Saturday, July 29, 2017

Saturday Morning Reflections

The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God endures forever.
Isaiah 40:8

I'm feeling pensive this morning as I reflect on the past several days. It has been another eventful week (which they all seem to be, anymore). 

We have truly reached the place with our unpacking that this place looks like our home now. All those many many storage boxes from our basement in The Brown Bungalow have been so drastically reduced into two walk-in closets, and wonder of wonders, neither of them are packed full! I can close the door  and forget all about them if I choose. 

just a sampling of the boxes stored at
The Brown Bungalow over the past 4 years

Great lessons have been learned these past three months about stuff.

Another big event this week was the price estimate and resulting installation of a system to keep leaves and other debris out of our gutters. The system is the best in the industry (and the price reflected that), but after we got over the shock of that, we know we have made a wise investment in this house. The Brown Bungalow, located in a semi-arid climate and surrounded with tons of landscaping rock, had hardly any trees on the property so debris in the gutters was not much of a concern. Our current home, which I've named "Magnolia Castle", is nestled into a jungle (almost) where one afternoon downpour of rain could clog everything up seriously.

Earlier in the week we made an afternoon trip down south to deliver some empty plastic bins to Surfer Girl and family. She teaches Jazzercise and Pound Fit classes. We got to sit in on her Pound Fit class for kids.

If you don't know what that is, you hold a drum stick (like for drummers, not chicken) in each hand and tap them on the floor or against each other (the sticks) while bending and stretching to loud music. It's a good workout and making that tapping sound with the drumsticks is very satisfying (especially if you have some anger or aggression pent up). 

Then there was our trip to the beach (see my previous post), a delight in every respect for both of us.

But I start heading for home plate with this post on life-and-death matters that also took place in my week. On Wednesday afternoon another great nephew was born into our family. We all welcome him with joy, both those close-at-hand, and those of us living hundreds of miles away.

new baby boy's quilt with a nautical theme
I don't remember if I have already shared with you this picture of the quilt I made for him. I hurried and got it done before we began packing for our move to Florida.

Here is the sobering part of my blog post. The day after the joyful birth, a cousin of mine on the opposite side of the country slipped into eternity. I didn't even know he was ill. He and I were not close but we had a pleasant relationship between the two of us. I last spoke to him about six months ago and it was sometime after that when his health began a serious downhill slide that escalated rapidly.

When one dies the time spent on each is examined, looking for answers, for truth, for life lessons. At any rate, I do that.  I have no reason at all to believe this dear one was prepared to face the Almighty as he released his last breath into the hospital room. 

Beloved and I have prayed for his salvation for many years and the cards I sent for his birthday and Christmas always had a Christian message. Never was I given an open door of receptivity to speak more about it.

And yet, as his health declined God gave him the gift of time to contemplate eternity. We know we were asking according to God's will when we prayed for the salvation of this cousin. I feel certain the Holy Spirit was dealing with him in the waning days of his life, but until I reach the other side, I will not know the outcome.

None of us knows when our earthly end will come. We may have some warning, or none at all. In reality, we all have warning. It's called NOW.  

Now is the day of salvation, as scripture says in II Corinthians 6:2,

... now is the time of God's favor,
now is the day of salvation.

Now is the time to seek the Lord for forgiveness and to accept what Jesus has done for us as our only 'ticket' into Heaven. We cannot do it any other way. 

                                            Jesus answered, 
"I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me."
John 14:6

Friday, July 28, 2017

Sand in my Toes

my handwriting in the sand at Jacksonville Beach
We continue to marvel that the Lord has brought us to this different part of the country where we wear flip flops and shorts every day and it's easy to escape to the beach within thirty minutes from our home.

While too many sunburn episodes and skin cancer scares have pushed us into that season of life where lounging in swim suits all day is no longer considered fun, we do enjoy seeing the waves crash on the sand and scavenging for sea shells.

I noticed that more people are covering up at the beach than they used to in years past. The warnings about skin cancer are making an impression.

looking north toward Jacksonville pier in the distance
It was only last October when Hurricane Matthew slammed into this very beach, destroying the farthest end of the pier. We saw it on  our television news in Colorado, never dreaming that months before the anniversary of that destruction, we would be living here!!

Atlantic Ocean waves
As the waves rolled in, I imagined how violent this water must have become to cause such upheaval.

a warning
The hurricane seriously eroded the sand dunes. Efforts are in progress now to rebuild them and plant a new 'crop' of Sea Oats to establish and strengthen the sandy hills.

Sea Oats are on the horizon of this dune
I don't remember Sea Oats when I grew up along the Pacific Ocean in southern California. There was a lot of Ice Plant. Both coasts have their own personalities.

the sky was mostly overcast -- rain was expected a little later

No trip to the beach is complete without the small planes flying above with banner advertisements. This one was for Geico insurance.

a collage of our lunch

We walked, I don't know, maybe a quarter of a mile in the southerly direction on the beach, picking up sea shells all along the way and then retraced our steps to get back to the car.

Lunch was just a little farther north at Joe's Crab Shack. Beloved, who is for the most part not a sea food lover, turned down a cheeseburger to order clam strips and clam chowder. He does like a good clam chowder and makes a point to order it when we are in places that should know how to cook it up.

I shared some of my stuffed shrimp with him and he allowed that it was pretty good. Of course, bacon was involved, and who doesn't like bacon, anyway?!

taking a picture of the shark suspended from the ceiling

They keep saying on TV that this is "shark week." I'm not sure what that's all about and don't especially care. We had our own encounter with a shark (no one was hurt) on the Florida coast about twenty years ago, so I don't relish entertaining myself with the creatures; but I did feel it was safe to take a photo of this one inside Joe's Crab Shack.

a T-shirt and sea shell shop

Back outside again, we took the 'boardwalk' (actually a brick-paved side walk) but didn't go into any of the shops. We mostly wanted to stretch a little before getting into the car.

Jacksonville Pier

Before leaving we took a couple more shots of the Jacksonville Pier. No one is allowed on it at all these days. The powers that be are haggling over who gets to pay for the repairs, which will probably take about two years. 

It was good we left when we did. The forecasted rain storms rolled in from the Gulf coast as we drove home. 

today's harvest of sea shells
Safely inside our house, we stood in the bathtub to rinse the sand off our sandals, our toes, and our legs. Beloved had brought a large jug of water to the beach so we could rinse off before getting into the car, but if you've been around ocean sand, then you know one rinsing usually isn't enough.

I used a kitchen colander to rinse out the collection of sea shells we had brought home. The pink ones strike me as the most unusual, and I like the conical ones, too. I could launch myself into a little homily regarding these shells' colors, shapes, origins and purposes, but that should be a post for another day.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Hello to the Hodgepodge!

After over 3 months away from the weekly Hodgepodge, I'm back. When I checked to see the last time I had submitted replies to the Hodgepodge questions, I was surprised it had been so long (April 5th). 

It was just 10 days after that when Beloved and I began the inquiry into a cross-country move from Colorado to Florida and that adventure took on a life of its own, so to speak. By April 26th we had flown to our new home town, put a contract on a house and contacted our realtor in Denver to put The Brown Bungalow on the market. 

Blessedly, our house sold immediately. We closed on that house on June 16th and closed on the house in Jacksonville on June 26th. It has been a whirlwind that [for the most part] has settled down in just the past week. 

That said, it's good to be back with the Hodgepodge community. Let's see what questions Joyce has given us for today:

1. We've reached edition number 315 here in the Wednesday Hodgepodge. So tell us, what were you doing at 3:15 yesterday?  Is that typical? On a scale of 1-10 (with 1 being low and 10 being high) what's your energy level usually like at 3:15PM?

We went to Whole Foods to buy specialty items we can't find at Walmart or Publix. Usually I try to do my grocery shopping earlier in the day because I am a morning person and by mid-afternoon, I start to drag.

2. A frisbee, a tantrum, a towel, a party, a punch, or a curveball ... which have you most recently thrown or had thrown at/for you? Elaborate.

I'll say I've had a frisbee sent my way, meaning that although I was NOT expecting it, it just glided into my hands. I'm referring to this move of 1, 724 miles cross country. While it's unrealistic to think there won't be any curve balls in a venture of this magnitude, the move went very well. The Lord has blessed us at every stage.

3. What are three things that would help you right now. Tell us how or why.

1) I'd like to find a dedicated health foods store besides Whole Foods. If I don't, I'll need to shop the Internet. I enjoy Whole Foods but there are some things they don't carry. The smaller health food chains I'm familiar with in Orlando and Denver are not in this city.

2) We are actively seeking the Lord's guidance on a new church home. As life-long Southern Baptists so far, we have visited 3 SBC churches and there are more out there because we are in the 'Bible belt,' (which is a big difference from out west in Colorado).  It is fun to visit around to see what the various congregations are like, but we do want to settle on one sooner rather than later.

3) We look forward to making new friends here, people we can really bond with.

4. Do you think you're strong? Why or why not? What makes  you strong?

Physically: no I'm not all that strong
Mentally: I'm average
Emotionally: well, I cry easily
Spiritually: hat comes from my relationship with God and He does some pretty amazing things in my life.

Daily Bible reading, prayer and meditation make me stronger. 

Healthy eating also makes me stronger (going against my food allergies and intolerances is a quick way to really bring me down).

5. Do you enjoy reading historical fiction? What's your favorite book set sometime in the past?

I can't seem to find the time to just sit down and read nearly as much as I would like, but when I do, historical fiction is my favorite. I don't have a favorite book because I never re-read a book. But when I do get to read, I most enjoy historical fiction based  on Bible characters. In the past I've read about Old Testament Esther, David and Noah; New Testament Mary the mother of Christ, Paul, Mary Magdalene, Martha, and others.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Here's a snapshot of our house taken from our back porch the other night:
looking through the windows to the family room,
breakfast nook, kitchen, and the stairs to the second story

This picture was taken from the covered back patio, which the locals refer to as a "lanai." I don't relate to that word but prefer the homeyness of "back porch," so that's what I intend to call it. We are in the deep South, after all.

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Linking up with other bloggers today at

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.

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

Physical Therapy