my today. Some of my friends wish they could return to childhood, for they miss it. But not me. No, even though I have fewer years to live (upon Earth, anyway) than the ones I've lived already, still, I'll keep my today and tomorrows. My todays are better than all my early years of days, combined, and I'll choose young at heart inside an aging body.

And those were my thoughts while the music played there in Salvation Army on one of my rare days away from home alone. For just a moment I traveled backward thirty years, but oh, was I ever grateful to boomerang right back to today. Not because of where I live or dreams I am living-out, though all that is nice, of course. But because of God and the wisdom He gives and--especially-- knowing I am loved with a love which cannot be shaken.

That was the missing piece in 1977. But it is found, missing no more.


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For inquiring minds, I bought two spiffy 1960's kids' novels and a pair of like-new black slacks, no pockets, my favorite kind. A highly successful day at SA. :)

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


My latest issue of Mary Jane's Farm arrived yesterday, the perfect day, at a much needed time (long story). Inside, there's my favorite kind of article to read (a favorite subject for tv news stories, too) and I simply had to share it with you. This woman is beyond inspiring--at 83 she's (contentedly) doing what, on some days out in my garden, I question whether I'll have the strength to do at age 55. I need to read about people like Willodene, for they help me, day after day, keep doing what I'm doing the old-fashioned way.


Here's just a small excerpt:


"Now nearly 83, Willodene still plants a large garden and waters it by hand from her well. She gets up early while the heat is still bearable and carries five-gallon buckets of water to her plants...She washes clothes in a Maytag washer ... and her only dryer is a clothesline in the back yard. She has half a dozen martin birdhouses down the fence row, a large supply of winter wood to feed her heating stove, and a push mower she prefers over a riding variety. She complains of "slowing down"--telling me she used to mow her yard in one day, but now it takes two. She cans and freezes her garden produce, climbs to the chimney flue atop the roof and cleans it out every six weeks or so, and feeds the cattle as well.... Hollyhocks of every color ring her garden fence, roses and hydrangeas nestle around her little frame house.


"' I do my best thinkin' in the garden,'" says Willodene."
(Written by Kay Thomas)



I wish Willodene lived next door to me. She would keep me young, maybe even for another 30 years.

Oh, what an influence we can have upon each other!

Monday, July 06, 2009


Just came inside from doing daily battle with Japanese Beetles. I think I've killed 50 so far. Generally I hate killing anything, but (don't tell anyone) I'm actually having fun whacking at these destructive creatures and seeing them float, lifeless, in my bright yellow pail.


Speaking of yellow, I also just now brought in my very first yellow crookneck squash of the summer. Beautiful thing on a beautiful afternoon--we had a summer shower which left us with bright blue skies and gleaming raindrops upon everything green.



Bob the Milkman just left, too. He liked our new kitchen storm door.


Progress is nice. But alas, progress tends to come slowly around here so I should doubly appreciate and celebrate it, I think. And be more patient waiting or working for it next time.




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Is that little gnome guy adorable or what? He was only $1 at a yard sale. And the old-fashioned wooden tulip and chick were only 25 cents each.

The yellow flowers are sundrops, my new favorite perennial.

Sunday, July 05, 2009


That's some surprising news about Sarah Palin, isn't it? I'll not add any comments about her decision, but I did want to note something I heard her say on a Canadian talk show (well, the show is always shown on our Canadian station so I'm assuming...). The host told Sarah that another politician on his show told how he'd been devastated when he lost an election and it took months for him to get over the depression of losing.

Then the host asked Sarah if she'd experienced any of that after the presidential election in November, but she answered, no, she hadn't. She told him she couldn't imagine ever experiencing such devastation over a political loss because politics are not her be-all, end-all. They are not the most important of her priorities, she said, so they did not hold that kind of power over her.

I loved that. And sitting here in my living room, I applauded her answer.

I also contemplated her words throughout the rest of that day and something occured to me. That's the sort of thing which has changed my whole life these past 15 years. Since Jesus became my be-all, end-all, I've never dived down deep into depression like I used to. That's how real He's become. Jesus is my reason for getting out of bed with joy in my heart. He's my closest friend. My 'cheerer-upper'. My encourager, my hope and my strength when mine evaporates (which, on this farm, happens a lot).

And well, He never forgets me or goes away on vacation. He never gets all in a huff, ignoring me. And so since He means the most to me, more than anything, then as long as He's here beside me, well, I'm ok. Peaceful. Calm. Steady. And nothing else holds the power to totally blow me apart into a million pieces.

But in years gone by, just about everybody else came before Him. He was way down the list. And because I based how I felt upon how everyone else treated me (giving them power over my feelings), well, it was like I was in a rocky boat. Steady one day (when my friends or family treated me right) or rocky the next day (when others got mad at me or Life's circumstances went all askew).

I had around 35 years of rocky-boat-rocky. I prefer peaceful, calm, steady. What a way to go.

Anyway, those are the kinds of thoughts I was thinking after that interview with Sarah Palin. It's funny how a person can say one thing and your mind can run all over the place from there.


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The above photo is of the flag we finally bought. We'd wanted one for ever so long. Of course, I should have posted it yesterday, on the 4th of July, but that would have required clear, concise thinking. I'm too old for that. :)

Alas, the white wall in my kitchen and I have called a truce. I'm actually liking it. And remember Laura's idea about an all-white kitchen with the orange counter tops? Wonder of wonders, I watched a movie last night, Far From Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog, which had exactly that. Well, the counter tops were more of a red-orange, but still... What a coincidence. And I did love that kitchen, but then, mine doesn't have all the lovely glass-fronted cabinets up on the walls and the center island and all that floor space and cool lighting and --


Anyway. The Japanese beetles have invaded again. Last year they chewed-up our grapevines and our rosebush. But unlike last year (and its overwhelming-ness), this year I'm not too busy to kill those guys. I read online that if you can get them into a bucket of soapy water, they'll die, so I found a short white plastic stick-thing, got my bucket of soapy water and walked through our orchard, garden and grapevines knocking the shiny copper guys into kingdom come.


The woman online said to do this everyday. E-v-e-r-y-d-a-y. So now you'll know where to find me in-between the painting and gardening and mowing and pulling weeds and redecorating and --


Such is farm life.


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I could also buy Japanese Beetle traps, but they sound like more trouble than they're worth. At least for today.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy 4th of July.

I hope yours is going better than mine.

Ugh. Oh, the wonderful plans I had to repaint my kitchen today, or at least, two walls of it. I got out the ladder and took decor off the walls and it went downhill from there.

I nearly always buy marked-down 'mistake (oops) paint', but this can was like tinted water. Didn't even cover those annoying stripes I'd painted. And I couldn't mix it with any other paint lest that turn to half colored water.

So I found the last bit of the paint I'd used in our dining room, my favorite room, and knowing I didn't have enough to finish, still I painted a large kitchen wall and a tiny one, stood back, and was horrified. In the kitchen this paint does not look like autumn gold, no, it looks like butterscotch. Brown butterscotch. I even panicked and used the watery goldy color as a sort of glaze over the butterscotch--and though the effect was interesting--it looked bad. Very bad.

Ack! So then I ran back upstairs, grabbed a half can of white paint and just started slapping it on over any parts of the walls which had dried. And I'm still not finished with a second coat.

Some people can make white walls appear French and ethereal. I am not one of those people. White on my walls always looks sterile, cold, not to mention boring.

Some days I love painting. But this isn't one of them.

Last week I had a feeling that dining room paint would look too dark in the kitchen. And someday--maybe--I will learn to listen to that deep down stuff, that still, small voice from Grace (I know she was the one trying to get through to me). Sure will save me a lot of time, money and energy when I do listen.

I can hardly wait till that day.



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The good thing? At least the white walls are brighter than the former green. I like that. My online buddy, Laura, who loves orange (nobody's perfect...heh...), suggested I paint the whole kitchen white and then the orange countertops would stand out and look classy. I just may try that, for I'm running out of options. Earlier today I did consider dynamite, but alas, I don't have the money it would take to rebuild. :)

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Anyone have a nice shade/tint of white to recommend?


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And yes, I know there's always yellow for the walls but 1.) I had yellow in our last kitchen for a few years and--for this house--I wanted a completely different look. When I said good-bye to our last house, I said good-bye. And 2.) Yellow is a tricky color to get just right. But alas, I may have to cave and go with it. Later. Someday when I'm no longer sick of painting.


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UPDATE: Wow. The white walls are growing on me quickly. I actually think I like them! A better tint of white might even make me ecstatic. (Who knew?)

Thursday, July 02, 2009


For thirteen days Tom and I have been on 'staycation'.

We went to yard sales and to his back injection (where I waited over three hours, but with coffee and my books) and to that Men's Swap Meet I told you about and out to eat a ton of times and we watched scandalous hours of Stargate SG-1. We puttered in the yard and barn, took drives, ate lunch in front of a stone church built in 1834 out in the country, visited with Naomi and Carl, shopped and ate enough junk food to feed a village. I did only minimum upkeep in the house, made only a couple creative changes and let my email box fill with unanswered emails.

Lovely days. Days where I told Tom, "I wish you never had to go back to work and we could live this way forever."

But alas, Tom must return to work this evening and so must I. And that's a good thing.

I think it's in both Proverbs and Ecclesiastes where work is listed as being a blessing. And it is, what with the balance it brings, as well as it's discipline, exercise, lessons and progress. Work was good back then and it's still good now. And with today's economy fears, work should be more appreciated than ever.

Yes, our staycation was amazing, but so are my Normal Days, for which I'm grateful. Why? Because, boy, do I ever have tons of Normal Days in my Life... and to concentrate upon making only a few vacation days special each year would be such a loss.