Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Dish Drainer

Some of you will feel sorry for me after this post. You'll question my sanity.

I won't blame you.

Yesterday Tom and I went to a few yard sales and the only thing I bought was something in a 'Free Box.' It was the dish drainer in this picture.

The weird part? I was excited to find it.

You see, for years I've just used a dish towel to set my newly-washed dishes upon. There's nothing to store under the sink, you can hang a towel to dry or wash it just by tossing it inside a washing machine. No big deal. Easy.

But sometimes I've considered it might be fun to have an old-fashioned dish drainer, one that looked old, one like Blondie Bumstead might have (that is my question before I buy anything at yard sales--"Would Blondie have this in her house?"). 

And then poof! Yesterday I saw this pink dish drainer lying in the Free Box and well, it looks old (it's probably from 2002, or something, but hey. I'm after a certain look and besides--I can pretend, can't I?).

And the wildly weird part is that when I did the dishes last night I had fun. I enjoyed placing the dishes in the dish drainer just so and felt like I was playing house again as I used to feel while a young, sweet newlywed.

And well, I'm grateful I still had that in me after these decades and that I'm childlike enough to believe God tucked that dish drainer into the Free Box just to surprise me.


Oh! And just wanted to mention that I have a new blog, one only for photos of my house. If you'd like to visit me, please go here. I'd love to spend extra time with you!


Saturday, July 29, 2006

Trust: Full of Headaches or Hope?

Yesterday while I walked all across Blogland during the big Home Tour, I came across a Christian woman who was all in a dither. 

She had bees in her bonnet because of the current Mid-East crisis and was troubled, upset that all the rest of us in Blogland were not troubled and upset. She'd visited some of us and scoffed that we were speaking of trivial things, instead, and now she was feeling more sick than ever because of us.

And ok, there is that. There is choosing to view Life that way, to live angry and view the rest of us as clueless morons if we don't choose to get sick with worry. 

And there's believing one is more spiritual if one always has a headache, a heartache and an I'll-take-you-down sermon.

And if that's your idea of being truly spiritual, well, go for it. Go in God. 

But as for me and my house, we will lift our head because our redemption draws nigh, more nigh than ever before. We will not dash around in panic just because the world is going exactly according to plan as written in the Bible. Instead, we'll use these times to get out our Bibles and read them for God's perspective.

We'll pray for Jerusalem and all those who stand against her. We'll give money, aid, comfort and hope wherever God leads us and trust that He's as mighty and in-control as He ever was, even in 2006.

We will, in these very troubled times, draw closer to God than ever before and in so doing, will come away refreshed, renewed, hopeful and excited about the days in which we are living, days when History is being brought to an adventurous close.

And in drawing closer to God? We'll laugh and trust as children walking beside their Father with their hand in His, full of real, actual trust, we'll sing down paths with His joy unspeakable and full of glory.

And keep on singing, even when we've discovered--oh my!--we've left this Earth and stepped across the very threshold of Light-filled Heaven.


Thursday, July 27, 2006

Becoming More Sunflowerish

I sat in our backyard tonight in air so heavy I could almost see it. 

Staring at our tallest sunflower, I marveled at how my life changed when I became like a sunflower twelve years ago.

Sunflowers crane their necks and follow the sun with their face all day long and then rest in one place at night.

And, well, as I sat in the yard and stared at the sunflower,I thought, "For the last twelve years I've tried to be like a sunflower--and finally, God was able to make me more like Him."

Instead of wildly looking through books and blogs and tapes and lessons about how to become more like Jesus, I've found I change more when I turn my face toward the Son and let Him change me. 

And it still amazes me when He simply says, "Come here. Sit down beside me awhile and I will change you in my presence. Sit still and you'll hear my wisdom, rest quietly and you will never be the same."

And even after all those hours sitting and leaning against His sleeve, it amazes me that I sometimes forget and walk around trying to be as good as His goodness. And then He is the one doing the reminding-- "Debra! Quit trying so hard. Even if you could become good on your own, it would never be good enough."

Only what He does through me is good enough.

And so I pray to become more sunflowerish--always with my face following the Son during the day and completely at rest, sweet rest, at night.


Remembering Naomi's Half-Birthday

Long ago and far away when Naomi was 5, or so, we first heard about half-birthdays. 

That's where you celebrate the 6-month point following your last birthday,the official day you can now say, "I am ___ and-a-half-years old." You baked a little half cake, gave a simple little half-of-a-card and a tiny trinket from a dime store.

You kept it simple. You kept it cheap. It was just all-around supposed to be an easy, thoughtful thing to do for your children.

Yeah right. If you are smart, you will not start celebrating half-birthdays.  ツ

The first few times we celebrated Naomi's half-birthday were fine. Quiet. Just the three of us around the dining room table making Naomi feel special. Just a sweet family time.

And then things got complicated. One might even say wild. 

Before I knew what had happened, an 8-and-a-half-year-old Naomi had talked me into a whole, full-blown birthday party with all the bells and whistles. Oh, no theme park nonsense, you understand, just crepe paper streamers, balloons and four giggling little girls over to spend the summer afternoon eating birthday cake (half of one, of course), ice cream, potato chips and candy before opening the tiny little trinket presents they'd brought for Naomi.

Then by the time she was 17 1/2? I looked outside our bedroom window on the morning after Naomi's half-birthday, at our tent all set-up in the backyard, wondering if things had gotten a tad out-of-control.Ten (or more) girls were sleeping inside the tent and would eventually come stumbling outside, ready for breakfast.

After all, they were up quite late at the big, house-shaking co-ed party which Naomi had held in our attic the night before.

Heh. Actually, ok, I'm not smart. 

I did start the half-birthday thing in our house and--of course--not one year afterward did Naomi ever let the day pass unnoticed. But you know? I'm not sorry, not at all. 

For one thing, Naomi's real birthday always comes in the deadest, darkest part of winter--January 27th. Usually on the snowiest, iciest, most dangerous day of the whole year, thus, causing only the bravest (most foolhardy?) amongst her friends to show-up for her party. And well, nearly always July 27th is all things opposite-- clear and balmy and warm and always that evening may even be said to be magical. Perfect for parties for just 20 of ones closest friends.

Last night Naomi called because I'd sent her an email saying I'd love for her to drop by because I had a half-birthday gift for her. She told me that since she was so old now, I really didn't have to do the half-birthday thing if I didn't want to. She'd understand.

But oh my! I do want to. Months ago when I heard that the 1960's show, That Girl, was coming to dvd, I immediately thought, "Aha! What a perfect half-birthday gift for Naomi," ( my lover-of-all-things-1960's-and-70's daughter). So she dropped by this morning, I gave her the That Girl dvd's in a simple gift bag and she was delighted. She'll be able to use these dvd's to help her recognize, describe and price her tons of retro stuff which she sells on Ebay. And they'll give her decorating ideas as well as smiles.

We chatted in the driveway in my quiet neighborhood and then she drove away on this hot, hot July 27th--yet another of her half-birthdays. She couldn't stay long because she had to get ready for her real job, a part of the real-life my little-girl-all-grown-up now leads across town, and in some ways, across the world from my own. 

Things are different now, and yet much the same.

And no, again, I probably wasn't smart to start celebrating half-birthdays in the first place--yet I'm thankful I did. Childhood passes so very quickly and afterward, all you have left are the memories of the things you are so glad--now--that you went ahead and celebrated while you had the opportunity.


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Just Playing Around The House Again

Because of Rose Hick's house in this issue of Home Companion, I was inspired to redo this shelf (below) in our Cozy Room.
It all looks much better in-person... I am still learning how to actually use our camera. And lighting...sigh... I am still learning how to get the lighting just right. Trial and Error--they are my teachers.
Trial and Error--nice guys... but a little slow.
I'm not a big collector of tea cups, but Tom and I both liked this one which we found in a junk shop this weekend. It had a sort of Craftsman look to it.

Here it is close-up.

Just thought I'd share a few more pictures with you... Oh! One more thing... Tom and I paid-off our car today, one year early. And that was a miracle, trust me... we feel blessed and God is good.

But then, He would still be good, even if we hadn't paid-off our car.

A very special thanks to those of you who commented after my last post... You made my second Blogiversary feel like one very, very special day... And I appreciate it so much.

Of Blog Anniversaries and Flying Sparks

"As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." ... Proverbs 27:17


As of today, I've lived and written in Blogland for two whole years.

And what a fun neighborhood! The kindred spirits, the creative people next door and visiting those folks, whenever, no matter the hour.

Bliss, most of it.

And yet, for me, there has been that 'iron sharpening iron' thing. 

God using folks to sharpen (test) me and His using me to sharpen them. Hey, it's not always pleasant, but oh! How much we learn from each other and are changed--for the good.

There is the blessing. If we can stick it out and wait to see and not be blown away by the being used and stretched.

Anyway, a special thanks is going out to each of you today who have stuck it out with me, with all that iron-sharpening going on and everything!


Saturday, July 22, 2006

Picnic Tales

Years ago, our then-church held a Sunday picnic in the park once each month of summer, beginning in May.

I remember the first picnic... Families shared tables, so as we walked along to secure a place to share, I stopped at the table of some friends-- I was enchanted! They'd covered the scarred, old table with a pretty sky-blue linen cloth and in the center sat a glass jar filled with water and blue, purple and white flowers. "Oh! How pretty!," I told my friends. "What a lovely setting."

And actually, I was mesmerized. Inspired. Truly. I'd been on many picnics, but never had I thought to bring a pretty cloth and a vase of flowers.

On the next picnic, I brought one of the white linen tablecloths Tom had found on the curb, a white vase, flowers and something different--my favorite dishes, instead of just plain ol' paper plates. It was fun. Always, I've enjoyed being creative and a little different. And this time people stopped and commented that our table looked like a picture from a decorating magazine--like a table set for a backyard party.

The following month, the creative table ideas had spread like a good disease... A handful of other families brought their nice things from home to share with their friends at their own picnic tables. I loved it. Our church picnics were beginning to look like genteel, Victorian parties--well, kind-of. In our own imaginations, at least. And I even scattered a few small Victorian-times photos (more curb finds) upon our table, too, for added decor and conversation starters.

But that's about the time I began hearing murmurs from some of the women. They stood in little groups near our table and smiling, said to each other,

"You start something like that and then everyone expects you to keep it up."

"Yeah, or top it," another woman said.

"Right. I'll just be bringing the usual paper plates and cups. Count on it..."

And then a bit later one woman (who never liked me much) stood in the food line very near our table and asked, "So, Debra... Does the food taste better on your real china dishes?"

The people around us got quiet and looked at me. I sat down my stainless steel fork, smiled my most beguiling smile and then looked up at the woman and said, "Why yes, Tricia, I believe it does."

Heh. She looked a little confused, started to say something, then moved along in the line.

Oh, I want to enjoy my life! I want to create and dream good things with the gifts God has given me... to inspire others... and to never become so jaded, so bored, so average-seeking that I walk only the easy paths and never smile from my eyes. Jesus died to give me more than that... and may I always be searching for that 'more,' even during something like a simple church picnic.

"...I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)." ... John 10:10

Our 'Cozy Room' In Progress

Well, finally, I am showing you pictures of our 'Cozy Room', the room we connected to our bedroom with French doors last September. 

This is where we spent much of the winter, especially when Tom was recuperating from his shoulder surgery.

We found the chintz-covered chair (1st photo) on the curb just as it is. The cover looked like new!
We keep our videos in this old hutch.

This old, old pie cabinet was found in the Nevada desert at an abandoned farm house and was in horrible shape--we had someone restore it for us. We keep our tv/dvd player, etc. inside it. The bottom of the pie cabinet has holes which were drilled into it so the air could circulate around the pies probably 80-100 years ago. Love that.

This is a tiny room--most of you probably have closets which are bigger than this--but we love this little space and spend much time here, even in summer, especially since the air-conditioner is just feet away in our bedroom.

I'm still working on this room, but now you will know what I'm talking about when I mention our Cozy Room.


Click on photos to enlarge.

Friday, July 21, 2006

The Ultimate Vintage Homemaking Book

Inside an ancient thrift shop 24 years ago, I found a dusty, amazing book called The Art of Homemaking by Daryl V. Hoole, a mom of 6. I still remember how excited I was to find such a funky old (1962) book--my very favorite kind at that time.

I mean, how can anyone not love a book with drawings like these?

This book is stuffed full of hints about 'getting it all done' around the house and keeping a sweet attitude through it all. (And no, it's not fiction. Heh.) But it is fun. And it is from the days when women at home were still respected and valued (a.k.a The Good Old Days). I never tire of reading her hints about cooking, washing dishes, decorating and doing the laundry, and too, looking at the Goofus and Gallant-type pen drawings. What a hoot! And it's one of those books which can, in a minute, inspire me right off the couch and over to my vacuum cleaner.

You can find The Art of Homemaking cheaply all over the Net. There are some at , and ($4 and up).

If you're a vintage-hearted homemaker who's unafraid of becoming the best little wife and mother around, well, you'll love this book. Guaranteed.

After The Lecture

I don't mind God's lectures too much anymore. Not since I realized He loves me no matter what and the plans He makes for me are more amazing than ones I could imagine, myself.

Yesterday Tom had lunch with a project manager about that job in, well, ok I'll say it-- Southern California. (I hope you Californians will forgive me for all the bad things I've said about your state. I lived there for 29 years, though, so it's not like I was talking about things I know nothing about.)

Anyway, Tom returned more excited than ever about taking this 2-year-long job 3,000 miles away from our present home.

Sigh. (And here's a note: after 11 days, neither of us can still think of one single good thing for me if I was to go to So. California. Not one.)

And well, last night I awoke at 2 a.m. and that's when the lecture from God began.I'm just thankful it was one of His more gentle lectures. Basically (to spare you all the details) He told me to let Tom do what he wants to do and to stop playing games, attempting to get Tom to change his mind (you wives know about the games we can play, don't you?). And to realize that this can be an exciting, life-changing time for both of us--and that's how I need to view this--with anticipation.

Well, there was more, but that's the brunt of it. And I had to smile, lying there with my head upon the pillow, for I realized why God often lectures us during morning's early hours--that's when we're too tired, too sleepy to kick and scream and fight back.

Is God smart, or what?

So I told Tom this morning that God had lectured me about accepting this, He'd told me to stop playing I'll-get-you-to-change-your-mind games and to just prepare for this with anticipation, to look forward to my time here watching the old home place with Him. Days and days alone with Him.

Of course, Tom was certainly glad to hear that.

So although we're not 100% certain that Tom will take this job which has been offered to him--in August he'll fly out there for a closer look--we're going to act and prepare as though he will. Basically, the job is his if he wants it. And well, he wants it.

I realize some of you think I should go with him and years ago when I thought everyone should live One Certain Way (my way)--I'd have agreed with you. Trust me, if Tom insisted that I go with him, if he threw around the dreaded 's word'--submission--then I would. Whining and muttering, yes, but hey, I'd still go. 

But he's not so I'm not. Going, that is.

So there's where we are right now. We won't know for a few more weeks if he'll take this job for certain. But this is probably the last time I'll bring it up until we do know. And too, Tom has promised that after the 2 years, we'd then move to a place we both wanted to live--and that's something to anticipate, also.

But the good thing? Once I accepted what God wanted me to accept, He was then free to do His part, which was releasing joy and grace and anticipation about this whole new life He has in mind for us both. But my acceptance had to come first.


"A man's steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?" ... Proverbs 20:24 .... (I love this verse because it assures me that half the time we don't even understand what God is doing in our own life, so who are we to judge the plans He makes for other people?)

Monday, July 17, 2006

Veering Away From Legalism (Again)

The nights are not even cooling down now. We go from hot to less hot.

I don't take walks in the mornings and I'm gaining back the weight I'd lost. Well, partly my excuse has been that I twisted both my ankles ten days ago, but they became near normal last Friday, so that excuse expired days ago.

So there I was this morning having my quiet time and thinking that really, I should be outside this minute, instead, taking my walk or pulling weeds in the backyard. But this nagging voice said, "Now, Debra, you must have your quiet time first before all that! You must!"

But after that strict voice, came a gentler, quieter voice. "You're going legalistic on Me again. I am flexible. I know about summer and I know you inside and out--how you are physically unable to stand the heat and humidity. How you can only do your housework and errands early morning or late evening. I'm not a tyrant. So you can move your quiet time to the stillest, most restful part of the day and I'll be ok with that, especially if you consciously bring Me with you wherever the hours before or after take you."

What a relief.

God is so good, kind, and knows me what I can handle--and what I cannot. Whew.


Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Thing About Boredom

Man. You do a little reading around Blogdom and you'd think it was a horrible, embarrassing crime to ever be bored.

Lately I've seen these over-used, old phrases in various blogs--they are almost worn proudly, like badges:

"I am never bored!"
"Only boring people ever get bored!"

Oh, for Pete's sake. Who says?

I mean, I consider myself a medium-to-highly creative person and yet during various stages and phases of my life--dare I say it?-- I have found myself sitting on a couch bored out of my skull.

There, I said it.

Can we pul-ease grow up? Can we for just one week stop flinging around wild, generalized blanket statements designed to make others feel defective? Can we ever look at old things with new eyes?

Just asking.

I mean, there have been times I've felt sick, weak and have felt bored.

At times in my life, I've felt overwhelmed/sad/depressed and unable to move in a creative direction--and have known boredom.

Other times, I've felt God leading me in a whole new direction, yet while not knowing the new direction, I've stuck with what I knew--the safe (often creative)way-- and have been bored.

Which brings me to this: Maybe this is just for me, but I believe God uses boredom as a wake-up call. Boredom can become a place and sometimes God uses it as an instructional, something-is-going-to-change-soon place. And often there, God calls me back closer to Him.

He pulls me in from the ditch where I have strayed--just by a degree or so--but strayed, nonetheless. Other times, boredom just becomes a sign, a message in a bottle on the sea of Life, that it's time to move on to something so new, so big, that it's going to require leaning my whole self upon God's arm.

That's the way He prefers for me to live. 

But before something new comes along, we usually must let go of the old. Release it. And what lies between the old adventure and the new one is often mistaken for boredom. But actually, it's a wake-up call, a couple acres of holy discontent, a stepping-off place--and so much more.


Friday, July 14, 2006

If You Can't Afford to Buy A House...

This is a commercial of sorts.

During this whole latest ordeal in my life, I grudgingly looked-up foreclosure homes online in the area where Tom is considering moving. We were both amazed that in a city where the typical one-bedroom house goes for over $300,000, there were many incredible deals on the foreclosure market. We found page after page of 3 bedroom, two bath houses going for $25,000 to $120,000 and beyond.

I just wanted to mention this to encourage those of you who wrote in my comment box that you'd never be able to afford a home in your expensive area. You just might be able to after all! At the least, it's worth checking-out.

Of course, you just don't breeze in and poof! buy a foreclosed home easy as pie. There are always details and complications and considerations to make--but then, there always are when you buy any home. (Don't forget the ol' "Location, location, location," thing, either.)

Tom and I have looked at a few foreclosure homes in our area throughout the years and have been amazed at the terrific deals. It just seemed they were always a bit too far from his job for us to consider, (winter travel being the wild ride it is) otherwise we just may have bought one along the way.

If you're curious about the foreclosure homes in your own area, you can go to , check the foreclosure box and plug in the name of your city. And I do realize that some people might have a moral objection to buying homes which families lost for a variety of reasons--I do respect that, of course--

--but loving to encourage people as I do, I wanted to share this information for someone--anyone--who may have long ago lost hope of home ownership. Always, there is hope.


Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Ten Minute Anger Rule

Before Tom and I were married, he and I made a peculiar pact. 

We agreed that following any argument, we'd be free to stay mad at each other for ten minutes. So if we fought about something and then Tom left to go to work, each of us, separately, could allow ourselves ten 'luxury' minutes of staying angry.

After that, we had to Get Over It. Move On. Forgive.

Okay, I know, I know. To some of you, that sounds hilarious. But seriously? All these 27 years later, the Ten Minute Anger Rule has proved to be a Good Thing for us.

And no---I am not in any way implying that we've always kept that rule. I mean hey, this very week we broke it over the should-we-move-to-that-horrible-place? fiasco (which, by the way, is still not 100% settled, but at least there's peace between us again).

So what's the use of having a Ten Minute Anger Rule if it's going to be broken sometimes?

It becomes a goal. Something to aim toward. (If we aim toward nothing, then that is what we will hit--nothing and who wants that?)

Because we've put a limit on our anger, in all these 27 years we've never spent days of angry silence--poisonous days where anger regurgitates, coming back like a bronking bull when it started life as a yipping terrier. If we stay mad longer than ten minutes, then there's this feeling of cheating as each extra moment ticks by.

The ten minute rule allows us to vent our anger--give it a frisky little run around the block so that it doesn't feel all pent-up. Yet it's like leading something manageable on a leash. 

But i you let Anger race free for as long as he wants? He'll topple your whole neighborhood.

And the ten minute goal means forgiveness arrives at our house faster. God can't step up to our door carrying His brand of healing if our home is still blazing in bright orange anger flames.

No, may it rain, may He rain upon our anger and quench it to nothingness with His love.


Saturday, July 08, 2006



Yesterday I managed to fall and twist both of my ankles (which if you think about it, is a pretty clever trick).

Tom and I had returned from yard sales with lovely things--we even found a terrific ottoman for free on the curb. And well, I placed the ottoman on the landing of our back stairs and then--believing I was on the last step when really I was on the second-to-last step, stepped backward without looking (don't try that at home) and came crashing down.

You never think about gravity until you fall like that. Man, did I feel heavy!

Well, it was strange. Tom came from out of this basement office to see what the shriek and crash was all about, we chatted awhile as I sat there moaning a bit, and then, with gratitude that I felt ok and had not broken anything, I went about putting away my newly acquired treasures.

Later we took a birthday gift to my friend, Laura and then went to our video store and picked up lunch.

And that's when one ankle began hurting. And by the time we'd watched one of the movies, the other ankle began hurting, too. By nightfall, to see me hobbling around my house you'd have thought I was 80 years old.

But alas, I'm still grateful that nothing was broken or even sprained and that is what I'm still thinking as I hobble about this morning on ankles quite stiff and sore (but not swollen or blue). This has been another reminder that I am not as young as I used to be. I cannot--and should not--move about so quickly without watching where I'm going and planning my steps.

I'm not immortal after all. Being in my 40's has shown me that fact like no other decade has, and really, I'm ok with that. Slowing-down and paying attention is, generally, the wiser way to go, anyway.


Thursday, July 06, 2006

Email of a Different Sort

It's funny. Sometimes I receive emails rather like this from old friends whose children were Naomi's friends when she was a child:

"....... our kids are all doing great! Billy was just promoted at his (big, important-sounding) job. He and his wife just bought a (huge, expensive) house and their two (perfectly adorable) children have both skipped a grade.

Our Sally will be married next month at a (huge, expensive) beach resort --oh dear...the bills!-- and she and her fiance, also, were promoted at their (big-important-sounding) company.

Walter and I both still love our (greatly-aiding mankind) jobs and we recently bought both a pool and a sauna to go with the tennis court we had built last year after our vacation to Italy. We had a huge 4th of July party with our children and their friends and all of our children attend church with us every single Sunday. We visit with them almost daily and they have become our very best friends in all the world."

Oh my. Do you ever get those?

Only recently have I realized it's perfectly ok for me to respond with an email such as this:

"Tom, Naomi and I are all well and happy and at the same jobs and tasks as the last time I emailed. We are still grateful that Tom's arm surgery went well.

Our strawberries and raspberries are growing red and beautiful in our backyard. Early mornings I walk out there in my gardening dress and eat berries and call them breakfast. I like to clip lavender and Shasta daisies from the yard and place them in clear glass vases on tables around the house.

Tom and I went to the theater and saw The Lake House last week and then came home and sat on the front porch. We looked through our clear glass storm door and thought how much nicer our rooms look when seen behind glass, especially in lamplight. Since Tom had to work July 4th, we invited Naomi and her boyfriend over the evening of the 3rd and had a quiet dinner around the table since it was much too humid to sit outside. But the dinner was lovely and no one argued about politics."

Oh, that sort of thing doesn't make for an incredibly interesting email, but it does make for a very sweet life. And happy am I when I remember that, especially on the days I hear from old friends.


Courage to Decorate---And Beyond...

So where are these from? 

The bedroom of an 11-year-old back in the 1940's? Nah. These photos were taken in my very own upstairs room, Naomi's old room which I took over and redecorated the hour she left home.

It takes a lot of courage to make a room just as you like it and not worry one bit what your neighbors or friends (or fellow bloggers) will think. Probably most people I know don't have that kind of courage--always in their words and decorating are thoughts of how others will respond to (and rave about) their new rooms.

My favorite decorators? They live closely to God's heart, they accept their own uniqueness--and that of others--and are not always jumping back in the box, afraid. 

Instead, they think and dream far away from the box, and are always celebrating something, for there's always something to celebrate and something uniquely ours--and God's-- to express.


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Tea Party Dreaming

Regarding this picture.... Laugh all you want, but that is my idea of a rip-roaring good time! Seriously. 

I would like nothing better than to be all dressed-up and coiffured like that, sitting there with Saija, Judy and Myrna. Or Wilma, Laura and Elizabeth. Or Berrymom, Mel and Susan (both of them). Or Clarice, Debi and Linda. Or Robin, Mary and Corey. Or RC, Mrs. D and Violet. Or Deborah, Kim, and Tracy. Or Geekwife, Mindy and Joyce. Or Dianne, Tammy and Meg. Or Denise, AggieJenn and MizBooshay. Or Pearl, Sabine, Jeanette and Jennifer.

(And all the rest of you lovely ladies who are probably rightly mad at me now for forgetting your name...)

And as for my men readers, I'd love for nothing better than for you to be in the other room watching a football game or NASCAR with my husband--he would love that so much!

Oh well, I guess I can wait for the tea party for a day in Heaven. As for the guys getting together and watching sports on a tv in Heaven--hmmmm. Maybe you'll be able to fly over to the real thing and watch sports in a heavenly stadium. Or maybe not.

Just dreaming today.


Truly, I would love to sit around a table with my men readers, too.

 It's just that when I wrote this I was in the mood to give my husband a gift-- he enjoys sports so much on Sundays, but he always watches them alone, except for the few times I step in there to see how he's doing (and try to watch whichever sport it is for at least 5 minutes). But sadly, I'm just not a fan of sports. So I'd love to see him sitting there all happy and shouting joyfully with a group of men. It would bless my heart.

The Gift of Relaxing

Being a non-conformist, I created a framed Valentine collage yesterday on the 4th of July. 

I was alone for 12 hours while I pictured the whole Country celebrating in huge family groups in backyards draped in red, white and blue. But I was ok with that. More than ok, truthfully--at times, I asked that Time slow down. Years past, that's the last thing I would have asked for while alone on a holiday.

How good Life becomes when I accept the gift of relaxing. It sure beats choosing to be uptight and making myself (and my family) crazy when things aren't perfect (are they ever really?).

How good Life feels when I can walk around my house barefooted on oak floors, contented, enjoying the moment, gazing out windows or reading a book upon the front porch--and meditating upon just how good God is, making memories out of the simplest, wispiest things around and basking in God-breathed peace at His custom-designed pace.

How much better to live close to God's peaceful heart.His "peace be still", joy unspeakable and full of glory and "be of good cheer". How good to be led by His voice instead of being driven by jammed-up, crowded thoughts inside my head:

"... hurry and get the laundry done..."
"... you still haven't written those emails..."
"... if only you had more money, more time and more will power..."
"... if only people would act the way you want them to..."
"... so much is going wrong right now... I can't take this stress..."
"... hurry and exercise so you can get to work..."
"... hurry before the store closes... hurry, hurry, hurry..."

How good to understand that 'relax' is so not a synonym for 'be lazy.' But rather, that it's a healthy heart condition and a product of the deepest trust.

How much better to be led by peace, by wisdom, by the voice of One who knows much better than I do what is up the road and what needs to be done at this moment (or left alone) so that I'll be in just the right place down that road, at just the right time, led by just the right hand of just the right Person--

--and enjoying the whole, long trip walking beside Him, leaning close, listening, laughing.


"Are you being driven? Or are you being led?" ... Ron Marrujo

"... because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God." ... Romans 8:14

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

For Those Who've Loved My Curb Finds...

I forgot to mention something for those of you who have expressed delight over our curb finds. You just may be able to have your own form of 'curb shopping' no matter where you may live!

Freecycle is a website which will get you started. You just look-up the city nearest you and then join its email group. The city nearest us has a yahoo group which I joined years ago (I just read the email at the website, rather than have my email box flooded).

Anyway, this is what it's all about: When any member of your local Freecycle group has something to give away for free, they let the group know in an email. If a group member wants that free item, they email that person privately and then a time is set-up to have the item picked up and directions are given on where the item is located. Again, this is discussed in a private email--the whole group (which is usually hundreds of people) does not see any home addresses. 

And often, people will just place whatever they are giving away in their driveway if they are a little nervous about having someone from online come into their home. Or occasionally, they may arrange to meet in a public parking lot or other public place.

But the great thing about this whole idea is to get rid of large items you no longer want or wish to pay to have hauled away. Also, your items can be recycled through Freecycle (hence the name) rather than just being added to trash heaps and wasted (the ol', "one man's trash is another man's treasure" idea at work).

Just thought I would mention Freecycle to you. Many of you seemed to love the idea of getting stuff for free. Imagine that!


Oh! And happy 4th of July to all my fellow Americans!


Monday, July 03, 2006

Rearranging Furniture On a Hot Summer Night

I think it was Sarah ban Breathnach who said rearranging furniture is to a woman what taking a vacation is to a man. Or something like that.

Of course, the vacation feeling comes after all the hard, sweaty work, especially if you're moving things around on a steamy summer day. Yesterday afternoon I rearranged part of my upstairs' office (which never cools down) and then, maybe because I'd not worn myself down to the ground yet, I rearranged a couple things in our living room/library.

And today, yes, I have that vacation feeling--as though I'm living in a different house in a different place, or at the least, the same old house with a different flavor and air.

So here are a few pictures of the changes I made... Speaking of curb finds, we rescued the black leather Ralph Lauren chair in the top photo, (no, really!), the lamp base, the peeling-green dresser, below, the leaded-glass window, and the old brown print on the dresser. The dark bookcase in the center was a yard sale find thirteen years ago. $40 maybe?

I know, lots of places don't have such incredible 'curb shopping' as our area does, but nearly all places do have yard or estate sales.

I highly recommend them.

You just have to be willing to walk past many driveways, boxes and tables crammed with boring stuff in order to find the one perfect thing you've always wanted.

And then, of course there's always Ebay. If you'd like, you can take a peek at what I won just last night. I read this woman's description and knew I just had to have one, too! Read about it here. If you dare.


4th of July Eve

You know how this blog is supposed to be for people who love all things old-fashioned? Well, if that's you, here you go--

Remember that tiny-town-which-time-forgot, the one with the park on the lake which Tom and I consider ours since almost no one is ever there? Well, here, below, is what's happening there tomorrow.

 Tom has to work Tuesday (drats), otherwise, being the Time Travelers which we are, we would have driven the 25 miles backward in Time to see this:

Patriot’s Parade
Tuesday, Noon
Starting at the Visitor Information Center, kids march in this patriotic parade with theme colors of red, white and blue. Decorate your bicycle and wagon or just join in and march. American flags and prizes for all. Feel the patriotism and real pride this 4th of July. This year's parade ends at the Carousel Park with a ride on the carousel. Free admission. Outdoor event. Sponsored by the Town of ___ Tourism Committee and ____ Beach.

I don't know about you, but it comforts me that old-fashioned things still happen in little towns across our Country. It's like talking in nostalgic tones with sentences beginning with, "Remember when.....?", but instead of speaking about decades long-gone forever, you're only speaking of last week or last year.

Or something like that.


Sunday, July 02, 2006

Our Latest Curb-Find

See what we found on the curb today?! And it was conveniently located, too--only three doors down from our house.

I'm not sure where I will put  or which color I'll paint it.
I was just sure I wanted it.

Oh, it doesn't look too amazing at this moment. This is simply a 'before' picture.
I just wanted to share it with you.

(Update. Oh my, we must not have kept this long. I have no recollection of ever owning this!)  😶


Saturday, July 01, 2006

You Never Know...

Tom and I went to three yard sales this morning. 

The first two were what we fondly call Great Big Wastes of Time and Gas. But then at the third sale, voila! I found these two adorable old paintings/prints (above) for just $3. One has a date of 1923. I love these.

Just goes to show--you never know.

My friend, Laura, called early this morning to see if I wanted to go to a local town's Garden Walk, to which I replied yes! So after the yard sales, Laura came and whisked me away to an old 1800's town on a lake's edge and we stepped into people's lovely yards where they'd created cozy sitting places on old awning-covered patios and made brightly-flowered dreams comes true for themselves and for us who they kindly allowed to trespass (which felt like pure guilty pleasure).

For two hours we wandered and dreamed for our unimaginative yards at home and came away terribly inspired. We had lunch on a restaurant's deck overlooking the lake and then went and saw the movie, The Lake House, which Laura had not yet seen, but which I'd watched with Tom just last Monday. But the lovely thing was--I felt as though again, I was seeing that romantic movie for the first time.

A perfect day, we both agreed. A perfect early birthday celebration for Laura, a 4th of July baby.

When I awoke this morning, I thought it would be an average Saturday--but I should have known better. A day is only average if I make it that way.

And really, you never know what a day will hold. May I stop expecting nothing and getting just that. May I see all my mornings through mists of happy anticipation.