Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Attic Storage Question

The saga of our move to the Land of Flip Flops continues ...

In this high altitude climate with nighttime temps still hovering around freezing and fresh snow on the mountain tops, this girl wears socks with her hippie sandals well into June but that will have to change, of course, when we hit Florida. I've bought some flip flops and other sandals... and new nail polish.

one of my several pair of sandals purchased recently
at Kohls, if you are interested

Acclimatization to that strap between the toes on flip flops is kinda painful! Mary has suggested wearing them for just a few hours each day to allow the feet time to get used to it. 

I'm telling ya, there are adjustments to be made when moving to a totally different climate!

Then there is the matter of downsizing my wealth of silk flowers, china, hobby supplies, clothing, and so much more.  I spent much time yesterday going through our basement boxes, once again seeking to do away with just as much of the unnecessary as possible, re-evaluating things I thought I needed to keep, re-arranging the contents of boxes with the hope some of them could even be eliminated.

Look at all the empty space in our unfinished basement --
storage galore!!
I was nearing success but at day's end I fell short of my goal. So this evening I am giving the entire matter another critical eye. Tomorrow I hope to have broken down the matter even more.

You see, we have been blessed with some large houses built on top of generous basements where storage was most definitely not a problem. It is human nature to fill the space we have, so when we move into smaller quarters, serious decisions have to be made.

I am so wound up over this because twenty-some years ago we moved to the Land of Flip Flops (yes, we have lived there before for about a year) and the shock of too much stuff in a house lacking good storage did me in. We had a huge garage sale before we moved down there, but as we unpacked I realized we still had way too much stuff!!

We got rid of a lot (I thought) and still had to rent a storage locker for the excess. I don't want to go through that again. I want to discipline myself to get this right sans money spent for off-property storage.

Thankfully, I've still got the time to work it out, but my clock will run out in about two weeks.

Hey readers, I have a question for you. In our new house we have one of those pull-down ladders for access to the attic above the garage. That is large enough for storage, but shouldn't I be concerned about the heat, maybe things melting or discoloring, or getting moldy?

Surfer Girl has just emailed to say she stores seasonal things and folding chairs, but never any fabric. 

Since I know all about basement storage, dealing with a hot attic is foreign to me. If you have experience with storing things in a sub-tropical climate, please leave your helpful comments. I want to learn from you!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day 2017

Altar floral arrangement at my church yesterday

As our pastor said in his sermon yesterday, none of us faced opposition getting to church that day, no one threatened our worship of God, public Bible reading, and prayers. 

How easily I forget these freedoms but how lost I would be if we were to lose them! 

Thank You, Heavenly Father, for blessing the efforts of so many to preserve the freedoms we have in the United States of America.

As we remember people we have known who have sacrificed so much for our religious and political freedoms, I also remember deceased people, who have given unselfishly of themselves for my other freedoms and comforts:

- those who tended to me when I was too young and helpless to do for myself

- teachers who gave me an education when I wanted nothing more than to play with my dolls and ride my bike

- those who allowed me to learn to drive with their car

- those who bore with me in my youthful ignorance and pride

- those who listened to me when my talking would seem to never end

- the many others who have blessed me so I could learn maturity and apply wisdom to the circumstances of life

one of two American flags on the wall
behind the choir and orchestra at my church
Memorial Day weekend

God has richly blessed us all. Memorial Day is a time to remember those to whom we are indebted.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Morning Dew

Rain on Clover
from the Internet

Here in Colorado, we don't get a lot of morning dew. The Brown Bungalow is planted somewhere between 6,300 and 6,400 feet in elevation and our humidity is typically much lower than other parts of the country. This makes for dry skin, dry soil, and more dust than mold for the conscientious homemaker to contend with.

I think of dew as refreshing and renewing, like plumping up raisins in hot water before adding them to an oatmeal cookie recipe. The soaking water gets into the cells of the dried grape to fill them up, resulting in a more flavorful and tender raisin for the pastry. 

Dew can be thought of as God's mercies, which are new every morning. 

It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed,
because his compassions fail not.
They are new every morning:
great is thy faithfulness.
Lamentations 2:22-23

Dew sparkles in the early sunrise, giving the appearance of diamonds strewn across the grass. God's mercies are spiritual diamonds to me, causing my day to be blessed with forgiveness, mercy, and the enabling I need to get through whatever awaits in the coming hours. 

Dew refreshes plant life before the heat of the sun becomes intense. Early morning time spent in solitude with God's written word and prayer reminds me of His love and watch care over me. 

In a few weeks the outdoor moisture of dew will be a regular friend to me in our new southern home. I'll feel the damp air on my face and inhale the humidity.  My skin will be moist; the hair at the nape of my neck will curl into ringlets. 

I'll be reminded more vividly of God's tender mercies, His purpose to provide new opportunities to see His power at work in my circumstances, and His generosity to give me desires of my heart, 

The LORD by wisdom founded the earth.
By understanding He established the heavens.
By His knowledge the deeps were broken up
And the skies drip with dew.
Proverbs 3:19-20

Thursday, May 25, 2017


Kissy Face waffle breakfast for my Beloved yesterday morning
Today's post is a walk down memory lane for Beloved and me. You may want to quickly flip through the pictures and call it done while I choose to linger and wipe away a nostalgic tear or two with my photo descriptions.

Pikes Peak as seen from Colorado Springs
As a part of our preparations to move to the Land of Flip Flops (which is 1,747 miles from where we are now), there are places we will need to bid adieu -- places we may not see again except in our sweetest memories. Beloved and I devoted nearly twelve hours of yesterday to visit one of those special places.

driving past our kids' high school 
At least a couple times a year (more, when we could) we have been driving up to Beloved's favorite fishing spot. We have a special route we always follow that takes us through Colorado Springs (where we have lived twice in the past).

Cheyenne Mountain. Beloved worked inside this fortress some 40 years ago
We give a mental nod to special places that helped write the story of who we are as individuals, as a couple, and as a family.

Frog Rock along Highway 24, west of Woodland Park
We relived serious, funny, and perplexing memories that include the private jokes happily married couples share.

the community that clusters around Lake George, Colorado

We came face-to-face with some unrealized dreams we now feel certain will never come to be -- human life on this earth can never live them all out.

We thank God some of those hopes did not materialize. At the same time we thank Him for the dreams that are finally coming into focus.

one of Beloved's boxes of bugs 
When we arrived at Eleven Mile Canyon, which is a portion of the South Platte River that comes out of the Eleven Mile Reservoir, we made our first stop and Beloved pulled out his fly fishing gear.

"I see by your outfit that you are an angler..."
If you've never watched a fly fisherman get dressed beside his vehicle, you've missed out. As you can see in this picture, he's got to have the waders, the waterproof boots, the gravel cuffs, the vest with the hanging net (not shown because it dangles down his back), clippers, a hook holder, a pair of forceps, tweezers, his bug boxes, spare leaders, weights, tippet material, his wallet (in a ziplock bag in case he falls into the drink!), and such stuff. He wears a long-sleeved shirt and a hat for sun protection. And of course, he's got his fly rod.

Note: a fisherman (and I imagine hunters, too) should always carry their wallet because Forest Rangers can appear at any time and ask to see their hunting/fishing license. It has happened to my man and this is not unusual.

I made a video but haven't figured out how to post it to my blog
Funny story (and true): years ago Beloved was putting on his getup beside his truck. Two women drove up to ask directions. He told them what they needed to know and then turned away so he could continue dressing behind the driver's door. 

But the women did not leave immediately. One asked him if he was married because the other one thought he was cute! 

At that point Beloved felt it was okay to be rude and just turned his back on them. They drove away.

a peaceful portion of the stream
Eleven Mile Canyon is like a piece of heaven to us. We have taken others up with us (Judy and Bob, Denise and Alan, Sue and Gregor, as well as our children when they still lived at home with us) and they all are inclined to agree.

One really, really big rock
The sky is blue-blue, the rocks are huge, the Blue Spruce and Pines always show off with scents and height, and the water babbles cheerily.

tree roots define the steps to the picnic table

There are picnic tables, charcoal grills, reasonably clean potties, and limitless opportunities to hike. Some even bring their climbing gear to scale the rock faces.

water splashing around boulders
While some of the river is quiet, other parts turn into white water as it navigates rocks of all shapes and sizes. Sometimes the fish linger in the pools (and sometimes not).

the only road in and out of the canyon
The dirt road can have that 'washboard' texture at times, which kicks up the dust with traffic and is bumpy-loud. We saw a grater going over it at least 3 times today, which is a decided help.

one of three short tunnels that takes us through solid rock
That road is double-wide most of the way, but there are exceptions when it narrows down considerably. The recommended speed limit is 20mph. We appreciate the drivers who obey that when passing us.

watching the water
I can't get enough of watching the water. There is something about it that puts my serious thoughts on a back shelf of my mind so I can coast with the current.

more splashing water
My habit is to watch Beloved cast his line many times until he decides to move upstream. Eventually I return to the car and pull out my folding chair so I can read or doze -- usually both.

Yesterday was a jeans-and-long-sleeves day, with a zippered vest that helped defeat the effects of a chilling wind. I wore my hair in a French braid so my hat would fit well on my head and then added a wood stick pin to keep the hat securely in place (you can't see it on the back of my head).

I enjoyed the coolness of the breeze -- these days of cool will be remembered and missed in the Land of Flip Flops!

the fisherman returns
Beloved fished all morning, we had lunch together, and then he fished for a couple of hours in the afternoon. Eventually I encountered him returning while I was hiking alongside the dirt road. He was very tired from wearing all his heavy gear in the river's current. No, he had not caught a thing. Nobody we saw had seen any fish that day.

walking back to the car
But Beloved has always held onto the thought that "a bad day fishing is still better than a good day at work."

He's retired now. He doesn't eat fish and most of this area is declared "catch and release" by the state of Colorado, so he's okay with an empty creel. (well, pretty much. The thrill of the catch would have been nice.)

the back side of Pikes Peak, looking east
We bid Eleven Mile Canyon goodbye, probably for the last time, with warbly voices and moist eyes. Forty years of fishing and picnicking made for good memories.

Pulpit Rock in Colorado Springs
On our way home I re-lived one more memory. In the late 1980s and till 1995 we lived among the trees on the left side of this picture. Our kids were teenagers and would hike to the top of Pulpit Rock. I mean, to the TOP!  

One time they invited me to go with them and I did. I even got to the pinnacle, but I was on my stomach! I was too afraid to stand up!  But at least I can say I did it and made a good memory with my children at the same time.

We are thrilled we get to move on to another home, closer to more of our family. But it would be unrealistic to deny the emotions we feel for Colorado as we leave. 

It was a sweet day.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Preparatory Measures

Beloved knocks snow off our Maple tree on May 18th
It's an odd state of things to be getting ready to move when we still need to maintain the current place. I was outside dealing with weeds a couple of days after the contract was signed with our buyers. One of our neighbors came by on his bicycle and asked me why I cared about weeds when the house had sold. My answer was something along the lines that I thought my neighbors would appreciate the effort in the month that remained before we leave.

But in my mind I thought, "It's the right thing to do!"

Then just a few days later we got a doozie of a snowstorm-- which although annoying in mid-May, is not unusual for Colorado.

Beloved snaps a picture of the price tag on a set of bunk beds

We are not only preparing to leave The Brown Bungalow, but we are lining things up for our new life at Magnolia Place in the Land of Flip Flops. 

The new house has been dubbed, "Magnolia Place" because we have a beautiful big Magnolia tree in the back yard and I am thrilled about it!

We will be living nearly 2,000 miles closer to our grandchildren, but still far enough away that they will need want to spend the night with us, so this past Saturday we went to our favorite furniture store and bought six sets of bunk beds. (Yes, 6!)  And twelve mattresses to go with them. 

The plan is to have a girls' dorm room and a boys' dorm room with the bunk beds divided evenly between the two.  When everybody comes to visit at once, no one will have to sleep on an air mattress or the floor.

The beds are scheduled to be delivered to us at Magnolia Place shortly after we get down there.

playing around with furniture

With the measurements of our new family room in mind, we've been working with new possibilities. We will have guests over more often, so more seating will be necessary.

sunshine through the shutters in the dining room
Although I've done much of our packing, I'm saving the glass ware and all of the kitchen for the moving company. I wonder if my eldest grandchildren will even remember the ceramic snack hostess set they made for me when they were much younger.

Here's a real handy tip
We have an analog television set that is not going with us to Florida. We had no idea how to dispose of it since the garbage truck refuses to take them. Beloved posed the question on our Next Door internet site and a couple of people said you can buy a box at Office Depot for $10. Take the box home, fill it with unwanted electronics and then take it back to Office Depot.  

Beloved did that today. What a relief to have that figured out!

kitchen table in the laundry room
That wasn't our only conundrum. We have a tall kitchen table with two chairs we intend to sell in our (second) garage sale. We got the table only so far en route to the garage this evening before we admitted defeat. Beloved removed two of the legs so we could get it through the doorway.

We tend to sleep pretty well at night. At this stage of things, the move is taking more braun than brains. 

the neighbor children's snowman on May 20th
We look forward to bidding the frosty snowman good-bye!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Heaven is Home

Today I am sharing with you the devotional thoughts my husband will be sharing with our nursing home ministry this week. 

Heaven is Home 
My wife Barbara and I have only been with you for a few months, but today we will be saying goodbye to you. We are moving to Florida the middle of next month. As I think about this move, there are good points and not so good points about it. 
For the not so good points – it is expensive to move, and it involves a big change for us. The weather will certainly be much warmer and we will miss our mountain views very much. There will be a period of instability as we move from one home to another with a new layout. We have to get used to having things in different places. We will not be familiar with the territory. Finally, it takes time to move. Once we have made the decision to move, it seems to go slowly and we long to be done with the move. 
For the good points – we will be much closer to two of our children and to all of our grandchildren. It will be less expensive to live there than it is here. We look forward to not having to shovel snow or drive our cars in it – I have already sold our snow blower and have given away our snow shovels. The snow last week at our home in Castle Rock was pretty heavy, but it fortunately melted without me having to clear the walks. Finally, we look forward to exploring the new sights in Florida. We are eager to make the place our new HOME, with all the thoughts that come with the word HOME. 
So, what has all of that got to do with all of you dear people? Well, if you know Jesus as your savior as we know Him, we are all looking forward to having a new HOME – in heaven with Him. In John Chapter 14 [V1-3], Jesus said the following: 
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” 
As we think about heaven, will there be good and bad points about our move there? Let’s think on these things. 
Well, we can’t pay money to get us into heaven, so you could say it is not expensive. Yet, when we give our lives to God, we give all that we have to Him – so it costs us everything to be allowed to move to heaven. We know that God will provide for all of our needs in heaven, so it will be much less expensive to live there. We will be provided with white robes to clothe our bodies. Our needs for whole and healthy bodies will be provided. Our needs to be with loved ones that we have not seen for a long time will be satisfied. God will ensure that we have no pain and no sorrow. There will be no tears. I can’t think of anything bad in these things. 
There will be much to explore when we get to Heaven. We will see a new earth – restored to the faultless creation that God made in the beginning. In 1 Corinthians 2 the apostle Paul tells us the following: 
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.” 
In Heaven, we will meet people that we never knew, but we will share a common bond with them in Christ; our fellowship will be sweet and not contentious. Most of all, we will come to know our Lord and Savior as we have not known Him here. The apostle John tells us [1 John 3:2]: 
“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see Him as He is.” 
I can’t think of anything bad in these things. 
Finally, when it comes time to move to our new home, it will be quick! In fact, we will take one last breath in this home and will take the next one in our new home. In 2 Cor 5:6-8 Paul states: 
“Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” 
So, here is my parting thought for you. Are you ready for the move? Have you made arrangements with the heavenly mover? If not, please do so. If you don’t know how, ask one of us and we can help. 

Goodbye and God bless you all! 

Friday, May 19, 2017

A Disgruntled Passenger

our note on the basement door

We are so glad to be past the point of having to keep the house like a model showroom for possible buyers. As I've said before, it's impossible for two imperfect people to live peaceably in a perfect house for long. 

Thankfully the Lord gave us a buyer very quickly, so that uncomfortable stage did not get to point of straining our marriage. The real estate market in Denver and the surrounding areas has been very strong over four years now (since we sold our last house).

While the main floor of our ranch-style floor plan was as tidy as an old maid's apartment, the basement was another matter. It, too, was very orderly (that's just my style), but we brought down a lot of extra furniture to 'stage' the main areas like they do on HGTV. 

boxes packed by me
When we weren't being shooed out of the house by the real estate showing service, I was very busy in the basement, packing boxes and bins. I confess to enjoying that activity, for the most part, except when I had to make tough choices about things to donate, dispose of, sell, or keep. In our retired status, we don't have Beloved's corporate employer paying for our relocations any more, so keeping the weight of the moving truck in mind is wise.

our basement
Although we are moving to a large house, we will have to bid adieu to the huge basement of The Brown Bungalow. This feature has been one of my favorites in this house.

3 sets of storage shelves
Beloved and his namesake built the most wonderful storage shelves so we could get most things off the floor and keep things tidy. With this move, I don't expect to ever have it this good again with regard to storage space.

So, you are probably wondering why I titled this post, "A Disgruntled Passenger." I will get to that now.

breaking the news to my staff
You may recall my post on April 21st, when I called a meeting of my staff to announce we are moving to the Land of Flip Flops to be closer to the grandchildren (and their parents, too, of course). 

You may also remember  Mandy Sue (dressed in the pink apron with cupcakes and a pink hair bow in the photo above) was the first one to offer herself to get packed for the trip. Her enthusiasm was an inspiration to those who might have felt some reluctance to leave The Brown Bungalow and all the fun of living in Colorado.

Mrs. Berniece Mertz

Today Beloved and I decided to open up some of the boxes that had already been packed so we could combine the contents more efficiently into large plastic bins. When I opened Box #12 (yes, they are all catalogued into a spread sheet on my computer), Mrs. Berniece Mertz popped up with a smile on her face.

"Oh my! Are we here already?!"

"No, my dear," was my reply. "We are still at The Brown Bungalow. We just need to make some changes in our packing arrangements."

A shadow of disappointment flickered across her face, but she quickly recovered herself and returned to where she had been sitting among the crumpled packing paper.

However, a muffled little voice emerged from deeper in the box and I realized all was not well. As I leaned closer in an effort to understand what was being said, it became apparent that the aforementioned Mandy Sue was no longer the cheery positive example to the rest of the staff that I had thought her to be.

I really didn't have the time to deal with her reputation for tantrums, so I refused to let on that I could hear what she was saying.The problem seemed to be she was bitter for not having been given a window seat for this trip across the country.

'A window seat'!??, for goodness' sake! It's a brown packing box!! 

Freddie, packed and ready to go
I thought about it and figured out she must have heard Beloved and me talking about the transfer of the staff into clear bins and she wanted to be able to see out, to see what was going on. Well, I couldn't blame her for that since I always try to claim a window seat on the airlines.  

Rent-a-Nurse, Mrs Berniece Mertz, Eaves Dropping and bunny with hat

Still without letting on that I could hear her complaints, I did my best to arrange her in the clear plastic bin so she could see out, but alas, packing the staff was like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. 

packed and waiting for the moving truck
Everything (or every body, I should say) could only fit a certain way if the lid was to snap on securely, so as it turned out, only the smaller passengers were given a clear view of everything. Others had to remain inside the white packing paper...

It's a tight fit for all

Moving is a lot of work that pulls at the emotions in a variety of ways. Blessedly with this move, I can stop and rest (take a nap!) when the strain is too much and then return later to tackle what remains of the job.

It is helpful if all involved try to have a positive attitude and to keep their disgruntlements to a minimum.

Welcome to the New Design and Title!

As I announced on Thursday, today is the first post with the new design for my blog as I change from: 

My Journal Reflections at The Brown Bungalow 


Sweet Tea and Sandals, My Journal Reflections

Because we have lived in Florida before, we know the adjustment to the heat and humidity at sea level from Colorado's high altitude and semi-arid climate will be a challenge. But I'm choosing to give it my best effort.

For a cheery, tongue-in-cheek kickoff to this special celebration of my new blog design, I am sharing a fun piece Sue (a former Floridian) sent to me last week. I did a little digging around to discover it originally came from another blog titled, "Florida Biking" posted on June 13, 2012.

It's a Florida Thing
  • Socks are only for bowling.
  • You never use an umbrella because the rain will be over in five minutes.
  • A good parking place has nothing to do with distance from the store, but everything to do with shade.
  • Your winter coat is made of denim.
  • You can tell the difference between fire ant bites and mosquito bites.
  • You’re younger than thirty but some of your Friends are over 65.
  • Anything under 70 degrees is chilly.
  • You’ve driven through Yeehaw Junction.
  • You know that no other grocery store can compare to Publix.
  • Every other house in your neighborhood had blue roofs in 2004-2005. You know that anything under a Category 3 just isn’t worth waking up for.
  • You dread love bug season.
  • You are on a first name basis with the Hurricane list. They aren’t Hurricane Charley or Hurricane Frances. You know them as Andrew, Charley , Frances , Ivan, Jeanne, Wilma…Irene…Cheryl…Rita, Mary..Alison
  • You know what a snowbird is and when they’ll leave.
  • You think a six-foot alligator is actually pretty average.
  • ‘Down South’ means Key West .
  • Flip-flops are everyday wear. Shoes are for business meetings and church, but you HAVE worn flip flops to church before.
  • You have a drawer full of bathing suits, and one sweatshirt.
  • You get annoyed at the tourists who feed seagulls.
  • A mountain is any hill 100 feet above sea level.
  • You know the four seasons really are: Hurricane season, love bug season, tourist season and summer.
  • You’ve hosted a hurricane party.
  • You can pronounce Okeechobee, Kissimmee , Withlacoochee , Thonotosassa and Micanopy.
  • You understand why it’s better to have a friend with a boat, than have a boat yourself.
  • You were 25 when you first met someone who couldn’t swim.
  • You’ve worn shorts and used the A/C on Christmas and New Years.
  • You recognize Miami-Dade as ‘ Northern Cuba .’
  • You not only forward this but you understand it.
  • When it does snow in FL you run outside with no coat or shoes on and knock on neighbors doors no matter what time screaming for them to come outside.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Goodbye and Hello

The Brown Bungalow

The Brown Bungalow went on the market early last week and sold almost immediately to the first interested buyer at full price. Others came through our home in the days that followed, but by Friday morning all was settled and we had one more confirmation that this is the direction we are to take. 

Dames Point Bridge in Jacksonville, Florida
photo from the Internet

Truthfully, I never thought I'd see the day when we would trade our views of the Rocky Mountains for the Atlantic Ocean, St. Johns River, and architectural eye candy such as this bridge. (isn't it stunning?!

We have been immersed with getting ready for the move, which for the most part has been fun.  The goodbyes are hard, but if people or places mean something to us, it's supposed to be that way.

We won't be leaving the Rocky Mountain West for a few more weeks, but I have decided to go ahead with changes to this blog to reflect our new locale. It will be a solid two weeks between the day we leave The Brown Bungalow for good and the day our household things are delivered to Magnolia Place. 

As we travel and live out of suitcases, I may not have the time nor the Internet connections to play around with blog design, so I'm doing it now.

I have designed the new header (with the help of clip art), dreaming up a descriptive title (the Internet address remains the same) to reflect the ambiance of the deep South we expect to find with our new home. It will show up tomorrow, so I'm preparing you now for what you will see.

Please continue to come by for visits! I'll be chronicling the transition as we empty out The Brown Bungalow and  slip into this new adventure. If you have been subscribed via email, you will continue to get notifications of new posts.

Wear your flip flops with a cute pedicure. We'll share some [virtual] sweet tea out on the lanai, in full view of a mature Magnolia tree. 

my new blog header