Friday, August 18, 2017

Food for the Soul

the backyard of The Brown Bungalow,
edited from my former neighbor's camera

Karren texted me a snapshot of my flower bed at The Brown Bungalow. It was refreshing to see the "legacy" of flowers in one of Beloved's raised planter beds, as well as the three Austrian Pines lined up near the back fence. 

The white and pink flowers are Cosmos; the taller purple-flowered bush is Veronia Speedwell. She is a transplant from my brother-in-law's yard in the Midwest. 

With closer inspection based upon the four years we lived in The Brown Bungalow, I also see some rebel weeds growing out there.

The last time I saw that yard was nearly two months ago, so what we see now is the result of our planting and regular watering by the sprinkler and drip line systems in our absence, as well as some slackness in weeding since the house is still vacant and it no longer belongs to us.

You could say that this is our legacy, to those who are still in the neighborhood of the The Brown Bungalow.

I am reminded of a verse my mother wrote inside the cover of a Bible she gave to me years ago:

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

III John 4

Every day, Beloved and I pray together for our children. We do our best to live so they will be influenced to wholeheartedly follow the Lord. It is our desire to leave a godly legacy (a 'flower garden') that will help others to see God's love and eternal provision for them through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. 

The most satisfying moments of our lives are when we see our children following the Lord.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Where Everything is Old

St. Augustine is just down the road from us (sort of), an easy drive of about 28 miles. On the Atlantic coast, this place is the oldest continuously-occupied settlement in the United States. 

We did our homework by deciding ahead of time what things we wanted to see on this trip, and then found a parking garage in the middle of it all. The address for the parking garage was put into our cell phone map app and off we went!  

Castillo de San Marcos National Monument is a huge stone structure on the coast of the Matanzas River, which is near the Atlantic Ocean.

Note: we got in for FREE with our National Parks passes. If you are 62 years or older, waste no time getting yours. They are good for the rest of your life! We have used ours many times across the country.

We were here about 21 years ago, back when we lived in Orlando. It was good to visit it again. We have discovered that although history has always been interesting to us, it is more so as we age and have the time to explore and think about its implications.

The beautiful setting on a sunny day hides the realities of war. I stood at this lookout, picturing in my mind the fear I would have felt when ships made their way toward the fort, seeking to do battle. I doubt I would have functioned well under such pressure.

Beloved, of course, having served his share of military time in years gone by, and also because he is an avid reader of historical fiction and science fiction -- he was very interested in the weaponry on display.

Let's see... how many cannons would you like to see? (smile) Beloved was able to give me an interesting description of how the various ones worked, how they would load them, the expected distance they could shoot, and so forth. 

It was interesting to see the notches placed at regular intervals in the top walls for the placement of the cannons. 

The Matanzas River is named after the Spanish word for "slaughter." Need I say more?

By the way, the stone used for construction is called coquina and is made up of sea shells. It is extremely durable. Instead of shattering when a cannon ball hit, the wall sort of absorbed the cannon ball. They would pluck the cannon ball out of the wall and re-use it! Re-cycling at its best!

In the center of the fort was a courtyard. During peacetime the soldiers would congregate here to deal with their muskets. When the town of St. Augustine was under siege, the citizens would gather here for refuge.

Cheerful tunes wafted over the breeze as we looked into doorways and windows.

There were no Memory Foam mattresses for the soldiers, but the necessities of life were made available.

After the war was over (or our tour of it), we sought the Colonial Quarter, just across the street from the fort. Shops and eateries lined the pedestrian area on both sides for several blocks.

We had two requirements as we looked for lunch:

1) air conditioning
2) a menu to satisfy my food allergies

After walking past several open-air places, we found the Bull and Crown Public House, which worked out very well. Beloved had a burger and I had a spinach salad. The air conditioning was a relief!

We wandered in and out of the shops, but didn't buy anything (this time). My faithful readers know how much stuff we disposed of to make the move from Colorado to Florida. I still can't bring myself to get very excited about shopping and buying more stuff!!

We love the architecture, flowers, fountains, trees, and palms. I feel like I'm in a dream, getting to live in such beauty!

As we strolled back to the parking garage, we stopped in at Ben and Jerrys for ice cream. Beloved got Butter Pecan and I got the Berry Sorbet (gluten-dairy-egg free).

This cemetery was on our route to the car -- we didn't stop because we were hot and tired, but headed on home to our recliners so that we, too, could 'rest in peace!' Ha!

It was a wonderful day.

P.S. There are many more things to see and do in historic St. Augustine, but our feet were tired and it was a hot day. We will return when the weather is cooler.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Food for the Soul

Main Street Bridge in Jacksonville

So give your servant a discerning heart 
to govern your people 
and to distinguish between right and wrong.
For who is able to govern 
this great people of yours?

I Kings 3:9 NIV

Comments closed for the weekend.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Hodgepodge Wednesday

"I saw the light!" when replying to Joyce's questions this week on the Hodgepodge. See my answers below, and then go to Joyce's website to see how other bloggers have responded to these same questions.
1. Do you try to set rules for yourself about how you use your time? Explain.

.Yes, I have scheduling rules for myself that I use MOST of the time. I wash clothing on Mondays, wash towels and clean bathrooms on Wednesdays, plan menus and the grocery list Monday - Wednesday, grocery shop on Thursdays, try to serve a dessert on Friday nights, attend church on Sundays, and have a daily quiet time of Bible reading and prayer. There are other rules I have for myself, but these are the ones I’m willing to share.

2. Monday was National Lighthouse Day. Have you ever visited a lighthouse? If not, do you have any desire to see one up close? Of the 10 Most Beautiful that made this list which would you most like to see in person? 

Lindau Lighthouse (Germany), Fanad Lighthouse (Ireland), Portland Head Light (Maine), Yaquina Bay Light (Oregon) The St. Augustine Light (Florida), Peggys Point Lighthouse (Canada), Start Point Lighthouse (England), Tower of Hercules (Spain), Bass Harbor Head Station (Maine), and White Shoal Light (Michigan)

.We have been to some lighthouses and they are interesting.  On the list given above, I’ve been to Portland Head Light in Maine, and the St. Augustine Light in Florida. Of those listed that I have not been to, the other one in Maine, Bass Harbor interests me, as well as White Shoal Light in Michigan. The one in Spain looks really great (and is OLD!!!), but I'm not interested in international travel right now.

When you've been away, what's your 'lighthouse' telling you you're on the right road home?

.We use the map app on our iPhones when traveling. It has also been VERY HELPFUL as we learn to navigate our new home town!!

wall decor in our den

3. What have you unintentionally stopped doing? Is this something you need to pick back up and begin again, or is it something you need to let go of for now (or even permanently)?

. I can’t think of anything I have unintentionally stopped doing. I tend to be pretty disciplined about the things that really matter.

4. We've had a full week of August. Share a GRAND moment from your month so far.

.Two of our grandchildren came to see us this past weekend and we all went to the beach together. We made the move a couple of months ago from Colorado to Florida so we could do this very thing: see the grandchildren more often. It’s wonderful!!

a tickle fest on the floor this past weekend:
grandkids, pups, and their mommy

5. Tell us one song you love with the word 'baby' in the title.

. Beloved and I collaborated on the answer to this one:

"The Ronettes" singing Be My Baby. (click on the title to watch the performance) By the way, spell check doesn't like the way this group spells their name and keeps "correcting" it to Rosettes. But if you are from my generation, you will know who I mean.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Raggedy Ann and Andy wait for the little girl to arrive
.This past weekend was the first use of the bunk beds we bought for visits of our grandchildren. We have 6 sets of them, 3 sets in each of two "dorm rooms" as we are calling them. We debated for weeks about the bedding options and finally decided to put sheets on the bottom bunks only, and make a rule that the top bunks would have sleeping bags only, AND you have to be at least 6 years old to sleep up there.  

If you have ever tried to put sheets on a top bunk, you will understand this reasoning perfectly. I am happy to report everybody cooperated fully with this idea. 

* * * * *
I'm linking up today with Hodgepodge Wednesday! Will I see you there?

Monday, August 7, 2017


We've been in Magnolia Castle for a little over a month now -- long enough to detect areas needing change so our abode will meet specific requirements the previous owners did not have.

I am blessed to have a husband who takes pleasure in working with tools, in spite of the fact that he was not raised to do much of that in his boyhood years.

sliding glass door leading out to the back porch
The drapes by the back porch were left by the sellers, as well as wood blinds at all of the windows. We were grateful to not have to give window coverings a single thought as we moved in. However, the drapes on the left of the sliding glass door had a tendency to blow out the door every time we opened it, which could make them dirty, or even encourage critters to latch onto them and get a free ride into the house.

drapery hook/pull-back
We bought this piece of hardware in the drapery section of Lowe's. Beloved installed it with two 'mollies' (wall anchors). It works perfectly. Two of these hooks came in a package, but we didn't need to install the other one, and the window on the right side of the door   is too close to put a hook there.

drapery hook holding back the drapes

It's a more casual look than what we've had in the past, but I like it and this solves the problem nicely.

In a previous post titled "Decorating Conundrums" I wrote about the rounded walls throughout this house -- which is one of the reasons I'm calling my new home the "Magnolia Castle."

powder room wall
The powder room had some especially tricky issues. There was no toilet paper holder, so we bought a free-standing, self-storing holder. But I was not happy with that, and was having to re-fill the storage "can" in the holder too often. 

Also we have at least one young grandchild and her pup who are in that stage where, if left unattended, playing with the t.p. is a temptation too hard for either of them to resist. 

But with the curving wall, we weren't sure there was a flat enough space to install a traditional t.p. holder.  

a new style of toilet paper holder

We stayed in five different hotel rooms over the past few months and every one of them had this style of toilet paper holder, where it's attached at only one end of the tissue roll. This was the perfect solution since we didn't have much truly FLAT wall to work with.

a place to store additional tissue and hand towels
Also in the powder room, we had no place to store additional tissue rolls and more hand towels. We bought this cabinet (again, at Lowe's) and used dedicated teamwork to get it installed ourselves.

Of note: don't anybody ever anywhere ask us to do this again! We thought we had it up, secured in four places in the back when it literally fell into our arms off the wall moments after we had it hung!! But it's up now (as of several days ago) and looks to be secure.

laundry room shelves

The laundry room in this house is a tight squeeze, to be sure, and was not a hot selling point when we first walked through the house last April. However, we decided we could make it work. In the process of that, I knew more shelves would be needed. A person of my short stature can 'make do' only a little with the high wire shelves they put above appliances these days. So Beloved designed, built, and painted these shelves to the right of the drier. I am so grateful.

We have what is supposed to be a coat closet under the stairs, but I need that space for cleaning supplies and storage of the vacuum cleaner. It was a very dark place, so I asked Beloved what he could do about that. There was no electricity anywhere near it.

the light

His solution was to place an online order from Lowe's for a motion-activated LED light. He installed it above the doorway so that as we enter the closet, our movement turns the light on. As long as we are moving in there, it remains on. When movement stops, the light goes out after 60 seconds. It was  simple solution that helps me a lot.

the back porch of Magnolia Castle
As of this writing, we have no more home improvements planned that we can carry out ourselves. But we did sign a contract a few days ago to get the back porch screened in sometime in the next month. We had a screened-in swimming pool with our house in Orlando years ago and it was wonderful. It's like another room but it's outside, minus most of the bugs! It should be completed in time for the wonderful autumn weather with slightly cooler temperatures. Of course, I'll share pictures of that when it's done. 

Beloved on the back porch