Tuesday, January 24, 2017

a lost art

     I was reminded recently of the impact a simple note can make. 
Several years ago I wrote to a family I did not know well, to encourage 
them about something sad we had in common. I never heard from them, 
nor saw them again. But because of what we share in common, 
I often think of them and wonder if they ever received the note.

     But one day, the father of the family sought us out at church. 
We didn't even know if they were still at our church. He remembered that 
note all these years later, and had been wanting to thank us, and to let 
us know how much it had meant to them that I had written it. 

     Lesson to be learned: no feedback means nothing. Just do what 
you know you are to do, and let it go from there. 
God does His work, using your little part.

     Yesterday was National Handwriting Day. It seems a handwritten letter 
or note is almost a lost art. Do you still write handwritten things? 
My hair stylist told me that her daughter's biggest thing about getting 
her driver's license was doing her signature correctly. Not parallel parking. 
In fact, she begged her mom to teach her cursive so she could 
do a proper signature. No, they hadn't taught it in school.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Random five in a day

1. I posted this flower on IG this morning and my cousin commented that it 
reminded her of my mom. Sure enough, it was a rose that was at my mom's 
bedside her last days. It stayed gorgeous until she died, and we drank in its beauty. 
It's just four years ago at this time that I was at mom's bedside 
each day as she made her transition to heaven.
2. After affirming my cousin's thought on IG, I did a few errands, 
including a trip to Ald* where just inside the door was
a huge bunch of beautiful roses for sale, including some 
the color my mother loved. I grabbed a bunch at only $3
and considered it a smile from God.
3. Earlier in the morning I glanced out the window 
and counted a record-breaking eight deer strolling
and grazing through our back yard. We usually see seven,
and sometimes wonder if they don't just live in our woods.
4. I've been hooked on PGTips tea for years and have a cup every afternoon.
The Gardener used to bring boxes of it home from his regular trips to England.
But now it's easier to find it here. Except for today when 
it wasn't at the shop where I usually find it. They did have this Yorkshire tea. 
I wonder if you British readers recognize this box or brand. 
I've had my first cup and it's pretty good; 
I'd say a bit similar.
5. My favorite day of the week is the one where I volunteer in
my granddaughter's 2nd grade classroom. They've been doing a
unit on Fairy Tales and have spent some time exploring different 
(some very different) versions of Cinderella. Long ago, when
I was 17, I won a talent contest doing a rendition of 
"Prinderella and the Cince," which included acting out the punctuation.
So, without the costume, I read my version in class today and they loved it.
But, by the way, they did not know what a talent contest is.

Monday, January 16, 2017

removing water and building banks

On a cold, very gray day, grandson and I traipsed into our woods
to check out his dad's jon-boat stored there. We'd had a lot
of rain since we last looked at it.
Sure enough, full. 
Mucky water.
This sweet boy wanted to clear it out for his dad.
We discussed how this would work, and how
we might stay dry and fairly clean in the process.
We just happened to have the perfect size buckets for the two of us.
It was hard work but we both worked equally hard and
our mission was accomplished.
We came inside and got warm, read a chapter of Narnia,
and then got busy arranging a H. Depot store. 
Next we purchased supplies at HD and then built a log cabin bank.
Three rooms, three windows, and a fenced parking area.
I savor these times. The grandees are growing so quickly.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

the sounds of music

I close the door to our den so I can open the closet behind it. I reach in and turn on our 30 year-old JVC cassette (yes, cassette) player, then turn on the attached 20 year-old single CD player, turn on the speaker connection, go across the room and turn on the speakers in the bookcase, go back and insert a CD, press play a few times, and then return to the speakers to adjust the volume. Then I close up the closet and reopen the den door. All that to listen to a CD. We have another small "boom box" kind of CD player but the sound isn't good, and the radio reception in our house, for some reason, is lousy. None of these options is audible to any good degree in other rooms since our house is not on the "open plan." 

So life here is silent way more than I'd like. We mainly resort to our phones or iPad
 for streaming music. The music often follows me from room to room in my pocket. 
So on my Christmas list went "something to improve the music situation at our house." 
And our wonderful kids got us what I call "Gizmo," instead of her real name.
A small black tower that has such great sound, 
it carries beautifully throughout our entire downstairs. 
We are enjoying beautiful music filling our home. 
And when we ask for the "oldies"
the music brings memories, as you all know.
Since the Gardener and I have been buddies since we were 18, 
we share many of those memories.
A song comes on and we just glance at each other and
know what we are remembering!
"It was a shared experience––a singular thing that had unfolded in a 
golden sliver of time long ago…. Joe was crying, at least in part, 
for the loss of that vanished moment but much 
more...for the sheer beauty of it."
 (Daniel James Brown, The Boys in the Boat)

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

the exchange

There's a freshness in our house.  A"burr under my saddle" that has confounded my sense of well being ever so very slightly for years is now gone. Certainly it didn't take over my life, but when I walked through my house something nagged at the back of my mind.

I'm sure you who are "house people" get what I'm saying, how you know something's not quite right. Several years ago we switched our living room and dining room around on a trial basis. When we moved the chandelier, things became serious. We have loved the new arrangement and the expanded space when we have a crowd--or even just a handful--around our extendable table.

It was the corner cabinet that was the culprit of this burr. First of all, to go way back, it used to be wood toned that I stained when we bought it unfinished. Later I painted it white, which I have loved, and thought the white made it seem more "built in." A friend told me I'd eventually regret that decision. Not yet. But to have a cabinet of china in the living room, and an antique "secretary" with bookcase in the dining room just didn't seem right. To move them would be an ordeal. Both, excellent storage pieces, would need emptying and strong men to move them.
I think this looks like we're painting.
I got more serious right after Christmas and spent some time with a photo editing program. I removed the secretary from a photo of the living room and inserted the corner cabinet. I was afraid of all the work if it didn't end up looking right and I just didn't know. So I needed a visual, and to prove to the Gardener that it might be OK.

I am blessed with a patient man who also loves house stuff and likes changing a room around and trying to improve things. He squinted at my rough photos and said, "Yes."
We chose to do "Project Move" late one afternoon after a very busy day that included taking down Christmas decorations and the tree, taking it apart, and stuffing it back in it's storage container in the corner of the attic (my job as the Gardener's 6'6" frame does not fit in the corner of the attic.)
What a job! We didn't actually carry the furniture, we rather found a way to dance with it, twisting and turning, hugging it, using every muscle in our bodies. We were one strong man with a bad back, and a silly, determined older lady who has danced with furniture more than once. But as soon as that corner cabinet arrived home in it's new spot I gave a small screech of delight. She was where she belonged.

It all seems right now. The after story is that as I cooked supper that night I felt so tired that every muscle ached. And I felt cold, as I sometimes do after overworking physically. I began to chide myself for being so stupid to think I could still do all of that in one day. Then chills set in in earnest with full blown body aches. Still thinking it was overwork, I headed to bed and slept for the next 24 hours, interrupted only by trips to the bathroom. The stomach flu. What a conundrum.
Joining Five on Friday, with my five photos.
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