Friday, October 31, 2014

When Something Might Be Taken Away ...

"...let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us..." ---Hebrews 12:1


My buddy, Dolores, shared this at Facebook:

Did it remind me of some deep, meaningful truth? Nah, it brought to mind our view of the river, the one we paid lots of money for by way of a picture window, which has, for weeks, been blocked by big ol' nasty machinery. Grrr...

There's an empty lot down there where the name of our area, plus the word 'vineyard,' were formed using stones on a mound of dirt. After that, wooden boxes of something (grapevines? On a corner city lot??) were planted, other ground was dug up and some gravel brought in. And each night, unsightly endloaders, etc., have parked--not in a back corner of the lot--no. But in front, sprawling across our pretty river view.

Of course, I could complain (way more than I have) silently and aloud to Tom. I could also storm down there and ask the drivers to park  farther back (hey, I'm sure some eccentric little old lady somewhere would do that). I could also sit here and fear and fume that maybe a building's going up next(!), destroying our view forever and proclaim that--if it does--we're so outta here. We're moving. 

(And ok, ok... I did, in the heat of the moment, say that one time.)

But no. If wisdom is letting go of something every day, then I'd be wise to let go of this. To--like late yesterday afternoon and this morning--so appreciate and treasure the times the machinery is gone, making the river visible again in all its blue glory.

I'll remain calm rather than stress-out about this, weakening my immune system, jeopardizing my health, ruining otherwise lovely days.

And I'll believe, in faith, that if a building does go up, it will be built in a back corner of the (huge) lot. And all will be well.

If wisdom truly is letting go of something every day, I'll choose to be wise.

For I do know this: Life is all about how we choose to react to the foul balls which land upon our heads. And the best life will always belong to those who choose to smile anyway, believe for better days, and remind themselves that at least they still have God, He who makes all things right. In His time. 


See what Tom and I really, really want to buy?:

Since we have no built-ins here, at least this would lend to the illusion that we do. Also, our current source of emergency heat is a kerosene heater out in the garage, but can we find anyplace to even buy kerosene? Uh, no. (We've been blessed, indeed, not to have had a black-out in the five years we've had that yard-sale-found heater.) Anyway, this fireplace uses cans of gel and those are super easy to order online. And again, it would be for emergency heat only.


We have questions! Most likely they can all be answered by a YouTube video, but hey, we're lazy and wanted to ask here first:

If we hang our tv above this, where do the cords go? (My friend, Susan, said you drill a hole behind the tv for the wires. Makes sense.) Also, does the swivel wall mount thing come out far enough to where someone (Tom) could see the screen if he's on the extreme left?

And one more ... where the heck do the the cable box and blu-ray player go? Hmm? On all those HGTV shows I just see a tv above a fireplace and nothing else. ???

I'm thinking we need professional help. Tom thinks we should just wing it. Oh dear. But I'd rather not buy this (beautiful thing) until we know for certain that it's gonna work for us.

Anyone have any answers before we seek out YouTube?  :)

Update: Oh! We may have come up with an easy, no extra installation solution. Key word: may

Stay tuned.


Oh, and Happy Halloween! My friend, Tara, shared this blog post at Facebook and it mirrored what I've always felt about Halloween, well, the part about how the world comes walking right up to your door and what an opportunity that can be!


Free Kindle books:


And finally... (long post, right? But I seldom post on Saturdays, so you're getting a two-in-one with this post. heh) ... I tweaked my new corner again this morning-- hung a mirror above, something I've wanted there a very long time!).

I love this....

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Thinkin' Nicole's Gonna Kill Me Yet

"She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness."   ...Proverbs 31:27


Okay. I'm only going to show you this corner of my house because, as of this morning, it no longer looks like that. Plus, some of you who tell me that Hobbit Cottage is just perfect (though you've never been here) and that I should be quiet, content and live here till I die, well, you need a good ol' reality check:

Gah. I can't believe I lived with it that way for that long. 

(Sorry about the darkness. I forgot the stair light works now-- the bulb burned out two years ago,but I couldn't reach it to replace it. I fixed it finally this weekend since I moved what had blocked my reach.) See? Also not perfect. There's a list.

Anyway. I finally changed that corner to this:

(Tweaked version Oct. 31st.)

Better, right? Someday I might paint the two white-ish frames, black. 

Now, the cat tree thingy, the vacuum cleaner and Tom's back-stretching, toe-stubbing thing (I named it The Hector because I can't, for the life of me, ever remember what it's really called)--they're still there. I just pushed them out of camera view. And where will Tom's coats go which once hung there? I don't know. I really don't.

We have just 1 1/2 closets in this house and one is a storage room now (upstairs, where Tom seldom ventures) and the other is in his room, but is a good-sized closet only for, say, a clothes-wearing ferret.

Oh, and I didn't tell you that weeks ago I created a wall upstairs to (kinda) divide our guest room from my new room, you know, to give our imaginary guests, privacy. You must promise me not to laugh, though. Promise? Ok, here it is:

Hmm.... right? I painted the back of it today and will probably give it another coat tomorrow.

And yesterday I made a curtain for the front (this is one of my homemade substitute pantries) from a still-in-the-package flat sheet from a yard sale for just $1.

See? I'm trying to make this house comfortable and efficient for us. This is where so much of my concentration has gone this year and where I've taken the Patience Test like you wouldn't believe. Yet Grace has me here at this moment so it's all good.

But what else did I do today besides painting and rearranging furniture? I ironed six pieces of clothing for Tom, baked a cake, made a pasta salad, folded laundry, cooked chicken, vacuumed, straightened the house and put a load of dishes through the dishwasher. I'd still love to feed the birds, but I can barely move.

Darn that inspiring ol' Nicole Curtis anyway. She just may send me to an early grave yet.  :)


Stay tuned tomorrow when you'll see what we're planning to buy *if* we can figure out some complications it will cause. I'll be asking questions of you who are technically in-the-know regarding flat screen tv's being mounted to a wall.....


Free Kindle books:

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Tempted to Escape Your Life?

"...though you do not [even] now see Him, you believe in Him and exult and thrill with inexpressible and glorious (triumphant, heavenly) joy."   ... 1 Peter 1:8


With interest (and prayer) I followed that story of the missing dad from the Broncos game and what a relief, at 5:30 this morning, to read he'd been found. Safe.

While Tom ate his French toast during the news, we discussed what might have led this man to Pueblo, CO (since nobody's answering our questions right now) and one of my guesses was, "Maybe he just wanted to escape his life for awhile."

Hey. It happens. 

After Tom left for work I considered (again) how vital it is for us all to actively create a life we'd fight to keep rather than one which tempts us to escape whenever things go all wonky.

Me? I love this life which God and I have customized. That must be true because of days like my Monday two weeks ago. Was it sunny? Did I travel someplace exciting? Did I win something?

Uh, no.

I flipped on the tv and discovered Rehab Addict would be on for hours(!) then, during a commercial, stepped out to the front porch where I spied a long box. Hooray! My new telescopic squeegee had arrived.

I'd needed one for three years (having left ours at the farm) because our dining room windows must be cleaned from the outside and now both the newly-installed windows do, also. They so do not fold in for easy, convenient cleaning.

Stepping back into the house, I thanked God and ripped open the box while letting the inspiration that is Nicole Curtis seep into me. And the squeegee had a sponge attached! I'd not even noticed that when I ordered it online.

During the next hour of commercials I washed spots from five windows, no ladder needed. I put a load of dishes through the dishwasher (which I keep forgetting to tell you finally cast its spell upon me two years ago). And while I vacuumed, the sun appeared, I ate lunch, folded clothes and ironed six of Tom's shirts (all with Nicole).

And--by the time Tom unlocked the back door--I felt like I'd been on vacation. Or been sprinkled with fairy dust. Or something else rather odd.

You'll never watch a news story hinting that I escaped my life, not with all the love and work God has poured into me: 

... the lessons of forgiveness, saying no, saying yes, staying in control of my feelings, training my thoughts, expressing delight in tiny things, loving God with my all and--. 

Besides, there is no leaving my flawed self (as Joyce Meyer says, "Wherever you go, there you are"). But now I'll never try, for anyone who can feel giddy about a squeegee on a pole and a tv show about restoring old houses, doesn't feel the need to start all over. 

She already has. Thank God.


Tom felt fine yesterday and returned to work, but he must have been pretty sick over the weekend to have forgotten to tell me that Netflix now has 25 episodes of Rehab Addict(!) and he'd added it to our instant queue. Oh my, seeing it there, I nearly had a happy seizure. 

Wow. I watched one minute of the first episode, felt a sudden jolt of inspiration and raced upstairs, grabbed my little glass-top table, ran outside with it (and some newspaper), swung open the garage door, grabbed some light blue spray paint and painted the table. All on a sunny, record-breaking warm Autumn day.

Another day to remember. Oh, there are many.


Lest anyone have a fit in my comment box, I'm not saying the dad who went to Pueblo tried to avoid his life. His story simply made a good jumping-off point for a blog post.  :)

** Note: his story has been updated since I linked to it. You can judge for yourself now why he left. Even though, frankly, I consider it none of my business. heh.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Lazy Woman Photography

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” 
― Albert Camus


On Sunday, Tom came down with a sinus-y/headache-y/flu-like thing, but Monday morning he prepared for work since he believed himself better. But just before leaving, he realized he was not, so he called in sick for the first time in 18 months. Well, in America, he said. Once while in S. Africa he spent a work day in his room due to not feeling well.

Anyway, that meant I had the car! And outside was sunny! So I traveled back to where we'd ventured on Saturday and took all the photos I'd thought were forever gone. And felt extremely blessed.

Though I'll warn you: I took them Lazy Woman Photographer Style, as in, only from the car windows and while stopping in the center of only 3 or 4 streets just one mile away from home. So please imagine the colors even brighter and the feeling of it all more ethereal, ok? (I hope you will enlarge them for a fuller effect.)

Oh, I am most grateful that God placed us in this beautiful state!


Happy Autumn to all my readers!


“God will make a way when there seems to be no way."   ... copied

“I loved autumn, the one season of the year that God seemed to have put there just for the beauty of it.” 
― Lee Maynard


My friend, Dolores, shared this at Facebook and how true! How very true.  :)


Free Kindle books:

Let Them Eat Cake

One of Their Own

Thou Shalt Not Diet

Monday, October 27, 2014

Darn. I Forgot The Camera.

"And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for you..."  ... 2 Corinthians 12:9


Late one night many (many!) years ago, Tom and I watched a Saturday Night Live skit where a family went on vacation in their station wagon. Next they're tooling along, looking out their windows and when they see The Grand Canyon, suddenly the dad moans, "Oh no! I forgot the camera!"

Then I think they drive past Niagara Falls and the wife says, "Darn! We forgot the camera!" After that, they spy crazy-wild things like three rainbows at once, Big Foot running through the woods and finally, a Pterodactyl flying in the sky. The kids in the backseat whine and shout, "I can't believe you forgot our camera!"

I so felt like that on Saturday. 

I mean, good gracious:

On our way to estate sales, the sun shone and sparkled upon Tom and myself after stubbornly hiding in clouds for days.

Red, gold and orange trees glowed. A breeze fluttered leaves down gently upon our windshield and on the street before us and we felt as though we'd slipped into a parade with confetti.

We discovered an ancient neighborhood we'd never driven through, one in a half-circle around a sweet little park.

The 1910-ish estate sale house there totally stole my heart and I stepped around its creaking floors in a trance. Its backyard looked like a 1930's movie set about an abandoned-but-once-beautiful house.

And of course, I forgot my camera at home. And Tom left his cell phone at work on Friday. We are sorry people, indeed.

I so wanted to share all these wonders with you! I kept kicking myself (in my too tight shoes, even) for forgetting my camera on a peak day of Autumn in New York. I reminded Tom of that ancient SNL skit and told him I was so there right now.

Sunday was gloomy-grey again. All day.

But I had to forgive myself for my forgetfulness (and for wearing the wrong shoes). We hear so often that God says we must forgive others, yet (I believe, anyway), we have to also forgive ourselves for our flaws, allowing them to make us more dependent upon God for everything, instead. 

If we don't forgive? We chance entering into a scary type of I'm-mad-at-me unforgiveness that simmers like stew inside us for decades.

And who wants that? 


"[There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."   ... Romans 8:1

“In a very real sense not one of us is qualified, but it seems that God continually chooses the most unqualified to do his work, to bear his glory. If we are qualified, we tend to think that we have done the job ourselves. If we are forced to accept our evident lack of qualification, then there's no danger that we will confuse God's work with our own, or God's glory with our own.”
― Madeleine L'EngleWalking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art


Every Sunday afternoon, I camp out. No really--here:

I drag my chair from the guest room and place it beside the bed in my new tiny room, along with my oh-so-useful soon-to-be-blue table. Tom watches his football and Nascar downstairs and I sit up here and watch tv and eat lunch and snacks and read my books, also:

We spend every Saturday together, but Sunday afternoons we each do our own thing. It works for us--and that's what matters.

(See my book wall? It's my miniature version of a dream-come-true room I'd love to have someday. Something much like this:)

Oh yeah. Inside my head, I am so there. Even now.  Already. :)


This is the view from my new little room. I loved my closet room, but I must admit that having a window now is better, especially during these glorious Autumn days.


Friday, October 24, 2014

What If This Is It?

"To everything there is a season..."  ... Ecclesiastes 3:1

"Sometimes you just have to dance to the music that's playing."   ... Seeley Booth on Bones.


When we moved to Hobbit Cottage it was to escape, really, Life on the big ol', bad ol' farm where, instead of simplicity, we found complication growing on all 4 acres. Our new tiny home was a temporary reprieve place where we'd remain until we recovered from our farm days or until Tom found a job again--whichever came first.

Lately I'm thinking God's gonna keep us here in Hobbit Cottage forever

Well, until we move into an old folks' home or Heaven, whichever--again--comes first.  And I've been quiet lately while sitting on the red couch asking myself, "Can I accept that? Am I truly okay with this 860 sq. ft. house with woefully few closets and limited standing room upstairs being my last home of my own on Earth?"

I haven't yet said yes because it also means accepting that I'm no longer 35 and able to move mountains of laundry. Or paint whole rooms and rearrange their furniture then step outside to mow the lawn before returning to make a big dinner--all in an afternoon.

Basically, I still haven't accepted, graciously, that I've slowed down.

Nor have I accepted that, gulp, I would come to resent even my dream house, (that is, if I even survived the move into it), for its extra rooms which would constantly nag me to clean them or zap our bank account (and my pride) because of the need to hire Cleaning Pixies to scrub them when I couldn't keep up. Or just didn't want to.

True acceptance is a process, it must be examined like a diamond with its facets, all flaws noticed, and is never completed in only one day.

But there is good news. God's telling me my own personal seasons are changing--again. True, I'm  no longer 35, but He's rotating things around to show me who I'm becoming: what I enjoy now, but didn't before. What I can still do and what I must humble myself and ask for help to do. How I need to accept these changes before I can make exciting new discoveries. How I can still find creative solutions for problems, but will need to discover them in unique-to-me, more patient ways.

And how He is still here to walk me through all this.

If you don't get being all about decorating/creativity/houses (since you were, like, 12), you might not understand this post. You might leave comments telling me to get a grip, there are other things in life.

But if you'll, instead, plug in whatever you are most passionate about--and face its loss--maybe you will get it. And I think we all 'of a certain age' can comprehend letting go of some dreams and activities we previously found simple... and knowing we must accept these changes if we wish to continue our journey with joy.

Go carrying your suitcases of unresolved issues and unforgiveness and then joy, most likely, will hide behind trees.


"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors...."   ...Romans 8:37

“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.” 
― Ann Landers

“And the beauty of a woman, with passing years only grows!” 
― Audrey Hepburn


Trust me--I'm grateful for this little house with golden trees and a river outside our windows (for nearly 15 years at Autumn Cottage we had a brick wall on one side, a fluorescent-blue one on the other). The real estate ad for our house 3 years ago stated this was a pretty corner lot--and how true that was. And how easily I can believe that--if we must live here 'forever'--God was sweet enough to place us at such a nice spot.

Oh, and on another more positive note, I'd lowered my dosage of Vitamin D3 to 2,000 units, thinking, "Hey, it's summer. I'll get enough sun." Then I sat in the shade and inside a lot. (Brilliant, right?) 

So after reading last week that Vitamin D3 is great at combating muscle weakness, I went to 5,000 units and what a difference! My muscles are now more inclined to keep up with my energy level. Whew.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Remembering My Previous Life

"If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ."   ... Galations 1:10


Way, way back when I was (arguably) a sweet young thing, Tom, Naomi and I lived in Nevada and sometimes we'd take the curvy, high-pitched drive to Virginia City. Now, if you've never been, you don't know that Mark Twain's name is etched and plastered everywhere because he spent time there and Virginia City is practically holy ground if you were a fan-- and I was.

Back then I learned that Mark Twain wrote, Roughing It, describing the funny things that happened to him and his brother, Orion, on their way to V.C. and I vowed to read it because, 1.) Twain wrote it, 2.) I lived in Nevada, 3.) We'd driven over most of the Nevada desert and 4.) We dragged all our out-of-state company to Virginia City and had it memorized. (We nearly moved to Virginia City, even walked through a house with a realtor, but that's another post.)

Well. Today I began reading my Kindle version of Roughing It, 24 years after vowing to do so because hey, these things take time. 

Of course, it's delightful.

And I even read bits of The Innocents Abroad, another book I've been meaning to read since 4 or 5 Presidents ago. What a sense of humor this man had.

Reaching ones 50's is cool because you've done many things, visited tons of places and read whole shelves of books and now--on the other side--you can calmly decide which other things you'd like to do, visit or read before you leave this planet.

Which sounds like a much heard, trivial thought, but while we're younger? We were probably too busy or afraid to do what we wanted, so instead, we did/visited/read what other people told us. And because we did not know ourselves (or what we were created to do), we lived other peoples' lives and now it's all a blur.

But in your 50's? I think the pull of other peoples' opinions or bossiness lessens. Or it should by then, anyway. Calmly glancing back at what one missed becomes easier for many, though sadly, some will assume God's previously planned version of their life is forever gone, with no chance of restoration. They'll hang their heads and tell sad stories till they die. 

But the stout-hearted and determined folks who refuse to stay pitiful? They make hopeful lists of goals and, holding God's hand, they plug away at checking them off. When we burst out of the 'shoulds' and 'oughts', God opens remarkable, previously unseen doors and turns bad to good so that these people, the late bloomers, miss hardly anything at all.


"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done,"  ... Genesis 50:20

"I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten..."  ...Joel 2:25


Monday, October 20, 2014

And the Answer Is .........

"Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. "  ... 1 Corinthians 7:17


Nope. No new house for us, at least not this year.

Tom and I crunched some numbers yesterday and ack! We could easily pour $35,000 into that house I showed you (including new rugs, furniture and upkeep)--and that doesn't even account for kitchen updates which, see for yourself, it needs:

The kitchen could never be made larger, either, not without wiping out the dining room (and I'd feel disloyal doing that). The house would still be a good investment (if we someday found small-kitchen-loving buyers), but we'd have to live with contractors and cigarette-smokin', tool belt-totin'  noisy workmen for a very long time. Bleh. Been there, done that and cringe at doing it again.

Oh well. 

Yet, gee are we grateful that we wandered the rooms of that larger house. Yesterday morning outdoor temps fell to the 30's (again), but we've still not used our main heater this season and as I told Tom, "I'll bet we couldn't heat that big ol' house with our two tiny woodstove electric heaters as we have here." He said, "No, we certainly couldn't."

This Hobbit Cottage with it's small needs and rooms and doable fixes has enabled us to do something we'd only read about--they call it 'saving money'. Such a foreign concept to us, but we've certainly enjoyed it.  :)

So Life goes on and we continue to make our updating plans for our sweet place before Winter comes swirling in and keeps us inside where all is warm and golden.


"When disappointment comes, you have a choice. You can either let it press you down or use it as a stepping stone to something better."   ... Neil Vermillion


My clock radio awoke me with this lovely, evocative song this morning and I just wanted to snuggle there with Daniel the Cat for another hour, dreaming along with more such songs which whisk my head away to sunny, retro places.


A special thanks to Clarice for sharing this at Facebook.

Free Kindle books:

It's Your Call: What Are You Doing Here?

Poison Town

In God's Time

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Search is Over

Way back in May as Tom and I drove away from a yard sale, he pointed and said, "There's a house for sale." I looked across the street and gasped. "Oh, it's my Blondie House!" 

My heart pounded. Oh my. The type of house I'd wanted since I was 15 and watching good ol' Blondie and Dagwood movies.

Well, we looked the house up online and saw that it cost $109,000. Hmm. More than we wanted to pay and besides, in a week Tom would travel to Africa so the whole matter seemed impossible. So we forgot about the house. Kinda.

Then yesterday I saw it again online and ack! It had gone to foreclosure and was $30,000 less. Wow, the deal of the century, Tom and I told each other.

We walked through that house today. It's in a beautiful neighborhood and when I saw the milk bottle box I thought, "Yes, I knew you'd be here. I've 'seen' you for decades." The same thing happened when I saw the laundry chute, coat closet, entryway, pantry and linen closet. Three pretty bedrooms and a bathroom were upstairs and a whole little 'house' for Tom's room/man cave downstairs:

And the corner cabinet in the dining room was a dream come true:

I think I even saw the ghosts of both Blondie and Dagwood. Happy sigh.

"We could afford this! Pay cash!", we reasoned (though since it's a foreclosure, the agent said the powers-that-be would consider us if we got a loan, first, but wouldn't wait around on a contingency.). "It's the perfect house for us," we told ourselves. 

But then we talked ourselves out of buying it.

We came home, calmed our emotions and then considered all the cosmetic work and the hiring of men to do it (nothing major, but still, there's a list). Plus, there's the paperwork, the selling our house, the packing up, the cleaning, the moving, the switching over of addresses everywhere, the buying of one of those stair lift chairs for company and Tom, the cleaning and heating of all those rooms, the way Tom and I would probably never see each other while rambling around in 1,700 sq. feet and how we'd have an excuse to collect more furniture which Naomi would someday have to sort through if something happened to us. Oh, and we'd probably be moving in a January snowstorm ...

Weirdly, I can't even get excited about it. It's like I see Grace wildly shaking her head, "No! Don't do it!" And even though this is the house I've pictured for 40 years upon hearing the words, 'Dream House,' I keep recalling recent days when I became downright weary just doing my usual housework. How would I handle such a huge upheaval?  

Though truly I believe if we had to move, Grace would help and hold us together. But we don't have to move...and I realized today I must love Hobbit Cottage more than I believed since I'm willing to happily stay. And it is a grand thing to realize that.

Though, gah. Tom says he's gonna sleep on it tonight, just in case. He keeps thinking about how it would be a step up for us, both the house and neighborhood, and I keep reminding him that that's a matter of perspective and priorities. (The houses may be worth double, but there's no river there, after all, and who says we need to make a 'step up'?)

Anyway, there'll be no more looking at houses for sale online, not by me. I mean, after you let the perfect home flutter away, well, what's the point? Instead we'll stay here (unless Tom decides differently tomorrow--yikes!) and continue to make these rooms more efficient and comfortable. We'll stop wishing improvements would get done and just do them. Finally.

And all will be well.


These are a couple houses across the street from The Blondie House:

And here are more photos from the house: