Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Shopping Fun




I keep telling you how much I love our supermarket, but I can't help it. It's become My Place, you know, where I go to have fun.

And to think that during our three farm years, I hated supermarket shopping! Hated. It. Just one more example that what is true for you today may not be true tomorrow. So hang in there.

Well anyway, the other morning there at the supermarket before 8:00, the doors burst open and Karen Carpenter greeted me, singing Love Is Surrender. I smiled and grabbed a cart and pushed it a few steps over to where you can handi-wipe your cart's handle and with a swish then a toss of the wipe into the trash, I entered a whole other world.

Nat King Cole had the microphone now and he whisked me back to the 1940's where I remained the majority of my shopping trip. Oh, there were girl groups from the 1950's, too, and then when I heard the song, I'm Leaving On a Jet Plane, immediately I was out on the playground again, 10-years-old, listening to a row of sixth grade girls singing that song, swaying back and forth upon a square bench surrounding a large tree. (Funny what remains in our memories.)

Then Doris Day escorted me back to my mom's side while she shopped for our groceries in the late 1960's in Mill Valley, CA. My sister stepped along the other side of the cart so we wouldn't argue. :)

Oh my store, that music, they take me all sorts of places!  That's why I go early, with no time restraints and few people and so I can slowly amble the aisles, often backtracking because I've skipped something upon my list and I still don't know this store too well. But I'm getting there.

The people who work at my store smile at me, so do other customers, and usually there are elderly folks there who--I just know it!--come for their weekly, rejuvenating trips Back In Time, also. I look at them and wonder where they go when they hear those horns of  Glen Miller.

It's all so good, me setting groceries inside my cart within this time capsule, shopping the sales each week (my store keeps track how much I've saved--it's $734 so far this year and probably another $280 with my coupons, which my store doubles up to 99 cents). My magical supermarket now even counts each manufacturer coupon I use as $10 (!) toward our gas-saving rewards (for every $100 you spend on groceries, you save 10 cents off per gallon of gas). While on the farm we drove to Seneca Indian Nation gas stations so to save around 32 cents per gallon, but now? We drive a simple six blocks and fill-up, saving 40 or 50 cents per gallon.

Oh, there is an odd verse I love so much in Joshua 3. It says:

"Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before."

God gave instructions so the people would be safe. He had a specific plan and He also knew the land well, but they didn't. It was a place, a time in their lives, they'd never known before.

And you know? Never before have I been in this place where I now am-- 14 months into Tom's unemployment, living on faith, at 52 (an age I've never been before), in a different town, inside a tiny house we own outright, believing daily that God will help us make right decisions, especially the ones which greatly affect our future.

And yet? Because God is leading us through this new-to-us place, we feel more rich in blessings than we've ever felt before. Grace is everywhere we go-- in our rooms, in our car and inside even the supermarket down the street which honestly? Is good only because God is so good to me. He led us to this house by closing so many wrong doors we tried to kick open (just ask Cher, our real estate agent), we were so clueless, but God ushered us down this path to the place He'd wanted for us while we searched elsewhere.

I highly recommend chucking worry and the cares of this world for complete trust in God's knowing what He's doing, instead. And believing that His plans for us are good ones. For me, it's now the only way to go.





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These coupon blogs each send me one daily email listing the latest printable coupons and other terrific deals on everything else "out there." They do all my coupon searching for me--gotta love that! It's easy to sign up for their daily email.


Krazy Coupon Lady  (Click on Printable Coupons for hundreds of links to coupons!)


Coupon Dad


Living Rich With Coupons


And want to discover coupon blogs with great deals in your own local area? Just google 'coupon blog, your city (or area) name'. I found a very helpful local coupon blog that way and I also now get a daily email from her.





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I believe this is the company which supplies the music to my supermarket. A couple weeks ago I went to my store's website, clicked on their customer comment section and left quite a long paragraph singing the praises of the music they play while I shop. I firmly believe in letting people know when they've done something amazing.


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Monday, November 28, 2011

The New Hobby



So I've reached a rather odd period of my life. Namely, I've achieved all of my realistic, true dreams and desires (as opposed to childish, whim-like ones) and now what is left but to choose new goals?


Like I said, it's all rather odd. I think most people moan how they had to drop certain dreams along Life's Road and now fear they cannot be picked up again because of Time's passage. Yet here I am, the odd woman out (what else is new?) whose real, lasting dreams all came true. No complaints about that here.


Yet, uh-oh, I wasn't hearing what to do next! And just as I began to worry about that ("what's wrong with me, anyway?"), God said simply, "Stand still. Wait. Be excellent in what I've already given you to do. And enjoy Life in the meantime."


So I tried to do that, tried to not to worry that I felt no new passion about anything. But I wondered at this new, clueless woman I'd become and toyed with the idea of just grabbing at a hobby or volunteer work, carelessly risking the future outcomes. 


But I know better than to do that. So instead, I just told myself, "Enjoy. Simply enjoy, even if this new place feels like Clueless Land where I must believe all answers will come later."


And then yesterday I cleaned-out my dollhouse.


It's the one Naomi and I built together when she was 14 and although it felt like cleaning-out a haunted house (oh the dust and debris! I'd not touched it during our three farm years), wow! My dollhouse passion was reborn. I looked at the hither-and-yon dusty, cast-off furniture and wondered, "Where did all the good stuff go? The vintage furniture from that box at the estate sale and the gold-framed paintings from JoAnne's Fabrics kinda like that painting discovered in that secret apartment in France? Where are they, anyway?"




Oh yeah. When we moved from the suburbs I gave our larger dollhouse (a yard sale find) to Naomi to sell and inside it was all the good stuff. And really, that was one of the oh-so-few times I'd regretted that huge purge back in 2007. Usually when I give something away, especially to Naomi, I never look back.


But yesterday I looked back big-time. Passion, even, seemed to course through my veins. ("My big dollhouse with vintage furniture! What have I done? What was I thinking?")


Yet after the internal whining, a tiny voice asked, "Well, why not finally (after 17 years) finish this dollhouse? Why not make a few things for it, buy a few things and do it up right, with lights, even? Why not turn it into your new hobby?"


Why not, indeed?


So yesterday, November 27th, 2011, a new hobby for Debra was born. Or reborn anyway, for dollhouses have enchanted me for at least 40 years. I love most all things whimsical and a dollhouse is as whimsical as whimsical gets.


And you know? I'm glad I waited for this hobby, that I didn't run out and commit myself to something less, something which would take away from the time to do what I really wanted to do.


And of course--in time-- there will be other hobbies and some volunteer work, also. But this lesson reminded me of the importance of waiting until God taps on your shoulder and tells you, "Go for it, kid." His ideas are best, they come with inspiration and all the strength and finances and help you'll need to see them through to completion.


May I never settle for anything less.






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Please consider all these pictures to be "before photos."

Oh, and at least I took pictures of that former dollhouse with the vintage stuff. Find them here (scroll down).



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If you're not liking your own today, remember suddenlies! One day everything may be the same ol' same ol', yet suddenly! Tomorrow may feel oh so different.

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Accepting, Pausing, Loving


So on Thanksgiving Day in our area, at least three radio stations begin playing Christmas carols 24/7 till around December 27th. I used to complain about that, but now? I love it. I even created a yearly tradition of cooking my Thanksgiving dinner while listening to radio Christmas songs in my kitchen.


What changed? My attitude. I used to get all flustered because people didn't adhere to my own personal time schedule ("they" shouldn't play Christmas songs anywhere until after Thanksgiving!), but then I figured how foolish! Why complain and get all cranky because everyone else on the planet doesn't adhere to my ideas of what is best?


In fact, I remember cranky people while I grew-up who always complained when other people made different choices than they would have (which was, like, daily). And I watched these complaining people repel others away, they became riddled with arthritis and never learned to just enjoy and deeply love people, warts and all. They believed there was only one way to live (their way, which they equated with God's) and they became bitter because they could not make the whole world behave.


Well, for some years I headed down that (scary) road, also, but one day I realized, hey! Making my own self behave is one full-time job, indeed. Really, I don't have leftover time to boss others around, nor do I even believe everybody should like what I like. God's endless creativity made us all too different and gave us way more freedom than that.


So as I noted here last year, this has become my Verse Of The Month every December when I'm tempted to complain about how others are 'doing Christmas':



"When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”
Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”' ... from John 21
 

What does it matter to me that stores play Christmas music in October? I need to mind my own business and just follow Jesus. What if tons of people spend lots of money for Christmas or totally plaster their house and yard with enough Christmas lights to be viewed from outer space? Why complain about that? I must just follow Jesus and 'do Christmas' as He asks me to (requiring much listening and obedience on my part).
 
There are myriad more examples, but you get the idea, right?
 
So today I'll just end this with something I share with you every single year, a place so peaceful and calming, a respite if you accidentally find yourself flailing and swirling inside the crazy December whirlpool:
 
Here's a peaceful place from me to you.
 
Stand out there awhile, alone, and no matter what anybody else may be doing, allow yourself to relax and contemplate the true meaning of Christmas. It hasn't changed at all, you know-- even in 2011 it's still all about Jesus.
 
 
 
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"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands..."   ...  I Thessalonians 4:11


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"I'm not gonna let commercialism ruin my Christmas!"  ... Charlie Brown


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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Free Holiday Address Labels


Forgot to share a great deal with you.

Just a few days ago I ordered 140 free address labels from VistaPrint, the same people who sent me the free business cards for Healing Acres (our former farm).

My labels arrived yesterday! (Another special blessing for our anniversary. I even received a lovely Thanksgiving card, too, in the mail from a special online friend).

Hurry over here if you'd like to order free address labels. (Again, hurry. This offer ends sooon. Sunday at midnight, to be exact.). Pay only for shipping.

You can see a larger print of my new labels here.  I love my Eiffel Tower labels! I'm now tres inspired to begin working on my Christmas cards.  :)




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Want more free stuff from VistaPrint?

25 free gift tags are here.
250 free wallet calendars are here.


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This is my second post of the day. Scroll down for the first one. Well, only if you'd like to, of course. ...heh.


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Welcoming Grace Back Home





So as I said, yesterday was our 33rd anniversary.


The day before, Thanksgiving, Naomi gave us a gift card for the fancy movie theater in town so that we could watch something in comfort rather than sitting in 60-year-old lumpy seats at the retro, cheapo theater. You know, the one we love, though yes, I do usually squirm into 6 pretzel positions trying to find comfort during the average film. But still, there are all those vintage movie posters! And signed photos of stars and the woman in the ticket booth who's always there, year after year, and even looks like Tom's mom. And the time travel-ness of it all.


Anyway, we'd planned to drive to the fancy, comfortable theater, but only one morally ok/interesting film was playing, Hugo, and we'd probably have to share the movie with 200 whispering, squirming kids (who weren't squirming for comfort), ones cranky from all that Black Friday shopping.


And well, that didn't sound all that tempting.


So because Tom and I have become quite simpatico after 33 years, we both were absolutely fine with just ordering-out for Chinese food. And then, oh! After ordering, we discovered that the Animal Planet station had chosen to play a mini-marathon of our current favorite show, I Shouldn't Be Alive. Just for us! Hours and hours of our special show on our special day.


At least, that's how we felt. Oh, how good to have Grace back again the way she used to always hang around and bless everything and make it all 80 times more special.


And you know? I see now more than ever that God had to snatch Grace away for a time back at the farm in order to get us out of there. For our own good. Tom and I had our three years there, got to live-out every farm fantasy we'd ever really desired--but then there came a time to leave. The 'Grace window' was quickly shutting and God wanted us out before it completely slammed shut, while the time was perfect for our escape, while the perfect buyer waited anxiously in the wings to snatch-up what had become to hard for us to handle.


And now! Grace is back and everyday is a joyful one, well, as long as Tom and I rely--not upon ourselves--but upon Grace and God for everything. I mean, we've only got a certain amount of unemployment checks left to come, but what shall we do? Worry in the meantime as they're winding down? Start doubting that God can care for us after they cease, tell Him, "You've taken exquisite care of us so far, but we highly doubt that you can continue?"


No. And I'll tell you why. How many times have I worried about something only to have it never happen? And then how many times, afterward, have I had to apologize to God for those weeks of worry, for all the doubting that He'd make things right?


Way too many times--that's how many.


So this time, after all the having been there, done that, I want to do things right, as in, take one day at a time. Recognize Grace wherever she is. Do things her way, God's way. Really trust--breathe and splash in it, not just speak about it in a doubtful sort of way. 


Only God can do what God can do. He doesn't expect me to even try to do His part, but rather, to daily obey Him, believing that all those myriad obediences will always lead me to be standing exactly where He wants me, at just the right times. And with gladness.






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The photo? That's the painting above Tom's desk. He and I realized recently that we now prefer our farm hanging on a wall.  :)




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"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow..."  ... Matthew 6:34


Oh, and as an aside, Tom and I do have a Plan B for when the unemployment checks cease. A good plan. (Just in case you were worried...heh...)




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Thanks so much for your sweet Thanksgiving and anniversary good wishes!




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Friday, November 25, 2011

Thirty-Three Years!


My, my, my... As of today, Tom and I have been married 33 years. How can this be? Seems like only yesterday...

And you know? The real miracle is that both Tom and I still prefer to spend time with each other over anyone else. Wow. Blows my mind.

Life with God is oh so good.


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The picture? When Tom went with me to Auburn, California to meet my parents for the first time, he proposed to me beside the gravesite of Rattlesnake Dick. (At 16 and 17 I used to walk through this cemetery every week on my way to the library or just while hanging out.) So that makes this one of our engagement photos. My sister took two and I usually share the other one with you.

Oh, how I adored those boots, for they made me feel so 1800's-ish. I'd love to find another pair.

This is my favorite photo of the two of us--and inside my head--we still look just like this.  :)



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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Feeling Grateful

This year, oh! I'm so thankful for my new little home. Tiny, sweet and low-maintenance. Close to shops of all kinds, even a supermarket that plays my favorite kind of retro music. Surrounded by happy, busy sparrows and huge trees, sidewalks to walk upon and a river at the end of the street. A sane-sized yard, a bright basement laundry and a huge room upstairs of my very own.  More, even.

And tomorrow amongst all my gratitude, I'll thank God for each of you who have moved along with me, from house to house, those of you who read here and encourage me year after good year filled with so many lessons and learning.

My very best to each of you on Thanksgiving and always.



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Monday, November 21, 2011

Appreciating The Books I Own



Still here!

Just in one of my moods to live my life without feeling I must write about all the details. And working on the 'being excellent thing' with the daily stuff. And too, sometimes we all need breaks from our blogs or voicing details with Real Life friends. Sometimes we just desire to do some major pondering, to keep things to ourselves. For awhile, anyway.

But I will share this: I discovered room for at least 30 more books here at Hobbit Cottage so while considering my new hobby search I thought, "Perhaps I could go on an intensive book search before winter so to find those 30 books. That would make for a spiffy hobby, indeed."

And yet? I counted the books I already own, came up with around 300, and wondered, "Just how many books do I really neeeed? Considering I gave away/sold 6 boxes of books before we moved, these last remaining ones must be pretty special to have survived The Great Book Culling of 2011. Shouldn't I just be content with my 300 wonderful books? Shouldn't I be so thankful for them, especially the ones I desired for many years before I got to buy them?"

I'm thinking I should. And I'm also remembering how often I've bought books simply because my online friends had large collections of our favorite author(s) and I wanted to keep-up, even if I didn't necessarily enjoy those extra books. (Oh, those subtle motives!)

So there'll be no Rabid Book Search Hobby.

Now, will I still casually search through stacks of books when I chance upon them here and there at shops or libraries? Yes, of course. But I'll keep it all low-key, sane and balanced. Snatch up a book once in awhile, take it home, hold it, page through it, read it and treasure it.

I like the sound of that. And I'm thinking God might, too.



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It's a cool, but sparkling, bright day here, the sun is shining through the windows on the sunny side of the house and all is well.

I hope you are experiencing the same.


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"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, Never will I leave you; Never will I forsake you."  ... Hebrews 13:5


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Friday, November 18, 2011

Of Sending My Brain on Vacation

"For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light."  ... Matthew 11:30




Ok, I confess. Sometimes I send my brain on vacation.


I mean, see that verse above, the part where Jesus says, 'the burden I give you is light'? Well, the burden I give myself is downright heavy.


I nag myself a lot. "Shouldn't you be doing more?" I ask myself. "Aren't you resting quite a bit lately? Yes, you've been through much this year, but shouldn't you be over the trauma of it all by now? Shouldn't you have moved on already? And yes, you're schedule is so unpredictable now, but you should be able to blast through all that anyway. Now, no matter what."


Yada, yada. Nag, nag, nag. But the scary thing is that I get to thinking that that sort of nagging is the holy thing to do. Doesn't God expect me to keep after myself, to be disciplined so to remain on the right path?


Well, yes, He does. But there's my part and then there's God's part in keeping me on the straight and narrow. There's me nagging me and then there's God's convicting me. They're different. They don't even sound the same. But I forget that and it all grows so muddled inside my head sometimes.


And when it does, that's when I send my brain on vacation. I make myself relax. I give myself permission to be happy, right this moment, even with all my imperfections and wonderings whether I'm doing enough. Over and over on my 'brain vacation days' I tell myself to knock-off the nagging and just enjoy. Life. People. What I've been given. And, for heaven's sake, give myself a break.


Whew, I love days like those. And you know? It amazes me that usually I accomplish more on those days--and I have much more fun doing God-requested tasks. When obeying God, enough is truly enough. The constant driving of oneself, stops.


Even simple things like these with which I'll close my post. I'd placed my long, oval white table between my beds, but that meant I could hardly sit up in bed, what with this crazy sloping ceiling. So yesterday I moved this small blue dresser there instead:




... and pushed the beds closer together and now I can sit in bed much more comfortably. Yay! The dresser top is higher and more easily reached, though it does block a bit of sunlight (but then, we can't have everything perfect, right?).


Then I moved the oval table where the blue dresser had been:




... and that's a hundred percent better because I sit here in the mornings waking up and watching tv with my cup of hot chocolate. But before, it was like musical chairs up on the dresser top, what with my cup and tv remote and lamp and kleenex box. But now? Ah, luxury. Room for everything.


Then I streamlined my dresser top, got rid of much clutter and I prefer this ever so much better:







Ah, small improvements, yet large to me and my daily living.  These good sorts of things happen when I send my (nagging, burdened) brain on vacation. Trust me--in the future-- this ol' brain is going away, resting, taking Jesus' burden, instead, way more often than my own.


And oh, Life will be even better then.






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"For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God." (1 John 3:20, 21)


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Is anyone else watching the CBS show, Person of Interest? I've watched since the beginning, though always online because no way can I stay up past 10 p.m. anymore (I'm blessed when I make it past 8:00!). The main stars are two of my very favorites and the show is quite suspenseful, a bit like my all-time favorite, Early Edition.  Not for everyone, but I enjoy it. Watch here, if you dare.  :)


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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Seeing What's Real

Darn.


My crock pot broke.


Oh, I didn't drop it or anything, it just stopped heating the water here upstairs which was keeping my sinuses ever so happy. Tom looked at it for me (he's good with small electrical projects), but said it was hopeless (probably the switch). So right now he's down at Salvation Army hunting for another one. That's the neat thing about most men--they enjoy hunting so to provide for their families, even if that hunt just takes them down to the local hardware store. Or perhaps especially then.


But other than the death of my crock pot? Things are wonderful.


I haven't even told you yet how we love our new shower and tub here. This is the first truly non-skid tub surface we've ever owned. I mean, you'd have to try tap-dancing upon it in order to slip--so hooray! No more dreadful bathmats which only turn moldy unless you treat them meticulously well. In fact. always when I step into the shower I think of swimming at the ocean and at first I wondered why. But now I know--the surface is so very non-skid that it reminds me of beach showers, those with tiny particles set into the floor and well, how lovely to be reminded of the ocean when one steps into her shower.


Something else? For all three of our farm years, I had to wash my hair in the kitchen sink. Can you believe that?! Well, it's true and that's because the tub's shower head pretty much just trickled water and with my thick locks there's no way it could ever rinse away all the shampoo. So it was the kitchen sink for me.


Are you beginning to understand why I'm so happy here? :)


It truly does behoove each of us to look deeper, to not just assume silly things like just because certain people live in tiny houses they simply can't be as happy and contented as folks in larger, cuter homes. We really do assume so much in this life--it's rather hard not to, given the way the media constantly spouts its worldly biases. But always there's this: God created individuals and because of His incredible, awesome creativity, each of us is made up of separate, unique needs, tastes, preferences, abilities, desires, dreams and --. Millions of unending variations, combinations.


Truly, when we accept all that, the entire world--our own neighborhoods--will appear ever so different, as though we were gone somewhere but have returned after a very long time, following ever so many changes within our own little world and within ourselves.






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Oh miraculous day!


Though there were no crock pots to be had for Tom at Salvation Army, he did find this brand new item:




Oh my goodness. I have a new favorite thing.


It's a facial sauna and you stick your face down into the clear plastic part and inhale all that lovely steamed air and then your sinuses open, drain and then you feel amazing.


It's like Heaven in a contraption.


I was standing there at the kitchen counter, head down inside that thing, and Tom chuckled from the living room, "Get a life."


Oh, I have. I have. :)






... and in case you're wondering, I'm timing this new toy right now to see how long it will send steam into my room here upstairs. The reservoir is small and I'll need to always use my portable timer, but that's ok. I am so in love.


Tom definitely gets 2 points for this on his Productivity List! :)




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"If anybody wants to keep creating, they have to be about change." ... Miles Davis




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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Productivity List

So you know about Bucket Lists, right? Well, a few weeks ago Tom and I began making daily Productivity Lists.


What are those? They're a list of productive things we accomplished each day. Oh, not huge, world-altering deeds, but rather, tasks each of us sees as daily obediences to God, things which will also affect our future.


Tom aims for five daily productive activities, I aim for seven. I was just pausing nightly before crawling into bed, tallying my list inside my head, but yesterday I began writing these tasks in my diary. It's an encouragement to do so because without conscious thought, it's easy to feel as though the day was a waste, especially for those of us at home without daily feedback from bosses or co-workers or a real paycheck or charts detailing what we've accomplished.


Again, Tom's and my Productivity Lists are not filled with rock-the-world stuff, but rather, anything aside from the normal washing of dishes, laundry and cooking of meals, etc.


Samples?


Answered emails (1 point no matter how many emails I answered)
Writing in my blog (again, 1 point even if I write more than one post)
Finding something around the house which was lost
Feeding the birds, raking the yard
Mailing a snail mail letter or card
Buying something which made our lives easier
Grocery shopping or if I printed-out coupons from online
Taking a walk
Paying bills
Having friends over
Organizing or decorating something around the house
Making an important phone call
Doing anything which I'd procrastinated for a long time




You know, those sorts of things. (There are more, of course.)


Even after these nearly 15 months of Tom's being out of work, he and I are still making adjustments to this new life. This being together almost 24/7.  And well, we've found these Productivity Lists helpful in keeping us disciplined because oh, how easy it is to become lazy during the meantime, the points between Today and discovering new goals and visions.


We're believing it's better to hike our way to our new life rather than just sit around waiting for it to drop upon our heads. There's such a thing as waiting on God (yes!), but there's also such a thing as His waiting upon us to step out of boats and walk in obedience across the water into His waiting arms.






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"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."  ... Will Rogers


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Oh, and technically this is different than a To Do List. These lists are made after we've completed the tasks. They're more like a Was Done List. :)


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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Of The Crock Pot Cure

Oy! We must have made Hobbit Cottage too weather-tight because already, in early November, I was experiencing dry air sinusitis symptoms, even after leaving the window next to my bed open a tad. Even after occasionally leaving some water on the stove to steam. Even so.

So there I was, my nose 'a runnin', and little scrunched-up kleenexes atop the furniture in my room when aha! A light bulb moment. Why not bring my crock pot up here, fill it with water, and let it add moisture to the air and relieve my symptoms?

And that's what I did and that's what it's doing:


What a difference! In fact, after hours of complete normalcy, I turned the crockpot off last night, opened the window a bit to bring in moistened air instead, but then soon back came the runny nose and the sneezing. So I closed the window, added more water to the crock pot, and then slept with it on all night. And alas, a problem-free night. And morning. And afternoon.

Hooray! And speaking of that crock pot, while living at the farm I bought it at a yard sale and always wondered afterward why I bought that crock pot because nothing in my kitchen was blue. Nothing. I could easily have waited for another crock pot at another yard sale (they're everywhere), but I didn't. Yet now? Years later I know the answer: I've decorated with lots of blue here at Hobbit Cottage. Mystery solved.

I should know better than to try figuring out why I do what I do (and why God does what He does). When we're led by God, it's nearly impossible to understand many decisions we make. You know, the ol'...

"A man's steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?" ...Proverbs 20:24


... thing.


 So much in Life requires faith and lots of waiting until after a thing is over before we understand what was what. And we become happier people when we just accept that. At least, I did.


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Found the perfect place for the last peel-and-stick quote from Dollar Tree:



It says, "Everyday is a gift."

Because it is, you know.


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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Of Laundry and Adjustments

So Sarah asked after my last post whether we have room in our new yard for a clothesline and yes! Technically, we do have room.


But.


That space lies in the part of the yard open to the eyes of anyone walking past and well, I'm thinking a clothesline there would appear more like a sore in what's already a pretty boring backyard. We can have a clothesline here (the neighbors behind us have one), but I'm just not certain I want one.


I know, I know. I reveled in hanging clothes upon my new clothesline on the farm after not having had one (of my own) for 25 years. And yet a clothesline there, just looked so perfectly acceptable and right.


But here's the thing. Our previous two basements oh-so-resembled dark, cobwebby caves, especially the farm basement for hey! Its walls were actually made of cobblestone--dirty rocks set in walls 130-years-old. And of course it had the mandatory lone light bulb hanging just above the washing machine and skeletons of tarantula-like spiders which made all of us shiver. In the suburb basement I hung clothes to dry--in the farm one I would never consider such a thing.

Both basements were eerie places and felt like doing laundry in the Stone Age.


Yet fast forward to Hobbit Cottage and hooray! This is our laundry area now:


(It's much brighter in-person--trust me.) In fact, that extra wooden-framed fluorescent light above the washing machine blesses me because it's obvious that the husband who lived here many, many years placed it there for his wife. That, and an extra vent that he cut into the duct work so to keep his wife warm while she worked and to help dry any clothes hung on a line still partially there with a clothespin upon it. (My own wooden clothes rack sits below that vent now.)


Oh, and there's even a horizontal pole, an old water line left there, which is perfect for hanging shirts on hangers.


And ok... to some of you this still sounds like Laundry Done The Stone Age Way, but to me? It all spells I-Feel-Blessed-With-These-Improvements.


But when we spend our first glorious Spring here? Who knows. Maybe I'll ask Tom to buy another clothesline. Or maybe sometimes I'll carry our wooden rack outside and hang clothes from it. Or perhaps I'll do like one of our neighbors did on a sweet, blowy day--she hung shirts on hangers from the metal awning over her backdoor, very much like the one we have:








 (I reached up inside it and felt a metal lip just right for holding hanger tips securely.) I found her idea clever, but then, I always appreciate when people think outside of the box.


Inside the box is usually one dull, predictable, everybody's-doing-it-that-way place. I experience more fun on the outside.






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An added bonus--the top of the washing machine and freezer make perfect work spaces for not only folding clothes, but mixing paint or repairing or sorting stuff. The lighting is excellent for such things and I was one happy camper when I first discovered that.



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Bought this book at Dollar Tree yesterday for both Tom and myself and wow! Tons of inspiration and wisdom. One of those books you find hard to sit still and read because you just want to hop up and start being a better person.

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Speaking of Dollar Tree, here's an article detailing what's good to buy there and what is better left alone.

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Just Around The House

Ran back over to Dollar Tree and bought more of those peel and stick stencils. I love how this one looks with the painting below it (it says "Dwell in Possibilities"). As Goldilocks would say, "It's just right."


And this one:




... I put above our dining room table:









For me, those stencils add instant personality and encouragement. I have one more that will probably go in Tom's office. Some decorators say putting words on your walls is sooo yesterday, but I say if something makes you happy, it's so today.


One of the few things I miss about the ol' farm is our compost pile, the one with the corral-like frame. But alas, I've made my own 'not-so-pretty-but-it-works' compost heap here in the 'burbs:




I keep a covered glass bowl on our counter top and when it's full of coffee grounds and sliced remnants of fruits and vegetables, I simply carry it out the front door and over to the end of the porch where I, splat! drop it into one of these boxes. Occasionally I add water since the roof overhangs them and even less often, I stir them up a bit. And yes, the boxes will deteriorate, but that's half the fun. The cardboard can then be added to the new soil.


With God, Life is fun. Even at home. Even in 2011.






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And while I'm being creative today I'm remembering all those who have given their life for our Country. May your Veterans' Day, your 11-11-11 be blessed.




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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tom The Milkman and Tom The Nascar Nut

So hooray! Tom The Milkman finally got things right yesterday. Whew. I was close to canceling the service but, at least for this coming winter, looks like we'll still have a real live milkman.


As for my own Tom The Nascar Nut.... On Monday he began a sentence with, "I know you won't like this, but I want to do it anyway..." so of course, I knew that couldn't be good. What he wanted was to--for one month-- go from our "baby cable" to "regular people's cable" so that he can watch the final three Nascar races. He'd been able to watch the first of the season on our limited channels, but not any since they switched the races to ESPN (or whatever).


Well, he was right. I didn't like it. I had a mini-fit because I'm such a penny-pincher (why spend money when we don't have to?) and because we already watch scandalous amounts of tv (why welcome more temptation in the door? How will this help us find our new goals?) Yada, yada. You know.


But then I remembered the ol' submission thing and how God honors that a whole heck of a lot (and how fear can masquerade itself as wisdom sometimes), so I ended my tirade with a simple, "Fine. Go ahead. If we're going down, let's go down in flames."


Heh. And here you thought I was sweet. :)


Well anyway, the cable lady came yesterday and we've now got all these new temptations, uh, channels to watch and ok, although I'm enjoying my reunion with HG (If Walls Could Talk, Design On a Dime, etc.) and we both found it cool that we saw two new episodes of I Shouldn't Be Alive, well, I'm still finding that regular peoples' cable is not the be all, end all of our entertainment (and otherwise) needs as Time Warner would have us think.


Oh well. So for one or two months (at the most) we will have to exercise major discipline for ourselves. After all, if Tom and I don't manage our hours, our lives, who will? It's not like some angel on a white horse will ride in and knock some self-control into our heads.


No, that kind of discipline is our own responsiblity. Always has been, always will be.






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So what are your favorite "regular peoples' cable tv shows?  :)




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"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control..."  ... Galations 5:22,23


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Oh, and we'll be able to pay for part of this temporary cable upgrade with the money Tom got from selling our old storm doors through Craig's List. I'm proud of him for thinking of that when it would have been easy to have the installers of the new doors just place them on the curb, instead.


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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Extreme This And That

So I've not even told you that in the same shopping center as our supermarket, there's a Target store. And yet? In the ten weeks we've lived here I've not been there even once. No, I've way more often visited the Dollar Tree between these stores and guess what I found there today? It's in this photo, above.

Give up? It's this:

Oh wow.  Since I'm always preaching that concept, I thought I'd better buy it. If I could find that kind of thing at Target I'd probably not find it for just $1. Hmm. I think I'll continue haunting Dollar Tree where I also bought some Christmas cards today. Tom and I are on a strict, strict budget, but you know? God still always manages to scatter just-what-we'd-hoped-for trinkets in our path at fair prices (so it behooves us to follow where He leads).


Let's see.... oh yes! We discovered last week that tiny, baby mice were eating out of the birdfeeder we'd set on our front porch and even though they were adorable to watch, we thought it time to finally hang the birdfeeder from our old blue flagpole. So here's how I hung it:


Of course, the birds love it. (We'll probably paint the pole next year.)

Oh, and can you believe that the following day Tom said, "Maybe we could still scatter a bit of birdseed on the porch for the mice." Good grief! Clearly, when a man starts missing watching (disease-carrying, dirty) mice eat birdseed, he needs to get a life. :)


Let's see.... Oh! Wilma asked me to show a picture of our new storm doors, so for her, here's the back one which looks just like the front one:


And here's the little ivy bed beside the door. Give yourself ten points if you spot the old-fashioned squirrel, one of the few things I grabbed from the flower beds at the farm before we left:




And here are a couple houses around here which I found adorable:







And to end this extreme this and that, Tom and I just last week discovered the Discovery Channel show, I Shouldn't Be Alive  ***. We were able to stream the third season from Netflix and uh-oh! Instant addiction. But oh dear, we're terrible. You should hear the names we call the really foolish people on those episodes. No, you probably shouldn't. But it's just so easy to sit here in the safety of our home, two big-time couch potatoes, and criticize those outdoor adventurous types who are willing to risk everything to pursue their passions.

We just wish they'd always use wisdom while doing so. :)




*** I Shouldn't Be Alive is not a show for the faint of heart. Uh, no.


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In the top kitchen photo, you can also see the other bit of stenciling (above the window) which I painted last week.


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