Keeping A Brave Heart


Three years ago, we rolled up our sleeves and jumped head first into a mess of a house.  As a way to cope, I created this blog and have lurve-lurve-lurved all the connections and possibilities it has opened.

Now it is time to roll my sleeves up again and try-try-try to get my new site which I am calling “Keeping Up with Mrs. Smith” up and running.

A new site??

Yes.  A new site with the capacity for even more possibilities!

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But like most things in life, this transition has been…tricky.

A lot has gone wrong.

Stuff hasn’t worked.

Cursing and screaming have ensued.

For 7 months I have tried and failed and tried and failed again to get this new site up.

But I guess 7 months is not long compared to the 3 years [and more to come!] of blood, sweat, tears, penny-pinching and overall suffering we have already put into home ownership!

In short, this house has made me fighter and has given me a brave heart to push for more, more, more.

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(Be honest: Do I look like William Wallace…or more like a creature from Avatar?)

Push, push, push is all I have been doing ever since I got laid off at work at the beginning of July.  The day my position was terminated, I packed up my stuff, turned in my keys, went grocery shopping and later shampooed a rug.

It is a bit scary being unemployed, but the way I see it, I am getting paid in time instead of money.  I’ve felt so pressed for time this past year that I don’t want to waste one minute of this season in my life!

So furniture is getting painted, walls are being decorated and tomatoes are getting canned (kinda like me–haha, jk).

All I have left is to see this website through….

So with that said, I will not be posting on here for a week or maybe two while I figure it all out for hopefully the last time.  The next time we talk I will (FINGERS CROSSED) be inviting you to keep up with me at my new corner of the Internet.

Thank you all so MUCH for reading my tales.  I have enjoyed being the Clyde Woman, and I still am a Clyde Woman, but now I can be more than just a Clyde Woman.

Does that make any sense?

You all have been amazing and I am so blessed that you take the time to read and comment on my words.  (To a blogger, that is like getting a massage and a back scratch AND a pedicure all at the same time!!) 

I cannot wait to see you on the other side where there will be even more recipes, projects and cat stories to share.

I hope…

A Clyde Woman in Vegas


I’ve never liked Las Vegas, and I despise road trips.

So feel free to laugh when I tell you that I just got back from a 2,130-mile round-trip drive to Sin City.

Las Vegas has never been on my list of places to visit.  In fact, I’d rather go to a rodeo than go to Vegas.

Wait.

I take that back.

I really hate rodeos.

Anyway, deserts and gambling and overall mayhem have never been my cup of tea.  So when my friend Colleen asked me to accompany her to a Lambeth cake conference at a Vegas resort, I really had to think hard about it.  In the end, it was Dave who encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and go.

And though I never tried a slot machine or even visited the Strip for that matter, this trip opened my eyes to just how BIG the world is and just how small I am in it.

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I mean, who wouldn’t feel small staring into the Grand Canyon??

It knocks the wind right out of you.

It hushes you to silence.

Look at those storm clouds passing through the canyon.  Unbelievable!!  I asked a man to take my picture and, unbeknownst to me, he snapped an extra one of my shocked face.

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I know.  I look like a possum in this picture.

But standing in the presence of such majesty makes your face do weird things.  I literally could have stood there all day with my mouth hanging open.

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The canyon was so massive my eyes could not fathom its depths.  It was like staring into one of those 3-D posters but never finding the hidden image.

In attempt to gain more perspective, I reached out to grab what little understanding I could.  If only I could have brought a handful back with me.

The next big thing Colleen and I encountered was Hoover Dam.

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Damn.

Throngs of people from all over the world were milling around in 110-degree heat just to see this contraption that controls water flow.  And even though it was a looooong and deadly way down, that water sure did look tempting!

Once we got to the resort, it was time to feel small again.

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The place was luxurious and intimidating to this country bumpkin, and I’m glad we never made it to the strip.  After all the miles we had driven, all that we had seen and all our resort had to offer, I think seeing more would have overwhelmed me.

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Wait.

I was already overwhelmed.

But you know what I mean.

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I was elated to find grapes on the vines of the resort’s vineyard.  Fresh, free fruit ready for the picking?  Now THIS was something my little brain could absorb.

Sticking with the familiar, I spent the next couple days picking and eating a lot of grapes and swimming laps in the smallest of the resort’s three pools.

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(Note to self: Install a lap pool.)

Finally, it was time to go home, and I was more than ready to get back to my life of cats and canning jam and painting furniture.

A couple hours into the drive, however, my eyes were opened wide again as we passed a fatal accident.  I stared the crumpled mass that was once a pick-up truck praying that no one was still in there.

But there was.

I gasped and cried out at the horrifying sight of the trapped and mangled driver, hoping he was still alive and at the same time…hoping he wasn’t.

In a weird way, I felt like I was at the Grand Canyon again staring out into something so big that my brain simply couldn’t fathom it.  Somehow, man can build miles and miles of roads, hike deep canyons, build massive damns and cities…and, in an instant, be tossed about and crushed so quickly, so easily.  My brain was in knots trying to make sense of it all.

Needless to say, arriving home safely the next day felt more like a privilege than an expected outcome, and I hugged my husband and my cats all the more tightly for it.

Gosh.  How to finish this entry?

I’m so thankful for the opportunity to go and see all the things I saw–even though they were too big for me to comprehend.  If anything, those experiences have made me appreciate even more the little life we enjoy here in Clyde, America.

Being Where You Are


Your big opportunity may be right where you are now. -Napoleon Hill

Imagine how much different life would look if you believed in this statement!

Would you wake up each day more hopeful?  Would you feel lighter; more content?

Ever since we got back from our lovely, lovely trip to Maine this past September, I’ve been struggling to be where I am.  Thoughts like “Is Clyde the best we can do?” and “Are better opportunities waiting for us somewhere else?” have all but made me want to quit making improvements on our house, working in our garden, even engaging in our community.

However, a few weeks ago, while lying awake at night, I decided to make an evaluation on what life was really like where we were.

“Let’s see,” I pondered, “We have great friends and connections, friendly neighbors, we have a place in the community, we are close to family, we have a neat house with a big yard, the cost of living here is low…”

Though I didn’t want to admit it, life sounded good.  And my evaluation made me wonder:

If your life isn’t broken, then why try to fix it?

After all, even though Clyde is not near the beach or the forest or even an IKEA, it is a place where good things have happened and are happening and will happen.

And no matter where Dave and I wind up, this week’s inspiring post from The Nester still applies:

Print by Lara Casey

Print by Lara Casey

Despite having a good life, it only took me one week to become totally discontent with it.

On the bright side, it only took me nine months to get that contentment back.

I mean, I won’t say that I’ll never look on New England with longing again, but I can’t afford to let greener grass stop me from being where I am and doing what I’ve always wanted to do.

How about you?

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P.S.

Thanks to my friend Rachel for sharing and inspiring me with Hill’s lovely quote.

Dear Momma


Dear Momma,

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Thank you for teaching me that fresh cucumber slices refresh the skin.

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And thank you for everything else that makes you my Momma:

Like sewing our Easter dresses when we were young.

And making homemade bread and apricot-pineapple jam.

For growing tomatoes and sunflowers.

For your eagerness to laugh.

For your industriousness.

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Thank you for blueberry muffin breakfasts on the front porch.

For feeding the hummingbirds.

For your gentle direction.

For your company and conversation.

We love you so much, Momma.

Happy Mother’s Day!

momma

My Favorite Room In Our House


Half the fun of nearly everything, you know, is thinking about it beforehand, or afterward.

-Howard R. Garis

What is your most favorite room in your house?

There are so many to choose from: the kitchen (were you get to eat!), the bedroom (where you get to sleep!), the bathroom–(nevermind!).

For me, it’s our study.

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I love everything about this little space: its coziness, its built-in bookshelves, its funky walls, its own separate entrance.  (Strangely, our house has two front doors.)

Most of all, I love how creative I feel in this room.

In fact, it’s my dream of dreams to set up shop and blog full-time here.

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Of course…I will need a dream desk on which to work.

A dream desk like this one:

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And since our study is a perfect place for enjoying a nice cup of tea, I imagine my work day will include a tea time.

Of course…I can’t finish a whole pot of Earl Grey by myself, so do please come over for a cuppa from time to time!

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Oh dear.

Sorry about that.

Currently, our study is home to the cat tree.

Can you see me now?

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Sigh!

On days when I need an extra dose of faith that dreams do come true, I recall the 9-year-old version of myself who dreamed of one day owning a house with a study.

So thank you, unknown person who built our house, for setting aside a wee space for thought and stillness.

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Now…if only I had a fat, comfy chair to think and be still in.

Poof!

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There!  Perfect.

I tend to get impatient when I think about the life I want to have, but as the quote says above, half the fun of nearly anything is thinking about it beforehand and afterwards.

Perhaps in doing so we will prolong the enjoyment of the good things we want in life?  🙂

So until our study can be my full-time creation station banana-fana-fo-fation, I will continue to drift away in delicious reverie…

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What are your dreams?

I’d love to hear them!

That Time I Killed Something and Ate It


It’s been a crazy week so let’s end it on a crazy note, k?

So, have you ever killed something and ate it?

(Wow.  What a rhetorical question considering that here in Texas almost everybody has freezers stocked with animals they’ve killed and are planning to eat.)

Though I could never butcher a chicken or a cow, there was this one time…

That Time I Killed Something and Ate It

Back in September, while visiting our lovely friends in Maine, we purchased some lobsters from one character of a man at a roadside stand. 

(I mean he was a CHARACTER!  Just like Popeye incarnate.)

However, the excitement of having only paid $20 for three lobsters melted away the minute I opened the bag and peeked in at the wriggling creatures.

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“Uhh…I don’t think I can do this.”

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“Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek!”

Not an attractive expression, but then again, not an attractive task.

(BTW, have I ever told you that my nose does weird things in certain lighting?  Well, it does.)

Anyway, I started the water, muttered a quick prayer over the crustaceans, and…well…carried on with dinner.

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“OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD OH GAAAAAaawwwwwwD!!!!!”

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“I’M SORRY I’M SORRY I’M SORRY I’M SORRY I’M SORRY I’M SORRY I’M SOoooorrrrrRRY!!!!”

Once the last of the lobsters were in, I slammed the lid on the pot and shed a few tears.

However, just twenty minutes later…

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…my tears dried and my smile returned.  After all, the little lobsters were now in lobster heaven and dinner was ready!

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So with that, we ate them.

(Steaming lobster any time soon?  Cook them according to these instructions.)

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This post was brought to you by my favorite Far Side cartoon:

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