Monday, March 31, 2014



We just closed on our new house today... downsizing significantly, but I'm happy as a clam. Downsizing has opened up amazing possibilities… like me being able to stay home. My biggest dream ever!
And now finally able to move to our own little house… moving half way across the country, leaving behind loved ones, history, reminiscences, recollections and moments and years and life, then renting, finding the right home, it all have been quite an adventure for us with a smidgen of loneliness added and some gloomy days too. But thankfulness and faith and hope abounding.

And here we are now. A year ago today… where was I? Fragmented by circumstances and shaped by the unmerited demands of others. And how God has favored me and bestowed his immensurable mercies upon this speck of dust that I am... how grateful I am and humbled by this demonstration of grace.

Our little cottage might not be perfect, but we're making it our own by remodeling the kitchen, painting, replacing the old carpet in the sunroom with hardwood floors, etc…

I’ve been busy getting estimates, defining the costs for labor, and contracting people. Got all the necessary materials ready and today two of the man I hired to do the labor came by. They have all they need to start the job.
And the yard? A field of lovely weeds. So much work to do, it’s overwhelming at times. But I close my eyes and listen to the birds. I hear the hammering music of the woodpecker on the tall trees, the cardinals swooping down in the low hedges out in the privet; the chattering and chirpings of the magpies and bluejays and robins galore. If I listen closer, I hear the breeze in the grass around me, and the purring of a kitty that, by the way, came by to say hi and offered his welcomes today…

Ah yes, without a doubt I’ve found my new sacred space.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Snow White cottage

We went by to see the little white cottage again on the day when all the snows came down from the mountains and took possession of the lowlands for a whole day and its night… 

I could had not loved it more then… buried as it was in all the purity and freshness of snow; under a clear blue sky with glorious shades of pink and gold near the morning horizon. 

It was bitterly cold that morning, and spring seemed a long way off. Yet, I felt warm inside me and happy and silly as can be as I went around and about taking notes with my eyes and mind fully immersed in my surroundings. 

The lot where the little white cottage is situated lays at the bottom of a hillside, and thus, when you drive down the hill the first thing you’d see is the house surrounded by big trees, like some fairytale little cottage in a clearing among the big trees of some enchanted forest. 

We know that houses at the bottom of a hill are more prone to flooding than houses at the top of a hill. But we don't have a basement, and the ditch (my little creek) which runs through our backyard and throughout the whole neighborhood is there to channel water and direct floods away from homes and outbuildings. So hopefully we should be safe in that aspect.

We get the keys to our little white cottage this coming Monday.  No time to waste.  But first things first... a landscaping company will be there too to begin right away with the removing of trees and stumps and the cleaning and opening up of the area of what's to be the garden.  I'm excited!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Love at first sight

It cannot exactly be said that our little white cottage in the woods was a conscious discovery; nor have I a sensible explanation on how I happened upon it one morning other than perhaps it was the house itself that enticed us to it?

Certainly, there were forces beyond our understanding working on our behalf in finding what it was to be our new home in this new chapter of our lives.

Finding the type of home that suited us best, considering our lifestyle, housing needs and budget, wasn't any easy task. We spent months searching, but there was always something that kept us from making a decision... including someone once putting a higher bid just minutes after we had put up an offer on a house we really liked, and the owner accepting it. Which at the time was very baffling to us… but certainly, God had something far better on His infinite loving mind for us—a less than perfect little white cottage, but certainly a cottage in perfect accordance to the secrets desires of my heart…

One evening, after searching houses online almost to a point of exhaustion as we had been doing for months; I put together a list of some houses I wanted to see.  The following morning I drove through several neighborhoods looking for these addresses.  I had no idea in the first place what got me to include our little white cottage to my list because there was nothing to it that could possibly had gotten me interested by just looking at the only photograph the realtors had posted on their website.  And being the visual type of a person that I am, I would had not normally bothered seeing it.  But there I was that morning, driving through the hilly neighborhood.

I was about ready to leave the neighborhood when all of a sudden, coming down a very step road, off of a dense wooded area, nature opened up and there it was—the little white cottage; pristine like the morning itself, and shinning like a diamond among all other houses in the neighborhood. 

I was instantly charmed by it...  It was like having walked into a clearing in the middle of the woods and suddenly discovering Snow White’s little cottage. 

Because our little white cottage lays on a corner lot, and I had gotten there by a side road that morning, I couldn't really tell that this was actually the house I was looking for.  Imagine my surprise and absolute joy when after driving down the front of the house I discovered the 'for sale' sign on the lawn and noticed the address.  

Surprise and astonishment cannot express what I felt then. And the amazement grew stronger and deeper as soon as I got out of the car and headed towards the back yard...  You see, what I found there was beyond my wildest expectations—I was in the midst of an aviary… dozen of birds were congregated on a little mound right in the heart of the backyard. Immediately to my mind came the sign I’d asked God for:  “A single bird” on a tree, Lord, as a sign that you are guiding us.

The next thing that took my breath away was the pond.  A little cement pond; cracked and dirty.  I had always dreamt of having a pond where I could grew Koi fishes and water lilies… but I had never expected this amount of real joy. Oh can you not see it?  Not see all the possibilities?  Koi fishes and frogs and birds and maybe a majestic Great Egret to surprise me on a quiet afternoon? And around the pond pink roses, hydrangeas, coneflowers, Dahlias, Solomon’s Plume and Hostas and  mountain mint and Angelica and asters and Blue mistflower and water-borne flowers for the pond!  Water lilies and lotus and brilliant red cardinal flowers and white or purple pickerel rush… swamp Jessamine, creeping gardenia, Lenten rose… excitement! 

My heart already envisioning the possibilities, the joys and wonders and thankfulness… and above me I could see God smiling down at me.   

The small backyard was nothing close to what I had originally in mind for a backyard. In fact, it is a small lot and it is in total shambles right now.  Weeds are growing everywhere, and it's looking more like a wild onion field right now than a backyard.  But the possibilities are endless and what I saw that morning kept me wishing for more... like some magical hanging baskets of joy and fairy lights coming down from heaven twinkling down over me. 

And right off the pond what did I see?  A little sunroom filled with sunshine and glory.  How I always, but always wanted a sunroom!  None of the houses we’d seen till then have had a sunroom. This was definitely an added blessing.   

Right off the edge of what constitutes the backyard laid a thick wooded area of privet and broken branches.  Several huge trees that fallen down at one point; exposed roots already growing new shoots, and more privet everywhere.  A discouraging sight at first indeed, but then from the midst of all that rubble came the songs of birds… I listed.  I searched.  And oh the privet was populated by songbirds by the dozens, all of them, including Nature itself, lullabying my morning.

Where others may see only work and wasted land I see hidden treasures everywhere.  Back at the house in the roses, the city has a Nature Center where I used to go often.  In a certain corner of the park, there is a little refuge for birds where snags and dead trees abound.  Snags are Habitat. Snags are "animal inns" that provide homes for wildlife species including insects woodpeckers, owls, songbirds, squirrels, raccoons, snakes, frogs, and salamanders. I remember sitting for hours in a little stone bench, observing how birds, and squirrels and nature all joined hands together in a harmonic connection; simultaneously praising their Creator for every goodness there is on earth… and now wonderfully for me, now I had found my very own Nature Center in my very own backyard… how astonishing, and utterly happy I feel.

The surprises kept mounting.  The following day I brought my husband to see this little white cottage I’d discovered… I was astounded and elated with joy when he guided me further into the privet and showed me the little creek running among old branches and tickets, right through our property…

Hiding in dense shrubbery we also found a little bridge which long ago had served as the link which connected the backyard to the woods beyond…

Can you imagine? Can you imagine what I felt then?  Bliss, excitement, delight, and imagination put to high, and astonishment.  Total astonishment. And thankfulness.
How can I say thank you enough Father?  And how can this little speck of dust that I am can sing enough praises to your name; Thou who art my refuge, and my protector and my song.

 I have many more stories to tell already about this creek and privet land... much more.  But I will tell you more in another post… stay tune and come back to share my joy!

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