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!

Mrssmithideas2

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.

braveface

(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.

grandcanyonlight

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.

grandcanyonawe

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.

grandcanyonhand

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.

Hooverdam

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.

greenvalleyresort

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.

greenvalleycabans

Wait.

I was already overwhelmed.

But you know what I mean.

greenvalleygrapes

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.

greenvalleypool

(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?

ushouse

P.S.

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

Let Us Fight For Jams and Jellies!


Politics.

With the exception of John Stewart’s The Daily Show or Saturday Night Live’s depictions of our country’s leaders, I avoid politics.

Politics make me grumpy, apathetic, lame.

UNLESS it involves food!

CLbread

For those you who are not familiar with the Texas Baker’s Bill, it allows certain foods like breads, jams and relishes to be sold from homes but NOT from anywhere else.

Though it is a wonderful thing for home bakers to earn money for their creations, it is unfortunate that these creations are not allowed at places such as farmers markets.

And here is where I become impassioned about politics:

Last summer, I shared about our town’s sweet little farmer’s market.

FMbooth

Our produce is prime, our crafts are crafty, but what really makes our market unique are items such as Linnie’s mesquite bean jelly, Camilla’s award-winning relish and Hilary’s zucchini bread.

zucc

Sadly, we have had to ask our vendors to keep these foods at home this year because they are not allowed at farmers markets.

BUT THERE IS HOPE!

HB 970, a food freedom bill that passed the Senate and House, is awaiting a pass or veto from our governor, Rick Perry.  He has until June 16 to either allow or ban the sale of certain homemade foods at [Texas] farmers markets such as bread and jams and jellies.  You can read the full bill here.

Again, when it comes to politics or letting my voice be heard I feel apathetic.  I mean, does my voice really matter?

In this situation, I say YES!

YES because not only do our voices matter, but our farmers markets matter.

The freedom to share good homemade food with a larger population matters.

jam

Feel the same and want your voice to be heard?

Call (512) 463-2000 or email at http://governor.state.tx.us/contact/assistance.aspx and ask that Governor Perry vote in favor of HB 970.

Thank you for reading and allowing me to share my political opinions with you. 

I’m stepping off my soapbox now.

Besides, I think hear a piece of zucchini bread calling my name….