Tuesday, April 24, 2012

4/24/12 - 39 + 5 = Success

My garage sale on Saturday was a success thanks to my wonderful sister and family that came to help me out.  My sister Sheree brought her 2 daughters and DIL and one of her daughters brought a friend!  Count ‘em – I had 5! people helping me.  I was worried I wouldn’t have any and I had 5 helpers!  It was wonderful!  I could not have done it without them - especially since I was up for 39 hours straight in preparation for the stupid thing.  Can you imagine me dealing with the crowds that showed up by myself after having had no sleep?!?

I had “stuff” everywhere – inside and outside.  I was really glad I had help with the flow of traffic.  We were so busy I wasn’t able to take many pictures, but here’s a picture of my niece and her friend putting up a sign at the end of my street.  The first set of signs blew over.  It was one of my customers that suggested we tape the signs to boxes and hold ‘em down with rocks.  Who knew?  All in all we put out 6 signs and I advertised on CL.  That’s all I did and it was enough to keep traffic going all day.  I was very grateful.  Woohoo!

This is all that was left for the Thrift Store to pick up.

So it was definitely a success.  I still have more boxes of papers to go through in the garage though, and I’m running out of time and stressing.  Ready or not, I have to move on Saturday.  I must admit that I’m not much fun to be around these days.  I wish I could get away from me for awhile, but once again, in the profound words of my late, great friend R.T. Miles, “Wherever I go, there I am.”  LOL.

It’s nice to know that all of the “things” that were important to me went to really great homes.  It may sound silly since they’re just “things” but some of them were really important to me.  You already know the story of my C&I china and the china hutch, the reconnect with old friends, etc., but here’s another example: my great grandmother gave me the brass turtle pictured here.  It’s a brass Florn and is from Germany.  My niece’s wonderful husband, Cody, collects turtles.  So, Turtle found a good home and I’m thrilled that Cody wanted it.  It stayed in the family.  Another problem solved.  :)

Everybody got in the act.  Miss Hope, who is normally a recluse, became a social butterfly.  I think she stayed in the living room greeting customers ALL day.  She’ll be 11 on May 1, and I have never seen her stay out around strangers.  It was adorable and she was a big hit with everyone.

Nonni and Bentley were also very social and were such good babies!  They were behind a gate in the front room and they too stole the show.  Here’s a picture of them “getting out of jail.”  They ran and ran.  One can’t blame them after being cooped up for most of the day, but don’t let them fool you.  They enjoyed every single pat on the head and every scratch behind the ears.  Still, they do make running look fun, don’t they?

BTW, my blog is now 6 months old as of yesterday.  Happy Anniversary “Living in Grace”!

Friday, April 20, 2012

4/20/12 - Painful

Well let's start with something exciting and certainly not painful.  Welcome to our newest wonderful reader!  His name is David Carlson.  David doesn't have a profile so I have no other information, but welcome David!  We're glad you're here.

As you know, I've been preparing for my move and sorting, packing, pricing, staging for a massive garage/moving sale I'm having tomorrow.  That means 6-8 hours of work each night at home after a full days work at the office.  My muscles make no bones about letting me know how painful this has been for them.  Once I get settled in the new place, it is definitely time to incorporate a workout ritual.  My goal is to have a buff body by July 14, 2013, for my 55th birthday.  There it is - in writing.  And so it is.  ;)

The other painful thing has been the process of going through the boxes stored in my garage.  It is my bad, my fault, for having to do in a two-week period what I should have been doing over the last two years.  It is boxes of "stuff" that remind me of lives I used to have.  I haven't wanted to face going through them.  Tackling this gargantuan task has been agonizing yet cathartic, somewhat.  Not really; Yet.  I'm sure it will be, but right now it hurts to see the following:
My mortgage papers, paperwork for my former foster son, teaching materials, medical paperwork, divorce papers, employment archives, treasured momentos, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc....
And, like it or not, it has been surprising to me to realize that it is a bit painful to see all of my things go out the door one-by-one, especially my bird feeders and pole systems.  My backyard birds have not been very happy either.  They squawk at me every night in complaint.  I will miss having feathered friends to watch and songbirds to hear.  There are not any where I am moving to nor do I think they can be enticed to visit there.  :(

It helps that all of my birding inventory went to my niece and nephew.  It helps too that my wonderful friend Carolyn bought my china and will use it for her start-up stock in her store one day.  It was also wonderful to see my china cabinet go to a young newlywed couple that were ecstatic "to have something so pretty to put their wedding china in."  When the groom came to pick it up, it was adorable to watch the extra efforts he made "to make sure nothing happened to his bride's new hutch."  Adorable.

And it has been a blessing to reconnect with former high school classmates - Sharon Dooley, Cindy Griffin and Leann Reed.  Sharon and I were very close in high school and lost touch over the years.  It was so great to see her.  I will share a picture soon of us in our teens.  I look forward to getting to know her again.  Her son came to help load the washer and dryer that Cindy bought.  You done did good there, Sharon!  :)  Cameron is an awesome young man and handsome too.  My apologies wonderful readers, I didn't think to get current day pictures for you while we were all together.  :(

Another positive aspect of going through all these stupid boxes is that it has been a little like Christmas.  For example, I ran across the infamous bumper sticker from my very 1st blog entry:

At least I'm moving in the right direction for this exploration to be in an RV one day, and not my garage!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

4/15/12 - Sunday Respite

Wonderful readers, I truly apologize for not posting these last few days.   Believe me, I’ve missed being in touch.   I am busy packing, sorting, pricing, and selling, and I am sore and exhausted.

I am trying to get rid of 53 years worth of accumulated minutia from my time on this earth and it’s not easy.  I understand others doing similar culling took at least two if not several months to do what I’m trying to accomplish in just two weeks!  Needless to say, I’m feeling a little insane.

So are my furry babies.  Miss Hope has an upset nervous tummy and has been sick more than a few times this past week.  Look at her holding my cell phone while I logged on to my blog.  Isn’t she adorable?  You can tell she doesn’t feel well though.

My sweet, docile Nonni has become aggressive.  She is taking treats right out of Bentley’s mouth!  While he’s chewing!  That is so not like her.  On top of that, she usually drops it immediately upon command, but this afternoon I actually had to pin her and lay her down on her side before she’d release his treat.  That broke my heart but it had to be done.  She had taken it out of my hand while I was in the process of giving it back to him!  She was over the whole thing right away but her momma sure wasn’t.  :(

Normally, Bentley is the original macho, Mr. Independent, lone wolf, who cries “I’m a boy dog.  Don’t fence me in momma.”   Every time I try to snuggle with him, he looks around as if he’s embarrassed and politely waits until I’m through and then bails.  Right now he won’t let me out of his sight and is staying within 2-3 feet of me – even on leash free outings!

It is amazing what stress can do to individuals, including our furbabies.  People that don’t understand just how human-like other animals are, need to wise-up, and fast.  I don’t get people that don’t get it.  I’ve run into some lately whose callous indifference to furry animals just blows my mind.  I much prefer furbabies over humans like that.

Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now and get back on topic…

I know my sweet babies will be okay and I know that they will return to normal once the move is over and we’re settled.  In the meantime, I’m doing everything I can to try and help them.  In fact, I decided to stop working for awhile this evening and we went to CHSP.  I love that place.  Even though it’s only been just a few days since we’ve been there, I had forgotten how magical it is.

We had been walking for at least 20 minutes before I started relaxing enough to take deep breaths.  Then I began looking out, beyond my immediate world, and then up.  Almost poetically I saw these bluebirds sitting in the top of the trees just beyond the stop sign.  Stop, look up, and see the bluebirds…. a personal reminder from the Universe and Mother Nature herself.  I loved it.  Look at the bird on the left.  He has a worm in his mouth!

As we continued our long walk, I saw more and more creatures.  There were roadrunners, lizards, not to mention the bunnies - they were everywhere!  Here’s a pic of Nonni and Bentley trying to flush one out that had just crossed the road in front of us.

As we were leaving I got my RV fix by driving through the overnight campsites.  My friend Carolyn recently bought her long-awaited Miata.  Carolyn, this pic is for you.

Thank you to all my friends and family for lifting me up these last few days.  I honestly don’t think I could do this without all the support.  I love the comments from my wonderful readers, and the phone calls, texts and supportive email keep me going.  Each means more than you know.  Thank you.

Carolyn called over the weekend and read this passage to me from one of our favorite books, "Time for Joy":
It is only our judgmental mind that decides whether a situation is pleasant or unpleasant.  We are not fortune-tellers.  We are not God.
To accept what comes up as neither good nor bad, pleasant nor unpleasant but just what is, will release us from our resistance to life.  We will then be open to experience life as an adventure and to learn to see beyond appearances.
With that in mind, I’ll close with one of my favorite sayings by Thomas Keating:
God constantly speaks to us through each other, as well as from within.
God sure has been giving me lots of much needed hugZ through you guys lately.

Love and hugZ right back at ya,
(and Nonni and Bentley and Miss Hope)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

4/11/12 - Round One

Wow, what a fascinating, hectic day.  From my Craig's List postings today I received 27 phone calls, exchanged multiple texts with 12 people, and replied to 10 emails!  I made appointments and 5 people came to the house tonight.

I sold some things, yes, but most importantly I met some wonderful people!  Paul bought my lawnmower, weedeater, vacuum cleaner and some knives and knick knacks.  He owns a local restaurant and I enjoyed meeting him and his friends.  He's even read my blog!  Thank you, Paul, especially for the kind words and I appreciate you making the drive to purchase those items.

And on top of that, I got to spend some time with former classmates of mine, Cindy and Leann, that responded to the add off of FB.  How cool is that?   Cindy is going to take my grandmother's cedar chest and it reminds her of her grandmother.  Plus I knew her grandmother so I love this connection!

Cindy and Leann, it was so great to see you both.  It was tons of fun catching up on old times and I'm looking forward to our continued friendships.  What a blessing you two are!  And who knows, maybe someday you'll tell me where your secret fountain of youth is.  Wow.  :)

I met wonderful, new people and reconnected with old friends.  I made some money and generally had a great, blessed, full of Grace evening.  Not too shabby!  :)

So, why do I feel so melancholy?

I think it's the unknown.  I wouldn't call it fear exactly.  It's, well, the unknown.  And it feels like I'm going in the wrong direction.  In my mind (which may be the problem all together - LOL), I was supposed to get rid of all my belongings to move into an RV, not a 1 bedroom apartment.

I'm getting rebellious with God again.  I can feel it.  Phrases keep popping up in my head such as, "This had better be the last event in the downward spiral" or "I can do this as long as I start going upward from here, rapidly."  Dangerous territory.

I have to continually stop and remind myself that I am not large and in charge, God is.  My job is to do the next right thing and leave the results up to Him.  And stay in gratitude.  I need to get centered, and to do this I need to carve out more quiet time with God.  When I make more time for Him, and continue doing what I need to do minute by minute, the rest will take care of itself.  It always does.  Why?  Because God's got me covered and I am Living In Grace.  I just need the reminders every now and then.

It doesn't help that I am putting in 16-18 hour days working my j.o.b. and preparing for the garage sale and move.  How on earth did I ever let myself accumulate so much crap and let things get so disorganized?  A semi just needs to back up here and haul all this "stuff" off.  It's embarrassing for people to see my house like this.  Blah, blah and blah.  More dangerous thoughts.

So, in addition to getting God-centered, it's also time to get back to the basics of H.A.L.T. -- taking care of myself -- especially when I'm hungry, angry, lonely or tired.

My diet regiment is good right now so hunger is not an issue.  I am eating well and routinely.

My anger and frustration will diminish as my God time and gratitude increase.

It is extremely rare that I ever feel lonely.  I enjoy being alone and I savor solitude, but there are times when I feel overwhelmed tackling all of this by myself.  When I'm centered, and my life is balanced, that is not an issue.

Ahhhh, there it is!  The magical word.  And I didn't even realize it until I typed it just then - BALANCE!  I fear I may never have it in my life again.  That's what this feeling of spiraling downward is about.  It's hard to have balance when things are constantly changing.  That leads right back to Trust and being God-centered and living in Gratitude.  I know how to get back to that.  All will be well.  All IS well.

Being tired is the one thing I might not be able to do much about right now.  At least it's temporary, or at least I hope it is.  I'm counting on getting into that apartment and shutting the world out for awhile and letting the dust settle.  And yes, getting some much needed rest.  That's my plan, and what's in my head, but as I've said before - God has a way of pointing and saying, "Isn't that cute? She has a plan."  We shall see. 

Thanks for staying with me through all of this wonderful readers.  I'm really glad you're here.  Love and hugZ!

I wrote my post above, and the very next thing God put in my path was this from Glenn's blog, To Simplify.  PERFECTION!  Sometimes I think God has a very wicked sense of humor.  Enjoy.

4/11/12 - Let the Sales Begin

This is an ad I placed in Craig's List this morning at 5A.  The appliances are already sold.  Woohoo!  Wish me luck!......


I am having a HUGE garage sale on Saturday, 4/21, 8A. Will sell items before then.  NO REASONABLE OFFER REFUSED.  Cash only.

Appliances (see below), Loveseat, coffee table, dresser, wood swivel barstools, TV and TV stand, DVD player, Rubbermaid garage shelves, vacuum cleaner, vintage office desk chair, clothing, shoes, accessories, lawn d├ęcor, kitchen utensils, dishes, pots & pans, electric lawnmower, weed eater and shop vac + + + + more.

Other items currently for sale on CL (with pictures) ….

Antique Oak Dining Table, Reduced, $175 OBO: http://dallas.craigslist.org/sdf/fuo/2950871490.html

Vintage China Cabinet with Hutch, $125 OBO:
KENMORE Heavy Duty 90 Series Washing Machine and Dryer, $125 OBO:
WHIRLPOOL 18 cu. ft. Top-Freezer White Refrigerator, $100 OBO

Saturday, April 7, 2012

4/7/12 - THE Apartment

Well, it's official, I found an apartment.  And I really mean "AN" apartment.  Let me explain....

There were only 6 apartments within 20 miles of my work that would accept my furry family and were within my price range (the combination was lethal).  As I mentioned in my 3/31 blog, 2 complexes turned me down straight away.  Since then, I found out that option #3 wouldn't take Nonni because she was 3! lbs over their limit.  Out of the remaining 3 choices, one wasn't going to be available until June!  That narrowed it down to 2.

Out of those 2, one wanted an $800 pet deposit plus a $300 move-in deposit (and of course the 1st months rent would also be payable at move in), AND only $500 of the $1100 would be eligible for refund whenever I moved out!  I laughed.  If I had THAT kind of money, I wouldn't be moving into a $400-$500 apartment.  In fact, I wouldn't be moving into an apartment at all!  Me and my babies would be moving into our RV!

So, that left "an" apartment.  There are some great things about the place I found, and I share them with you below, but first I have to address something that keeps coming up.

I have been blasted by more than a few for insisting on keeping my furry family when I can't afford "proper housing" for them.  It doesn't seem to matter to these people that not too long ago I had a 3-2-2 house on a corner lot with a huge back yard.  It's not like I acquired my babies while living in a tiny apartment.  I know I no longer have that house or that backyard or a high-paying job or a new car every year or even my husband for that matter. What I do have is excellent health (Thank You, God!), a great job that offers benefits and 3 absolutely incredibly fantastic furry babies.  I am blessed.  I know that I am taking 3 animals to a small apartment.  I get it.  But give up my babies?  Especially after all we've been through together?  Never!

So I guess these same people are not going to happy at all when I tell them the not so positive things about THE apartment....

The units are painted fluorescent orange and bright lemon yellow.  The cashier at the convenience store next door is in a glass booth, surrounded by metal bars.  I won't even begin to talk about the staggering clientele that come out of the "outpost" bar next to the caged store.   And my confidence level certainly wasn't bolstered when I went after work to give them my deposit, and saw what undoubtedly was a drug deal taking place in the parking lot.  By now, you probably think I'm crazy, I assure you I am not.  You'll see why when you read the many good things listed below.

What I am is determined to make this downward spiral stop.  It has been a roller coaster ride and I need the dust to settle. I have got to get stable and I have got to get back on my feet financially.  It will take awhile to get caught up, and get things turned around.  Then I can really start making some headway toward getting my RV one day.  I am tenacious if nothing else.  I have my health and my furry babies.  Life is good.  All is well.

From that context, let me tell you the good things about our next home:
  • It is only 2.1 miles from work.  If Betsy (my '93 Buick with burgundy velour seats) breaks down, I can still make it to work.  Very important.
  • It is only 2.7 miles away from a leash free dog park.  Yippee!  We went there today.  Nonni is very polite and does her best to give me a good picture but she wants to go play!  Bentley poses but says, "Mom, this rock is really high!"  And Delilah, their new friend who kept playing queen of the hill, says, "It's about time you took my picture!"
  • The management at this complex rocks! The complex has been under new management for about 3 months now. I have complete confidence in this team.  Here's a picture of Tammie and Danielle - they are uber fantastic and I am looking forward to getting to know them better.  They were in the office today giving out Easter baskets to all the kids.  It was all so adorable and the kids were so excited.  And of course, Nonni and Bentley were a big hit with the kiddos.

  • When this place says "pet friendly" they really mean it.  Before we left, Danielle even gave Nonni & Bentley treats that they keep right there in the office!  Needless to say, even though not having their backyard and doggy door will be an adjustment, the dogs are going to love living here.  That makes me happy in and of itself.  They have been such troopers through all of this, and their sweet love got me through a lot of hard days.
  • It's not an RV but I am proud to report that I will have a full one-bedroom apartment. Remember the other one that wanted $1100 in deposits?  It was only an efficiency!  I am going to use the living room for my office and will be able to set it up for All Things Photo and my upcoming Etsy Store for scrapbook crafts, "RVScrapper". (<-- How cool is that name?!?)  My plan is to not take anything with me that won't eventually transfer to my RV.  (And it occurs to me that it may be good to have some time to establish my businesses before moving into an RV. This way I can get streamlining and downsizing down to the finest, minute detail.  When the time comes I will know exactly what I need.)
  • The living room has hardwood floors - perfect for scrapbooking and crafts, and the babies.
  • It is a bottom floor, which again is convenient with the dogs.
  • It may be bright orange and yellow, but it's kind of festive, and it's just paint, right?  The grounds are well kept and there's no trash, junk, etc.

  • Betsy won't have a garage anymore but she'll fit right in here.  I won't have to worry about her getting stolen, and I'll just have to take the time to keep her clean and waxed.  It will give me a chance to build up my wax on, wax off muscles for polishing an RV one day. ;)
  • THE apartment is on the back side, away from the parking lot.  It's on a corner next to a greenbelt of sorts, and has a humongous oak tree outside my window.  The sidewalk ends before you get to my windows so I should have very little traffic.  For those of you who know me well enough by now, you know all of that is a very good combination for me.
  • I can see myself writing in this apartment.  In fact, I almost listed this benefit first.  If the outside environment is too loud, I can always use earplugs but THE apartment itself is conducive to writing.  I couldn't say that about the other apartments.  Far better writers than I ever hope to be started their careers in far more humble abodes. Life is good.  All is well.


I was devastated, mortified and terrified when I found out that I was going to have to move.  My 3/31 post (here) sounded alarming because I was alarmed.  It took me forever to find this duplex that we currently live in.  NO one two years ago wanted to rent to me and my babies.  Richard, my landlord, took a chance on us, and it has been a blessing to live here.  It was a nice transition in going from a large home to a small apartment.  Moving to Dallas two years ago was a leap of faith, and once again, God has taken care of me every step of the way, albeit one step at a time, but the path has always been illuminated.  One of my good friends kept telling me to "Trust!"  I need to get better at that.

Thank you wonderful readers for being so supportive.  After all I've we've been through (my animules included), I thought this might be the straw to break the camel's back.  Instead, it's turning out to be another blessing.  I truly am Living in Grace.  Thank you for being here with me.

4/7/12 - Celebrating Goodbye

My roommate left yesterday.  He moved in last year as a stranger, a tenant.  He left as a cherished friend.  Damian, if you are reading this, I miss you already.  You had better keep your promise to stay in touch buddy. :)

We went out to dinner Thursday night, not to celebrate his leaving, but to celebrate friendship and new possibilities.

Damian and my cousin Gloria at a late night game of chess.

 Bentley and Nonni both love Damian,
but Nonni adores him!
She is a rescue dog and was afraid of men.
Not anymore!  :)

 Best wishes Damian!  Happy trails my friend.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

4/4/12 - Workamper Needed @ CHSP

Before I address the title of this blog, I just want to say that.....

****This is my 101st blog post!!!****

Can you believe that!?!  I know I probably should have made that announcement yesterday at number 100, but I didn't even realize it at the time.  Six months ago I would never have believed that I would write one post, let alone 100.  Happy milestone Living in Grace!  :)

Now, back to the title of this blog.....

We went to the park tonight for our evening walk and sure enough, they are still advertising for Park Hosts. I took this picture on Saturday.  Please spread the word.  Cedar Hill State Park needs workampers!  The official TPWD site is (here).   You can call the CHSP office directly for more information: 972-291-3900.


We stayed long enough to enjoy yet another beautiful sunset.  Nonni and Bentley offered to stay on permanently as hosts but I persuaded them to come home with me. ;)  I sure would like to get my RV before these babies get too old to enjoy it.  I'm not sure who would be in heaven more - them or their mommy!

I think I found an apartment and will let you know as soon as I can.  Stay blessed wonderful readers!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

4/3/12 - Perspective

Mother Nature has a way of putting things into perspective, doesn't she?  Today, DFW was hit by several tornadoes.  It is unconfirmed as to how many actually touched down, but there were several that stayed on the ground long enough that amateur videographers and photographers were able to do their own confirming.

I am happy and blessed to say that all is well for me and mine.  However, tornadoes hit close to my work.  To see the map, you'll have to click and open the picture.  The red "A" is the area where I work, "2" is where the tornado pictured below touched down and stayed on the ground through the yellow path.  "1" and "3" are where others reportedly hit.

Tornadoes also hit all around my home while I was at work which scared me to death for my furry babies.  All I wanted to do was leave work to check on them and be with them.  Plus I have family very near "1" and "4".   "1" is where the trucks are flying.  "A" is where I live.

I've been reading and hearing about all the near misses from family and friends in the area.  I am reminded that God is good.  All the time, nmw.  I also posted on FB that there will undoubtedly be tons of heroes that emerge from today.  This is one of my favorite pictures.  I know Constable Burgess. Way to go Clint!  :)


I've been lamenting a lot lately about my unfortunate turn of events and having to move.  Actually, I don't think it's just about moving.  Any one can move, right?  I think it's more the culmination of the past few years.  Ahhhh, heck, who am I kidding?  For me, it's probably the sum total of a whole bunch of years!

I've been having trouble rising to the occasion.  This change seems, feels, insurmountable to me.  Daunting doesn't even begin to cover it.  I think it's because it's just another recalibration (to quote my GPS) that I didn't want.

In my very 1st blog post, I wrote this statement:  "My life has been lived in fragmented, truncated segments sandwiched between being lost in a chrysalis to soaring effortlessly in elation."

Here I go again.  And I admit, I'm weary.  Then tornadoes hit all around me.  It doesn't take much to slap me on the jaw and say, "Wake up!"  Geez, Debra!  Talking about a reality check!

With a different perspective and a whole lot of gratitude, I walked in the door this afternoon and dropped my keys, dropped my purse, and dropped to the floor and spent at least half an hour playing with my furry babies and thanking God for my wonderful blessings.

I may not be driving off in an RV, yet, but I will muster the strength and fortitude I need to make this move and I am going to land on my feet. God is good.  All the time.  All is well.

I recently overheard one of my co-workers say, "If you're still breathing, then you're still in the game and can still win."

30 minutes on the floor with my babies and I realize I already have.

Monday, April 2, 2012

4/2/12-Getting Ready

I thought it best to bathe all the animules yesterday - just in case I need to introduce them to a new landlord this week.  In addition to a bath, Bentley needed to be groomed. It took me 4 hours! Poor Bentley!

After work today, I spent a couple of hours looking for an apartment (no luck yet).  Then we went to CHSP.  I am going to miss living next door to this place!  So are these babies.

Bentley and Nonni - CHSP Bluebonnets, 2012