Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Progressing Toward Easter

relaxing by the neighborhood pool

The boxes unpacked
Many pictures on the walls
Tired feet need rest

This piece of non-rhyming poetry is a nod with my big floppy sun hat to "Haiku." If you follow my friend Terri's blog over at Your Friend From Florida, then you know she encouraged us to participate in National Haiku Poetry Day -- April 17. 

my beach towel and flip flops 
With one notable exception, we've hung all our pictures, the moving boxes are not only empty but flattened and have been carried off by the re-cycle truck, and things are looking pretty good around here. 

can you tell that I like wall "groupings" better than single pictures?
It's a good thing I like collections on my walls because when one downsizes in square footage and gets an 'open concept' floorplan, there's less wall space for hanging everything!

Beloved's Black and Decker leveling tool

Allow me to stop for just a moment to applaud this essential tool Beloved used for hanging the large mirrors in the bedrooms. 

entry hall (at night, when the glass front door looks black)
However, even with the help of this gizmo, our patience was sorely tested when hanging the entry hall mirror. The holes in the back must not be lined up right -- we've gone through that trauma every time in every house since we bought it about 15 years ago. 

This metal flamingo is in the upstairs bathroom, next to the sewing room. I'm calling that bathroom "The Flamingo Room", decorating with peach, rosy pink, and white. Hardly anybody will see or use this room since it's on another floor from the guest area, so I feel the freedom to decorate it any way I want!

Master bath area: we are big on hook racks for organizing belts, purses, ball caps, etc.

There is one large rustic sign we like to hang above the TV that says "HOME." For the life of us, we cannot find it! I feel sure I packed it myself in one of the Christmas bins, but it's just not showing up. So that's the "notable exception" mentioned earlier.

the "wordy wall"
With thanks to Lea at Cici's Corner, I am copying her idea to group word signs together. She posted her version of this several months ago and I really liked it. This will be a growing collection, working its way up the staircase with words of wisdom, encouragement and smiles. 

walk-in pantry 
I'm lovin' the pantry. Beloved took down the door because it was cumbersome and unnecessary since you have to turn a corner to see into it anyway. We also took down two doors in the master bath/closet areas, too. I don't like to dance with doors. People don't even notice the doors have been taken down when we walk them through the house.

T-Rex restaurant at Disney Springs
Several of you have written to urge us to take it easy with the unpacking process. I assure you, we have done that. We sleep well at night and have made it a rule to not unpack anything on Sundays. One weekend after church and lunch, we drove down to Disney Springs, a shopping area outside of the parks where one can leave the car in a beautiful parking garage (no charge!), stroll among shops, restaurants, people (yes, lots of people), or just sit on a bench or enjoy a free boat ride. 

free boat across the lagoon at Disney Springs
Dining with the dinosaurs was fun, although pricey (basic burger = $17) but that included a meteor shower every twenty minutes or so and two gorgeously big aquariums in the dining room.

coffee and cookies on the back porch 

During the week, we have been trying to remember to take a coffee break about mid-afternoon. The caffeine gives me just enough oomph to get dinner on the table. 

One day I even baked the best chocolate chips cookies I have ever made. I am loving getting to bake at sea level after decades of messing around with high-altitude baking (and not being very good at it). This recipe was a basic from my first Betty Crocker cookbook (~1970). I took her advice to include an additional 1/2 cup of flour for a "softer, rounder cookie."  Wow. Soo good!

Easter decor on front porch
Unpacking is done
Time to reflect on Easter
He's risen indeed!

Enjoy your Easter weekend! Until next time ...

Friday, April 12, 2019

Yes, I have grandkids!

And a lot of them! (just one shy of a dozen) Some of them live an hour or so away and the rest are about 5 hours in another part of the state. I don't write about them a lot so they can grow and develop with a little less social media vying for their attention.

However, important milestones are popping up, so I'm sharing just little about our dear ones today. As is often the case when I do include them in a blog post, I don't present clear views of their faces to preserve their privacy.

Grandson #4 has recently moved up from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts. We are very pleased that he is loving his troop and happily participating in the campouts even during the times when his dad's job takes him out of town. It is also good to see the disciplines of good citizenship, sportsmanship, and patriotism being taught. (I just love a man in a uniform, don't you?!)

Three of our young un's are celebrating birthdays this month. They had an early party when all of the immediate family could attend. Oh for the days when we could get away with climbing on top of the table to blow out the cake candles! This is Grandson #5, Granddaughter #3 and Grandson #6.

Last weekend Granddaughter #5 and her mommy came to see us. As all my regular readers know, we HAVE to take pictures of our visitors in the gargantuan master bathroom shower. Our little bunny was intimidated by such a strange room (as I would have been at her age, too!). 

As an aside, since we are all standing in the bathroom anyway, allow me to slip in this note on decorating. 

There is a very high, narrow window at the top of the shower tile. Beloved brought in the 6-foot ladder so I could position some large star fish in that window. 

They show up a little better at night but since they are so high up, it's very hard to get a good picture of them.

But back to the subject of grandchildren, we took Surfer Girl and Granddaughter #5 to the amenities areas of our new neighborhood. This is the outdoor pool (there is a huge indoor pool as well). I'll just say it. This place nearly takes my breath away.

Lil' Bunny wanted to touch the water. They pronounced it suitable. But we were unprepared to swim that day and it's a good thing because just minutes after we got back to our house, the clouds ripped open and rain fell hard!

I have saved the best news for last. Granddaughter #4 asked Jesus into her heart, accepting Him as her personal Savior and Lord. After talking it over with her parents, she was baptized this past Sunday by water immersion. She is not only my granddaughter, but also my little sister in Christ!

My prayer for her now is that her relationship with Jesus Christ will be rich with meaning and a light for others to make this decision for themselves.

Let your light so shine before men,
that they may see your good works,
and glorify your Father
which is in heaven.
Matthew 5:16

This is Palm Sunday weekend. May we all take time to contemplate  what this Holy Week means to us both now and for all eternity.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Unpacking It All

Add caption
Truth be told, I don't throw the packing paper onto the floor or the stairs. Whimsey overcame me one day last week as I opened boxes in the loft upstairs. Always on the alert for "blog fodder," I staged this scene just for the fun of it.

We made several corporate moves when our three children were young. Beloved would throw the packing paper into the wardrobe boxes and then pick up a kid and let them stomp around on the paper, pushing it down, adding more paper, stomping more and on and on until the box was pretty full. Then he would  [remove the child and] cart the heavy paper-packed boxes out to the curb where the moving company would come back to get the boxes.

Those days are long behind us. With this move, it's been up to us to dispose of the boxes and paper. I have found it takes less energy out of me to smooth out each sheet of packing paper on the breakfast bar (or a stack of boxes), and then when the stack is worth the effort, I fold it in fourths and press it down into a box, adding as much as the box will hold. Even without the kids' help, it's pretty amazing how much paper can get crammed into one box.

Speaking of cramming things, I have some 20 photos set aside here on my laptop computer to share with you. But that's just too much for one blog post, so I'll spread them out over a couple (or more) posts. Besides, I need a good excuse to get off my feet after supper these days. Both Beloved and I have been feeling the effects of standing much of the day with all the unpacking. We sleep well at night.

People tell me they are eager to see pictures of the house. The photos will get more fun as time goes on. For now most of what I've got to show is organizational stuff.

Which leads me to this, sent to me today by Parakeet, one of my absolute very first blog followers when I began blogging in 2009:

this, from a T-shirt Parakeet's daughter gave to her dad
What really tickled me was the timing of when this photo showed up in my email. I was taking a break from doing something that could be considered TRUE OCD behavior.

You see, we've got this wonderful area just inside the house from the garage that our builder calls "the Drop Zone." I guess this is because people come into the house and just drop everything on the floor?? I dunno. We don't do that. We tend to be tidy people.

Anyway, it's got all these built-in cubby shelves in two columns, with some attractive brushed-nickel hooks for hats and coats. 

Under the 2 columns of shelving is a hinged lid where we can hide a body more bulky items, such as a hand-held vacuum cleaner and a bucket or two.

hinged cabinet is open

There is also a closet with shelves where we keep our cleaning chemicals, some hand-held tools such as my hammer, screwdriver, pliers, jars of nails and such. (Beloved keeps all his tools in his garage workshop area.)

When we lived in Colorado, we saw model homes that had this room connecting the garage to the rest of the house and we thought it was so neat, to have a place to sit down to remove the snow boots and cubby holes to stash the mittens, hats, and scarves. 

But now that we live in Florida, we have no need to keep those things handy, so what were we supposed to do with all that storage?

During a visit to check on the progress of our house, I asked one of our neighbors what she does with that area. She showed me the beach towels and similar gear they store there. Hmm. 

Except, in this town we live quite a bit farther from the beach than we did in Jacksonville, so our trips there will be less frequent.

I finally decided to separate out of that closet the lighter-weight, non-chemical items, dividing them according to categories into the black canvas bins (vacuum cleaner bags, dry mop pads, night lights, rags, micro-fiber cloths, hooks of all shapes and sizes, paint brushes, tape of all kinds, etc).

So here's where the OCD part comes in. Eight black bins. How do we remember what's in each one? Beloved pulled out of his desk drawer a package of those Key Tags, the white cardboard circles with a metal rim and a key ring. I jotted down on each one the contents of the bins and then used white string to tie the tags onto the handle of each bin. Wanting to keep it neat and attractive, I even used blue painters tape as my measure to be sure each white string was the same length.

I would have used very narrow black ribbon on a spool instead of the white string, but on this day this was all I had. I may change it out later, but once it was all done and very uniform in appearance, I decided I kinda like the look!

So you see, it tickled me to see the email from Parakeet with that picture of the T-shirt when I was literally in the middle of my own over-the-top project!

I've got tired feet but a contented heart, so until next time ...

Sunday, March 31, 2019

A Sabbath Rest on the Heels of a Busy Week

new furniture -- please note, we are unpacking. Home is not decorated yet.

Oh Everybody! It's been such a full week since we moved into this new house that I have to write a post before the memories get away from me. I won't give you a report on every day but try to hit some of the more photo-worthy highlights.

You see the furniture in the first collage, above. This "Gathering Room" (family/living room) as the builder calls it, is pleasantly larger than what we had in our last two homes, so we bought a larger couch. It is kinda too big because after delivery, it became very clear the two existing lamp tables weren't fitting well. For the time being we have brought the night stands from the guest room in and are finding other places in the house for the too-large lamp tables. We bought smaller end tables at Rooms to Go, and they should be delivered this next week. So there was that.

We love the new bar stools. They have that techie look, which is not a theme I especially like, but the wood (swivel) seats and dark metal go with a lot of my stuff, so they're good (and comfortable). Gray Beard and Blondie have an entire dining set in this same style and it's gorgeous.

help for moving furniture
Both The Cook on Fifth Street and Sister have talked for years about these disks to help move furniture. I haven't paid much attention, but Beloved recently decided our aging aches and pains could be helped with this handy invention. You lift the corner of the furniture just enough to slip one of these disks underneath. (best done with the help of one other person, or maneuver it with your foot) Do this under all the corners and then easily slide the furniture to wherever you want it to be. It's amazing and I should have started using these things years ago!! We bought them at Bed Bath and Beyond. Worth every penny (no, I don't remember how much they cost)

Unpacking all of those boxes has become my passion in life. I know my readers are interested to read how My Staff has weathered this time of transition.

unpacking My Staff
I ask you, do they look happy? (well, yes and no) As you can see, no packing paper was used because their soft bodies provided all the protection required. I would show you where they are located now, such as atop bookcases and lounging in the doll furniture I've acquired over the years, but truth-be-told, they are exactly where they are in this picture except I've propped the box up on a table in such a way that they can watch me as I unpack all the other boxes. And yes, I'm hearing the occasional snarky comments from the one wearing rose-colored glasses. 

Of course, none of them are happy to still be stuffed in that box, but right now I can't have little people under foot with all the packing paper and flattened boxes taking up floor space. You understand.

the home of Betsy Ross suffered some damage
While My Staff actually got through the move just fine, the precious miniature room box designed and created by Sister in the 1980's looks like it went through an earthquake! Fortunately the glass front of the box is not broken, although the wood frame holding the glass needs some attention. I'll be removing the glass long enough to set the table upright and to repair the lamp. All will be well. I need for Sister to advise me on what kind of glue is best for earthquake-related damage.

watching Flosstube on my computer
While I've had to put my dearest hobby of cross stitch on the back burner for the time being, I do enjoy having Flosstube on my computer in the same room where I am unpacking the mountain of boxes. 

For those who don't know what Flosstube is, it's a YouTube thing where cross stitchers video themselves talking about their projects, as well as a little bit about what's happening in their lives. It's like being in a sewing circle with friends and very enjoyable. I get the most inspiring ideas for stitching, finishing, and displaying projects.

Beloved and I have worked very hard to tackle the boxes, as you can well imagine. Yesterday he did the most amazing job of getting his garage in order. Let  me tell you, I am married to a man who likes an orderly garage and I am thankful!!! His organization of the tools, machines, and everything else (enabling BOTH cars to still fit in there nicely) is a wonder to behold.

What's especially interesting is that his bum shoulder is not doing very well, so everything he does is best performed at waist level or below. Lifting that arm is a true pain!! From my experiences with shoulder issues, I've learned it helps to use the step stool or ladder more, thus bringing the arm up to the area that needs attention. He's doing that, but then that involves a lot of climbing up and down.

We both wonder if surgical repair may be in the future...

Blueberry Muffin at Mimi's Cafe
With that said, we decided to make today a true "sabbath rest" from unpacking. First we went to church, a new church that we thoroughly enjoyed. We liked it so much that we plan to go back next Sunday. Can it be that we'll eventually join the first church we visited? Maybe!

After church we went to brunch at Mimi's Cafe. If you've been there then you know about their muffins. Can't resist them. We both had breakfast entrees with coffee and then discussed what to do with our afternoon. We often take a nap on Sunday afternoon, but we'd had enough caffeine we didn't think that was going to happen. We also were determined we absolutely would not unpack a single box today, but the temptation to break that rule would be strong if we were at home.

our afternoon destination
We decided to take a Sunday afternoon drive to a neighboring town. What a delight that turned out to be!

Highway 484 bridge over Rainbow Springs in Dunnellon, Florida with 
Can you see how clear the water is?!! That's an air boat out there, preparing to slip under the bridge (they had to duck their heads). People were tubing in the water, too, although I question the safety of that because ...

sign along the hiking trail beside the water
I don't know, maybe I'm too cautious, but I tend to pay attention to signs like this.

a "forest cathedral"
Let's have a show of hands now. How many of you read Amelia's blog, "My Forest Cathedral"? I love the name she has given to her blog. When we walked this path today with the trees arching up high and meeting in the middle, I thought of her gentle ways and love for the Lord. To step quietly through this 'sanctuary' in the dappled sunshine was a worship experience all its own. Our Creator's hands are marvelous.

Beloved and me took pictures of each other
We stopped at one of the several benches along the way to enjoy the gentle breeze. The temperature was perfect; the humidity low. It was a day to enjoy because as we know, the Florida summer will be coming when air conditioning will be our dear friend.

former home of a family member
After getting back to our car, we decided to go to the other far side of town to drive past one of the former homes of Beloved's eldest brother. We have not been there in I guess some twenty years or more. They moved from there to another house and eventually out of state. But years ago when Beloved was working temporary assignments in Central Florida with his corporate job, he would spend many weekends enjoying the southern hospitality of this brother and his wife. We made some sweet memories at this place.

We wish they still lived here in town but sometimes we stop at their new home when we are on road trips up north to see my family. 

Beloved snaps an important picture
While they were living here, my sister-in-law and their daughters honored my brother-in-law with a brick added to the Veterans Memorial Park stating his name and the years he served with the United States Navy. We found it today and snapped some pictures of it, proud of  his service from 1952 - 1963.

Well, the afternoon was about done by then but Beloved announced on the way home that he was needing a stop at Freddy's for a Mini Turtle Sundae. 

Can a day be more perfect, and especially after a wearying week? I don't think so.

Until next time...

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Rejoicing Over the Relocation

on the move last week

Hello, Blogging Community!

We have survived the long-mentioned move from North Florida to Central Florida, a distance of about 115 miles from one doorstep to the other. Thank you, every one, who prayed for us. Although we have moved many times over the years, I can honestly say this has got to be the smoothest relocation ever! Truly, the Lord blessed us in so many ways.

The men who showed up promptly last Wednesday packed up the kitchen, garage, and items that were bigger than my famous bankers’ boxes.  They arrived in a heart-skipping-a-beat huge truck, but by days’ end they had loaded over half of that trailer with our household goods.

They returned the next morning, again exactly at 8am.  By 9:30am  the rest of our shipment was loaded and heading down the street! As always happens at that point, my eyes teared up a little with the realization nearly all of my earthly goods were leaving me and I would just have to trust the Lord with them.

On Saturday the same men mildly surprised us with a prompt arrival at the curb of our new home, having navigated themselves at the guarded gate entrance to our neighborhood, through the thick tunnels of trees that shroud our streets, and arrived at an address that is not yet available on some map apps.

It took them half a day to unload, put our beds together, and re-unite our TV sets with their supportive parts. All during our time with these men, they were very courteous, a bit affable even, and impressively strong (muscular) with our heaviest pieces. 

One of them, upon handling an antique bedroom chest all by himself, asked me if I’d stuffed any dead bodies in the drawers. Chuckling in reply, I told him that no, I’d obeyed the company instructions to put only linens and clothing in drawers. Old furniture tends to be very heavy, which is exactly what we had there.

The men worked well together under the heavy poundage. At one point the lead man instructed the younger man to move to the left but he went right. Patiently, the lead man responded with “Go to your other left.” And the maneuver was accomplished successfully.

The move itself was a breeze, as was the signing of closing papers on the old and new houses. Truly, I know the Lord heard the prayers of our family and friends. God has been so gracious to us.

We are making wonderful progress with settling in. However, we had close to 200 boxes, so we will be unpacking for some time to come.

On the darker side of things, weeks before the move, Beloved made all the necessary appointments with the companies to install our land line phone, Internet, and satellite television. Thus far, the phone  and Internet company (it is one corporation which will go unnamed) has dropped the ball badly, missing their promised arrival appointments three times in only two days. It is becoming apparent they are over-busy and under-staffed (or maybe I’m just being nice?). 

These are lessons in patience. We send up quick prayers often, asking for winsome words to motivate the slackers. Beloved likes to quote pastor Chuck Swindoll who said he “didn’t know whether to wind his watch or spit.”

This evening Beloved has connected my computer to the Internet via my cell phone, which is how I am able to post this news. The process is painfully slow and tends to drain the battery on the phone rather quickly. Until our Internet is established, I won’t be blogging much at all, so officially I’m "not back yet.” You understand.

But once that all happens, my writing habits should resume and we’ll move forward once again.

Thanks so much for your prayer support and kind words through this entire process that began last September. It’s been a very rich experience.

Until next time …

Beloved and me at our new home

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Living Among the Boxes

'choir' of lamp bases assembled in the sewing room

The Internet service in our current house will be terminated in a few days. It will be a week after that before our  service with a new company begins in the next house. At the mercy of cell phone towers for social media communications during that time, my blogging will be on hold for an undetermined amount of time. With that in mind, it's time for one last post from this house in Jacksonville. 

This also gives me a good excuse to sit down, put my feet up, and move nothing but my fingers. Everything about me is t.i.r.e.d.

collage of the 181 boxes we have packed ourselves
It looks like this is really going to happen, the move over one hundred miles to the south. The closing figures are in for the paper work on both the house we are selling and the house we have had built.

bed in the guest room is covered with lamp shades
Our final walk-through of the new house is scheduled, the moving company is sending out people to pack up the kitchen, dining room, and garage, the moving truck comes the day after that, and our plans are coming together for what to pack in our cars for the nights in a hotel. 

the turtle pond just 3 doors down from our house
(a large rétention pond with a fountain that lights up at night)
The farewells have continued. (Our Farewell  Tour began on February 22. Click here to see that.) Last Sunday evening we took stale bread to our neighbors. As soon as they saw us coming, they began crawling off their concrete slab and swam as fast as their flippers would paddle to get to us. (We are still amazed at how well turtles can see!)

me with the Nordstrom people
I bid adieu to the Nordstrom people at St. Johns Town Center, the upscale shopping spot on Jacksonville's South Side. Truth be told, we never shop in there (too rich for us) but we have a long history of routing ourselves through the store from the parking lot to the rest of the shopping, both here and in Denver. 

Deermeadows Baptist Church
We have one more Sunday at our church. This has been a special place of Bible teaching, worship, fellowship, laughter, good food and all-around happy times. After our years as charter members in three much smaller churches in Colorado and Washington State, as well as church life in South Dakota, it  has been interesting to be members of such a large congregation in the 'Bible Belt' of the South. Our experiences at Deermeadows have thrilled us over and again. We pray the empty place the departure creates in our hearts will be filled with yet another wonderful church family in our new town.

Progresso Butternut Squash Soup with leftover steamed broccoli and toasted pecans
Another necessary aspect of moving out of town is the emptying of the refrigerator and freezer, and narrowing down the pantry contents (so there is less to carry in the car). Some nights we've had some interesting food combinations, but Beloved has been a good sport about it (if there's chunky peanut butter in the cabinet, he's okay). 

stitched on 14-count Aida using pattern from
Stoney Creek Collection Towels of the Month Book 462
After spending much time on my feet every day I feel I deserve a respite just for me, so cross stitch fills my evenings. In a previous post I shared a picture of this pattern stitched with variegated pink thread. I didn't like it. Variegated thread is different and can't be used in the same ways as a single-color floss. So I turned the fabric around to another corner and started all over again, this time using DMC #3687 for the letters and #3727 for the hearts and filigree. I plan to add at least one more larger heart in the background of the F and E but for now this is put away and I've begun a similar stitching for the month of March in a St. Patty's Day green.

my current read, a Christmas gift from Sue
On the nights when even my fingers are too weary to move, I'm reading this book on prophecy. Amir Tsarfati is a fascinating Israeli, a Messianic Jew. I have a link here to his website, Behold Israel,  and also in the left-hand column of my blog. His teaching gives great Biblical insight into the days in which we live.

me at Jacksonville Landing the summer of 2017

Well, this is it -- my last post from Jacksonville, Florida. Thanks for sticking with me these last six months as I've blabbered on and on about packing boxes and building a house. My next post should be from Ocala, Florida in a few weeks.