Saturday, July 22, 2017


weeds from our yard

Catch us the foxes,
The little foxes that spoil the vines,
For our vines have tender grapes.
Song of Solomon 2:15

While walking back from our mail box, my eyes caught sight of weeds growing out of the bark mulch along our front side walk. They have been there since we moved in a few weeks ago, but I was much too busy unpacking to deal with them.

Here in Florida weeds will grow year around, with no reprieve like we had in Colorado when the temperatures dropped well below freezing and deep snow blanketed the ground.

In relocating to the sub-tropics, I knew I would need to develop some new habits (or 'hobbies' might be a more positive word). Pulling weeds regularly should be near the top of the list. 

So as I bent down in the early morning sunshine that had not become unbearable just yet, I pulled a big handful of the weeds and thought what a good idea it would be to do this nearly every day, to stay on top of it and not allow them to get out of control.

A scripture came to mind at the same time, the one I've written above. One could substitute "little foxes" for sin. It is so easy to neglect to address the seeming "little" sins we know are in our conversation, our behavior, our relationships, our thoughts, and our desires. 

When we don't examine ourselves regularly, confess to the Lord and turn in the right direction, those matters get bigger and become nearly impossible to eradicate. 

While there is no eternal condemnation for us who have our salvation in Jesus Christ, He does not allow our sins to go on forever. He disciplines us so our behavior will change for the good. 

How pleasing it is to Him and how beneficial it is for us to not allow known sin to continue indefinitely. Pulling the little weeds is a good reminder to me of that.

Comments are closed for the weekend. :o)

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Decorating Conundrums

stairs to the main floor

When we found this house in April, were told that it had been on the market for some 8 or 9 months, which we thought incredulous because we liked it so much. Now in retrospect we understand two things: (1) the Lord was saving it for us; and (2) the real estate market is not quite as 'hot' here as it is in Denver.

upstairs hall
We love the house for many reasons, but it could be that those are the very reasons others did not want to buy it.

looking from the upstairs bonus room into the foyer (below the light fixture)

As you are seeing with the photos I'm posting today, we have a lot of curved walls!

looking down into the foyer from above
And some of the doorways are pretty narrow, which was a challenge for the movers when they delivered our furniture a couple of weeks ago.

entering the kitchen

The combination of the narrow doorways and the curved walls reminds me of a castle! I love it!

But have you ever tried to put furniture up against a round wall? Or to hang pictures?

Even the powder room has a rounded wall, which makes hanging a t.p. holder a bit tricky.

The dining room into the family room -- a good place for the globe on its pedestal.

The niche in the entry foyer is a fun decorating element. 

I'm still working on what goes in there. 

That stairwell was a challenge because I can't bear to leave huge walls blank. However, with just a little thought, a solution came to mind.

The vinyl lettering kits were 50% off at Hobby Lobby. I bought two, one for the stair well, and one for another wall (a flat wall!).

I used vinyl lettering in The Brown Bungalow and let me tell you, not only were they easy to put up, but they were very easy to remove as well!

Scripture in the stairwell, positive and uplifting. The other kit was used on the wall that separates the kitchen from the breakfast nook.

Before I close this out for today, let me show you one of Beloved's projects in his garage.

A couple of days after we signed the closing papers (and before the moving truck arrived), he had the garage ceiling and walls painted white, and the floor was stained gray.  (I shared this same photo in a post a few weeks ago) Since then he has gained a lot of satisfaction from arranging his work bench, tools, and cabinets.

Beloved with his steel peg board
He didn't know what he was going to do about pegboard because he's never really been happy with his previous installations as they always seemed to be too loose.

He looked at Home Depot and found metal pegboard by an outfit called Wall Control. He also checked it out on YouTube and ordered three 16" x 32" sections plus accessories from Home Depot for about $95 with free shipping.

He didn't want to mount them directly on the wall as the stud spacing in this garage is whacky (quoting my husband). This was another conundrum! He didn't want to mix mollies (wall anchors) with screws. So he built a frame on the wall to receive the panels. 

The panels came yesterday and he mounted them today. He is very pleased with the result, and so am I! It's very sturdy.  The panels come in shiny steel, gray, black, and red. He chose to order his in gray, to go with the garage floor.

So, problems are getting solved and we are happy about that!

I will close this out with a shot of the powder room mirror (which out of necessity turned out to be a selfie, too). I was thrilled the owners chose to leave this feature. THIS was not a problem!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Unpacking friends

the breakfast nook

We have entered the more fun part of moving. The boxes are unpacked, the furniture is arranged, and now we can put up the wall decor. It's been 2 1/2 months since we put a contract on this house and a little over 2 weeks since we moved in, so I've had time to think about where I want to hang things. It's good to have my special 'friends' out where I can see them once again.

the black/brown/white quilt in the dining room

Both the breakfast nook quilt and the dining room quilt are again in the same rooms of that designation.  

By the way, those packages on the table are the sheets for the bunk beds. The mattress covers are on order, expected to arrive mid-week. We will be pre-washing the sheets and then spend an afternoon 'dressing' the beds. Dontchaknow how fun it will be making up all those top bunks -- LOL!

the dog cookie jar is new/ the coffee sign has been with us a long time

We are enjoying the butler's pantry in this house because it gives Beloved lots of space for his Keurig coffee maker, resulting in much less 'traffic congestion' in the kitchen when I'm preparing breakfast.

some of my summer quilts on a ladder in the kitchen
These quilts are products from my sewing room when we lived in the house before The Brown Bungalow, so they are old friends. I am using them on this new ladder (purchased at Kirklands on sale last week) to hide a mess of cords for the computer, phone, clock radio, and toaster oven.

the master bedroom

My buddies from the quilting group at church in Colorado will recognize this quilt. We all made our own version of Fons and Porters "Thank You Stars." Not only am I using it on our master bed again in this house, but this room opens directing into the family room, so the quilt is truly on display at all times through a pair of French doors.

Mama's cedar chest
The Cook on Fifth Street gave me her cedar chest a couple of years ago, along with the goldie quilt she had bought second-hand. These things used to be in the family room but in this house they are in the master bedroom so we can sit on it to put on our shoes.

now and then
You may remember my uncomfortable predicament in early June when I was trying to take this large landscape picture down from the wall above our fire place in The Brown Bungalow. I couldn't get one side to release and Beloved was at the dentist so I had to leave it perched on the mantel until he got home. 

Now it is hanging in the boys' dorm (the name we've given for the bedroom for our 6 grandsons). The decorating scheme for the boys' dorm is "nature" and the theme for the girls' dorm is "quilts."

the deck table at The Brown Bungalow
One friend that came with us to The Land of Flip Flops but is no longer with us is the beautiful deck table and chairs.  We knew that this would be a tight fit on our much smaller covered lanai, but with all of our careful measuring, we had forgot that the columns supporting the roof on the lanai are huge, taking up precious footage on the patio floor. After the table was unloaded the day we moved in, it was clear we had no space for it. Happily, our realtor bought it from us, so it's gone to a good home.

But speaking of old friends, that term is not restricted to my home decor. I know all of you have been wondering if my 'staff' survived the trek down here, and especially since they had to travel in plastic bins in the moving truck, including a week or so of storage in Denver.  Well. . . . .

heat stroke epidemic
The transition has been easier for some than for others. Grandad Bear, who is never without his trademark red wooly sweater, felt faint from the moment I unpacked him. He and several others have taken a hard hit with not only the heat but the humidity of our new home town. 

Rent-a-Nurse attends to Grandad Bear

Fortunately, I packed Rent-a-Nurse in the same box with him and so she was readily available to minister to his needs. Lily, too, was at the ready since she had traveled in her nursing scrubs. They both helped me unpack a tower fan and aimed it at top speed in the direction of the makeshift infirmary.  (Rent-a-Nurse and Lily took care of Grandad Bear after his knee replacement a few  years ago. For pictures and more on that story, see the footnotes at the end of this post)

Rent-a-Nurse suggested the obvious, that Grandad Bear remove his red wooly sweater but he can be terribly stubborn at times and staunchly refused! His excuse is that he's taken it off only once before in his lifetime and it was awfully hard to pull it over his ears.

Mrs Berniece Mertz (our chef) and Mandy Sue, with
Eaves Dropping, Home and Garden editor of the Whistlestop Weekly

Mandy Sue, on the other hand, was feeling rather smug that she had allowed herself to be packed for the trip in a sleeveless frock that has allowed her to feel fresh and cool.  The other ladies, too, were dressed more suitably for our change to a subtropical climate.

I'm thinking I'll need to be on the lookout for a tank top for Grandad Bear, and if that search proves fruitless, I'll make one for him. He will never survive in that sweater.

Seriously, we continue to settle in here and are loving just about everything about the move. My head is still sort of spinning that so much has taken place in such a short span of time but we've seen confirmations all along the way that this was indeed the right time to do it and the right destination. I will post better pictures of the house after more decorating is done.

Thank you for all of your positive comments along the way and your enthusiasm for the play-by-play blog posts about the move.

*  *  *  *  *
Beloved's Grandad's knee replacement in 2011
Post Surgical Problem

Physical Therapy

Thursday, July 13, 2017

A Moving Milestone

our dining room
These stacks of empty boxes and plastic bins explain why I haven't  written a blog post since last Sunday. We've been busy! 

When we made our recent overnight trip to see family, we gave them empty plastic bins, something like 5 (I think).  Since then we have emptied many more and those will go to more family members.

The Banker's Boxes in this picture are empty, but as we come across items to donate to Good Will, we reclaim as many of these boxes as we need to carry the donations to the drop off place.  As of this evening I am officially done with unpacking!  Yay!!!! Beloved is pretty much done, too. He is still deciding how to arrange his garage and that is coming along very well.

my car says good bye to the Rocky Mountain license plate
But today is noteworthy in another way -- we got our Florida car license plates and our Florida driver's licenses. This is a big deal. Around here, they strongly urge us to make an appointment online ahead of time for both of these things.  

That is a good idea and we did. When we arrived (plenty early, I should add), we had a bit of a time finding parking spaces for both of our cars. After circling (and praying) a couple of times, that need was met and we went inside. Fortunately the wait was not long because when Beloved got to the window first, he found out we did not have all the correct paper work with us, in spite of his super-diligent efforts to comply with the requirements. It turns out he was getting the information from an unofficial website! 

The clerk was very kind and told us she would hold our paperwork while we drove back home to get what we needed (a 25-minute drive, one way). This ruffled our nerves, of course, as we try to be very responsible, following all the rules, dotting all the i's and crossing all the t's.

So we headed back home in one car, leaving the other at the licensing place.  As if this weren't bad enough, as we were exiting the freeway near our house, some [jerk] in the left lane nearly hit us as he made an extremely sharp cut across our path to the right. Scared the beejeemies out of us and I cried the rest of the way home. We were unharmed, our car was untouched, and the [jerk] continued on his way, apparently completely unaware of what he had just done.

At home the required paperwork was easily found and we headed out again.  Blessedly, the clerk took us immediately upon our arrival and led us through the lengthy process of re-titling and registering both of our cars for the state of Florida, and then took the eye test to get our operator's licenses. 

I am pleased to report that I am now rid of the awful (truly awful) photo on my Colorado license and now have a decent (not overly flattering, but acceptable) picture on my new Florida license. 

This process took well over an hour, with us standing the entire time, but we were just so glad to be getting it over with that we hung in there. Our clerk was very good at what she does, AND would you believe she invited us to her church before we were all done?!!!  That is the second person in the marketplace to invite us to church since we moved here two weeks ago. Are we in the Bible belt or what?! I love it!

my new Florida plate
After we opted to not get vanity plates, we were surprised to be given a choice of what is printed at the very bottom of our plates:

1) the name of our county
2) "The Sunshine State"
3) "In God We Trust"

As you can see, we went with choice #3!

over a bridge into St. Augustine
From the time we left home the first time this morning until we got home from the entire procedure, Nearly 4 hours had passed. We were both thankful and worn out and needed to do something other than unpack more boxes.

cresting the bridge for a view of the Atlantic Ocean
Our realtor had told us about a great restaurant he and his wife discovered recently, so we decided to go find it and have a celebratory lunch.

sand dunes, Sea Oats, and ocean on the horizon
St. Augustine is some 30-45 minutes south of us. By all reports, it is a destination with much to offer. Beloved and I spent a weekend viewing the historical parts in 1996 and don't remember much else about it. We look forward to poking around more as time allows.

a long narrow road off the highway
Aunt Kate's, as this place is called, is off the beaten path, literally, but well worth the trip. It felt "old Florida" to me, void of gaudy commercialism and dense with trees, palms and thick, thick underbrush. Hanging Spanish Moss. They have it in abundance, draping down from tree branches and swaying gently in the breezes. 

Beloved stands under some Spanish Moss
We got out of the car and marveled once again at our license plate. We don't look like tourists any more! We are real Floridians!

me, outside Aunt Kate's
Aunt Kate's was all our realtor friend told us it would be. Quaint, charming, out-of-the-way with white trim, hanging flower baskets, and trees everywhere. Oh how I love living and moving among trees. (my former homeland of Colorado is, unfortunately, very hard on trees with its snow, ice, hail, and fierce winds, which is why trees are much fewer in number)

the view from our table

Once inside, the hostess gave us a choice of dining inside or out. We may be Floridians now, but it will be a long time before we can eat outdoors in this humidity and heat, so we asked for an indoor table with a view. We were not disappointed.

The choices of entrees included beef, chicken, pork, and seafood. All of it looked good, and we were hungry after a stressful morning.

Beloved's chicken sandwich
Beloved chose the chicken sandwich with a side of potato salad. He also was given a small, delicious sampler of Kate's breads: pumpkin, cornbread, and fritters.

my plate of tuna salad
My plate was soo good!  To quote the menu:

Blackened Ahi Tuna set over
mixed greens,
topped with roasted red peppers and salsa.

Due to my dietary restrictions, I asked them to omit the cheese, and instead of the ranch-type dressing, they gave me their citrusy house vinaigrette. Ooooh! It was so good!! I restrained from picking up the plate and licking it when I was done.

"our live bait is guaranteed to catch fish or die trying"
After lunch we walked the boardwalk just beyond the dining area, which I forgot to mention earlier is on the Tolomoto River, located just west of the Atlantic.

Aunt Kate's, as seen from the boat dock/pier 

We enjoyed leaning out over the rail to see hundreds of tiny minnows swarming about.

helping with shore erosion?
What appeared to be net bags of sea shells were positioned in the water along the shoreline. We assume this was an effort to strengthen the river bank from erosion.

cleaning station for fishermen

Beloved recognized this table immediately. Cleaning the fish before taking them home is always a good idea!

more sea oats and ocean

We drove home a different way from how we came so we could further familiarize ourselves with this wonderful new area we now call 'home.'

It was nostalgic (even felt shocking) to remove the Colorado license plates from our cars but we are committed to making a success of this huge relocation. So far, things are going well. We thank the Lord for His continued and abundant grace.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Pictures Tell It Best

boxes yet to be unpacked
The number of boxes to be unpacked is steadily decreasing. Nearly every day I tell myself that a particular number of them will be dealt with, but often those goals are not reached because one thing leads to another that leads to something else. You know how it is.

bowling with the grandkids
We also have a delightful diversion with this move that we've never had with our previous relocations -- grandchildren! 

This past week we got to take a two-day break from unpacking to take an overnight trip to retrieve my car from the kids' storage shed. 

Shortly after our arrival Blondie took us all bowling. Beloved and I don't bowl anymore due to ramifications with our joint replacements, but we are great cheerleaders for those who do toss that ball down the alley (and yes, some of the kids did "toss" it!). We had a great time in spite of the fact that Gray Beard had to work and could not be with us.

"You stay away from my food, ya hear?"
This was our first time to meet another one of our grand puppies, a Shar-Pei-Basset mix. He is sweet and loves attention -- except when he's eating (as is true with most dogs). 

Interstate in Florida
The next day we headed back home, Beloved driving his car and me in mine. I had somewhat dreaded this part of our moving adventure, having to drive for 5 hours by myself. You see, when we travel, Beloved prefers to do all of the driving. We've just always done it that way, so for me to drive all that way was a real departure from the norm.

However, the day was blessed and I really mean that. We plugged my iPhone into the speakers of my car so I could listen to iTunes. I have a play list composed of nothing but praise music. For 5 solid hours I listened and often sung along to the most wonderful music praising the Lord. Some of it was instrumental and some with vocals. It was glorious! I am calling it my "mountaintop experience at sea level." 

Psalm 22:3 says that God inhabits the praises of His people. He lives in the atmosphere of praise. This is so true! I felt it as my car sped along the highway. The time flew by. I felt refreshed and not weary when we got back to our house!

both of our cars at the new house - on trash day
Since our moving company is based in Denver, once our household goods and furniture were delivered, they left for the Mile High city and it was up to us to dispose of our boxes and packing materials. 

3 wardrobe boxes and many more await pick-up
Thankfully (and I truly mean that) one of the realtors involved with us asked for our boxes for a family member planning a move. We were more than happy to break our boxes down and neatly fold as much of the packing paper as possible to pass on to the next person!

more furniture delivered
But let me tell you, that sight of boxes on our front porch was not the most interesting thing our neighbors got to see this week. The huge (and I'm not exaggerating) truck with our 6 sets of bunk beds arrived this week. I confess to feeling a deep thrill and a bit of a tremble within as it pulled up in front of our house and the neighbor's (due to its size). 

12 twin mattresses
For those who may be new readers of my blog, some explanation is needed here. We moved to the Land of Flip Flops because our 11 grandchildren live here. But we did not move to the cities where they live, which means we need to make provision for sleep-overs when they visit us. Before leaving Colorado, we made one more purchase at our favorite furniture store and arranged to have the bunk beds delivered to our new home here in Florida.

the boys' dorm
Our new home has large bedrooms, so 3 sets of bunk beds were assembled in the boys' dorm room . . . . .

the girls' dorm
. . . and 3 sets of bunk beds were assembled in the girls' dorm room! Yes, this all makes me a little quivery in the knees, but we want our guests to be comfortable and to have happy memories of visits to Grammy and Grandad's house! (now to purchase bedding)

a gift bag was given to us at the Visitor's Center as we entered the building
We have not been able to attend church services for several weeks due to our travel schedule. Today we began the search for our new church home, starting with the largest Southern Baptist Church in the city (the 3rd largest SBC in the USA), which is some 25 minutes from our house.

the view from our seats in the balcony
It was thrilling to be in a worship service again, and especially in such a dramatic setting.

"Sir, we would see Jesus." (the inscription below the pulpit)
Everything was well thought out and nothing was left undone. It is fascinating to see the physical differences between churches within the "Bible belt" and those that are not (as in Colorado). We rode an escalator to get to the balcony and the choir was made up of about 130 men and women. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. 

palms line the downtown streets
As we left the parking garage (one of several owned by this historic congregation), I marveled once again at all the palm trees to be seen everywhere. But yet another amazing sight awaited us as we made our way out of downtown.

Main Street Bridge (I think)

We had not driven but just a couple of blocks before traffic came to a complete halt and stayed that way for quite some time with no easily recognizable reason.  Eventually we realized that the bridge  we were going to take over the St. Johns River is a draw bridge. Traffic was stopped to raise up the bridge for boat passage. We could not see all of that from our perspective, but I took this picture a few minutes later as we drove across it. 

I love the bridges all over Jacksonville! There are so many of them and they are so big! Most of the waterways we crossed over in the dry west were little more than dry creek beds. This is a huge change for us.

lunch today

We stopped for lunch on our way home, where I enjoyed the sweet tea for which this blog is named. I am loving this adventure. Thank you for coming along with me!