Monday, October 31, 2022

When Things Go Wrong

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


Oh dear. One week ago something happened.

Here's how I explained it at Facebook:

"Tom, Naomi and I would welcome any prayers after an incident happened outside Monday night, the first of any kind in our 11 years at Hobbit Cottage. It'll mean some changes, like, after 2 years of van life, Naomi will move back inside our house. We're all fine! But this incident did shake us a bit so really, thank-you for your prayers as we make a few changes around here."

I've chosen to remain vague about this. There's our privacy and also, not wanting you to freak-out or Blogger to pick up on certain key words. But please know none of us was physically harmed.

Yet we were frightened, especially Naomi, and oh Honey, the temptations to seethe and be angry about that, to resent the person who made my courageous little girl start discussing dead bolts, security cameras and perhaps never playing drums on stage again.

But anger worsens things, God reminds me. Ruins the life we created, how we daily feel, and opens doors to dark rooms within where it becomes difficult to, later, find the door to escape.

So what I did, instead? After getting Naomi's ok (and hugging her, telling her she'll get through this as she has all else so far), I built a tiny apartment for her in our basement. Lined-up these three antique cupboards (old photo), below:

.... side by side to form a third wall in a corner, then rigged another partial wall with tall shelves.

(Remember how I wanted projects around here? Well, I certainly got one.)

I emptied and wiped down the cupboards. Bought a rug, mattresses. Then Tom bought black interlocking rubber floor mats and on Saturday Naomi created a gym along the back of the 'apartment'. We viewed it yesterday, told her it was perfect.

This is a temporary fix. To make it more permanent (and legal) we'll need to change one of the windows for the sake of egress, which is doable.

For exactly 2 years Naomi chose a different lifestyle, one inside her van and learned much about living off-grid. Solar options, battery packs, living simply and using carpentry skills. She had adventures, ones most of us will never experience.

That season has ended. But you know? Whenever one chapter ends, there's a page to turn for the next and we're wise to remember--during the healing time--new adventures await farther up the road.

And we thank you for your prayers in the meantime.

"For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control."   --- 2 Timothy 1:7

"Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil."   --- Psalm 37:8

Difficult times reveal to us how seriously we took all our previous Life lessons. Also, how would it look if I stayed fearful, unforgiving, and told you, "I am spittin' mad!," when I so often teach against those things here? Hmm?  ヅ

And hey! This was another example of the benefits of listening to God and following His timing. The basement was repaired and repainted right before Naomi needed to use it. It's like a whole nearly-new space down there. God is good!


Something I found comforting this past 'week of tests' was rewatching the old Sherlock Holmes films from the 1940's. Perfect for autumn, really.

Also, my first Dana Girls mystery books arrived (somehow I'd never read these before) and they've been sweetly comforting as well. (Some can be found at Open Library, but sometimes a gal just has to grasp old books within her hands.) Those adorable vintage covers, right?


Oh, and I so appreciated all comments and concerns from my friends at Facebook. Thank-you!


Please remember: My posts are always about more than they appear to be. 


 "For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." ... Matthew 6:14,15

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

October This and That

"Change keeps life fresh and adventurous. Embrace change with faith and trust that God will see you through." -Joyce Meyer

1.) Don't you  just love Autumn? This is the vine beside our house, it went all meh last year, but is beautiful this one. Never give up on things changing!

2.) Speaking of that, for too long I believed my decorating days were finished, that just one more change here would tilt! tilt! the whole thing over into Cluttersville. But whew. I was wrong.

My Randy Lynn Reed calendar arrived, I framed two of her paintings and now color me all inspired to decorate in a year-around autumnal style. Yes, it's a challenge, but you know? I'd forgotten the joy of conquering difficulties.

But now I remember--and am on a new exciting-to-me journey.

3.) Need something lovely to listen to this Autumn? Here's the soundtrack from the first Narnia movie. Inspiring stuff there.

4.) Okay. I'm only sharing this to give you much hope in God's creativity in meeting peoples' needs.

When Tom told me in June the cost of having our basement waterproofed, I nearly fainted. I was, like, oh sure! Let's just go out to the crab apple tree and start pulling down one-thousand dollar bills!

But it needed to be done. Our 90-year-old basement walls were crumbly, moldy and leaking. 

Well, Tom's savings account had 1/3 of the amount, so we set up an appointment for 3 months later and hoped for the best.

Here's the miracle: sometime during those 3 waiting months, I checked our latest bank statement and oh! My mouth dropped open. It's as though someone had deposited 7 extra paychecks!

Now, I confess I do not check our monthly statements, well, monthly. I mostly just rely upon my own math and record keeping. If there's enough in there to pay the bills, well, I'm thrilled.  ッ

 So I sat down for around an hour with all our statements since last January and found only one paycheck I'd not counted. Only one! 

Anyway, all I can think of is that God made a secret deposit of His own. Over and over we've watched Him make a way where there was none and today may I encourage you to stay open to weird, unexpected miracles (of all sorts) in your own life.

The basement after (which shows a bit of how dreadful it must have looked before! Ha! No, actually it's much brighter and newer-feeling than this photo illustrates.)

5.)  Now, I'm not a huge reader of picture books, but The Stranger was autumnally enchanting. Wow. You can read/see it here. By the author of The Polar Express.

6.) So for some added encouragement regarding Today's grocery prices, I made a list of foods from our local Aldi which sell for $1.09 or less. Of course, not everyone has access to Aldi, but most areas have a discount supermarket with similar prices.

Anyway, we don't use all these, but it's remarkable the cheap meals I'm still able to make for Tom and myself in wildly-expensive 2022:

Bananas, fresh green onions, cucumbers

Various canned vegetables, including potatoes

3-pack of yeast

Various canned beans (pinto, refried, etc.)

Frozen peas, frozen green beans, frozen corn, mixed vegetables, etc.

Canned tomatoes

Baking soda

Canned mushrooms

Small tubs of yogurt

Boxed jello, boxed pudding

Canned tuna, canned soup

Canned tomato paste, canned tomato sauce

Canned peaches, canned pears, fruit cocktail

Cake mixes, brownie mix

Bottled spices

Boxed soup or dip mix

Canned green chilies

Boxed stuffing mix

Whipped topping (tub)

Boxed tri color (and regular) rotini

Worcesteshire sauce

Packaged chili seasoning, brown gravy mix, ranch dressing mix and Italian

Boxed rice pilaf mix

Boxed mashed potatoes, au gratin, scalloped, also

Packaged seasoned croutons

Canned sloppy joe sauce, canned Vienna sausage

Small bottle white vinegar

Boxed spaghetti pasta, 15 oz. canned pasta

Various bottled mustards

Frozen chicken pot pie

Boxed shells and white cheddar pasta entree, packaged ramen

Boxed macaroni and cheese

White bread loaf, hot dog buns, hamburger buns

7.) It's been awhile since I mentioned The Cottage Fairy at Youtube. She's another who revels in Autumn and I especially enjoyed her peaceful latest video. Soo relaxing.

And this woman has a lovely idea--taking a vacation everyday! (I can really get into something like that.)  シ

Oh! And have you ever watched this woman while she cleans houses for free?? What a thoughtful thing to do, especially considering what she often faces. Oh dear.

8.)  And here's something to remember. Many folks are saying what they believe looms ahead for our Country. Many. People. But the most important thing is what is God saying?

It helps keep us calm to never forget this:

9.)  And finally, for each of you, my friends, who so faithfully read here year after year, these--  (You are much appreciated.)


Please remember: My posts are always about more than they appear to be. 


 "For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." ... Matthew 6:14,15 

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

But What I Didn't Tell You Was ---

" ... and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power."   --- Colossians 2:10


The first day when the basement guys arrived? Tom closed the garage door and somehow stepped away with a hairline fracture in his big toe.

The next Monday, he attended a celebration at his work's offices and--when they snapped group photos out on the lawn--Tom, this time, sprained his ankle. Same foot.

He arrived home, told me of this, and our earlier 2022 questions, "Will we ever be able to go on vacation again? Would it be worth the risks?" seemed to be answered

Even though Tom faithfully lifts weights and uses the treadmill at home, we are probably done with vacations.

Oh, and also I forgot to mention over 15 years the fatty cyst on top of my head has grown and while daily praying it'll decrease, now I'm buying headbands and berets to cover it (big sigh). 

Acceptance. Oh dear.

Some folks refuse it, for they consider it admitting defeat. Yet I prefer to view acceptance as a challenge. "Okay, so I can no longer _______. What can I do instead? What new activities can I discover? What am I still able to fix or recreate or imagine?"

Probably, at first, most of us feel pensive (as I have lately) when we lose something and are deciding how to make a replacement or whether to just sit around, mope, counting our losses, instead.

Go skipping acceptance, aim at retrieving what you lost, and oh dear. It's a bit like knocking one's head against a wall. Repeatedly.

Much of 2022 I've felt the challenge of acceptance, like, for various reasons, this may be our final house (financially we're farther ahead remaining here and we're feeling much too decrepit to pack). But my decorating choices here are now so limited (I'm all about decorating!). And to give myself a break, my gardening life is reduced. 

Oh, and I don't like driving the way I used to, not even to the library so yeah, Honey, I'm home a lot. And that's where I've chosen to overcome my challenges. At home. 

It's here where I battle against lethargy and defeat so I can, instead, create a life from which I don't even need a vacation. A life as creatively satisfying as any adventure elsewhere, even if it includes watching tons of other folks' travels on Youtube.

And frankly, I'm making a life with Jesus at the center, He who meets every single need as only He can. 

I mean, hey. I could travel to incredible exotic places or live inside my Victorian dream house or have 10 grandchildren and all the energy of a gymnast, but you know? Still only Jesus can fill that space inside my heart designed just for Him.

A.W. Tozer said something like, "We limit ourselves when we believe 'I'll be ok as long as I have Jesus and'-- " It's that 'and' we should place upon our palm sometimes, peer at it from all angles and then ask ourselves, "But what if I lose this? Would I be ok with only Jesus?"

For it's when we truly know only Jesus satisfies us that we experience the freedom He meant for us all along.

If anyone knows that exact A.W. Tozer quote, I'd be grateful if you sent it to me. I found it years ago, but didn't write it down and have searched many times since. (Note to self: write stuff down!)  シ

Make all the travel memories you can while you still can. They will prove purposeful later.

Oh, and please don't suggest a wheelchair for traveling for Tom. He's accepted much about where he is, but he's not ready to consider that. I don't blame him.
But I'll add what I told my friend, Susan, at Facebook:

"Yeah, I should probably go back and add on my post that Tom has asked for the occasional wheelchair at airports because it's quick and saves so many steps. He's also had us take those small motorized tram things with drivers. He's fine with those and using his canes and that rollator thing (walker with wheels) he uses here and at the office. It's just that he's not ready to have me roll him around everywhere and actually I'm wondering if I could take him around very far. heh."

And yes. We've not ruled out day trips. Those are more doable at this stage and thankfully, we live in an area where the places to visit are nearly endless.


And speaking of libraries and Youtube, here's one of the most incredible things I've ever seen in my life(!) It's a public library built in 1882 with all the original books still upon its shelves! Wow. Blew me away.

And oh, what Justin and Ally saw on their New England autumn trees expedition!

Please remember: My posts are always about more than they appear to be. *** "For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." ... Matthew 6:14,15

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

When Autumn Borrows You For Awhile

"The Earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof... I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands."   ---Psalm 24:1, Psalm 143:5


(My excuses for not blogging much lately.)

Autumn is messing with my head. Anyone else? Besides feeling grateful for Summer's disappearance, color me all contemplative, contented, and unable to blog about specifics.

Instead I:

light the fireplace candles 
and switch on my new fairy lights woven among the mantle's old white dishes. 
And I make pumpkin cake (recipe to follow) 
then sit upon the red couch staring at the picture window with golden leaves, waving.
And dream and imagine
and watch other women via Youtube enjoying their Autumn, as well.

So there's that.

The basement water proofing is (mostly) done (long story). The two huge 8 x 8 plastic-linen-like bags of basement trash outside were finally whisked away by a crane after weeks of people poking through them. 

A test, all that.

Also, a guy will arrive tomorrow to paint our newly-waterproofed basement. For 3 days he'll paint down there, but fortunately that's a quiet job, not a disruptive one. I hope.

Daniel The Cat snuck out of the house for 2 hours! When I figured that's where he must be, I went outside calling, "Treats!", and there he was, peeking at me on his tip toes over the Autumn daisies. Whew.

Yet the most shaking news is that last week my friend, Elizabeth, passed away. We met over 13 years ago via this blog and we chatted at Facebook and through email and she mailed me Valentines and Christmas cards. 

Another reason for contemplation, that, requiring quiet days of healing.


How grateful I am for all the testimonies of Heaven I've discovered these past years, for now, easily, I can picture Elizabeth there experiencing joyous delights. Perhaps her mansion is even located in the snowy-but-not-icy section, for oh, Elizabeth, my Florida friend, how you loved my snow photos.

Some Autumns are like this one; glorious, quiet, bittersweet. How grateful I am to share them with God and with each of you, my readers, in spirit.

"He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart ..."   --- Ecclesiastes 3:11

"Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come." 
– Henri Nouwen

Oh, and I released Twitter. They suddenly insisted upon having my cell phone number and well, I don't have one, only Tom's, but at some junctures in online life I have my personal boundaries. And that is one.
I'm sure I'll survive without Twitter.  シ


These women do Autumn so beautifully:  Randi Lynn Reed and Darling Desi (both which I've shared before, but hey. Can we ever have too much Autumn?)

In fact, I ordered Randi's lovely 2023 artwork calendar. All that woodland art I can frame from just one place! A real bargain, to me. (The library fox is my favorite.)

Oh! And this lady did wonderful, elegant things to her tiny apartment.


Pumpkin Cake 

(One of those recipes where you can make all sorts of changes if you wish.)

Preheat oven to 325.

In a bowl, add:

15 ounces pumpkin puree
1/2 can evaporated milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar (or less)
1/2 tsp. salt (or less)
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon (and allspice if you wish)

Stir well. Pour into greased 8 x 8 pan (or similar).

Sprinkle on top:

1/2 cup yellow or white cake mix (or add more)
1/8 cup walnuts (or more)
Then drizzle over it 2 tbl. butter, melted, and 2 tbl. oil.

Bake at 40 minutes or until knife in center comes out clean. Makes 4 sane-sized servings. ツ


“If I were a bird, I would fly about the Earth seeking the successive autumns.”- George Eliot

Please remember: My posts are always about more than they appear to be. 


 "For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." ... Matthew 6:14,15

Friday, October 07, 2022

Never Stop Believing 'The Best Is Yet To Be'!

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”  ---Isaiah 43:19


Still here!

But occasionally I get in a just-want-to-live-my-life-without-writing-about-it mood. This was one of those times.

Sometimes do you ever want to recreate (rearrange?) your present life? Oh not drastically, like packing up and sailing to foreign lands or adopting a child, switching careers, starting all over or redecorating your entire house.

No, just being contentedly creative--and interested in--where God has currently put you. Even if it appears an oh-hum place at a seen-it-all age.

You know, perhaps--

adding new cozy rituals, 
discarding old, un-graced ones. 
Or maybe snatching back lovely things you released long ago.
Being led by gratitude, not complaints,
breaking self-imposed chains of thought
and rediscovering, instead, a childhood-days freedom.

Well, that's where I've been. Recreating my life within the rooms (and yard) of this same ol' place so that it'll not feel so same ol', but rather, fresh and spirit-inspiring. And preparing for an interesting winter when my world will mostly happen within these 4 walls.

And while away, I remembered something--

Way back in 1975 my family lived in a house with a lavender upstairs bathroom. I was 16.

Still, nearly 50 years later, I recall the light lavender walls and the one with flowered wallpaper. The white-painted cabinetry, two hanging fluted lights on a pretty chain, gauzy lavender curtains at the window. 

Lovely, really.

And guess what? The designer/creator was a 16 year old girl, herself. Her junior year she redecorated this bathroom for her final grade in home economics class. 

Upon completion, her teacher visited the home, took notes, photos, and rewarded her with an A+. (I know these details because the previous family were our friends.)

That simple lavender bathroom? It awakened inside me deepest desires to create beauty within rooms. To, anywhere, make places for inspiration and renewal of mind. To keep innovating until all rooms expressed what sought to be released from inside me.


These days Grace reminds me if I'm bored at 63, feeling 'finished' with best, creative days, then it's all my fault. Deeper wells remain within us if we never abandon reaching down to draw from them.

God has certain, specific plans for us during each decade, no matter how our lives may change in appearance. No matter what may go away.

But it depends upon this: what's guiding our steps? Our doubts, our worries, our weariness of this world? 


-- He who makes all things new and surrounds us like a well-watered garden no matter what the apparent season?

All things new! God longs to make all things new for us. But that can only happen after we release our grasp of old things, especially unforgiveness, anger and fear. Too many Christians hold onto those yet are upset when they aren't living in the joy God promised us.

Only after we become brutally honest with ourselves will we begin to experience the joy that never leaves.

"Grow old along with me. The best is yet to be."  ---copied


Before the big tv invasion.

Speaking of decorating, yesterday I took back our fireplace mantel!

Since installing that obnoxious large tv over it, I'd missed my antique white dishes and seashells. So I returned a portion of them, and also, the side shelves at the left.

Especially with winter coming, I love these changes, or restoration, I should say. How wonderful to take what feels like a bold step, even if it appears small to others.


What makes you feel most alive? Chances are those things are somehow connected to why God placed you here.


Oh! And some of you might like this over-the-top Fall Home Tour (the owner, himself, called it over-the-top so I'm not criticizing. heh.). My eyes loved the elegant things, best.

But uh-oh. That video may give my minimalist friends heart palpatations, and not the good kind, either. So there's your warning.  シ


And wow! Did you see what Ariel did to her dining room? Another home run. 

And her earlier detailed video about creating her gallery wall is here.

Oh!  Here's an inspirational video , one which will show you a beautiful life is still possible even if you're not feeling well. 

If we follow Grace, she'll always lead us to beauty, even in the midst of everything-but.


Please remember: My posts are always about more than they appear to be. 


 "For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." ... Matthew 6:14,15