Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Little Food for Thought

Our nation needs our prayers. As we become aware of unhealthy trends and decisions, we need to start with a personal heart cleansing and confession of any known sin. We need to confess and repent (1Jn 1:9) then cry out to our heavenly Father for the return of a vibrant, God-fearing culture to live in.

We often reach our lowest points because we stop trusting in the Lord, At such times, it's easy to give in to the temptation of taking matters into our own hands. When we do, it's easy to wind up in a mess. But if we look to the Lord again, we will see the way out of our pit and back into His loving will.

If we surrender to God in moments of despair, He will provide us with what we need, just as He did for David, Abraham, Joseph and so many other. He wants to strengthen His children so we can bear up under the weight of tough circumstances. So yield to Hm ~ at some point, we'll probably look back and mark the day as the beginning of new growth in our faith.

The Christian life is not about feeling good and deriving the greatest personal benefit from out connection to God. Rather, the Lord builds an intimate relationship with each of us. In that way, He can reveal more about Himself ~ truth by truth ~ as we believers need that knowledge. What a privilege!!!

Human strength is insufficient to rid ourselves of sin. The truth is that we are all in need of a Savior. Jesus Christ humbled Himself to die in our place, which was not a show of weakness. On the contrary, He made the most powerful sacrifice He could ~ and He did it for you and me (Jn 15:13).

What are we I doing with the amazing message of God's love? The commission to "go and make disciples" is meant to be an integral part of every believer's life. We need to share with others the truths about God as He reveals it to us. We all need to share about Jesus and what He has done for the human race and this very earth (remember the earth itself is groaning too!) while at home, at work, at school, among friends, or while pursuing hobbies. In other words, we are to celebrate the message of Easter every day of our lives. With anyone available.

Think about both your public life and your private life. Are both glorifying to the Lord? Allow God's light to penetrate any "darkness" in your thoughts, words, or deeds. Then others may be drawn to the Father by what they see in you (Mt 15:16).

Consider your blessings. How do you utilize all that the heavenly Father has bestowed upon you ~ namely, time, abilities, and finances? Each one of us must choose how we are going to live. It is our responsibility to be faithful servants of the living God, doing whatever He calls us to do.

My Bible study in Proverbs has shown me that it's impossible to extract the gems of knowledge out of the book without pencil and paper. Make columns with headings like: "How to Fear the Lord" and "Foolish Living (ungodly);" "The Righteous" and the "Foolish;" and "Wise" and "Foolish" or headings like these and just jot down what the Bible says about these subjects as you read through the different chapters. You will be blessed if you do this as you read the Proverbs. Remember chaps 1-9 are introductory passages so you may need to wait until you get to chap 9 before you're able to make these notations. It is a wealth of information missed if you don't take the time to do this. Proverbs is all about living righteously. Wisely. In the fear of the Lord.

Another thing my study has shown me is that I am a sluggard. That's right. As painful as it is to admit, I must confess that I am a sluggard. Now comes the hard part. Now I must make changes and adjustments. I need to be up doing things rather than sitting on my duff collecting dust. But the purpose of studying the Bible is to bring us into proper alignment with who God wants us to be and how He wants us to live our lives. The purpose is to show us how to live justly before our gracious Creator. It's absolutely amazing to me that He would take the time to give us direction and to leave us an "instruction manual" for doing just that. What an awesome God we have.

Rain is due in tomorrow night and I need to squeeze out of today the time needed to rake the back yard. Hubby weed-whacked it yesterday. Now it's my turn. But I will do it after I come home from quilting which will be about 2:00 or 3:00. It shouldn't take much more than a half an hour to do that. Hopefully. We are supposed to have a wet weekend so it looks like I won't have to wash my car on Saturday. That is always such a chore. A well-worth-my-time chore but a chore nonetheless.

I dug out a prayer shawl that I had half done and then put aside because I couldn't figure out how to do it. I thought I had messed it up and would need help getting it all sorted out. But I ended up with nothing to work on yesterday and remembered that shawl. So I decided to drag it out and see if I could figure out how to solve my problem. And low and behold, there was no problem. (Sometimes when I get tired this will happen.) So anyway I have something to work on while I wait to take my baby afghan over to Kathleen's tomorrow so she can figure out why the pattern isn't working for me. I do a repeat of 8 rows over and over again and for some reason it just will not work out to start another set of 8!! Frustrating to say the least.

Okay, I need to get dressed and go for my haircut and then to church for the quilting.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Another Blog

Here it is, time for another blog. I have asked my d-in-l to come over and help me put pics in my blog but I haven't heard from her. Hopefully I'll be posting pics later in the week. Hubby has taken a few really nice ones around here that show off the beauty of where we live. (If you don't count the vacant lot next to us. It's not exactly a thrill to look at! Right now it's full of weeds.)

My friend, Ginny, came by and visited my last post. Thanks, Ginny! I don't expect her to stick around much because she has her hands full with six kids (three of them brand new!) and I think she does awfully good just to get her own blog posted. Here's hoping you do come back, Ginny, but I completely understand if you don't.

Our weather has been a bit colder the past few days and I've gone back to long pants (levi's or sweats, depending on my mood) and sweaters or hoody. We had climbed (or is it "clum?") up to 100+ degrees but that's really rare for this time of year. We don't usually start getting hot until late May, early June.

I read a book for Lent called The Carpenter's Cloth and was so glad I did. It's a beautiful little book. I mean, the book itself is oversized, but it's not a long book and the type is spread about over and around pics so it's not a difficult read at all. I can't remember the author right now but I'm sure you can find it by its title if you want to check it out. It was a wonderful book for Lent. My church has taken a verse-by-verse study of one of the gospels every year until this year. (I think we finished the gospel accounts.) And I had no plans for Lent so I just decided to read this book and I am thrilled I did. It really is a beautiful book. Read it if you ever get the chance. I didn't make it to church Easter morning because I threw out my back getting dressed to go. Bummer. Spent the entire day in bed. Speaking of which, I have no idea how I made it back to the bedroom under my own power. That was the worst my back has been in years.

No big plans for the week. I need to pick up doggy "treats" down in the yard and have a doctor and hair appts in the coming days but that's about it as far as responsibilities go. No that's not completely true. I have my knitting group tonight and Thursday I will juggle quilt making around my hair appt. so I've got a fairly busy week planned out. Our Women's Ministries is making these quick and easy quilts to give to those in need come Christmas. I think we committed ourselves to making a total of 50 blankets and believe it or not, we're making good progress at it. We'll have a pot luck this Thurs and that will add more fun to the mix. We're going to do our monthly shopping this coming Sat (so I probably won't get the car washed as planned) and then go over again next week to purchase tomato plants and flowers and the potting soil necessary to plant them. My quiet-time spot on the deck was so beautiful last year because of all the flowers. We hope to have the same look for this year. And the tomatoes? Well we decided to give them one more try. We say that every year and then when they bomb out we swear we'll never try growing our own again. But we always do. Our plants were so big and beautiful last year but nary a tomato. Zilch. Nada. None. We know we can grow them here because we grew some across town about 7 or 8 years ago, but we haven't produced any fruit since. And we so love fresh tomatoes. We're going to try just 2 plants though. An Early Girl and a cherry. Hopefully we'll be successful.

I've entered a knitted prayer shawl and a baby afghan in this year's county fair. I don't expect any ribbons because I'm just not that good yet but my friend/knitting-mentor talked me into submitting something. I learned to knit back in the dark ages back when I was still a very young girl (all of 15) but I didn't get serious about knitting until about 8 months ago. So far I've knitted 3 shawls, 2 afghans, 3 baby afghans, 26 dishcloths, 27 scarves, and 11 baby hats. I'm currently working on a summer scarf for my granddaughter and a white baby afghan. Kathleen has my afghan (she took it home after church to figure out a problem I was having with it) but she'll bring it to knitting tonight and I'll get back to working on it. Hopefully she will be able to explain the problem with the pattern. She at first thought the pattern was wrong (my thoughts on the matter too) but then figured out that it's just very poorly written and will show me how to make it past my problem tonight. It will be good to have something to work on again. I got the 11th baby hat made the other day and just about have Jamie's scarf done so I've still kept busy while my baby afghan was "in the shop." But I have, finally, released myself from my demon when it comes to knitting. I don't know what it is about me but any time I start something - be it blog or be it knitting or anything else - I always become consumed with it. It totally takes over my life and I'm completely absorbed in whatever it is I'm doing. For some reason when I start something, everything else gets pushed to the side until I've got it kind of worked out of my system. It's like being possessed by the knitting demon. No kidding. It's awful!!! But after a while, thank goodness, I settle down to a more rational pace. And I find that it is possible for me to knit and do other things in life at the same time!!! But it doesn't matter what it is I put my hands to work at, I've got to be doing it 100 mph, 100% of the time. It's much better doing things at a reasonable, more relaxed pace. But I always know I have to get the demon worked out of my system before I can make peace with whatever I'm working on. I will work feverishly way into the night then catch a short sleep and then be up again working on my project. Day after day. I'm surprised I don't burn out.

I'm reading What About the Big Stuff by Richard Carlson and I'm finding out all kinds of things. Most of which apply to me. He wrote the Don't Sweat the Small Stuff books and I enjoyed them too. Add to this my Woman's Study in Proverbs and I'm keeping busy lately. I'm glad our small group has recessed until the fall. I don't think I'd be able to add anything else to the mix. I'm not the kind of person who can do 35 things a day. I get 4 or 5 appts scattered about my week and I'm too stressed out to handle any more.

Guess I better get to my quiet time. I usually do it first thing every morning but for some reason I decided to blog first today. I'm using The Daily Bible for my time with the Lord and it's working very well for me. It's got the right amount of Scripture to read each day along with some commentary and devotional material. And it is set up chronologically so that adds a nice sprinkle of seasoning to my daily Bread.

I hope to have pics for you very soon!!! Stick with me, you'll be glad you did.

I finally, finally, finally got my car washed last Sat and hope to make that my Sat routine again this year. It was so nice to drive a clean car all summer long that I'm sure I'll pick up the habit where I left off last year. Except for days that we have other plans. My autosave is failing every time it tries to save so I have to keep my fingers crossed that this post will publish. Guess I'll find out soon enough.

Well It would not publish so I'll have to just keep my fingers crossed that it will do so later today or I'm going to lose this post. But really it's not like it's a great post or anything.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

This is Me

I'm going to try something different. I don't know if it will work in this setting or whether I'll be able to carry it out but I thought I'd give it a try:

I am old enough to draw Social Security this year. I know, I know that makes me older than dirt but it sure beats the alternative, as my father used to say. I weigh 160-165, depending on what time of day you weigh me. I know, I know that's a "few" pounds too many. I was skinny as a rail my entire life (and still have skinny legs) and then when the Lord moved me to quit smoking I kind of packed it on a bit. I would love to lose this extra weight but have decided it was a good trade. Just to be free of the addiction is worth the weight (or that's what I keep telling myself!). I'm a little on the short side at 5'4" with small feet and hands. My complexion is fair and I have a sprinkling of freckles on my arms and across the top of my cheek bones. However, they are light and hardly noticeable at all. My hair is medium ash brown and very short with no sign of gray, cut up over and around my ears and just long enough at the apex to stand straight up the way I like it. Actually right now I need a hair cut because my hair has gotten long enough to want to lie down. That's not to my liking and I have a hair appointment next week to get it cut again. I'm thankful to God that my hair all fell out last year so that I'd see what it looks like this short. (I would never have mustard up enough courage to have it cut this short on my own. But when it all fell out I had no choice but to watch it grow back in and I liked what I saw when it grew to this length.) Straight and limp as a wet noodle all my life, it grew back in with curl and body and texture, much to my liking! So now all I need to do is wet my hair, finger style it making a soft part on my right side and trying to take some of the curl OUT of my bangs (I would never have dreamed I'd have this problem!) let it air dry and then run a comb or pick through it to give it that "finished look." And voila! instant style. My hair is now the way I have always wished it would be. Praise God! It really was worth having all my hair fall out just to discover this length for me. Not that I'd like it to fall out all over again. Boy that thought is scary because we have no idea why my hair fell out in the first place and that being said means that it could do the same thing all over again, just fall out and go for bald.

My forehead of normal size and is mostly pale from wearing bangs my entire life. My eyebrows are very light and quite often completely disappear on me. I try to make myself color them with a "blond" pencil before going out on errands or whatever. But I don't always succeed. I quite often forget to pencil them in. I actually just add a tiny bit of color, just enough to make it look like I have them. There is a slight scar over my left eyebrow from an accident when I was three years old. I was jumping up and down on my grandmothers bed and fell off and hit my head on a metal coffee can (this was in the "old" days when coffee came in metal cans with a sharp edge around the top when opened with a "key"). My eyes are set apart at a nice distance and are blue. I wish they were a bright blue and have hoped for it most of my life. But for the most part they are a blue that you don't notice unless you really look for it. I've passed the blue eyes on to my son and I think he has passed them on to his oldest daughter and son. My lashes are long and thin. They haven't always been thin. There was a time when they were thick and extra long. I've received many compliments on my eyelashes over the years. My eyes are a bit almond-shaped and are the right distance apart with a few crows feet around the outside edges of my eyes. The upper lid sags a bit now due to the passing of time and gravity and the years have eaten away at their beauty. Without makeup they appear to be weak to me but I don't wear makeup much anymore. Too lazy I guess. And not wanting to be a "painted old lady" I've opted for the more natural look.

My nose is small and slightly turned up at the end and my cheekbones are rather nondescript. They are high and toward the outsides but there isn't much to them. From certain angles my cheeks and face appear flat. I've always kept color on my cheekbones until recently when I ran out of blush and haven't bought any to take its place. My mouth is of proper size with a rather thin upper lip, nicely defined but still thin. I'm currently purchasing a little Avon lipstick and glosses because I had gotten tired of the shades I have and had stopped wearing it, but this face really needs color on the lips. There is a speck of red just barely above the lip line on the right side. I've asked several doctors what that might be and they've all just looked at me with a funny look on their face and an "I dunno" answer. There is one lone freckle just about in the center of my bottom lip that has faded over the years but is still defined. I have the habit of worrying my lips a bit. Meaning I move them around a bit and tend to "purse" them. (A habit I am always trying to break!) My chin is small and of a nice size.

I have a pleasant face. One that still shows a little bit of the beauty that used to be there. When I was younger I never thought of myself as attractive but looking at old photos have made me realize that once upon a time I was pretty and didn't know it. Sadly, jowls are beginning to form along the jaw line and gravity has taken it toll here too. It is a face that has little to look at anymore, but at the same time, it isn't unpleasant at all. The years and tragedies I've endured show around my eyes, which are a bit sad most of the time. Not that I go around pouting. But the sadness is definitely there. I smile easily and when I do, wrinkles form around the mouth and crinkle at the corners of my eyes. All in all, it is a pleasant face that has shed the beauty it once had and has settled for a more characteristic face. Worry lines show around my mouth when I smile and there's no hiding the fact that this face has smiled a lot over the years. Two interesting characteristics are revealed in my face: there is definite sadness indelibly written on it at the death of my son. That sadness will never go away. The eyes don't sparkle the way the used to and my smiles are always strained a bit now but at the same time, you can tell that this is a face that has laughed much over the years. I love to laugh and do it every chance I get but underneath the laughter lives a deep sorrow. I miss my son very much. Yes, my face is pleasant to look at but the beauty faded a long time ago when he took his own life. So there are opposites quite noticeable when I look in the mirror.

Well, that has been a quick tour of "me." I tried to be honest and just state the facts. I would have loved to have given you an imaginary description of a gorgeous woman but it would have all been a lie so I decided to stick to the truth.
It is a face that I hope reflects the glory of God.

Until next time...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Early Summer?

It reached 98.4 degrees yesterday on our deck! That's a bit warm to my liking during the day but it did cool off nicely last night and the intake fan in the window brought all that cool, fresh air across my face. It was heaven! If I were a widow, I'd have the intake fan on even during the coldest part of winter. I love the fresh air and I think it's good for me.

The view out the sliding glass doors is absolutely beautiful! All the different shades of spring green in the trees, bushes, and grasses are a treat for the eye. Our redbud in the corner of our yard appears to have survived the last late frost. Last year, the late frost killed all the new leaves and we had to wait for several weeks while it grew new ones. It really is amazing how many different shades of green there are in our world. And I'm grateful to my God for giving me color vision. Can you imagine a world without color? What a boring place that would be. I feel sorry for those who are colorblind and miss this glorious world. Our Creator must have had a ball when He decided to be creative and I am so grateful for that.

I put my back out Easter morning getting ready for church and stayed pretty much bedridden for a week. But I did make it to church yesterday morning and then I went back in the afternoon for the Blessing of the Bikes. (It's an annual thing we do for all the motorcyclists in our area.) We have a big bar-be-cue and then surround them and pray for the Lord's protection for them when they are on the highways this year. After being in bed for a week, it was nice to get out for a change even if it did get a little warm. And my face turned it's usual shade of bright raspberry from the heat. And to make it worse, the color blanches out of my face around my mouth which makes the red even redder. Last year, everyone thought I was going to stroke out or something. This year they took it in stride. After a month or two, depending on the temperature, my face will not turn so raspberry when I'm hot. But for the first few hot days, if I'm out in it, I will turn colors and look like I'm about ready to "pop my cork."

I have my last load of laundry in the dryer. Actually I should go out and check and see if they are ready. [Be right back. I've got a few more minutes.] And I vacuumed and made the bed this morning. The house is pretty well picked up but I will need to bleach my counters before too many more days. They stain so badly from coffee or tea and only bleach will get them clean. I still need to do my baths sometime this week but I try not to do anything but laundry on laundry day as I get so tired when I try to do too many things at the same time.

I started a new study last week. Let's see if I can stick with it. (I am notorious for starting things and not finishing them.) It's a study of the proverbs and I am already learning much. I got the study book from Discovery House Publishers and so far it's great. Mon through Fri I do about 10 mins worth of study and then on Sat I bring together everything I learned over the past week. I think it would probably be better to study it with a small group so there would be more discussion but I don't happen to have a small group around. I'm thinking, though, if it stays good, I might decide to lead a small study group for the summer. I need to check on the availability of more books and what the price would be for each. I don't know how things are with churches in your area, but mine here go almost dormant during the summer. I guess they figure most people want to be out enjoying life rather than being cooped upside a building for a study when the weather is so nice. Shirley has a study going that I went to a few times in the beginning and she'll keep that going through the summer but as a rule, we do good to have church once a week. I dropped from Shirley's study because all they are doing is reading Scripture out loud to each other. And while I believe you can always benefit from reading God's Word, I was interested in finding a closer and more detailed look at our Lord. But, as I said, if this continues to be a good study I will offer it and meet with whomever is interested at church. (Can't hold it here at my house because of my dog. He would bark. Even closed up in our bedroom he'd still bark and distract us. It's easier for everyone, I would think, to just meet at the church anyway.)

I can't remember if I told you in past blogs but I'm already reading the entire Bible again on my own. I bought The Daily Bible from Guideposts and it takes you through the Bible every year. This one is in chronological order, which I love, and there is even some devotional and commentary worked into the daily readings. Yesterday I took my books out onto the deck to have my quiet time but today I forgot and just had it here in the house. There's something really special about having my time outside with the Lord. I don't know what it is, but it's special. I wish I had remembered this morning but I'll have a lot of mornings to enjoy this way from here on out. I don't think it will go back to being too cold or wet outside until the end of the year.

I haven't been doing much with my knitting. I don't know what I want to knit. I've done so many afghans and prayer shawls that I want to move on to other things. Of course I have my ever-growing stack of baby hats now too. I knitted two of them while I was laid up last week. I'm currently working on a summer scarf for my older granddaughter. I already did a bunch of winter ones for her. I thought she might enjoy having this one. It is bright red and knitted from Fun Fur, hard to knit but pretty to look at. My friend talked me into entering some of my things in the county fair next month. I don't think I deserve a ribbon of any kind (I'm just not that good yet) but I thought it might be fun. Who knows? Maybe everyone else is a poorer knitter than I am. But I seriously doubt that!!!

I plan to plant my flowers and tomatoes around the first of May. I will use portulaca in the flower boxes on the deck railing, if we can find it again. That's all the little nursery here in town had last year so I planted that and we really fell in love with it. One plant can have five different colors of flowers on it and they attract bees nicely and will pollinate my tomatoes quite well, I would think. Hubby thinks that's why our tomatoes didn't bear fruit the last time we tried to grow them and he very well may be right. That was before the portulaca.

This has been a really nothing blog post but it's the best I can do today. I will try to find more interesting things to share with you. I should keep a pad of paper around where I can record things I want to talk about in a future post and not forget them. The other day there were a couple things I thought about but I didn't write them down and now I can't remember them to save my life. One of those things might have been that I don't have cancer like I thought I did for the past year! Yippee!!! Seems as though all the blood was coming from my bladder that was infected. Doctor put me on 10 days of bactrim and the problem went away. I already in my head had me losing my hair all over again from chemo. I'll tell you, my mind can go on and on and on! I truly thought I was a cancer victim. So anyway that problem is taken care of. I still have a few neurological things I'm not happy with but Doctor said I needed to see a specialist for them and so far I haven't found a neurologist who will take me.

Speaking of my hair ... it has all grown back out and it's better than ever. I don't think it grew back any fuller but it definitely has more body and curl. I don't even need hairspray. I just wash, style, dry, and comb and it looks terrific. I keep it too short to cause any problems even if I'm out in the wind. All I have to do now, if my hair gets windblown is just basically shake my head and it will go back into shape. So nice. I was always embarrassed before when someone would put their hand on my head to pray for me and have it stick to their hands because of the hairspray I had to use on it.

I promise to write more interesting things next time. I stay this boring and people won't stick with me. Sorry.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


As you come up the redwood stairs to our deck and front door, the cacti, ivy, and daffodils are just to the right on a little tiered black wrought iron stand. There's a small, glass-topped table that holds a currently empty planter where my welcoming frog says "hello." The rock face is beneath the table. Our doormat is showing its age, faded from too many summer suns. You go through a metal security screen door and the metal front door (great for magnets and notes!) is next. There's nothing fancy about the entrance way. In fact, it borders on drab and unkempt. In the summer it easily gets 114 degrees in the afternoons here so what I put here is limited. Every plant I've ever planted (until the cacti) has died from the hot-as-an-oven space. The redwood deck goes around to the right and goes back the length of the side of the house back to the stairs that lead down into the yard. Our big oak tree shades almost the entire yard. The yard is fenced and quite small but we have a small dog so it's of adequate size. It had a sodded lawn when we moved in but that washed away in a particularly violent downpour one day a couple years ago. Along the side of the house here on the deck we keep a couple lawn chairs and a table. The perfect place for my quiet time when the weather warms up. (It's almost there!) Then there are the sliding glass doors that aren't used as doors. Our summer evaporative cooler goes in the glass doors with clear plexi-glass over the opening. It's difficult for me to describe but maybe I've given you a sense of what's on the deck. We have window planters along the deck railing and when the portulaca is in full bloom it's beautiful here. Musical wind chimes and a hummingbird feeder hang down from the covered area. The roof is just an aging, weather-beaten open lattice. We put dark green shade screening across to block out the worst of the sun. It's amazing how much that screen helps! When the kids come up they spend a lot of time out here on the deck. Cathie smoking and John getting some relief from his cat allergies. It's really nice to sit out here on a hot summer evening and just relax with the sounds of hummers at the feeder and a note or two from the chimes, stirred by a gentle breeze. Last year was the first year I thought to have my quiet time out here and when winter struck I reluctantly had to give up my spot on the deck. And I am now anxiously awaiting the warmer weather to resume my times out here every morning. It's strange to sit here with the door open and the sun shining so brightly and knowing that a blizzard hit the Dakotas yesterday along the Red River that's at flood stage. I love California and I love living in the gold country in the foothills of the Sierra Mountains. The last few winters we've gotten a spattering of snow and in the summer, the heat is almost unbearable on some days. When it gets THAT hot I will dream of the Colorado Rockies and remember I used to live there. In other words, what I'm saying is that I love everything about living here but for those couple of weeks each summer when it gets so, so hot. I just sweat and hang on for dear life, knowing it won't last forever and that gets me through.

I have an eclectic house. Nothing matches except for the couch and love seat, but even they appear different from each other. They are a deep green with black stripes worked through them. The gnarled-oak, resin-topped coffee table Rich made is in the center of the room. The entertainment center is on the right so all the sitting furniture is to the left of the front door. My walls are covered with original paintings and drawings. Mostly desert canyon paintings right now. But there are a few birds and garden scenes thrown into the mix to sort of balance things out. While the desert paintings are beautifully well-done, they are not my favorite paintings. I prefer the animals and garden scenes. Hubby's chair is sitting in the middle of the room, facing the TV of course. His chair is literally falling apart. I plan to buy him a new one with my stimulus money come June when the deposit is made into my bank account. I sit on the end of the couch and at first planned on buying me a nice recliner but the more I look at his chair, the more I realize I best get a chair for him and I will continue to sit on the end of the couch. Along the back wall is my long oak desk with my computer and files. I have photos of ones I love scattered across the top of my desk around my computer and monitor. Jamie and Ofir. Ken and Michael. Kayla. Mulder. Ken,Tamara, and Kayla. And Franci's kids in her jeans. Just fun pictures I like to let me eyes rest on occasionally. In the corner by my desk is my oak curio cabinet where I display my collection of porcelain birds. They are beautiful when I go all out and turn the lights on in the cabinet. (I don't do that often, conserving energy.)

My kitchen and dinning room are off to the left with the counter and sink jutting out into room with a pass-through opening over the sink, looking back into the livingroom. The house if fully carpeted except for the kitchen/dining area and the two baths. Hubby uses the master bedroom as his painting studio. The other two bedroom are down the hall and nondescript. For the first time in my life I have a set of furniture in my bedroom. I very luckily came into some donated bedroom furniture a year or so ago. Headboard, bedside tables, and dresser fill out the remainder of the room. Oh I have three chest of drawers in there too and a beautiful bedspread came with the queen size bed. It looks very much like a hotel room because that's where the furniture came from and I consider myself blessed to have it and I thank God for his gracious gift.

We have ceiling fans in all rooms except the dining area. There is a five-globe hanging light over the table there. Our table is finished oak with four oak chairs. One of these days I will buy four matching pads to go in the chairs. But right now I just have throw pillows in two chairs for our comfort while eating or playing cribbage. But someday I will have a matching set. (I hope.)

My house is set up more for function than for looks. Most of my furniture has been cat damaged over the years by our long-haired, orange tabby, Punkie. Mario our black and while short-hair usually sleeps in my dining room chair or the black chair next to the entertainment center. Not too long ago I had 10 cats but for very sad reasons I'm down to just the two. Well, there's a third one, Mama, who lives in our garage and I should count her too. I want to bring her into the house but she's afraid of the dog, Pepper. And to be absolutely truthful, I'm a little afraid for her. She's such a gentle cat and Pepper can get a bit rowdy. Pepper is my "purebred chi-wa-wa" who isn't the least bit a purebred. I think he's mixed with a dachshund. He weighs about 30-35 pounds and is quite large for supposedly being a toy breed. Pepper rules the house. Completely. He's very protective of us. Me in particular. He'll even bark at Hubby if I'm still in bed asleep and hubby comes back into the bedroom. No one, not even hubby, is going to come next to me while I'm sleeping. But he's an "equal opportunity" biter. Actually he's not a biter at all. He's never bitten anyone, he just "mouths" them and growls. Scares you to death because you think he's going to bite you but he just opens his mouth and puts his teeth on you. He does not bite. Thank goodness. Still I wish he didn't "mouth" either. It's frightening and rude. We've had a dog or dogs (plural) our entire lives and this is the first dog that has ever been so protective and grouchy. He even goes after me when I do something he doesn't want me to do. He had an infection when he was little and I had to try to force down these antibiotic pills the vet gave him and he said "NO!!!" quite loudly and made it clear that I was not to sneak up on him and try to give him a pill. I had to hide his pills inside a piece of hot dog or something to trick him into taking his medicine. And I can't pat him on the butt as he sits beside me on the couch because he had an anal gland infection and I had to apply ointment a couple times a day and he let me know right up front that I was not going to do what the vet said to do. So now anytime I appear to be sneaking up toward his hind end he lets me know immediately that that displeases him. He's got a memory that will outlast an elephant I think. So anyway, he's a bit rowdy at times but at the same time he's a dog that we've had more fun with than any other animal. He just does funny things. He's a funny dog. And we think it's worth the "mouthing" to have him around. Chihuahuas are very strange dogs when it comes to temperament. I'm glad I have only one of them. But, as I said, he's definitely NOT purebred.

Our house sits next to the vacant lot that leads down to the cross street. Lift your eyes to the horizon and you will see Hogback Ridge that is covered in trees and brush and well-sprinkled with homes throughout. At night we can look across town to the lights on the hillside. We can see the highway poking (just barely) through the trees. The flag that waves over the bank downtown is always visible. We have two more oak trees out front and a sidewalk that goes along the side of the garage leading up to the front steps and gate. Junipers and manzanita take up most of the area across the front of the house. We tend to get very hot here in the summertime because the temp boosts so high across the vacant lot and then slams against the side and front of our house. We are usually a good 6-8 degrees hotter than everyone else we know.

Well, this has been a mini tour of my home and surroundings. I am beginning to feel at home here. For some reason it has taken me a long time to feel that way. But when we moved in here there was already someone living here (my daughter-in-law's brother) and so it was his house for a couple years before it actually became our house so I think that was the attachment problem I had for a few years. But Randy has been gone for two years or more so it has just taken time for me to get to the point of feeling like this is "our" house, our "home."

Until next time...