Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My New Favorite Color (And Other Trivia)

Oh! I have a new favorite color. (Although at 16 my bedroom in Auburn, CA was similarly painted, but a bit more apple-greenish, and I adored it.)

See, there's an enchanting house on the way to my supermarket (if I was more organized, I'd have taken a picture for you) which is just the shade of yellow I want for our house. They don't even have shutters, but instead, just a simple wooden chair beside their front door painted a similar green and you know? It's enough.

Inspiration. It's everywhere-- we just need to get our eyes off the bad and onto the good so we can find it.

And well, these folks don't need shutters on their pretty yellow house and now? Now I'm thinking we don't either, especially since we need other things around here more

It is wise to know when to say when.

So I took the inspiration they provided for free, bought a couple cans of green spray paint and painted not only the table, but the plant stand behind it and two other bistro chairs on our porch.

And it will be enough for us, too.


I'll be talking with the Paint Guy today. We're hoping to have the house painted the third or fourth week of September, right after we get the concrete garage floor and driveway finished.


Hooray! Even as I speak, Naomi is traveling up here from Tennessee to visit us for a week. (If you could say a little prayer for her safety, I'd appreciate it. Thanks.) We've not seen her since the first of March and of course, I'm cleaning the house, from upstairs down to the basement as I do before we have any overnight guests (a kinda good-bad-exhausting habit of mine).

And well, since Sunday marks our first anniversary of living in Hobbit Cottage--(and since the house will be clean-ish)--I'll be posting new, updated photos in our online album. Here's one to get you started, though I do hope to have the short front wall painted by Sunday. We shall see if that happens... :

The new color on the side wall, to me, looks much warmer than the iceberg white at the front. Some people can make white look incredible and welcoming. 

I am so not one of those people. :)


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Forgiveness, Anyone?

"But if you do not forgive, your Father in heaven will not forgive your sins."  ... Mark 11:26


Just some questions today.

Have you forgiven and extended mercy toward...

... that cruel kid in high school who called you a bad name?
... the parent or sibling who treated you unfairly?
... the twist of fate which kept you from attending college?
... that ex-boyfriend or spouse?
... those friends who are your friends no more?
... the son or daughter who did what you would never do?
... your neighbors who've let their house fall apart, decreasing your property values?
... those people who drive past your house with their stereos blaring, thumping?
... the loan company that lied to you?
... those politicians who (seemingly) messed-up life for all of us?
... the stores and restaurants with too-high prices?
... that church member who unfairly got upset with you?
... the storm which damaged your house?
... the guy who knowingly sold you a 'lemon' car?
... that person who left you that unkind Facebook or blog comment?
... the tv evangelist who said or did things you disagree with?
... that stranger who dinged your car?
... the way tv isn't like it used to be?
... the film makers who too seldom make good movies anymore?
... the friends who didn't invite you to their home after inviting everyone else?
... the murderers in the news?
... the way God let your best friend die?
... the way city streets are often unsafe?
... the path your life took?
... the way Times have changed?

Just asking. Just wondering, myself, who I've still yet not forgiven, for forgiveness is vital. That is, if I wish to stay healthy, happy and free. If I wish to be forgiven, myself.

And I do.


"Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."  ... Ephesians 4:31-32


Oh! This afternoon I began reading an interesting book on my kindle cloud reader. It's called Poverty Sucks: How to Become a Self-Made Millionaire. Lots of practical advice there and oh my, talk about forgiveness--there are lots of people in this woman's early life who certainly needed forgiving. Good gracious. But anyway, if you'd like to check it out, this ebook is still free as of today. 


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Where's Your Death-Grip?

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."  ... Isaiah 41:10

Last week Tom and I watched an episode of a favorite crime show where an older couple bought their dream home, worked on it, then the wife secretly did something financial (I'm not certain as to what), which appeared good, but soon proved to be a disaster, mostly due to a selfish loan company's president. 

Sadly, the husband returned from work and discovered his wife, dead in the garage, due to self-inflicted carbon monoxide poisoning.

Soon we see this husband and two of his friends (also unfairly treated), down at the loan company demanding to see the president, but without his friends' knowledge,  he brought along gasoline and a lighter--and not just as an incentive for the president to listen to these men's stories--but rather, he was determined to kill himself over his wife's death.

Good gracious. Afterward I told Tom, "You know what I like about us? If we were to lose this house, we would have fun fixing up a little rental apartment. No house on the planet is worth killing ourselves over."

And Tom agreed.

You know Tom's new company? It's struggling. Things keep falling apart, shutting down. A couple of the bosses said, "One more major shut-down and we may have to close down the plant forever. We can't afford to keep doing all these huge repairs." They even had a fire a couple weeks ago (Tom said it's the scariest thing he's ever faced) and then this past week another major shut-down.

The guys Tom works with are scared.

But really? I'm not. God is bigger than all this and He's an excellent provider for His kids, His family. Tom and I witnessed that provision over those 20 months of unemployment--we watched Him handle anything we placed into His hands. He cared about each need, no matter how small, for He is that loving.

Yet where we all get into trouble? It's those death-grip holds we place around temporary things. You know, our dream houses, jobs, money, cars, furniture, gardens, books, stuff and even people. It's those bold statements we make, "If I lose ________, I'll die!" "If I'm fired from my job, I won't have enough money to keep living!" "If I have to sell (that sentimental item) I'll never get over it. Never!"

So, uh, no. Not gonna go there. Instead, I'll choose to rely upon God's goodness and the way He restores what others tried to steal.


"I have been young and now I am old and I've never seen the righteous forsaken nor their seed begging for bread."  ... Psalm 37:25

"... for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances."  ... Philippians 4:11


"This world is not my home, I'm just a passin' through..."   ... copied

Oh! And did you hear that, beginning today, Dollar Tree will now accept manufacturer coupons? Wow! Here is their new coupon policy.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Around The Yard

So. If a person can be both busy and lazy at the same time, that's me lately. I took a mini summer vacation from this blog because--as you other bloggers know--sometimes you just need to get away, just you and God like in the Old Days. Without an audience.

So I relaxed, read books, did the ironing, gave both cats a bath, drove to Home Depot twice, used our dishwasher a scandalous amount of times and I also created that little flower bed, above. Cute, huh? A dream came true, one which required work (as most do), but what matters most is that I enjoyed the journey. Well, hauling in bricks and dirt from Home Depot is not great fun, but necessary, so best done with an anticipatory attitude and dreams shining within ones eyes.

And guess what? This morning we got an estimate to have the house and garage painted and wow... The amount is less than half of the one-wall brick estimate. Yay! I so want this place painted, like, yesterday.

So things are coming along. In fact, I thought I'd share Before and After photos of our yard with you. Here's the Before (from last October, or so):

And here's the After, as of today:

With a closer view of the side yard (I know you are sick of this side....but this is what I think of before I sleep. Gardening--it gets inside you,):

And now I'll return to enjoying another simple summer day with books and quiet and sweet gratitude for this season of my life, one which will not last forever, for seasons frequently change. And that's why I hold them upon my open palm, grasping tightly only to God who changes not.


Thought you other optimistic decorator types might like this.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Firm, But Gentle.

"Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near."  ... Philippians 4:5


Oh! I am so enjoying my yard-sale-find book, From The Ground Up by Amy Stewart. Such perfect timing for me to discover this book so I'm thinking it's definitely a gift from You Know Who.

The author lived on the edge of a beach and fairgrounds in Santa Cruz and her first summer there, she discovered why her neighbors dreaded vacationers. Visitors left trash in the yards and even pulled up plants to take home with them (!) And you won't believe this part:

"I came home and found a couple teenagers sunbathing on my front porch... right in front of my front door. The man had spread out a beach towel ... and the woman was lying on her back with her shirt rolled up...

As usual, I was too astonished to speak. They both had on sunglasses so I wasn't even sure if I was making eye contact with them.

"Hello," I said, thinking I would try the polite approach.

They both looked up at me, said hello in response, and lay back down.

This was too much. I knelt down next to the man and said, "This is my house. It's not a public area. This is like you lying on my front lawn."

The man looked around for a minute, surprised. He looked up at me and at my front door behind me. He turned and glanced at his girlfriend. "Whoa," he said at last, then rolled off his beach towel. They both jumped up as if they had just noticed for the first time that the beach was actually another block away and they ambled off without another word."


Oh my goodness! Can you imagine? Now, I'm known as a gentle person, but in this case? Oh! I would have needed to call upon all the power of God available to not go all wild-eyed-ballistic. ("Excuuuse me, but what the heck are you dooo-ing on myyyy front porch?!?!")


But I admired the way the author handled the situation. She didn't begin yelling about how "all you tourists think you own our town and I'm sick of it! You all throw your trash in our yards and steal our plants, even!"

No, she stayed calm, gentle. She confronted them, yes! But not in an accusatory, lump-them-together-with-a-crowd sort of way. She did not assume they meant harm nor that they were the trash-tossing, plant-pulling, vacationers-behaving-badly types.

And I think that's how God would want it. 

To let our gentleness be evident to all, even while we are confronting others. That we'd remember He is near and that we'd view confrontation as helping others understand what is right. And what is not.


                                       Nap in a Bag. Silly Daniel. 


Thanks to each of you who left helpful, encouraging comments after my post yesterday. I appreciate them so much! The estimate we later received was actually a lot lower than I'd thought it would be. But it's still awfully high.


"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."  ... Proverbs 15:1


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Crashing and Burning of Dreams

"When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways."  ... 1 Corinthians 13:11


Ugh. Don't you hate disappointment? Yeah, I do, too. At first, anyway, because often? I see that God had a better plan than mine all along.

So, well, anyway... yesterday we had a 5th generation Brick Guy come out and give an estimate to have our house front, bricked. Stuccoed, too, on the two portions, above, since brick is too heavy for those. 

Good grief. We've not received the formal estimate yet by email, but he gave us a quick one for just the portion along the porch. It was twice what I'd figured (isn't it always?). Twice. And that's not even counting the stucco on the top parts, for we'd have to do something up there for we certainly can't just leave it in outdated blue siding. Yick.

Yes, we can get additional estimates, but to find someone who'll do it all for half price? And to just spend all that money on the front of the house? Sigh.

Well, now we're thinking we should just reside the whole house. We could probably have it done for the same price.

And I'm ok with that. Already I can see our little house in a creamy pale yellow, with white trim and light green shutters. It would look sweet. Cozy.

But at the first thought of siding and not brick? Oh my, releasing that brick dream was rough. Brick Guy left and then Tom and I came into the house , me with my head hanging to my waist, practically. Tom went to the computer to look up Siding Guys and I stepped into the kitchen to make hot chocolate and 2 tablespoons of quickie chocolate-frosting-in-a-cup. (Oh chocolate... where would we be without you?). And I moped. Considered crying, but passed. Grabbed my double chocolate snack and watched an episode of Flashpoint-- weird comfort tv, but oh well. It helped.

And got over the loss of my brick dreams. Let them go. Moved on.

And today it's really ok. Maybe someday we'll have a white-washed-brick-fronted house or maybe God's making me a Heavenly brick house. But whatever, I refuse to stay camped-out at Disappointment Campground. Nope! Life is too short for self-pity and besides, God expects us to leave our childish fits and tears behind, grow-up and always want Him (and His will) more than anything else. 

And to choose His plans. After all, His plans for us happen. They come to pass, but only when we cooperate with Him--and let go of that which drags us down--the stuff that never came from His heart to begin with. 

And oh, how I prefer His ways! I just needed some time to heal from the crash and burn of a dream. God gets that, allows a bit of time for that, just so we don't camp in that space. 

And today? Today I'm fine and dreaming of pale yellow siding, white trim and light green shutters. Already there's a new dream within my heart and only time will tell whether it's meant to step into reality.


1 Corinthians 14:20 
Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.

"Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life."  ... Proverbs 4:23


Monday, August 20, 2012

Grocery Inspiration

We interrupt your regularly-scheduled blog post for what I hope will be inspiration to get out there and combine sales with coupons for major savings.

See these groceries? (Plus, please add a half gallon of milk.)

If, last week, I'd gone skipping all silly willy nilly to my supermarket and bought these, I'd have paid $46.89. But this morning, instead, using sales and coupons, I paid just $18.22. 

My best deal? The organic lettuce was only .50 cents, regularly priced $3.99. Earthbound Farms has been giving out coupons like candy at their website and I've been getting four .75 cents off coupons (which each double to $1.50 off at my store) weekly for months now. This week it's on sale for $3, plus, I nearly always buy the packages with a $1 off sticker because the selling date is closing in. Hence, just .50 cents. 

The creamers were just .90 cents each. Another great deal. (I never pay over $1 for those. Never.) Into the freezer they'll go with the 3 other brand creamers I bought last week for the same price. 

And rather than paying $4.79 for the Birds Eye 'meal in a bag' (as I call it), I paid just $2.49. The vitamins would have been $20, but I paid just $7.

This morning I saved $49 with sales and coupons, so instead of paying $125, I paid $76. Plus, my store will give Tom .60 cents off per gallon the next time he fills the car with gas, partly because of my grocery totals and partly due to the coupons I use (for each ten coupons, we receive another .10 cents off per gallon).

As long as we have sales, coupons, our brains and God's blessings, we need never panic about rising grocery prices. At least, that's how I see it.


My favorite coupon blogs who send out daily emails full of deals to print out:

Krazy Coupon Lady  (love her printable coupon list the best)
Tricia's Frugal Finds (my local coupon blogger. You'll want to find your own to alert you to your town's best deals.)


Another coupon hint:  Always take all of your coupons with you. Often I come across an item on sale which wasn't listed in the weekly sales flyer, and when I do--since I have all my coupons--I can just reach into my wallet there in the aisle and grab one to correspond with the sale.


We now return you to your regularly-scheduled blog, already in progress.  :)

"And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes."  ... Luke 12:42


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Meanwhile, Back At The Yard Sales......

Speaking of my grandparents (my last post) this weekend Tom and I bought this nightstand (only $5) at a yard sale, one which looks much like my grandparents' of long ago:

Is that cute, or what? And I love its feet:

I eat snacks from small bowls like the ones my grandparents had and drink coffee from a jadeite mug like theirs, also. I have their picture in my kitchen and now I crawl up the stairs and 'their nightstand' greets me like a surprise every time. It's like keeping them in my Present, though really, my heart can do that without stuff and things. 

I just enjoy the smiles, the reminders that I'll see my grandparents again someday in a new, amazing place. And that we'll never be parted again.


What else did I find? This funky place mat:

It's now in my bedroom, as well.


Oh! And I found these two lovely books:

The woman asked just ten cents for From The Ground Up: The Story of a First Garden, but I told her I'd feel guilty if I didn't give her at least 25. :) (The cover price is $14.95. Wow.) Anyway, I began reading it and what a perfect summer book, especially while I'm also creating my own garden from the ground up (yesterday I even bought night crawlers for my flower beds from our local 7-11. Put them in the ground two-by-two. heh.)

I read a library copy of Saving Cee-Cee Honeycutt (hi NancyR!) while at the farm, enjoyed its 'Southern-ness', so what a delight to have a copy of my own, and for only .75 cents.

Anyone else in the middle of 4 or 5 books? 


My Past. It's So Yesterday.

"But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."    Philippians 3:14


This post will horrify some of you. Simply blow you away. But, well, I want to tell you the truth.

Basically, I leave My Past alone.

I've got two bins of my little family's photos, and too, pictures from my own childhood, but I almost never look at them.

I'm not into genealogy. At all. My only relatives who I find terribly interesting are my grandparents:

... and I knew them, personally. Loved them in-person. My memories of them inspire me, make me smile and leave me anticipating Heaven when we'll be reunited. 

Also? It's my experiences and God's incredible goodness, mercy and His patience which has made me what I am today--not my ancestors. I see that as fact.

I've got hatboxes stuffed with old letters from even my high school days, but (don't scream) I'm considering recycling them with the trash. I never look at them; I just lug them from house to house, so why keep them? 

(And before you say that my family might like to see them when I die, save your breath. They care less than I do about My Past.)

We have one video tape with old film of Tom, Naomi (age 9) and me from our Nevada Days. There's a video of Naomi in a town play at age 14 and assorted videos of Tom's and Naomi's college concerts together back in the 90's. We never watch them.

We just don't care anymore. 

Oh, I do treasure My Past for one reason: the valuable lessons it taught me. You know, how not to act.  What doesn't work. How not to be. I've learned much from My Past, actually.

I used to be super sentimental. Thought daily about My Past, reread my old diaries and letters, wished My Past could be My Present. That's when I lived in the Nevada Desert during my Darkest Days of Depression. 

So not good to yearn for dead days.

But now? Now this is what I believe, this is what I do, this is how I live:

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."  Isaiah 43: 18-19

And now My Present has become My Good Old Days. Living in my Now feels remarkable and joy-filled. I'm thinking I'll stay here, instead.


"Do not say, "Why were the old days better than these?" For it is not wise to ask such questions."   ... Ecclesiastes 7:10

  "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."  2 Corinthians 5:17


If you enjoy splashing around in Your Past, that's cool. I'm just telling you how I feel about mine.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Growing. Learning. Creating.

"Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding."  ... Proverbs 4:6-7


So guess who finally painted her kitchen arch and dining room wall yesterday? And guess who's so thrilled with the new look that she's going to paint the rest of that dining room wall, the one which belongs to the living room?

Yep, me.

Oh, that buttery paint warmed up our walls, making me feel as though I'm stepping into a hug, and now, more than ever, the iceberg white of our living room walls chills me. Ack. Perhaps someday I'll paint the rest of it. Perhaps. But whatever, I'm amazed that, at a glance, Donna's paint so closely matched that already in our kitchen. One of those 'God things', definitely.

But yesterday I did get my Mayberry Day as I'd hoped, what with painting those walls and then changing back into my dreamy summer nightgown (I find any excuse to wear that) for a long rest with snacks in the recliner and more of Psych. My 1940's radio station playing upstairs. And then changing into my clothes and re-spray-painting picture frames, black (red wasn't working) and outdoor furniture under the cool sunshine. Created kitchen valences from linen napkins. More tv. More rest.

A remarkable day.

But then Tom came home, answered a phone message he'd received from his credit card company and oh dear. Some Bozo charged a plane trip to Xanobania (whatever) on Tom's credit card earlier and then today had mailed a package from San Francisco so the credit card people caught that, thankfully. But still, gah.  

A half hour later, all was straightened-out and I gave Tom his dinner.

Oh well! We all have things which swoop in, meaning to steal our joy and ruin our day. But maturity calms our hearts, tells us this, too, shall pass so go on and just be happy. And keep creating.

Maturity also says this,below, but you have to be pretty grown-up, indeed, to agree with it:

"People are not our problem. Our problem is the way we respond to our problems."  ... Joyce Meyer

Personally, I agree. It's not the awful people in our lives--it's the awful thoughts in our heads which ruin everything. 

And well, that's why no flake over in San Francisco is going to spoil my joy today and neither are the silly political shenanigans or all the whiners, moaners or mean people online. No, today I'll respond by paying our credit card bill, the part we charged and then I'll finish painting that living room wall with all the windows wide open on this cool, sweet Saturday. 

And then continue to Mayberry-ize my Life.


You know how I'm always looking for new-to-me tv series to watch on Netflix? Well, Tom found one for us and we so enjoyed watching it together. It's called Alphas

The first season tells of a psychologist who gathers a group of people born with enhanced abilities (Alphas), folks whose families don't understand them nor their abilities. This group then is involved with helping other Good Alphas and  fighting against the Bad Alphas of the world. 

Partly why I like it is that I know how it feels to be misunderstood and labeled incorrectly because of the gifts God's given me. 

Probably we all know how that feels and I'm thinking that's what will draw many to this show.  Season 2 is currently being shown on the Sci Fy channel, but again, you can find the first season in the instant view portion of Netflix.


“I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy” ... John 16:22