Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Forward progress

Good morning Folks ~ Thought I’d do a quick update as I go along with this remodeling project.

Last night I watched a you-tube movie, ‘A Home of Our Own’ with Kathy Bates, 1993. What a great movie about perseverance, the story of a Mom taking care of her ‘tribe’. Near the end of the movie, a line struck me to the core and I burst into tears and just sobbed and let them flow, (feeling much better afterwards.) I am always amazed at the ways I am encouraged in my life now as a widow. Quite a bit has been through movies, a line here or there and I am thankful for each one. The line this time was said by the Mom to her teenaged son. “You work with what you get & you try to make it better.”

My dear husband and I moved into this little place in 1973. It has undergone changes through the years, inside and out. We were ‘tiny living’ before it was ‘cool, hip or trendy’ to do so. We made this into our ‘haven’ from the crazy, hectic world that we live in. It is paid for. I am thankful for that. It is not big or modern, does not have the lastest and supposed greatest this or that, but it is ‘home sweet home’. Several projects were left not completed when my DH left this planet, and some we had in our minds will not even be started.

Changes can be hard, the biggest for me losing my soul mate, my love, my best friend. He was the architect/designer/builder and I was his helper/sometimes designer. I would get ideas and we would talk them over and he would figure out the how-tos. We were a team. We worked great together.  I miss him and that so much. But, as we all know, life goes on. We can either go forward, or stay stuck in the past, wishing we had what we once had. Being a widow is really rough for the first 2-3 years, crying was at the drop of a hat, anywhere. Hearing a power saw in the neighborhood, going into Home Depot, one of our favorite places to shop, hearing songs, etc. could turn on the water works. Slowly, but surely the fog starts to lift. Your heart feels lighter, you laugh, but you never forget.

Last summer I went through 2-3 months of a depression that just came out of nowhere. I think my loss and the whole lifestyle change caught up to me. I prayed, read my Bible, and devotional books and was lifted back up into my more normal positive self.  It is where my DH would want me to be, it is where God wants me to be.

So, here I am at the start of this year with projects started and although change can be hard, it can also be freeing and uplifting. I am excited and thankful.

Yesterday morning I worked in the bedroom clearing the desk space where DH’s computer had been where I moved it to after he was gone. (I moved it here just to pay bills online from his computer. BIL gently suggested that I pay from my computer, we both teared up, and he told me to take my time in deciding. I did put info into my computer & have been happily paying bills (as much as one can be) from my computer. Going into his computer each time to pay bills made me feel sad.) His computer had been in the living room by his chair and that’s where he did his computing for years. By changing things around, the old familiar and now empty spaces are transformed, and hopefully for the better. In my case, it has been. Some widows leave their old homes where they’d built a life with their husbands. I cannot afford to do that. It wasn’t until recently that I could even contemplate doing such a thing, but as I told my BIL & SIL, I could now, if the right thing came my way. For now though, this is where I am, it is what I have been blessed with, and I want to thankfully and contentedly work with what I’ve got, and it is a lot compared to a lot of people around the world.

Ok, here we go, below is the living room in the beginning of 2011. Both the book case on the right and the desk unit on the left, are curbside finds. The book case was given to a young couple from church last year. I am keeping and dear BIL and I are moving the desk unit into the bedroom.


Soon after DH left, I wanted to change the space a bit, to hide the ugly old TV for one thing.

Below is the new look in Jan. 2017. I made a faux mantle with old wooden top to something or other. I had screwed a piece of 1x1 to the wall for the back edge to rest on, and the front edge rested on the TV. I pulled everything out of other locations in the cottage to decorate with, and covered the TV with fabric.


This is the new look I’ve been living with since Jan. 2016, after my friend Jessica gave me the floral plate. I wanted a newer, lighter look.


Here is how it looks today as I prepare to work with BIL Todd, Saturday to repair wall, do some other work and then repaint before bringing in the new (to me) bookcases and media stand. That wall is 9 1/2 ft. long and the new things will just about fill up that space and the depth into the room will be 12” for the bookcases, and 16" for the media stand. The new flat screen TV given to me by friends last summer, will go on the new media stand which is about 6” higher than where it presently sits, and I want Todd to make me another faux mantle between the two bookcases, over the TV. I love having a mantle. The curtain/tablecloth covers a doorway from years ago that we cut into the wall. It will be wallboarded over, as will the little vent area at the ceiling and the crack in wall patched.


Here is the bedroom space May 2013. I won’t show you what the bedroom looked like before this, til maybe some future date when it is completely redone.


Space now as it is dismantled. The desk unit in the liv. room is going to go next to the curtained linen closet, it is not as deep as the linen closet by about 3 inches. I can hardly wait to get it in there, more storage. I may paint it, haven’t decided yet, that will come after it is moved from liv rm to this space. The whole bedroom will eventually be done in the faux beadboard paneling and crown moulding put around the ceiling. I’ve got to take all of the artwork down from this space, which saddens me, as they all mean something to me, bringing back lots of good memories. I’ll just have to find new homes for them. Lace curtains on the right lead into the hall, and the bathroom is just to the left in the hallway, on the other side of that bedroom wall. You might say I have an ‘en suite’ bathroom. Winking smile


Anywho, that’s where I am this morning, about to take down artwork and clear out a couple more areas so that Todd and I have room to get started. Needless to say, things are piled here and there in bedroom and living room, not where they are supposed to be or will be, but things will get straightened out in due time.

Thank you all so much for your kind and loving support, your encouraging words, your prayers all mean a lot. I know I talk a lot about this journey I am on, but I hope it will help any widows out there and that it will help those of you who come in contact with them as to what ways or how you may help them in their time of need. Love & compassion go a long way for everyone, but especially widows & orphans.

It is another gray, wet day here in s.e. FL. perfect for working indoors. Rain is expected off and on through Friday.

Happy living life moment to moment each and every day. Count your blessings. Let your loved ones know how much they mean to you.

Love & hugs ~ FlowerLady

Monday, January 8, 2018

It’s a new year!

Good morning Folks ~ What a cold start to the new year many of us have been having. I went out a few minutes ago and it was pleasant out after a week of cold weather for us down here in sub-tropical south FL. We had rain down here the 2nd and 3rd, which ushered in a ‘cold front’. On the morning of the 4th our low was 38 and the real feel temp was 26. The next morning it was 41 and real feel 33. It has slowly warmed up until this morning with partly cloudy skies and rain in the forecast, it is 67 and real feel 63.

I cannot imagine having to deal with the frigid winter conditions so many of you are having to deal with. I wouldn’t be able to stand it at this age. Have lived down here since 1960 and my older bones just wouldn’t like that kind of weather at all. Getting down into the 30’s is enough for me.

A blessing is that each day it is staying lighter a bit longer and it is one day closer to spring. Although, on that first day of spring I will turn 69 this year. Oh my, where has the time gone.

A word came to mind the other day for my ‘word for this year’, and that is ‘sufficiency’. This year my prayer is that I’ll rest more in the all sufficiency of God my Savior.

In Him I have been made complete. Colossians 2:10a

God has said, “My grace is sufficient for you,

for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 ESV

With that, I am looking for 2018 to see how God works things out in my life.

This past Saturday, the young man from church who came and cut down limbs from a hurricane damaged tree last Sept. came over and together we got some leaning fencing from that storm, standing back up. He dug 4 post holes and I had the 4x4 posts needed in a stack of lumber DH and I had stacked in that area. Johnnie only had to cut down one 4x4 that was way too long. It took us 2 1/2 hours and we talked as we worked. I enjoy working with him. He’s a hard worker and knows how to do a lot of different things. I am so thankful for his help and I know DH is too.

The area over there as well as my whole main garden was overgrown. We trampled down a lot of overgrowth where we worked and I told him this little project has inspired me to get outside to work more. I said I really have been down since losing my husband and haven’t felt like doing much at all. I’ve started coming up instead of going more in a downward spiral and that feels GREAT!. God has been my strength and I am ready to go with this new year.

Below are before and after pictures of the fencing and an arbor fix.

After hurricane Irma. Looking southwest.


Looking from the other direction, north. You can also see the rotted 2x4 that ‘was’ holding up the lattice.


This made me feel so depressed to look at. I asked Johnnie if he would fix this for me too, and he did. This little project made me want to cry, as it was not a necessity. Although, for my broken heart, it was a necessity as this was something my DH would have fixed for me long before it got into this state. This makes me feel so much better to have it repaired. I am excited to start working in my garden spaces again, making them better than ever.


Fencing no longer leaning.


2 x 4 replaced


Hidden space at the back of my main garden, has been neglected for too long.


This coming Sat., God willing, my dear BIL, Todd and I will start work in my living and bedrooms. I am so excited about this project. They gave me two bookcases and a media stand when they moved to new place. I will have a new look, in  a repaired and painted living room. I’ll show before, during and after photos when we’re done. This will take at least a coupe of Saturday’s to accomplish.

Below is a fringe flower bush.  I just love these blooms and the bush has purple and green leaves.


Some garden ornaments. I believe this one is aluminum.


Wrought iron from a chandelier.


Cast antique pot metal piece.


A metal gazing ball that my dear husband bought me years ago for my bday, seen from two different sides.



Now these next phtos are the reason why I love to garden. Not all photos blow me away, but sometimes they do and I gasp in delight and thankfulness. You think while you are taking photos that this is nice, but when you see them out of the camera ready to edit, oh my gosh. At least that’s how I feel when photos are better than expected.




Ok, that’s it for now from Plum Cottage. I may not be back for a couple of weeks as I work on getting ready for living room remodel and then doing some work too.

It is raining here so my tropical cottage garden will grow even more over grown, part of living down here in s.e. FL.

"Winter is the time for comfort,

for good food and warmth,

for the touch of a friendly hand

and for a talk beside the fire: 

it is the time for home."  
 Edith Sitwell 

Happy January