The New Room

wow.  I’m so tired that I can’t even “exclaim” in capital letters, but I’m excited nevertheless.  Lots has been happening around here including a renovated room last weekend while I was away working at Faire.  My family worked soooo hard on this to surprise me when I returned home!




Some family members worked harder than others.


Furniture and accessories were edited and deleted.  I love it!  Simple, colorful, easy to clean and so livable for our family.

Next up – the kitchen and dining area.   But this week has been a rest and restore break.  The extra hours of work, piles of stuff to sort and construction paraphernalia and debris is taking it’s toll on all of us.  We’re tired and worn out.

But we are also encouraged and inspired. Our plan is taking shape and becoming reality.

Now I’m off to clear out, box-up, and make room in the kitchen for phase two – coming soon!




We’re hustling and bustling around getting ready for a busy weekend.  Always so much to do on the weekends.

Hubby and son are working at their jobs and planning on some home improvement projects.  They are hoping to splash some paint on the walls of our main living area – a clean and bright white shade to lighten things up.   Plywood “flooring” has also been purchased.  It’s going to be installed in full sheets over the existing floor and coated with some shiny polyurethane. I’m hoping for a clean and simple “Scandinavian” look.   We’ve researched and pondered many different flooring types and decided that this is an affordable (and therefore, possible) option.  If we get rich later on in life (HA) we can just floor over the plywood.

This has been a good learning and growth experience for me.  I’ve had to think about what I need and what I want.  I’ve had to discern what I can be happy with and let go of what others might think of my choices and decisions.  It all comes down to what will make us happy when we walk in our front door. In my struggle to be “normal” and balance that desire with who I really am, I’m constantly comparing myself to others.  But, that’s changing.  Yea!

I’m happy with our new floor plan.  But, more importantly, I’m comfortable with it.  It’s a good decision for us.  I think it’s going to look great and suit our lifestyle.  Even better, it’s not going to cost a fortune.  We’ve saved up the cash to pay for it outright.  As we save more money, we can continue it throughout the rest of the house and not have to worry about matching the flooring. No debt.  No overextending ourselves.

While the family is slaving away here at the homestead, I will be off once again to Sherwood Forest Faire for another weekend of fun and merriment.  Well, mainly I’ll be slaving away in the kitchen while others are making merry.  Never fear, though.  I’ve managed to have a bit of fun myself. 

I don’t watch a lot of television. (I thought about not sharing this and fostering an image of an intellectual who reads the classics and eschews television in favor of more life-enriching experiences.)

But, the fact is, I freakin’ love Supernatural.  It’s just about the only show that I watch, other than British mysteries.  And I have an embarrassing infatuation with Dean Winchester.   And this happened last Sunday!  I always hoped that I’d be the mature individual who saw a celebrity and calmly walked past without becoming a flaming idiot.  Nope.  Didn’t happen.  I turned into a crazy, stalker-fan.  Sigh.  At least I haven’t printed it out and framed it…yet.  It would look great next to my life-sized cardboard cut-out of Jensen Ackles that currently lives in my studio.  For the record, I didn’t purchase said item.  It was a Christmas gift from my son.

Well, off to another adventure filled weekend in the Forest.  Wonder what will happen this weekend?



There are signs all around Faith Acre that indicate spring is imminent…except for today’s weather.  It is rainy and icky and cool.  I’m not complaining.  We need all the rain we can get to make it through our dry, hot summer. Cool weather is definitely better than cold or hot.  It’s just the kind of weather that makes me want to take a nap.  Well, honestly, I can pretty much be in the mood to take a nap no matter what the weather, but you know what I mean.

Nonetheless, I know that spring is here for two reasons. First of all – remember last year when the bird tried to move inside the house?

Well, he’s back.  Maybe not the same bird.  It’s hard to tell.  They all look alike to me.  Building in the same spots as last year – above the kitchen cabinet and the ceiling fan light fixture in the dining room.  I cleaned the nests out this morning.  They are being rebuilt this afternoon.  I’ve closed the door.  I’m letting the dogs in and out every five seconds.  Maybe every five minutes.  A whole, freaking lot anyway.  Definitely doing a doggy door this year.  Of course, I’m not sure that the bird won’t figure out how to use the doggy door before my dogs do.  They’re not the brightest pups in the pack.  I know the raccoons, possums and field mice will figure it out.  Maybe letting the bird live inside is the best option.

And last night we forgot to lock the chickens up in their coop at dusk.  The ladies go into the coop on their own, but we’ve still got to secure the door to keep them safe from predators.  We got home around nine and there was one of the chickens running around the front yard braving the dark and stormy night.

When we headed towards the chicken yard, she followed close behind vocally letting us know that we had failed at being competent poultry farmers.  As we approached the yard, it became evident that something was amiss.  The other 12 hens were running around flapping their wings and generally raising a ruckus.  When my daughter pointed the flashlight into the coop we saw a pair of glowing eyes.  A very pregnant possum had taken up residence in the dry shelter of the chicken coop.  She was reluctant to leave.  My oldest daughter tried to shoo her out.  She hissed.  I suggested that she push her out.

I received the “glare of death”.  You know the one I’m talking about.  The one that daughters learn about the time they turn 11 or 12.  The one that silently says that you are quite possibly the stupidest thing that manages to survive on the planet.

“You want me to poke the possum?”

“Well, yea.  She doesn’t seem to be listening to you when you tell her to get out.”

“You want me to poke the hissing possum?”


“You want me to poke the hissing, possibly rabid, sharp-toothed possum?”

“Maybe you could use a stick.  Possums are almost blind.  She can’t see you to bite you.”

This went on for a while as we stood in the pouring rain.  Finally, the possum was removed from the coop.  The chickens were placed in the coop. They weren’t excited about it.  We put one in and two came out.  They didn’t like the smell of the possum.  Forty-five minutes later the job was complete.

I wonder how many babies that possum is going to birth?



Sometimes I think that I should stop going to thrift stores because it can be too easy to buy stuff.

Other days I know that thrift store shopping is a great idea for someone who is trying to live a more intentional deliberate life.

For example, I like to shop for a lot of my family’s clothes at thrift stores.  I can get better brands and quality than I can normally afford so I’m saving money.  I’m not buying cheap crap that carries the weight of a myriad of social, environmental, and economic issues.  Because the stuff has been worn and washed, I know ahead of time how its going to wear and I don’t buy something that is going to have to be ironed.  That’s just never going to happen around here.

I don’t buy all of our clothing second-hand.  Some stuff is just supposed to be new if you know what I mean and sometimes you just can’t find what you need when you need it.

Because of thrift stores my husband can wear Hawaiian shirts that are actually from Hawaii.  My kid can wear the Justice, Gap and Old Navy clothes that she wants.  If it hangs in the closet for a bit and doesn’t really get worn all that much, it’s no great loss – we just donate it back.  Win…win!

The same goes for other stuff around the house:  dishes, decorative items, art supplies, sometimes furniture, etc…

I’ve just learned (and am learning) to be careful and thoughtful about purchases.

Then there is the magical day – the day that I was just meant to end up at the thrift store even if I was in a bad mood and was looking for some retail therapy even though I knew that buying something wouldn’t necessarily make everything all better.

Because what I found did make things better when I was dealing with a preteen child who shall remain nameless who was perhaps being a bit moody and difficult to deal with.  The kind of day when I needed to remind myself that love conquers all and I do love her more than I could ever have imagined because her life was indeed a miracle in more ways than one.  The day when I kept telling myself that I have survived three other adolescents and none of them are in jail and neither am I even though they might have inspired murderous thoughts at one time or another.

I found this at the thrift store yesterday:

IMAG1197 (1)IMAG1199A genuine 1969 Spirograph Plus missing only one piece.  It still has it’s original cardboard mat and most of the original paper.  How groovy is that!  It’s hard to be in a bad mood when you are playing with a Spirograph.

When you are playing with a Spirograph it’s easy to remember that you love that smart, beautiful, creative little girl who is trying to grow up in a big family in an even bigger world.  The little girl who is figuring out who she is and what her talents are.  The little girl with strength, determination and grit that sometimes comes across as stubbornness and defiance.

When you stop and just spend some time together, you remember that sometimes life is hard and taking the time to play and just “be” for a bit is a splendid idea.

I Hate When That Happens!

I have a plan, you know.  Really, I have more than one plan – I’ve got lots of plans – and some of them might even work.

There’s the plan where I make a list of everything that needs to be done to get a room in my house pulled together, and I assign a day of the week to each room, and every room in my house is cleaned every week, and my house is always in tip-top shape.  Yea, that worked.  When I kept up with it.  If there were no unscheduled things to do like doctor’s appointments or anxiety-filled days or illness or bad moods or…..

There’s the plan where I walk every day and eat lots of veggies and fruit.  I maintain an awareness that I need to lose more weight and keep up with the healthy lifestyle because I have high blood pressure and anxiety and am at risk for developing diabetes.  I feel better, am in a better mood and don’t want to sleep all the time.  But….

There’s the plan where I keep decluttering my life and don’t have piles of unnecessary crap lying around that I need to deal with.  The stuff that makes me walk in my front door and sigh.  This plan involves getting rid of stuff that I might need “someday” because I want to be living now…

There’s the plan where I re-do my studio and start taking my creative needs seriously and make art – a lot…every day because it’s important and I should make time for what’s important to me.

There’s more, but if you read this blog occasionally you already know all this.

I’m not going to be too hard on myself (or try not to).  I have been working on all these things.  Tons of stuff has left the house.  I’m much more careful about what comes in.  We are working on the house.  In general, the house if more manageable.  Things are better.

And I’m still frustrated.

And yesterday, I read this post from one of my favorite blogs entitled “Why Saying You Want to Change is Not Enough”.

Why Saying You Want Change is Not Enough

I get points for having a plan(s).

I lose points for expecting change to happen when I’m not actually acting on the plan(s).

I’m learning not to keep score so much.

I’m glad I read the damn post.  I’m not glad that I had become complacent and started thinking that the plans were enough.

I quit working on the plans and got stressed and anxious and ended up in that never-ending cycle that ends up with me not liking myself very much (because I’m a complete and utter failure at life and everything else).

The article reminded me that I’m okay.  Really good at a couple of things.  Okay at quite a few more and not so good at some stuff.  I do have a plan (or two).

Sometimes I lose motivation.  Sometimes I need to be reminded that I’m not actually doing what I’ve planned to do.

I’ve taken the first steps of my journey.  I just need to keep traveling.

And most importantly for me:  stopping to rest a bit along the way is okay.  I’m doing okay.  I’m making progress.  I’m not super-woman.  Just me.  Just trying to be the best me I can be.  Screwing up along the way.  Having good days and bad days.  Doing stuff right sometimes and other times…not so much.

I’ve got a plan and that’s a move in the right direction.


Being in the Right Spot

Someone gave me a plant several months ago.  I don’t do plants very well.  I like them well enough.  I’ve read that they are good for a healthy home environment – that they clean the air and lend an atmosphere of peace and harmony.

In my “if” life (the life I imagine I could have “if” I had time, energy, money, etc.) my home is filled with lush, green vegetation.

In reality, any plant that I have tend to get forgotten.  Most days, I deem successful if I water and feed me and my family.

During one of my past decluttering sessions I got rid of several sickly looking plants – mostly consisting of sticks and dried leaves.  The pots went too.  I was done with plants.

Then this one showed up.  It moved around quite a bit and finally landed on the table in the entryway.  I like it there.  If someone shows up at my door, they can see the plant and know that I have made an attempt at decorating.  My hope is that they will see the plant and overlook the pile of shoes, jackets, dog hair and bags full of who-knows-what that typically fill said entryway.

The plants sits in a very visible spot so I remember to water it.  Okay, to be totally honest, I can see when it’s wilted to a point that I remember to water it.

It’s in a good spot for me.

Lately I have noticed that the plant is leaning – reaching out away from the wall towards the center of the room – towards the light of the window.  I turned it around so it would straighten up.  It still reaches towards the window.

The plant knows what it needs to stand straight and to grow.  It’s not concerned with being in the right spot to “look good” or satisfy a shallow need to keep up appearances.

The plant knows where it needs to be and what it needs to be the best possible plant that it can be.

A simple lesson for me from the humblest of places.  Today I am wondering and thinking about what I need to be the best possible me.  Where do I need to be?  What do I need to do?    What is in my way?  What is keeping me from the light?

What unnecessary things and actions are keeping me from standing up straight and growing fully?

I’ve moved the plant in a place of honor in front of a window. And gave it water.


The Squirrel

The other day I went to have some “centering” time with my chickens.  When my world seems to be spinning out of control, my hens’ lives just seem to make so much sense.  The sleep when it’s dark and wake when it’s light.  If they get tired during the day, they rest.  They move around scratching among the leaves in search of tasty snacks and eat only until they are full.  They don’t get fat.  They hang out with each other with a clear leader who is the leader because she’s good at it.  It’s no popularity contest.  They follow me around and I pretend that they like me.  I know that it’s because I feed them, but I’m okay with the illusion that they care.  They aren’t particularly smart, but they are really good at being chickens and they are content with what they are.  We don’t have all that much in common, but I do try to learn from them.  I may be smarter, but I’m not very good at achieving the level of peace and contentment that they live with.

Anyway, back to the point of this story.  I went out to the chicken yard and popped open the plastic bin that I store the chicken food in.  I wasn’t paying much attention and failed to notice that there was a hole chewed in the lid of the bin.  I’d been away for the weekend and it must have happened then.  I popped open the lid and reached in to unroll the bag of scratch grain when…

…out popped the chicken yard squirrel (his name is Chicken, but that’s a whole ‘nother story)…  He flew straight into my chest and then sprung up into a tree. Those little furry mammals are fast!  I don’t think that I have ever screamed so loudly in my life.  The family came running to the window that overlooks the chicken yard to see what had happened.  The automatic assumption was that I had seen a snake.  It is turning into springtime around here after all.

Can you believe that I received no sympathy whatsoever for this traumatic attack.  They were all too busy laughing until they were out of breath.

Afterwards the damn squirrel named Chicken had the nerve to perch on a limb above me and chatter angrily because I had disturbed his meal.  Just wait until he sees the metal trash can that I’m buying to replace the plastic tote.  Chew through that you little varmit!