Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Photographic Journey To Nowhere

What follows is a series of relatively unrelated photographs that I just felt like sharing! 
Red dress and brown pant suit for your consideration...I have two events to attend during nurse's week (starts May 7.)  On May 8 I am attending the Clara Ford awards banquet at Henry Ford Hospital.  This is the Henry Ford version of the Nightingale award celebrating excellence in nursing.  I was nominated by Behavioral Health for this award and although I did not win at the system level, I will be sharing more about how exciting this is for you and me next week.  On May 11, I am attending the Nightingale awards (for which I was not nominated!)  This is an event for all nurses, not limited to the Henry Ford system.  So which do I wear to which?  I'm actually having second thoughts about the red dress all together.  I love it, but I think another pant suit might be a better choice.  There's a gray one at J.C. Penney that's very cute and the same price.  I'll not get a whole lot of use out of the dress, I just don't wear dresses that often.  Also, I think the red dress would be adorable with black espadrilles which are not appropriate for either event any how.  The gray suit would be useful for work.
So it's time to cast your vote!  Red dress, brown pant suit, gray pant suit.  Clara Ford awards, Nightingale awards.  Which ensemble, which event?
Third in the photographic line-up is my new double-decker drink dispenser.  Ain't it fabulous?  I ordered it from Joss & Main.  With a coupon, it was $36 with shipping included.  The two cubes are separate pieces that stack so they fit in the fridge side by side.  P.S., also fit into the dishwasher!
Finally we have my birthday gift from Daboyz, my new Vera Bradley purse.  If you think I was picturing it with the red dress, you are correct.  This, I do believe, is the first name brand purse I have ever owned.  I have been forever in search of a purse I liked for less than $10.  Let me just give you some insight, it doesn't exist.  But isn't this sweet?  I now find myself spending a lot of time on the Vera Bradley sight admiring all the yummy fabrics! 
So there you have it.  A series of photographs that have very little to do with one another and nothing to do with you.  However, it is too early in Michigan to plant flowers so I have no yard photos to post.  This is all I've got!

Red dress

Brown pant suit with green shell

Double decker drink dispenser, iced tea on top and lemonade on the bottom.  The two pieces stack so you can fit them individually in the cute is this?

Vera Bradley purse...birthday gift from Daboyz! 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

And 6 days later she posts...

1.  I had a really busy week with a couple of days that simply refused to end.
2. I slept last night for nine hours without any medication!
3. I am NO LONGER WORKING WEEKENDS!! Praise the Lord!
4. The Mr. and the family are having a burfday party for me tomorrow.
5. I ate ribs for dinner last night wearing a white bathrobe.  Guess what happened?
6. A few of my flowers bloomed and now it's below freezing and threatening to snow. Argh!
7. I had the opportunity to attend an autism workshop this week, what a great experience.
8. Can you believe I need black dress shoes and could not find a single appropriate pair at Famous Footwear?  Seriously, who is wearing these nine inch heels and why don't their mothers tell them they look ridiculous?
9. My friend who is experiencing a high risk pregnancy just had her ultrasound with genetics...healthy baby boy!
10. Ok, I gotta go have some coffee.  Happy Saturday!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Things to do when you're home sick

1. Try to recall if Elizabeth Taylor is dead or alive. Check Wiki, confirm she is dead.
2. Order your own birthday gifts online and inform people they owe you money for their purchase.
3. Read a book about how to prevent children from becoming sociopaths.
4. Check the quality of the stuff you cough up for progress.
5. Sit in every seat in the family room.
6. Lay on left side to make sinus congestion drain to the right; reverse.
7. Try to sit on the back porch, realize it's too chilly, come back inside, sit in every seat in the family room.
8. Reread home decorating magazines that you knew you kept for a reason and be glad you did.
9. Send a barrage of e mails to people at work with every thought that crosses your mind and wonder why no one is answering you and then realize they are actually working.
10. Redecorate your entire house and landscape your entire yard and redecorate the homes of your entire family...inside your mind.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The end is near!

The end of this never-ending creeping crud that is! I finally got in to see the doctor this morning. Upper respiratory infection. Like I said, creeping crud. Sinusitis happens to be a bacteria so I came home with a Z pack and Flonase. Had a chest x-ray, which I'm assuming is negative since they didn't call. So I'm back to work tomorrow.
Oh the frustration of being home day after day without the energy to do anything around my house! I did walk around the yard this afternoon and saw my perennials popping up their little heads. Then I sat on the back porch and told myself, "I'll be better by the weekend!"
My cough is waning, my throat is better. I bet if I'd have hung on for a few more days it would've cleared up on its own ;)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The eyelash

Have you ever had an eyelash in your eye? It absolutely drives me nuts. It's impossible to ignore. Even when it happens in a meeting, I have to excuse myself and go to the restroom and get that sucker out.
It makes my eye watery, it hurts, it itches. The discomfort of that tiny little eyelash basically shuts down my entire body and becomes all that I can focus on until it's gone. I can't even think about anything except getting that eye lash out of my eye.
That's what sin is like. It's a tiny tiny thing that we convince ourselves is inconsequential in the big picture. But it attaches itself to our soul and affects everything about who we are. We are not able to function in all of the beauty that God created us to reflect with that tiny thing.
At first we try to ignore the eye lash. No one but us knows it's there. But it doesn't take long until your eye is watery and red and you're rubbing it. Before you know it, someone is asking if you have something in your eye.
That eyelash won't just float away. We have to remove it.
Sin is the same way. It won't just float away with time and although we think we've ignored it, our soul is gasping, "There's something wrong."
It has to be removed intentionally and with a careful and steady hand. And when it's finally gone? Oh the relief, it's almost impossible to describe!
Whatever situation you are in, it's time to excuse yourself and seek the loving hand of God to remove the eyelash on your soul.
After that, the person in the mirror will look more beautiful than you ever imagined.

Matthew 7:5


Well, I'm grounded. Harumph!
Went to work yesterday and coughed all day long. My co workers have respectfully requested I work from home today. Indeed! Something about needing to rest and not getting everybody else sick. Pish posh.
Status update: coughing up thick brown crud (I can post a pic if you'd like, put your requests in the comment box.) Head and back hurt a bit, I think that's just from the coughing. No fever! Throat hurts, again could be from the coughing. Rungy nose (rungy is a clinical term for you lay people out there.) The nose stuff is much lighter than the lung stuff. Again, pics available upon request. I feel better than a few days ago, sleeping well-thank you Nyquil.
Did I ever tell you about the patient with tuberculosis that spit in my mouth a few months ago? My TB screening was negative, however, I am still claiming TB. Really decreases the amount of people who want to hang out with me, win-win. In case you're wondering how that happened, and since I have nothing to do until my 9:00 phone in meeting, I shall tell you the story of the TB spit.
A mental health tech asked me to assess a patient who appeared to have a spider bite on his forearm. I was doing a head to toe assessment and checking the patient's feet and ankles for swelling. So the patient was sitting on his bed and I was squatting in front of him and talking to him when he spit in my mouth. Not intentionally, just one of those spitty loud talkers. Just as I realize he spit in my mouth, the doctor walks in and says, "That's not a spider bite, that's a TB skin test. Looks positive!"
Happily I'm not a germophobe or that could've triggered a stress leave. Instead, I'm on a TB leave. Not really. But maybe. But not really.
This whole episode would be a lot more fun if I could be out planting flowers or herbs or even spring cleaning. Not quite up to that and when one is home sick, one is presumed to not be landscaping one's berm.
Ah well, ongoing prayer is much appreciated. As I said, I don't feel as poorly as I did but I need to be back to 100% and at work and feeling productive.
Much more of this sitting around and I may just go ahead and post those pics of my sputum sample.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Dear Younger Self,

Have you ever heard of those "letters to my younger self" things? It's often a step in therapy to help people come to terms with self dislike and shame, to embrace the younger self and to acknowledge their own responsibility for mis-steps so that they can move past them.

I've never written a letter to my younger self. Seeing as how there's a constant train of thought barreling through my head, I don't have time to write a letter to myself much less read it. Probably couldn't concentrate over all the noise.

What I think about the mis-steps of my younger self is this-it is what it is. One of my absolute favorite attributes of God is that you can't knock him off his game. When we weave left, He does too. When we bob right, there He is to bounce us back to center. He is beyond our imagination. He can take dutiful obedience and shower down blessing after blessing in return. But He can also take foolish selfishness and somehow knit it into our lives so that we not only survive, we thrive because of the mis-steps.

It is the very definition of redemption. Cash in your hot mess for a beautiful life.

Yeah, my younger self got married and had babies too young, she didn't have a clue how to handle her money, she didn't even attempt to purposefully manage her life, she ate too much, she didn't get an education, she didn't believe in herself and leaned too heavily on other people's guidance. She was that hot mess in need of redemption. She wasn't lost in the sense of salvation; she just hadn't found herself and was looking under all the wrong rocks. Actually, she pretty much sat on the rocks and didn't even try to look.

I love remembering my younger self...financially strapped and overweight and always anxious about tomorrow. Because now, from this vantage point, I have pulled back the frame and see not just younger Sara but God over her smiling and saying, "Whatever." No problem, I'll just tweak this, arrange that, put up this roadblock, open that door. He used my weaknesses to get in my own way of preventing His perfect plan for me.

When I was a little girl, there was a song, Something Beautiful. It's a song not about what could happen, but what does happen.

I don't need to write a letter to my younger self, He made something beautiful out of my life.

I'm all right; don't nobody worry 'bout me.

Good grief.
I've been sick for 2 weeks! But this morning I do believe I have turned a corner; finally. I'm coughing but my throat doesn't hurt. It was so sore I could only tolerate ice cold liquids. My head doesn't hurt. My muscles don't hurt. I slept well, thank you Nyquil.
At midnight last night we had the dreaded phone ringing that makes your heart stop. Although I was so Nyquiled that mine really just sort of sped up for a few beats. Mac, on his way home from work and had a flat. A flat flat destroyed flat. Thank the Lord he was closer to home than work, he works in a rather dangerous area. A flat tire on Southfield in Dearborn is much preferable to on one 8 Mile.
The Mr. went to pick him up because whoever owned the truck before Mac put wheel locks on but failed to mention that or supply the key to them. He couldn't get the tire off to change it. So it sits on the shoulder of Southfield and Warren (we pray it still sits there!) and a tow truck is on the way now to take it to Belle Tire.
I had a doctor's appointment that I had to cancel so Mac can have my truck to go meet the tow truck at his truck to follow it to the tire store. Are you keeping up with this? Riveting, I know.
My appointment was actually my annual gyn check-up which now has been pushed back to June. However, I will go to my family practice doc when Mac gets back since I no longer presume that this creeping crud is truly gone. It's a very sneaky crud it is.
I am not as frustrated as I sound. I well remember the moment in my life when we didn't have tow coverage on our insurance since we couldn't afford any bells and whistles. When the cost of replacing a tire would've sent us over the edge and probably caused a late house payment.
Even my current creeping crud could be worse. A few years ago, as a floor nurse, I would've had to call in because I couldn't do direct patient care. In my position now, I was able to still go and work out of my office. I would've rather been home but still, wasn't forced to take a medical leave.
It probably seems like these Pollyanna posts are pretty common-place but I do try to make a point of acknowledging that God watches over his children. I think the best antidote to melancholy is to look for his hand in the middle of the storm, whether it's a quick downpour or a hurricane.

Update: Mac is home and his truck is safely parked at Belle Tire waiting for a new tire. Remember my mention that he works in an unsafe area? His low tire light came on just as he drove past this intersection at about 11:45 last night...Click here.

Mac says his attitude just changed from "What a rotten night." to "What a good night."

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

Dear Blog Friend,

How many times a week do you log in to Blogger and sit there hoping for something wonderful to pop into your mind and onto the screen? I do that a lot. And I remember back to the time when I posted every single day. Back in the beginning of blogging, shortly after Lewis & Clark discovered whatever it was they discovered, Disney World I believe it was.
I would write and write and write and write so much that I had posts saved just waiting for a moment to share them.
Now? Now I write lots of posts inside my head that I cannot remember when I actually get to a keyboard. Or I start to write them and think "Well, that's a load of bull jive!" Or they seem very important and then the next day when I consider clicking the "post" button I realize they are reruns of previous posts. Perhaps I am not so prolific as I once was?
I think blogging is good for us, it's a journal and a way to reach out beyond our small worlds and find friends beyond the fence lines of our lives. For introverted me, that's a lovely thing. And I also think that I've sort of caught up with myself. All of the profound thoughts (insert hysterical laughter with snorting sound here) I had bouncing around in my fevered mind have found there way to the "page" of my blog.
I've learned a lot about myself and I'll be honest, I've reread some of my posts and learned to like myself a little bit more. Seriously. I've looked at my heart in black and white and realized, I like my heart! Taking the daily stuff like eating too much, bad hair and the like and putting it in the context of my "greater" thoughts has given me a kind of balance I'd not found before.
My blog has also given me a place to vent. Do you use your blog for this? The particularly ugly venting, like fights (not disagreements but fights) with the Mr. that I am furious about and considering ugly ways to teach him a lesson. Those are in my blog. If you're wondering where those juicy posts are, they are saved. Never posted. Usually they are deleted within a day or two, when I go back and realize I no longer feel the need to suffocate him in his sleep and I delete those angry words. Sometimes I leave them there, saved. Why? Because it's my blog and I do.
I think blogging has helped me to grow and to relax. To find friends who think somewhat the way I do. I can go blog hopping to find inspiration, whether it be home decorating or spiritual food. When I share a prayer request, I feel a deep sense of peace that those who visit me here will take my needs to the Lord.
On occasion I will receive a comment from someone I didn't know was out there reading and I am newly inspired and's like having friends I haven't met yet.
I love blogs. Facebook is just a thought in passing and blogs are a visit on the back porch. Twitter? Twitter is just craziness. :)
Pinterest makes my brain hurt. I don't know why I felt the need to share that but when I go on Pinterest I wish I had some kind of electronic Ritalin to upload.
But blogs? Blogs are like old fashioned letters written on pretty stationary. Pictures enclosed. Recipes, heart ache, silly stories, lessons from heaven.
Much of the world of technologyI dislike but I love blogs.
For those of you who visit, I thank you. I've come to realize that I have friends beyond the comment box who are praying with me, laughing with me, living alongside me. I love that.
For those of you who blog as well, I thank you. I love peeking into your life. And being an introvert, I love that I can do that from my own home ;)

Sunday, April 08, 2012

My gift

Raise your hand if you're one of those happy homemakers who like to do it up on the holidays? Me too. Although I will admit (please don't tell anyone) that I used a box cake mix for one of my desserts.

Sometimes people will say things that I feel are almost chastising about my excitement with holiday planning and preparing. Christians I mean. They will say "It's about our Lord & Savior! Not about ham & chocolate bunnies!" Yes, I am quite aware.

My goodness, yet another sneer in the direction of homemaking and this from Christians. So let me clarify my behavior.

This is what I do. This is where my joy and serenity are. And guess what? I think God is nice enough to accept the gifts born of our joy as much as those born of our sacrifice. Do I consider my stuffed cabbage and chocolate cream pie a gift to God? Yes, I surely do.

You'll have to take my word for it when I say that all of those details and hours I talk about are not discussed with a spirit of pride. It is with a heart of thankfulness and excitement that I go about my cooking and cleaning. Remember Mary and Martha? Well, Jesus didn't hate Martha. He cautioned her lovingly not to be so distracted by her work that she failed to enjoy his presence. It was a lesson in balance, not one in judgement of homemaking. I am a Martha at heart. Not a Martha who cannot enjoy the Lord, but the Martha who is inspired by making wonderful things for her family. I used to be a Martha who was driven and arrived at the holiday meal exhausted and resentful and waiting for it to be over. No longer. I've added just enough Mary to my Martha.

Now I go about my chores with music in the background and the windows open wide, unrushed and savoring the moments. This is my worship, my gift my expression of love.

Perhaps you went to church this Easter and were blessed by the talent of an amazing singer whose voice seemed to reach Heaven with its beauty. Did you, after church, approach her and tell her that Easter is about the Lord and not about her vocal chords? No, of course not. You sat in the atmosphere of holiness and worshipped.

Unfortunately, I'm not a singer. I'm Martha the Homemaker.

I make dinner, and I make it with the attitude that Jesus is a guest . I give him the best I have to give.

And that, is why I make holiday meals.

Let there be life...

And then God handed us eternity...

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Menu Planning

1. Stuffed cabbage
2. Cucumber salad
3. Bean salad
4. Jello mash
5. Ham
6. Broccoli souffle
7. Roasted potatoes
8. Strawberry lemonade cake
9. Individual cherry crisps
10. Ice cream

Friday, April 06, 2012

Good Friday

This morning I thought, "It seems like I should have something inspiring to say on Good Friday." But I didn't, so I didn't.
For the first half of my life, I'd always be off on Good Friday and attend mid day service at our church. Just a short time, an hour perhaps, to contemplate the sacrifice of Jesus. It was somber and quiet. I liked it. The earth always feels a little quiet somehow on Good Friday. Or maybe I just feel a little quiet on Good Friday.
But now, it's off to work for me. And I don't have one of those jobs that gives you a half day. Hospitals just keep going and going and going. So I went to work. It was a busy and productive day. I got everything done on my list, that's quite an accomplishment since between last weekend and some sick days this week I hadn't been to work in five days. I walked into to two out of three units in an uproar by 10:00 a.m.
The sky is falling, the sky is falling.
You know those kind of days, right?
I had to put on my manager hat and do a little bit of reassuring and a little bit of "cowboy up and handle this."
Then there was the kid who was dropping F bombs, kicking walls and threatening everyone. He and I spent some quality time together.
In between were audits, reports, meetings and the like. I have some open positions and my unit is expanding creating yet more positions. I scheduled 12 interviews for Tuesday.
By late afternoon I had spent yet more quality time with my special little guy, had a confusing chat with a young lady on the adult unit which she seemed to enjoy. Assisted with a physical management and injection of an angry young man. Reviewed staffing for tonight and the weekend. Plugged a few holes in this afternoon's staffing.
I send a weekly newsletter to my staff so I finished writing it this afternoon and posted some announcements here and there.
Around 4:00 I texted the Mr. that I was on my way home.
Around 4:45 I realized not only was I not on my way home but I was very hungry. Oh, I forgot to take a lunch. Huh.
My special little guy started hollering again so we had some more quality time.
At 5:00 I went down to the adult units to check in before I left. I ran into my partner, Natosha. She had e mailed at 3:50 that she was headed home. I told her to go home and she told me to go home and we still didn't go home. She went to the lobby to talk to a worried family and I checked in on some staff who had been attacked by a patient.
A little bit after 5:00 we finally found ourselves out the door together.
Driving home I had a thought or two about not having gone to church and working on Good Friday and wasn't it sad that Good Friday wasn't special any more. Not like it used to be.
You know what? I was wrong. I've had dinner and relaxed for a moment and I realize, I was wrong.
Good Friday services in quiet contemplation are lovely and wonderful. More important than Jesus on the cross, is Jesus in the world. Today, Jesus wanted me in the world having quality time with a special little guy and confusing conversations with an interesting young woman and even talking an angry man through being medicated as 5 people held him down.
Today, the Lord's plan was to extend the opportunity to employment to a bunch of people. And to bring wonderful people into positions where they can be there for special boys, interesting women and angry men. It takes a lot of us, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, to meet those needs. In the halls that I am called to walk, there are no holidays. I was encouraged by the number of "Praise the Lords" and "God bless yous" and "Have a blessed Easters" that I received making those interview phone calls.
Jesus calling his children into the halls I walk.
In our halls, we need Jesus and people who know how to call down heaven.
I don't feel sad that I wasn't in a Good Friday service today. Today, on Good Friday, I was in service to my King.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Yubby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dum

To add a little balance to yesterday's post, "So-whats," I really felt the need to clarify that I do not criticize those with vaulted ceilings!

Satan will turn us against one another and against ourselves continuously. It's of great importance not to become haughty either because we have much or because we look down our noses at those who do. I've heard people whispering to one another that they wouldn't have a larger home if you gave it to them on a silver platter. I've been in the middle of conversations (often women) when the topic was how wasteful or selfish someone was because of the finer things to which they treated themselves.
If this is you, stop it. Stop it right now.

Each of us has a lifelong task of finding God's design for our own lives. Just as I don't want to hear child-rearing advice from a person without kids; other people don't need to hear my two cents about their life style. I know what I'm talking about, we seem to live right in the middle of the road regarding life style.

The people at work sometimes ask Mac about our home. They envision a huge brick home with a long staircase going up, an even longer one coming down and one going no where just for show (all day long I diddy diddy dum!) When he tells them our house is aluminum sided with two bedrooms and one bathroom (if you don't count the toilet in the basement,) they are a little surprised.

You guys should buy a nicer house!

When the Mr. gave me a new engagement ring for our 25th anniversary, a few people informed me that they would never trade in their ring for a larger diamond...the original was just too sentimental.

Only your original ring means anything!

In other words, we are living too high on the hog as well as beneath our means.

So please. Please oh please oh please. Whatever your lifestyle, it's fine. It's God intention for you and so, it is good. But it will lose all of its goodness if you make up your mind that you are better than someone else because you live so humbly.

Does anyone else see the irony in this?

When you hear yourself start to say, "I wouldn't have a huge old house like __________, can you imagine having to clean all those rooms?" Stop it.

Try, "What a beautiful home."

Doesn't that sound nicer? Doesn't the first statement sound a tiny bit like jealousy? Or judgement? Both ugly. I never said live large or live small. I only said be content.

This concludes this station's public service announcement regarding the appropriate number of bathrooms per family.

Monday, April 02, 2012


I had my kids at the end of the 1980s. Does anyone remember the term "Big 80s?" Everything was bigger, richer and more luxurious. The Regan era, the Coffee Achievers, Dynasty. I am glad that I came of age during the Big 80s. There was a feeling of presumed success in the air. The clothes were great because dressing up still mattered. Then again, this was also when we started enrolling our children in 6 different sports and activities and dragged them straight from school to the soccer field eating carrot sticks in the car. We went from high expectations and willing to work for it (a good thing) to driven. We were driven to look successful and successful meant prosperous.

It seemed like all of us of the same age who started the race at the same line, separated very quickly into the achievers and the losers. Do you want to guess where the Smiths were in the first lap? Yup, the second category. New construction starting booming in the 1990s and suddenly everyone (or so it seemed) was living under vaulted ceilings and floating their sofas in their great rooms. Floating means your furniture is not pushed flush against the wall. If we had floated our sofa, we would have had to climb over the back of it to sit on it. Our living room was literally the same size as some people's pantries.

Whether by wisdom or dumb luck (definitely by the grace of God), we lacked the ambition to achieve life with a two story entry. We couldn't wrap our brains around daycare and as a bride straight out of high school, I certainly hadn't been trained for a career. I had babies and stayed home with them. A friend of my parents from church told the Mr., "You better watch it or Sara will end up just like Pat. She'll think she should stay home and not get a job and you'll be the one supporting her." Dean thought this a nasty thing to say. I agreed. But it summed up the climate around us. The Big 80s dictated the bigger 90s to our generation. Go, go, go! All things good must be pursued outside of the four walls of your home. Four walls? I think we were the only ones actually with only four walls!

The peers of my little ones had scheduled play dates at Chuck E. Cheese. My little ones climbed in the red wagon my Grampa gave them and I pulled them three blocks to visit my mom and dad.

The peers of my little ones were enrolled in karate, soccer, pee wee this and little league that. My little ones played T-ball for 2 years, enjoyed it and then lost interest. We didn't make them continue.

The peers of my little ones were growing up in their own bedrooms and Disney World during Spring break. My little ones shared a bedroom and half the time, ended up in the same bed. As of this writing, they have not been to Disney World. Their vacations were spent Up North and when my parents sold the camper and bought a cottage; we considered ourselves on the luxury plan!

On and on I could go but you get the idea. Sunday School and Sunday dinner in a restaurant after church were the highlights of our week. I wish I could say I was an empowered mama who made my decisions and honored my convictions but really, I was just going by instinct and often feeling that our lives were slipping quickly from second class to third class.

Today we make a comfortable living between the two of us, daboyz are damenz and we could buy a newer construction house. We could have a two story entry, or any entry at all for that matter. We could float our sofas in the middle of our great room. We could go to Disney! And yet, here we are. Living in a small bungalow and going Up North every summer for vacation. You might say we've not made much progress.

I used to watch HGTV and drool over the houses. I still like to drool over houses. But now, when I see these young couples looking so distraught over their lack of an en suite bathroom, I feel a little sad for them. When they decide not to buy their first home and move our of their apartment because they cannot yet afford everything they want, I'm very sad for them. They want it all and society applauds this. Don't settle! Well guess what? I settled, and not all that graciously at times. I looked at the McMansions, crunched the numbers, had several conversations with Realtors when we could finally afford the good life. For years we did this, always almost embracing what we thought was a dream but never signing the dotted line. I was frustrated.

Sometimes I'm still frustrated. This house has very small closets and only two bedrooms. It's an old house so there's no home office space and today, computers are as much a home appliance as a refrigerator. Sometimes I still dream of a big new house that was built to accommodate 2012. What I am not, is discontented. I'm learning that there are the must-have, the wouldn't-it-be-nices and the so-whats. Lots and lots of things are so-whats and I think of them as wouldn't-it-be-nices. My desk top is in my living room and my dining alcove is small. Wouldn't-it-be-nice to have a home office and a large dining space? Or, are those items actually so-what?

Here's my litmus test, did my family during my childhood have lovely holidays and happy times in houses with the same limitations as my house? We all know the answer to that, we had those things in my house! That makes it hard to convince myself that I need more and bigger to live well. Like the forsythias I wrote about a few weeks ago, it's good to look and admire and enjoy without needing to own. Needing to own can be a hint of a competitive heart. Coveting your neighbor's ________. There must be a reason the Lord felt this important enough to command Israel, do not covet. Coveting cancels contentment. It's the C3 rule, I just made that up!

With quietness, the Holy Spirit guides through thoughts and instincts. No one else can give you the advice that the voice of the Lord wants to give you. Seek contentment and be sure that when you do, the enemy will tell you that you lack ambition. Learn that ambition is determination for God's plan and there is a plan precisely and perfectly created for you.

In a few days, we will host Easter Dinner. And I will look around and say, wouldn't-it-be-nice to have a large dining room and a bigger kitchen and more seating in my living room where my desk top computer now sits. I will be right.

But on Monday, I will say, we were crammed on top of one another and cooking dinner was challenging. I will say, so-what?

Is there anything that you can move into the so-what box?

Image: July 2011. Vacation highlight, picnic on a lake Up North.


Raise your hand if you love cement garden furniture! I love love love it! It's as durable as cement! My grandparents had a cement bird bath when they lived here but a careless lawn mower guy knocked it over and broke the base. Summer number one of our residence, I got a cement birdbath replacement. It doesn't need to be put away during the winter, it just gets more mellow and lovely every year. I also bought a large cement flower pot of my own last year. A person really needs to choose exactly where they want a large cement flower pot to live and commit. Or a person's Mr. will be grouchy when a person wants it moved about.

I also have the cement flower pots that my grampa used. Yes, they are worn and chipped. That's part of what reminds a person that they are old.

This cement chicken & baby were on The Farm. Loooove them!

And this year, on my cement wish list, is a cement garden bench. I think I would like to put it under the large flowering bush on the south fence. They have them at Lowe's, $50. Yes, I have already been cement garden bench shopping.

After the bench, I may be done with my cement collection. I don't know why I love it so much other than it is familiar and lasting. You can paint it or leave it its natural gray-white. It just looks better as it gets a little chippy around the edges. I think every house should have a cement something in the yard.
It says, "Yes, something permanent lives here. Come take a seat and let the past wash over you."

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Kitchen cabinets

This picture is a few years old but what I wanted to show you was my kitchen cabinets. These cabinets are old, I'd guess 239 years old. Well, maybe a little less old than that but they are old. They are the cabinets that were in the kitchen when my grandparents bought the house in 1972. They were stained a deep walnut until a few years ago when we painted them this creamy yummy off-white. I'm a fan of a creamy yummy off-white kitchen. White subway tiles would be awesome but these standard square tiles are already creamy white so it would be money unnecessarily spent for the overall look I'm looking for. And what look is that?

Suburban bungalow cottage farm.

Google that and see what you find.

It's Spring time and as the old saying goes, "Spring time turns a chubby middle aged woman's heart to thoughts of home & garden."

It's a little too chilly and gray and wet to do the outside stuff swirling around in my fevered mind so I'm thinking inside thoughts. Today's cabinets.

I say fear not the kitchen cabinets! The Mr., given his way and a bottomless wallet, would gut the kitchen and replace my painted cabinets with brand new cabinets in a creamy yummy off white. I say pish posh! These cabinets are very likely of higher quality than what's on the market today, they are the cabinets of my childhood (were I any more sentimental I'd be forcing daboyz to sit in their old high chairs. Yes, I still have their old high chair.)

If you aren't convinced that these cabinets are a part of the very bones of my house, consider this. They came with the place. No extra money to keep the cabinets. And I love the creamy yummy off white but ya know what? Lately I've been thinking of painting them again. I'm thinking of a sagey green on the bottom and creamy yummy off white on the top! What do you think of that?

I'll tell you what the Mr. thinks, he thinks if it isn't displayed at the Lowe's it shouldn't be done. But I think there are no rules when it comes to these things. If I want to paint each door a different color, I will. Hmmm, each door a different color. That might be fun. Anyway...

I don't know that this painting of the cabinets will be happening in the immediate future, or ever. But I'm thinking about it. This, friends and neighbors, is why I don't regret keeping the old kitchen cabinets. I'd be hesitant to paint brand new ones but not these.

I have a few old end tables that are crying out for a wacky paint job too. I'll let you know how that goes.

P.S., please don't tell the Mr. about my plan. These things work better if I take him by surprise.