Sunday, May 31, 2015

Melt Down In The Carpet Store

"Never assume anything."


So Tom took Friday off, and it was lovely. After yard sales and lunch, we even drove over and watched San Andreas at the theater for pure fun and absolutely no moral or educational benefit.

But then came Saturday. Yard sales were terrific, but the heat and humidity became unbearable so we drove to our local carpet shop where, last year, the owner wrote out an estimate for us. Now in the morning, Tom had taken out the tape measure so to remeasure our living room and office, but I told him, "Nope! Don't need to do that. We'll just take that estimate with us, then they'll send a professional out to measure later."

Anytime you think something will be easy-peasey-- be leary.

Inside, the one salesman helped a woman for 15 minutes before telling Tom and I that soon his wife would return and help us. What felt like hours later, he spent 4 minutes with us, just long enough for Tom to turn to me and ask, "Didn't the guy last year say that we'd need a 15 foot roll?" to which I replied, "I don't remember a thing about that." 

But 15-foot rolls of berber are as rare as snow in July. Twelve is standard. That's when the salesman disappeared to help a man who came in after us. 

Fifteen minutes later, the humidity and our impatience growing, we'd had it. If we'd wanted to be ignored, we'd have gone to Home Depot. 

We should have walked out then, I know this. But the salesman had our estimate and I wanted it back. And when the other customer left, the salesman gave the paper back to me and went on where he'd left off 20 minutes earlier. But Tom stopped him and asked why he'd helped the man who came in after us--and it all went downhill from there.

The salesman apologized, then I told Tom we needed to just go home and remeasure the rooms because something sounded wrong if we needed a 15 foot roll for our tiny house. But that's when the guy's wife returned, she who actually works there (he was just helping her), and we had to start all over. At least, Tom did. I walked over to the door to wait for him because the whole thing had gotten ridiculous and I was fuming.

I just wanted to go home to our cheap, matted-down carpet, vacuum it, and call it a day. But Tom and the two salespeople kept talking and trying to figure out a way to get a (rare) 15 foot roll of berber. Finally, I rolled my eyes, huffed and stepped out into our sauna of a car, hoping Tom would take the hint.

He didn't. Fifteen minutes later he finally came out and I'll tell ya, if not for God calming me down, I'd have gone ballistic. But the whole thing was so ludicrous, that I was the kind of hysterical where you sense--if you start yelling--you'll never be able to stop. So instead, you slip into light-headedness and over-exaggeration and it comes out sounding rather like humor to your listener.

But oh, suddenly I really understood why some people lose their minds and the next thing they know, find themselves sitting in prison. And it sounds weird, but I'm grateful my heart was broadened that way.

Well, with the air-conditioner now blasting and what with buying lunch to take home, I soon felt saner. And when Tom later re-measured the carpet and discovered a 12 foot roll would have been fine, well, I didn't even tell him I told you so. After all, most of this had been my own fault--I had assumed we didn't need the measurements. I had stopped Tom from taking them before we left home.

For four years, especially, God's worked with me about never assuming anything. Maybe someday I'll always remember that. Maybe. But I'm thinking probably not.  :)

                                                 Lilac time!


"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time ... do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is."  ... Ephesians 5:15-17

“Don’t build roadblocks out of assumptions.” 
― Lorii Myers


We totally enjoyed San Andreas. So realistic-ly made that I had to keep reminding myself that San Francisco is not, at this moment, a pile of rubble.


Free Kindle Books:

Summer of Promise

Shopping Addiction

The Beginner's Guide to Medicinal Plants

Deadly Devotion

Photography for Beginners

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Ten Years Later--It Arrived

"Delight yourself in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart."  ...Psalm 37:4


This shocks me, but it was ten years ago that I told you I spied a wooden sign across a porch which said this:

"And they lived happily ever after."

Instant enchantment! Suddenly the folks who lived inside that house became a storybook family (of sorts). I even began strolling through that neighborhood more than before just to glimpse the pretty house with the whisk-me-away line.

A couple times since moving to Hobbit Cottage I'd considered hanging such a sign across the top of our front steps. Lots of people walk past our home and I wanted their eyes to go all dreamy as mine had.

Well, I forgot to tell you yesterday that this weekend at our first yard sale of the day, I found this:

It was upside down to me, across the table, but I gasped and with big eyes, casually reached over and grabbed it. And paid the nice young woman the $1 she asked.

Now, it's not the exact sign that I saw so long ago, but that's ok. It's close enough.

On this muggy morning, I placed the necessary cup hooks in the sign and the porch beam, crawled down from my ladder, then stood back and called it good. Because it is. And because God is good, also, to remind me that He doesn't forget the desires of my heart, even when I set them aside for awhile. Still He gets them to me--at the time He deems best.

  Please just peek at the sign and ignore the ghastly stains on the beams. Some day/year we really will get them painted. I hope.


“Never forget that anticipation is an important part of life. Work's important, family's important, but without excitement, you have nothing. You're cheating yourself if you refuse to enjoy what's coming.” 
― Nicholas SparksThree Weeks With My Brother


Free Kindle Books:

I Want It Now!

The Outlaw Preacher

A Hope Revealed

Teaching Patience

                           My Snow in Summer is beginning to flower. Just last year I ordered a tiny little stem which came in a damp paper towel and now it's spread like crazy. Happy sigh.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Memorial Day Adventures

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free."   ... Galations 5:1

"...and make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands..." ...1 Thessalonians 4:11


Yearly, a small country town holds an annual city-wide yard sale and flea market which they never advertise anywhere because too many people already know about it. Oh, the nice people Tom and I spoke with there yesterday (and oh, the congestion on the roads).

Every single Memorial Day way out in the countryside we exclaim, "We should have brought sandwiches!" and this year we didn't bring them, either. After a couple sunny, humid hours, ol' starving Debra got cranky except when we stopped here beside Lake Ontario:

... then she took photos and ceased complaining (for a few moments), especially when she stepped into an estate sale with a sun room and backyard along here:

Can you imagine having a whole row of windows on the edge of one of the Great Lakes? I can. I'd loll away my life there and accomplish nothing. So no lake house for me.

Anyway, Tom did the 'just one more yard sale, just one more yard sale' thing all the way down the road till we found ourselves back out at our old farm:

... which looked proper and prim, but not too farm-like anymore, what with my huge vegetable garden gone and the woodpile, as well as the fence around the back pasture. And I didn't even notice till perusing the photos--they chopped down the huge tree behind the kitchen(!) :

Now, I would be upset except that would make me a hypocrite: Tom and I considered doing the same thing. And you know? That area looks better without the tree and its weeds, leaves and the way it blocked the kitchen window's view and light. 

They also pulled out the iris and perennials from the front bed and added Hostas, instead. I could tell it's been the Law of the Jungle in the other two flower beds: only the strongest plants have survived.

Tom and I bought that 125 year old farmstead so to play Farmers, but obviously this family had other dreams. And you know? That's ok. Really, truly, 100% all right with me because it's no longer mine. Three years ago I released it when we left and now? If they someday tear it all down so to build an apartment complex, I believe God would ask that I be fine with that.

Why on Earth? 

Because none of us is Queen of Life. No one has been given that kind of control over what other people do. And yes, okay, that sounds obvious in this case, but what about when it comes to dealing with our adult children? How many of us still boss tell them what to do, give them un-asked-for advice or sit around, blown away, after they make decisions we never would have in a zillion years?

Uh-oh--I'd better not go there. 

And well, uh, er, doesn't the barn look as beautiful as ever?  :)


Sadly, the old-fashioned 50's Malt Shoppe with the red and white striped awnings had closed forever. Darn. We loved that place in that tiny farm town.

Change: it happens. Everywhere. Hence the importance of acceptance and finding, instead, what is alive and breathing for you.


At one sale behind an ancient farmhouse on many beautiful acres, I discovered a red, dusty book from 1933. When I read these words on the first page, I knew it had to be mine:

"Mrs.Meigs always loved to wake up to a snowstorm. It took her back to the days when, if it was snowing in the morning, she used to keep her children home from school and have an open fire of canned coal and establish herself snugly for the day with her chicks huddled about her. She had enjoyed those rare days all the more because she wasn't in general a hovering sort of mother. She enjoyed the recollection all the more because she made a point of not sitting down too often to recall the past.

When you've turned eighty it doesn't do to think too much about the past. Anyhow she never had much time for reminiscence. The present was always too actively interesting: this winter especially it seemed to her that she had had hardly a minute to herself."

How did I feel while traveling 'round the beautiful countryside? Oh-hum-ish. I remembered how the greenery and farmhouses used to inspire and motivate me, but it all felt so far away, surprising me, even, that I felt that way for decades. A great shift has changed my perception and desires as well as the 'been there, done that-ness' of it all... and it feels wonderful having moved on.


Free Kindle books:

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day-ish Thoughts

On this Memorial Day I'm remembering all who've given their lives for our freedom, including Jesus. He whom the Son sets free is free indeed, even while living in lands where our freedoms are slowly being snatched away. Someday all will be righted and in the meantime? I am aiming to let freedom grow and all fear shrink into nothingness within God's enormous love for us.


Would you like to read something purely delightful written by a daughter to her dad? Zip over here


Well! Tom and I came to appreciate Hobbit Cottage more this weekend. We stood outside of two houses for sale, drove past another and walked through yet another in which they held a moving sale. The first house had charmed me for months online, but the real estate agent, in writing about the 3 bedrooms and large backyard, forgot to add this:

"And across the street from the lovely two front picture windows is a tall ol' ugly brick wall of an elementary school."

Gah. Earlier Tom had said maybe we could make an appointment to see it, but after beholding that wall? No. (And I won't tell you how long it took to shake my disappointment.)

The second house--a perfect one according to the photos-- sat on too busy of a street. Another (and we already knew this before driving by) had such a skinny, angled driveway that backing out of it would have--soon-- turned us into shaking, nervous skeletons of ourselves. So uh, no thanks.

                      And truthfully, the neighborhood felt a bit sad.
And I loved the 4th house even though it needed new flooring, paint and windows (and so much more), but its deal-breaker was (were?) 5 steep, uncovered concrete steps into the backdoor from the garage. And well, no way.

Considering houses to buy--it's our hobby as a couple. Deal with it. :) And like I said, at least we came away appreciating our little home sweet home, more.


While driving around searching-out houses, look what we found for only $10:

Yes, a much-needed bookcase for my little room at the top of the stairs. Funny, but it also reminded me of Gladys Taber for some reason.

And after I carried this (it's light) from the car and Tom and I lugged it upstairs and I moved two sets of shelves I'd had there previously into the storage closet as well the stuff on them and all those books? I crawled downstairs, collapsed face-down onto the couch and told Tom, "Ugh. After that little bit of work, I am wiped out. We just may have to stay in this house forever. What would I be like after a full, official move?"

So in my best old-fashioned soap opera voice (with organ music playing) I would ask: Will Tom and Debra ever leave Hobbit Cottage? Will they keep looking at real estate for fun and ideas, but not to buy? Stay tuned for their further adventures and find out."  :)


And for those of you who enjoy reading book titles on shelves (you know who you are)-- here you go:


"But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."   ... Matthew 6:33

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Tuesday's Adventure

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope."   ... Romans 15:13


Tuesday was fun. Memorable.

Right after I finished mowing the lawn (not the fun part--my back was hurting), Sally stepped from her house and I called over that the strawberry plants I'd promised her were ready. She crossed the street and after I gave her the guided tour of my flower beds, we carried the plants back to her house where we toured her yard.

In our nearly 4 years at Hobbit Cottage I'd never seen the backyard of that large old grey house. There's a cool deck back there, perfect for potted plants (such sun it gets!) and a small plot of dirt where Sally, her daughter and grand-daughter hope to create a vegetable garden. They have an old stone walkway, also.

Then Sally asked if I'd like to see inside the house and hopefully I let her finish asking before exclaiming, yes! (You know what a snoop lover of houses I am.) The Price is Right was showing as we walked through the large living room which screamed homey-and-oh-so-comfortable the way mine never looks because I'm too insecure and a neat freak.

Sally showed me everything, even the way, years-ago, a 'remuddler' ran a sheet of wainscoting (which she pulled away for me) in front of original built-in drawers. Frankly, the whole place is a 'remuddle', but Sally rents this house so undoing all that's wrong is not her headache.

The kitchen was tiny and dark, but Sally pulled a meat pie from the oven for her lunch so everything smelled yummy. We climbed the tucked-away staircase and I noticed two of the four bedrooms upstairs didn't have doors. Sally's room is cozy (and dark except for late afternoons) and her new birthday tv sat on her dresser near the bathroom with a classic clawfoot tub, but there's no plumbing hooked up to anything. The big linen closet in the hall, (I told her I'm jealous), had no door, either. 

It's as though a former owner began undoing everything at once, then stopped. Oh dear.

But I loved Sally's tour. Her home felt so comfortable that I nearly stepped out the front (red) door without slipping my shoes back on. We chatted some more outside then said good-bye after I ran back across to my house for a pot of oregano for her.

Later I sat in our Prayer Garden and--in my mind--finished all the work needed on Sally's rooms, solved all their problems, then decorated them. That is what I do. It's like homework, honing my skills and keeping my mind from unraveling. It's like playtime, also. Some of you understand that.

Today's lesson? No matter your age or health, always believe for new adventures. Even in your own neighborhood. Even on a regular ol' Tuesday.


“Oh the places you'll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won..."   --- Dr. Seuss

At a moving sale on Saturday, Tom and I walked down stairs (and back in Time) to yet another 1950's rumpus room, complete with brown and white checkered floor tiles, a soda bar, a kitchen and orange and brown couches. Easily could I see Tobey Heydon, Brose Gilman and their friends dancing near the old turntable. 

Oh, how I enjoy living in an area where hundreds of such rooms still exist museum-like beneath houses.


Free Kindle Books:

Home to Walnut Ridge

The Christmas Tin

A Quest for More

Abound in Love

A Life Restored

Margaret's Ark


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

What I Miss From My Past

"Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?” For it is not from wisdom that you ask this."   ... Ecclesiastes 7:10



My friend, Ann, shared this page of 1970's clothes over at Facebook:


Oh wow. I went to high school in clothes like those and, well,:

I don't miss high school.
I don't miss the 1970's.
I don't miss the people I knew back then (except sometimes my grandparents).
I don't miss being a teenager or a young wife and mother of a baby.
I don't miss the good times from my past.

But gee, I miss those 1970's clothes.  

And actually, to say (and mean) all that? That's huge for me. 

See, at 16 I wrote in my journal, "I am forever homesick," because we'd moved from a church/school full of people who helped me, for the first time, feel valued, talented and appreciated. And now our new city was pretty oh hum, status-quo except that there I found a really, truly best friend. With Tara, Life became incredibly fun.

But then we moved again and I dreadfully missed her

Yet in this new place, I told God that making friends during this senior year would probably be impossible, so instead, I would do whatever He asked me. And wow-- I had the best time, ever. Daily I walked around that town in a dream, stars of happiness dancing in my eyes.

But then-- yes. Again I moved, this time to college hundreds of miles away. Sorely I missed that tiny mountain town and again I scribbled in my journal, "I am forever homesick."

Yet summer came, I returned home and then my family moved away (yes, again). But this time my heart refused to leave. At 19 I'd had enough of moving every two years so I elected to stay and you know? Right away I met Tom and four months later we were married. Naomi soon joined us and we lived for 11 years in that land of warm, scented pine trees.

And finally, I stopped missing people and places. How wonderful to experience Life in the Present without craning my neck painfully backward toward the Past.

Eventually, here in New York, God did a final work. He took me apart and put me together again His way and--in His economy--He comes first (not people) and there is great contentment with fullness of joy.

Now I can live anywhere that He leads me. As long as I still have Him, I know everything will be all right.

Well, Him and the memories of those oh-so-cool 1970's clothes.  :)


"But Lot's wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt."   ... Genesis 19:26

God couldn't really use me those years when I looked back and concentrated upon what I'd lost. Perhaps He saw my usefulness as a sad ol' pillar of salt during those times, who knows?

"You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence ..."...Psalm 16:11


Free Kindle Books:

False Identity

Running Home

Far Horizons

I Called Him Dancer

Elderberry Croft

Monday, May 18, 2015

Some Monday Fun


It's funny.

I was in the mood to add a couple books to an Amazon order which Tom made for himself in my account. (Long story.)

Of course, I've got over 800 mostly-free books on my Kindle Cloud Reader (via my computer and Amazon) and I should read those, first. But here's the 'problem': this laptop of mine is not the kind you just fiddly-dee pick up and take out to your Prayer Garden. Uh, no. It has, like, 20 cables attached to it, one of which is our house phone, aka Magic Jack, not to mention it's kinda big and I don't believe in putting computers on my lap because of radiation I'm certain is just spewing out of them. Er hem.

And yes, I could just read from it here in our office, but this room is dark-ish and cluttered and dull and I already spend half my life here. I'd like to get out awhile.

Or course, I should just get one of those tiny Kindle readers, but I'm waiting till one's invented that even a 2-year-old can set up and costs about $49 because I'm a cheapskate even though we have enough money. Tom and I did see a museum piece of a Kindle at a yard sale last week for just $20, but that thing screamed dinosaur--and--it didn't come with an instruction manual. So no way.

None of that is the funny part. I'm getting there.

I finally asked myself this morning, "You're not in the mood for books about farming (heaven forbid. I should really give away the we-bought-a-farm books I do own) or 1950's teen-agers (have tons) or cat mysteries or how to be a kinder/wiser/cooler person. Just what type of a book would you like to order?" 

I thought a second: "I want a book about finding adventure in the suburbs. About some vintage-loving, out-of-shape soul happily puttering in her home and yard, making things better inch by inch, doing the best she can with what she's been given."

Then I laughed, "Oh! You mean a book just like your own blog?"

Ha! Yes, I was in the mood for a book whose author lives and writes as I do, which probably sounds conceited but isn't. I'm tired of rereading my own stuff and would much prefer finding someone else with new ideas who will stretch and inspire me and make my little Hobbit Cottage world, better. Everyday I try to read or listen to something that will challenge me so that I'll never become apathetic.

And well, I'm not sure how to end this, but after all this, I puttered outside in my herb garden and this came to me:

Write what you know.
Do what you can.
Share what you've learned.
Give what you have.

Please don't wait for some by-and-by day when you have something huge and perfect to make the world better. No, today, quite likely, someone is waiting, needing, what only you've been tagged to give them. As only you can.

In some instances, tomorrow could be too late.


Of course, if you know of a book which reads much like my blog, I'd love for you to share its title with me!


Here's a bit of fun for you. I've known my friend, Ginger, since Tom and I were first married (whole eons ago!), and well, over at Facebook she shared a cute photo of her and Henry Winkler, the one and only Fonzie from Happy Days:

And more recently, here she is with the Christian singer, Carman, at one of his concerts:

My, my, my... They both look terrific! (This coming from someone who's younger, yet looks like she could be their mother.)  :)


Still not sure that 'small things' (like our words) really matter? Check this out.


Free Kindle Books:

The Achievement Factory

Debt Free

Reinventing Rachel


In case you've still not heard, you can download a free Kindle Cloud Reader to your computer. Go here. (At least, I think that's the right link. You may need to wander around a bit to find the correct one.)

Friday, May 15, 2015

A Party of My Own

Thursday sparkled and, mostly, I played hooky from housework. Sunny, 62 degrees--Heaven will feel more perfect, I told myself, but yesterday I couldn't understand how.

I spent hours outside. I puttered and dug up strawberry plants for Sally after we chatted in her yard, Buddy The Dog at our feet, then I basked in my old wicker chair, sun upon my arms, with a 1950's Tobey Heydon book.

Our neighbor's place had what I call That 1960's Afternoon Look...

... because it reminded me of the houses I'd pass as a ten-year-old while walking home with friends from school in Mill Valley, California. I gazed over there and felt 10 again. Well, almost.

Yesterday I created my own Day To Remember and you know? That's okay. If we're always waiting for others to help us celebrate specific days (or rejoicing only when ducks are in neat rows), only a fraction of our life will be memorable. God and Grace and I are aiming for something higher.

Today we'll have clouds, sprinkles, and there might be no sitting beside my flowers. But that's all right. I had what I had yesterday and it's a forever part of me. Today will be different, but that doesn't mean it will be less.


When Tom arrives home from work we watch our prime-time-saved-for-later shows, but sometimes I stare, instead, at our late afternoon kitchen ...

... especially when confetti-like colors wave in the window.

I love how, if you enlarge this, it looks like something enchanting is going on outside. 

We all create a life by our choices and attitudes toward what has happened. Everything changed when I first realized that.


"This is the (simple, non legal holiday) day the Lord has made-- I will rejoice and be glad in it."

If we're envying another person's life, in reality, it may be their attitude we're admiring.


I've shared that Mill Valley video with you before, but if you're around my age, it may just zap you back to your own childhood. I'm not one to spend weeks in my past, but the occasional glance is pleasant for old time's sake before returning to these present 'good old days'.


Wondering about the Biker Guy and George Our Neighbor situation? All's been quiet on the neighborhood front.  Thankfully.  :)


Free Kindle Books


"And be ye thankful."