There’s Valuable and Then There’s Irreplaceable


          When my husband and I were newlyweds, one of our first homes (i.e. places to live) was a little rented abode (I would call it a cottage but honestly it wasn’t that picturesque), which had electricity but little else.  It had no running water and we heated it with a wood stove.  Our 2-B, 0-BA, house did not even have an outhouse.  With the help of my brother, that was built later and, when it came to temperatures of -40 below zero F, we quickly learned that a styrofoam seat atop the wood single-holer was a great luxury.

           Now, 30 years later, we live in a 4-B, 2 1/2 BA home.  In a sense, the kind of houses we’ve lived in has nothing to do with my topic for this blog except to point out that along the way I have discovered that some of my most valuable material possessions have little to do with price or market value.  

          After furnishing our various homes with everything from Garage Sale to brand new, and after raising three rambunctious boys, I’ve learned that broken antique plates, stained carpeting, broken vintage plate glass windows, and various other ruined “pricey” items, have never devastated me.  But, over these many years, there are certain  that I would be genuinely upset (i.e. freaked out) about if anything were to happen to them.  To list a few:

          * My kitchen scissors – Break a piece of my dinnerware and I merely blink.  But, if someone dares to borrow my kitchen scissors and fails to return them to the proper drawer…I   can   not   function.  I don’t even remember when I first got them; as far as I know, I’ve had them my entire marriage, maybe before.   I use those scissors   all   the   time.  They are one of my irreplaceables.

          * Another is a good nail brush.  Yes.  A nail brush.  For scrubbing toes and fingernails.  The one I had was wonderful.   I don’t remember how long I owned my beloved nail brush.  But one day, I finally had to throw it out after nearly all the bristles had either broken off or fallen out.  Little did I realize how hard it would be to find a replacement.  Seriously.  Aren’t nail brushes common?  I thought they were.  Until I started searching for another one.  Maybe I just didn’t know where to look.  I searched what I thought would be obvious places, like Bath & Body and the Dollar Store, with no luck.  I hunted for over a year and was without one until only recently when I found a wood nail brush with I-don’t-know-what-kind-of-bristles…at a little antiques shop in Amana, Iowa.  (BTW, the brush is new.)  Paid $2.50 for it.  It is now one of my invaluables. 

          *  My Melaleuca Vanilla Bean Sun Shades Lip Balm.     Do.   Not.   Touch.   It.  Actually, I mean them –  I have two – keep one on a little tray in my bathroom and another in my purse.  (I don’t even know the monetary price because my dear sister keeps me supplied.)  But, I come unglued when I misplace that little stick of lip stuff.  …Oh, Nancy, I am so sorry!  I just did a web search and discovered a tube of that is $14.99!  Are you serious?  That really is pricey!  And, it’s one of my irreplaceables.

          * My aluminum hair clips.  I’ve had them since I was a teenager…which was a while ago.  Okay.  I’ll give you a hint.  I suspect I’ve had them since Buddy Holly was alive.  I still use them.  Daily.   Have you ever noticed that some products just aren’t made with the same quality as they were years ago?  My hair clips fit that category.  Trust me, I’ve looked for new ones.  When I travel, I take crappy newer clips because I don’t want to take the chance of losing my good ones.  Monetary value – likely far less than five dollars – but to me, my retro aluminum hair clips are irreplaceable.

          Naturally, this is only a partial list.  Now that I think about it, it might not be a bad idea to make a complete list and take photos, and store the info in a fireproof strong box.  For insurance purposes, of course.

          What are some of your Irreplaceables?


A Summer Decor/4th ofJuly Find

Lately I’ve been receiving prods to create a blog on decorating.  I think it would be fun – and I just might do it.  But, whether or not that happens, I just have to share this wonderful 4th-of-July/summer decor find, fresh from my morning’s excursion to Goodwill  (which was a self-granted reward for going to the gym two days in a row). 

It’s a 45-year old edition of America the Beautiful – In the words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  Great red cover!  Glittery gold lettering!  And a star!  Very 4th of July-ish, don’t you think? 

Perched atop a stack of vintage suitcases and a road atlas seemed to be the perfect spot for it.  






And I will read it.




Poetic License of a Blogger

Bachman's Idea House - Minneapolis - May 2, 2010

* Got to tour Bachman’s (Florist) “Idea House” in Minneapolis on the 2nd.   Every few months, they completely change the interior decor.  This time, the theme centered on re-purposing and re-cycling.  If you’ve read my About Me page, you know I love redeeming cast off stuff anyway, so the tour really whetted by creative instincts.       

* For May, this is a bit too chilly for me.

* Am so enjoying the Goldfinches coming to our feeder.

* Iris’ are blooming. 

* Annual community Garage Sale this Saturday.  Am in such a mood to simplify and downsize.   Anyone interested in a ’50s turquoise rotary dial telephone?  Very retro!  There is going to be so many cool goodies in our sale; if it weren’t my stuff, I’d be excited to buy it.  But…oh, yeah, I’m downsizing, aren’t I?

* Praying with a group on a regularly basis  for a unit of guys in Afghanistan.  God is answering in miraculous ways.  It has boosted my faith immensely…and taught me that we ask far too little of God.  Prayer is a privilege!!!  Why don’t we take advantage of it more?  Seriously, the Creator of the Universe wants to hear from you.  He loves you, you know.





Give flowers to someone you love.

Including yourself!

Look for someone who would least expect them.

Then bless their day with posies.

Who couldn’t use a smile in the midst of these trying times?

And a reminder that God’s love endures forever!





Embrace the Stains

This is my favorite tablecloth.  It’s nothing fancy.  Not lace or linen, it’s just a cotton reproduction of one from the late ’40s or early ’50s.  It’s been laundered so many times it possesses that soft, used patina,  It looks vintage.

I cherish it because it reminds me of my aunt’s home which I loved to visit when I was a little girl.  At her house, we ate off Fiestaware dishes – the real ones!

Last Friday night we hosted a going-away party for a friend of our son’s, a young man who was leaving for military basic training.  Of course, for the occasion, I hauled out my favorite – my retro, repro tablecloth.

The food – a combination of my and guests’ cooking – was plentiful, and delicious.  Little Smokies in barbeque sauce, Chex Mix, bean soup, Angus roast beef, turkey and cheeses, buns, Cheeseburger Casserole, Broccoli Salad, Molasses Crinkles & Chocolate Chip cookies.  And a Mint-Chocolate-Oreos-Ice Cream cake with whipped cream, which threw one into an instant and sublime sugar buzz.

It was a fun party.

My Hero is a great and enthusiastic cleaner-upper.  It took a few years of our early married life to convince him to leave the table in its expanded size until after the guests had left.  So, it wasn’t until the next day when I found my much-loved tablecloth on top of the washer in the laundry room.  I picked it up and held it out at arm’s length.  And stared.  There, in living color, were signs of joy, of lives well-lived.  Memory markers.  Visible reminders of precious moments.

I almost hugged it.  The entire story of the party was recorded in red, green, and brown stains.  Big ones.  Chunky ones.  The scrape-it-off kind.

Yes, I sprayed every spot I could find with Zout.  But if that failed, I was prepared to live with those stains forever – with no regrets.

These are “after” shots – every stain came out.  But I’d do it all over again even if they hadn’t.  After raising three sons, I’ve come to realize that each day is real life.  They’re not a rehearsal for “some day.”  Today is the day to use my best china, wear my favorite fragrance, wear stilettos in the kitchen…if I feel like it…

This is the day that the Lord has made.  I will rejoice and be glad in it.  Stains and all.  What kind of non-rehearsal, this-is-real-life things will you do today?

Bag Tag


          Blackbelt Oma  tagged me for this meme because she thinks it’s time for a little whimsey here.  She’s probably right, but I’m warning you, I’m a meme virgin.  I don’t know how to do all that tagging and linking and stuff so if I don’t get it right, you’re just gonna have to coach me.  Oh, ha-ha.  Coach.  That’s a famous name for bags, right?  I know that much, but, I’ll likely never own one of them.  But bags are what this meme is about and I’d already been thinking of posting a picture of mine, sometime, because I am quite fond of it.


        I got this for Christmas from Hero…after I picked it out…when I wasn’t even shopping for a bag.  I was actually on my way out of J.C. Penney’s after some Christmas shopping, when I realized I was going out the wrong door and would not find my car in that parking lot.  So, I was forced to go back through the store.  I promise I had no intention of looking at bags; I just chose that aisle because it was the most direct route to the correct exit.


        Actually, I don’t even like shopping for purses.  I bet I haven’t spent a hundred dollars – total – on bags in the last ten years.  But it just so happened that I did need one.  I’d even been telling the Lord that.  I wanted another black, suede purse exactly like the one I’d been using for more years than I’m willing to admit.  Since I had no hopes of finding any such thing, I simply didn’t look.



        But there I was, trying to maneuver down this narrow aisle, with my purchases and a bunch of flat gift boxes from Customer Service tucked under my arm, when I spotted this purse.  It was not black. It was not suede.  It was not anything I had in mind.  But I fell instantly in love with it.  To justify my spontaneous purchase of something for myself, when I was supposed to be shopping for others, seein’ it was Christmas time, I decided Hero could give it to me.  (He was more than delighted since malls and shopping are so not his favorite pastime.)  At 30% off, it was about $43 including tax.  Based on my previous record, that’s almost five years’ worth of bag budget.  Here’s she is:




         This meme is from Beth at Total Mom Haircut   (You really need to visit her blog.  She’s delightful!)
Here are Beth’s rules:

 1.)  “Post a picture of whatever bag you are carrying as of late.  No, you cannot go up to your closet and pull out that cute little purse you used back before you had kids.  I want to know what you carried today (or the last time you left the house – it’s freaking snowing here so you know I’m in my velour pants today and the green precious is sitting on the steps).”  Note: You’ll have to visit her blog to see her “Green Precious.”


2.)  “I want to know how much it cost 🙂 and this is not to judge, because I’m honestly telling you I was ready to put down some cash; I just got lucky.  This is for entertainment purposes only.  So spill it.  And if there is a story to go along with how you obtained it, I’d love to hear it.  


3.)  “Tag some chicks.  And link back to this post so people know why the heck you’re showing everyone your diaper bag/non-diaper bag.”


I tag Amanda at I Am Mommy    She has two adorable boys, and a brand new baby daughter, so I’m guessing she might have a fun new girly-type diaper bag.  And I’m tagging Michelle at This One’s for the Girls  She hasn’t posted for a few days and I miss her wit and warmth.     


 (Don’t ask me about the variation in font sizes.  Like I said, I’m new at this and have very little idea what I’m doing.  This is what you get when you tag me! )


Oh, Joy! An Answer to Prayer!


God Answers Prayer!

I just had the most wonderful thing happen!  I’ve been out Christmas shopping most of the day, and have everything pretty much finished.  Except for one person, (and I can’t say who).  I’ve been thinking and thinking about what to get for this one, and, just this afternoon, finally came up with a great idea.  Problem was, this item is hard to find.  It’s no longer available.  Unless I look some place like eBay.  And on December 18th, it would be a little tricky, if not flat out wishful thinking, to expect to bid on something and get it shipped to me in time for Christmas.   


So, I did what any Princess should.  I talked to the King.  Because if anyone can accomplish the impossible, it’s The King.  Well, I kid you not, it’s probably been less than two hours since I prayed and I already have the answer!  The name of someone popped into my head, who I thought might be able to steer me in the right direction for this gift.  When I explained what I was hunting for, they said, “Oh, I have that! …” 


For obvious reasons, I can’t give details about what this item is, or who it’s for, but that’s not the point here anyway.  I just want to brag on The King!  He is so AWESOME.  You can talk to Him ANY time, ANY place, about ANY thing!   


I wonder how much we miss out on because we don’t bother discussing little details with Him!   I learned years ago, and it has become a “life motto” for me:  “It is better to ask God for too much, and have Him decide the answer needs to be ‘No,’ than to ask Him for too little and disappoint Him with my small faith.”