Friday, June 29, 2012

A Walk in the Park

Summer is for walking in the park.

My mom took me and my brothers exploring in the park when we were little. I took my kids exploring in the park. Now I get to take my grandkids to the park.

Usually when I have my oldest daughter's kids, I have them all. Today I only took two. The two born in the middle. We went to a park that was new to them, so we got to explore. Taking off over a hill, not knowing what we'd find, here was this little house. Just their size.

A little further along we came upon this cute bridge.

The path ended at the bridge, so we didn't go to the other side.

However, we spend a long time looking over the edge.

There was just enough water to be interesting.

Finally, there were the swings! 
What is a trip to the park without letting the wind whip at your hair on the swing?

This one says, "I swing myself, Grandma!"

Go to the park. Marvel at the beauty of God's creation.
If you can, take a child with you and explore something new.
And whatever you do, don't forget to swing!

Linking to....

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Illuminating Blogger Award and Bathroom Update

I want to thank CJ from Food Stories Blog
for nominating me for their Illuminating Blogger Award
because of my illuminating, informative blog content!!

According to the rules I am now supposed to share with you one random thing about myself,
so here random thing....ummm, well....

Whenever I am asked to name one random thing,
I can't think of anything and always have to ask a friend.
So, my friends, you may comment, but please be nice. :-)

I am also supposed to nominate five other blogs for the
Illuminating Blogger Award.
Here is my list.
Please visit each of these blogs. Look around. Leave an encouraging comment.

And now, the promised Bathroom Update!

You may (or may not) recall that our downstairs bathroom started out as an
awkwardly, large space that opened directly off the front door.
Brian enclosed the bath, made room for a foyer and a closet.

I had intended to get the bathroom painted before the girls' graduation party,
but that didn't happen.

Last week I tackled it while Silas was at camp, since he is the one who uses it most.
This cool shower curtain came from Target. I LOVE Target's selection of shower curtains!

The paint is Furry Ottertail from Color Place, however I used Walmart's Better Homes and Garden's line of interior premium paint in the eggshell/satin finish.

The little cabinet will get a paint job before reattaching it to the wall behind the toilet.
I'm not too fond of the brown on brown we have going here,
so the plan is to experiment with the chalk paint I've heard much about.

Another issue I'm still trying to decide on is the white cabinet. To paint or not to paint? 
The creamy sink top looks funny to me over the white vanity.
What were the previous owners thinking?!?
I'm toying with the idea of using the same blue from the shower curtain.
Or a really dark brown....or something else. I don't know yet.
What do you think?

Don't forget to visit my blogging friends and
thank you for stopping by today at
A House and Yard!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day

Sometimes pictures are enough. 
Here's a peek at what went on in our yard this afternoon.

Happy Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Starting Ugly

Writing challenge: Day 7 - Great Writers Start Ugly

Great Writers StartAck! Is there any doubt? That's why I hate starting, because it's ugly. The process is brutal and puts one on a whole new level of vulnerability.

Hello! This is me starting something new. 
Please pardon my mess whilst I figure out exactly what it is I am doing.

  • Writing projects are messy. Page after page of handwritten notes get scribbled through and rewritten.
  • Remodeling projects are messy. Deconstruction must happen before reconstruction.
  • Personal projects are messy. Day-to-day gets backed up while making way for change.

I have seen the painful labor and exertion and miserable business which God has given 
to the sons of men with which to exercise and busy themselves. 
Ecclesiastes 3:10 AMP

Why, oh why, do I put myself through it? Because I can't help it. I have to start. We are made to start. Our Creator God made us creative, gives us ideas, and compels us to start. I don't know about you, but I'm most  unsatisfied when I'm not starting something I've been told to start. (Sorry - I've just said start a ridiculous number of times in one very small paragraph. See? Ugly, right?)

But God...

He has made everything beautiful in its time. 
He also has planted eternity in men’s hearts and minds 
[a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages 
which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy], 
yet so that men cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 AMP

I am eternally grateful that God, Who tells me to get moving, also sees me through each and every step. It gets beautiful over time. He is faithful to His promises and He will do it.

I know that there is nothing better for them than to be glad 
and to get and do good as long as they live.
Ecclesiastes 3:12 AMP

Kind of makes the ugly part of starting seem beautiful, doesn't it?

Well, almost.

Linking to Word Filled Wednesdays and


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sunroom Project 2

A House and Yard has over 10,000 page views! 
Thank you, dear Readers, for taking time from your schedules to visit.
I appreciate each one of you!

Last week was a full week. The writing challenge continues to be - well, challenging. But I am writing. Brian and I had a fun couple days celebrating our anniversary. Over the weekend we enjoyed time with friends from church. Today and yesterday we are entertaining two of our granddaughters while their mom and dad are out of town.

Time for the some house updates. The sunroom is completely enclosed.

Here's a shot of the wall. There's a door leading to the outside play area.

It needs insulation and sheetrock on the inside.

Some items on the sunroom to-do list include installing the retractable shades for the ceiling, enclosing the deck exterior so critters can't get underneath, electric outlets and ceiling fans, subflooring and carpet. Then, it will be a finished room and I get to decorate! I am devouring sunroom pictures online for ideas! In the meantime, we are enjoying having a screened-in porch.

Bonnie is a little confused about being locked out of the area that was previously part of her domain.

Another thing checked off the to-do list is blacktop in the back. Brian was beyond excited about this.

The guys came Thursday morning and began by digging up the existing yard and old, crumbly blacktop.

I didn't get many pictures of the process because Brian and I were out on our anniversary date.

When we got back, it was done! This is a great area for the kids to play basketball and ride their trikes and bikes. 

Eventually, there will be a garage next to the house, but for now it is a wonderfully open space for play.

Thanks for stopping by today!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Of Sea Creatures and Kings

Great Writers PracticeI wrote last night. I wrote this morning. Upon opening my email I discovered today's writing challenge. Day Four: Practice. In public. 

Ohhhhh! This isn't at all what I thought I would post today. I have a house update for you. But for now you're going to be privy to my first-thing-in-the-morning thoughts for today. Here goes.

*  *  *  *  *

Yesterday was fun. Brian and I took the day, our anniversary, to be tourists in our own city. We visited the aquarium, Titanic exhibit, went window shopping. I savored one very pricey dark cappuccino truffle (worth every penny), and we ate at two restaurants.

Sea creatures are fascinating in ways different than others of the animal kingdom. Maybe it's because they live in an environment so unlike our own. Totally under water. All the time.

They are beyond graceful in their movements, even the creepy ones. The little octopus held me captive, staring at it for the longest. Yet, at the same time I shook off the willies that sent chill bumps up the skin of my back. How can something so repelling be so alluring at the same time?


I touched a starfish and a couple sea urchins. They were stiff. I thought they would have some give, like play dough or a pin cushion. The way they move in their habitat gives a different impression of how they feel to the touch.

Uh oh - am I like the starfish and sea urchin? Having the appearance of being approachable, do I give an invitation but have a rough, even prickly surface when people get close enough?

I'm afraid I do this. There is a protective coating around my heart, an outer layer to my personality in order to keep a distance.

But, why? I haven't been abused. There is no dark secret lurking in my past.

I wear the badge of the introverted proudly. But seriously, if this keeps me from allowing contact with people God would have me minister to, then what is this? A badge or a suit of armor? A white picket fence or a ten-foot privacy wall?

No, it is an excuse.

At our Bible study on James we discussed favoritism. The curriculum described favoritism as picking and choosing who we will give audience to. Like a king who requires people to bow prostrate before him, face down on the palace floor until he chooses to lift their face. Or not. A person could lay there all day and night, get walked on, and passed by without being acknowledged by the king. They never get the opportunity to bring their issue to the attention of their king because he doesn't choose to see them.

What makes one person worthy 
and another not? 

Do I do this?


I am ashamed.

So, I approach the throne of my King and lay prostrate before Him ready to beg forgiveness. But this King on mine does not leave me lying on the floor. This King does not step over and ignore me. This King, my example, lifts my face so I can look into His eyes of forgiveness, mercy, and grace.

He lifts my head, picks me up, sets my feet on solid ground and commands me to do the same.

Show love. Be merciful. Be one who will lift the face of the person He puts before me so they can see Him in me.

But You, O Lord, are a shield about me,
My glory, and the One who lifts my head.
Psalm 3:3 NASB

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The One Scary Thing

There has been a recurring theme for me lately. Do the scary thing! 
Look that scary thing smack in the face and conquer it by getting it over with. 

The one scary thing for me is to form (or perhaps more accurately, form again) the habit of writing every day. I used to write every day, but haven't for some time now. No excuses, just got out of the habit. So, why is it scary to start again?

As a kid I was on the swim team at our YMCA, but I can remember some mornings sitting in the parking lot with my mom waiting for me to hop out of the car because I was scared to go in. Or, there was the time I was invited to go play at a friend's, but was scared to walk there because between me and her house was a backhoe working in another yard along the way. Speaking in front of a group of people was terrifying , but I had to do it in school.

All of these situations have something in common. Once I got there I was okay. I loved swimming with the team. My friend and I had a great time playing together. I actually found that I was pretty good at public speaking and began to enjoy it. There are so many more examples.

So, what exactly is so scary to me about writing every day? What is the fear? This list is probably going to be pretty lame, but here goes.

  1. I don't know what to write about.
  2. My husband's going to complain I'm spending too much time at the computer.
  3. People won't like what I have to say - or worse yet, they won't even care.
  4. I'm not any good.
  5. It's going to take too much time and I'll get behind on my "real work." (Whatever that is!)
  6. Why am I doing this, anyway?
  7. ......Okay, enough of this. It IS pretty lame, isn't it?
I have answers to all of these.

  1. Write about anything that comes to mind.
  2. Actually talk to my husband about why I am doing this. He'll understand. Surely. :-)
  3. Who cares?
  4. Oh, I'm alright.
  5. There are probably a few things I could cut from my schedule to make room for writing.
  6. Because I am a writer.
Here is the plan. I will write every day. The challenge is to get up earlier and write in the morning. To be honest, I've never tried that before. Nighttime has always been my preference, but there are so many excellent reports from people who claim morning is the best time, I'm going to give it a try. There may not be a blog post every day, but you can be sure there will be more posts if I'm writing every day. This will be incentive for me to get those projects rolling so I'll have some things to show you.

I started this blog because I wanted a reason to write again. The new house and yard gave me the desire to write again. Am I really a DIY'er? I wasn't before, but I am becoming one. Thanks to so many other great blogs I've been reading, I have a list of ideas a mile long. 

There are still projects to start; some that need to be finished. 
There is life to be lived and good to be done. 
There are words to write and people to encourage.

I am grateful for the challenge.

I sought the LORD, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.
Psalm 34:4 NASB

I am linking with:
The One Thing Scary Challenge via Funky Junk Interiors - make your dreams come true!

Great Writers Initiate Badge

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I Am A Writer

During the next three weeks I am excited to participate in a writing challenge. Not sure yet exactly what I'm going to be asked to do as part of this exercise, except maybe to write.

Today's challenge was to make the declaration, "I am a writer." So, here it is:

I am a writer!

Want to have a little fun with me? You'll notice the title of the challenge is "15 Habits of Great Writers." Well, one of my habits when I write is research. I like definitions and examples. What exactly IS a writer? I went straight to my trusty dictionary. Yup - the hard cover one with loads and loads of pages inside. It smells like the books in the library my mom used to take me to when I was little.

I sort of didn't like that the definition for writer was sandwiched between 
write-off , writer's cramp, and writhe
But, hey, it comes with the territory, right?

Next stop in my research was the scrapbook my mom made for me several years ago. In it I found some of my early work.

Circa 1965. Guess I would have been about 4 and a half at the time.

There was a piece of fiction....

...and poetry, which made up a large part of my writing. This piece I remember distinctly because my fifth grade teacher hung it on the bulletin board outside our classroom door. Misspellings and all. Such an honor! (This occurred in a era when you could talk about Jesus in public school without getting into trouble.)

As I grew and continued writing, my teachers encouraged me.

To this date I have written and written and written. I have boxes of journals and scores of poems. There were the two "novels" I wrote in junior high on Big Chief tablets, my way of expressing the secret crush I had on a boy who shall remain nameless. The only people I let read them were my favorite English teacher and a couple best friends. I've written lyrics, Bible studies, scripts, devotions, stories, articles, letters.

Just like the rest of you who, like me, are writers.

We are writers.