Thursday, May 31, 2007

I'd forgotten about our tucked away, huge every-book-is-70-percent-off book store, but this morning before the heat and humidity rolled down our streets, God whispered, "Why don't you go there?"

So I went and though this place is so large that anyone standing at the back of it appears half-size to any person at the front door, I was the only customer. I'd hoped to find Tracy Porter's book, Home Style, which I discovered yesterday at our library, a book stuffed with photos of how I'd decorate my house if I lived alone.

But I found a book even better. One called, Thoughts of Home, edited by Elaine Greene. And well, God has done it once more. He's spoiled me far and away more than I deserve.

I mean, just last week, this is what I wished: "I wish I could find a book all about peoples' love for their houses, their homes."

And today I found that book! 

I am in love, and in a hurry, even, to skip steps back upstairs to our couch and continue reading these essays by various authors describing how love at first sight feels when you find the perfect house. How sometimes love for your home must grow, how comforting the right home can be. Family members within those houses are remembered and appreciated again after the passage of years. The essay, The Love Nest, described how one couple, at retirement, left the huge, memory-embedded home where they'd raised their children and found a white cottage on the sea. I had to wipe away tears before I could finish--so closely to the bone did it resonate with me.

Some of you may love this book as well. If so, they're practically giving them away as door prizes over at

And speaking of homes, I cannot describe how in love I am with my turquoise Dream Room. I feel as though I step out over the ocean whenever I walk through the door, especially when the flowing muslin curtains at the windows fill with air like sails on boats. I even, yesterday, bought a present for my room--a simple coffee mug which blends-in and appears at home in my 'seaside room' if I leave it atop my nightstand the hours after my morning coffee.

If ever you've pondered painting a room this color (or a similar one) grab a paintbrush (or roller) and paint away. You'll not be sorry.

God is good. But then, He always is, even though it's a goodness we don't always recognize (at first) nor understand.


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

What a difference obedience makes.

Yesterday I clearly heard God tell me to cease what I was doing.

--to stop concentrating on the future.

--to stop scheming about alternative plans which are clearly not His plans.

--to stop complaining about the present (and worrying how I'll spend my days), and instead, choose contentment, giving myself permission to be happy.

Well, guess what? Today I've felt a trillion times better than I did yesterday, all because of obedience. Today Life feels amazing, for I've not filled my head with the future, which meant it was available for fun, creative ideas, instead. 

God said He can only bless my obedience in the here and now, not in the past nor in the future (not yet, anyway).

Imagine! Imagine obedience leading to the kind of freedom you feel like celebrating with cartwheels and balloons. Imagine obedience morphing to joy, even when all your circumstances are exactly the same as they were the day prior. Who would have thought it?


Sometimes a girl, even an aging girl like me, just needs to go shopping. 

This year is nearly half over (can you believe that?) and yet all I'd bought so far (besides groceries) were a few dvd's, dishtowels and blouses (the latter from our nifty thrift shop down the street). 

You go majorly decluttering your house and you become afraid to bring home more junk you might have to sort through later.

But I got out this morning, early, before all the cars and weeping children came out, drove to the next-town-over and went to just one shopping center before I came home around an hour-and-a-half later.

I know, I know. "You call that shopping?"

Yep, for me, it's enough. Enough time to buy enough stuff and feel grateful to return home . Which I am--glad to be home, that is. It's pleasant to do and see different things, to browse shelves of new, colorful things, but it's even nicer to return amongst my own old memory-infused possessions.

Besides, since I have everything I need, (basically), that good ol' verse tends to haunt me while I shop: "His heart does safely trust in her." Yep, in money areas (and others), I want that verse to ring true in my case, regarding Tom's heart and his safely trusting in me. So well, the less time I shop, the fewer dollars I'll likely spend.

And now you'll have to excuse me while I go hang my new flamingo-colored bath towels with the mint green hand towels. I can't wait to see how they'll brighten our bathroom.

I love towels which don't just have the same ol' same ol' texture (click to enlarge).  How about you?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

All I ask is that you not freak-out about this post in my comment box. If you don't agree, please just ponder it awhile, ok?


"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."... Romans 8:28

Since I was 13 (or so), I've heard this verse used like a blanket verse by people. Sometimes what I'm hearing is, "Just remain clueless and keep doing whatever you want--everything will work together for good if you're a Christian."

I've known Christians who've smoked cigarettes for more than 50 years and when they came down with cancer or emphysema, other church people told them, "All things work together for good..."

And other Christians have chosen to live on fast-food or they just over-eat or eat the wrong foods and when they become obese or sick, they're comforted by well-meaning friends, "...all things work together for good. You're a Christian--everything will be all right."

Or I've watched other Christians set aside self-control and make wrong choices in purchases beyond what they can afford or choose a spouse God warned them was wrong. Or they gave their hearts to someone outside of marriage and got divorced and/or pregnant and in their misery they're patted on the hand and told, "...don't worry, don't be afraid--all things work together for good to those who love God."

I wonder.

I mean, what about the "called according to His purpose" part? Where does 'His purpose' come in all of this?

Sowing seeds. Choices. Oh those choices we make! And the free will thing. And all the trouble we call down upon ourselves because we chose our own purpose, not His.

Sometimes everything does not work out hunky dory, especially when God was right there crying, "Noooo! That path will only lead to heartache and trouble and tears."

But then--still--we chose to go our own way.

God cannot bless disobedience. The older I get, the more aware I become of even my slightest disobediences and I've stopped making excuses for them. I say to God, "I'm sorry. You were right. You are always right." And hey, I'd be disappointed in God if He did wink at them when I knew better all along, but pretended I didn't.

I'm glad He nags me to do better, to be better. I'm glad that He's shown me there are consequences when I go my own way. 

No longer do I expect Him to radically bless me while I give Him just a sloppy kind of obedience, sighing, "Oh well, it'll all work out for good."  I'd rather go through my life with my eyes open and with God expecting me to live what He's spent years trying to teach me.

And experiencing the consequences of that, instead.


"For unto whom much is given, of him shall be much required...." ...Luke 12:48

"Do not be deceived and deluded and misled; God will not allow Himself to be sneered at (scorned, disdained, or mocked [a]by mere pretensions or professions, or by His precepts being set aside.) [He inevitably deludes himself who attempts to delude God.] For whatever a man sows, that and [b]that only is what he will reap." ... Galations 6:7 (Amplified)

"What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace?" Romans 6:15


Sunday, May 27, 2007

So Not a Party Girl

Another holiday (don't we have one, like, every two weeks now?).

And even with a sober holiday like Memorial Day, where we're supposed to meditate upon those who've made sacrifices and gone on before us, still, parties abound everywhere. Even in my Mayberry-ish neighborhood.

I am so not a party girl. And even when I used to attend church parties, even then, I was the awkward, can-I-leave-early-please?, uncool church lady in the corner of the room.

Then why as I'm here alone on a Sunday afternoon (Tom is at work) does my mind drift over to wishing I was at a barbecue at a park with a whole group of people? Am I crazy?


But it occurs to me that I'm simply just getting to know myself better. My real self, that is. The one God is creating from scratch after I spent whole decades making a counterfeit version.

The problems come when I gaze backward at the old me, forgetting that's not my life now. Making those unequal comparisons and recalling how we used to attend holiday parties because we felt we should and oughtta and what-would-people-say-if-we-didn't? 

Oh, some big, loud get-togethers were fun and I'm glad we attended them for Naomi's sake, so she could come away with good memories. There is that.

But so much has changed since those days. Tom and I try now to be led by God and go where He leads, rather than being led by the shoulds and oughts and brow-beater-types in our town. 

Not everyone understands, of course, and many have just given-up on being able to control, shame us into attending noisy functions. And the rest, well, don't even think about us at all, anyway (even though we flatter ourselves that they do).

And we're fine with that. 

For, even at the half-century mark, Tom and I are still finding our way and what I'm discovering is that, by spending much time alone with God and with each other, we're becoming more confident in what and Whom we believe. Better acquainted with ourselves, each other, and with God.

And we're learning that, in swimming upstream, you become both stronger and yet more reliant upon God for the extra strength it takes to swim to new, unfamiliar places, often alone--or nearly so.


Friday, May 25, 2007

I tweaked my Dream Room before 7:00 this morning, a part of which you can see in the photo. 

Earlier I had my pretend coffee and watched old Leave It To Beaver episodes up there in my peaceful turquoise room where I'm spending oodles of time since it feels like a day at the beach. And then for the third morning in a row I sat outside on our sunny front porch, early, before even the little school bus rumbled down our street and gobbled up the kids down the block.

Yesterday morning Tom and I watched the season's ending of LOST (we always tape it). We loved it! 

Ever since that dreadful, whose-idea-was-that? hiatus, we've enjoyed LOST again. It's as though the writers returned to the initial magic of the first season and how great to watch a show where it's nearly impossible to guess what's next. 

Never before have I watched a show like this one.

My favorite parts of the finale? (Spoiler alert:) That they had Hurley be the hero. That Sayid didn't really die (I was nearly frantic). That Ben's beyond-cruel commandoes are all gone. That John is still alive and that when I was simply dying to see who would get out of the car to meet Jack at the airport--it was Kate. Wow! I'm totally confused now, of course, but in a fun, enchanted way. Any other huge LOST fans out there?

Anyway, I'm still here. And well, Tom is too--he has yet another day off and I need to race upstairs and make him some oatmeal. I'm hoping we'll have a fun, productive day.  I'm hoping that for you, as well.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Good gracious.

You won't believe what I did yesterday. Well, you'll probably believe it. I'm the one who can't.

Around 8:30 in the morning I drove to our local supermarket and bought a cup of coffee from the woman behind the counter who bore a strong resemblance to the grandma who owns Tweety Bird. Her voice was nearly identical. Then while I sat at a bistro table nearby, a little old man spoke to me now and again--his voice was a male version of the Tweety Bird's grandma lady. And a store worker restocked shelves near us, all the time softly singing cheerful songs.

Maybe I live in an enchanted place. I'm not sure.**

Well, I drove to the library and as quickly as I could, grabbed a stack of books, some from the kids' room and others from the adult decorating books section. I say 'quickly' because the stale, recycled blechy air in that place makes me dizzy and by the time I'm searching in my wallet for my library card I'm always murmuring, "Must... get... out.... of.... here..."

Then I drove to Burger King for a kid's meal--hamburger and onion rings--which, according to that Eating Right For Your Type book I told you about, is practically health food for my blood type. heh. At the park a couple blocks away, I ate my lunch, thumbed through my books and appreciated all the finally-green trees outside the windshield.

The whole morning had been pleasant, but as I later sat on our sunny front porch with my library books, I realized mostly I was just killing time until we move. And I wondered if I'd continue to feel like that for five more months.

And then I got an inspiration. "I know!," I thought. "I'll repaint and redecorate my Dream Room!" And for the next seven hours, that's just what I did. With a three-inch brush (rollers are way too messy for me) I spent five hours painting my room an aqua/turquoise shade and a couple hours shoving furniture across the hall into the Tower Room (which, once again, now resembles a storage barn).

I love this new look. Should've done it sooner. 

I continue to be amazed at how much this woman is changing. I find myself craving simplicity in my decor now whereas years ago I believed Victorian-esque clutter to be very cool. But now, well, clutter makes me shudder.

After spending time in my new serene blue room, I sat with Tom downstairs in our Cozy Room where we basically live like mice in a crowded hole in the wall, and well, I think I began nervously twitching. I had to just face the tv and not gaze around the room at all the newspapers, dishes, shoes and blankets and, well, you know. Stuff.

Of course, after all those hours of actually working yesterday, I could barely crawl out of bed this morning: I ached all over. But it's a pleasant sort of ache (well, mostly), one which comes after being stretched past my recent inactivity and the wondering of what I should do. A reaching beyond what I, myself, could ever do alone. 

And I'm hoping there will be more of it while I'm waiting for the next chapter of my life to begin.


**Well, I guess it's official. This morning our mail carrier lady came walking up to our mailbox singing a happy song. :)

Monday, May 21, 2007

This And That (Mostly That)

Did anyone else watch the tribute to Bob Barker last week? 

I taped it and will probably keep the tape for some time. I like Bob. Believe it or not, I've watched him for 42 years--perhaps more. (Forty-two years!) I remember at six-years-old laying in front of the tv watching Truth Or Consequences and loving best the surprise reunions, usually between servicemen and their wives. Oh my. Even as that braided-haired child, I'd brush my tears away before the family could glimpse my silly little sentimental self.

And well, it's not like I watch T.P.I.R. every single weekday (no, really I don't). Though, since I heard Bob was retiring, it's been on our kitchen tv more often for the sake of seeing Bob before he leaves us. 

There's just something about watching people win prizes and screaming with happiness rather than complaints. And well, all these decades later I'm still that little girl deep inside, the one who's watching Bob and his contestants and still brushing away those happy tears, maybe even jumping around gleefully when the occasion calls for it.


So does anyone know the right way to care for a 'prayer plant'? Naomi gave me one years ago and over time (and over-watering) I killed it. But I love the way it looked in our house so I bought another one, and well, it's now dying. 

I keep forgetting to look-up the care and feeding of prayer plants online, so I'm asking here while I'm thinking of it.


My current test? Just enjoying my life without knowing exactly what else I should be doing right now. You'd think it would be easy to relax and simply enjoy God and Life, my husband, house, cats and the fact that we raised a sweet daughter, but well, there's still that nagging voice which says I should be doing more while we're waiting to move.

But it comes to me-- God doesn't want me just grabbing at 'busywork' for the sake of appearing busy to other people nor does he want me following annoying, nagging voices (the tyranny of the oughts and shoulds) inside my head.

No, He prefers I follow His voice. To wait in perfect trust, patience and joy until I receive further instructions. To just keep doing what I'm doing until I hear from Him otherwise.

And I'll let you know how that goes.


Saturday was a gorgeous day here. Oh, a tad coolish, perhaps, but otherwise sunny. 

I sat on our front porch and watched the people in my Mayberry-esque neighborhood and thumbed through my old Mary Jane's Farm magazines while Lennon the Cat knelt beside me, eyeing the neighbors as well.

It all should have felt perfect, but it didn't. No, instead, I felt depleted, tired and well, yicky in a ho-hum-general-sort-of way. You know, Plain Ol' Blech, and for the third (fourth?) day in a row. I chalked it up to just more unfair pre-menopause nonsense or this limbo state I seem to be living inside regarding our upcoming (we hope) move or the state of our world or our annoying too-cool-for-sitting-outside weather or--

And not until Sunday morning did I finally obey that tiny voice inside me, the one which for days had been begging, "Pull out your copy of Eat Right For Your (Blood) Type," a nifty book Naomi found a couple years ago. It contains, all between two covers, the research I did online for years whenever I'd feel this poor old body crumbling to pieces with yet a new and different ailment. 

I could have saved a bunch of hours by discovering this book first. Oh well.

My favorite part of Eat Right For Your Type? The three food lists it gives specifically for your blood type (mine is O), foods under these headings: Highly Beneficial, Neutral and Avoid. I'm skipping lots of information, but trust me, over the past couple years I've felt marvelous as long as I eat foods from the Highly Beneficial and Neutral lists.

And well, good grief! Duh. Duh. Duh.

For days, (weeks?), I'd been eating almost exclusively from the Foods To Avoid list. Wheat, dairy, caffeine, peanuts. Big surprise why I'd been feeling like Naomi's old Raggedy Ann doll looks. 

What was I thinking?

So yesterday morning, after rereading the book's lists for Type O, I heated up some onions (Highly Beneficial) in a tad bit of canola oil (Neutral) and ate some walnuts (Highly Beneficial). Then later I had some soy yogurt (Neutral) and Ezekiel Bread (Highly Beneficial) and-- well, you get the picture. I ate like a person with some common sense.

Within hours after eating the right foods--and avoiding the wrong ones--I began to feel more like my good old, chirpy, Miss Pollyanna self. Seriously. I'm not lying (would I lie to you?).

Now, I'm not saying that this book is the solution to the world's ills. Uh, no. 

I'm just stating that sometimes Life is more simple than we make it and blaming others or our past or the weather or the devil, himself, well, often those just waste time and what could have been good days. Usually, the answer isn't to complicate matters more--but to simplify them, instead--

--and usually the answer is to listen to the One with all the answers. And then go from there. Listening to Him every moment along the rest of the journey, I'm finding, is wisdom.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Before The Flowers Float Away...

Ok, for the last time, here are more pictures of my yard. It's just that it's very much a spring time yard and after a week, or so, it's going to be all downhill from there. That is, unless I step-up and take your wonderful suggestions for summer time blue flowers! (Anyone have any suggestions for faking lilacs?)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Peeking Into The Career Box

So there I was, a sophomore in high school during career week.

You know, those days when, at 15, you were supposed to decide what you wanted to be for the remainder of your life. You just (according to the teacher) stepped over to the career box, thumbed through a few career cards and poof! Picked a life-long career. 

Then during the weekend you were supposed to find someone already working in your chosen line of work, interview them, and hand in the interview along with a few of your own thoughts.



Want to know the career I hoped to find in the career box? You'll never guess, so I will tell you.

I hoped to find a Hermit Card in there. (Ha! Wild, huh?)

But there weren't any hermit career cards in that box. I know--I checked.

Yes, at 15 I'd already tired of dealing with people, especially folks who made me feel like I'd been shoved out of a Mars space ship. People who criticized me for being different, hard to understand. Characters who didn't act the way I believed they should, just entire crowds of people because, basically, aside from a few friends, I wanted, at 15, to be left alone.

And well, all these years later I still love spending time alone--as long as it's kept in balance.  I'm a firm believer in too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing so hence, balance is vital.

Some parts of myself haven't changed much since high school, but others have (thank-goodness).  And those? They're the things for which I give God credit because only He can change the parts which are not pleasing to Him, ones not born of His 1st Corinthians 13 type of love He wants me to show to others.

Anyway, just thought I'd share a smile with you this Monday morning.

And really--wanting to be a real-live hermit at 15? Actually picturing myself in a secluded little cabin up in the woods, growing my own food and cutting my own fuel. Alone. Imagine!

All I can say is that I'm so glad that God had a totally different plan.


Anyone else out there who has, at one time or another, wanted to choose the hermit career card?  ツ


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Anticipating Instead

Happy Mother's Day to each of you!

 Later this afternoon, Naomi and her boyfriend will come over and I'm anticipating their visit, especially now that I'm back to my old (new?) self.

For you see, yesterday was much, much better,as days are when you stop complaining like a spoiled brat.  ツ

So there I was, sitting outside on our sunny front porch, the magic place where I've healed from many hurts, like from the general no-one-gets-through-Life-unscathed ones. And at a point, I almost heard God say, "Ok. Now that you're quiet, we can actually get somewhere." 

Then He showed me bits of what He wants me to do for the next five months. I say bits, because rarely does He reveal every detail of anything. No, He's pretty big on that Faith and Trust stuff: painting the entire picture would zap the need for those.

Basically, He told me to make plans to Enjoy. Enjoy our last few months in this home. Enjoy our mostly-fixed house, yard and how Naomi drops by to say hello some evenings. And even the weather and the peace upon this porch. You know, rather like this verse:

"...nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy..." I Timothy 6:17


And I think I can do that. I'm not sure. Sounds like luxury to me. ツ

Because I silenced all my brain's pathetic complaining, I could actually hear the peace-filled, sensible, loving voice of God, especially while I stepped and worked amongst all those forget-me-nots in our sunny backyard. Our front porch is a pleasant healing place, but there's just something about our tiny, made-for-two backyard. Life is pretty simple back there, and oh my. 

At my age, I do love doing simple. There's so much to enjoy there.

Thanks so very much to each of you who left comments or emailed with encouragement and suggestions! I'll try to reply to you soon.....again, thanks!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Handling a Change of Plans

You would have been horrified to have seen me yesterday. Horrified.

Why? Because Debra threw a fit. (Debra?! Yes, her.)

Tom came home from another of his monthly meetings with the powers-that-be concerning that Richmond job and he said the project has--once again--been pushed back two (three?) months. Now we are looking at moving in October.

October?! October?! That would mark one year from the time this whole thing began.

So, like, what am I (I, I, I, me, me, me,) supposed to do for the next five months? I mean, as of this Monday, this house will be ready to sell. There'll be nothing more to do to it.

And this whole year I've hardly bought anything other than groceries because I don't want to have to pack and move more junk, er, possessions, than we have already so there goes shopping at thrift stores, estate sales and even shopping online--for five months. (Gasp!)

And it no longer makes sense to view Richmond area houses for sale online since they'll all be sold by October (well, the vast majority).

There won't be anything to decorate around here and the yard will be done in a couple days, too, and well, in my heart, I've already said good-bye to this place where we've lived for 14 years. 

Yesterday, all I saw ahead in the next five months was me sitting on our front porch twiddling my thumbs. And waiting. Waiting. 

Obviously, I don't do waiting patiently well. At least not in the big stuff. (And I thought I'd come so far. Sigh.) And yes--there's also the whole thing that this isn't a real-live problem in the first place! Not when you compare it to real, real-live problems of other people. (I know, I know. You don't have to nag me about it.) シ

Oh well. Reality calls are good--painful, but good. And humbling.

So anyway, you should have heard the crazy plans Tom and I (mostly I) started grasping all wild-eyed at. Ones like: Maybe, since we have a little extra money in the bank (for the first time ever), well, maybe we could use it as a downpayment on a tiny H.U.D. house and Debra could work on it over the summer and then we could sell two houses in September? But then Tom asked, "How would we make the payments on an extra house?" To which I replied, "Oh yeah. Payments. I forgot about those."

Then there's a huge four-square house for sale for just $30,000 cash around 20 miles away from us which we actually drove over and saw yesterday (nice, safe old neighborhood), so we considered selling our current house, buying that cash one and working on that. Only I'd worry about Tom every time he drove home after working night shift. So then in a lightbulb moment I suggested, "Hey! You could quit your job and consider this a long working vacation!" But to Tom, that idea sounded rather extreme.

Er hem.

Well, in a space of three hours, we came up with a whole host of such ideas, including selling our house and renting one of our favorite country houses in all this land, one which amazingly, we noticed just yesterday is for rent. I even peeked in the windows and fell instantly in love with the inside (having always loved the outside). And that way, well, we could spend the summer in a country-like setting, inside a marvelous old house and be ready to move away when this Richmond job finally does turn into reality.

And --

Okay, this is long enough (and I'm even skipping a whole bag of details). The main lessons? If I keep my head full of complaints and fears (what am *I* going to do for five months? How can we not buy stuff we don't actually need for so long?) and whinings, well, I'll not be able to hear God's perfect solution. Yesterday there was such incredible discontented noise inside my self-imposed, throbbing head--I couldn't have heard God, even if He'd tried screaming.

So today my head returns to quiet. To choosing peace and yes, contentment, as well. And my heart turns back to simple trust where, on its best days, it's happiest. Only then will I be able to hear what it is God wants me to hear. His marvelous ideas of what I should do now, for only His plans are plans worth following.

And if I do? All will be well. In time.


"Out of the same substances one stomach will extract nutriment, another poison; and so the same disappointments in life will chasten and refine one man's spirit, and embitter another's."
- William Matthews

Psalm 46:10

"Be still, and know that I am God..."


Friday, May 11, 2007

A Flower Question

It's that time of year around my yard again.... Forget-Me-Not City!

And because I love them so much (as does our realtor), my question is this: Can you recommend a summer-blooming flower which very much resembles these blue forget-me-nots? These are simply springtime flowers and I'd love to see clouds of blue all summer. Always, I miss them when they fade away.


P.S. My favorite photo is the first one. Click to enlarge and you'll have a window to my tiny backyard this morning. Let's have coffee (or tea) there together and giggle over Mandy's post about trying to sell her house the sneaky way.   ッ


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Playing "If I Had To Live There"

For lots of years when we'd drive through run-down, depressing neighborhoods, I'd sit in the passenger seat and play the "I Would Never Live There" game. 

A simple game, you just peer at houses with iron bars across the windows and wine bottles, weeds and washing machines in the yard and you wrinkle your nose and thank God you live someplace else. Somewhere nice.

I didn't learn much while playing that game.

But now I play a different, more challenging version. I call it, "If I Had To Live There." 

I play it while strolling down a street nearby, one which once(a friend told me) was a Guinness Book of World Records winner for the U.S. street with the most bars per capita (or whatever). All these years later it has, oh, maybe 5 bars and lots of old, crumbling (and a couple restored) two or three-story houses.

I take morning walks down that street and, instead of playing the ol' "I'd Never Live There" game, I imagine that Tom and I have lost our money and must now run a business on the lower level of whichever house I've chosen that day.

Ambling down the sidewalk and in my mind, I choose the colors and types of flowers I'd plant in the front yard. I paint the house and its trim in my head and try to arrange our current furniture in the rooms which I'm imagining, as well. I list every advantage to living there--lots of those houses have larger backyards than my current one, many houses have more square footage and since they're older, some still might have lovely antique touches, nooks and crannies (the ones which didn't succumb to the almost inevitable 'remuddle,' that is).

And I list ways in which I could carve out a contented, old-fashioned life for Tom and I inside such a house, even if we had little left of what we own now.

I love that game. When it stops raining later today, I just may go traipsing and imagining down that street, playing the game again, for it's a pleasant challenge and I always step away--hopeful--that I could enjoy creating a cozy home in a not-so-cozy place. If I had to.

Besides, seeing potential wherever I look can become one good, comes-in-handy habit. Indeed.


Monday, May 07, 2007

Of Good Old Days and Balance

"Be well-balanced, be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring, seeking someone to seize upon and devour." ... 1 Peter 5:8 (Amplified)


Remember how I said last time that springtime allergies had invaded my poor head? 

Well, two days later I'm thinking it's a horrible, terrible, very bad cold, instead, or rather, a combination of both. Bleh. I am so thankful you cannot see me as I sit here bleary-eyed, wilting, clad in my shiny-aqua robe. (You should feel thankful, too.)

I spent yesterday in bed in my Dream Room watching my Leave It To Beaver and Ma and Pa Kettle dvd's and thinking how terrific it is that nowadays we can customize our own tv watching habit. I mean, I've heard groups of people (myself, also) complain that today's shows aren't as clever/decent/funny as those from the past.

But at least today we have choices. We can buy dvd's of shows and movies we love and watch them at noon or midnight (the episodes we choose, not the tv exec.'s), something we couldn't do while I was growing-up in the 60's and 70's.

Yes, I was alive before home video recorders. Primitive times, indeed.

That sounds like such a minuscule thing, but it reminds me of something huge--namely, not to complain about how Today's world is not like Yesterday's. I so don't wish to be in the Only The Good Old Days Were Good crowd. You know, those whose heads and necks are always hurting because they're turned backward, facing the Past.

In fact, yesterday with my poor drippy head on my pillow I recalled how someone wisely wrote, "The news is the bad news." I mostly understood that when I first saw it, but now I get it more. Newspaper and tv news--generally--only reflect the world-gone-wrong and seldom who or what is going right.

Seeing today's world in only a negative, dark light is not being balanced--nor accurate. 

So I often remind myself, for the sake of balance, that not every teenager is a thug just waiting to rob or shoot someone. Not each person holding a steering wheel is a road-rage case in-waiting nor is every movie obscene nor every theater or video store a den of iniquity.

No, there still are millions of helpful, kind, compassionate teens and adults out there in our huge world. There are still excellent, peaceful drivers and hundreds of good, thought-provoking movies and tv series being produced. Most parents still love their children passionately and there are millions of happy, I'll-love-you-forever couples in the world as well.

I remind myself because, according to many newspapers and tv news reports, those things are gone. Phhttt. 

For the sake of staying balanced, rather than sliding toward the negative side? I'll remind myself that God is still God, He is still good and He still makes Himself known through people. Because He is and He does, you know. 

Sometimes we just have to hunt a bit harder to discover certain treasures, but we'll miss them when we resort to searching in dark places. Or if we stop searching altogether.

(She says as she crawls back up the stairs to bed to recuperate just one more day and where she'll watch a little tv from Today and a little tv from Yesterday, as well.)


Saturday, May 05, 2007


Man oh man.... I am so grateful that we don't sell a house every year. Or every two years. At this moment my house is unnaturally clean and straightened and freshly painted.

There's just something not right about that, especially when I consider what it required to make it like this.

So the realtor came by this morning to do one of those I'll-walk-through-your-house-and-tell-you-what's-wrong-with-it-for-free things and you know, I had the best time with her. A true kindred spirit! She loved all the improvements we've made and how I decorate and she even owns a couple similar lamps and paintings. I met her at an open house two years ago while I took a Sunday walk and, shockingly, she remembered me. It's nice to be remembered, especially when you're incredibly average.

Anyway, she walked through our whole house and made only one suggestion--one!--that I move our Morris chair to a different corner of the living room. That's it. (Whew!) Though, to be honest, there were four or five other things I hurriedly told her I would be painting/fixing/revitalizing so I could beat her to the punch.

We'll wait, though, to list our house and sign her up as our realtor in ten more days. I mean, we're 98% sure Tom will take that Richmond job--it's that 2 percent which says we have nothing in writing yet which makes us wait until the 15th when Tom has another meeting with the Powers That Be.

So anyway, Debra is giving herself a much-deserved two days off to loll around and rest a little and work even less (which sounds luxurious since annoying springtime allergies have invaded my poor, drippy head). These past two weeks have tested just about every word she ever scribbled into this blog and she needs to review where she went right, where she veered a little to the edge and where she totally careened off the road...

... so that in the weeks to come, she'll stay calmer and lots more full of faith and the kind of peace which never, ever goes away--even in the midst of working like a person with a real job(!) to prepare a house to sell. When you crave peace like Debra does, you make adjustments in order to keep it.