Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Rampant Crime In My Community

These are from a local newspaper's Police Blotter section, a sort of collection of the lighter side of crime in our area. We had to laugh, and yet we both wished this was the only side of crime around here.

A _____ Blvd. resident complained that there were 10 teenagers hanging from tree branches near the playground and wanted them removed before the trees were damaged.

Suspicious people with a vehicle were reported on ____ Road. A man and a woman were in the vehicle taking videos of passing cars with a video recorder. They then removed items from the trunk and went into the park, the complainant sad. Police learned they were aspiring artists making a home video.

A ____Lane resident was suspicious of a man wearing a hard hat and walking around in the backyard with a ladder. Police reported that he was a Time Warner Cable repairman.

A _____ Drive resident complained that his son's ex-girlfriend took out a lot of library books under his daughter's name and was refusing to take them back.

A person reported missing from a facility on ____ Road was never missing but in a different bed.

A _____ Ct. resident reported an unknown man was on the side of the house. It was her neighbor who was inspecting his siding.

Four adults on bikes collided on _____ Road. Injuries to all were reported.

On _____ Drive, a resident reported someone took the hose from his pool and replaced it with another one that wasn't as long.

What We Found...

 You can see some of our recent estate sale fun here. 

The mirror was just $5 and someday I'll paint it (the scroll-type stuff at the top makes it special, imo). Tom paid a bit more for the table than I would have and I'll paint it, also, to match the mirror.

And we both loved this coffee table. And true, it's very un-Craftsman-furniture-like. But we've found that what 'they say' is true: buy what you love and --somehow--it will all fit together. As with everything else, it, too, will get a coat of paint someday. But even for now, all these new-to-us things look sweet in our home.

And I bought this lampshade for just $3. I believe these were popular in the 1920's? 30's? It sits on a lamp which I've been meaning to--shock--repaint.

I try always to carry an expectation that God will lead us to sales with something which will make us gasp with delight. Do we always find something everywhere we go? No, of course not. But the spirit of expectation, itself, fills our days with smiles around our eyes and it far outweighs living with the ol' spirit of nothing-good-ever-happens-to-me-and-God-doesn't-care-about-that-kind-of-stuff-anyway.

Friday, September 29, 2006

The Houses Inside Books

I love to come across descriptions of houses within books. Here are two samples from books I've read lately:

"The house was close to the ground, with a long porch across the front. There were old trunks on the porch, and a quilting frame, and a big globe of the world with Africa showing. From the inside of the house there was the sound of a typewriter...

"...She led them into the living room. It was much darker than the outside and full of old-fashioned furniture and things. There was a half-upholstered love seat with a dusty hammer and tacks and stuff on it; near the fireplace there was a weaving loom and Tommy bumped against a wheel with a clay bowl drying on it...

"Following the others, Nora looked into the kitchen and saw boxes of peaches on the floor. They smelled very ripe; and on the table there were empty jars, and a jar partly full of brown peach halves. It looked as if canning had been stopped quite a while ago for something more important...

"...She seated herself at an old typewriter on a round table that was nearly covered with books and papers. The lace curtains at the window were gray and the room smelled of dust and overripe peaches.

"There were books and things on all the chairs, but the explorers moved them politely and sat down." ....From The Enchanted Islands by Archie Binns

And the following reminds me of the houses we often walk through during estate sales. In fact, Tom and I may go to a couple estate sales today and who knows what adventures we will have?:

"When I was nine years old, my father discovered an old two-story stucco house in a small, gated community of stately homes once owned by the very rich...

"The house was my mother's dream made real. It had a master bedroom as large as our whole apartment on Islington Street, with a dressing room for her and another for my father. There were four smaller bedrooms upstairs and a playroom for my sister and me to keep ourselves amused in. I had a whole wall of bookshelves to fill with books. What more could a little girl want?

"The kitchen had a table big enough for us all to eat breakfast and watch my mother assemble the ingredients for the meals to come... But the best part of the house was the basement with the paneled recreation room, laundry room and fruit cellar filled with dilled pickles, tomatoes, apple butter and canned vegetables from our garden...

"I have lived in well over a dozen houses since I left Forty Birkhead Place, but I have never had another home. Home was huge family dinner parties in that noble dining room under the crystal chandelier. Home was a climbing rose on the side of the garage and a purple maple tree that grew taller each year. Home was the Chickering piano in the living room where I spent hours practicing... I sat down before that bay window on a yellow print couch every weekend waiting for my date to pick me up and open the door to romance.

"I can still feel the excitement that was always there for me in that white stucco house with the maroon-trimmed windows. I can still hear the swing music on the old Victrola. I can still see the little brick road that led to our driveway and hear our neighbor, Mary Kaplan, singing her scales in the house next door. It is all there and I relive it every time I close my eyes."

Written by Lynn Ruth Miller and taken from the Coming Home issue of The Rocking Chair Reader.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Here I Go Again...

My last post was controversial and well, I guess I'm on a roll. This one will be a tad controversial, also.

One of my favorite bloggers is Laura at Here and Now. She's such a sweetheart and I'd love to have her for a neighbor. Awhile ago she wrote about an idea she'd read about in another blog--you can read her post here if you'd like.

In theory, it's a marvelous idea. What is the idea? You choose to read a book which a friend or relative loves. And by reading your friend's favorite book you'll be showing him/her you care enough to read something they consider important. By reading what they love, you'll perhaps come to understand them better and be able to relate to them better in years ahead.

And seriously, that's a sweet idea and since Laura is a compassionate person, I could totally understand where she's coming from.

But I have just one problem with that idea. 

Until I went online, most of my friends easily read books peppered with swearing and using God's name in vain. Books which contain sex outside of marriage, adultery between people married to others, and bodice-ripping-like details of well, now you have me blushing!

And you know? Even for the sake of deepening a friendship, I cannot read books like those.

I just can't. Not even for my best friend or for someone who needs a friend.

Call me whatever you wish (believe me, I already know some of the names), but if I didn't follow my convictions in this area, I'd not live comfortably with myself afterward. I feel God has asked me to stay away from such books and what He asks of me must be considered first. Always. 

When I plow right through my convictions, I always discover myself later in some troubled land--

--and who wants that?

So there you go.


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

My Number One Pet Peeve

"Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil." Romans 14:16


I've been thinking about that verse lately. In fact, my blogroll got even shorter this week because of it.

Basically, I'm very, very tired of bloggers who set themselves up as King/Queen of the World and tell us which Christian teachers they believe are "missing it." Which ones we should avoid or be suspicious of.

As though these bloggers have ever been in those teachers' shoes and they've ever known what it takes to run a ministry which ministers to millions of people.

As though these bloggers have a perfect understanding of Everything, have experienced Everything in God there is to experience and have learned Everything about God which a person can possibly ever, ever learn.

As though these bloggers know what these teachers' have walked through with God at their side and have a clue as to what they would do with such a huge responsibility.

As though these bloggers have listened to these teachers' more than just a few times and come to really know their heart for themselves.

As though these bloggers have even an inkling of the kinds of evil forces which come against leaders every single day and have ever prayed with godly compassion for these teachers for weeks.

As though these bloggers have even spent one minute with these teachers in-person and have come to realize how many thousands of souls have been set free from bondages through their ministries.

As though these bloggers believe they won't have to account for every single condemning word they've spoken against God's anointed people when they stand before Him in Heaven.

As though!

Ever wondered what my pet peeves are? Well, you've just discovered the first one at the top of the list.

And because of this verse, I can no longer keep it hidden. And I'll not read blogs which justify chewing up teachers and spitting out the pieces (even in ignorance). It wounds the deepest part of my spirit--and well, if I'm limping around with a wounded spirit, I'm unable then to minister peace and Life to you.

And you are way too important for me to risk that.


"Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil." Romans 14:16

Searching With Joy & Anticipation

One early weekend morning, Tom and I went to a flea market where I found this book, The Housekeeper's Scrapbook, for $5. The copyright says 1911. 

I'd discovered a treasure! In only one place online have I seen this book for sale: it is being offered for $250.

And well, of course, that's nice. But it's not a treasure to me because it appears to be worth much more than what I paid. Rather, it's because of its drawings and of what it represents, namely, a piece of history leftover from the days when housekeeping was considered an art form.

Of course, I still believe keeping and decorating a house is an art form, but it's wonderful having something which I can hold in my hands to reaffirm that fact.

Other names of rooms not pictured here? The Breakfast Room. The Sick-Room. The Outdoor Sleeping Room. The Conservatory and Sun Parlor. Nooks, Corners and Den. And many others which bring pictures of the post-Victorian, early-Craftsman era to my dreamy-minded head.

And of course, as seen here, The Billiard and Ballroom. We all have one of those, right?  シ

Sometimes we need to be reminded that the search for treasure can be exciting, that is, unless we turn it into a frenzied must-have-it-now all-consuming yearning. 

No earthly treasure is worth that. 

Only God, Himself, was meant to be searched for with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.

And He is the best treasure of them all.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Creativity = Saving Money

I love sharing ways to save money because it's a way of sharing hope... hope that having a nice home just might not be as impossible as "they say" (whoever "they" are). A hope that anyone can create certain things. Sometimes it just takes seeing the ideas for yourself, first.

Like yesterday... I 'matted' this Holly Hobbie card by just cutting-out squares from two sheets of cardstock (which I always keep on hand) and placing the card on top of the smaller square. At a glance, you can't tell it's not matted the 'right way.' But then, who's to say just which way is the right way anyway?

Here's another example of matting a card Debra-style:

And moving along... do you know how curtain-hanging hardware costs tons of money nowadays? 

Well, back in the years when we had cable tv, I saw this terrific idea--just use copper pipes made for your home's plumbing--you can buy them at hardware stores:

They are much, much cheaper and I've been able to cut them easily with one of those rectangular hand-held saws (whose name escapes me).I left this one its natural copper color, but you can spray-paint them, too. Also, you can use pvc pipe (I think it's called)--it's white and comes in larger sizes. I don't always add finials, but these I found cheaply.

And if your house didn't come with old-fashioned decorative touches, you can always add your own. Salvage yards are popular, plus there are flea markets and junk shops and Ebay. Above the mirror, I found this plaster-of-paris medallion thing at a flea market for $1. The colors were perfect, but I just touched-up the chips a little.

And earlier I shared with you how I'm now facing some of my books outward on their shelves. To me, it's an added way to show artwork. Here are a few more examples which you'll find around my house.

The main thing? Just have fun with decorating. Don't rush it; be willing to wait for some big things while you find joy in making tiny things. And don't feel pressured by trying to keep up with anyone. Let your home reflect yourself--and then it will reflect that you had fun creating it.

Monday, September 25, 2006

If You Love Aprons...

... You'll probably love this.

On sale now.
Or you can order from here.

End of commercial.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

World Trade Center

So there we were yesterday at our favorite time-travel-your-way-back-to-the-1940's theater, the one with 2nd-run movies--and with no idea what we were going to see.

 Highly unusual for us because I'm careful about what I watch (well, mostly) and I always check out this reviewer before I walk into any theater (okay, 95% of the time).

And well, we chose to buy tickets for World Trade Center. I'd not read one word about it, but Tom said he'd heard good things. We bought candy, looked, as always, at the old pre-1950 movie star photos, framed, and lining the long hallway, along with the green and white checked linoleum and pine walls, then went and sat down.

It wasn't a movie for everyone.
It wasn't a movie for families (imo).
But we were both grateful we saw it--for a number of reasons.

I would list those reasons, but I'd rather you just watch the movie for yourself. Or not watch it. As I said, it's not for everyone. But for me, I'm thankful I didn't miss it.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Autumn's Arrival

Happy Autumn!

To me, Autumn Days always feel like celebratory days... and my home is called Autumn Cottage for a reason. I'm already anticipating the colors and scents and slant of light which Autumn will bring this time around.

I just may wash the windows so to see it all better.

Have you named your home yet? If so, what is its name?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Back By Popular Demand

Many of you, (ok, a handful), wrote and said you loved seeing the houses in my town so here are some leftover pictures from Tuesday. 

Not wanting to overwhelm anyone, I didn't post all of them. Now you can imagine why I go to so many estate sales--I go simply to wander up and down the stairs of these kinds of houses and dream what it must have been like to have lived there for so many decades.

There are literally thousands of houses like these (to the left) back here in our state. It must have been a very popular style for families around the 1910's and 20's.

Oh, and see this tan house above? It's currently for sale for $89,900... in the lovely old neighborhood next to mine, the one where I love to walk nearly every day. It's wonderful living in a place where real estate is still sane (though I'll admit our taxes are beyond ridiculous). But still.

Making What You Want

Our upstairs 'tower room' does not have a real closet. 

No, instead, it has a dark cave, a loooong, black cubby space that you can crawl into and hide boxes--boxes of stuff which you never look at. Boxes which mice could chew up into dust and you'd probably never even notice.

And well, our tower room is a guest room which is no good if it has no closet. 

So I made one. 

And if you were trying with all your might to figure out what in the world this is a picture of, well, now you know. It's our guest room closet, made out of an old pot rack which once hung, painted black, in our kitchen. But I painted it pink, and then hung a gold double-hook hanger just below it. Clothes can be hung from all these hooks by hangers or just by their necks. (And as I iron, I hang our clothes there, too, before putting them away.)

And voila! Our guest room now has a closet.

Long ago I learned that instead of just complaining about what I don't have, I should, instead, try to make it.

The worst thing I can do is to, instead, mope around home, murmuring and whining about not having what I need. God is always there to help me find what I need--but I can only hear Him when my dreadful complaining isn't drowning out His helpful voice.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Of Tower Rooms, Lessons & Favorite Songs

Well, this is going to be one big, disjointed jumble, I think.

Remember our upstairs guest/music/aerobics/craft/ironing/office room? Just today I came up with a better name for it. Now it's called The Tower Room. 

While standing up there with light streaming through the seven windows and the trees across the way and many rooftops, well, I feel as though I am in a tower. A nice one.

I'm trying to get better about replying to your comments. Maybe you've noticed that if I do reply, it requires 2 or 3 days, which is well, what I call bad form. Maybe if I didn't wait till they all pile up, I could answer them sooner(!)

I've been remembering lately how I need to expect a lot from God, but not from other people. I should let people be who they are, especially if I want them to let me be who I am. (That sowing and reaping thing again.) Though yes, there's also days for confrontation, just as there's also a time for simple, believing prayer when a change is desired. It's the knowing the right time for each that matters. 

Years ago my life became more peaceful when I just accepted that everyone in my life is the way they are. Period. Only God can change them, if He wants and if they want. What freedom one feels when one stops playing Holy Ghost Junior! Trust me.

And along those lines, the verse, "Don't cast your pearls before swine," has been returning to me. Not that anyone in my life is a pig (er hem), but there are two people with whom I cannot share the things I love best. Almost invariably, they'll stomp upon, crush those things I hold dear, upsetting, hurting me and then I'll spend days shaking the whole thing off and hearing God say (albeit kindly), "I've told you not to do that, like, a million times."

Sigh. But at least there are only two people with whom I feel that way. If it was 20 or 200 I'd be concerned that I'd become overly sensitive, wearing my feelings on my sleeve. And well, that is a horrible way to live--always getting your feelings hurt. Trust me-- I know about that one, too. But having learned to follow Grace around, I now try going only where she goes, for when I do, Grace is always there to hand me anything I need to not only survive, but with joy.

God's been reminding me that just because He has people living by a certain schedule it does not mean He wants me to live by the same schedule. He has a custom-made schedule made just for me--all that remains is for me to find it and follow it. And well, I know that. But sometimes I forget.

This is my 777th post. I think that's kind of neat.

Currently I have two favorite songs which they play on Reach FM. One of the songs is called Happy, by Ayiesha Woods. To listen, go here.  Considering how old and decrepit some of you in your 20's think I am (heh), you may be shocked that I like this kind of music. Actually, this is both Tom's and my favorite song--we are both young at heart, I guess.

My other favorite song? One by Mat Kearney called Nothing Left to Lose. Go here. I love, love this song.


P.S. Oh wow! I just now noticed that Blogger put back the little pencil thing, the one that we can click on and be taken instantly to our post so to make changes. My, I hadn't seen that thing in over a year, I believe. I'd nearly forgotten what it symbolized!


"The greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our
dispositions, and not upon our circumstances." Martha Washington


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

More of My Town...

...for your viewing pleasure... And yet, when I came home this morning after taking these pictures--after reveling in the cool breezes and autumnal scents and the sun and morning shadows and these huge old houses on these shady tree-lined streets where I heard happy voices on nearly every block and smelled coffee and bacon--I looked at these pictures and sighed. They, in no way, capture the wonder of it all. So please, as you click upon these for a closer peek, try to imagine them being 100 times grander than they appear.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Choosing Peace

There I was having a pleasant Sunday afternoon yesterday and then a poison person phoned me.

Sigh. This is a person I spend only short bits of time with, for I'm not strong enough to ward off the poison arrows of negativity which this person shoots at most things, people, and at me--usually in subtle, underneath-it-all ways. 

I feel the sting of those arrows and suddenly find myself swimming around in the Sea of Insecurity--and still dripping after my swim, I then begin cleaning my house. That's what I have forever done when I've felt insecure: I clean stuff so at least no one can say, "And she lives in a messy house, too."

Yes, I clean until I finally slow down enough for Jesus to catch me. 

And oh my, how good it feels when He does, when He reminds me of all I mean to Him? The peace--wonderful, calming peace, returns. Not because I am good, but because He is and because I let Him catch me. For as you know, insecurity and peace are enemies and can't stand together in the same room. One must be chosen, the other, released.

And then usually He'll reply with a verse or a page from something. That is what He did this morning--He gave me this wonderful page from the book, God Calling:

"And the work of righteousness will be peace and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever. Isaiah 32:17

"...Success is the result of work done in peace. Only so can work yield its increase. There can be no hurry in your plans. You live not in time but in Eternity. It is in the Unseen that your life-future is being planned.

"Abide in Me, and I in you, so will you bring forth much fruit. Be calm, assured, at rest. Love, not rush. Peace, not unrest. Nothing fitful. All effectual. Sown in Prayer, watered by Trust, bearing flower and fruit in Joy."

And I thanked Him for the reminder. If I want to share peace with you in this blog, then I must share it out of a spirit of peace. I cannot give you what I do not have. 

And the peace of God has become such a necessity that I crave it more, than my supposed right to be upset. A choice must be made, always, and I will choose peace any hour of the week. I've come to need it that much.


"Depart from evil and do good; seek, inquire for, and crave peace and pursue (go after) it!" ... Psalm 34:14

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Proud? Moi?

"Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall." ... Proverbs 16:10


Years ago I was taught that impatience is a form of pride.

I was shocked. Because, well, I was always impatient.

At the supermarket I was impatient (silently huffy) if people in the aisles walked slowly, blocking my path or view.  Man, I took it personally and rolled my eyes. Much.

What's wrong with that? Basically, that kind of thinking is really saying, "*I* shouldn't have to put up with this! *I* shouldn't have to wait my turn. And it's totally disregarding just how many times *I've* spent a lifetime searching for stuff in store aisles and reading labels all squinty-eyed. 

At the check-out counter? The same. All those long lines made me roll my eyes. Why didn't these people do their shopping earlier? Or later? And if my line had a slow store clerk, there was more rolling of the eyes and being frustrated that *I* had to wait because of someone else's ineptitude.

Well, why couldn't *I* have done my shopping earlier (or later)? Why, instead, would I expect the whole world to arrange its schedule around me? And by judging a clerk as slow, what I'm really, deep-down thinking is--"If *I* was doing your job, I could do it much faster and more efficiently than you."

But eegads. I've never trained to be a store clerk, I am machine-of-any-type-challenged, my back hurts when I stand too long, I have this hearing problem when there's background noise (I'd be, like, eh? eh?), and I would--most assuredly--be fired my first day. No, really.

Humbling, that is. And all a variety of pride.

Something happened when I (finally) allowed God to point out this kind of stuff to me. I began realizing I wasn't so 'together' after all. And after He worked with me? I started having more patience with others and began enjoying Life more.

Life is sweeter when we stop believing our way is the only one and we give others the break we wish they'd give us.