Wednesday, January 15, 2020

The Blueprint

Okay, I'll admit it.
This mostly cheerful, smiling self of mine has been struggling a bit.
After just saying that, I can't help but feel a bit guilty because since we have retired and relocated,
there have been so many blessings to count...so many.

You'd think I'd realize by now that our plans don't always unfold the way we imagine they will. 
I mean how many blog posts have I written about "plans" in the last six years??

I could blame it on the weather which has just been pretty awful...rain, rain and more rain.
We have everything ready to go down on the property to hook up the RV but the rain has kept us from being able to get the dirt smoothed out and bringing the gravel in.

Or I could blame it on the fact that my recent health issue has raised its ugly head again,
making it necessary to make a couple of unplanned trips to NC and Duke Hospital.

I had a little pity party yesterday morning....and I was the only one I invited.
After the party was over, I dug into some emails where I found some encouraging words
from a couple of lovely and wise blogging friends.
I felt so much better.

 So after all of that, this is what the Lord had for me in my devotional reading for this morning.


Blueprint.

The word seemed to hit me right between the eyes.
I'm sure it seemed that way because ironically, today was also the day that we were to pick up
the blueprint for the farmhouse.

Even though we may look at a blueprint as a plan or design that represents a finished product,
blueprints can also be revised, changed, and adjusted.
It got me thinking that even though I know that I know that God has the grand plan,
He doesn't necessarily map out every single detail of our lives in blueprint form...
...at least I don't think He does.
He gives us free choice which means that at any given moment we can blow it all to smithereens.
Sometimes all it takes is a bad attitude...or yes, even a pity party!

So now, with all that out of the way...


Looky here...I'm so excited!
Seeing the actual blueprint (although it's not blue at all) for our new home all professionally drawn up just really makes it all......so.......REAL!

  
The next step is getting the plans to our builder and sign a few papers.
He hopes to be able to start by the first of March, possibly before...(hmm)...
That's where the weather comes in to play again...it might be rain, it might be snow, who knows?
Today it was in the 70s and tomorrow it isn't getting out of the 40s.
But whenever the Lord allows the actual building process to begin, we are making progress!

So we've been talking about blueprints here and since we're on the subject,
I will just say that for the last ten years or so, my hairstyle hasn't changed much.
Well, right before the new year, I decided it was time for a new blueprint for my hair...
...I guess we might call it a "doo-print". 😄


Last year had been particularly hard on my hair with all of this weird stuff happening to my body.
It has gotten quite thin so I thought cutting it short might be a good thing.
My first thought was, "Oh no, what have I done?!"
I hate fresh haircuts but I figured I would like it better in a couple of weeks.
I am getting used to it day by day....and Jim really likes it too. 😉
After all, it's only hair and it will grow back. (I hope.)

So even though my pity party is over now and all the mess is cleaned up,
I would just like to mention that if you think of me, I would welcome your prayers.
The prayers from my blogging friends have gotten me through some of my darkest hours
this past year and I cherish and appreciate every single one!

Much love to all, 


Thursday, December 26, 2019

A Dickens of a Christmas (in more ways than one)

What? How can this be?
Another post from me...so soon??
It's really unbelievable that Christmas has already come and gone, isn't it?
I trust that everyone enjoyed a wonderful Christmas...I know I did.
 I had part of this post ready to publish over a week ago...
...that is until it happened.
I have been without internet service until just yesterday.
More about that later on in the post.
~
So on Sunday, the 15th, we drove over to Franklin, TN (about 30 minutes away)
to take in a little bit of Christmas nostalgia.


It was the 35th Anniversary of A Dickens of a Christmas, a street fair in the heart of town.
We had attended this several years ago but all I remember was that it was so cold and blustery,
we weren't really able to enjoy it much and we stayed long enough to buy a bag of their
fabulous kettle corn that they make out on the square.
This year the weather was just about perfect as we made our way through the maize of people.
I'll let the photos speak for themselves.


source
The only thing missing was the snow. I borrowed the above photo that was taken a previous year.


source
Mr. Scrooge, himself...


source
...and of course his three visitors.


 

It was almost like stepping back in time...
...that is, if you could ignore the huge crowd of modern day onlookers...and the traffic lights.
Like I said, almost. 😉

So the next day our Olivia turned eleven and this particular birthday is one that will no doubt
be forever ingrained in our memories for a long time to come.
 A warm front that was moving through had churned up some nasty storms
and by later that afternoon, it had become so dark it looked like dusk...
...but never imagined in a hundred years what we were in for.
Sometime around 4:00, it began raining very hard and let me tell you,
inside of the RV it sounded like we were being riddled with BBs.
Carrie was inside of the house getting the party table set up, Adam was still at work,
Jim was on his way home from picking the kiddos up from school
and I was alone in the RV (probably watching Judge Judy)....then it hit...
...the loudest bang of thunder I've ever heard followed by a blinding flash of light.
I immediately called Carrie (in the house) and through a panicked voice
she told me that lightning had struck the house.
The light bulb in the fixture directly above the birthday table had exploded
and blown clear across the kitchen!
Some of the breakers were blown but there was power to parts of the house...
and then she began to notice the odor of burnt wiring...you know, that electrical smell.
Jim was halfway up the driveway when he heard and saw it hit
and Adam literally must have flown home from work.
Carrie called 911 and it was only a matter of minutes before what seemed like every emergency vehicle in the county and the power company had found their way up the winding driveway.



The first responders were surely on their game! 


By then it was pitch black and still raining hard but the lightning was farther away.
After about an hour everything was checked out, the rest of their power had been restored
and the "all clear" was announced.
 It was finally time to par-tay!



So the little party was moved out into the RV since broken glass was still all over the place...
good thing the cake was still covered!
But it was a quick little party to say the least.
~
Later that night, the damage began to show up when it was determined that many of the
major appliances didn't function any more.
The washer (which was full of water and clothing in mid-cycle), the kitchen range, the microwave, the dishwasher and the internet router all got fried!
The next day more things were discovered as well...
...also on the fried list was the well pump (discovered after we ran out of water),
the thermostat to our heating/cooling unit in the RV (since we are plugged into their house),
and various other smaller things.
Then these thoughts crossed my mind..."What if the lightning had caught the house on fire?" 
"What if it would have struck the RV and ignited the propane tanks?" 
But of course these things did not happen.
God had His hand on us and protected us from what could have been a real tragedy.
For that, we are truly thankful.
~
After something like this happens, one never knows what might be hiding in unseen places
 so on Monday the power was shut down all day while everything was checked out thoroughly and major electrical panels were replaced along with a thorough inspection.
Oh yeah, and Christmas came a few days early for Adam and Carrie.
There is always light at the end of a tunnel and they now have a houseful of new appliances.
Thank goodness for a good homeowner's policy!
We didn't have to have a Crockpot Christmas after all!
~
So as this wondrous Christmas season winds down and we prepare for the New Year,
I'll end with this...and no one said it better than Tiny Tim, himself...

God bless us, every one!


Much love to all,


Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Merry Christmas to All!


Wishing all of my dear friends
 a very Merry Christmas
and many blessings in 2020!

Much love, 


Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Temporary Home

I've been working on this post for weeks and I'm finally getting it out there.
I know it's time for all things Christmas and farther on down in the post, I'll get to that.


Years ago I came upon this vintage framed print at a yard sale.
It is so old that the paper has become very brittle and has started to crackle and fall off.
I plan to hang it in the RV once I get it into a frame with glass
and will also find the perfect place for it in the farmhouse, God willing.
And it's at Christmastime, especially, when our homes become our havens of peace, 
rest and comfort like no other time.

Home...

Dorothy said a mouthful when she clicked the heels of those ruby slippers together...
"There's no place like home...there's no place like home".
Even a thirty-five foot camper can feel like home.
This became a truth for me when we returned from our travels from North Carolina and Ohio
the last two weekends of November to celebrate Thanksgiving with family.

This. Place. Actually. Felt. Like. Home. 

My dear blogging friend, Pamela Steiner, recently shared the article below, 
shortly after she moved into her new home a few of months ago.
When I read it the words spoke such amazing truth to me as I was in a very similar place in my life.
Thank you, Pamela, for allowing me to share this as well.

 Your address is not a coincidence...

Where you live — house, townhome, duplex, apartment, or dorm — is not ultimately a consequence of your budget, your stage of life, or your commute. You live where you live because God has deliberately, sovereignly placed you here. The long series of events, decisions, and circumstances that led you here really did lead you here. He brought you home one detail at a time. 

The God who made the world, and everything in it, as Paul preached at Mars Hill, “made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:26–27). 

God not only knit you together in your mother’s womb; he also sovereignly orchestrated all the places you would call home — the periods and boundaries of your “dwelling place.” You do not have a home by accident. Your home is an invitation from God to seek God, and a commission from God to help others seek God."

Article by Marshall Segal, Staff Writer, desiringGod.org

For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.
Hebrews 13:14

Illustration courtesy of Rene Hamilton 
My friend Renee, began Bible journaling a couple of years ago.
I admired every work of art she had completed as she shared them on her IG and Facebook.
But when I saw this one, it really stirred something up in my me.
I knew right away I wanted to share it on my blog once we made our move to Tennessee.

Y'all know that there have been so many twists and turns in our story...
...there were many days when this dream seemed like it would never become a reality.
And we are greatly anticipating early spring for the actual construction on the house to begin...
...barring any more twists and turns. 😉
~
As I said, we traveled to North Carolina for an early Thanksgiving,
 to celebrate two special birthdays and also had our Christmas with Aaron and his bunch.
 I cooked a turkey and made my mom's dressing, especially for Aaron...
...what we do for our grown children.
Dacey, our oldest grand, turned 21 that weekend and Dylan turned 19 this week.
Oh how can this be??

 So it was back to Tennessee for two days (just long enough to do laundry and re-pack our suitcases)
and then off to Ohio to spend Thanksgiving Day with family.
I don't even remember how long it had been since I was with my siblings on Thanksgiving! 
Back in the day, we all got together at one home but that hasn't been the case for several years.
So we made our rounds.


I didn't get any photos of all of us together, just the four of us here...
sisters, Barbara and Janet and my brother, Doug.


And the four of us with our better halves. 😊
It was a good trip despite all of the traffic but we had a wonderful time.
So it was back to our humble abode once again and back to life as we now know it.
~
Jim and I have joined the rec center and are taking aquatic exercise classes among other activities.
This is something that we've talked about doing for a long time...there are no more excuses!
We also feel blessed to be involved in the younger grands' activities...they're growing up so fast!


Parker was voted to represent the 7th grade class for the Homecoming Court!
He's the one in he middle with the bow tie.


He was the escort of darling Anna...they have been friends since they were two.
And what fun it was to join in with the rest of the family to trim their tree...


...and as you can tell, Jim was doing what he does best...supervising!
~
Since we are still camping here in the yard, I have only been able to do so much.
It has taken much longer to get set up down on the property than any of us thought it would.
If we get down the hill before Christmas, it will be quite surprising.
We have had to keep everything to a minimum in the RV since it will all have to come out before we make the trek down the steep driveway because of the weight.
I say all of that to preface the "unveiling" of my elaborate display of Christmas decor!


We'll start with this charming wreath from Dollar General.


I must admit that it's pretty darn cute and looks quite festive!


And what says Christmas more than a red poinsettia?


And I thought this cute checked table runner (also from Dollar General) was just perfect.


This is a sorry photo of our little mantle but I promise it looks better in person. 😏


Then there's my Charlie Brown Christmas tree that Aaron got for me...


I just love it!


The Bible tells us that our time on this earth is only temporary, that life is but a vapor 
and that we are only passing through until we get to our ultimate destination.
As believers, it doesn't matter if we make our home in a 20 room mansion, in an RV,
or anywhere in between, Heaven is our real home.
Wow...now that's something to look forward to!

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
2 Corinthians 5:1

"This is our temporary home
It's not where we belong
Windows in rooms that we're passin' through
This is just a stop, on the way to where we're going
I'm not afraid because I know this is our
Temporary Home."

Songwriters: Zac Maloy / Luke Laird / Carrie Underwood



Until next time...

Love,

Monday, November 18, 2019

Of Hedge Apples and Other Things

No...I haven't fallen off the side of the mountain or anything as dramatic as that.
Just trying to figure out this new way of life...it can be pretty brain numbing.
Sometimes I find myself just staring out into nothingness without a thought in my head.
The good thing is that we feel like the Lord has led us to a great church!
After 27 years, I cannot even put into words how strange it to feels to be doing this.
~
It's been three weeks since I last posted and I realized today that we've been here for over six!
I thought I'd have all kinds of time to write on my blog...and I do...well, kinda.
It seems like everyday we seem to have somewhere to go, mostly by choice.
And speaking of choices, there are a couple of places we have yet to visit...
...one being the DMV to get Tennessee driver's licenses and tags...
...you know, those necessary places. 😏
And I have been taking lots of photos when the weather has allowed me to go exploring.


Something that grows profusely around here are Bodark trees and Adam has many on his property.
The limbs are all gnarly and twisty...


 ...and is among the hardest of woods, in fact bows are made from the wood of these trees.
I wonder why they don't spell it... b o w d a r k??


I call this area of Adam's backwoods the haunted forest.
But enough about the trees...it's what grows on the trees that intrigues me...




...those beautiful hedge apples, also known as osage orange.




These pretty lime green fruits are quite pungent with their citrus aroma and are quite eye catching,
each one measuring about 4 inches in diameter.



They are not edible for humans but at the same time, they are not considered poisonous.



I just like looking at them...except when this happens.



Or this. 😩


So what good are they, anyway?
Some folks swear that they keep mice and spiders away from your basement, etc.
In fact, people actually sell them at farm markets after they've been dried,
and then are placed around foundations and in basements for this very purpose.
Click here if you want to learn more about hedge apples.
~
 The weather had gotten so cold here at one point (as I guess it has been many places),
and we began doubting how we'd ever make it through this winter...and it's not even winter yet!
We were going through propane like water and both times when we ran out,
it was in the middle of the coldest nights with single digit wind chills!
We solved that problem by running an outdoor extension cord from Adam's porch
through a window (that we quickly sealed up) and purchased an electric oscillating heater.
It worked like a charm and we're keeping nice and toasty with it and the RV's electric fireplace...
and saving a bundle on propane!



The beautiful fall foliage is all but gone now after the cold snap.




So as it is with many plans, they are always subject to change.
The power company had been dragging their feet and then decided that several more trees
needed to be dropped before our electric poles could be placed.
Today, to our surprise, there were three utility trucks on the property gettin' 'er done!
We will be traveling back to NC later this week and then on to Ohio for Thanksgiving
so hopefully when we return, we can finally get moved down the mountain!
~
Okay, so this is getting pretty long here so I will share a few more photos,
put a bow on it and call it done.


We were thrilled to be able to share the joy as Olivia won her first cash prize
at a recent climbing competition....the girl is a BEAST!



Parker (on top), man-handling his opponent as his dad shouts out a few pointers.
Although not quite dressed for the occasion, Adam demonstrates how it's done. 😉



 A little venison for the freezer is always a good thing.


These two beautiful kitties are our...well, I guess they'd be our grand cats and they are the sweetest!
Meet Oreo and Cookie....can you guess who is who??



And Sissy gave her ol' Mawmaw some 4-wheeler lessons!



I actually didn't do too bad but it sure isn't as easy as it looks!



Some of the neighbors.😊


And as I wrap this up, last night the Lord truly shared His true colors
as He gifted us with one of the most glorious sunsets I've ever seen.


The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. 
They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.

Psalm 19:1-4

I hope your week is blessed.

Love y'all!
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