Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Until I Return....

So yesterday we traveled to Hobbit Cottage for the final inspection and oh! It looked much prettier than I remembered it.

It also looked much smaller.  heh.

Oh well! I'll just play up the 'cozy look' and too, living there will be such marvelous discipline for Tom and me after having been such bad kids, you know, for bringing home so much junk over the years. The tininess of Hobbit Cottage will certainly keep us in line.

And wow, the excitement after we drove away.... We decided to take a different route home so we drove down just one block, turned left, and then six or seven blocks later poof! We were at the light in front of our favorite supermarket(!)

My oh my oh my. That may sound like a tiny (or even unpleasant) thing to you, but to us it spelled bliss. For three years we've traveled over 8 miles just to shop for groceries and now we'll be only 8 blocks away, a trip made even more delicious because that street totally bypasses a very busy boulevard. Our own private, quiet, short, pleasant way to the market. Happy sigh.

Wow. Now that's my idea of the simple life, something I never did find out here in the countryside (though heaven knows I searched).

And yet, of course, we'll miss our tiny idyllic town. These kind, country folks who live at a slower pace, and the way you can go anywhere and be recognized, the sweet town library and friendly cafe's, etc. And yet? From the 'burbs we can drive out here anytime in good weather to see what's new. Some of our neighbors have already invited us to drop by to see them, even.

Well, anyway... this will be my final post for awhile, perhaps a week or so. Today we buy Hobbit Cottage, tomorrow we'll take a few boxes there and on Friday the movers arrive to take us away from Healing Acres, the place where we enjoyed living out some long-held farm fantasies. But now it's time to move on to new adventures in the 'burbs and I hope each of you will be here when I return to write about them.

Though actually? I'll be taking you with me (won't the house feel quite tiny then!) and keeping a running conversation with you inside my head as I go about creating a brand new life. I hope you're ready to go! :)



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A special thanks for your sweet notes and congratulations!


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Want to hear a wild 'coincidence'? Exactly one year ago today Tom was laid-off from his job. And now on this day, we are buying a house. Is God good or what?


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Friday, August 26, 2011

Just Give It



So! Last night our closing date got moved up about a week. Eeks! Although that means we'll get into Hobbit Cottage sooner. Gotta love that.

But it also means we'll need to be out of here by next Saturday, Sept. 2nd. So guess who's stepping-up her leisurely packing pace?

Yet all is well. Grace returned a few weeks ago and she's helped me hugely, like with the moving sale which is now only a memory. And all our remaining items got carted away--no trip to Salvation Army necessary!

And for those of you who are also needing to downsize? I say go for it, with as much wild abandon as you can. Concentrate on the giving away to others and it won't be as hard. Like, at our moving sale, I'd tell sweet ladies things like, "If you'll pay fifty cents for that fabric panel, I'll give you that stack of dishes for free."

Oh, how I delighted in all the happy smiles I made over those moving sale days! 

The following ones, also, when people responded to our Craig's List ad and came for free stuff. "This is free?" they'd ask. And I'd respond, "Yes! Please do us a favor and take it far away."

Give, give, give and it shall be given unto you.  Revel in all the smiles and gratitude and your obedience to God.  You'll love it.



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P.S. Did you know it's possible to change your home address with the U.S. Postal Service online? Just found that out today and oh! How nicely convenient. Cost a dollar, but I appreciated the ease of it all. Go to usps.com for details.


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So, as part of the moving process, I cleaned the top of the refrigerator this afternoon (a task I try to avoid whenever possible) and you'd never guess in a bazillion years what I found..... Give up? A hairball. From a cat. On top of the refrigerator. Certainly didn't expect to find that!


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Oh, and in case you're wondering--we are hundreds and hundreds of miles inland so Irene will not bother us (I'm praying, though, for those she will bother). 


Speaking of weather--forgot to tell you that during the week of our moving sale we had rain on Thursday, but both Friday and Saturday (our moving sale days) were clear and gorgeous. Yet, oh! Sunday was a total washout. Another miracle--a weather one.  γ‚·


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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Just Checking-In



Busy, busy.

Packing. Watching people take the remainder of our moving sale stuff (it's nearly gone now). Watching Gilmore Girls. Packing. Glad we gave away Naomi's huge retro orange-hairy chaise lounge and chair set yesterday.

Waiting for a potential mover guy who's coming at 2:00 to give us a quote. Packing. Washing blankets and other assorted laundry. Waiting for someone who's coming at 3:00 to buy my bike.

And did I mention packing?

And feeling very peaceful in the midst of it all.


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Sunday, August 21, 2011

When Once Can Be Enough



Often Tom and I have driven to huge yard sales in the country where lots of smiling bargain searchers stepped through dark barns crammed with old junk and then picked through yards full of cardboard boxes and stuff on tables. 

We've come away with trinkets, or even better, vintage memories and an old-fashioned feeling draped over our shoulders for the week's remainder.

This weekend Tom and I held that type of yard sale, ourselves.

That's what came to me while I laid back on Naomi's retro orange chaise lounge in our own dark barn, so worn-out but happy, remembering hundreds of lovely people we'd met. The way we actually gave them (I hope) a enchanted old-fashioned feeling. 

Probably thirty people even returned for more (items I flung away for free? ambiance? laughter? a listening ear?), some of them even three times(!)

It was a bittersweet feeling, though, for never again can Tom and I provide that country sale experience for others. 

Though yes, one should never say never, but oh! This weekend we were permanently cured of owning tons of junk (sooo exhausting)--and earlier this year, we were cured of ever wanting a farm again. 

So I'm thinking never does mean never in this case.

And you know? At first I felt sad about the never-again-ness of it all. I mean, you realize how we people tend to be, right? If we have a terrific experience we want to have fifteen more exactly like it.  Or pick up one pretty plate at a shop and suddenly we must collect an entire matching set. 

Yet I asked myself, "Why not just treasure this weekend gift? Why not just memorize it and be grateful that at least God gave me this one opportunity to live-out this huge-yard-sale-on-an-old-farm dream?"

Wow. Imagine. Having a dream come true once, then being fine with that forever.

And that is what I'll remind myself. Especially as we move away from the countryside, back to the suburbs and into a tiny house. There'll be memorable times there, also, and more Life Highs, only in different, ways unknown to me. Unique surprises yet to come.

It's becoming harder to wait!


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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Moving Sale Thoughts



Whew!

Having a huge moving sale on a warm summer day is not for the wimpy.
But we survived.

Today is Day Two of our play-like-you're-American-Pickers moving sale. Day One was wild, what with hundreds of people coming in a steady stream (ten or so even returning again!). Our friend, Donna, helped Tom and me to sell tons of stuff, though we still have tons left out on our back lawn, driveway and barn.

For nine hours yesterday I worked outside though at 12:30 I drove down to our favorite mom and pop take-out where the gal behind the counter told me, "Don't forget to take your pop from the refrigerator, or wait!--you always get the bottled water, right?"

I laughed and told her, "Yes! Very good!," then walked out to the car a bit teary-eyed because oh, though I won't miss our farm, I will miss this tiny town where people know us by name as well as all our habits, too. 

Tom and I will need to frequent the same shops in our new community though it's much larger, and perhaps the shop clerks and cafe staffs will know us that way. Sow some good seeds and see what comes up--that's what I say.

So I just thought I'd check in before I dash back outside for more selling, greeting neighbors and seeing our stuff fly out of here. Toward the end we'll probably contact our local Freecycle and tell everyone to come and take what they want until 6:00 or so.

Is it bothering me to let all this stuff go? Not even. 

It's all pretty freeing. Indeed.



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I wish each of you could come to our sale! ツ


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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Oh. Wow.



So I was sad about being catless and Tom and I had finally begun working on decluttering the garage/barn so when we'd grown tired I asked him to buy us some sherbet. Which he did, gladly.

And as we sat watching an American Pickers rerun suddenly I thought, "Hey! I can take back my room upstairs now!"

Amongst all my busyness, I'd not yet considered this wonderful thing. So that's what I did and oh, the excitement! 

Tom went out to mow upon his tractor, then I skipped upstairs and removed Naomi's things (she still has a bit of stuff left here) and vacuumed, dusted this room I'd not slept in for one year. 

But then when I went downstairs to bring my clothes back up, I stopped at the computer for an email check.That's when I saw it! The email from the Buffalo Court. And this is what it said:


"This letter is to inform you that your request to have your Jury service postponed has been approved.  Your jury service has been deferred by this court."

Oh my goodness. I screamed! With joy, of course. And then I whispered, "Thank-you, Jesus" probably 8 times while running out to Tom where I shouted into his ear (over the din of the mighty tractor), "I got an email and I don't have to do jury duty!"

I ran back inside, grabbed my clothes and returned back to my upstairs room with I Love Lucy playing and my veins pulsating with glee.

And too? I felt thankful that I'd been firm with myself when I mailed-off my form to the court (with my whinings of why now is an impossible time for me), for I told myself that in no way would I spoil the next three weeks with dread. Instead, I'd choose to believe I'd not have to drive those 35 miles to downtown Buffalo to a place I knew not how to find.

So I didn't. Allow myself to dread that possibility, I mean. Whenever that temptation arose I chose, instead, faith that I'd not have to go. Belief for a good outcome. 

Again, oh wow. 

I have my own special room back,
a getaway place of peace, 
plus, I don't have jury duty. 

My heart felt utterly joyful and I even went downstairs at 4:00 a.m., made hot chocolate and came back up to watch Gilmore Girls (1st season) humming all the while. Grateful out-of-my-mind.

So let this encourage you. If you are facing a hard time and just hanging in there as best as you can, putting into practice all the good things God taught you, well, a reward is coming. A reward God sees as best. If you keep believing, even when things look as though they'll never change. 

Do what you can and then God will do the rest.



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And let me add--jury duty is a wonderful responsibility! Truly. 

But there are times when--emotionally--it would send us over the edge, spill our already too full plate. And for me, this was one of those times.


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Monday, August 15, 2011

Missing The Cats



Drats.

Naomi just now took her three cats home to her new apartment and I'm all teary-eyed. You'd think I just had a lovely week with the grandkids or something. Sheesh.

Yet this is the first time in 18 years that we've not had a cat in the house. Oh, how I will miss chirpy greetings in the mornings, especially, and holding them mid-morning for my kitty fix.

Of course I'll survive these next few catless weeks, but with a bit of a longing heart.  πŸ’œ


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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Thoughts About Talents



So this morning while watching Hoarders again (I know, I know) something came to me.

For many years I've heard and read that when you ask most people what their God-given talent/gift/calling is, they'll reply, "I don't know. I wish I knew."

And I'm thinking today is that satan tries so hard to stop us from discovering our talent(s) because our callings bless and help other people. 

Any talent, inspires the rest of us to aim higher, to not give-up and to find beauty in an ugly world. Heck, our gifts bless and help us, too, what with all the joy of obedience they leave. But satan convinces us happiness is in doing for ourselves rather than in obeying God by loving others.

While I stared into these Hoarders' rooms I thought of all the passion it requires to collect literally tons of junk. How it's like trying to fill the bottomless pits which are our hearts, pits which can only be satisfied with knowing Jesus as Friend.

Of course, hoarding is certainly not the only way people exhaust themselves with heart-stuffing. There are addictions galore in this life, as we've all heard about or experienced: drugs, food, smoking, sex, pornography, even wild addictions to being the best athlete, artist, gardener, business person or the smartest human being on the planet. 

And so much more.

Since Time's beginning God designed an efficient, marvelous plan for us and what remains is for us to find it. To not look backward at a life we once had (or could have had), nor over at our friend's awesome talents and life, but to seek until we find the ways in which we are to bless, help and inspire others.

And of course, satan hates our searches. He confuses us, whispers lies such as, "You're the one person on this planet who has no talent/gifting/calling," or "You're way too hopeless and sad (or too busy) to see God's plan for you through."

But remember--it's lies, all lies. 

Hence the need to stay plugged into God and His words so that always, they will shine through us, blessing others with the talents He excitedly gave us, knowing their great potential to make our life count for something amazing.



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The happiness was never in asking, "What can others do for me?," but rather, "What can I do for others?"




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Friday, August 12, 2011

Pausing In The Decluttering Mist



Still here!

I'm just in the Decluttering Zone and discovering I must stay there in order to concentrate, to do it all before Moving Day which is still a date unknown. Perhaps around September 1st.

We technically have five attics upstairs, three of which were crammed with boxes, two of which I've emptied, one of which is still two-thirds full.

Good grief. Never again will we own so much stuff!  Never. Again. That is a promise I'm making to myself and so I'm keeping only that which I love and/or find useful.

After all, I'm only given Grace to care for the things I love and need, hence my struggle with more.

Our huge moving sale will begin on Friday the 19th. We'll advertise on Craig's List and in the newspaper that everyone can come and play American Pickers by picking their way through our barn and digging through 1/8th acre of boxes. Should be interesting to see who shows up to pick! Our friend, Donna, has volunteered to come help us--only a true friend would do that.

Just thought I'd check in ...  If I have any thoughts other than decluttering ones I'll be back here. Take good care of yourselves, ok?



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If you enjoy 'disaster films' you may like the one Tom and I Netflixed last night. It was called Tornado Valley, took place out on a beautiful countryside farm and had no sex, language or violence(!) and ok, was a bit lame in parts. But it kept our attention and played just right for our peaceful mood.



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Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Nearing The End Of Another Season


So. Mostly, Naomi has moved out and into her apartment which is only fifteen streets away from Hobbit Cottage. Yet still she has a few boxes upstairs and in our barn--and--her three cats still live here. 

Sammy, Farrah and Ginger give Tom and me our necessary, daily kitty fix.  Holding them (well, not Mean Kitty Ginger) has comforted us since we lost both our sweethearts. Always, we must have cats.

Naomi's coming to this farm and staying for one year was a gift.

Before she arrived, I often wished we could have experienced farm life with our daughter, and well, God allowed us to do that. A bit late in Life, ok,  or perhaps right on time (His timeline not resembling peoples'). And though Naomi was gone much due to her busy life, she helped with the care of this huge place and saw for herself its highs and lows, its delightful points and difficult ones.

Our choosing this country life will help Naomi make future wise decisions about how much land is enough. Growing her own food is her dream, but now she realizes one doesn't need four acres in order to do so.

Always, this farm-living was meant to be temporary, just a taste, one lasting five years at the most. Tom and I wished only to live-out a dream and a few pent-up farm fantasies so to arrive at the end of our lives with fewer regrets and some lovely memories.

And that's what we shall do now.

What a season was Naomi's one year return! Mostly harmony-filled and dear, but I did miss my private space upstairs and oh! the interrupted nighttimes I had. I'll miss Naomi, yes, but not the nights when mother-curiosity yanked me from bed at 2:00 or 3:00 to check the kitchen for Naomi's keys, the sign she'd arrived home--or not.  Usually, it was not. Sigh.

Oh dear, I'm almost tempted to tell you, "Mama, don't let your babies grow up to be musicians," but of course, I can't. Naomi is so ridiculously gifted to be a drummer and it would be a sin for us to beg her to become something other than what God made her. Always, we've realized that.

But still.  ツ

So life goes on, revolving, changing into something altogether different. Naomi has moved-on to a whole other place in Life and Time--and soon--Tom and I will move-on, also.





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We create our own pain whenever we try to force any season to last forever.


"To everything there is a season, a time, a purpose under heaven." ... Ecclesiastes 3:1



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Saturday, August 06, 2011

Changes Made Easier Thanks to Lucy





So. Today would have been Lucille Ball's 100th birthday.

Where was I when I heard she'd died? In my kitchen in Nevada, dishing-up Tom's birthday cake and ice cream for him, two friends of ours and a nine-year-old Naomi. They were watching tv and  Tom called from the living room, "Lucille Ball died today." Then after I watched the tv news report, I returned to the kitchen and finished scooping the ice cream all teary-eyed.

I Love Lucy is such a comfort show, one I watch when too many changes happen. How much better to watch Lucy's crazy antics and be nudged to smile rather than to stare into space and picture my own problems.

Lately I realize old tv shows, movies and books, comfort me because--though the world has gone wilder--those shows and books never do. Always it's the same lines. The same plots, audience laughter or dance scenes. 

No danger of unexpected surprises or bad news in old films and books!

And I think that's why I (and other folks) also seek places alone, by ourselves (or with our spouse only), during rough times. We don't wish to face other peoples' drama. Or risk them telling us, "I'm too busy now," or their I-told-you-so's. We crave sameness so to counteract the out-of-our-control changes. And we just wish to lick our wounds and heal, alone, or alone with Jesus.

But.

There arrives a time to leave the tv or our books of the hide-away, comfort places.  A time to step back outside into the fray. The time returns to test our healing on wobbly legs, to listen, again, to our teachers, even those whose lessons we don't always appreciate and to care for others who need the help we, ourselves, have received.

No man being an island, you know.

But anyway. Happy 100th birthday to Lucille Ball, a woman who did not hide her talents beneath any bushel baskets, but rather, allowed them to shine, sharing what God gave her, offering comfort to the rest of us even now, long after she went away.









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Corinthians 1:4,5... God comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”





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Friday, August 05, 2011

Good. Grief.

It's official now. I want my 40's back.

I walked out to the mailbox yesterday and the first envelope I saw? A summons to jury duty.

On August 22nd.

At the big downtown court 35 miles away. (I never drive there.  Too scary to even imagine doing such a thing.)

They want me there by 8:30 in the morning.

&*^%$^.

I've got to get out of this. Although I don't have one of their official excuses, I do have some darn good ones. Where they ask you to circle the dates you are unavailable, I've got two weeks of those because of moving-in and out and having to be at a different courthouse to sign final sale papers on a day yet tba. And Tom told me to tell them I have a disabled husband who is no way gonna do all the moving by himself.

Gah. Already I'm praying for mercy and favor and anything else I can think of. I so don't need this right now.

As I said, I want my 40's back. Like, yesterday.


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This, too, shall pass......


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Well, I just now finished filling out the jury duty form and I used-up all the lines under 'explanations' to descibe my predictament(s) and to ask for a postponement. Then I prayed over the paper and slipped it into the envelope. And now I shall release the dread,  believe for good things and go about my packing and decluttering.


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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Of Kindness and Not Quitting in Rough Times

Oh wow.

This true story inspired the slippers right off my feet. I hope it will inspire you, too-- to always hang in there, to not allow self-pity to glue you to your couch.

And it certainly took me by the shoulders and said, "See, Debra? You have absolutely nothing to complain about!"

One more thing --there never has been a Good Old Days Decade where everybody was nice and Life, always dreamy. Never. So what remains is for me, for each of us, to make this decade a wonderful one by our kindnesses to others.

Kindness matters to God. Much.

Hmmm.... You're curious about that inspirational article now, aren't you? Well, what are you waiting for? Hop over there and read it! :) 


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"And let us not lose heart in well-doing for in due season we will reap if we do not grow weary."   ... Galations 6:9

Monday, August 01, 2011

Real Confessions

I've been hiding a dark secret from you. (Uh-oh!)

Remember when my big garden used to look like this each summer?




Well, now it looks like this;







Sad, I know.  And yes, I'm so embarrassed to show that to you!

And yet.... that is what happens when you become so overwhelmed that you don't even want to look at a tomato plant, let alone grow one.

And I am that overwhelmed. That burned-out from trying to do more than God called me to do.

But there's something good in all this.  I know myself so much better now. And knowing oneself keeps oneself from taking on more than she can handle. Keeps her from saying, "I wish I had a ______," ten times a day.

From now on, my wishes will be few. Wiser too. I'll be more content because I lived-out my farm fantasies--and in doing so--discovered a fantasy need not be lived over and over and over. Rather, long-held fantasies can be lived once (say, over a weekend), appreciated, savored, then traded-in for that which is real.

Being and living in realness is just as delightful as living-out the occasional fantasy, especially when your real is the realness God created for you. We need not own a farm (or a boat, a lovely house or a horse) in order to appreciate it and dreams are lovely, but some dreams are loveliest when they remain inside our heads. These are truths I've discovered and they're what I'll take away with me when we drive away from this old farm for the last time.
                    



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We need not own a thing in order for it to belong to us.


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