Spatial Disorientation

Photo by M.A.D.

We hope for fairness and constancy in life, but many times during our journey, we find ourselves on the opposite side of it, and most likely, not knowing up from down, and feeling that life has handed us the worst card, feeling sort of a spatial disorientation that numbs our senses and leaves us without a sense of direction, and many other feelings and emotions we rather not experience.

“It is not fair,” accompanies the anger and disillusion. During that time, how can we look up when we don’t even know where up is? Our compass, our radar, is not working properly. Everything might seem out of place in life, foggy, distant … It is hard to make sense of it all or make intelligent decisions. However, there is always a constant, one thing that remains the same when we don’t know our up from down, and that is the knowledge that help comes from above, wherever that might be. In an upside-down situation, help is a prayer away, and we don’t need to know our orientation because it is a matter of faith, and faith has no limits, no boundaries; spatial rules don’t apply here. When you feel that you have been handed your worst card in life, start by looking up, no matter if you don’t know your up from your down. All you need is a little bit of faith as your compass, and let God, the pilot, take you out of the storm and bring you to a safe place.

I will turn the darkness into light before them.

Isaiah 42:16

Autumn Vibes

At the time of this writing, it is nine days until the first day of Autumn. I am already welcoming the season and enjoying many of its sights. Soon I will enjoy its colors. We had our first temperature change in the upper 50s last night, and today there is a crisp in the air. The only thing I am not looking forward is the soon to arrive in waves, clouds of ladybug-look-alike Asian beetles that will cover the area. It is one thing that I truly dislike about living here. The process should take about 1-2 weeks depending on the weather. In the meantime, I will enjoy the weather transition and all the blessings that a new season brings – the ongoing song of excited crows, oranges, reds, yellows, all kinds of crimson … unexpected critters, autumn candy, hearty meals, darker nights, and the magic of another season.

Brick by Brick

The work around this farmhouse continues; there is something to add to the list always. Not too long ago, we removed bricks that were in the front garden. When we got rid of the kitchen chimney, we reused those bricks. When we were able to work on that garden area again, we took them out and set them aside to be used elsewhere. We used a few of them in the faerie garden and the new garden next to it. The bricks replaced old bent wood that was serving as a border. The old wood was used as border on the trails my husband is slowly developing in the back area. My husband decided to make a chimenea with the rest of the bricks. It will be great for the sitting area during chilly days. It also serves as a cooking option if power goes down for long. The important thing is that these lovely old bricks that date to 1910 at least, if not older, were not wasted.

Chimenea, and brick border in the background garden.

One of my easy projects was to have Morning Glory grow by the side entrance and wrap itself around the handrail. I love the look of Morning Glory in pictures and paintings of cottages, so I wanted to recreate the look somehow.

I planted the seeds in pots. Hopefully, the plant will keep blooming and extending. In the evening the flowers look like candy when closed.
It was a heavy-fog morning today, and these were all over the ground. It looks web-lace-tissue like. I don’t know what they are, certainly not spider webs. These disappear once the sun comes out and heats the surface.
A bunch of these tiny yellow birds were around a few weeks ago. I have seen all-yellow tiny ones before but not these with the black markings.

It looks like the garden is starting to prepare for a new season, and so am I; soon, everything will go to rest for a while.

The Crossroad

Photo by M.A.D.

One of the joys of living is not being able to tell the future. In that sense, today is the most important day of one’s life. People live and die, and whatever they live in between, that “life road” is different for everyone, even for the most dedicated and perfectionist planner. Life doesn’t give you guarantees but it may give you surprises, good and bad. How we interpret and respond to those surprises will determine the road we will take when in a crossroad. Some people go through more challenging times than other people, but no matter who you are, at least one time in your life you will be standing at a crossroad. Sometimes, the options are more generous and better than other times; however, there are times when none of the perceived options feel right.

When going left or right doesn’t seem to make sense, there is always a third road. It is the one you make when you don’t like the options. It is like leaving the paved highway and cutting through the tall grass to get to the other side. It might be rough, full of weeds and stones, and you might even encounter a few snakes here and there; however, it will be the right road taken, that is, for you, because you will pave that road with every step you take and with every lesson along the way. In the end, the solution was part of the journey. “You have arrived.”

On Home and Country, One Day at a Time

Photo by M.A.D.

When I feel that my life is lacking balance in a certain area, I feel out of control; I think most people do. When a bad or out of the ordinary situation happens, people find themselves off-balance, in fear, and experiencing many other emotions. Most of us deal with the situation as best as we can, everyone in their own way. The repercussions throughout the many areas of life, sometimes leave you numb or in shock for a while, paralyzed, fearful … But there is a time after, when it feels as if a bit of sunshine is coming through the cracks. It is then when we can take control and keep living. The current state of affairs worldwide might leave people feeling afraid and hopeless. Unfortunately, no one is going to take care of our “house,” and no one is going to fix it for us. One has to find and create balance, whether one finds it through faith or not. It is up to me to keep on living and tend to my “house.”

Every person is dealt different cards, some people have to deal with very bad situations, many from infancy. For those people, balance might sound different, and they must fight for it, many times, throughout their whole lives. It can only be done one day at a time, but it can be done. Many times, we are sent an angel here on Earth, a person that makes a significant difference in our moment of need.

I hear about inflation every day, and how bad the economy is, and I see so many local businesses shutting down. I see the almost empty shopping carts at the supermarket, the stress in people’s faces. At the same time, I see the kind, and the giving, and the good existing alongside the bad. There is nothing I can do about many of these things except the things that are in my immediate control – adjust my budget, grow food, shop less or tweak a grocery list, clean up my pantry and freezer by using what I have instead of letting it go bad, donate to my local food pantry, pray, help someone I might be able to help … and so much more. We all can do something tangible (and spiritual) one day at a time, and that is how we take back control, how we tend to our house and country, how we find our balance points, and how we keep our spirits up. Do your own Declaration of Days. One day at a time.

Love and Light.

Needful Things

Hurricane Sandy, the monster storm that happened off-season (October 29, 2012) in cold weather, and devastated the Jersey coast, taught me many things, one of them, preparedness. During that time, we were two weeks and a half without power, and it was cold. We had a generator, but finding gas and propane was a bit of a challenge, long standing lines at the nearest operable gas station that lasted 3-4 hours plus. I still remember the hum of the generators at night throughout the neighborhood.

Around here, we are 100% powered by electricity. In the event of a power outage, we would have to change the way we do things. We will be working in a few changes for the future, such as the installation of a small woodstove that has a feature for cooking as well, and we are looking into a solar generator, and other power options. Looking for options, I found out that there are many great items, which have gone in price considerably over the years. As people think more about climate change and the state of the economy worldwide, the prices of “doomsday” and preparedness items have gone up. I came across this very inexpensive small collapsible camping stove. It was only $9.99 + free shipping on Ebay. In the event that one would need to heat or cook something quick and simple a candle would suffice, or even a tiny can of fuel underneath. I think it is a good option when propane and gasoline are not available, or the temperature outdoors is too cold to cook on a grill or fire pit. There are many other larger size camping stoves that can be used with a variety of fuel options, but this was just something small to have around the home. It fits in a drawer, and you can fold it and pop it open, as needed. It is also very sturdy.

Two pieces make the whole thing.
What it looks like ready for use.

I am not a prepper or a doomsday believer, but I like to have options available if needed. I am not affiliated with any company, but when I find something I like, consider interesting, or of benefit, I like to share it. From candles to solar powered items, there are many budget-friendly items available if one cannot afford the very expensive ones. I hope you enjoy this post. Feel free to contribute with any ideas.

On Water Conservation

You do what you can do, and more if you can. When we moved to the farmhouse we had to learn about wells. We never had a well system as our source for water. The well in the property was not operable, so we had to fix a few things, more than a few. We hired an experienced company to change the old parts and get it working. Later on, the pump burned, and we had to install a submersible pump, which we learned to do ourselves – $$$. A year after, the existing pipe broke and we had to install a new one, and again, we did the work ourselves saving money. We learned that the pressure has to be monitored from time to time to prevent burning of the pump in certain conditions. By now, my husband knows how to do the job and he monitors the pressure a few times during the year. We also learned that outdoor wells freeze during the winter at freezing temperatures, so we installed a device to keep the pipe warm. But most important, we learned that wells do not last forever, and can run dry at any moment. To dig another well is very expensive. We have become more aware of our water usage, and also, have a barrel system in place to collect rainwater. A mesh filters leaves and debris. We use this water for plants, cleaning things outdoors, and any other outdoor use that we might need. It helps us maximize the longevity of our well. In the event of a power outage, we can use this water for non-drinking or cooking applications, as long as it is not during a very cold winter. We learned to sanitize the water as well.

To give you an idea in case you want to save some water, here is a picture of our barrel system.

Water conservation system

I hope you enjoy this post.

Restoring an Old Farmhouse – Porch Garden

Fixing up this old farmhouse has taken energy, time, and a bit of money; however, it has been rewarding. One of the areas in which we worked early on was the porch garden. We had taken recycled bricks from the chimney we took out in the kitchen and reused it in the area. Later on, when we created a small garden around the house using existing plants, potted plants, and white marble chips, we realized that we needed to make the area blend with the rest. The garden around the house is completed now. We moved around and relocated some potted plants. We positioned the concrete bench that was on the porch to the left side of the garden, just to match the right side of the garden. It worked out well. One more project off the long list.

A bit of background for readers new to this blog. The old farmhouse was in very bad shape when we bought it. It had been abandoned for many years and weather/time/renters/squatters had been rough on it. The value was on the land. By just looking at the derelict home we knew that anything we were to do from that point on would be an improvement. That has been a goal, to improve and add value over time.

BEFORE

A very scary view of the porch when we bought the farmhouse. There was no garden area, and everything had to be fixed up, everything. With much love and patience, my husband and I have been doing all the work. I have been writing about the quest on this blog. To read on the progress so far, you can visit my blog posts under Restoring a farmhouse or Restoring a garden.

AFTER

The brick area before.

We reused some of the bricks on the latest garden area we created that is located next to the faerie garden. We will be reusing the chimney bricks on another project.

I hope you enjoy the post.

Love and light.

Restoring an Old Farmhouse – Haint Blue Porch

Continuing with the long list of things to do around here, it was time to repaint the porch (original to the 1910 farmhouse) and the floor, so that’s what we did. We were lucky to find a gallon of paint for $9.99 at the Home Depot on the “mishaps or Oops shelf” and it was exactly the color we needed, a haint blue or a sky blue. It is a custom in the South to paint the porch ceiling a light shade of blue. It is called haint blue and there are many variations of this blue. Long ago people used to paint their homes a haint blue to ward off evil spirits and that’s how the blue color got its name. According to legend, evil spirits could not cross water and the light color blue mimicked a water surface, thus discouraging evil spirits from visiting the home. Later on, people painted the porch a haint blue shade because it discouraged bugs from landing on the porch; it gives the illusion of open space or sky. Although these seemed two very good reasons for choosing this color, especially, reason number two during the summer, I just love the color. It seems light and airy, refreshing, and gives the impression of light during the evening. I just love it. Many homes in town display some variation of this blue on the porch ceiling.

Many years ago, we had painted the ceiling a dark blue. We wanted to keep the original ceiling, so we just scraped and painted it. We like the look of the small boards. We caulked some areas before repainting. Here’s the before.

Before

AFTER

The brick area will be our next project. We will be matching it to the rest of the garden by replacing it with white marble chips and changing the layout a bit. The bricks were recycled when we took out the small chimney in the kitchen. We will recycle and use the bricks on another area of the garden. The to-do list is getting a bit smaller.

Hope you enjoy this post.

Love and light.

When Your World Crumbles and Your Truth Vanishes

I didn’t plan to write this blogpost, but deeply felt that I needed to write it. Life is just life; it is not perfect, and it is not guaranteed; it just is. Life can be all that when we decide that we want to receive all the gifts that God has readied for us. Life can be a real mess, or it can be sweet. This world is far from perfect and expecting others to be perfect is expecting something I cannot deliver myself; I am far from perfect. I can only love because God loves me first, otherwise, I wouldn’t even know where to start. I am an imperfect decent person that once thought she had it all together but did not. I am happy that I found that out. When your perfect world crumbles, when your beliefs, habits, everything you knew as truth, or everything you knew as “you” comes toppling down, the only thing left is the real you, sometimes, the real scared you. That is a good thing; believe me, I have been there. Now, you can sweep away the pieces (don’t even bother to pick them up) and continue your journey (don’t even have to start a new journey, there is no such thing, just your journey).

This world is loud and fast; don’t pace yourself to it. This world is unfair; don’t expect fairness or righteousness from it. Instead, be for others what you were expecting for yourself. Don’t let the noise be louder than your faith. Faith in what anymore? In the only one that lived through it all, the unfairness, the rejection, the let-downs, the hate, the noise of the times … Jesus lived through it all. When in doubt, ask Him directly in a real imperfect but sincere prayer; He will answer you. I know. If you want to know Him a bit better, find him in the chronicles of His life (in the pages of the bible.) Don’t take anybody’s word for it; you find Him yourself! If you really want to know Him, you ask Him for help, and it will be given to you. He will reveal who He truly is to you. You’ll get your answer.

So don’t let this imperfect but beautiful and lovely world rob you of your peace, light, and love, instead, live like you have never lived before – connect through Him. It makes all the difference.

Love and light.