Sunday, January 31, 2010

Psalm 37:25
I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Prayer Request

I'm going to skip the list today and just post this request that you join us as we pray for Jay. He found out Thursday evening that the soup he usually eats everyday at lunch has gluten in it (used to be g/f.) The point is that in all that time, no reaction! So with much thought and prayer, he is starting a gluten challenge.
This means that for six weeks he will go off of his gluten-free diet. If he begins to react to the gluten he will stop the challenge. If, however, he does not experience any symptoms during that time; he will go back to the doctor for labs and a biopsy.
A person who has Celiac disease but eats no gluten will not have the anti-bodies in their blood or the damage of their intestine to confirm the disease. But when they are exposed to gluten, their bloodwork will show the antibodies that are created in response to the illness. Also, the small intestine will show damage from the autoimmune response. In Jay's case, he has always had very serious responses to eating "contaminated" food as well. For instance, he drank contaminated hot apple cider at Greenfield Village and was ill within 15 minutes. However, last July he had his usual once-a-year cheat of a hamburger on a bun and did not become ill. This yearly treat usually requires quite a bit of medication before and after to control his response.
So last night he had regular pizza for dinner. Day number one. It is seven years this month since Jay was diagnosed and we've been praying for his healing ever since. Long ago we gave this all to the Lord and have accepted His will. But we have always left our hearts open to a miracle. We'll keep you updated!

Thursday, January 28, 2010


I don't think I'm the only Christian who has desert moments. When things just seem colorless, dry, barren. I do think that we can be hesitant to talk about those times because it might give people the idea that our faith is compromised. Or, at least this is my experience, people start giving advice on how to get "back to normal." It's just been very recently in my life that I have come to see the desert as just a time, a season. Maybe it's the 20/20 hindsight that gives me reassurance that these times have never lasted. It's good too, to finally be confident in my relationship with Christ enough to not fear the desert.
Yes, the last few months have been a desert time for me. But life in the desert is not death. It is a time to be a little bit off kilter for enough days in a row to take notice. It's just unpleasant enough to want it to end. It's just beyond my understanding and control enough for me to stretch myself spiritually. Just barren enough for me to be willing to really seek the Holy Spirit for the way out. Maybe more yielded spirits than mine don't require the desert, maybe I create my own. That doesn't really bother me either. I don't consider this a character flaw. It just is. It's just the me in me. Always trying to get her under submission but knowing full well it will be a work in progress until my final redemption of spirit and body.
So the desert. This most recent one has been one of niggling frustration. Some short-temperedness, usually focused in a few particular areas. I have been discontent at work and I think I had to stumble around the sand dunes until I ran out of excuses and finger-pointing. The tricky part is, all of the things and people I blamed for my experience were rightfully to blame. Hence my wandering around figuring since I was not the cause, I need not worry about the solution. Other than to take the occasional opportunity to call attention to all the problems.
Although I'm not one for resolutions, there is a certain invitation in the new year to take a deep breath and a fresh start. I've done that. Started off by confronting those things that I needed to do better and doing them. Confessing my weaknesses, although they weren't really sins, and asking God to increase my skills and ability to make me better. And most of all, every morning I stop still and quiet in my family room and confront the desert, which is still visible if I look over my shoulder. I could walk in a giant circle and wind up right back in the Sahara. But the purpose of this desert is completed and I need to stay the course revealed to me.
In some ways, I feel that there are pockets of my life that are deserts. I didn't create them. The fallen and ugly world we work to redeem to Christ can be a wasteland. As for this particular time, I understand now that this is not a personal desert. This is one of those moments when God calls me to be a missionary. I'm the one who needs to be an oasis. It takes a little time to build an oasis in the human heart. That's what the Lord has been doing in me.
Now that I have a little insight, I'm content again. I even feel energized. I had no vision for a while there, now I am once again drinking in the creative and redemptive waters of Christ.
Satan holds the world in a stranglehold. This we know. But we sometimes fail to realize what that means. The enemy wraps his hands around offices, hospitals, schools, homes, cities...One by one with focused intent the devil tries to squeeze life out of the little pockets of humanity in which we live and work. Don't believe the lies that accuse you of something less than faith when you feel sad or disheartened. It is the natural reaction of the thirsty person in the desert. It is oppression we experience and our strength is in that we recognize it for what it is. Yes, it might take us more than a moment or an hour of prayer to overcome it. But we are The Overcomers.
Go out into your desert with your head held high and know there is an oasis within you that will bring relief to the world that satan tries to squeeze the life from.
Don't fear the desert.
Spending the week focusing on sleeping and resting so I thought tonight I'd post something I wrote at the first of the year. Grace~s

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

To Sleep Perchance...

Ahhh. I actually slept almost seven hours last night! The Benadryl that had not helped for several days prior was, I believe, given a nudge by the Holy Spirit. What a relief! My mom and dad have been praying and I know many of you have been as well. Yesterday I was off work and spent the entire day on the couch cat-napping and still was able to sleep last night. I've already taken Benadryl tonight and am believing that with a few days back to normal I'll be, well, back to normal!
It seems between some long hours at work and this dratted insomnia, I am not doing much of anything else. Haven't gone to the library, haven't updated my photography blog. Just kind of pushing through one day after another. After just one night of sleep, I am hopeful that the rest of my awake life will be better too. If I sleep well tonight and have a good day tomorrow, I hope to treat myself to a library trip on the way home in the evening. Nerd alert!
As it is, I am oh so grateful to my girl Margie who gave me a collection of James Herriot stories in a beautiful hardcover book for my birthday. I am out of books due to my lack of library energy and have pulled out my friend the country vet. If you can't sleep, the next best thing is reading something uplifting and sweet and wholesome. I've read most of the stories a bajillion times over the last 20 years and I still laugh out loud at some and tear up at others. Plus this fabulous book has pages and pages of color photos of Yorkshire, where Mr. Herriot's veterinary practice was! After a few evenings reading this amazing book, I have to wonder if our collective insomnia isn't connected to all of the disturbing images that life in this broken world bring to our doorsteps through books, magazines, television, radio, internet, conversations...just knowing about the heartache and sin in the world I think our spirits are sometimes far from peaceful even though we don't realize it. We are not as resilient as we believe. And I'm glad for that, despite the insomnia and occasional tension headache! Should I really lose no sleep while Haiti suffers?
I'm not saying my spiritual self is so sensitive that it has caused my insomnia. But I do know, we should guard our hearts and minds and take time when we can to fill ourselves with loveliness, in whatever form suits us best.
So thank you, Margie, for being sensitive to the Holy Spirit when he pointed that book out to you. I can't tell you how grateful I was to pull it out of my beside book basket. Probably a good thing that I was out of books!
And thank you to my dad and mom for always praying over me and the rest of the family. How wonderful to go through your days knowing that someone is praying over you.
And of course, thank you to YOU who have shared your secret insomnia cures and also prayed for me. I am going to go read some James Herriot and let the Benadryl and Jesus take me away to the refreshing miracle of sleep.
Sweet dreams!

Philipians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Tried the much recommended Melatonin last night for insomnia. I've never been a "good" sleeper and every once in a while I hit a streak that goes for a few weeks with poor sleep. I have the premium combo insomnia platter: can't fall asleep, can't stay asleep, sleep lightly, awaken early. I guess I'm gifted.
Anyway, I purchased the Melatonin on my way home last night and tried it. Not all that impressed. I did not sleep through the night, up every hour or so. I did however have the exceptionally vivid dreams and nightmares that a small segment of the population experience. I told you I'm gifted! Finally after laying in bed wide awake for two hours I got up and laid on the couch to watch Dr. Doolittle (the original!) at about 4 a.m. Then the question is, when to have coffee? Do I just go ahead and start my day or try to catch a few more zs? I did catnap for a while although I'm not sure that is exactly restorative sleep. At 8:30 I made the coffee. After that time I don't really want to go to sleep. Maybe I'll nap in the afternoon since I'm off. At the moment I just have that didn't sleep and I have a headache feeling.
In Melatonin's defense, I usually feel groggy and fuzzy after taking a sleep aid which I don't feel this morning. I don't know if I want to try again or just go back to praying! I didn't so much love those dreams and when I finally woke up from them I was disturbed enough not to be able to sleep again for quite a while.
Here we are at the end of all I have to say on the subject without a pithy conclusion. Write something in the comments to bring it all together. I'm too tired.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Proverbs 16:7

When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Decent People

1. Love coffee.
2. Load their dishes into the dishwasher as the dirty them.
3. Replace the toilet paper roll.
4. Let you finish using the bathroom before telling you a story.
5. Don't point out that you look tired.
6. Enjoy showtunes.
7. Change their sheets every Thursday evening (ha Cheryl!)
8. Like vinegar and oil on their salad.
9. Read every night before bed.
10. Don't watch reality television.

Friday, January 22, 2010


Oh how I dread going to church! I almost hate it! There are little details that would make for a conversation about this inner struggle of mine but they are not really all that important. Here's what often happens-
The Mr. leaves for church by 7:30 a.m. and gets home around 2:00 p.m. because he plays for all three services. So we all realize that I am not one of those lovely Christian women who goes along and finds something to do for six hours, right? Yes yes yes I know that there are a lot of things I could be doing. The point is that we drive separately to church and I meet him there for one service and then I go home. As I write this it is another Sunday morning that he's already been at church for two hours and I'm sipping my coffee trying to motivate. The problem is that I just really love being here in my quiet little house. In more ways than church, it feels like church in that it refreshes, renews and restores me. So what's the problem? Never mind, I don't really want to hear it.
Sitting here this morning having decided that I will go to church mostly because the Mr. is expecting me I had an epiphany. Finally something that made sense to me. I have been wrestling with going to church when I only have a few hours a week to be home and quiet; going just because the Mr. keeps trying to convince me (unsuccessfully) that I'll like it; going because that is what Christians do; going because...whatever.
But today the first truly motivating concept of this lifelong sruggle broke through. God has pointed out to me that there is strength to be gained in the simple sacrifice of my preference. Yes, I'd rather stay home. And frankly, no, I do not agree that staying home compromises my relationship with the Lord.
But every single time I simply submit my own preferences, give up my own desires; this is where Christ finds a foothold in my heart.

Written 1/17/10

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Every now and then you just need to take a break from the serious topics of life to laugh. If you're laughing at a serious topic, in fact, all the better.
The Folks, as you know, are now living in a "regular" apartment. In other words, not senior assisted. Let's review, the MIL can only walk short distances with a walker and is legally blind. The FIL has dementia. So!
The MIL and FIL are attempting to make sloppy joes for dinner. The FIL is given the assignment of opening the joe sauce, which he does successfully. However, in the process of walking to the MIL he drops the jar causing joe sauce to scatter on every surface including the MIL. The MIL is getting frustrated and tells the FIL to just get her the hamburger buns and they'll have to make do with low sauce to meat ratio joes. Well, the MIL can't see the buns and the FIL can't find the buns.
The MIL is reaching the limits of her patience with the situation and starts to "fuss" (which I think means holler) at the FIL who goes running out the door of the apartment. The MIL can't walk and so sits inside the apartment yelling, "Dad! You get back in here right now!"
Happily the FIL returns shortly and they resume eating their dry joes. Ten minutes later, there's knock on the door. The police.
"We got a 911 call that an elderly gentleman burst into the apartment across the hall yelling...

Sometimes you gotta laugh to keep from crying!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Isaiah 10:27
And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Good Day

1. Not at work!
2. Clean house.
3. The Mr. at home.
4. Coffee (of course!)
5. Waffles for breakfast.
6. Half of the laundry done.
7. A trip to the library.
8. Old movies on T.V.
9. Slept well last night.
10. Might just stay in all day.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Baby I'm tired!

Boy am I tired! That's a good thing. I am a chronic insomniac so when I have the hint of enough exhaustion to actually sleep, I'm a happy girl!

I was the house supervisor today, ran all over the place. Worked on a project I'm piloting Monday. Had a very productive and satisfying day. So I'm getting ready to put on my jammies and let myself relax.

And sooooooooooo glad I did that housework last night! Tomorrow morning should be all the sweeter with a good night's sleep and no work!

Grace to you!

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I just completed my Thursday evening chores! On Thursdays the Mr. has worship team practice so I use that time to change our bed linens, clean the bathroom, do few loads of laundry and a little straightening. When I came home from the hospital I certainly didn't want to to housework but boy is it nice when it's done.
The Mr. is off on Fridays and we have had the occasional week when I'm tired and lazy on Thursday evening and decide that since he's off, he can just take care of it. That's pretty much always a mistake. Number one he seems to have some kind of visual deficit that makes it virtually impossible for him to see dust, grime, dog hair, tooth paste in the sink or pee on the toilet seat. Secondly, when he does decide to get in touch with his inner homemaker, everything is subject to cleaning via Clorox wipes. And the tub has never, in 23 years, looked like it needed to be cleaned as far as he is concerned.
Plus he usually has some errands to run for the Folks on Fridays. I don't really accept this as an excuse because I am a firm believer in straightening the house before I leave in the morning because I HATE coming home to a messy place. This, not unlike soap scum, does not bother the Mr. So here's what it comes down to-
No matter how tired I am on Thursdays, it's still a better plan to prepare the house for a pleasant Friday evening. Otherwise, my screaming and head spinning around often puts a damper on the start of the weekend.
And that's the way it is.
Now I'm off to read in my crisp, freshly made bed! G'nite!

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Broken Cup

When we were married in 1986, I received formal Mikasa china service for 12 plus serving dishes and coordinating flatware. Do brides even register for formal china any more? My set was provided by my grandmothers.
On December 31, 1986 we had a New Year's Eve party mostly for a reason to use our Mikasa china. Certainly it wasn't because I wanted a bunch of people to hang around until after midnight. I was all of 19 years 8 months old. That's my excuse.
After the guests had left I was hand washing my formal ware being that I did not have a dishwasher. There lined up on my counter shining and beautiful were 12 crystal goblets, 12 dinner dishes, 12 dessert plates, 12 saucers, 11 coffee cups...
11 coffee cups?
I poked around looking for the missing cup. What in the world? Then I looked in the trash can. There, under some wadded up napkins was coffee cup number 12. Broken.
I ran through the list of people who I knew to be coffee drinkers and figured out who I believed the culprit to be. I still believe I fingered the right perp. And I was kind of ticked. Pretty ticked.
Angry enough to stand in my kitchen and cry and cry and cry.
Cry because my wedding set that was only 2 months old was no longer perfect. Cry because I felt betrayed that someone close to me had hidden my broken cup instead of just telling me they'd broken it. And here's the part where I use my tender young age as an excuse; I thought that the coffee cup breaker should buy me a new Mikasa Wedding Band Gold coffee cup. I don't remember how much the cup cost but I remember quite clearly that I couldn't afford it and the Mr. certainly couldn't see the reason for such an expense being that he never understood the need for formal china in the first place.
The other day the Mr. brought our boxes of formal china in from the garage and put them away in the new old kitchen. Service for 12 if only 11 want coffee.
I could afford to buy that 12th china cup now. I just might, in fact, do that. I googled it, $13.99 for cup and saucer.
But I wish I'd hung on to that broken cup. Just for myself. Just so 23 years later I could learn its lesson.
Let me never be someone from whom others fear to ask forgiveness. Let me, in fact, give it without the asking.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Catching Stones

The Mr. and I long ago put away the notion of "You shouldn't feel that way." After all, we don't generally arrive at an intentional conclusion to feel disappointment or anger. Feelings sort of sneak up from behind and wrap themselves around your brain before you can make a decision about them. What we try to do is not reject what we're feeling but honestly identify it and in the process, admit it if we seem a bit unreasonable about it. We've learned that when someone tells you, "Don't feel like that," you immediately start defending why you have every right to feel just exactly like that and from there it's much harder to move on. Usually I just convince myself that I am even angrier or sadder than I originally realized once I hear my own argument to convince him!

And so it was this last week after the suicide of my cousin, David. He was my third cousin actually. Thirteen years younger than me. In fact, he lived two blocks away from us when he was a little kid and when he was six we asked him to be the ring bearer in our wedding. He said yes. Then no. Then maybe. Then I think so. Then no way. Then ok. Then no. No was the final answer. We knew him to be a melancholy little boy and there were reasons in his young life to be sad and worried. We were disappointed not because we then lacked a ring bearer. In fact, we had a stand-by because all of us realized this would be hard for him. So another wonderful family in our church were ready in case David changed his mind and our ring-bearer became Adam. We were disappointed because David was precious and important to us.

In the intervening years between our wedding and his death, I didn't see him all that much. His family moved to Southfield, we started our family on this end of town. He grew up and joined the Army. If you asked him if he knew Sara Smith, it would probably take him a few beats to figure out that Sara Trent is Sara Smith.

I went to David's funeral on Thursday and cried for him, for his wife, for his parents, for all of us. I have prayed for those whose everyday lives will hear the silence he leaves behind. My everyday life will continue as usual. Yet there are moments of tearfulness that sneak up on me. Most nights this week I have crawled into bed exhausted and then stared at the clock past midnight. At work, I have been distracted. Friday I spent two hours working on a project due ten days from now and entirely forgot a project that was due last Tuesday. And not because I am sitting at my desk grief-stricken. Not because I am continually thinking, "Oh David, David." Not because I am re-examining my relationship with him and wondering what I could have done.

My feelings just...are.

I feel sad, serious, introspective, tired, sleepless. I feel like the earth under my feet is not as solid as it was on January second. So I'm grateful that God has taught me that I don't have to have a right to feel what I do. David's suicide was like a rock thrown into a still pond. Those closest to him ride waves much more fierce than mine. Still, on the outer edges of his life, we too are tossed and unsettled.

I have not berated myself for this week for the less than stellar performance at work. I have explained what my family has experienced, apologized for the effect others might have noticed and taken responsibility to get it together. I have laid on the couch quietly. Talked less. Laughed less. I have thrown down some anchors in these choppy waters; prayer, the Word, sharing, crying, explaining to people who didn't know what we lost why I'm distracted. Eating better, drinking more water, cutting down caffeine, resting quietly when sleep won't come. We will all, in our own time, find quieter waters again.

David was one among thousands of people who kill themselves. But he was our one. He was our boy whose own waters couldn't quiet. He was our David whose storm had no horizon. He was ours; who heard a lie, then listened to a lie, then believed a lie, then acted on a lie. The lie was that there was no peace for him.

Is it true then, that feelings are what they are and there is no, "Don't feel like that?" Yes. It is true. I know this not only as the third cousin of David who committed suicide but also as the nurse who has bandaged torn wrists and cleaned the vomit from the mouth of the overdose, who has held the patient up while the ligature was removed from their neck and knelt on the floor trying to find a pulse. I know that it is true, that we must all be allowed to feel what we feel.

Some of us are that stone, thrown by the enemy into the still waters to be lost beneath the surface. The rest of us are the ones who need God to make us smart enough to see the pain and brave enough to confront it. And gentle enough to reject the lies without rejecting the ones who hear them. It is beyond us all without the Holy Spirit to save the next David.

We are not without the Holy Spirit. God; make us smarter, braver and gentler. Make us stone catchers.
Deuteronomy 27:6-7
Thou shalt build the altar of the LORD thy God of whole stones: and thou shalt offer burnt offerings thereon unto the LORD thy God: And thou shalt offer peace offerings, and shalt eat there, and rejoice before the LORD thy God.

January 10, 2010

2 Kings 6:16-17
And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Eye Candy

1. Stained glass.
2. Birdbaths.
3. Paul Newman in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof.
4. Gardens.
5. Puppies.
6. My guys.
7. Rivers.
8. Robin's egg blue.
9. Irish coffee cups.
10. Good hair.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

The Show Outside The Window

With coffee at my side I watch silent snow fall from heaven
No where I have to be right now, does this snow fall just for me?
I could push myself up and out of this chair and put my cup into the sink.
I could get up and clean the kitchen or do a load of laundry.
I could just stay a while in silent amazement watching pure white dominate the gray dirt.
I could childishly assume that a moment has been carved into time for God to say,
"Here, sit by me and rest a moment. Let's watch the show outside the window."

The Piano

The Christmas decorations are tucked away until next year. Isn't always a little surprising how bare the place looks? It didn't seem so plain in November but now I look around and think I need a project or two to liven this place up!

One of the issues is the piano. The Piano. The mother-in-law's piano on which the Mr. learned to play, although not very well. The Mr. was given custody of the piano upon the move to Michigan as there was not enough room to keep it in the apartment. Unfortunately, The Piano still sits in the garage. Recall if you will the mighty mess encountered when we first arrived with the folks in Michigan. That put us into a tailspin from which we've yet to completely recover. The yard never got a proper Autumn clean-up which means Spring time should be rather dreadful. The projects around here slated for this and that lay-off remain on the yet-to-be-done list because much of the Mr.'s "free" time is absorbed with errands and assistance for his parents. And of course there is the ever present finding something else to do when that precious hour without a task finally shows its face. Something other than remodeling the office or cleaning the basement. Or hauling a piano into the house.

Now here we are in January with no sparkling trees to distract us.

Here I am to tell you that it is time. It is the season, if you will, to get back on track. To eat better, to go to Weight Watchers, to move that furniture around to accommodate it and then to haul in The Piano. To figure out just exactly what I want to do with my bedroom and then do it! To organize the office and finish registering for school and get back into The Word. To be...normal (as it applies to us.)

It is time for me to tell the Mr. it's time as well. You see, we're pretty scheduled and organized around here but the Folks...The Folks are...not. Not.

It's not dementia or illness, it's just the way they are and have always been. Grocery shopping today, tomorrow a phone call with the three items they didn't realize they needed, etc. Scheduling doctor's appointments, canceling, rescheduling. Ack. You get the idea. But it's time.

I had to tell Dean that we have to be in control since we are the ones driving this caravan. He gets it.

A lesson to be learned; that the home front comes first. Sometimes the demands of life require lapses here and there but we must quickly recalibrate or the very place from which we recharge will begin to drain us. Unacceptable.

Move the china cabinet into the family room, haul The Piano into the C.S. Lewis room. Clear out the front bedroom and turn it into a bonafide office with a non-schizophrenic filing system. Figure out the mystery that is my bedroom. Reduce the number on the scale. Clean the basement. By the time that's all done, it will be Spring!

The season to plant the garden, clean the yard, hang some flowers, extend the deck, build a privacy fence, install a fire pit...

To everything a season!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


I've often been frustrated with the feeling of being pulled this way and that. Career woman or homemaker? Teacher or learner? Funny or serious? The list could go on forever but you get the idea; in fact I suspect you've been there a time or two yourself.
Over at my friend Debra's blog is a very sweet post about her dream house. Our homes can be another place which pull us in opposing directions. Debra talks about those 4,000 sq. foot mini-mansions complete with high end kitchens and en suite spa bathrooms. And who does not, on occasion, dream of such a place to call their own? Not you? Well, I do. Not often, but I do. After a romantic get-away we daydream about Jacuzzis and fireplaces in our bedroom. When we're planning the occasional party my charming little bungalow tips dangerously toward tiny little house.
There's the ever-present Eleanor Gerhardstein Furniture and Stuff Gallery. Somehow my gramma had more things in her little house than can be accommodated in the three houses of my sister, my mom and myself. And still there are items in my attic, garage and basement. None of of can be gotten rid of. But sometimes one feels that the charming little bungalow needs to expand her borders just a bit. For instance, my hope chest given to me by the Mr. when I was sixteen, sits in our garage. It would be lovely with my bedroom furniture but the charming little bungalow has charming little bedrooms. Well, little at least.
Perhaps my beloved HGTV lends a little to the tug-o-war. There I sit on the edge of my seat as the poor couple (Bob & Jim most likely) stand by with knitted brows as the crane lifts the granite counter top just imported that very morning from Africa over the English garden hedge and lowers it through the peeled back roof of their Victorian brownstone where they are remodeling the third floor into a master suite/spa. Good grief, they almost smashed through the leaded glass bay window of their large eat-in kitchen where they happily make spaghetti with their range top pot filler which no civilized home lacks. What do people do, walk with a pot full of water from their sink to their stove? Surely not in the United States of America!
And while I am at it, I have neither kitchen island nor two sinks to accommodate two cooks cleaning vegetables. No warming drawer either. Alas.
Sometimes I have to stop and remind myself that this charming little bungalow was littler still when it was built, lacking the kitchen expansion and family room which I now enjoy. And there is a possibility that even in such primitive conditions Christmases were enjoyed and dinner parties hosted. How, I cannot imagine. Wink.
I wonder if we have a little problem in America of having forgotten how to window shop. How to admire the glossy magazine pictures of grand houses and perhaps steal an idea or two about colors or furniture placement and then return to our charming little bungalows happy and content. We seem to think that which we see we must own. It's not so easy to live in good balance and I'm not criticizing. I can finally afford plush towels and high thread count bed linens and I enjoy them thoroughly. Strawberries purchased at the Dearborn Market are more expensive than those at Kroger and all the sweeter. I love good freshly ground coffee and down comforters. All more expensive than their Wal Mart counterparts. My grandmother had the ability to be both a Hudson's and K-Mart shopper. That's what I'm learning to be.
There are people (being one of them on occasion I am aware), who might visit my charming little bungalow and take note of plush towels and Starbuck's coffee and come to the conclusion that I should spend my money on a larger newer home instead of silly luxuries. There are also people (being one of them on occasion I am aware), who might visit the large newer home with the en suite spa bathroom and sparsely decorated rooms and come to the conclusion that the owners should have bought a home they can better afford to furnish. I think we're all a bunch of ninnies.
Why don't we all try this experiment; settle down for how ever long it takes to become well-acquainted with ourselves. For instance, I must remind myself that I entertain about a half dozen times a year and most of those during summer months in my largish yard. All of my guests are those whom I dearly love and love me in kind and our joy in those moments wouldn't be in the least diminished by a yet smaller charming little bungalow. One must only answer the question, what does my home need to provide me? One must also be smart enough to figure out the answer with honesty and not let the "others" with their multiple opinions have much bearing on the situation. Yes, sadly, there are times when I am quite side-tracked by worry over what visitors to my home will think of it.
I am a loner at heart and one in desperate need of quietness both of sound and vision. I thrive on sentiment and memories. Ikea makes my skull hurt. 99% of the time the service which my house renders is to hold four people and one dog. The final answer is that 4,000 sq. feet and an en suite spa bathroom simply won't do.
As we march forward through days and years, I suggest that we all figure out what we are made of and learn that settling is not failure. Settling into a luxurious new home with a jet tub that feeds your very soul and makes your spirit sing with joy every morning is just exactly correct. Settling into an apartment that feels warm and safe and lulls you to sleep with gentle peace is precisely what you must do.
As for the charming little bungalow lacking a pot filler where people shower in the basement to keep the one main floor bathroom relatively clean? Come by any time. Well, no, don't do that. Come by only when I feel like having company. Good luck figuring out that invitation. But when you do come by and notice my plush towels in that tiny bathroom and drink my $tarbuck's coffee; don't judge me too harshly. It's all a matter of settling.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Our Little Secret

I think, I think, I think...I want to wallpaper our bedroom! There. I've said it. Maybe. Maybe I want to wallpaper our bedroom.
Currently our bedroom has pistachio green walls, which I really do love. The furniture is my grandmother's set and so it's not going anywhere although it isn't something I'd have chosen myself. Of course, the sentimental attachment far outweighs aesthetics so now there's nothing for it but to work with it.
I don't really like wallpaper all that much and by that I mean, not at all. And I really do not like hanging nor removing it. But I'm ready for something different in our room and I just can't put my finger on what I want that would work with the current wall color. Nor any other wall color that I've so far considered. What I know for sure is the the house in the original Home Alone movie is absolutely timelessly beautiful, just look at that picture!
I believe what I'm lacking is an inspiration piece but an inspiration room would surely do. As you know, our house is bungalow/cottage/farmhouse...well, you know. I like to feel like every room has been like it is now since the house was built. Antiques mixed in with the furniture in every room and nothing too matchy matchy. Trendy not spoken here. Sentimental and comfortable rules the day. Add to that something livable. Donny sleeps with us so whatever bedspread we choose has to be, ahem, well, dirty dog colored.
Back to wallpaper, would toile not be lovely? Red or black or brown toile wallpaper. I'd like something with a faded look to it. Something with which you could throw a chenille blanket and be drawn to sink in and read a book with a soft bedside lamp. French country meets shabby chic meets beachfront cottage?
Oh, I don't know. Help a sister out here! The room is small, the bed queen-sized.
What to do?

Monday, January 04, 2010

Shall break every chain

He's the Lion of Judah; the Root and the Offspring of David. He's the Lily of the Valley; the Bright and the Morning Star...Hail, hail Lion of Judah!

Yesterday it seemed I had just finished praying for one situation when another one was happening. I was at work when I got the first news; the suicide. You'd think that considering where I work, I'd have some exceptional ability to deal with this. Not true. I do have an exceptional ability that has nothing to do with my work. It has all to do with Christ. Sometimes I get frustrated when there is something happening and I'm at work, unable to go and help or just be with people. Yesterday I put my Donnie McClurkin CD on and didn'teven search for an eloquent prayer.

Hail, hail Lion of Judah; how wonderful you are!

There was more news later in the day; another person I love under the attack of satan.

Hail, hail Lion of Judah; how powerful you are!

I went to the hospital to speak life against the death that the enemy was whispering.

You're the root and the offspring of David; the Lily of the Valley.

This morning I await information about funeral arrangements & how my loved ones are doing.
Satan, you have no place here. You have no voice and no authority. You are bound in the name of Jesus Christ, Lord & Savior, Messiah and Lion of Judah.

Hail, hail Lion of Judah! How wonderful you are! Hail, hail Lion of Judah! How powerful you are!

The root and the offspring of David. The root from which we are born and the life of every generation that will follow. There is no victory for hell in between.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

January 3, 2009

Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations; And repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face.
Deuteronomy 7:9-10

Saturday, January 02, 2010

The Road Through 2009

10. Achieving Connecticut in my family room.
9. Multiple hairstyles.
8. Moving the Folks to Michigan.
7. Continuous stack of library books at my bedside.
6. Unearthing a patio on the Farm Side of our yard.
5. The first time I have ever been unable to find good in my president.
4. Too much time at Target.
3. Evenings in front of the fireplace.
2. Lots of lay-offs and grateful they aren't pink slips.
1. Another year of health, safety and blessing.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year!

I don't have any resolutions to share so I thought I'd take this first day of 2010 to reintroduce myself and what I hope that this blog will be.
I am 42 years old and have been married to Dean (The Mr.) since 1986. We met when I was 15 and he was 17. We have two sons (Daboyz); Jay is 22 and Mac is 21. And a dog named Donny who was born in 2007. Both of my grandmothers passed away in the last few years and we are blessed beyond words to have purchased my Gramma Gerhardstein's house where we now live. Jay is in the process of purchasing Grandma Trent's house after my dad has done a flip and a half on it! Jay works in the banking industry and Mac is a full time college student pursuing a nursing degree. By the way, I'm a psychiatric nurse and the Mr. works for one of the Big Three.
I love and thank God for my job but I'm not a career woman. I am a displaced homemaker! I need to work to help support the family but given my druthers, I'd be happy and proud to call myself a housewife and that alone.
And the purpose of this blog? Forever changing it seems. I have gone through long stretches where it seemed to be a devotional; many postings that were like a personal journal and a good number musing about paint choices and hair dos (and don'ts) and one unfortunate incident with a toilet and a shop vac. It all comes down to my life scripture:

Ecclesiastes 3: 1 To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: 2 A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted;3 A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; 4 A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; 5 A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; 6 A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; 7 A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; 8 A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.

This verse has been my touchstone when I thought that my pain was too much to bear; the promise that seasons are defined by their very limits. It's also been my permission to embrace joy; the truth that seasons are expressed in unspeakable beauty. This blog is just a reflection of whatever season I am in. You'll find here a woman trying to figure out what color to paint her bedroom as well as one who is often afraid and faithless. You'll also find someone who will shamelessly ask for prayer and then sleep peacefully believing she is being brought before the throne. I won't promise you another season of devotions, comedies, tragedies, book reviews or the adventures of a new old house. The next post, like the next season, is sometimes as much a mystery to me as to you. I am honored by those who journey with me despite the fact that I am quite awful about commenting although I visit with all of you daily. Please forgive me for that. One thing is certain, that for every human experience, God has created a season big enough to contain it. Of infinite comfort to me is that the painful, faithless, fearful seasons have their limits and eventually must unfold into times to love, laugh and dance. Welcome to the season of grace, which never ends.