On the Move


Has life ever yanked the rug right out from under you with a whoosh?
We’ve been preparing to move and have no idea where we’re going. Or exactly when. This was not the plan.

Growing up my family moved around quite a bit. Since the very first move I’ve struggled with feeling like the outsider who never quite belonged or had enough time to feel settled before she had to move again. Even as an adult, when the moves were my choice, that feeling was stirred in the recesses of my heart.
Here it is again.

As we pack, I’m sad for all the dreams that won’t be realized here.
But life isn’t about our dreams, really.
It’s about being open to love and serve and become more like Jesus.
I can do that anywhere.

Maybe I’m not supposed to feel settled. Just maybe I’ve been looking at it all wrong. I’m pondering that idea while I enjoy our home for the time we have left.

It’s beginning to look a lot like…

Dare I say it? Christmas.

Christmas music has been playing in our local stores since November first. Yesterday the decorations were already up at the grocery store strip mall. That’s a little too soon, even for this elf.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Christmas and everything that goes with it. I love shopping and wrapping and secrets and sparkly things and Christmas plays and lights… I really should have been an elf.  I was 10 years old  and in 5th grade when my (very mean) best friend insisted Santa wasn’t real. I still don’t believe her.

That’s me on the right, listening intently to what my future boss had to say.

Every Christmas Eve Mom would bundle us up and we’d pile into the car to go pick our Christmas tree. We’d drink hot chocolate while Daddy brought the tree into the house and set it in its stand. We’d make a big production of giving it lots of water, hang our stockings from the mantel and go to bed. I couldn’t sleep wondering if every noise I heard might be Santa on the roof. It’s a wonder I survived the anticipation at all.

Our first house in New Jersey was a wee little two-bedroom rancher. You could see the entire living room from our bedroom door. On Christmas morning my sister and I would fling open that door and freeze in absolute wonder. The bare tree we left in the stand was now fully decorated and lit, the only glow in the room, surrounded by presents. Pure magic!  >sigh<  Goose pimples.


Our magical tree, 1968.

I was eight when we moved across town. Our new house had two stories and the impact of seeing that sight as we flew down the stairs on Christmas morning was a new brand of magic that didn’t disappoint.


Christmas 1972: I’m the elf on the left. 

Two years later we moved to Florida, and the tradition changed in a lot of ways, but Mom’s knack for the magical smoothed it over.

Then I grew up and learned a few things. Like Christmas trees are free on Christmas Eve. And Mom and Dad had to wait until we were sleeping to begin decorating the tree, so they got maybe 30 minutes of sleep Christmas Eve. And it looks like a lot more presents when the room is only 8 feet wide. And the tree looks much bigger when you put it on the coffee table and you’re only four feet tall.
And knowing the secrets behind the magic makes it even stronger, because it was made with love.

But the best part of being a grown-up is that I get to make the magic now. After all, I did inherit Mom’s elf gene.

Snowy Day


This is my view today as I work.  All that snow makes it BRIGHT in here! I had to pull the shades down 3/4 of the way to keep from needing my sunglasses.   We don’t get much snow here in coastal Virginia, so when we do things pretty much close down – everyone’s working from home today.

There are squirrel tracks outside the back door. From the look of the muddy prints on the door, I’d say they wanted in. And no wonder –  it’s 12 degrees out there with a wind chill in the negatives. Brrr! I made sure my feathered friends have fresh water, and they’re thanking me by singing outside my window.

Ringing in 2014

Happy New Year!

I can’t believe we’re already 5 DAYS IN to a new year! After playing hooky a little I’m finding re-entry a little rough, but I’m looking forward to this new year with expectation.

Last week I was thinking how I couldn’t wait to say good-bye to 2013 when God whispered in my ear, “It wasn’t all bad…” No, it wasn’t. The Lord remained unchanged, meeting every need and walking beside us through every trial, disappointment and twist in the road. We laughed, we cried, we played, we loved, we rallied, we said good-bye,  we learned, and we grew.

To celebrate, the Hunk and I spent New Year’s Eve at Christmas Towne.  I was trying to take a picture in front of the grand Christmas tree and failing miserably – phones aren’t shaped to hold in one hand AND push the button….  a very nice man offered to bail me out, so we have a memento of the occasion. It was 20 degrees, and we look like puffalumps in all our layers. 🙂

Wherever you are, may your home be filled with love and grace, and may 2014 be a year of Jubilee for you and yours.

Making Messes and 5 Things I Learned in July

I’m so bummed July is over!  I’ve barely started on my Summer list – the one with all the things I was going to do and try during the “lazy” summer months. >heavy sigh<  So far I’ve succeeded to make messes. Our mudroom is under construction, so I’ve spent every free moment prepping, painting and caulking instead of sewing and drawing. Looong story, but the new, improved mudroom will actually function as a mudroom and not take on water when it rains. This is priority #1, because the contents of this room are stacked in our living space. Emphasis on mess.
Last weekend I took a break and spent the day with my VBMQG peeps at Quilt Camp. I’m making Noodlehead’s Super Tote, and the plan was to come home with a finished project – then I hit a couple of snags, like forgetting to bring my Fasturn tool. I should have a contest to caption this image…
I also managed to put together this Wonky Shoo Fly tutorial for the guild and draft a couple new projects.
On top of all this creative genius, I learned 5 new things in July:
Bone marrow becomes fatty after age 44.  My brother-in-law is fighting Leukemia and preparing for a bone marrow transplant. We’re all learning a lot of things we didn’t know. Fatty bone marrow doesn’t graft well when transplanted, so younger marrow has a higher success rate.
I don’t like ginger in any form.  In 3rd grade the room mom came in to help everyone make gingerbread houses. The smell nauseated me so badly that it ruined me against ginger forever.  I use ginger very sparingly when I bake, and I have to hold my nose.  So thinking fresh ginger would be any different is proof of my optimistic nature (or what a dingbat I can be). I bought a small piece to add to my morning green juice and my tongue is still angry with me.
Deer make noise to warn one another. My back yard is the meadow, so we see deer several times a day. I always thought when one bolted in fear the others just somehow knew what was happening and followed. You know, deer ESP. Last week while in the garden I startled a mama out with her fawn, and I heard her screech like when you have something caught in the back of your throat. You can listen here.
Advertising pop-ups earn YouTube posters money… unless I click to skip it before it’s over. You might be shaking your head at me , laughing. That’s okay.  I never gave it much thought until I saw how a young man with an idea is now making his living making YouTube videos, and seeing the world while he’s at it.
Now I think it’s worth waiting 5 seconds to help someone to make a little jingle – especially because I use a LOT of video tutorials. It’s no secret I love Google, and my browser is on stand-by as I work, because there’s always a command I can’t remember or button I can’t find or something I don’t yet know how to do. I promise to be more patient from now on to thank those who take the time to post so I can find those quick answers!
I CAN be patient. That’s a big deal, because when I’m excited it kiiiiills me, like a kid at Christmas. But life has been kinda rocky for awhile and my plans keep getting rearranged, so I’m getting used to it and growing stronger faith muscles in the process. Some fun things are finally coming together, and it will be worth my patience. When it happens you’ll know!

Dresses for Africa

My friend, Lynne, came over to get my help whipping up a couple samples of these little pillow case dresses her congregation will be making to send to Africa. Oh. Em. Gee. they are all sorts of adorable. And addictive! Once we started sewing we saw oodles of creative possibility to make them special.
This was our first attempt –  it is a large. We used the extra-large arm hole size because the pattern looked sooo small, but once assembled we realized the pattern makers knew what they were doing. Imagine that. 😉

There is also a pattern to make shorts for boys from a t-shirt and some elastic.The beauty of this project is you don’t need to be part of a group or make a minimum to participate. You can find all the details on the Little Dresses for Africa site.

It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to be Beautiful

My home is my ultimate canvas. Unfortunately reality looks nothing like the vision in my head… but the way I look at reality is changing.

I bought this mirror in the Outer Banks almost two years ago. It’s from England, a 1920-something original.  Its glass has speckles in it and is sort of fuzzy in places (like an antique mirror should be, right?). The nice lady gave me a super great deal as a wedding gift. I was ecstatic.

I bought some high gloss white paint to make it match my all white bedroom. Then it sat wedged between the wall and the night stand waiting for me to paint it – for almost a year and a half.
I got tired of it marking up the wall and was trying to find a different place to put it.

It’s okay to laugh.

Thanks to a seed the Nester planted in my head, the lights finally came on: hang the mirror and enjoy it.  I can always paint it later.

Success! So what was my problem? First, the paint is chipped, revealing fairy pink paint underneath.

Second, it’s cream, not white.  I wanted white.

The punch line? NONE of the whites in this room are the same!

I was actually stressed when our white furniture arrived and looked off-white against the walls.  The perfect bench under my window is white… ish. It has a slightly green cast to it. Good grief!

Perfectionism can be so ridiculous. And you know what? The mirror’s cream color makes it a focal point of our room, and I love that.

Note: It’s 5 years later and there are still no plans to paint that mirror. 

Wedding Bells

I’ve been super busy lately, because, on top of everything else, I’ve been planning a wedding…. my own. No, I didn’t see that coming. Yes, God has a sense of humor. <3

Early that morning we sat together on the dock. “I want it to be perfect,” I said. “It already is,” he said.

Cottage Living

The first of the year I moved into a cottage.

A real cottage. Not one of those “cottages” in magazines that are 2,000 square feet.  Mine’s about 348 square feet and consists of a living room, a kitchen, a bathroom and a bedroom.

Not only was the price right, but it has lots of “extras”.  It’s tucked into the woods and covered by huge trees.  The birds love my feeders. The deer come out to say hello each night.  It’s under the the airport so there is no light pollution and I can see every star – gorgeous! (No airport noise – the big jets use the other side.) From my front door I can watch the horses next door. I have lots of windows and lots of light. The country road to get here is a treat for the eyes.  And I’m right around the corner from just about everything.
Living in such a small space has its challenges.  The kids laugh when I have to move something to use something else, but that’s what makes it fun.
The microwave is on my kitchen table.
My rotary mat is under the loveseat.
The ironing board is alongside the fridge.
The toilet stops the bathroom door.
I have one closet – it’s in the kitchen.
It’s home.