Saturday, September 29, 2012

Expecting The Best On Weekends. And Always.

So, well, yard sales in our area haven't been as terrific as the countryside ones, but you know? Tom and I still go out on weekends expecting that God will have scattered things we needed here and there for us.

And wow. Today ol' Debra hit the Mother Lode.

Some of my best deals:

The lamp, above. $3

This awesome (heavy!) door-knocker. $3. I'll probably paint it green before hanging it on the new red door.

This cool old bookcase. $10. (I was able to get rid of two smaller ones. How fun to 'play books' again today.)

This tiny iron patio table. $1. I spray-painted it yellow.

This cute figurine candle holder. .50 cents.

This wreath. $3. I'll spray-paint it (perhaps white yellow) then hang it on our new red door. (Included was a metal clock with autumn-type leaves which fit in the center.)

These cool blank cards. $1.50. I framed two of the fairy cards--they're beautiful.

The sweet little birdhouse. $1.

Happy sigh.

What good things are you expecting this weekend?


(The goose was a .50 cent yard sale find from last weekend.)  :)


So often I hear people moan, "There are no good deals anymore. Everything is just too expensive." That is why I include the prices that I pay--to give you hope.


This and That. And Red Doors.

Oh! Do you love that, or what? A friend posted it at Facebook and there was no way to share it there so I'm sharing it here. With you.


This time last year? Our crab apple tree had barely a leaf on it and looked, well, pathetic. But since Tree Guy wop, wop... pruned it and chopped down the two trees which shaded/distracted this one?  It looks zillions of times better.

Lesson: let God prune away whatever He wishes in our own lives, even when it hurts facing sad truths about ourselves. Eventually we'll look and feel zillions of times better.


And yes, I just keep showing you photos of our garage, but see, we haven't had the trim on the house painted yet and that's what's really going to make it shine. That, and well, I'm seriously considering painting the front door, red, especially after seeing this amazing photo yesterday. (Check it out. I'll wait for you to return.)  :)

Oh wow. Yes, I'm getting excited about red for the front door.

(While researching door colors, I read about one woman who paints her front door a different color each season (!) Now, there's creativity and dedication.)

Oh, and I'd like to hang little white tie-back curtains at that garage window. This week, hopefully.


Yard sales this morning, then we'll return so Tom can sleep away the afternoon since he's working for a guy the next two nights.


"Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing] He cuts away (trims off, takes away); and He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit."   ... John 15:2


Okay. Here's a peek, even without the trim being re-painted. The sun is shining for a few moments so I ran out and took a picture for you (though sigh... the color isn't quite right. The corner of the garage is truer, at least on my computer).


Thursday, September 27, 2012


Yellow, yellow everywhere.

The concrete guy asked, "Now, why do you want a sidewalk beside the garage?" And I told him, "Well, to make it appear like a little patio."

He chuckled. "That's gonna be one tiny patio."

But I don't care for, oh, this morning when the sun shone all autumn-dappled on the new patio and those chairs over there, well, I thought my heart would burst with happiness. And gratitude.

If the sun shines tomorrow morning I'll take another picture and show you.

But anyway, we now have tons of yellow all over the place and I am in love. Love, love, love.

We should have gone yellow mad sooner.


Not a great 'before photo' (oh, that dreadful driveway!), but here you go:

And the 'after':

A Spinach Post (As In, No Dessert Today)

"Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety."  ... Proverbs 11:14


Now, there's a verse for Today.

We need each other. 

None of us has it all right.

No one teacher/preacher is annointed to teach in all areas.

Must our counselors be perfect? Uh, no. God can use anybody, even donkeys, to keep us from being stupid:

"Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?
29 Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If only I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.
30 The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?”
“No,” he said.
31 Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with his sword drawn....
32 The angel of the Lord asked him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me.33 The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If it had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared it.”
34 Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, “I have sinned. I did not realize you were standing in the road to oppose me."  (From Numbers 22)

....tsk...tsk...tsk.... Balaam truly believed his way was the right one.

And because Balaam's donkey didn't agree with him, Balaam wanted to strike out in his ignorance. To hurt the one with common sense.

He wanted to silence the one God gave him to save his life, for Balaam was determined to do what he wanted to do.

Hmm... Sounds like life on the Internet to me. Sounds like a typical day in 2012.

Personally? I want my eyes to be opened to see anybody who God sends to help me, even when, at first, the help appears more like criticism.

I don't want to waste time with problems I could have avoided had I listened. Had I humbled myself. Had I craved wisdom instead of going my own way.


(Wow. God would have saved the donkey, but would have killed Balaam. Interesting!)


Man. Andy Williams passed away. 

How blessed I feel that he shared his talent with us. What a great lesson, that, and what an amazing voice.

I'm so thankful for his albums and that my favorite radio station plays his songs often. In this way, he still lives amongst us.


"Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling."  ... Proverbs 16:18

"Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life."  ... Proverbs 19:20


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mildly Venting

So yesterday a politically-minded friend posted this cartoon at Facebook (bits are cut off, but you'll still get it):

Good grief. The too-serious side of me got all bothered about that, but I wrote nothing because God nudged me weeks ago to only encourage at Facebook and teach at my blog. Teaching at Facebook tends to get some people upset with me, for usually I'm unable to explain myself in such limited parameters. And too, they don't understand where I'm coming from, having not read my blog as many of you have. Sigh. 

(One peace-making gal answered that post, above, with, "But I made pancakes!" and got two 'likes'. God bless the peace-makers. We so need them to balance-out the rest of us.)

But what I longed to sputter? It's one thing when there's balanced, intelligent political discussion of ideas and solutions happening, but what we're all seeing, instead? Bashing. Just plain, strife-filled, discontent-spreading bashing. And that's what lots of us are sick of.

And that end part about a picture of dinner? Good grief. That's meant to belittle folks with other callings and priorities who are in different seasons of their lives. It insinuates, "Your interests are trivial and meaningless compared to mine."

Gah. The pride.

Have I ever posted food photos? Nah, but I love Facebook posts where women photograph the food they spent hours happily preparing for the families God gave them. They inspire me to creatively care for Tom and to spend my days doing my best, rather than just trying to squeak by. They remind me that attending to the details of my life will/and does add-up to a life well-lived.

Pictures of restaurant food, even, show gratitude for being able to afford to eat out and celebrate the discovery of meals which taste great, giving a heads-up to friends about good places to dine.

Oh well, I'll stop there. Just had to vent a bit because this stuck in my craw, for there's never only one way to view a thing. Sometimes we forget that.


Speaking of creative homemaking, today I'll be rereading this retro-fun book:

...which I told you about here. This book always shakes the lazies from me. Always.

"Plan to do something each day to improve your home so that your improvement will never cease and so that it can bring out the best that is in you and the others who dwell therein."  ... Daryl V. Hoole


16: These six things the Lord hates: yes, seven are an abomination unto him: 
17: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 
18: A heart that devises wicked imaginations, feet that are swift in running to mischief, 
19: A false witness that speaks lies, and he that sows discord among brethren.


"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."  ... 1 Corinthians 13:13


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Just a Peek

Whew!  Yesterday the concrete guys arrived (two days early), unannounced, and of course, Tom was in bed because he had to work that night, so the painting guys were at the back door asking questions (ding dong of the doorbell---shhhh!) and the concrete boss was at the front door (loud knock, knock, knock---shhhh!) asking other questions. And the garage still needing to be emptied of stuff (concrete would be poured over the old floor), though not lots of things because Tom made tons of shelves earlier.


But I kept telling myself to relax, to do the best I can and that everything would work out. And it is. Has. Will.

So here's a peek through the crab apple tree of the garage (still needs one more coat of paint) and the new driveway and sidewalk and a few of the workers, as well. (Ignore the junk they pulled out of the garage.)

What an enormous change already. I am so grateful... really.

More and better pictures later. I promise.


I love Western New York. Truly. 

Yesterday I bought some mayonnaise because I'd received my weekly email from my store saying--this week--if I bought Kraft mayo I'd receive a voucher for $2 off any purchase my next visit. 

Well, I bought Kraft mayo, but the olive oil kind (hoping it wouldn't make a difference) and received no $2 voucher. So I went back today, took my mayo with me, plus, a copy of that email and my receipt, too, then picked up a regular bottle of mayo (where I saw a tag below it saying if we buy two bottles we'd get $2 off next time...sigh...) so to make an exchange and try my luck at a voucher. Then took all this stuff and my confusion to the information desk.

Well. I saw just one young man behind the desk and I thought (assumed..tsk..tsk...), he probably wouldn't know what to do about my problem. But after I explained everything, he simply opened the register and handed over 2 $1 bills, took back the mayo I didn't really want--all in a pleasant manner! No sighs. No saying, "Yeah, yeah...whatever....." No slamming the cash register drawer. Just a pleasant, "Have a good one."

I told him, "Oh! You've made my day. Thank-you."

Then I went to Target where the cash register lady called me honey. Then while leaving Dollar Tree, three people held the door open for me,  and for each other, and everybody was thanking everybody else. (That happens all the time here.)

Like I said, I love where I live.


Monday, September 24, 2012


Is that a spiffy book cover, or what? Not my favorite of Rosamond du Jardin's series (I prefer her Tobey Heydon series beside it, best), but I keep that cover faced outward upon the shelf for its retro beauty.


The yellow is making our house look 3 million times better, even with just the first coat. I'm thrilled with it and grateful we didn't go with a safe, mealy-mouthed yellow. Someday soon I will show you pictures, I promise.

Oh, and I told our painting contractor our daughter's name and he just about flipped. Said, "Oh! I know Naomi. She's an amazing, hard-hitting drummer and an exceptional person!" And on and on he went. He coordinates bands in this area for gigs so he was well-acquainted with her and how lovely to hear our daughter given such a glowing review--made this mother-heart of mine smile.


Remember those Scholastic books I bought from Ebay? I just finished reading this one:

... and wow. Amazing insight, descriptions and story. Read about it here. Not for kids only! I'll now definitely order another of this author's books, an adult one called November Grass, one I'm thinking many of you might like, as well. Check it out.


Don't you just love this cooler, more colorful time of year? I do. In fact, I felt like celebrating Autumn so I actually wore a black skirt and black footless-tights to the supermarket this morning. Wore too-small shoes, though (which are headed right back to Salvation Army, trust me), but otherwise, it felt fun to dress-up, even just for buying groceries. In fact, perhaps I've found my new style. Hmm.


See? I told you--fluff. Just fluff today, but really? Lately I'm enjoying simply living, appreciating, reminding myself to focus and just reaping good things from all I've learned these past many years. So perhaps that's more than just fluff--feels stronger, deeper in real life, anyway..

God is very, very good.


And something funny.... In the same conversation, our painting contractor asked me, "Don't you drive? It seems like you're always home."

Heh. I told you I'm a homebody!  :)


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Autumn From a Speeding Car

Tom and I drove out into the countryside this rainy morning, out to our former farmland so that he could have breakfast with his buddy, Al, while I read decorating magazines and drank coffee at the supermarket in a place I fondly call Grover's Corners (you know, from the play, Our Town). 'Corners' is in the real-life title of this tiny town, though.

Oh, what we saw on this first day of Autumn! 

My pictures do it all no justice.

But then, these were taken from a speeding car, after all.

And anytime we rush things in this Life, it turns out not as well as it would have if we'd just s-l-o-w  d-o-w-n. And take time to breathe and appreciate and whisper a grateful prayer in the middle.

And just think! This is just the beginning. Only the beginning....


And just a few more...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Stuff. Just Stuff.

Spiffy old house, huh? This stood across the street from an estate sale we drove to today and also this house:

Except for the roof, well, I love everything about this place. Don't miss the old gazebo on the right.

My favorite find today? These whimsical plates for only .25 cents each:

Are they perfect for a tea party or what?


Our garage is getting painted now, first--Tom's idea so we can get the concrete guys here sooner. 

Ack! The patience test. Not my favorite one, but necessary since we all must wait for so many things in this Life.

Might as well wait happily. I know.


Does anyone else love it when Simon Baker (from The Mentalist) drinks his tea from that turquoise Feistaware cup and saucer? My oh my... I am so tempted to buy a turquoise teacup and saucer set on Ebay even though I have other sets in different colors. Maybe, instead, I'll add a turquoise set to my Christmas list. :)  (Isn't it odd the way we love certain things and hate others? Guess it's just part of what makes us, well, us.)



"But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."  ... James 1:4


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Yellow Things

They began painting our house yesterday! Well, one guy with a roller and a paintbrush.

This is gonna take awhile.

With just one wall painted in only one coat of yellow, not even finished-- already I love the change. The color's a bit more yellow than I'd wanted, but oh! It's actually hard not to smile when you look at that wall. And too, we're bringing our house into the 21st century--that 1980's blue so dated it.

But choosing the shade of yellow --what a test. Eegads. I'll spare you the drawn-out, frustrating details.
Then there've been the Sammy Tests. The past three days he's stubbornly done just about everything he's not supposed to.
In fact, he knocked a large, heavy mirror down our stairs at night (don't ask me how) which put two holes in the walls and scratches in the lovely-stained stairs. Gah.
Then yesterday our next-door neighbors had their front lawn dug up and the sewer worked on and now it's all one hill of dirt with a big pipe sticking up about two feet out of the ground (???). We have company coming from California on October 6th and that's what I get for wanting everything to look perfect. (Didn't I just blog about that?!)   :)

Tests! But we all have them and once you realize what's going on--that God is trying to iron the wrinkles inside of you and make you more like Him--well, you start cooperating and learning and changing. And that's a Good Thing. A Grace Thing.


Speaking of yellow houses..... Shhh, don't tell anyone, but I still love reading the original Boxcar Children series of books, the ones Gertrude Chandler Warner wrote in the 50's, 60's and 70's. I just finished reading The Yellow House Mystery and thought it one of the very best. It had everything a good kids' mystery should have.


My best deals from the supermarket this morning:

The paper towels were free.
The 6 boxes of kleenex were .50 cents each.
The laundry detergent was $2.25 each.
The fruit bars were .90 cents each.
The canned beans were .49 cents each. 
The Jello mix-ins were .50 cents.

A major thing I love about combining sales and coupons? The prices I pay remind me of grocery shopping in a California mountain town 30 years ago as a young married woman. Good prices, good times back then--and the same now, too. 


Oh! Almost forgot. Did you see the little yellow sun at the top of this post? That was a yard sale find. I love those whimsical kinds of faces--I think it all began with Grandfather Clock on Captain Kangaroo.  :)


"Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands."  ... Deuteronomy 8:2

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Imperfect Stenciling

Yesterday found me in a stenciling mood. For weeks I'd sit and watch tv and look above this painting and 'see' that stencil done in brown. I knew it would look just right and now in Real Life, to me, it does. (But good gracious.... that wall is not tan, it is pale yellow. sigh.)

Then, because I'm trying to add more Autumn to my home, I painted over two stencils with different, more Fall-like colors. So while The Mentalist (my current favorite show) played on TNT, I did this:

And this:

And alas, I made mistakes on both of these, but you know? Years ago I stopped making myself insane with dreams of perfection. Painting perfection doesn't even exist in this world, so why aim for it?

Yet there are certain types of perfection. There's obeying God with our whole heart and with motives as pure as they get upon this imperfect planet. There's loving others with as-seen-by-God perfect, sacrificial love. There's trusting God completely with your life, not wavering, not worrying, even a little.

And there's more of that kind of perfection, more as-seen-by-God stuff.

But as for me and stenciling? Nah, you won't find anything close to perfection there.

And that's ok. I'm very happy with yesterday's results. They're still much nicer than what I'd painted before and as I often repeat to myself, better is better, after all.


Pat wrote a lovely post about perfection here.

The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."  1 Samuel 16:7


Monday, September 17, 2012

Now. The Amazing Days.

So this morning on Facebook I saw this old photo of an A&W restaurant (remember those? I was a janitor at one.) with the caption, 'Back in the Amazing Days.' 

Of course, lots of people commented about missing the Amazing Days, saying they were long ago, but no more.

Ah, but these are the amazing days, too! We are still alive, still here. And Life is still good if we make it so and if we have God, of course. Any day with God is amazing.

There are still restaurants with car hops, you know. Sonic Drive-ins are just one example (check-out their website. It's cool.), but there are others. Yet some silly people insist such places do not exist. Others say, "They exist, but it's not the same as long ago."

Of course, it's not the same. Nothing is. Everything changes, yet that doesn't mean it's less, unless we make it so.


Way back in those so-called Amazing Days, around 1979, I saw a friend of my sister's at the supermarket. She told me her mother lived across the street from Tom and me, a couple houses down, and she was blessed when she'd see me kiss Tom good-bye at the front door in the mornings before he'd leave for work. She found our newly-married-ness, sweet.

I was touched that we'd blessed one of our neighbors without even knowing, someone who watched us just living Life. Of course, it felt a tad strange to know we were being watched, but hey! We are, you know. All of us are being watched.

And I thought of my sister's friend's story this morning as I got up while it was still dark and switched on my 1940's & 50's radio station and our sweet little fireplace and made Tom's breakfast and his lunch, then later walked out to the car with him, carrying bags of uniforms and his lunch sack, then gave him a kiss good-bye before he drove away.

I'm sure Tom and I have neighbors now, all these thousands of miles and whole decades later, who watch us, the old married folks now, and are blessed how we begin our days. May we always be good examples to these neighbors, not bad, so that we can help, if just a little, others experience their own Amazing Days, even now, even in 2012.


 I so needed a real desk up here, for the tiny bistro table just was not working. Besides being too small, Sammy The Cat took it over and kept knocking all my books and papers off onto the floor with loud "booms!"

So on Sunday I created a desk and well, although it looks like something a teenager would make, I love it. Absolutely love it. Here it is:

And there's tons of storage beneath, for I used two sets of 'wire shelves' which we bought at a yard sale. Of course, yesterday Sammy The Cat and I fought over this desk all day long until I made a bed for him down on one of the shelves.

He's still trying to take over the top of my new desk. 

Stay-tuned to see who wins this one.


"These are the Good Old Days..."


Oh! And my newly-won Scholastic ebay books arrived on Saturday, so quickly, it made my head spin. 

I read Fog Magic yesterday and had forgotten how well-written it was. Not your typical kids' book, quite detailed, thought-provoking, haunting.