I hope you enjoy a blessed and safe celebration~ I can hardly wait to see what the Good Lord has in store for us in the New Year
I am not a morning person.
Never have been, don’t plan on ever being one.
I really need at least two hours to get going in the morning~ shower, dress, feed the animals, eat breakfast, read the paper, finish my tea, before heading out for the day~ but even then, I don’t feel like all cylinders are firing until about 10:00 am.
Too bad I’m expected to start working at 8:30.
In the past couple months, I’ve been waking up at 5:30 (more commonly known around here as “the butt-crack of dawn”), look at the clock in disgust, & attempt to go back to sleep. A little voice in my head says…
”You could take a walk”
But you know what?
After 2 weeks of this nonsense, I did.
Been getting up & heading out the door by 5:45 am~ not every day, just 3 or 4 mornings a week~ & walking for 35 minutes.
Did you know that the stars are still out at 5:45 am?
Can’t say I’m too fond of it, especially now that it’s gotten cold, but I keep going (unless I talk myself out of it when it’s wet out, or I have to go in early).
Hopefully, I’ll see a difference someday.
Figured we would take it out when we moved in
Two weeks later, we found it covered with small, bright green leaves
Decided to leave it & see what would happen
Went on our trip to Washington DC & returned to clouds of white blossoms
Before we knew it,
we were surrounded by glowing red fruit
Bushels of it
Fresh, frozen, canned, gifted
I can hardly wait for next spring
“Feeling what?” you may ask.
Six months of change and transition took a toll on me, set me on autopilot in most areas of my life for a long time.
Several things were set aside~ things I enjoy and find fulfillment in doing~ mostly because it took too much energy to even think about.
Now, I am through the proverbial tunnel, back in the light and looking forward to all the good things God has in store for me.
It’s good to be back.
Goodness~ has it really been that long since I last posted?
Wish I could say it’s because I’ve been off having fascinating adventures, but the reality is that I’ve been butt lazy this summer! The new job, while interesting and challenging, leaves me mentally drained by the end of the day; most evenings find me indulging in frivolous recreation. I tend my virtual farm, dig for pirate treasure, queue up some old movies, or simply sprawl about in my pleasantly cool bedroom reading light mysteries.
With the waning of summer comes an end to most of our indolence and idleness; Sam started classes last week and has been making the most of his bicycle and bus pass, since he just completed another rite of passage into the adult world~ a speeding ticket. Driving privileges have been suspended until several criteria are met:
1. Makes his court appearance
2. Pays us back for the ticket and driving school
3. Replaces the car key that he lost on a fishing trip with his friends last month
4. Begins to pay 1/3 of the car insurance and his own gas
Knowing that his mother is a hard case and doesn’t back down on her edicts, he got very motivated and even more lucky, landing himself his first job after 3 years of “casual” looking. He will be doing security at one of the retailers in our old hometown mall; it’s the job he’s been hoping for, since his intention is to go into law enforcement.
We’ve recently been attending a church closer to home, wanting to get to know people in the area and plug into the local ministries, although TCC remains our church home. One of the ministries that this church recently initiated was a community garden, something Chris and I have talked about for a number of years. Phase One is family and charity plots, tended by individuals for the benefit of their own homes or others who are physically unable to participate themselves; Phase Two will be community fruit and nut trees, and a meditation garden to be tended by everyone; and Phase Three is a large area (roughly 2 acres) dedicated to producing crops for the local food bank. We leased a 12X12 family plot, and Chris has been having a great time building the beds and planning the late season garden.
My latest endeavor has been some informal knitting classes for a couple co-workers and their friends. We’ve only met a couple times so far, but I’m enjoying teaching and have been writing up future lesson plans and projects to help them progress in the craft if they choose. I’m finding it difficult to get together with my old knitting group on Friday evenings, since I don’t get off until 5:30 pm and it’s at least a 40 minute drive back to Tracy, so this is somewhat filling the social void.
Lastly, let me introduce our newest family member~
Sir Angus of Lower ChickenButt
More about this charming gentleman later~
Things are finally settling down around the Garden~ surrounded still by boxes, but now furniture outnumbers them ever so slightly.
Work is still in a state of limbo; while the official transfer took place April 27th, the consolidation & name change will happen June 1st. Praise God, everyone has been offered a position, & I’m waiting to find out when I’ll be moving on to the central accounting department in another town.
You might recall that we took a little trip a couple months ago; if not, don’t feel bad~ I’m having trouble remembering myself :-S I have a few photos to share:
I know I’m among the guilty; in my defense, it has been a very eventful month, even by our normally chaotic standards:
b Since I’m in the accounting field, the first couple months of the year is one long string of reporting deadlines, which naturally translates into many hours working at the office & home.
b There was a train of birthdays: Sam, Jessica, my dad, niece, grandmother, both sisters, & two good friends, with the requisite parties & gatherings~ February is an expensive month around here.
b To my extreme dismay, I had to have a tooth pulled; a previously root-canalled molar fractured vertically under the crown, leading to a 14 mm gum pocket & severe infection. Everything went swimmingly & work on the bridge will start in a couple weeks, but I’m still mourning the loss~ I’m not vain about much, but I’ve always been proud of my teeth.
b I managed to slip away to the annual Stitches West conference at the end of February~ three days of technique classes, yarn fondling, & solitude. I even returned with $15.00 in my pocket & only six skeins of yarn!
b The first of March found me relocating my office again, back to the downtown branch after 2 years. The timing was fortuitous, since all the nearby parking around the other location was eliminated a month earlier & I was making a twice-daily quarter mile hike with all my bags & supplies.
b Two days into the move, I got called up for jury duty; usually I only have to check in every day for a week, but this time I actually had to appear at the courthouse & ended up in the jury pool for a civil case. Fortunately, the projected duration of the trail was 4 to 6 weeks, so the judge excused me, since it would be a severe financial hardship, & I won’t have to serve again for 2 years.
Whew~ that is even more exhausting in print! Oh, I forgot something….
We bought a house.
We got the keys an hour ago.
I’ve shared with several of you that this has been the dearest wish of my heart for over 20 years, a dream that the logical side of me knew was almost impossible living in California. The crash in the real estate market stirred the embers, so to speak, but it took me months to scratch up to courage to even begin looking, & then once we started last summer, it has been a series of hopes & disappointments which had me strongly considering giving up the whole idea as not meant for us. The end of December, just a few days after my television interview about our experiences as first-time homebuyers, we finally had an offer accepted on a house we really liked~ but it was a short sale property, so we settled in for another wait on the lenders. Having been burned before, we continued looking at foreclosure properties as they came up; February 4th, I saw a house with our agent that was very promising, so we scheduled an appointment for Chris to see it on Saturday. We submitted a pretty aggressive offer (for us) that afternoon, just meeting the submission deadline; the bank began looking over the offers on Tuesday, & Wednesday morning, our agent called that they had countered only our offer & wanted a 30-day close of escrow!
It’s been a whirlwind of activity ever since, with inspections, appraisals, form signing, telephone calls, repairs~ all the infinite details involved with buying a house~ culminating in today’s event: Chris & I receiving the keys to our own home.
God is good.
Not such a baby anymore~ today, he is 19 years old & still my heart's joy. Clever, funny, & kind, he's a good friend, a protective son, & a man of integrity~ his motto: "Fight for a just cause, love your fellow man, live a good life." Any wonder I am such a proud parent? Happy Birthday, Sam.
The votes are in~ two for Vegas, one for the Grand Canyon, one for the Northwest, & several "Gee, I have no ideas" ~ so we are heading to... Washington DC! Yes, we were there two years ago, but were only able to see a fraction of what we wanted, so we figured it's the right time to go back. The plan is to fly into DC, spend three days in the museums, & then take the train south to Richmond, VA to spend the remaining four days sightseeing & fly home from there. The travel folder has been started, with the Nation Museum of American History, Monticello, & Williamsburg on the "must-do" list; oh, and in case you were wondering, I have already reserved our tour of the Washington Monument~ no repeat drama this trip
I've mentioned before that I've been following the Simple Abundance path for the past couple of years, and with this new year, I've been feeling convicted about sliding past the very first principle, Gratitude. I know I lead a blessed and contented life, full of gifts, grace, and the simple pleasures that make me happy; yet too often, I fail to express my gratefulness, not only with God, but also with my family and friends. I’m guilty of letting the speed of life and the myriad of commitments to keep me in blinder, focused on the next task, the next goal, instead of savoring the here-and-now moments of joy and blessing.
One of the ladies I visit on my blog rounds is Rhondi at Rose Colored Glasses; she has been posting "Thankful Thursday" for quite some time and I always enjoy dropping by to see what cheers the heart of each person. This time, I’m joining in with a few things I am thankful for and mentally committing myself to being more aware all the good that surrounds me:
A roof over my head each night;
sharing my home those who love me;
having a job, however uncertain;
being able to treat snow as a novelty;
having a car paid off!
Yesterday, after a late morning start, we wound our way east towards the mountains, stopping in the little town of Murphys for lunch (a great burger with fresh sweet potato fries) and then up to Calaveras Big Trees State Park, elevation 4000 ft
We bundled up and went out for an hour stroll thru the giant sequoias~ not particularly strenuous, but somewhat hazardous given the six to ten inches of hard-pack snow and ice on the trails.
For the life of me, I could not get any traction in my hikers, and had to hold on to Chris' arm the whole way to avoid another fall~ now that my arm is finally bordering on the functional, I am not about to go thru all that nonsense again!
We continued up Highway 4 until we reached the road closure at Bear Valley Resort, right around 7000 ft; it was approaching sunset, so we took a little stroll to the Hell's Kitchen overlook to watch for the full moon rising thru the clouds (only glimpses and no decent photos), before heading back to our valley home.