Friday, September 30, 2011

Sometimes the Most Spiritual Thing We Can Do Is...

So I received an email from a dear online friend who reads my blog and she said:

"Now that things are falling in place and working out, I am looking forward to more of your great inspirational writing."

I laughed and said aloud, "So am I."

Heh. Hey, I know these latest posts haven't been, well, extremely 'spiritual'. I'd been thinking the same thing lately. But you know? Often it's like what Joyce Meyer said years ago: "Sometimes, the most spiritual thing you can do is take a nap."

Oh my, amen to that. Because hey! We can run around doing all these things for God and totally forget that these human bodies need rest. And sunshine. And good, healthy food. Exercise and time with friends and fun.

And lately (when I feel some concern about the difference in my recent posts), God has reminded me that--sometimes--the most spiritual thing I can do is just quietly live what He has taught me. Put gratitude into practice. Do nice things secretly, without blogging about them. Walk around the house, humming happy little songs.

Other times, the most spiritual thing I can do is show Tom I love him by watching a movie with him. And going a whole day without nagging him about anything. Not rolling my eyes when he forgets to do something I asked.

And sometimes the most spiritual thing I can do is feed the backyard birds while reminding myself that God will know when each of them falls and dies (at least, the Bible says He will).

Well, you get the idea. Someday my posts will sound like they used to, but for right now? I'm just splashing around in gratitude. Because, oh dear... the first part of 2011 felt so very bad for me, yet now--even with all our rain--it feels as though the sun is shining 24/7. And to me, that is huge and rather all I can think to write about at this moment of Time.


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The One Thing In The Way

Sometimes there's only one thing that is keeping us from enjoying an awesome, close friendship with God. Joyce Meyer talks about that one thing here:

http://www.joycemeyer.org/BroadcastHome.aspx?video=The_Forgiveness_Test_%E2%80%93_Pt_2_

It's this kind of honesty which began changing my life profoundly 17 years ago, putting these things into practice, that is... I hope you'll have a chance to watch this short video today.


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Thursday, September 29, 2011

My New Neighborhood

So. I've not really told you about our new neighborhood.

Hmm... Have you ever read an old-fashioned book which described a house (or a neighborhood) as being nondescript? Well, that pretty much describes where we live. Nondescript. Kinda Plain Jane meets Hobo Joe.

Oh, some houses stand-out as being lovely. Memorable. Kinda upscale. But mostly? Mostly we're surrounded by simple houses, some gone shoddy-bordering-on-scary, constructed after both World Wars, ones after WWII being quite tiny. Yet I like to drive by and think about how young couples back then were thrilled to get even those.

We're surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of these houses from the 20's, 30's and the 40's, yet Tom and I often remark how quiet it is here, sometimes even eerily-so. And of course, we love the quiet. But technically, the car noises of Friday nights make up for the weekday silences. :)

But what I love most? It's that so many people in our area still take old-fashioned walks. I often pass our windows and oh! There goes a young mother wheeling a stroller. Then from the opposite direction come two nice-looking middle-aged men or two elderly women, chatting and laughing. Then maybe two young boys on bikes whizz past just as a man and his dog walk by.

Oh, it's not constantly like that, but on weekend afternoons it can be. Weekday mornings, too, especially before school started up again. But it does my heart good to see all these old-fashioned walkers getting such good exercise and enjoying one another's company, as well.

Yesterday I swept our front porch in my 'house-skirt' (as I call it), listening to my old-fashioned music from inside and a young woman walked past on the other side of our hedges. I smiled and got that lovely "it's the 1930's all over again" feeling and wished I'd been wearing my apron out there. But I was so happy for the return of that 1930's-in-the-suburbs-can't-you-just-hear-Glenn-Miller's-Band? feeling. I'd missed it these past three years. Hoped I'd find it again after our move.

And I have.

Ah, Life is good when you're exactly where God puts you.


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Someday soon I'll share some photos of the ol' neighborhood with you.


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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Days of Appreciation



Still here! Just enjoying Life. Living in Hobbit Cottage. Decorating, creating efficient ways of doing things. Opening and closing the refrigerator door (yippee!) Feeding those crazy packs of sparrows.

Shopping at the supermarket and Dollar Tree just down the street. And knowing our roof gutters are cleaned-out and covered (thanks to Naomi and her friend). Making two compost heaps out of cardboard boxes and saving our fruit and vegetable clippings again. Getting back into shape, especially by climbing all these stairs. Taking naps. Spending happy hours alone upstairs in Debra's World. Watching I Love Lucy at http://www.cbs.com/.

Still searching for the bulk of our silverware which may have been left behind at the farm(!) We're using pieces rescued from the dishwasher there plus our 'family silver' handed-down three generations, though it's only plated. Alas.

Doing laundry (didn't hook-up our washing machine for two weeks, so that feels luxurious, also). Making plans to visit the town library only blocks away. Feeling grateful Tom is no longer sick. Reveling in having time and the energy to do what God's called me to. And did I mention loving opening and closing the refrigerator door? :)

Hoping you are enjoying the everyday stuff, too. There's always so much of it to celebrate.


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Speaking of just living my life... At 14, a dear elderly friend gave me a postcard with this poem upon it and I love the ways it gives to help others in our daily lives:


The World Has Need of You

If it's ever so small the part you take,
The world has need of you.
Be it big or little the effort you make,
The world has need of you.
If it's only a thought you give by the way,
If it's only love's word you pause to say,
It's a part that nobody else can play,
So the world has need of you.

By your smile you can change another's life;
By a word you can bring peace out of strife;
Then lift your head and never say die;
Count every blessing, stop every sigh,
Get busy ... don't let a chance slip by,
For the world has need of you.

Evelyn Whitell



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Thanks for your kind comments about our new home!


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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Just Like a "Suddenly Verse"



I love "suddenlies." You know, like in the Bible:


Mark 5:29
"And immediately her flow of blood was dried up at the source, and [ suddenly] she felt in her body that she was healed of her [ distressing] ailment."


Luke 2:12-14
"Then suddenly there appeared with the angel an army of the troops of heaven, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest..."

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A Woman suffered for years then suddenly! She was healed. Shepherds sat out on a quiet, dark hillside then suddenly! The night sky filled with angels, and too, suddenly! The Savior appeared upon this earth in the form of a baby.

Something, for a long time, was one way then suddenly! It was completely different.

Well, Tom and I experienced more suddenlies yesterday. Suddenly Tom felt better than he had in two weeks. Suddenly we sold his tractor. Suddenly our kitchen now holds a refrigerator (such luxury!).

Don't you just love suddenlies, too?

And so let this encourage you. Just because something may be one (sad, not great) way in your life today, that doesn't mean it will always stay the same. Suddenlies come more often than we realize--we just need to notice and appreciate them more.

Some suddenlies need a nudge (like the way Tom advertised the tractor on Craig's List) and some require obedience to that still, small voice (the way Tom felt led to visit the estate sale we'd driven past hours before, not realizing of course, that the perfect refrigerator awaited us there).

Other suddenlies require a steady, non-wavering belief that all will be well.

So if you need a suddenly, keep doing what God has asked you to do and keep believing, no matter how discouraging things may look otherwise. You never know--today your own suddenly might just appear at your own front door.


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I was so thrilled at all our suddenlies, that this morning I made Fideo (Mexican spaghetti, pronounced fi-day-o) for Tom for breakfast since it's a favorite of his. Here is my recipe for it, but it's one of those dishes where you just throw things in until they look right to you. :)

Ingredients for three servings:

Angel hair pasta
A medium can of seasoned diced tomatoes (or a large fresh tomato, diced)
1/3 cup salsa (or more, to taste)
1 cup water
1/2 lb. cooked ground beef (or two pieces of cooked chicken, whichever you prefer)
Jalapeno rings, diced, to your taste
A few olives, to your taste
Seasonings such as onion powder, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper
A few drops hot sauce

Directions:

Break up the angel hair pasta (enough for three servings) into two-inch-long pieces (or so) in a huge skillet (or Dutch oven-type--this gets messy) and lightly brown in 2 tbl. of oil.
Add the remaining ingredients, stir to mix evenly.
Cover and cook on super-low until pasta is ready, approximately 20 minutes. Add more water or salsa or juice from tomato if it begins to stick to pan.
Sprinkle with cheese if desired.
Enjoy!


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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Hooray! Sold a Tractor, Bought a Fridge

Yay! Life will be nearing normal around here soon. Guess God knew my Pollyanna halo was speedily sliding off my head after living exactly three weeks with no refrigerator.

Earlier today we traveled back to the ol' farm town to our neighbors' house, for they'd stored Tom's last tractor for him. Tom found a buyer for it so we met him there and while I chatted with so-kind Bev inside her cute farmhouse, Tom sold the tractor and thus severed our last tie with Little Town In The Middle of Nowhere.

So to celebrate, Tom said he'd like to stop at an estate sale we'd spied earlier and while I stayed inside the car (cuz I still hate stuff) reading a lovely decorating book my friend, Donna, loaned me yesterday, Tom bought a refrigerator. Wow. Everything was priced one-half-off so we got it for only $125, just what we'd been hoping to pay.

Making this story short, Tom asked our neighbor to help us move the fridge into the house when it arrived by way of a mover and our neighbor is just the sweetest guy, ever. We'd met him and his wife three weeks ago on Moving Day, they're around our age, and both are a delight. They even have a delightful, beautiful dog, Maggie.

So anyway, we have our fridge, though we won't plug it in until tomorrow (another long story). But we're so grateful that yet one more detail has been taken care of around here, another one showing us God's obvious care. He is so good.

And oh, I will never, ever take refrigeration for granted again! :)

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Drats, No Watercolor Trees Here :)



Of course, not everything is just peachy keen here at Hobbit Cottage. Wouldn't want you to get any false impressions.

Tom is still not well. Still not sleeping, still dealing with an irritable bowel kind of thing and various pains keeping him awake. And of course, it's hard for me not to worry about him so that does darken these days, days already quite dark outside because nearly all have been cloudy since our arrival. But finally I've convinced Tom to go see his general doctor on Monday. Finally.

And we still don't have a refrigerator for various reasons, some having to do with Tom's being sick. So this means lots of running up and down the basement stairs to the freezer down there, and defrosting things in little bowls of water and coming up with new ideas and not being able to bake, really, because we can't keep eggs and eating out of cans and -- Well, you know.

And I keep getting up around 3:30 a.m. (or earlier) because, not being used to actual labor, I fall into bed at 7:30 each night. Also, one of the main reasons I wanted to leave the farm was that every time a bit of wind blew through the yard I'd have to drag myself around to pick up hundreds of branches (oh, my back...). Well, when we lived in the suburbs before, our yard had no large trees so my silly head made a sort of  "in the suburbs, branches do not fall out of trees" connection.

Ha. On our second night here thunder and lightning and wind shook the place and so guess what I discovered when I walked out the back door? Tons of downed twigs and branches. Alas. Those trees you see in my header may appear like watercolor trees, but trust me, they are real ones which drop real branches at the least tiny nudge.

But you know? Overall, my life is a hundred times nicer and less complicated here at Hobbit Cottage and I am re-learning to concentrate on what is going right. And finding creative solutions to problems I can fix, learning to live with the ones I can't--and knowing the difference.

I mean, at least Tom isn't having to go to work while feeling this way and thankfully, our house and yard are small enough for me to tackle alone when the need arises. And I can easily shop for food just down the street ... all these trees are beautiful outside our windows ... and with all this extra climbing of stairs to the freezer and back, and  with all this unpacking, etc., I've lost some weight (trust me, I'm super-thankful for that). Plus all the other cool stuff I've previously told you.

We all have things... trials.... problems. But what matters most? It's what we do about them. How we view them, think about them and speak about them. What matters is that we keep our joy so that we'll, in turn, keep our strength to deal with whatever may come along today to conquer. In all things we are more than conquerors (as the Bible says) but I like to think that God appreciates working along beside me to conquer things while I'm keeping a good humor and staying upbeat rather than being a mopey, stodgy ol' complainer.

I'm sure He's already got His quota filled with those. :)


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Something else kinda nifty? We can see a river from our front porch. Well, a couple tiny bits of it (the cars in this photo are in the way right now...), but hey. I'll take it. I've always wanted to live near a river and someday when I stop wearing myself out around the house I will take walks down there.


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"The world is so full of a number of things, I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings." Robert Louis Stevenson ...


Oh! And another delightful thing... Yesterday I discovered that at http://www.cbs.com/ they have tons of I Love Lucy episodes. Woo hoo! Now I no longer must watch my season 2 discs over and over or wait until 9:00 a.m. each morning to watch two episodes on METV.


 
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"The joy of the Lord is my strength..."  Nehemiah 8:10


"And be ye thankful..."
 
 
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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Outside The Windows. Inside, Too.

Down on the farm, the sparrows would just pick at our feeders. They'd act like, "Eh. This cheap birdseed is ok, but just barely. Pick, pick, spit."

But our suburb sparrows! They act like tiny, starving wolves.

It's not unusual to see 50 or 60 sparrows terribly excited out back, swarming around the feeders and gleefully pushing each other aside. They even sit upon our hedge at window-level of our kitchen sink and stare at us, willing us to bring out more food.

Little beggars. Totally different than their country cousins, but then, they don't have the amount of bugs and worms they have out there, either. But we enjoy the happy, flitting guys.


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It's such a treat to sit upon our couch and gaze out at this view:

Back in our other suburb house, our views consisted of a brick wall or a florescent blue one or a couple plain houses across the street. All this green is better. Much. I wonder if the window will fill with gold, instead, soon?

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And here's a bit more detail from our living room which you've not yet seen:

That window, too, frames green trees, as do the windows in my upstairs room.

Ah, Debra's Upstairs World. I try to think only happy thoughts up here. Something negative happened yesterday, someone (not Tom) said something stupid, but it came to me that I didn't need to be dragging the memory of the words upstairs with me. And that was a delight--a discipline, too. A good one I believe I will keep, you know, "think on these things", the upstairs version.

And that's about all from this tired puppy today.


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Philippians 4:8


"Finally, brothers and sisters, 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."

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Some This, Some That



So yesterday, to make my sharing-photos-of-our-new-place life easier, I created a photo blog for Hobbit Cottage. You can find it here. But there's no rush--you've most likely already seen all the photos, well, except for the one of my Fiestaware, above. Although, now you've seen that one, too. :)  But hey, there you go.

On Monday I did travel to the big doctor-filled-building with Tom for his injections, but after he signed-in I went back down the elevator so to wait inside the car which is what I love to do. Seriously, I prefer sitting out there because anything resembling a hospital makes me feel as though I'm locked inside a cage and the world is grey and sad (or something).

But in the car? Oh, I feel free out there. As though all is still well. I can slip-off my shoes, pull a snack out of my purse, drink coffee and read books, even in a slouched position if I want. And this time I brought the most perfect book along--it's one my friend, Joyce (hi Joyce!), gave me years ago, a lovely book with incredible photos of cottages by Mary what's-her-name (not Englebreit). By her definition, Tom and I do own a cottage now and oh, that made me love ours even more.

(I'll run downstairs later so I can give you the title of this wonderful book at the bottom of this post. Many of you would love it.) Oh, and the injections have made Tom more comfortable ever since. So we're grateful for that.

In fact? When we returned home, Hobbit Cottage positively welcomed us with a hug. And you know? I have waited such a very long time for a house to do that. And just think! We still don't even have a refrigerator. Gee, will I be able to stand all the ease and delight around here when we finally get one? I wonder.


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Here's the fun book I mentioned. It's called Mary Emmerling's American Country Cottages. Find it here at amazon.com. I've looked through it countless times in the past few years and never tire of it.


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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

More of Hobbit Cottage

So. Some of you have asked to see more photos of Hobbit Cottage, and well, that makes me smile.

There's not a whole lot more to show you.  :)

You've seen part of Tom's office (when I showed you the coat rack), but here's another part:


Oh, and by way of a helpful hint, here's something he found at Dollar Tree which he said is a great help for his back:


Pretty nifty for only a dollar, right?

There's a door within his office which leads to our bathroom:


Some of you may recall that the shelves were a Mother's Day gift from Naomi and I used to store my retro teen books upon them. Well, here at Hobbit Cottage, they are an enormous help storage-wise in the bathroom. And usually I'm not a fan of grey walls, but I actually like these, especially with the white trim.



Hmmm.... they're looking white here but trust me, they're grey.

So there you go. Your photos for the day.


And oh, I so love living here. For more reasons than I can say right now, but hopefully over the next few weeks I can share them all.

God is so amazing to have brought us here--and at the perfect time, too.




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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Just Thinking Aloud

It was silent and grey when I left the house around 8 a.m. this morning.

I was heading out to our former town, the countryside one, so to pick up a prescription for Tom at our old pharmacy (he's not switched to a new one yet, there's some kind of time factor involved). But Tom needed me to drive out there because he got no sleep last night. He has a stomach flu (we think) and his back/arm have been messed up since we moved here and the pain keeps him awake, even after having had both a chiropractor adjustment then a therapeutic massage.

All this came after his bout with the heat exhaustion thing for the first 30 hours we lived here. I am loving our new home and Tom would love it, too, if only he could feel better! But mostly he's been in his recliner watching tv and watching me unpack--which I've not minded at all, actually. The watching part, I mean. He'd only get caught in my decorating whirlwind otherwise, though in all the whirlwind, there's been a sadness to see him in that chair.

And may this serve as a reminder--no one has a perfect life. No one. Each person you know has at least one custom-made trial to contend with. Whether they speak of it or not, it's there. We all have something.

But already I'm experiencing one of those times when I'm grateful we have only a small home and yard--both which I can care for alone if I have to. And I've had to a lot these past two weeks-- Tom has been that laid-up. But the days these sorts of things happened out at the farm? Oh, they used to worry me, for I knew I could never care for those four acres alone if the need arose. We did have two extremely helpful neighbors (and thanked God for them often), but it's a hard thing to keep asking them for help, even when they always seemed happy to do so.

Anyway, back to this morning. The roads were quiet as I drove back to the ol' farm town, a route I'd never driven alone before. (Can you believe that in the more than three years we lived out there, I probably drove our car just fifteen times?). Then when I finally arrived upon the main street of our former tiny town, well, I got a bit misty-eyed. That sweet little place where people greeted us like friends wherever we went! Ah, I've missed that. I've not missed our farm, only that friendly, tiny-town feeling.

And then as I walked out of Rite-Aid with Tom's prescription (still a bit teary) I reminded myself that these past two weeks I've been so at home. Haven't even taken one walk yet. Only a couple trips to the supermarket. Haven't gone out of my way to meet more neighbors (we did meet a few).

We're still so new here! And there's plenty of time to get to know the people of our new town. We already know our way around, having shopped here for years (something I've loved doing since 1993, even, the year we moved to New York). But a town is much more than it's stores, just as a church is much more than its building. Mostly, a town is its people. And that is why I missed our former country town this early morning--it was the memories of all those sweet greetings and smiles over the years.

And so to offset that, it's the people here in our new place that I'll need to open up to and get to know. They will make it feel like home. They will make me (even more) grateful to live within the borders of this new place. The getting to know them, their smiles and greetings yet to come.



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Any prayers for Tom would be deeply appreciated. Thanks so much.

He's scheduled for more injections into his back on Monday. They usually relieve a lot of pain.


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Friday, September 16, 2011

The Sweetness of Imagining and Making-Do

Already I am tweaking what I decorated only last week.

But that's the fun of it! The challenge is to keep thinking fresh, creative thoughts and making-do with what one already has. Using items in a whole different way than the form in which they were invented--that's what keeps our imaginations alive.

Like, in a plastic bin of curtains I discovered a green curtain valence and right away thought, "Aha! This would make a pretty dresser scarf."



Oooo. Instant drama. A much nicer backdrop than plain ol' white.

Then I realized most of my white dish collection, ones I use for decorating, were still in boxes and I'd run out of room downstairs to display them. What to do? Why, clear my previously decorated library top shelves and place them there, of course:




Ever so much better, I think. In decorating, it's vital to stay open to changes if you wish things to be better.

In Life, too.

While we lived on the farm, I re-discovered something about myself: personally, I prefer to make-do. Rather than be handed things on a proverbial silver platter, ready-made, I enjoy finding my own creative solutions.

Examples? Rather than live in a large house, I prefer trying to make a small house feel larger. More efficient and comfortable, too, despite its tininess.  And instead of spending money on ready-made boxes for organizing items, I like to decoratively paint shoe boxes and use those for sorting. Rather than buy new, I prefer to buy used from yard sales or thrift shops.

And instead of having to own lots of pretty land, it's now enough for me to freely soak-in all the green countryside around me, appreciating any land (including sidewalks) set-aside for me to walk upon. I don't have to own a river, a meadow or a mountain in order to feel--in a way-- they belong to me. You know, gifts from God made to be shared by all.

Creatively making-do with what I already have and being glad and thankful I can do that--I'm returning to that lifestyle. Oh, not that I ever wandered very far away from some of that, but I did wander a bit. From now on I'll stay close, though, and splash around in all the delight of using my imagination, keeping it trigger-ready at a second's notice.



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Any other lovers of making-do out there?

                                                  

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Oh, and Kristi asked how old our house is. This year Hobbit Cottage is celebrating her 80th birthday. She's looking pretty good for her age, I think. :)


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Wow! Did you notice the new Blogger photo feature? When you click on a photo in my post, you'll also be able to click on any others I've included at the same time. Plus, (and this is the best part), you no longer have to click the back button and scroll down to where you were reading! No, just "X it all out" and my post appears, unchanged. Yay! (Try it and see what I mean.) Thanks, Blogger! Now, if you can just return that little pencil at the bottom of my posts, I'll be perfectly content.



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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Looking Back -- And Forward

(Our garage from my upstairs window. I'm always reminded of the little house on the prairie, the original one from the book. I imagine Pa holding Laura up to the window to see the coyotes at night ... and smile...)


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"Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths."  ... Proverbs 3:5,6


I've been thinking about that verse (and similar ones) lately and how God's timing is always so perfect and hindsight really is quite clear, indeed. I mean, for 14 years here in New York Tom and I were happy in the suburbs, but then zap! It's like Grace packed up, went to the airport and flew away. Then after her departure, uh-oh. The suburbs felt cramped and noisy and downright uncomfortable.

So in the midst of the discomfort (and Grace's being gone), Tom and I sold our suburb house and moved into an apartment, awaiting further instructions from God. Our plan was for Tom to get an out-of-state job, yet we didn't sit there and try to force any plan or figure things out late into the night. We didn't make pro and con lists nor did we worry. No, we just enjoyed apartment life where livin' was easy, especially with the return of Grace (!) and waited for some kind of direction from God.

A few months later we set aside our ideas of moving out-of-state and rather idly began looking at local real estate, instead. And alas! A couple weeks later we saw a 4-acre farm for sale not too far away and suddenly we thought, "Every weekend we drive out to the countryside, so why not move out there, especially before we get too old? Why not finally do this thing which we've talked about doing for years?"

Suddenly, it was as though this Plan B just dropped from the sky.

Well, two weeks later we found a tiny farm, the sale went smoothly and suddenly we found ourselves living our long-held farm dreams. Although, the farm came with plenty of not-so-dreamy aspects. Er hem. Tom and I had to practically learn to communicate and work together all over again (after 30 years!), but throughout the ordeal we learned a whole lot, not only about farming, but about ourselves (as in, we weren't as angelic as we'd believed ourselves to be. Especially me. heh.).

But mostly, Life was good and it scares me just to consider what would have happened if we'd followed our own out-of-state-something-else plans? If we'd done what made much sense to our heads? (Shiver.)

Then two years (and three summers) later, Tom lost his job. Wow. Naomi moved back home, too, but that thing about Tom's job loss was enormous, a real shock, and what followed were months of making huge adjustments. And yet? With Grace around, we managed. I even recall thinking the following January, "Wow! Usually by January's end, I'm sick of winter and pining for Spring. But this January, I feel great."

But then came February.

Gah. Grace left for the airport again (it seemed) and what followed were 4 months of struggle. Hard times, deaths, one after another. Even  when Springtime came again with all our pretty, green acres, hundreds of trees, my dreamed-about-for-years patio and everything else I'd ever wanted in a farm--even then--I couldn't even make myself appreciate any of it. Everything felt flat. Stale. Vanilla-ish.

The joy of country life was gone. So we talked about making long-procrastinated changes to the farm and then selling the following year, and again, began speaking of moving out-of-state.

But while I  wearily mowed the lawn one hot May afternoon, I thought, "Oh my goodness. I physically just cannot do all this mowing or gardening for another 6 months!" It was a scary feeling, actually. My whole life, I've physically been up for any challenge. (Trust me, I'm grateful.)

And that's when I heard a still, small voice inside me say, "Just how bad does it have to get? Why not put the farm up for sale this year instead of next?"

Wow. As they say, "and that made all the difference." We spent the next two weeks finishing a few projects around the house (but not nearly all the ones we'd planned to). We put the house up for sale and it sold in four days. A couple glitches came along, but the seller wanted the house so badly that she made certain sacrifices in order to get it.

And it took us the full three weeks of our contract to find our new house, but we found it, here where our love for the suburbs has returned. And it now belongs to us--no more house payments, which made this a good financial move since Tom still has no job and will probably need to go on disability when the unemployment checks run out.

And that's another thing--physically, Tom has been struggling more than ever these past few months, so I'm seeing his being downsized as God's timing, as well. God gave him a break just before he needed it, also giving us plenty of adjustment time before we moved here to our new, smaller home.

And the whole timing of living on the farm! Those three years were the perfect window for that. Had we waited, we'd have had a shorter time there--had we waited longer it would have been an impossibility because of Tom's not having a job, nor having the strength to run the place. And for the rest of our days? We'll never have to wonder, "What if we had...?" For we did.

Why did I write all this out? To get it all straight inside my head. I mean, it's pretty clear now --hindsight being 20/20 and all--yet it certainly was not all crystal clear while it was happening! Heavens, no. But that's why trust in God's leading is so comforting, especially there in the middle of the foggy patches when you know He's walking beside you, even if He's kinda hazy-looking.

Yet I also wrote this to remind myself that God's plans for me are much better than my own plans. He sees what's ahead--I certainly can't--so I'd be wise to wait for His directions, to follow His leading, rather than thinking (even subconsciously), "I won't get what I really want if I wait around for God."  Running out and making things work, forcing stuff to fit, will only lead to headaches galore.

God's ways will--eventually--lead to peace. And to deepest dreams of the heart coming true, dreams so deep that, sometimes, we can't even see them until God shows them to us.


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Proverbs 21:1 "The king's heart is in the hands of the Lord; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases."


To me, we're not just talking kings' hearts there. I find that a comforting verse for myself and one to recall when I see loved ones doing things in a different way than I would do them. :)
 
 
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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Living/Dining Room Photos

So here's our living room:


Small, cozy, just the way I like it. Still amazes me how our possessions seem to belong here.

We did have to angle our entertainment center away from the wall for tv viewing and out of necessity I came up with this idea:


Just stuck a eucalyptus valence and a painting on the back. Voila. :) (Did you notice the bassett hounds up top?) Oh, and someday I'll paint a border around the painting over the couch so that it will make a bolder statement.


Opposite our table is our hutch:


Know when  decorating is the most fun? When we refuse to get stuck with just one arrangement. When we remain pliable, move things around, learn to view our rooms from brand new perspectives and have fun with the whole creative adventure.


Life is the most fun that way, also, for certainly the ruts we dig for ourselves end up being boring, depressing places, indeed.




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Oh, and to Mrs. Mac--yes, that is a military hat on the shelf from yesterday. It belonged to Tom's dad way back when he was in the army. Good eye.




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Oh! One more thing. Yesterday I discovered that all of the old Andy Griffith Show episodes are on instant view at Netflix. Yay! I'd been watching my two sets of dvd's for the first time in probably three years so how timely that I'd discover I can keep on watching and watching and ---  :)




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Monday, September 12, 2011

More Photos From Our New Life

So. At 7:30 yesterday morning I backed out of our tiny garage for the first time and headed the six blocks to the supermarket. All was silent, sunny. In the parking lot I easily found a space, turned off the motor and thought, "Whoa. This is very, very cool."


Oh, how amazing, after three years, to live so near a real-live supermarket! My entire time inside felt like I was walking streets of gold (or something). And I didn't even have any coupons with me! Great was the joy even without them.


How good to be in the right place at the right time of your life.




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Later yesterday afternoon I added a valence above our kitchen sink the easy way. I just strung the valence onto a cafe curtain rod then stretched it above the cabinets. I've discovered a few ways here to avoid using nails/screws in the walls and that was one:



Oh, and here's a free helpful hint: I always keep a kitchen towel folded on the door of the dishwasher to keep it from latching and unlatching over and over. The latch on our last dishwasher broke from much usage so this idea will--hopefully--keep that from happening again.

And here's a corner of the kitchen you haven't yet seen:


I love that picture wall. My dear grandparents are in the top photo, Tom's ggg- grandparents in the second and the last photo we discovered in the back of a 1908 book about earthquakes. And my kit-kat clock, of course, the last Christmas gift from my parents before my dad passed away. Love that clock--I'd wanted one since Honey, I Shrunk The Kids first came out.




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Oh, and there are few (very few!) things I miss about the ol' farm, but a coat closet is one of them. So here's the one I made yesterday (my version of a closet, anyway):


This is in Tom's office, at the base of the stairs and will be an especially good place for guests' coats and hats this winter. I'll also be hanging Tom's cowboy hats from the left side of the post. Speaking of our stairs, here they are:


I think they're pretty, yet they're slippery, too, so we'll be remedying that soon (not with a carpet runner since I don't relish the idea of vacuuming stairs. Been there, done that.). Oh, and did you notice that display shelf cut into the wall at the upper right? We found that a nice touch. Still haven't decided what to display there, though.


And that's enough for today!




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Oh! Except that someone asked about Tom's tractors... Well, he sold all but one, and so our neighbor there happily agreed to store it until Tom sells it by way of Craig's List.


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Sunday, September 11, 2011

More Photos and Remembering....

So here's something new for you... the other part of my attic room. I'm taking the photo from in between the beds I showed you the other day. (That's Andy Williams on the album beside my dresser. He looks so good there.)  :) My closet is just before the chimney and my little library is behind the chimney, to the left. The stairs, of course, are behind the half-wall. And you're looking at the media side of my room, you know, where I talk with you. Sitting upon that footstool at the computer is a bit less than ideal, but someday I'll think of something else.

(For instance, this morning: we needed a coat closet so I created one. I'll show it to you someday.)

Anyway, here's the entertainment side of my room (I'm facing the beds this time.) See those magazines beneath the oval table? Can you believe those are the only magazines I now own? Really, it feels great to have so few.

So there you go. Another little peek into my new life.


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Today with everyone else, I am remembering 9/11/2001 (not that any of us ever really forget). But for my own mental health, I will remember, yet not relive it. There is a healthy difference, I believe. Rather like how some people--on the anniversary of their loved ones' deaths--dread the day weeks in advance, torturing themselves, reliving only the sadness of their relatives' painful final day(s) . Me? On those anniversaries I, instead, choose to remember all I loved about those I've lost and the special moments we shared together.

If I don't guard my own mental health, who else will? These are the kinds of things I'm learning as the years sail by and I grow older.

Thank-you so much for sharing your comments, your stories and your very sweet encouragement with me!


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                          Here's a clearer shot of half of my library nook.



                                                
                                                   The other half.


And now that you are intimately acquainted with my attic room, we will close the curtain upon it and move to other areas inside, outside, upside-down. ;)

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And for Kristi (and other book lovers)-- if you double-click on the library photos, you'll be able to read some of the titles of my books. (I love reading the titles of people's bookshelves, too!)


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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Two Photos of My Two Kitchens

So! Here is the presentable half of our new kitchen. Usually I'm not a fan of dark cabinets, yet I love these. That dresser which I'm using for an island is the same one you may recall that Tom bought for me at an estate sale (had a mirror, too). Comes in handy as an island, especially with its three large drawers.

And because we're not exactly blessed with a whole plethora of cabinets, I decided to create another kitchen down in the basement. You know how I am: why whine about a thing when--with some creativity--you can change it? 

Drum roll... prepare to go back to the 1920's:





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Kinda nifty, huh? (Click to enlarge.) One of my better ideas, though as with most of my decorating ideas, I probably stole it from a magazine or tv show. :) Our basement is very dry and this area is perfect for extra linens and my food stock-up for winter. (You can just see my freezer behind the pie cabinet on the right.)

So it's the best of both worlds around here kitchen-wise: kinda-modern and retro-quaint. Love them both.



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We had only one mishap during the Big Move: the top of our Hoosier cabinet fell off the truck onto its back.  (Oh dear. I was, like, this-is-just-a-test-this-is-just-a-test.) Tweaked it a bit, but Tom thinks he can untweak it.


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If you missed my earlier post this morning, I shared a photo of my attic room.


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