feeling prosperous - an exercise

I'm reading Julia Cameron's The Prosperous Heart. The assignment it to fill in the blank: I felt prosperous when _______.

I felt prosperous when I was newly divorced living on Smith Street. Of course, I've never articulated that thought before. Upon moving in, I quickly began the old house's makeover. For wall paint, I chose pink and blue and it was a lovely, tasteful combination. The blue was called Mirage Blue and it was on the window and door trim. The wall paint was a mauvish pink called Ashes of Roses. Such a fitting name since I was recently divorced from a Rose.

It was a character-filled home and I believed with all my heart God provided it. When I knew divorce was imminent, I started praying for specific things. I thought an "upstairs house," as Stephanie called them, would help her adjust to our new life as a family of three. And it did. She was ecstatic with her new house with an upstairs bedroom.

When I made my specific prayer list for a house, it also included a hardwood floor and French doors. The Smith Street house had French doors in the living room and the bathroom had a hardwood floor. I loved that house. I had looked at several houses and this was the one that screamed, "This is it!," when I walked in that first time.

It needed lots of work and I set to painting and beautifying it. I get a bit exhausted thinking about it but at the time it was just what I needed for distraction.

One day I came home from work and found all my friends in my house having a painting bee. Unbeknownst to me, they got the key from my sister and proceded to help out with my huge paint job. It was a beautiful expression of love and support. I was very touched. (Looking back, I hope I adequately expressed my gratitude. I certainly hope I did because I was enormously grateful.)

Eventually the house got all beautified and I was so proud of it. It always smelled good (potpourri) and was clean. It expressed who I was and I think that is why I felt prosperous. It was my haven; a clean, tasteful haven that smelled nice.

While living in that house, I was walking close to God and hadn't yet been overtaken by pride. I was still fairly humble and innocent and living in peace.

The key points of this journey of exploring when I felt prosperous leads me to these highlights:

-- I felt close to God. He answered specific prayers and it demonstrated His loving concern about the details of my life.

-- I had caring friends.

-- The house expressed me. Paint colors and decor that accurately reflected my taste.

-- It was my haven. Clean, fragrant, peaceful. It was a delightful home.

august's photo diary

August 2012 photo diary

August's photo diary is undramatic, largely because my cell phone is currently my only camera and it takes undramatic pictures, at best. Secondly, August has consisted of lots of cleaning and organizing.

1. Deborah's clean bedroom; she went to Arkansas on August 13 and I cleaned her room that day. I go in there everyday to pray for her.

2. View of the stairs from my recliner.

3. View of my downstairs "thinking spot." The three paintings behind my recliner are Hannah's creations. The one on the left was painted by Gordon's Aunt Lipjke in Holland.

4. Hannah at her McDonald's job. I'm so proud of her. She's been at McDonalds over a month now. Yay Hannah.

5. On August 27, St. Albert Happiness Project launched. There were 15 ladies there and it went very well.

6. My mother-in-law gave Gordon this painting of his father. She had a painting made from a photo of him and then made each of the kids a copy. It hangs in our family room and I LOVE it.

7. The family room. Gordon and I rearranged and organized the family room this month. Our home almost feels like an empty nest. It's lots cleaner now that it's just us. Hannah still lives here, but she's not here very often.

8. A catapiller. I saw two of these this month and think they are so pretty.

9. Casanova on Deborah's bed. He has such a hard life.

I only took 9 photos this month, under-achieving photographer that I am.

The biggest, most dramatic thing in our month was Deborah going to Arkansas for school. What was I thinking not capturing pictures of that? I wasn't "thinking," I was too busy feeling.

weather and such

Thermometer in dec 09

This is the thermometer outside my kitchen window and this is what she looks like right now. Two nights ago Edmonton was the second coldest spot on the earth -- a chilly -47 degrees. With the windchill it was -56. Somewhere in Siberia was -48, giving it the #1 coldest title.

One thing I love about Canada is how the weather makes us strong. Seriously, Canadians are tough. It was -40 yesterday and church was about as full as always; people still shovel their sidewalks; still drive; still go shopping; the kids still walk to school, . . . The necessity to carry on makes Canadians strong and I love that.

Here are a couple photos of my backyard this morning. While I was out there to take a picture of the thermometer, I snapped some backyard scenes.

Snow chairs  

2009 dec misc 009


rachael's "new" bedroom

We finally finished Rachael's bedroom. I was out of "the zone" on this one, biting my nails hoping she'd like it. She does. She actually quite loves it.
Copy (1) of 001The "MUSIC" painting above the window was a labor of love from her daddy. She had drawn it in pencil. Instead of painting over it, like I would have done, Gordon carefully painted it. He's so sweet and thoughtful that way.

She saw this tree dilly at IKEA and thought it was pretty sweet. It's the one decoration in her room that I kind of dig. The rest, not too much.

Rachael is forever writing and drawing on her walls. Hence, the chalkboard. Most people do the chalkboard paint for their toddlers. We did it for one of the teenagers....


And these lovely (not) pieces015 of art, Rachael chose herself. They are stairs -- it took me a while to figure that out. She loves them, I think their mildly ridiculous and not-so-mildly ugly.

As for the masks, Rachael is kind of into masks. Yuk.

 Used chalkboard

And this is her chalkboard a few days after it cured. This is going to be fun.

Rachael, do your homework first.

Clean this pigsty.

You should speak nicely to me -- some day I'll die and you'll be racked with regret.

But of course I'll also leave notes with Bible verses and Robert Munch poetry. After all, that's what well-adjusted good moms do.

I think we're all going to like the chalkboard.

hannah's bedroom

Here's the finished product of Hannah's room update. As you can see, she's quite the collector.

We're pleased with the outcome and looking forward to the little Hannah Banana seeing it.

005 003 001


Hannah's room 4

PS Hannah has a thing for animal calendars. There were three on her wall when I started this project and I'm betting she hangs the other two when she settles in. My little Hannah will be home tomorrow. :-)

renos update

You know I've been busy on my kitchen. This is a picture. Again, nothing elaborate, but definitely much fresher. The color of the wall is "tweed" and it's actually a green/brown. It matches the rest of the house very nicely. Also, I hope in the near future to get new counter-tops.

Also, a picture of my newly painted bedroom wall. I only did this treatment on one wall. Yes, our bedroom is as small as it looks in this picture. Small, yet adequate. In this picture, I hadn't decorated yet, so it looks pretty plain.


Close your eyes... Imagine... Tranquil green meadows, a turquoise lake, melodious songbirds, blue skies, warm sunshine. Awhh. Peace and beauty.

Now snap out of that sweet daydream and enter my reality. A full house of furniture shoved haphazardly into two small bedrooms; clothes needed, yet unreachable; library books overdue sitting in a bag in the far corner, right behind the stereo that's on top of the dresser. This is my life this week and perhaps next week too.

Nerves are raw, emotions taxed, the clothes we can get to are wrinkled. Yes, chaos.

As I've mentioned before, we are giving the house a little (doesn't feel little) makeover. This week the hardwood floors are being refinished. Was it not for the fumes, I'd invite you for a sneak preview, - oh, but the piano is in the front door and that makes visitors ill-at-ease: "Here just climb over. Put your left foot here, give me your hand and I'll pull you..." That's the part that makes people cringe.

The kitchen is barely habitable for the sofa standing against the wall and the chairs on the table. We are coping though and it's not as bad as I had imagined. My beloved is helping me lots by taking us out to eat and bringing home fast food.

Poor Lucy. She's stressed right out. She threw up all evening Monday and now she's hiding under a bed.

If all goes well, we can move the furniture back where it belongs on Saturday, but we probably won't as we still need to paint and install new baseboards. We haven't agreed on paint colors yet. Last night I said, whatever, just choose something.

Only the excitement of the house changes is keeping us sane. But the floor looks great.

a re-made bathroom

(Our house on Hastey Street, Mena Arkansas 1985)
HasteyWhen Kent and I lived on Hastey Street, we got a man to redo our master bathroom. He was a "professional," yet out of work. He made a royal mess out of it and charged us 2 1/2 times his estimate. To complicate things, the man was a member of our church and a preacher on the side. All the signs were there, but we didn't see them. We thought we would all be winners in this arrangement.

Let's call the professional Ralph. He was about five feet tall, at best 5.2.

Ralph worked on our bathroom for days. We looked at it daily, looking forward to it coming together and being a bathroom we could be proud of. We got less and less optimistic as the days went by. I was ready to throw the man a bone and be done with him when I saw he had textured the walls by putting sand in the paint. It was shaping up hardly better than it had been before he started.

The day came when he was "finished." We paid him more than double his estimate, but were very unhappy with his work. Trying to be "Christian" about the whole thing, we didn't even mention our dissatisfaction. Kent and I were both striving to have a good attitude. We didn't talk about Ralph, but oh, how we wanted to!

The bathroom was an expensive mess. The shower was the most disappointing thing. The shower door was directly in front of the nozzle. We had two options when showering; we could 1) get in, shut the door, hold our breath and try to be absorbed by the wall till the ice cold water warmed up, or we could 2) open the shower door, turn on the water, slam the door quickly then, when the water warmed up, open the shower door, spraying the floor yet again, and jump in as quickly as possible to minimize the pool of water on the bathroom floor. They were poor options, but we chose to spray the bathroom floor with every shower.

Lest you think that was the only problem with the shower, let me assure you it was not. As I mentioned, Ralph was around five feet tall. And, the height of the shower nozzle was perfectly suited for someone five feet tall. Kent and I were forced to do back bends or knee squats to wash our hair. We were seriously unimpressed, but we tried very hard to be "Christian," resisting every urge to complain.

One day Kent came out of the bathroom wearing a disgusted look. "You know, every time I take a shower I wish I had Ralph, like this," he said bitterly as he clamped his hand as if squeezing a set of balls.

Our ban on talking about Ralph was suddenly lifted. I roared with laughter. It felt good to be set free, to complain, unrestrained.

bedroom update and turn signals

I've had a busy weekend. Hannah and Rachael went to Winter Camp. We had to fight the weather to get there, but we went and returned today safely.
(Hannah and Frodo, 2005)
Hannah and Frodo in Hannah's bedroomWhile they were gone, I gave Hannah's room an update. A friend had remarked that Hannah's room was babyish, and that didn't set well with me, so I made it more 9-year-oldish. The whole makeover cost $4. Isn't that amazing? I left the initial yellow paint but painted glow-in-the-dark pink, orange, lime green dots in varying sizes. Now one wall is polka dots. It's so cute and Hannah loves it. We need that bratty little friend to come over again. This time she will be green with envy. That project dominated my weekend.

Church was painful this morning. 36 people were there. 18 months ago we had at least 100, and it was vibrant. It's anything but vibrant now. Pastor preached about being in the wilderness and he might as well been speaking straight at me as that was how I felt. Church isn't what it was. I pray this wilderness period doesn't go on a long time. I was encouraged by the sermon, very encouraged.

On the drive home, Gordon got side-tracked in the middle of changing lanes. For some reason he kept driving in the one lane but his turn signal was on. I crankily said, "You need to pee or get off the pot." Just as crankily he retorted, "You need to be kind or shut-up."