Saturday, September 16, 2017

Surviving ~ thankfully

Good morning Folks ~ It is Saturday morning 11:41 a.m. EST. I went outside at 7:45 to beat the heat so that I could mow. I came in at 9:30 for water and to rest a bit. Even at that time it was in the 80’s but real feel temp was low 90’s. I didn’t finish mowing a small bit because it was sprinkling when I headed back out, so I put the lawnmower away for the day. I am just doing a little at a time and not stressing over what needs to be done.  It is a whole different story being by myself than being with my DH and working together as a ‘team’.

I have hibernated since Tues. morning after getting home around 8:30. Just haven’t felt like going out at all. Plus the light at the big intersection near me was still out and I didn’t feel like dealing with traffic. I was only going to go out to the grocery store, but have found out that there isn’t much to be had. No fresh veggies, no dairy, maybe a few eggs. All of the trucks are going to the west coast and south of us to the areas that were hardest hit by Irma.

I’ve been drinking my coffee black, sweetened but black. I have cereal but no milk. I’ve some canned goods, food in the freezer, I can make bread in my bread machine. I have rice and pasta too. I’ve been eating peanut butter and crackers, canned veggies, with hot dogs and hamburger from the freezer.

I am so thankful for air-conditioning, clean water, a toilet that flushes, my comfortable bed, a roof over my head, a full tank of gas, compliments of my in-laws. My feline girls are all fine. Flowers are still blooming, butterflies are flitting, birds are singing. I have much to be thankful for.

I did find an unwelcome little snake while doing some clean up the other morning. He was about 6-8 inches long. I was concerned when I looked at his markings. Ran for my camera and after I took a blurry photo, I got the flat edged shovel and chopped him to bits. I sent a pic to my bro in law Todd, and he confirmed my suspicion, a rattle snake. I’ve never seen one here before, but we both figured he got blown in by the storm, either wind or water. I’ve not seen any more and hope I don’t either. Sheesh! A baby diamondback rattler. He kept striking at me. The usual snakes slither off in the opposite direction as fast as they can go, but not this little guy. I was so nervous I didn’t get a good picture, but you can see the diamonds on his back.

09-14-rattlesnake

This morning during one of my mini breaks while mowing, I saw this sweet little beauty. She is one of my very favorite roses, with a delicate scent. ‘Kathleen’. As I was standing there enjoying her beauty, I thought “this is why I garden”. Yes, it is a lot of work, some harder work than others, but so worth it for as long as I can do it.

kathleen

I’ve had a bit of lunch, now I’m going to take a nap. Talking with my sis in law, Sue, yesterday I was saying how I felt and she said she was feeling the same way and that she had heard some ‘call ins’ on some show about how people are thankful they are safe, that they have food, a.c., etc. but they felt awful. The dr. or whoever was taking the calls said it is because we’re all going through a bit of traumatic stress syndrome.  Freaking out and preparing as best we could for a possible cat. 5 hurricane, not knowing where it was going to make landfall, took a toll on us all.

So, thank you again for your kind thoughts, comments, and prayers. They help more than you realize.

Love & hugs ~ FlowerLady

Friday, September 15, 2017

Before, during & after Irma

Good morning folks ~ It is a new day and I am rejoicing in it. Your comments have been such a blessing to me. Thank you all so much.

Yesterday morning it didn’t feel bad when I started out temperaturewise, but after 1 1/2 hours I couldn’t be outside any longer and came in to the a.c. It was 83 but felt like it was 96. Today I hope to do some more, a little at a time. I will show pics of debris, etc. in another post. This post is from my stay with my dear bro & sis in-law Todd & Sue.

The way the storm was predicted, we were NOT going to stay at their place but stay where Todd works which is built of concrete and hurricane rated. As we watched the news before the power went out, storm surges for where we were was to be 6-10 ft. and they are on a little inlet, off the intra-coastal waterway. At first it was mandatory evacuation, so we were planning to leave, then as Irma kept moving west, then northwest, it was dropped to voluntary, so we stayed where we were.

To me, their place was a calm shelter in this storm. They both had a calming influence on me. Sue said everything was going to be fine with Plum Cottage and my barn girls, and she was right.

Hurricane shutters did go up on the sliding glass doors. The other windows are hurricane rated to withstand winds of 150 mph. Todd did go out and take a center panel off the sliding glass doors, so that we could see out and see what was happening with the rising tide and let in some much needed light.

Saturday wasn’t too bad. Sunday we were getting the winds and rain. Once the storm got to the backside our winds really picked up and were pummeling my two corner bedroom windows, s.e. corner. (I read that some places, and I think we may have been one of the areas, got 90 mph gusts. Where I live 55 mph).Very scary, especially at bedtime. Here I was lying on a queen size bed, having a mini-freak out session. I decided to take my little devotional book (into the bathroom where it was quieter and definitely more cozy,) ‘Jesus Always’, reading from past days and came upon this one from 15th of April. (If you are not familiar with this series of devotionals, they are as if God is speaking directly to you. Very comforting. I got my first one from a friend two months after my DH went to be with God.)

“I want you to rely confidently on Me-not only as Savior, but as the God-Friend who is taking care of you. Relax in my loving Presence & confide in Me. Tell Me all your hopes & fears. Cast all your anxiety on Me because I care for you.”

I underlined ‘rely confidently’. Here is the definition for confidently ~ in a way that expresses little or no doubt about something. As it says in the Bible, “I believe, help thou my unbelief.”

I decided to rely confidently on Jesus, my God and Savior to take care of me. It was so scary though, that I put pillows on the floor with the bed between me and the windows. That was uncomfortable to say the least for this 68 year old FlowerLady, and I thought this is crazy and it is NOT relying confidently on Jesus at all. So, I got back up onto the bed, buried myself under the covers and turned my back to the storm all the while saying this bit that I had just read over and over, thanking Jesus for taking care of me and fell asleep. I woke up close to midnight and could tell that the worst of the storm was over and fell back to sleep again.

Preparation and anxiety were very stressful to say the least. Irma was huge, her winds covering the whole state, surf surges on both sides of the state. We did not know what catagory of a storm it was going to be until it made landfall, starting out as a cat. 5 with 185 mph winds. The last we heard was that 7 million people had evacuated, video showed highways out of FL like parking lots with traffic inching along out of harms way.

The next morning you would not know that a storm had passed through by how ‘calm’ it all was. But, then you see downed limbs, and when we went out to where Todd worked to pick up my van and Sue’s car which had both been parked in the wharehouse, there were trees down all over, and of course no power so that there were no lights at intersections. When that happens, we are supposed to treat every intersection like a 4-way stop. Most people did this, some did not, but Jesus kept us safe.

Now for some photos.

As the tide comes in, and with storm surge as high as it got in the last of these first 3 photos.

09-09-before-irma

09-10-tide-coming-in

We’re about 10-12 feet above, I think.

09-10-storm-surge

11th, morning after.

09-11-early-morning

09-11-morning-sky

09-11-morning-sky2

09-11-calm-waters

09-11-calm-intra-coastal

09-11-storm-damage

09-11-storm-damage2

09-11-storm-damage3

I was blessed with seeing this beautiful rainbow. I grabbed my camera & snapped the first photo, then headed outside in barefeet to walk down the sidewalk for a couple more shots.

09-11-a-gift

This photo below looks like a painting to me.

09-11-a-gift1

These two boats stayed tied up and survived just fine.

09-11-a-gift2

We are not promised a stressfree or no problem life when we follow God, what we are promised is that He will never leave or forsake us. He is always with us. It is how we handle what life brings us. Do we draw closer to God for a more intimate, loving relationship with Him, or do we get angry, frustrated, more fearful etc.? I pray that I will always draw closer to Him, and stronger in faith.

That’s it for now. I wanted to get this post up while my feelings are still fresh. In the next post I will show how it looked when I got back to my little home sweet home, and clean up.

Love, hugs & prayers for all ~ Thankful FlowerLady

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Thank you

Words cannot express the feelings I have from all of your kind encouraging comments. My heart is filled with love and appreciation for all of you.

Today I did not do anything outside. I heeded your words about taking my time and not over working, especially in this heat. The real feel temperature for today was in the low 100’s and I was worn out physically, mentally, emotionally from watching and preparing for the hurricane and going through it. Plus worrying about Plum Cottage, my barn girls and the property. It was a day for easy work and resting.

After surviving disasters, one can feel burdened with so many different emotions. I came through pretty good, others lost life, property, etc. It makes me feel somewhat guilty for being able to ‘clean up’ and then go on about my life, while others have lost so much and have to start from scratch. My heart and prayers go out for them.

I went back to bed this morning, then took a nap after lunch and am ready for bed again and it’s just 6:30. I cleaned out the fridge, mopped up around the base of the fridge, folded up the transport cage for Miss Tork. I know she was glad to see that go back into it’s box.

My living room is a wreck from the remodeling project I’m working on, but at least my house is dry, intact and I have air-conditioning. Tomorrow is a new day and I hope to get outside early to do some more clean up, and to do some laundry. Today I did what I felt like doing inside and didn’t stress about outside.

Right now I’m listening to Soothing instrumental music on You-tube.

That’s it for tonight. Be thankful for your many blessings, large and small.

FlowerLady

 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

We survived!

Hi dear Friends ~ this will just be a quick note to let you know I arrived home this morning, took me about an hour to get here. Some traffic lights were out so I just had to watch and treat those intersections like a 4 way stop. I was so relieved to pull into my driveway.

Barn girls FINE! What a relief!  Some broken tree limbs barely brushing my cottage roof. They will stay there until help comes. Some fence damage, but not much. Lots of limbs and palm fronds and leaves all over. Everything got battered good. I’m so glad I didn’t stay here, I would have been freaking out.

An electric crew from Connecticut just hooked my power back up about 30 minutes or so ago. Bless their hearts. They were really nice. I don’t know how long PC was without power, possibly 48 hours maybe a little more. The fridge smells funky, so I need to clean that out.  I checked the chest freezer and things in there were still solid. I am thankful for that.

Ok, that’s it for now. Miss Tork and I are so glad to be back home. I am so thankful Plum Cottage and my barn girls survived the storm. It could have been so much worse. We weren’t able to see news about Naples and areas on the west coast of FL to see how they fared. It was really rough.

Thanks be to God for His protection for Plum Cottage.

Thank you all for your love, prayers and words of encouragement.

Time for some supper. Tomorrow will be more clean up of the property.

Love & hugs ~ FlowerLady

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Good morning Folks,

I'm on my tablet. Feeder bands are giving us gusty winds of winter around 45 mph. Under a tornado watch.

I pray for my little place & my girls. I slept pretty good considering. Any time I feel fear I pray. My faith is being tested & strengthened. ;-)

Keep us in your prayers, thank you.

FlowerLady

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Boarded up

Hi Folks ~ Thank you so much for your prayers and words of encouragement. I am exhausted this afternoon, almost 4 p.m. Worked for three hours with two nice guys from church putting up my plywood. It was HOT and very humid, and we were out there from around 10-1, right now it is 91 and feels like it is 104. It’s awful! We were sweating buckets. They did a thorough job with screwing it all down tight. I asked them their favorite cookie and both said peanut butter and I said with chocolate chips? They said yes, so they will both be getting a batch of these.  Before they left the three of us took hands and prayed, which was very nice.

After they left I cleaned up a bit to go to the grocery store for cat food and litter, and got some larger bottles of Fuji artisan water, the only water they had, 4 for $5. The store was packed with buyers but no water on the shelves. Although, I did see people going out with 5 gal. jugs. I wouldn’t have been able to handle those at any rate.  After hurricanes Francis, Jeanne and Wilma in 2004 and 2005 we still had water. With Wilma, we lost electricity for 13 days. Only God knows what will happen with this storm.

Continue to keep Florida and other areas in the path of this storm in your prayers. The last hurricane we had here was Wilma in Oct. 2005 and it was very scary. We’re praying that Irma will turn northward and stay out off land. Time will tell. I-75, I-95 and the turnpike are bumper to bumper with people leaving.

Here are three pics. My Dear Husband cut hearts into the plywood, to let in a little light and we could see out a little also. The two guys thought that was really a sweet thing to do, and I think so too. These plywood pieces have seen better days, but still doing the job.

09-07-boarded-up

09-07-boarded-up2

09-07-boarded-up3

Tomorrow would have been our 48th anniversary. I sure do miss my ‘one of a kind’ man.

Below is a picture of a watercolor I painted many, many years ago. Drawn free hand and I’m no portrait painter, but I love the quirkyness of the painting. I love the twinkle in my DH’s eyes. Painted from a photo. Painting was given to an eccentric wealthy artist who collected paintings from people for an art museum down south of here. He in turn let us pick out a couple of pieces of artwork in trade. DH painted a painting also, if I find the photo we took of it, I’ll post it later.

We were much younger then.

09-07-wc-us

Ok, I’ve got more prep work to do, so that’s it for now.

Love & hugs ~ FlowerLady

I will close with the following from Grace Gems.

"Cast your burden upon the Lord--and He will sustain you." Psalm 55:22

The promise is not that the Lord will remove the load we cast upon Him, nor that He will carry it for us--but that He will sustain us so that we may carry it.
He does not free us from the duty--but He strengthens us for it.
He does not deliver us from the conflict--but He enables us to overcome.
He does not withhold or withdraw the trial from us--but He helps us in trial to be submissive and victorious, and makes it a blessing to us.
He does not mitigate the hardness or severity of our circumstances, taking away the difficult elements, removing the thorns, making life easy for us--but He puts Divine grace into our hearts, so that we can live sweetly in all the hard, adverse circumstances.

"My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!" Philippians 4:13

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Hurricane/s

Good afternoon Folks ~ It is Tuesday. After all of the coverage of Harvey, and seeing all of the devastation, which has been heartbreaking,  now FL is watching Irma, and then possibly another storm right behind.

I am trying to not ‘freak out’, and God keeps sending me verses about His care in different devotionals. All coming when I need the encouragement.

I miss my dear husband something awful. One day when I came home from work when he was sick and bedridden, he called out to me, “The verse of the day is, “Cast all your cares on Him for He cares for you.” That verse is found in 1 Peter 5:7. Wonderful, loving words of wisdom from my sweetie that I remember in times of stress.

This from Grace Gems was really good, from 3 Sept. was called “He Cares.”

----------------------------------

The object of God's tender, perfect and ceaseless care!

(James Smith, "Divine Care!" 1865)

"Casting all your care upon Him--for He cares for you!" 1 Peter 5:7

Our cares must be cast upon our God, or they will prove a burden too heavy for us--they will depress, bewilder, and make us wretched! (My underlining.)

WHO is it that cares for us?

It is the Lord Almighty--the high and lofty one who inhabits eternity, whose name is holy!
It is He whom the angels obey, the seraphim adore, and all creation glorifies!
It is the Lord--who is so great, that we have no adequate conception of His greatness!
It is He who is so good--that it is impossible fully to set forth His goodness!
It is He who is so glorious--that no sinner can see His face and live!
It is He who created all things with His Word!
It is He who governs all things by His wisdom!
It is He who upholds all things by His power!
It is He whose resources are infinite!
It is He whose compassion is exquisite!
It is He whose patience is without limit!

But though He is so exalted, so happy, and so unspeakably great--He cares for you!

He cares for you--as base as you are.
He cares for you--as sinful as you are.
He cares for you--as depressed and discouraged as you are.

HE cares for YOU!

May I pass through the present world under the impression, "I am the object of God's tender, perfect and ceaseless care!"

"Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall." Psalm 55:22

------------------------------------------

“Wait on the Lord, be of good courage and He shall strengthen your heart.”

Friends will be helping me board up Plum Cottage once again, and I’ve places to stay, either with family or friends. I have 4 feline girls to think about too.

Keep us 5 girls in your prayers and I’ll keep you posted.

Thank you ~ FlowerLady

09-01-mexican-petunia

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Moving along, one day at a time

Good afternoon Folks ~ Thanks again for all of your encouragement while I’ve been away from posting on my blog. To be frank, I got really depressed and discouraged, missing my husband, thinking about how to do all the things that need doing, take care of projects, what to do about my Etsy shop. I think things, reality, just caught up with me and I didn’t feel like writing posts for the sake of writing. I had many days of thinking, what is the use of doing anything. No energy, no motivation. Everything costs $, and it is a viscious cycle of trying to figure things out. I’m tired of it.

I am a believer in Jesus and know He works all things out, but I am also human with my doubts and faults, my fears and worries. He has seen me through these past few weeks and my gloom has been lifted. Each day is a gift and I want to ‘rejoice and be glad in each one’. Through rough times He draws us closer to Him. I’ve been reading several spiritually encouraging and uplifting books, plus reading my Bible and devotional books and emails.  All have been a blessing, a help in lifting me out of a down time.

The summer heat and humidity has drained me of energy. I’ve also been dealing with ‘tennis elbow’, right arm in pain.  Too much using my right hand with hand clippers for trimming hedges etc., and too much crocheting of ‘comfort blankets’ for others.  Do, do, do, rush, rush, rush, worry, worry, worry. All not condusive to a peaceful mind or healthy body.

Then, one morning Miss Tork starts limping, not walking on her back left paw. She seemed fine, still ate, didn’t look sick. My bed is high and I figured she must have hurt her foot jumping from the bed, or maybe onto the bed. I googled, I prayed, I worried, prayed some more and thanked Jesus for taking care of both of us. Her limping lasted about 6 days and she’s now doing just fine. I did go out and buy 3 black plastic cement mixing tubs, 27”L x 20”W x 6”D. Two for beds, and one for a new litter box as the old litter box had high sides, these would make her life easier. I thought of cutting up a memory foam mattress topper that we’d bought back when DH was ill, and cut 4 pcs. each for the two beds. Oh my goodness, instant hit. She loves these. I have one in the bedroom and one in the living room.

Here she is on my bed, antique, that we found dumped by the side of the road in Spain, while living there when DH was in the US Navy early 70’s.

07-miss-tork

Two pics below are of her in her new bed with the 4 layers of memory foam. My mattress is a tempurpedic that we’ve had since 2000 I think. It is a wonderful thing to sleep on. Miss Tork and I both sleep in comfort.

08-11-miss-tork

08-11-miss-tork2

I am so glad she is ok. She is such a dear little comfort to me.

***

Working on the living room is a slow going process. I have given a lot of books away, some I’m keeping of course, but I have to move them in order to be able to repair walls and paint in here. I’ve got some furniture to figure out what to do with, old record albums too. I went through a load of papers and catalogs that were DH’s from his stint in commodity trading, not of interest anymore to him and certainly not to me .

Below is how the living room looked a couple of days ago, before I took out empty boxes. It was all really getting to me, and getting the boxes out of there helped, plus putting some stuff away and elsewhere. I’ve some books going to the thrift store, more to the coffee shop library, and then some to the local library near me. I’ve got decor pieces to pack away until the living room is painted and set up with new book shelves and tv stand and new tv. It all takes time and energy, and help from my dear B-I-L when I am ready for him.

08-08-liv-rm-chaos2

08-08-liv-rm-chaos

***

On the gardening front, I’ve lost a couple of things from neglect. That makes me sad. My electric lawn mower has been acting up, not always starting so that I think there is a loose wire. A friend is going to take the mower home where he can take the molded plastic top off and see what the deal is. He gave me a pair of long handled lopers for help with trimming shrubs, etc. I had to buy a new pair of my regular clippers as the old one were finally shot. Used them for years.

While trimming along the front hedge a few weeks back, I got stung by two different insects on the same day. The first one hurt for a short period of time, the second one lasted into the next day. Sheesh!

Below is a photo taken in early one morning with gray, rainy skies. I loved the colors.

07-13-morning-colors

Photos below taken this morning.

‘Secret jungle cottage garden’ looking northwest.

08-23-secret-garden2

Looking east, excuse the hose.

08-23-secret-garden

Meyer Lemon ‘slowly’ turning yellow. I have three fruit on my little tree.

08-23-meyer-lemon

Mexican Key Lime ~ There are 4 of these on this little bush. This one is the largest. Our 48th anniversary is coming up in a couple of weeks, so I’ll use this for a margarita. Smile

08-23-mex-key-lime

Below is a series of the ‘Hugs-n-kisses’ hibiscus, bought soon after my dear husband left this planet. When I saw these blooms at HD, from across a couple of isles, I made a bee line to them and when I read the name, the little shrub just jumped right into my cart. Smile No two blooms are alike, some have more yellow in them, some more purple, I love them all.  Photos below are all of the same bloom at different times during today.

08-23-hugs-n-kisses

08-23-hugs-n-kisses2

taken a couple of hours later.

08-23-hugs-n-kisses3

Later.

08-23-hugs-n-kisses4

Later still

08-23-hugs-n-kisses5

Last one for the day.

08-23-hugs-n-kisses7

Pink hibiscus earlier this morning and a little while ago.

08-23-pink-hib

08-23-pink-hib2

Popcorn cassia, when you brush by these leaves they smell like popcorn, hense the name. The Cassia butterflies use this to lay their eggs on and then the ‘cats’ eat the leaves. The bloom is just starting to open on this one.

08-23-popcorn-cassia

Plumbago

08-23-plumbago

Spicy Jatropha

08-23-spicy-jatropha

Skipper butterfly

08-23-skipper

08-23-skipper-cl-up

Zebra longwings on hamelia paten flowers, favorties of theirs. Sorry the picture is so dark. The background was very bright. I did lighten the photo a bit so you could at least see the butterflies.

08-23-zebra-longwings

I’ve been on a diet where you diet for three days, eat normal for 4 days.  I’ll let you know how it goes. Below are two of the meals, one breakfast and one lunch. You get to have black coffee no sweetener and/or tea, no sweetener. I’m always glad when I can have both sweetened again on non-diet days. I only drink coffee in the mornings. Tea I drink occasionally sweetened with honey, sugar or agave.  Depending on what I feel like. I drink water all day long. Three different meals each of the three diet days. The diet can be found online.

Breakfast one day.

08-23-diet-breakfast

Lunch one day. This was my lunch today. Tomorrow I get to eat normal again. Yay!

08-16-diet-lunch

***

I am still crocheting ‘comfort’ lapghans, but at a slower pace and not hours on end, to give my poor arm a rest. I’ve been creating these since losing my DH. A friend had given me a little flannel comfort/prayer blanket after my DH left and it was a comfort. I read about them online and decided to start making shawls and or small lapghans. (I don’t know how many of these I’ve made.) Some have been for widows, some for people going through cancer treatments, some dealing with depression. I pray while I crochet. I enjoy doing this. I’m working on two different ones right now. These below were all made this year, plus 2-3 more that I don’t have pics of. The granny square works up pretty fast. well, in a week if I hustle and don’t do anything else.

02-07-lapghan-ros

04-01-vicki-blanket

comfort-blanket-aqua-gray2

sue-d-blanket-for-aunt

for-ola

I also had an order for a heart for a dance instructor who was retiring. Will be delivering that to the lady who ordered it this week. We are having lunch together.

08-10-penni-for-dance-teacher

As far as my Etsy shop goes, I don’t know if I will reopen it or not. Filing paperwork for a fictitious name and a sales tax # is daunting. For now, I’m not going to worry about this. This whole little venture was to supplement my income. I have been stressed about income since I lost my job of 17 years 2 years after losing DH. As a believer in Jesus, I am not to worry about anything, sometimes easier said than done. When my husband was ill his last 4 months, he called out to me from bed when I got home from work one afternoon and said, The verse of the day is “Cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” This has come to mind over and over in the last 4 years and 8 months.

This morning during my devotional time I read the following bits.

“Even to your old age, I am He, and even to gray hairs I will carry you.”  God~The Bible

From ‘Jesus Always’ ~ “When tests & challenges come at you from all sides, consider it a joyful opportunity.  Don’t waste energy regretting the way things are. Instead of being overwhelmed by all the difficulties, grasp My hand with confident trust.”

So, with that ,I will close this long post.

Love & hugs & thank yous,

from

FlowerLady