Friday, April 3, 2015

Chapter 19

Tap tap tap.... Is this thing on?

Heh. (I've always wanted to say that.)

Anyone want to see some photos of my world? In the one above, I've been adding more color to our patio. Some people can make shades-of-white-on-shades-of-white look all dreamy, Victorian and magical. I am not one of those people. So, alas, I'm slowly adding color.

Took this one today. Don't you just love the light of noontime sunshine?

But early evening light is nice, too. Took this one late yesterday of the sunny side of the house (as I call it).

Also yesterday evening--the magnolia tree all glowy.

Now look closely--there's a baby rabbit in that photo; he's part of the family who lives beneath our woodpile outside of the kitchen window. Oh, those babies are adorable! (And more animals around here whose safety we worry about. Alas.)

And here's one of the amazing Canadian geese who often visit our yard. Yesterday he and the wife strolled side by side, taking a leisurely Sunday stroll past our winter lake and down through our neighbor's yard beneath overhanging trees. So sweet.

And finally, our forsythia bush a few days ago.

Hope you enjoyed the tour! :)


  Usually I know what God wants me to do. You know, like where to live and how to fill my days and use my talents to bless others, etc. Or usually I think I know, anyway. heh. 

But sometimes? Sometimes it suddenly feels like what once worked, isn't working anymore. Like Life feels one-dimensional, not as good as before and as though something is missing--but I just can't find that certain something.

And generally, that means I'm in transition. 

It signals that God has something new ahead, something He's been preparing me to handle and slip into. And oh! It's usually a happy day when it all begins to make sense. 

But oh dear--those meantimes! Meantimes can be uncomfortable, sticky, messy and a downright challenge to my sanity.

That is, when I fail to wait in the special Meantime Rest which God provides. In that rest, there is a calmness that--even though I don't understand everything--all will turn out just fine. In time.

Meantimes are when God watches to see if I'll still do the housework, the studying, the encouraging and giving and staying kind to others. Meantime behavior is vital.

Sitting around all paralyzed, bummed out or afraid to 'miss God' and make mistakes leads, well, to Nowheresville--and generally--no promotion, no changes, either.

So I'll begin a new journey with faithfulness in the old one while remaining open to what waits just around the corner.


"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' ... Matthew 25:23


"Sometimes you just have to step out to find out." ... Joyce Meyer


"A double-minded (wo)man is unstable in all her ways." ... James 1:8

Good gracious. I am so slow.

Since February I've gone back and forth about putting this farm up for sale. This year or next year? This springtime or next? And then I'd try figuring-out the advantages of waiting or going ahead, second-guessing like a wild woman.

Uh-oh.Figuring-out things. I thought I'd given that up.

But negative times kept happening and I'd hear: "Just how bad do things have to get?" Over and over I'd look around at these green, lovely acres of a dream-come-true and think, "Bleh. It feels as though I'm living someone else's life. I don't even want to put in a garden this year(!)" Then I'd feel like an ungrateful brat and a sorry, wimpy woman, indeed.

But no more. 

Today Tom and I ate lunch out on the patio and I told him (for the 300th time) how one day I think we should sell this place now, then the next day I'm thinking we should wait. And how it's making me nuts.

I asked him, "What are you thinking?" And he replied, "I'm thinking we should move away in a year or less."

"A year or less?! Well, that means we must put it up for sale right now! It will take time to sell this middle-of-nowhere place and next April will be too late to begin, if that's the way you're feeling."

And you know? Finally I felt some peace. Finally the decision was made.

Tomorrow I'll contact our favorite real estate agent, Cher, and ask her to come out here in two weeks. In the meantime, we'll finish various projects and do what we can to make this place sell-able.

And we'll stop trying to figure out the future and just how God is going to pull this off. We'll leave the hard stuff to Him. The headaches, also.

Good gracious. Here all along I've been preaching to people, "Sometimes you just have to step out to find out," yet there I was vacillating like a ping pong ball, back and forth, back and forth! 

As of next Monday, we will have owned this farm for three years, and you know? It's been a wild, three-year ride, one we'll always be grateful we took. Yet now it's time to crawl off. We both feel it. The farm dreams have been lived--and that's all we really wanted. The opportunity to live them before we grew too old.

Let the new adventures begin.


Believe me, I know how much I have jerked you poor people around on this decision. And I do apologize. But today I'm committing myself to see this thing through. Finally.


I so feel like this right now:

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." ... Anais Nin


Well, Grace must be all over me to move away because already--in just one day--I have two large boxes of books ready to take to that tiny (run-on-the-honor-system) book cabin in Childs, NY. Two boxes! And yesterday we got rid of my curbside-blessing leather Ralph Lauren chair and I moved a bistro set from our front porch to our patio. And cleaned and decluttered and--

Only with much Grace can I accomplish those sorts of things.

And then this morning Kristi's comments to my last post echoed so perfectly what I've meditated upon for two weeks:

"But it calls for putting too much energy into the work of the farm, and I think you need your energy in other places..."


While I prepared for our Nevada friends' visit I wanted so much to finish some fun decorating projects inside the house, yet my tiredness from all the yard work interfered. And that got me thinking--is a huge yard where I want to spend the bulk of my energy? Do I want to be a slave to a farm--really?

And well, uh, no.

Truthfully? I'd rather be creative around the house. And read good books. Take long drives with Tom, write in this blog and perhaps write a book. Grow a small garden. Maybe do some volunteer work and invite friends over to 'get away from it all,' being more concerned with their welfare than my own energy depletion.

What a relief already. Already I'm feeling less overwhelmed--and considering moving involves such stress--well, that's surely saying something! 

Facing moving to a whole other state, readying and selling this house and all that goes with that--at this moment--sounds more like a stroll in the park than running this farm for another year.

I know. Wild, just wild.

You realize God's often behind such a nonsensical thing when a person feels that crazy way, don't you? :)


"A man's steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?" ... Proverbs 20:24

(Or as the New Living Translation says, "The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?")


I snapped this picture of our little crab apple tree yesterday before we left. Oh, she smells sweet and has tiny roses all over her. (She also has band aids, sigh, because something attacked her inside her trunk, but she's strong and still looks lovely.)

Then we traveled through green, lush countryside, picked up lunch at a supermarket then drove farther to have a picnic with ggggg-grandpa at the cemetery where we ate and read books inside our sunny car.

Then miles and miles down the road we arrived at the tiny book cabin, a former voting booth from 1912. Have I ever shown you a picture? Well, here's one, but the sun was in the way of the best view:


I told you it was tiny! I carried three whole boxes of my books inside, then browsed a bit, buying just one, placing my coins, clang! Inside the can beside the door.

Then I walked around, taking more photos for you. Do these little buildings take you back to the 1930's or what? I love old signs like the one which says 'Men.' Ancient! And check out this sign which I consider rare...


How often are you told to park on the lawn?

All of these sit behind a tall, sturdy cobblestone museum, an 1800's church:

We drove to a guitar shop out there in the deep country on the edge of Rochester and left a guitar of Tom's there to sell on consignment. Then we headed back, pausing for an ice cream cone as we passed hundreds of old farmhouses which, for 18 years, have made me crazy with desire. But now? Now I gazed upon their old-fashioned beauty and their huge lawns and barns and thought, "Eh. They're nice, but they're not for me. Too much work. I'm ready for something new. Something else."

Oh, I watch myself changing lately and am scared and excited simultaneously. But mostly excited.

And because anything is possible on a gleaming countryside day, I came up with the craziest idea! "What if," I told Tom,"What if we sold our house, put all our money in the bank and our stuff into storage and then just took off in our car to travel across the United States? We could bring a tent, a comfy rolled-up foam mattress and our plug-in ice chest, then camp our way across. Visit friends old and blog-new. See Route 66. And do it all without having a real home. We'd just end the trip in the state we wish to live in, buy a house, then send for our stuff."

Ah, a day in the country can so easily spin dreams like those inside your head.

Happy sigh.

Why dream inside a box? Most of us think and live inside that box of The Way Everybody Else Does It, but should we do our dreaming in there, also?


Five or more years ago I fell in love with a bowl when I spied it in a Mary Englebeit magazine.

 At an antique shop sometime later I saw one with a price greater than I wished to pay, but yesterday! Yesterday at a yard sale I found this one for just $2. The only thing I bought all day, but it was enough. More than.

Now, lest your eyes keep bulging at the $2 price tag, here is a major reason for it:

But what's a chip when you love something? And how hard does it become to turn a chip toward the wall? :)

Such a lovely gift from God yesterday, one with much thoughtfulness poured into it to cheer me a bit after this rough weekend, what with the death of my friend, Sandy. Yet still I walk on (limping a bit) and still God is good. 

Sandy is the second dear friend of more than 30 years I've lost while living on this farm. And truthfully? Part of me wishes to leave these rooms where I have too often grieved.


Busy times down on the farm! Cher The Real Estate Agent will come next week so in the meantime we declutter and pack stuff no longer meaningful into boxes.

Truthfully, my heart has moved on.  Where? I don't even know, but it's no longer here--I do know that. Now I hear callings from a place of smaller yards and different commitments. We drive past large yards and I nearly get panic attacks.

That feels like a signal. And perhaps that lovely blue bowl was actually a going-away gift from God to show me all will be well if I'm willing to wait for His leading to where my heart awaits me.


"You must always be true to your own heart or you will never, ever be happy." ... Joyce Meyer


After three hectic, stressed-out weeks of house hunting-----

Oh! Can it be?

Can it be that Tom and Debra have finally found the near-perfect house? 


Ooooo.... it's darling. Small--860 sq. feet, not counting the cleanest, driest basement you ever saw. And although built in 1930, it's like brand new inside, all redone beautifully (with the' burnished' fixtures I love).

But hey, it doesn't resemble at all that Anne of Windy Poplars house (as Judy F. called it) I showed you Tuesday. So please don't expect anything blow-you-over fancy, ok?

But it does look like our original vision and I think it's sweet and what a blank canvas!

This may be it. This just may be it.


So. Remember how, in all this house-hunting insanity, we found what felt like a tumor in McCartney The Cat? Well, after a drive to the vet's office yesterday we discovered she actually has three mammary gland tumors. The good news is that theycan be removed, the bad news is that it would be over $1,000 and it's nearly guaranteed that other tumors would grow afterward in the remaining glands. Which would mean more surgery and more money and then more surgery and more money and--

The doctor said since she's an older cat (14) he'd totally understand if we just wanted to take her home (she's not in any pain, he says) and wait until (gross alert): the tumors begin breaking open and she starts leaking all over the furniture, then bring her in and have her put down. It could be tomorrow or a year from now. There's no way to tell.

So that's what we did. Brought her home (after a stop on Seneca Nation Land for hamburgers in the car beside a pretty forest). All along she's seemed to act normally, except for losing some weight and we're grateful for the grace we've been given to handle these Last Days of McCartney on top of everything else spinning around us.


In other news... Tomorrow we'll return to Hobbit Cottage for the house inspection. Can't wait! Tom and I will each take a list of measurements of our furniture and assorted items here to make sure they will fit over there. And of course, we'll walk around and make more plans inside our heads, especially where to put birdfeeders outside the windows so we can watch them over in our new life as we've watched them in our old one.

We do so enjoy watching frolicking birds, even if that does make us sound, well, old. But it's a cheap thrill and keeps us off the streets.  


Boy oh boy.

The inspection of our new house went swimmingly, except that I went to take notes of all the good surprises and Tom went to make notes of the bad stuff. The inspector even said he was impressed because of the total makeover--it made his job more pleasant. He noted one safety issue--a hand rail is needed from the kitchen to the back door (Tom noted that immediately last week). 

And he found an 1/8th inch hole in a pipe leading down from the sump pump, a hole "almost as if someone had drilled it," the inspector stated.

Now, immediately for me, light bulb! Maybe someone did drill it and perhaps it's supposed to be there and is just one more of those many things 'too wonderful to understand'. So the inspector noted that hole in his report and asked Tom if he wanted him to make an issue of it for the sellers. It could cause a leakage problem, he said.

At first Tom replied, "Yes." Then no. Then maybe. Then finally, no. The inspector said it would be an easy fix for Tom to make, himself.

Good grief. 

All the way home Tom stressed-out over that 1/8th inch hole. Said he should have made the owners fix/replace it. Then he moaned about the trees growing an inch from a side of the garage roof, trees which are most likely on the neighbor's property. I told him maybe we could ask the neighbor if we could cut it down since it's in a part of his yard he's not using.

Tom then got upset that I wasn't worried about all of the many(?!) things wrong with that house. Gah!  (#&%@$%)

We have an acquaintance, 'Bud', who waits for things to go wrong and complains about all things tiny. I told Tom, "Just stop it! You've got the spirit of Bud all over you. Do you want to be like him? You're ruining this whole experience."

Not a good ride home.

So guess what? We get home and Tom sits at the computer and looks up that particular sump pump online. 

It's supposed to have that hole there. Eegads. 

Don't think I need to explain the lesson Tom learned...

He's still wiping the egg from his face, still hanging his repentant head, still realizing many things in Life just aren't worth getting an ulcer over.

And if God chose that house for us then--ultimately--everything is gonna be all right.


Tom did call the inspector later to tell him what he'd learned online and the inspector thanked him. (He was a very nice, friendly guy.)


"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]"  ... Matthew 11:28


It is the best of times. It is the worst of times.

Yesterday McCartney the Cat began going downhill and so today will be her final full one. I look at her sleeping over on the love seat and try not to cry. I hold her and long for just two more weeks. Just two more! But I know even that wouldn't be enough.

So now we're dealing with more death, plus moving and packing and downsizing and flinging away and believing Naomi will find a safe place to rent (and letting her go again) and trusting God that, well, as I said--everything will be ok.

And it will be--in Time. Give God time and He can change your whole world from the inside-out. 

I spoke with our young neighbor out at our mailbox and discovered she'd been feeling sad for us, what with our selling this farm after only three years. Oh my! I assured her I can't wait to return to my suburb roots. To again have energy for what God's gifted me to do, to be a Suburb Girl Gone Home.

It's funny how we assume to understand other peoples' motives, actions, decisions, yet usually! We're all wrong. In fact, I often remind myself of this remarkable verse:

"A man's steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?" ... Proverbs 20:24

Indeed! If half the time we don't even get what God's doing in our own lives, how can we comment upon others' actions? Never assume anything. Again and again I repeat this, hoping someday I'll actually live it.

I read an article this morning about the millions of people out of work for years and I felt extreme gratitude to God for His provision for Tom and me, for placing within our hearts a desire to downsize and for showing us it's--truly--not about who has the coolest house and the most toys, land or vacation memories.

It's about so much more and may I discover all of it. 


McCartney The Cat -- March 1997 - July 11, 2011 Our one-person cat: Thank-you for making me your one person. But oh Cartey, how will I make the bed each morning without your help? Good-bye, Sweetheart. I'll miss you.


Of course, the temptation at times like these is to vow, "I'll never, ever get another cat. This just hurts too much!"

But no, Tom and I are not making such vows, for Grace is still here to enable us to love again. The most joyful, loving relationships will always involve a risk of hurt, a volunteered vulnerability, but oh Grace! Grace comes along in the center of the pain and heals whatever's been broken.  If we receive her.

Our Lennon and McCartney Era is over.

But ah! What a remarkable era it was. Even with this pain, I wouldn't have missed those fourteen fun years with those two cats for anything else you could offer me.

Oh, the comfort, companionship and the memories they gave me.


There is a rhythm to purging a home, a life, of useless clutter, a rhythm nearly like music, music which makes one feel weightless, as though she can soar.

Or something like that.

Do you remember my 1960's-bicycle postWhen God brought that bike to me, (practically right to my front door), I celebrated His goodness by taking bike rides around our suburban block and smiled and felt ten-years-old all over again. 

But then we moved to the country, I stored the bike inside our barn, and it's leaned there against the chicken roost-thingy for three years.

Three whole years. (Though ok, twice I sat it near my garden for effect when we had guests. But hey.)

So you know what that means, don't you? It came time to sell my God-given bike to someone who would use it. It was time.

A clean-cut young man bought it. He listened to my story about its history as I recalled it and he said the bike was in good shape for its years. I'm thinking he'll fix it up and sell it--and I'm fine with that. He appreciates old bikes, I could tell, and he'll sell it to someone who will treasure and use it.

It was time to let it go. 

But will my grateful memories of that bicycle go with it? Am I being disloyal to God for releasing His obvious gift to me? Of course not. 

No, the amazing memories are safely tucked away in here, inside my head as well as in this scrapbook known as a blog, and those memories are going nowhere. That gift was for a special place upon the timeline of my life and God and I both realize that. The giving away of that bicycle gift will dim nothing.


  Uh-oh. Rough times again.

The bank appraisal was re-evaluated and they are not budging. It's still coming in $5,500 less than the price we'd settled on with our buyers.

We can't do that. We need money to make Hobbit Cottage more winter-friendly and it's not like we have tons of the stuff flowing in, at least not right now.

So you know? Tom and I sat here yesterday (downing vanilla Oreos since my head can't handle chocolate anymore--how unfair is that at times like these?) and discussed just forgetting this whole thing. Just staying here until we move out-of-state.

I mean, hey--Naomi found an apartment and will move away next week so I'll get Upstairs Land back to myself. And I've felt more peaceful about this place all week (though, uh, yeah... probably  because we've planned to leave it). 

Tom promised to do more of the mowing outside, himself (riiiight...). And he can even have the whole living room as his official man cave. I don't care anymore--just give me a getaway of my own upstairs and I'll be fine.

We'd still hold the huge yard sale and live here with less stuff--so much so--that the walls would echo (I can dream.) And we'd still rescue two more cats. Soon.

But then Tom spoke with Cher on the phone and long story short, she's going to make this work so that everybody's happy. And hey, if anyone can do that, Cher can.

So we shall see what we shall see.

What I'm grateful for? I've learned not to squeeze anything by its throat, declaring, "If I can't have ________ then I cannot be happy ever."

No, there's only one 'thing,' one Person who I must have in order to be happy. And I think you all know just Who that is.

Stay tuned.


"My times are in your hands, oh Lord..."  ... Psalm 31:15


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