Sunday, September 29, 2013

These boots were made for walking in Washington! I just didn't know it!

I heard it not once, not twice, but three times this morning from well-wishers at the new church we attended:  "Welcome.  You have arrived just in time for the rainy season!"

Two whole years ago, my daughter Rachel gave me these rainboots for Christmas.  I thought they were so cute;  afterall, they are black/white/fuschia!  I wore them a couple of times in Kentucky, took them to Indiana where I wore them to a friend's house--in the snow, not rain (chuckle)--but I could never possibly have known two years back that I would be moving to the rain capital of the USA!  I had been  asked over and over by various people prior to our move, "You do know that it rains a lot in Washington, don't you?"  And they usually followed up with the observation that many people are depressed by the rainy weather.  Yep, that bit of info puts a black cloud over the situation!

While I always answered, "Yes, that is what I have heard," I'm not sure that I had thought of all that would mean to me.  For instance, when I walk out of my garage door, there is a wall of rain which leaves a constant puddle on our garage floor.  I walk Huck and Finn (unless Roy walks them) two times every day!  Finn could care less if it is raining!  Huck is Cooper II (Rachel's dog--our grand dog) and is miserable when he gets rained on.  Also, I can never get my windshield wipers to be at the correct speed, requiring constant adjustment on my part.  On the other hand, I love cuddling up in a chair with a good book while it is raining outside.  I love being in Starbucks all warm and cosy with a Chia latte in hand and the rain pouring down outside!  Falling rain brings to the surface one of my most cherished memories--being at my grandmother's house upstairs under a tin roof with the constant drumming of a steady rain (reading or sleeping or spending time with my cousins).  Walking in the rain, even if I do have to drag Huck for the first half of the block, is refreshing as I trod on newly washed sidewalks, smell the indescribable yet easily identified smell of fresh rain,  and listen to the comforting dripping leaves and reminds me of the one my favorite poems "I saw God wash the world last night and hang it out to dry."

May I bring your thoughts back to the fact that I have had these rain boots two years?  The most awesome thing about those rain boots and the rainy weather here is that God knew my need before even I did!  I can hear some of you thinking aloud "Yeah, right!  You said Rachel bought them for you!  You are making something out of nothing!"  Perhaps, I am. . . the same way I am when I see that God provided a house for us before we arrived because He knew that Roy and I might fall apart if we had to unload the truck into a storage unit and then in a few days move it again to a house as this move would have been the fourth major moving of furniture for us in 2013. . . the same way 4-5 men showed up at our house the day of our move and had our things in the appropriate rooms in an hour and a half (thanks to one of the CA's prompting) . . . and the same way that God used our property manager to find us a washer, dryer, lawn mower and weedeater and I could go on and on and on. . . the fact remains that God uses people and events to meet our needs even before we are aware of having them!

"My Jesus knows just what I need 
Oh yes! He knows just what I need 
He satisfies and every need supplies 
Yes, He knows just what I need "   --written by Pierre Walker and sung by Elvis Presley

Friday, September 27, 2013


Being "mother" to furry babies has its moments just as stressful and/or wonderful as when my children-- now 24, 26, and 38--were growing up!  This morning around 6:30, I was thrilled that my husband got up and took the boys out for their morning walk!  Yes!  I could actually sleep in!  Soon, though, Huck had finished his morning contribution, so Roy brought him back in and continued on around the block for a second time with Finn who had not been as quick on the draw.  Huck came bounding up the stairs with his tongue hanging out, as is typical with him, and making significant noise as he hit the steps and jarred me from my sleep when he came to a stop on the bed with his front paws planted solidly on my body as if to say "I'm here, mama!  Get up, Get up, Get up!  Let's play."  By the time I made it downstairs, Roy and Finn were back in the house.  We each moved to different spots in the house as the boys began their morning ritual of running through the house chasing each other and wrestling each other to the ground.  But then things got quiet.  As a mother,  I hated to hear that sudden total silence in the house when my children were playing in one room, and I was working in another.  That lack of noise always signaled the need to go check on Ben and Rachel (only 21 months apart in age and "partners in crime" growing up).  As I advanced around the staircase from the kitchen, I caught a glimpse of the front door.  Seeing it open about an inch, I knew that Huck and Finn had gone out of the door that my precious husband, who had tried to give me a gift of sleeping in,  had inadvertently left unsecured!  Roy and I saw that they were missing about the same time, so we both ran out of the door clapping our hands and calling "Huck, Finn, where are you?"  As I made it to the right corner of our block, I could see Roy down the street at the opposite corner, and the boys were nowhere to be seen!  I imagined the worst!  My thought was that they would dart out into one of the streets in front of a car, and I would hear the screech of tires as the life was being snatched out of both of them!  Roy later told me that he imagined that someone would pass by and see them and notice how cute they are and steal them away from us!   Reflecting upon this later, I remember how when my children were small, I would sometimes in my mind's eye see one of them being hit by a car, or drowning, etc.  Later, as they became teenagers and they began to drive, if they were late coming home, I could not help thinking of  the negative possibilities.  Wow!  all of my children are grown, and here I am still worrying!  It was, however, with the greatest of joy that I saw two little white bodies joyfully racing around the corner to meet me!  They were basking in the sunshine of freedom and had no awareness of the great danger that lurked around that corner!  I shouted down the street making Roy aware that I found them and as we all four made it back into our front door, the joy of finding them safe and sound outweighed the concern over how totally foolish we might look and sound running up the street, I still in my pajamas, yelling and pleading!   I also had to thank God none of our neighbors were anywhere close (or they would have for sure called the canine social services) when about 8 days before, at the entrance of Yellowstone Park, Finn decided to jump out of the open window of our truck just as Roy was pulling away from the curb where we had stopped to view some elk.  I had no time to think this one through as my hand shot out and caught him by the tail.  I looked down to see him suspended by his tail in midair with all four legs spread out in different directions each flailing to reach the ground just before I pulled him back into the truck to safety.  Whew!  This is too much for my aged self!  But this morning as I thank God for the safety of our four-legged babies, I realize a couple of things:  first, "once a mother, always a mother," and, second, our Heavenly Father must see the foolish decisions that we make going through life with no thought of danger and believing ourselves invincible while darting out of open doors or windows thinking we have it all under control. I imagine Him rolling His eyes and shaking His head from side to side in disbelief as He goes to any length to save us from ourselves!  I have to stop and say, "Thank you, dear Father, for watching over our family all of these years and keeping us safe!  Amen"

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Kitchen remodel inspiration from pottery

Written earlier in 2012 but just posted this week. . .

Kitchen Before 
Inspiration Pottery included 6 pieces--$25-$30
"Oh, my!" you say?  So did I when I first saw it! The first room of the 1960's house that got me up out of my chair was the kitchen!  I had made a trip to North Vernon at fall break (October 2011) to spend a week and had discovered this awesome little shop called Ditto's!  I fell in love with this place that smacks of a New York loft with interesting items tucked in here and there!  The owners have a great eye to presentation, and the prices are extraordinary!   Back to the story. . .my husband purchased some pottery for me on that visit, and it became my inspiration for our wallpapered kitchen.  I envisioned my kitchen as being a pale yellow with red/burgundy accents.  Before I could do anything with the colors, I had two major tasks:  strip the wall paper and refinish the dated cabinets.  I planned on changing the hardware, but when I discovered that it was copper, I decided to keep it. Everything in this kitchen had similarities to my mother's kitchen when I was a child (coppertone sink and hood, white formica with gold flecks in it) except for the pink walls that I found underneath the ivy clad wallpaper.  Since I could not change the sink and countertop right off, I decided to start with the cabinets.  How do I change them?  Do I use a primer? Should I stain them?  I definitely like the look of flat black and/or glossy black for an updated look, so after googling possibilities, I marched myself to Home Depot where
I purchased a paint that I could only find at this store.  Yes, I decided to use primer that was guaranteed to cover everything!  I felt that I was going to need it with all of the grease and grime that I used steel wool to remove!  I also spray painted the hood.  I would have liked to have used the new appliance epoxy, but I could not get it in the color that I desired, so I simply spray painted it with a paint for metal made by Krylon.  I spent several days, with the help of a sweet teenage girl who was thankfully bored at home, painting cabinets, taking off wall paper and repainting.  This house also had drapes throughout that were hung from traverse rods;  I removed the drapes in the kitchen and moved them to the living room to replace a yellow, large flowered drape that jarred my senses each time I walked through the room.  Although, I still have projects to complete within this room, I believe that the improvements I have made thus far are quite satisfying.  Did I mention that because my husband is in the military that we will be selling this house, so our goal is to modernize but not break the bank?  See what you think of the current final result!
The black cabinet is visible at the left of the picture!

The corner now yellow and home to the newly painted piece of furniture

Moving into the fast lane!

Close to 3 weeks ago, my husband and I, along with Huck and Finn (our 14 month old Shih tzus), after receiving official military orders on Friday loaded our moving truck on Saturday and hit the road on Sunday (September 8, 2013) for Joint Base Lewis-McChord.  We "took" six days to move across country seeing this sight or that amid all of the natural beauty that only God could have crafted. I, over the 58 years of my life, have been in awe and curious of the differences between people of certain regions of the USA as well as various parts of the world.  For instance, when one drives alone (I had to drive our private vehicle while my husband drove the rental truck which also towed my car), you notice things like signs.  I found myself living for the sign that proclaimed the arrival of a new state, being perturbed by signs that appeared over and over advertising the location of the same sight for a hundred miles before the arrival of the said location, and curious about the difference in work zone signs regarding the injury of workers.   I read recently that there are 3 fatalities and 160 injuries per day in work zones nationwide. It is my belief that almost if not all states double the fines for speeding within work zones, but states differ as to whether the workers have to be present at the time of the infraction or not.  Here is what I learned about this in my monotonous moments of driving:  in Illinois, if you hit a construction worker  than you will be fined $10,000 and serve up to 14 years in jail.  Who came up with that amount and is there a difference if the worker is injured vs. killed?  Yeah, I had a long time to mull this over. At the same time, if you hit a construction worker in one of the other states on our route, the fine is $11,000, and still yet the sign in the state of South Dakota, as is true for numerous other states, simply asks motorists to give road workers a "brake."  I'm very certain that this would not be humorous at all if your family member were the construction worker, but I find the differences from state to state would certainly make me very picky about which state I chose to be engaged in the career of the construction worker! Evidently, some states value their workers more than others!  Another difference concerning driving is the attitude of drivers of a given state as a group.  Obviously, everyone does not fit the "mold," but I first noticed this diverse approach when Rachel, my daughter, and I flew to Denver, Colorado this past summer.  There, the drivers are so laid back, and they move not exactly slowly but as if they are never in too much of a hurry to allow a fellow driver to have the right of way or to navigate into the lane in front of them!  In the south-- Nashville, TN being a case in point--everyone is fighting or jockeying for position!  If you are not already moving as fast as the flow of the lane of traffic into which you want to merge and/or with your jaw set and determined, you will sit at a stop until Jesus comes back, and no one, or at the very least rarely will anyone invite you to advance in front of him.  The Northwest driver is different.  First of all, the speed limit for the interstate is 60 mph unlike the 70 mph of the southern states and 75 mph of Montana, was it?  Drivers in Washington allow you to get in front of them and would not maliciously deny you entrance. I realized a few days ago, after having been in Washington for a little over two weeks, that I don't remember hearing but one car horn blow during that entire time period since our arrival.  I noticed that the license plate of that horn blasting car sported
a Kentucky license plate, and I sleep each night with the man driving it!