Friday, May 27, 2011

Decorating Update



With all the worry about storms this past week, not as much got done in the living room as I would have liked. We spent many hours just watching the weather on television. This tornado season has been horrific and every mention of the possibility of tornado's has one imagining the worst. We have been blessed in our area that nothing has been over an F1. The other night, golf ball size hail fell, again, we were blessed that it was not more. That same evening, 9 tornado's hit in North Texas. Seeing all the devastation in Joplin has left us all with fear for what the possibilities can be. We are so looking forward to the end of tornado season ! Back to the decorating.....one gallon of paint finished, another one to go. Thankful that only one wall needed two coats. Today I will be painting the crown moulding corner pieces and we hope to have the moulding completed this weekend and have the curtains put up. From that point on, it will be the fun stuff. When completed and we start on the front guest room, I will be having one very large yard sale ! Even much of my fabric stash is going. There is no point holding on to things I will no longer use. Its a new phase in our lives and I embrace it with open arms. Understanding that my life is not the same as it was 5 years ago, and being o.k. with that. Life is ever changing, exciting and full of new adventures. I love that.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Terra Naomi's "Say It's Possible"


love this song, love this video. Lots to think about

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Peace Amid The Storms

The night was a sleepless one, just before I went to bed I watched the news and saw the horrible pictures from the tornado destruction in Joplin. Today is expected to bring more storms. There is something very unsettling about this tornado season. I read that there have been 1151 tornadoes in the US so far this year and that about 480 people have died so far from these storms. One natural disaster after another has hit our world, causing us to pause and question, "why ?" With so much going on, its not hard to see why so many believe that the world is soon to end. I do know that all I want is peace in my heart though the storms rage around me. I desire to have a faith strong enough that it cannot be shaken, and that takes work. It takes a daily commitment to remember what really counts in life. It takes dedication to build a strong foundation that cannot be tossed about by the winds. Fear can be like an acid to us, eating away at that foundation, slowly but surely. I fell asleep praying, and woke with a prayer on my lips. More storms on the way today. Before daylight arrived fully, I was in the rose garden, picking roses. I wanted to enjoy them in the house today, keep them safe from hail or high winds should bad weather arrive. As I paint today, watching the sky out the window, I will seek that place of peace in my heart, where outside influences cannot reach deep enough to destroy it, where words of strength, memorized as a child will be recalled, and where memories of Gods protection in the past are carved deep in my being, to be remembered. And I will remember these words from Psalm 119:165 Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Work Has Begun



Prep work done, so now the fun part of the job begins. Painting ! Recently I saw this drop cloth used in a video about stripping off wallpaper and I was intrigued. We found it last night at Lowe's and I have to say, this one thing has made the job of painting so much nicer. You just stick the tape part to the baseboard and then pull out the drop cloth part. It stays put, and allows me to not worry so much about paint drips. Its a good size roll for about $10 and certainly works better than my usual spreading of newspapers. Hoping to have the room finished by the end of the week. Emery and I checked out crown moulding last night, trying to pick out just what I want and what Emery agrees to spend ! I have expensive taste and always have. Fortunately, I am quite content to hunt for a good bargain.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Morning Ramble

Admittedly, I have spent the last few days poking fun at the expected rapture, end of the world. I suspect many of us have no compartment in our brains for such a situation and we as humans tend to joke, make fun of the things we do not quite know what to think about something. My thinking feels pretty clear on the idea of Christs return, we don't know when its going to happen. We should always be prepared, since He may come in our lifetime, but He may not, but regardless, we are all going to die at some point and we never know when that is going to happen either, so be prepared at all times ! Although I have poked some fun at the situation, I never felt fully comfortable about it. Today I knew why. A friend of mine posted something on her facebook this morning that summed up to me, how we should be feeling. It made me feel a bit ashamed for all those jokes I have made in the past few days. She thanked God for these "beautiful people who are waiting in anticipation for you to come today in all your splendor and glory!" and prayed that "should they face disappointment", that they not loose sight of Him. I am so thankful that Dianne posted this, it is the right way to feel. It must be the way Jesus is feeling today. God works on our hearts every day in some way if we allow Him to. Last night, Emery and I went out for pizza and there was a large table surrounded by one large family. Parents, grown children, and grandchildren. They were laughing, having a wonderful time. The parents would turn to one another and smile, revealing that each one had just a few teeth, their clothes were dirty and torn. The adult children looked much the same, a few more teeth perhaps. They would tenderly pat one another on the shoulder from time to time after one of them spoke. The baby was happy, but dirty. I kept noticing them, thinking about how grubby they looked and how gray their complexions were, bad eating habits I am sure. I felt a bit snobbish at first, looking down on their torn clothing etc, but in an instant, that feeling melted into something much different. I noticed that they loved one another just as deeply as we love one another in my family. I knew that those parents held hoped and dreams for their children as do I. I knew that they all knew hurt and loss just as I did and they knew worry and fear just as I have. They knew the same joy I knew when that grandbaby was born. We were no different, except in material circumstances, and I knew that if Christ were to walk through the door of that pizza place, it would be with them that He would sit, just as in Matt 9;10 is says, "While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples." Not saying that these folks were sinners, I have no idea, but I do know that tax collectors and such were considered the "low life" of the day and many would see these folks I am writing about in the same way. Folks that didn't seem to care one bit about cleanliness or order. Lots of crass talk coming from husky voices you knew came from too much smoking. When they left, I watched them all pile in a beat up, run down vehicle. No matter, I saw them only in one way at that point, children of God, worthy of the sacrifice made at the cross. The same gift of salvation available to them as it is to me. Christ loves them as much as me and although our circumstances appear to be much different, we all feel love, pain, loss, joy in the same way. Compassion sees past the externals and the Love of Christ, sees past externals and I want to have eyes that see that way, all the time, for all situations. I learned my lesson. Compassion removes judgement.

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Bit of My World Today
















No One Knows the Day or Hour



Matt 24:3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” 4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. 9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
The Great Tribulation 15 “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’[
c] spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. 18 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. 23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand. 26 “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 28 For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.
The Coming of the Son of Man 29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
The Parable of the Fig Tree 32 “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So you also, when you see all these things, know that it
is near—at the doors! 34 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
No One Knows the Day or Hour 36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven,
but My Father only. 37 But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 40 Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. 42 Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Living, really living.

What I love most about my life is the ability to be who I am complete with all the facets, and be able to dig in the dirt one day and have a proper tea the next. Today was a down to earth day, digging in the soil, planting, weeding, harvesting vegetables. Glad for a garden for food and happy to have a garden of roses to sit in and have a cup of tea. My feet were bare in the warm brown soil, toes wiggling in the loose dirt. Fingernails with remnants of pink nail polish, scraped off by the soil as I planted. I don't have to be just one thing in life, I can fully embrace the idea of "living spherically, in many directions, with childlike enthusiasm." For me, there is as much joy in talking about goats as there is in a conversation about English Literature. I love cooking planet burgers just as much as I love cooking Julia Childs famous bœuf bourguignon. There is as much joy in munching chicken nuggets at McDonald's with my grandchildren as there is in eating in a 5 Star restaurant, dressed to the nines. There are times when I have enjoyed a tall cup of Baja Blast from Taco Bell just as much as a chilled glass of my favorite Champagne.

Who said we have to be living in just one direction as far as our interests go ? Tunnel vision is too limiting for me. Living, really living is about joy, its about making that list of 50 things that make you smile and then enjoying them !

photo is of my mother as a wee girl, enjoying life

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Redecorating Progress



The new drapes arrived last week and the valances arrived yesterday, so the work in the living room has begun in earnest. I am anxious now to see things all put together. Since we love our wood stove and use it for heating, the decorating ideas sort of hinge on what will work with a wood stove as centerpiece ! We have opted for the English Cottage sort of look, it suits us well, as it also allows for us to have books here and there. I am not happy with my sofa as its huge but its relatively new and there is no way I could justify getting new furniture just because I don't like the size of it. There are a few finishing touches we still need to purchase, like the crown moulding but we can get that when we need it, rather than having it in the way while we do the other work. The front guest room will be a rather simple job to do except we will be putting in a wooden ceiling like we did in the other guest room. That's not the easiest of jobs but we like the look and its practical for us. I found the perfect bed at a thrift store, it needs to be painted but that was always the plan anyway. Have the bedding already, just need to decide on the drapes and bed skirt, those will be of the same fabric. I found a great little table to go in that room at a yard sale this past weekend, so all that is left to buy for that room is the paint for the walls and a mirror. I have decorating notebooks for each room we are doing over, keeping in it, fabric swatches, the decorating plans, room and window measurements, paint samples with the colors and numbers on it. By keeping focused and knowing exactly what I need for each room, it will save me from buying things on a whim that I really don't need. I may see what seems like the perfect item, only to find its not part of the plan, which at this point I feel is complete. In the next month I will be having one huge yard sale to get rid of all the things I will no longer need. Keeping it simple works best for me, and there is no longer that need to hold on to stuff I might, maybe, perhaps, sometime use. No more going to Goodwill to randomly buy knick knacks that I like but that have no real place in my home. I am excited about this new venture...it will take 5 years to complete all the rooms. Buying as we have the funds. No debt for us. Life is fun, it is exciting and it is simply good.

Life Just Keeps Getting Better



This morning Emery woke me up in the sweetest way, playing Frank Sinatra's, The Way You Look Tonight" for me. He had been awake long before I was and moved silently around the house as not to wake me, but he knows I would be very disappointed if he didn't wake me to kiss me good-bye before he left for work. Its wonderful to wake up smiling. We so often dance to that song, nothing planned, just when it happens to be playing on my iPod in the kitchen when I am making supper or when I greet him at the door when he arrives home from work. It might seem a bit like a 1950's movie, but it works for us.
Emery and I feel like we have carved out just the life we dreamed of. Its had hard parts. In our 32 years we have counted nickles, literally. We have nearly lost a child to diabetes. There has been a lost job. Extended family woes and the hardship of seeing Mei-Ling go through so many health crises, but, the strength we get from one another and from our faith, has always gotten us through the tough parts.
Now, with the children grown and all doing well, we can sit back and enjoy the fruits of our labors. We planned our life well and life just keeps getting better.
This past weekend, we spent hours and hours working side by side on the land. Emery cut a diseased tree down, I trimmed hedges and planted flowers. We sat in the rose garden taking a break mid afternoon, sipping fruit punch. Laughing and admiring the work we have done.
Our life is simple, uncomplicated, slow enough to be able to listen to the birds sing, and watch the flowers grow. We have always made time for the things that money cannot buy. The things that you tuck away in your heart as precious memories to treasure.
There has always been time for love notes left on the desk or on the pillow and time to cultivate an unspoken language of expressions. Time to pray together and share ideas and our dreams, even when we were rocking babies. Treasure the important things in life and then you can truly say, life just keeps getting better.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Quakers and Cheese Have Their First Outting



Today was the first time the ducks have been let out of their pen. They enjoyed the grass and other green treats. Like good ducks, they marched right back into their pen as the sun began to set, so we know they will be safe from predators. Hard to imagine they were just hatched on March 22 of this year.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Ironing Linens



Blogspot had some issues this week and some posts were lost. Here is a repost of my last post. It's more work than a lot of people are willing to do these days, but I just love when I climb into a bed made with fresh, crisp sheets. It just feels extra nice, especially when they have been lightly scented with rose water or lavender.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Simplicity and Beauty



I think a lot about this concept, living a simple life while surrounding yourself with beauty. I have met far too many homestead folk that seem to have it in their mind that they need to be surrounded by starkness, dull colors and only own things that are utilitarian. I have even known of some folk newly embarking on the simple homesteading life that got rid of beautiful dishes and tablecloths just because they were "too pretty". While the children were young, I can remember more than a few meals of a simple nature, after doing farm chores, that were served on beautiful china that I had purchased before I was even married. God loves beautiful things, after all He created the most gorgeous flowers and birds, full of color and design that has nothing to do with anything beyond being beautiful. Luke 12:27 reminds us....."Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." Certainly I could use the land the rose garden is on for growing more vegetables but roses delight my soul, fill me with awe at the unspeakable beauty of creation. They speak to me about the Heart of the Maker. Feeding the soul by way of our senses is just as important as eating food. God, gave very detailed instructions for how the Tabernacle was to be built in the wilderness. Exodus 26: 1 “Make the tabernacle with ten curtains of finely twisted linen and blue, purple and scarlet yarn, with cherubim woven into them by a skilled worker. " and further on.... 36 “For the entrance to the tent make a curtain of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen—the work of an embroiderer. 37 Make gold hooks for this curtain and five posts of acacia wood overlaid with gold. And cast five bronze bases for them. " I just smiled thinking about that tiny tinge of guilt I have felt for spending so much money on new curtains and how right now, God brought these verses to mind as I was writing out my morning thoughts. Was the beauty of the Tabernacle for Gods pleasure or was it to give mankind a glimpse of God through the beauty of what was made. I think a bit of both. Our lives need beauty. Criminals are removed from beauty when in prison as part of their punishment. Children learn to be kinder and more sensitive when they are taught to appreciate the wonders of creation. Beautiful music is said to increase our thinking ability. I personally have seen the demeanour of adults change when tea was served to them in a beautiful setting. Here is the final thought though, that brings it all together. One need not spend a fortune on beauty, there are wonderful finds at yard sales, thrift stores, estate sales and such. Many of the things I own have been given to me as gifts. Treasured for both their beauty and their sentimental connection. Own what you have space for, never making the stuff we own a burden to care for. My rose garden, the most special roses are the bushes my husband has given me each year for Mothers Day. Gifts of love that give me joy much of the year and return to do it the next year and on and on. I have watched him carefully plant them for me, showing his love in the care he takes in preparing the soil etc. The work we do to keep the garden areas up is good for us too. A simple life need not be stripped of beauty, but rather filled with it but never at the cost of taking away our peace of mind.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Spring Storms

The one part about living in Texas I don't enjoy, is the storms in spring. Today there are no tornado's involved, just thunder, lightening and rain with some strong wind gusts which makes it not so bad. The clouds are beautiful in their own tumultuous way. Mei-Ling is visiting this afternoon and sharing her new Barbie movie with me. Barbie Fashion Fairytale. Cute music and lots of Barbie Pink !

The Beauty of A Garden



Stepping out the back door into the warm humid morning air that felt heavy and instantly turned my hair into frizz, I hung out the morning wash, wondering if it will dry even in the breeze that was blowing. Task completed I meandered over to the garden to find lots of snow peas ready to be picked..more than a couple of them ended up as part of my breakfast while I finished picking them. Plum tomatoes so numerous on the vines. I can't wait for them to be ripe. Dill, going to seed. The dill plants did a fine job of feeding the caterpillars this year. I didn't mind sharing, knowing there would be beautiful butterflies fluttering around from all that good nutrition. I noticed lots of yellow squash in the back garden, time to pick that and at while out in that part of the land, feed and water the ducks...change the water in their pool too. It stays clean all of 5 minutes ! They seem to enjoy it being nasty looking though My hands smell of soil and that green sort of scent that comes from handling tomato vines and picking vegetables. The rose garden was calling to me. Its a place where the colors seem deeper, more intense. The bushes that surround and hide this area from the front of the house are tall and sheltering. You forget the road is not that far away, or that there are neighbors on that side of our property. More dead heading to do, but the pruners are almost always in my pocket when I go outside. There is always some trimming needing to be done. Tonight, we will be planting the new rose bushes. Lisa asked what the names of the new roses are, so here is the list...New Dawn, a pink climber, well suited to the Texas weather. Tahitian Sunset...bold in its pinks to coral. Bridal Bouquet, a sweet white rose that reminds me of an old fashioned summer wedding. Passionate Kisses, a nice pink rose that will be perfect for a bowl vase. Peace Rose, yellow to pink, perfect for that single rose vase. Finally, a low bush rose called Coral Drift. Bright coral in color a nice little hedge sort of rose. There are also the two new bushes purchased earlier for Mothers Day. Star of the Republic and another Heritage Rose. Never too many Heritage rose bushes for me ! I slept last night on new Italian bed linens, 600 thread count, embroidered hems...an indulgence to be certain. White on white, scented with Rose linen spray. It seemed as if I was sleeping in a rose garden, not overpowering, very light. Discovered anew with each toss or turn. Sleep was sweet and sound. I very well could have dreamed I was in the beauty of the garden.

The Beauty of A Garden




Stepping out the back door into the warm humid morning air that felt heavy and instantly turned my hair into frizz, I hung out the morning wash, wondering if it will dry even in the breeze that was blowing. Task completed I meandered over to the garden to find lots of snow peas ready to be picked..more than a couple of them ended up as part of my breakfast while I finished picking them. Plum tomatoes so numerous on the vines. I can't wait for them to be ripe. Dill, going to seed. The dill plants did a fine job of feeding the caterpillars this year. I didn't mind sharing, knowing there would be beautiful butterflies fluttering around from all that good nutrition. I noticed lots of yellow squash in the back garden, time to pick that and at while out in that part of the land, feed and water the ducks...change the water in their pool too. It stays clean all of 5 minutes ! They seem to enjoy it being nasty looking though My hands smell of soil and that green sort of scent that comes from handling tomato vines and picking vegetables. The rose garden was calling to me. Its a place where the colors seem deeper, more intense. The bushes that surround and hide this area from the front of the house are tall and sheltering. You forget the road is not that far away, or that there are neighbors on that side of our property. More dead heading to do, but the pruners are almost always in my pocket when I go outside. There is always some trimming needing to be done. Tonight, we will be planting the new rose bushes. Lisa asked what the names of the new roses are, so here is the list...New Dawn, a pink climber, well suited to the Texas weather. Tahitian Sunset...bold in its pinks to coral. Bridal Bouquet, a sweet white rose that reminds me of an old fashioned summer wedding. Passionate Kisses, a nice pink rose that will be perfect for a bowl vase. Peace Rose, yellow to pink, perfect for that single rose vase. Finally, a low bush rose called Coral Drift. Bright coral in color a nice little hedge sort of rose. There are also the two new bushes purchased earlier for Mothers Day. Star of the Republic and another Heritage Rose. Never too many Heritage rose bushes for me !





I slept last night on new Italian bed linens, 600 thread count, embroidered hems...an indulgence to be certain. White on white, scented with Rose linen spray. It seemed as if I was sleeping in a rose garden, not overpowering, very light. Discovered anew with each toss or turn. Sleep was sweet and sound. I very well could have dreamed I was in the beauty of the garden.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Many Irons In The Fire



Right now there are many irons in the fire for us. First off, we are updating our living room with new paint, new drapes and will be putting up some crown moulding and adding a few more touches. It seems a bit strange to me to be able to just buy exactly what I want, rather than just settle for something that I found in a thrift store that will work, but isn't exactly what I wanted. We have planned for this time in our lives and now we have set a 5 year plan of action to have the house exactly as we want without it setting us back at all. Living free of any debt for years has given us freedom and I mean free of debt, not even house payments on any of our homes. We skipped having the new car, skipped going out to eat with our family when they were young, except for pizza twice a month at a pizza buffet that was probably cheaper than some meals I cooked.


We are also making the final plans to renovate our bedroom, which involves making two rooms into one very large room and building a large closet. Then the fun of decorating it will begin. Our 5 year plan is a good one for us. Details having the house just the way I dreamed way back when we first purchased it nearly 20 years ago. It will never be a mansion, that's not what I want, but it will be our cozy cottage home, that welcomes family and friends and allows one to feel relaxed enough to be real.

There is work going on outside too. The rose garden is growing, 6 new bushes to put in tonight and a formal hedge is going in. There is a wrought iron gateway to be put in this weekend.

Along with that, the south porch is being painted white and will soon sport screens all the way around. No easy feat since the porch is a large one, 24 feet in length.
Lots going on and it looks like the next 4 years will have just as many projects as this one, although we are not doing the work ourselves on all the projects planned. Some projects are rather detailed and need to be done by professionals. Its a new era in our lives, an exciting one to be sure. Keeping life simple all the while that we take a new road for a bit.


curtain photos from Country Curtains which is where our new curtains for the living room and bedroom are from. The Master bedroom will be done in blues and white and the living room in Yellow with touches of the red in the curtains. The living room walls are being painted with Valspar Lemon Cream