Sunday, August 31, 2014

He's Baaaaccccck!

It was a dark and scary night once we exited off the freeway and began the journey on the country roads to our cottage.  I have driven these roads so many times, so many times I don't even use Google Girl to find my way to Weaverville or Future I 26.  Once we exited though, I did have her on backup because these roads look totally different in the dark.  Those easy turns in daylight are fraught with adventure at night.  You feel like you are making a blind turn off the face of the earth.  Complicating this even more was the fact I had on the wrong glasses for mountain country, back road driving.  Roy was doing my distance watching and I kept my focus directly in front of Sequisha.  There were those few times that Roy would say something rather excitedly that had nothing to do with our game of concentration of roads, that would scare me thinking I had pulled in front of a car or I had made a wrong decision. OK, there was one time on I 26 that I changed lanes and Roy thought I had gone the wrong has been up here for a month and driving this very same freeway.  Anyway, we never had anyone directly behind us on the road and that was a blessing, a HUGE blessing.  Just as soon as we pulled into the driveway, the drops of rain predicted by the weather service began to fall ever so gently and just as soon as we were on the front porch the rain began to fall harder.  Thank you Lord for that blessing.  Dark roads with rain....oh my.  On the front porch was a bottle of sparkling Biltmore grape juice from our friends Bill and Vivian.  But you know how it is when you've been separated for a while and well you look forward to a certain time and thing together???   We were not disappointed because....Yes!  It is college football kick off weekend and LSU was on TV but here LSU was on our iPad.  What did you think I was talking about?  Haha!

The timing in picking up Roy at the airport was just pretty much darn perfect!  It is so easy to drop off and pick up at the Greenville/Spartanburg airport.  On the way home we stopped at Cracker Barrel for dinner and then headed to those back roads of darkness.

This morning my usual companions, the cows, are in the yonder pasture, so I had another breakfast companion this morning, Roy.  We had our coffee and breakfast together on the back porch talking about plans and schedules and such.  The cows had raised a high bar for being breakfast companions, but Roy accepted the challenge and surpassed the level that the cows had set.  Only in one category did he fall short.  He couldn't compete in blowing his nose verses cow snorts and snot.  For this I am thankful.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Back Porch Thoughts

My last Friday morning on the back porch.  The spider webs are back on the fences, the cows are content in the new pasture and I am beside myself full of peace and expectation for the coming week ahead.  Roy gets here tomorrow night and I think he will enjoy the short break from the heat.  Although, temps might be higher next week than what I have been experiencing.  Even yesterday, at one point when it was 90, it was bearable because of the breeze and the low humidity.  I will treasure this time and trip for many reasons but again I am the most thankful for slowing down enough to recognize God's kindness toward me.  Even the whole hurt knee was a good reminder to take in the days and not rush through them.  If my knee had felt 90%, because it hasn't felt 100% in a long time, I would have been on the run from the get go.  Thankfully, the pain has subsided and it is just the normal limp and pain.

Another benefit resulting from the time here in God's country is being able to think things through clearly and not be busied with the everyday concerns of life back at Rancho De Five.  It's funny how in just a little less than a month my preconceived ideas of what we wanted in a home up here has completely changed.  What I thought were tangibles, God has shown me were not and intangibles of my previous thinking is what is tangible.  It is a pure delight to watch God move hearts, lives and locations together in a way that could have never been guessed or arrived at.  This morning in my daily reading Ecclesiastes 11:7, "Light is sweet; how pleasant to see a new day dawning" caught my attention.  But the verses right before this one also rang a similar bell and response, "Plant your seed in the morning and keep busy all afternoon, for you don't know if profit will come from one activity or another-or maybe both."

Now it is Friday evening.  It has been a relaxing day.  I was out and  about a lot this week so I decided to hang out around the cottage.  Did some laundry, got some books gathered for the trip home and went to the grocery store.  Tonight I went over to Bill and Vivian's and I also got to meet her friend Jackie this afternoon.  Lots of fun!

And it wouldn't be Monablog if we didn't have a Friday into Saturday morning end to the post.  Roy will be here tonight.  I have missed him and praying that the weather and the airlines all cooperate.  We have a lot to take care of in the next few days and we have a lot of places for him to go and take pictures for me.  I was thinking yesterday, I don't think I have been away this long from home ever in our married life but I do know that there were a couple of times he was gone on business for three weeks at a it has been a while.  I will be so happy to see him.  And yet is some ways I will be sad to see him because it means that this wonderful, restful, relaxing, fun, kind trip is almost to an end.  I will be happy to be home and see Buddy and catch up with friends.  Although I have to say what a great way to turn 60.

Friday, August 29, 2014

ABC-Antiques, Biltmore and Creamery

Good evening from the back porch.  It has been a good day, came home exhausted but a good kind of exhausted.  I got a later start to the day but still was out the door around 10:30.  My first stop was a revisit to the antique district on Swannanoa street.  First stop The Tobacco Antique Barn.  My goodness, that place is huge!  I brought my little portable fan with me today, so I was able to stay longer and pretty much go up and down every aisle.  Happily, I resisted temptation and didn't buy two things that might have made the trip home a little crowded.  Saw some great pieces there and also down the way several more stores are in another warehouse type building.  Great stuff there too.  Then because I haven't spent enough time in Barnes and Noble, I went back to the one in the mall just for a quick stop.  Hey, I was in the area, so why not?  Biltmore Village is in the neighborhood too, so after a long time looking for a parking spot, I finally got to go to La Cantina and have some Mexican food.  It was delicious!  Salsa that is worthy of overeating.  After late lunch, I walked over to the craft guild shop in Biltmore Village.  They have some of the same things as the one on the Blue Ridge Parkway and they also have different items.  It was a great place to spend some time marveling at how creative people are with materials, fabric and wood.  So while I was so close to the Biltmore itself, I decided to go hang out with the sunflowers again.  The beauty of those flowers made me think I had better have some ice cream, since I was so close to the creamery.  As always I got a black cherry waffle cone and a Diet Coke to take away some of those nasty calories.

My whole Biltmore experience was nearly ruined today as I accidently got in the middle of a group that spoke German.  I was having PTS and got the heck away from them.  Yes, I ausfarted which means exit.  I exited as far as I could from the group and beat them to the line for ice cream.  I got back to the cottage a little later than usual.  The traffic was really bad in Asheville today.  I don't think it was all the extra Aggies hanging around because by that time they should have all been on the road getting to the game tonight.

Last night in the middle of the night I got up and looked at stars.  The sky is full of twinkly lights.  It was breathtaking.  I noticed a little change in the leaves today.  There are some red and golden leaves among the lush green ones.  Signs of coming fall.

Today I had a minivan encounter of the stupid kind.  Lanes clearly marked only one lane can turn left, so the lane has a long line which Mr Minivan thought he could cut into.  Ha!  He did not know he was dealing with no retreat Nancy today and apparently there were other no retreaters in the lane.  Poor minivan, made it over finally and then drove 25 mph.

I am getting excited that Roy will be here on Saturday.  We have a house sitter for Buddy.  Yea!  It will be my first time driving in the dark on these backroads.  Well, I need learn how to do that sometime.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Porch Rocker

It is a lovely evening tonight out here on the back porch.  The sun is below the mountains and the pink hue of the sky is fading.  The cows have moved on to another pasture that has lots and lots of grass.  I had such a fun day out and about and I am thinking of returning to the antique warehouse tomorrow.  I'm on a hunt for a desk.

I headed out about 10:30 and went to The Moose Cafe for lunch.  I promise you the waitress looked like Cindy Pitts!  Now Cindy, I know you read my blog from time to time, but do you have relatives up here?  She is the spittin' image of you but she is the mountain image of you.  I tried so hard to take a picture but she never turned where I could take a picture without her knowing.  Had veggies like usual today and then I went to Biltmore Park.  After that I headed back to Waynesville to go back to Robin Blu because it is such a fun store and of course if you are going out to Waynesville, one must stop at Barber's Orchard for a few necessities.  I drove all the way back to the cottage without Google Girls help.

Many years ago on a trip to Amish country south of Nashville, Dena and I with our Amish map in tow, drove through the area seeking out this and that to buy.  On the fences in front of their homes, handmade signs tell you what they sell.  When you pull into the drive they come out from house and greet you.  Well, sometimes greet would be too happy of a word, but they will sell you their products.  One home had the sign porch rocker.  Not plural but singular, porch rocker.  It might have been all the Amish poison we had consumed that day, carob covered peanuts and peanut brittle, or it could have been just a moment, but we laughed so hard about that.  I just want to be a porch rocker.  Well, I finally have a mission statement after all these years, porch rocker.  Well, I do have a real mission statement that Dena wrote for me but I will add, "and be a porch rocker" to it.

Now it is a lovely morning out on the porch.  My cow friends are in a new pasture way over yonder.  Way over wonder is a technical term used here on the farm.  Actually, there hasn't been a lot of rain the past few weeks so they needed to move the cows to a pasture with more grass.  Or maybe the cows complained about my moo-speak.  Think my plans for the day will include the antique warehouse and maybe a little walk through Biltmore Village.  Ugh, the thought of next Thursday is sneaking into my thoughts a lot because we will use that afternoon and evening getting packed up and ready to leave on Friday morning.  But, I chase out those thoughts and remain in the moment of right now.  Listening to and watching the birds, enjoying a cool breeze and contemplating my choice for breakfast.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

It Was A Noisy, Foggy Morning

Google Girl took me into Weaverville yet another way and what an enjoyable and profitable drive it was.  I was going in just to pick up Roy's shirts from the cleaners but on the way I saw this cute shop Sanctuary of Stuff.  So after getting his shirts, I stopped in to take a look.  Oh my goodness!  What a wonderful place.  Most everything in the shop is made by local artisans in the area.  There were also a few antiques.  But the store is set up like an antique mall, but it all flowed and you would think it was all one shop.  The jewelry was fabulous and they had some of the best cards.  I spent time and a little change in there.

I have met some of the friendliest people on this trip.  Yesterday in the cleaners, the lady working behind the counter and I had a wonderful conversation.  She had retired from working at the Biltmore two years ago.  She was in charge of a large portion of housekeeping and she worked with all the brides whose weddings took place on the estate.  She said she helped open the Inn but she missed being with her family on holidays, so when her husband retired, she retired.  Now she works a couple of days of the week just to get out of the house for a bit at the cleaners.   Also in Sanctuary of Stuff everyone in the shop whether they were working or shopping were just so helpful and delightful.  Conversation after conversation has confirmed we are being watched over by God and I am so thankful the other people made a stronger offer than we did on the house near Waynesville.

The ways of the cows are past understanding and finding out.  Those boogers can move when they want to.  They have been rather vocal this morning and maybe I have mooed a couple of times with them.  So I go in  to make another cup of coffee and fix toast and those cows are clear across to the right...far away field.  So, I dine alone.  No, some birds are keeping me company now.

Yesterday afternoon I went over to see Vivian.  She had knee replacement surgery the second week I was here.  She is doing great, no pain but she is ready to get out and know cabin fever can do that to you.  What a delightful afternoon full of laughter, conversation and maybe even a few tears.    As we talked of our friends the other one has yet to meet, we both would say, you are going to love_____!   While I was there her brother called that just lives across the fields on the farm.  He looks like Tom Selick...sorry girls, he's married.  Anyway, last night he got out his tractor or as Roy calls it God's Tractor, meaning it is a John Deere and went about the fields.  It makes this great putt putt putt sound.

Roy and I will look at the last two houses for this trip on Tuesday afternoon.  I read a verse in Proverbs the other day that truly speaks to our quest, "Do your planning and prepare your fields before building your house."  Or I might even say, before buying your house.

The fog is burning off fast and since my cow companions have moved on to another field, I should probably go get ready for the day.  I'm tempted to moo out a goodbye to my cow friends, but I bet Vivian is on her porch next door and she might think, who is that crazy lady in my cottage next door?  I would just answer, it's me know your new friend who likes to talk with the cows.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Story of Mountains, Sun, Biscuits, Books and Hope

The morning is a crisp 54 degrees, with little mountain fog.  The sunset was majestic last night and the sunrise this morning rivals the majesty of last night.  The sun over the distant mountain and the beams through the mist act like spotlights on the trees.  The pastures look like they are set for the play to begin.  The distant crowing of a rooster and the singing of birds welcome me to this Tuesday morning in the mountains.  These days here have been so invigorating.  Physically, I am a different person up here.  It as if I have been rebaptized into life, not only spiritually experiencing His abundance, but in the daily, ordinary ways of life.  It dawned on me this morning we might not make a home purchase on this trip.  OK, I knew that going in but it as the days wind down it is becoming a reality.  The process is on hold until Roy gets here.  So in the waiting I pray and thank God for His wisdom in this process and decision.  And what a glorious waiting room!

Along with a good cup of coffee this morning I am having my Appalachian biscuit from the Biltmore.  Oh my, delicious!  Edward even put in some of their homemade strawberry jam.  I want Roy to go back with me so he can take pictures of the sunflowers and do them justice in showing their beauty and magnificence lined along Antler Hill and on toward the mountains.  Yesterday on the walking path in front of the sunflowers I met all manner of people.  There was a professional photographer who obviously was in sunflower heaven capturing the moments of flowers and bees, with the whole pollen and honey thing going on.  She asked me the time and when I told her she could not believe the morning had passed so quickly and it was now afternoon.  There was an older gentleman and his dog.  The man set on his walker seat while his dog ran through the field of flowers.  He told me it was worth every inch of climbing back up that hill to sit there this morning, taking it all in.

I am trying to save my books whose story whether it be fiction or nonfiction, is set in this area for when I get home and I am pining for the mountains.  I truly now understand what John Muir said long ago, "The mountains are calling and I must go."  So I am slugging along in a beach read and I have just about decided to try another book.  The author is introducing so many characters in these first chapters, I am having a difficult time keeping them straight and who goes with who.  So, I'm going to look through the ever increasing stack of books to find another one that might keep my interest.  This is why I don't fly here.  I bring back way too much stuff.

Last night Dena called and it was so fun to get caught up and also discuss NC houses with someone besides Roy.  I continue to do research on the area trying to know where you want to live and where you don't want to live based on well water etc...  These things I have never thought about before in my life.  One of the houses, if it is still active when Roy arrives, has a block foundation.  So, I did my research on knowing what that means.  There are very few slab foundations up this way.   My mind keeps drifting back to the ranch home across from the farm.  With a finished out basement and a kick butt backyard....the ordinary ranch style front would mask a beautiful retreat.   Roy sends me his work safety moment each day.  We kind of have a running joke about them because his comments in the prelude to the body of the email are hilarious.  We both have noticed that these last few safety moments have had a direct impact on the decisions we are making.  Again, being more practical than is usual for me, I have to think about the year or two after all the newness of having a house up here wears out on friends back home and the trips begin to shrink.  Then we have a lot of space we aren't using.  It is also thinking of things health wise too.  So what if the bathrooms aren't huge, really how much time does one spend in a bathroom?  Well, I guess it depends on each individual.   But I think our time in Blue Ridge Ga in a home meant for guests that had lost its appeal for the owners.  It is for sale, on the rental list, with the barest of necessities.  The home we made an offer on is really a great home for guests but we are keeping in mind, the house up here is going to become our home when Roy retires. Who wants to traipse about in a big house when you can feel cozy and at home, feeling like a retreat in an ordinary ranch style home.  Heck, and if friends do come a lot, there are tons of B&B's we can put people in.  Yea!  No cooking involved for me!!!  We shall dine on the finest of pizzas from the gas station and fill up on pretzel rolls and Lusty Monk Mustard Butter at Cedric's in Antler Hill Village!  We can order chicken legs from Arby's, I mean KFC!

Monday, August 25, 2014

God's Kindness

I know I am having mountain know how you can get movie emotions or church emotions.  Oh yes, and funeral emotions.  You make those vows to yourself or loudly to others that you are going to change, things are going to be different and life comes around and after a few days to a few weeks, life goes back as it was before making a declaration.  I must admit life is much simpler up here.  Gas station pizza that rivals any pizza I've ever had and a pace that is a bit slower except when someone is racing up and down the road.  Since I've been here I have turned on the TV zero times.  Now, I have watched a little bit of the Texans and House Hunters on my iPad but I get all the news on Twitter.  This evening I sat outside on the back porch and watched the clouds move and form a perfect covering for the mountains in the distance.  There wasn't a light on in the cottage when I came back in and it was pretty gosh darn dark in here.  Sometimes when we find ourselves in beautiful scenes we think we will hear God a little clearer but I think it is more that we begin to experience His kindness thus express thanksgiving for His creation and goodness.  I am really blown over by the kindness of God on this trip.  I think the shyest person at church was the first to speak to me last week and she came back over again today and we got to visit just a little.  A kindness of God.  Driving these back roads and watching the birds and the cows and horses and donkeys play and eat....I am reminded of the kindness of God.  Surely there is territorial feelings here and there.  I know people get mad and cut one another off in traffic but it is difficult to stay upset because in the same view of a little bitty car is the majestic mountains and clouds...there too is the kindness of God.

We talk of love and joy, yes even peace but rarely do we express anything about God's kindness.  Sure we talk about compassion's new every morning...but most of the time in our work or play while we are in the familiar with demands and dislikes, we rarely stop to know or be used in God's kindness to others.  We act and react out of insecurity.  There is mistrust and unrevealed agitation and secrecy toward people but what about kindness?

Many have asked do you know anyone up there?  No.  Do you have family there?  No, just in Tenn.  It's going to take a long time to meet anyone...maybe, maybe not.  God is funny like that and He has already shown great kindness to me with new friends.  His kindness has saturated Sunday mornings here.  I thought I would probably go to three different churches while here, but in His kindness, I have only visited one.

It is now early Monday evening.  The kindness of God has been all over the day.  There wasn't a bit of fog this morning, so I got ready and headed over to the Inn for breakfast.  It takes about 25 minutes from here to there.  Scrumptious was there and I got two really big hugs from him this morning.  He is getting ready to go home to Romania for a month in September, so as always it is so good to see him.  I also spotted my first A&M fans from Texas.  I talked to the two ladies while the husbands checked in.  They had Texas personalized A&M license plates.  Their first time staying at the Inn, so I answered questions and helped them make plans for the day, since they are only spending one night and then heading into Charleston.  Edward and Erin were both there today at The Dining Room.  Edward had been on vacation when Erin, Nancy and I went.  Usually Erin (Biltmore Erin) is off on Mondays but she was filling in for a co-worker today.  Had a delicious breakfast and got to try the Appalachian biscuits and the new juice smoothie the chef is offering.  Who knew that spinach, carrots, mango and something else could taste so good and be so refreshing.   The sunflowers are blooming on the estate and I took some time to take a few pics and walk the path in front of them.  Very refreshing to do when it is 66 degrees outside.  Then I drove over to the gardens and strolled through them and ended my garden time...where truly I did come to the garden alone, but there wasn't any dew on the roses....because it was like noon.  Anyway, I ended my garden time with a delicious DC in the shade in front of the greenhouses.  Originally, the plan was to go back to the antique warehouse district but I thought it might be a good time to try to go to Mast General Store in Asheville.  Three times around looking for a parking place, where I didn't have to parallel park.  I wasn't blowing a trumpet or anything but on that third time around, a parking place open in the customer parking lot for Mast behind the store.  Kindness of God!  I had $50.00 in gift cards that I wanted to use before we leave next week.  Mission accomplished!  Once again Google Girl chose a back way to the cottage and the scenery breathtaking!  The little glimpses I got here and there.

The cows have gone home back to the barn.  A man's voice carried throughout our little valley and at first I thought it might be just some kids playing around, but it was the owner calling the cows home and fifteen out of the seventeen obeyed quickly, there were two  lolly gaggers who waited until they absolutely had to go.  Such rebellious cows!  

Now to go taste and see...peaches....for dessert after a delicious dinner of crackers and cheese.  Also, I have one cat head sized biscuit to eat this evening.  For sure God's kindness!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Evening Breezes and Feeling Fine

It dawned on me this afternoon that I have less than two weeks here in God's country.  I wish I could describe the patterns that the sun in creating on the distant mountains.  I've not seen that before.  We are expecting a low of 54 tonight and cooler days going into the first of the week.  This evening I can feel that tinge in the breeze.  The goats are crying out for me to go down to the fence and feed them some apples but I am content to sit here on the back porch, listening to the leaves as they move with the wind.  The cows have been in the far field for most of the day and the ducks have settled in on the pond.  It is a lovely evening.

This morning I went to Newfound Baptist Church again.  Saw familiar faces of people I spoke with last week.  Even saw Beth Moore, well via video but she did make me feel welcomed.  A group of ladies from the church are going to the simulcast event in September and they wanted to make sure everyone knew about it.  Even as I was going out the door afterwards, a woman called out my name and invited me to the ladies Sunday School class next week.  I nearly cried at that kindness and then explained that Roy will be here next week.  She then told me where the couples class meets.  While in line at the KFC, more on that story in a minute, a gentleman from church called and thanked me for visiting.   Part II of Genesis 14 was great and the choir number was wonderful.

So, after church I went to the Shell station in Weaverville to fill up.  Shell must have the same monopoly here as they have in Rancho De Five.  Anyway, fried chicken sounded good for a Sunday lunch, so I started out for the KFC.  Now here's the thing, I am using Google Girl less and less but sometimes in Weaverville I get a little confused about several of the highways because they feel counter intuitive to the direction I need to go.  So I grabbed Google Girl to get she takes me down this street and says turn left and your destination is on the left.  The colors of the building were red and white...the very same colors of KFC.  So, I pulled in and waited my turn at the drive through.  Some fast food places give you a little time to read the menu while you are in line but it was not the case, so I ordered chicken legs, biscuits and slaw....just then noticing all the roast beef offerings.  The girl asked me to repeat my order, give me some legs, biscuits and slaw...she asked me did I want the chicken sandwich...uh no...legs, biscuits...slaw...  She told me they didn't have any and they didn't serve biscuits, to which my response was something ran out of your main stock of chicken?   You ran out of biscuits and that is when she told me I was at Arby's and KFC was next door.  Uh, oh, well, sorry to take your time.  I was laughing so hard!  I totally embarrassed myself.   So off a little weaker and a little more humbly I approached KFC and got my legs, biscuits and slaw.   Siri probably put Google Girl up to that because yesterday Siri told me she was having a problem communicating with me.  I was asking her to discontinue the instructions to the DQ because she was going to take me 25 minutes into Asheville for a Blizzard.  I called upon Google Girl and they were both talking to me at the same time.  Google Girl won.....   That's when Siri gave me the what for.  Siri has gotten me lost so many times...she even used my name when she spoke to me.  Wow, that was kind of disturbing.

We've been given the opportunity to purchase a home that is not on the market yet.  It is totally different from the houses we have been looking at but I think there is much more livability outdoors.  It is a 60's ranch style home with major upgrades.  All brick with little trim to paint. Beautiful hardwood floors and a full unfinished basement with a wood stove as backup for heating the house if the power goes out.  Because it is a 1960's home, the bedrooms are a little smaller and so are the bathrooms.  And I love the ceramic 1960 tile in the bathrooms.  I know every designer just shuddered.  The kitchen, dining, and family room are very spacious with a gas fireplace in the family room and a huge picture window on the front of the house.  There is also an elevated covered side porch that can be enclosed easily.  The views are long range mountain and views overlooking the farm I am currently staying at.  It is 2 1/2 acres of level back and front yard with a ravine or as they are called here, gullies, and a forest behind us on the rest of the land.  The backyard is quiet and private and would be a perfect place for a gazebo or a firepit or swings or even all three.  The front has a huge flowerbed and to the side of the driveway is a perfect spot for a garden if we decided to plant one.  As Roy and I discussed this home over the phone, Mr Plan Man began to determine a four year plan to do everything else we would like to do to the house.   I am sure by now it is safely put away on an Excel spreadsheet.  A 1960's ranch home is not a wow home like I put on FB but I am telling you there are a whole lot more positives than negatives for loving and owning this home.  It used to be a part of the Sluder farm and cousins of the owner lived in the home.   When Roy gets here, we will go back over to the house and determine then if it is a go.  There wouldn't be a rush and anxiety to close a deal since no one knows about the home and we will be living by kind people who have become fast friends.

I'm thinking that tomorrow is feeling like a Biltmore kind of day for breakfast.  Then a quick look see through some shops and then back over to the antique warehouse since the temps will be much cooler than when I was there before.  Got to make the most of this last week here by myself because when Roy gets here, he wants to meet with our mortgage banker and do a few other official kind of things, then go back to some places where he loves to take pictures.  I am going to miss this place but I will be happy to get back to friends and let me not forget Buddy.

Another Beautiful Day

It's a beautiful day on the farm, in the country and I am as stuffed as a tick on a dog.  Tomorrow the cooler temps return for several days although what some consider a scorcher here is called spring at home.   Yesterday afternoon the cottage was feeling a little warm and when I checked the thermostat it confirmed what I was feeling.  So, I reluctantly called Bill next door and ruined his perfectly good Friday night.  He came over and did all he knew to do and nothing worked.  He called and left a message with his A/C guy.  Bill and Vivian were so concerned for me and invited me to stay at their home for the evening, but the sun was going down, the heat was becoming a distant memory and the evening breeze did its healing work.  I opted to stay here and open up some windows.  I slept like a baby.  This morning the A/C guys were here around 10:00 and I left to visit with Vivian and then went on looking at houses by doing a drive by.  I have a list to send to Brian.

What was funny is, Roy has now become interested in the hunt and he is looking on and Zillow now, only I have been looking since April.  He has sent me a few suggestions and I pretty much know the houses he is talking about without even looking at them and knowing I have rejected them earlier in the search.  Today as I am driving around and needing Google Girl to tell me where to go, Roy is on the phone with me looking at the computer so we can discuss what I am driving by.  Sounded good in theory and in reality it did not work.  We got to laughing so hard because by the time he found the house, I was already on looking at the next one.  Then he would talk over Google Girl and I would miss the directions.  He did stump me though on one particular house.  So, I pulled over to a Methodist Church parking lot and Googled the address.  One quick look at the picture of the house...I was so quickly on the phone back with Roy questioning his sanity.  He wouldn't stop laughing, so I had to do it....I hung up on him until he could contain himself.  Quite by accident I went by one home that had our attention and again I will say, someone should tell people what a definition of a mountain view consists of.  First, you need to be able to see a mountain in your view.  This home is one of the higher priced ones in our price range and although it is on a trendy big home street, it is in a don't see no mountain.  There ain't no mountain high enough to see a view.  Or maybe these people are of great faith and told the mountain to move, it did and the house found itself situated in the hollow of the land.

After enjoying a lovely drive, I headed back toward Weaverville and did a drive by the Reem Creek area.  I had the southern gospel Sirius station on.  The song was It Is Just Another Sunday at Mount View Missionary Baptist Church and at the same time I was turning around in a church parking lot of a church with that exact name.  I wonder....

After a brief stop in Weaverville, I headed over to a Mexican food place..It has been since August 3rd that I have had Mexican.  Chips and salsa never tasted so good.  When in doubt go with fajitas and they were really tasty.  Nothing tops off a late lunch of Mexican food like a Blizzard from DQ.  Yep, I'm set for the evening.

Before the sun began its journey behind the mountains, I was feeling like I could go to bed.  So tired but I stayed awake till the decent time of dark I stayed away till 10:00 and quickly slumbered off to nite nite land.  This morning I will get ready for church and this afternoon I am looking at a house that is not on the market yet.  And I awoke to the good news of the Texans win.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Happy Birthday Dena!

Yesterday, in all the discussing, planning, and dealing with making an offer on a house, I didn't have the chance to write a post about my friend Dena who is celebrating a birthday.  Now, I would be a horrible friend if I didn't call and sing, text and FB celebrate my friend, so I did do those things.  But this year as it has been my practice to do sometimes, I write a little post elaborating on what makes them so special to me and so many others.   So sorry this is a day late but not a dollar short.

In the grand scheme of life most people including us would not have put the two of us together as friends but God knew.  I remember the first time I met her was at a Sunday School retreat and we briefly talked by the Parrot Ice Machine.  Then in SS our teacher was doing a series on mission statements or purpose or something like that.  To me it didn't mean very much to give this any thought at all and most of the people who got up and talked about their mission statement didn't even register on my consciousness, but I do remember Dena talking about her mission statement.  She was earnest and passionate about what she had learned through the discipline.  Other than someone else talking about earth, wind and fire which to me only registered as a music group (that was not their point), hers is the only one that I remembered although I didn't remember her name.  Fast forward a couple of years and I was invited to go with a group from Sunday School that had August birthdays.  I only came for dessert, but I am so glad I did because it was a start of a beautiful friendship.

We have been friends for twelve years now and I have learned quite a bit from her.  She is a kind and generous friend.  She is a good laughter although many a restaurant has probably spent extra time cleaning off the makeup stains on their napkins from her tears.  After Roy, she is the next person I love to travel with.  We road trip well together.  I think we bonded on our first trip together when we both realized our idea of roughing it is a slow bellboy.  She is a loving and giving daughter.  Dena is a good friend.  She is also about one of the best Sunday School teachers out there.  She sacrifices a lot of what could be leisure time for her working on her lessons for Sunday morning.  

Dena is a good celebrator.  She makes birthdays memorable and special.  She is good at celebrating the ordinary of daily life with a quick dinner someplace or a cards are her specialty.  She is a good neighbor.  Many years our condos were about ten minutes apart and then Roy and I moved to Rancho De Five.  Thankfully, Dena felt the "call" to Rancho life and now she is a neighbor even closer than in Houston.  Guess when you get right down to it, Dena is good people.

Friday, August 22, 2014

It Wasn't The One...But We Are Good With That

The news came sooner than later.  Brian called earlier this afternoon letting us know the sellers had taken the other offer.  Really, neither Roy nor I are that upset that we didn't get the house.  We couldn't compete against cash and a shorter due diligence time.  In some ways I am relieved because as much as we like the Waynesville area, I am falling in love with the area around the cottage.  It has a country feel but you are only fifteen minutes from the city.  I looked at a house yesterday that I loved, so if it is still on the market when Roy gets here, we will go take a look at it.  It doesn't have the three levels that Roy is looking for, but it has two bonus rooms and a killer view.  All the bedrooms are upstairs but the living room could be converted in time of need to a bedroom type area. I did really well on the stairs in all the homes we looked at yesterday, so although I have had pain the stairs aren't keeping me down.   We have a local mortgage broker here and have our letter that qualifies us for a loan, so we are in good shape.  If we do not find a home this trip, we will continue to online search and come up this way as need be.  Yes, I know it is painful to come up here and enjoy the beauty of the mountains, but gosh darn it, someone has to do it.

After all the early morning phone calls and arrangements, I decided to take Roy's shirts to the cleaners and try to find a nail salon.  I was successful in finding both, although I was a little nervous at the salon.  I didn't recognize several of the implements that were used in my pedicure and I think the owner was the one who did mine.  I don't think I followed instructions fast enough and I barely could decipher what she was telling me to do.  I was so reminded of Lisa P's story of her experience with Pam and the blade...  this thing was more than a blade, it was a machete.   I did walk away with all ten toes and a really nice design on my big toe just like at home.  Her leg massage was awesome.  I tipped her well and I think maybe if I ever went back I wouldn't be afraid.  After going to Lotus for so long at home, I was not used to the stop and start of the pedicure.  This lady was taking care of everyone and everything...all in Vietnamese.

I know we have lots of strange looking people at home and I am probably used to them and they are just a blip on my radar but some people up here are worth the second look because you can't believe what you are seeing.  When I came out of the nail salon today, there was a son and his mother.  The son looked to be in his 50's and he was in a wheelchair moving at a fast speed away from his mother. This lady had to be 80 and she had on short shorts, knee socks, a beret, and a skimpy top.  She could barely walk and she called out to her son to slow down.  How was she going to find her a husband and a daddy for him if he sped away like that.  I wasn't brave enough to try and take a picture.  Then I realized I shouldn't be so amused by something that seemed so strange but a deeper story is buried underneath all that bizarreness.

Offering and Easing

My early morning dining companions are back, even the young cows are up here.  Their eating is interrupted with intermittent play and a wanting a bit of mother's milk to get the day started.  Cows must know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day...well actually after observing cows these past few weeks, it is constantly meal time.  One meal just dissolves into another....just their locations change.

This morning is peaceful in many ways.  We are putting in an offer on a house today and last evening we were talking with a mortgage broker and coming up with our best offer to the sellers since there are several others putting in an offer on the house.  No matter which direction the decision goes, we know God is in control.  If we don't get this house, there must be something better out there that He knows about but we don't.  We learned this lesson when we bought and built our home in Rancho De Five.  Unless The Lord builds or finds the house.....  I knew when the sellers lowered the price on Tuesday that traffic would increase for them.  One of the owners is a real estate agent in the area and she knows how to decorate and then stage a home.

Yesterday, Brian met me here at the cottage and we went out looking at three homes and then the revisit.  One of the homes that I thought would be a huge hit was a minor disappointment.  The view spectacular but the floor plan wasn't that good for what we need.  One home we visited clearly had lots and lots of storage and space, but there would be a lot of work with ridding the home of the popcorn ceiling, the nautical theme and the general look of the 90's.  It was also in a beautiful setting but surrounded by corn fields.  Not going to lie, but the thought of vermin wanting to eat in the corn field and then select a comfortable night in the home, did not go over well with me.  It was then lots of storage in my mind became lots of hiding places for vermin.   I really liked the home that is near the cottage but all the bedrooms are upstairs.  Great view and landscaping.  If this other home falls through, when Roy is here we will go back to the house nearby and see what he thinks.

This experience is reminiscent of our Rancho De Five experience...I never thought in a million years that yesterday, by the end of the day, we would be preparing an offer.

Brain and I stopped at Barber's on our way back to the cottage.  Great fruit stand and bakery.  My friends/neighbors/landlords for the month, are so welcoming and gracious.  So I got them some apple turnovers.  Vivian had knee replacement surgery the second week I was here.  She is doing very well. Oh my goodness, their view of the family farm and long range mountains is unbelievable!  Vivian and I visited like we were lifelong friends and I do believe we have formed the makings of a wonderful friendship.  She gave me a cookbook that the Women's Ministry did at their church.  Recipes that are generations old.  I can't wait to try some of them out on CBS Brunch Days.  Newfound Baptist Church is the oldest Baptist Church in the area, with great history but I think an even better future.  I'm looking forward to going back on Sunday.

The fog is burning off, the cows have moved on into left field...I've had breakfast and coffee, so guess I will be moving on into the day as well.  Sticking close today, only going into Weaverville to drop shirts off at the dry cleaners and maybe find a mani/pedi place.  It's not like Rancho De Five where there is a dry cleaner and nail salon on every corner.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Cadilac and Cruela in the Ville

There is a severe thunderstorm watch north of us a little bit, mainly affecting Marshall, Mars Hill and Burnsville.  The thunder is rumbling and letting itself be known but so far not any rain.  This has also been the hottest day since I've been here, 89 degrees.  I have felt every degree of it believe me since I have been out and about for most of the day.  I picked Hendersonville to be my ville destination but it was a bit frustrating because there wasn't parking availa-ville.  I finally found a spot near the end of historic downtown district but it was mainly places to eat.  I did go into the historic courthouse where several would be host and hostesses tried to usher me into the free museum and watch a 25 minute film on Hendersonville.  Actually, I went in there to see if I could find a restroom but it seems you have to do the whole museum thing before you finally reach the destination you would have liked to arrive at much sooner than later.  Knowing that, I took my chances and decided I would try further down the road.  Before leaving Hendersonville, I tried several times to find a parking place but it just wasn't meant to be.  I did find the post office which was helpful because I had several things to get into the mail.  So Gigi, Google Girl, took me the back way over to Flat Rock and then she kind of went nuts on directions.  This has happened before, Google Girl doesn't know that some entrances are really not entrances for the general public.  She did this to me once before trying to take me in the back way through Biltmore Forest to go back to the Inn.  Finally after some scary moments of trying to turn around, I came back and found the correct entrance.  I really wanted to go see Carl Sanburg's home.  All the pictures of it are so beautiful.  It doesn't seem quite fair to feel so good and my "good" knee hurting so bad.  I was going to give it a good try that is until I saw the sign, 'snakes live here.'  So long Carl!  Thanks for letting me use your facilities.  As I drove around Flat Rock and made a few stops here and there, I noticed the heat becoming more like home.  So I left Flat Rockville, no it is just Flat Rock, and headed over to South Asheville.  It's the happening place.  I only wanted to run into Barnes and Noble for a second to see if they have the magazine I have been looking for and YES, they had it!  I perused the shelves and then checked out.  Feeling famished, I decided against the trendy spots right there and headed over to The Moose Cafe for some veggies.  Delicious!  Then I headed north now on a much more familiar way to me now.

Man, you cannot drive and take it all in on these back roads.  I try to steal a glimpse now and then but it is difficult to do.  I am so glad we decided we didn't want to live in the immediate Asheville area because the traffic is so much more than what we would want to deal with.  Most of the roads around here were not designed for this amount of cars and the city is struggling, trying to find money and ways to relieve the congestion.  Driving around Hendersonville was like being in the Galleria on single lane roads.

Tomorrow Brian will be here at 9:30 and we will again be on the hunt for a house.  I am ready to make a decision and start the process.

Taking In A Ville

Good Morning from the rolling hills of North Carolina.  The fog is burning off, the cows are in left field and I'm sitting on the back porch with my iPad, Bible and cup of coffee.  The bird world is quieter this morning after last evening's faldara of bird Clash With The Titans...I mean birds.  The mockingbirds which by the way are huge up here and by huge I mean their individual size, and the cardinals were having territorial war for the big tree in the middle of the yard.  The wrens are content to daintily chirp from the tree next to the porch.  Really the wrens and I have the best view for the battle roy-al.  A side note, if we had a boy I wanted to name him Roy Al Monarch but we didn't and no I wouldn't have done that to a child.  I am debating of whether to go to Hendersonville or to Burnsville.  Yes, there are a lot of villes up here.  Back in the day ville must have been the culturally relevant term for naming a town.

Tomorrow is another day on the house hunting trail.  One of the houses we had mild interest in is under contract, so that leaves three houses to see and a most important revisit of a house that is very high on the list for us.  The re-visit is a home that has two out of the three criteria for us and if I have learned anything from HGTV House Hunters is, you rarely get everything you want in a home.  Yes, I just let an opportunity to quote a line from a song go past me....  Anyway, the houses tomorrow are in an area that is long range mountain views and pastoral views of the rolling fields close by.  It is an area that is centrally located between towns or as they would have it, villes, where we enjoy spending time.  You don't even have to go through Asheville to get there.  So once I check these homes out we can come to a better, well informed decision.  The home in Waynesville that has the two out of three criteria really is the best floor plan we have seen, both for Roy's desire to have a man cave, livability on a main floor for me, and a great place for our is just the limited view.  But when I think about it, the home is right off the Blue Ridge Parkway and views galore are there for the seeing.   I'm so grateful that Emily loves to look at homes online and she has been a great pair of second eyes for me.

I had a very restful and peace filled time yesterday.  Somehow I have accumulated a lot more I was organizing them and getting a few other things taken care of.  I took my first nap of the trip and enjoyed the day on the back porch watching the cows, listening to the goats and taking in all this beauty of creation.  It is true, creation sings.  But not the cows, they are too busy eating grass to look up and sing a note.  Oh yes, there is the occasional cow snort, but that's more like they are blowing their noses and the occasional mournful moo.

Well, if I am going to take in a ville, I better get a move on.  The cows have slowly migrated from left field to over here by the cottage.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Fog Free, Peace Filled Morning

This morning the fog has burned off faster than other mornings, although the mountains in the distance are still covered with the deep mist.  It is a morning after a fun-filled, wonder-filled and adventure-filled day and a fatigue-filled evening.  Roy and I came to a decision last night and I woke up this morning with such peace.  More on that later.

Yesterday, the fog cleared enough for this rookie to traverse these back roads into downtown Asheville.  One again Google Girl took me on an entirely different route and I enjoyed the scenery of verdant trees and pastures, beautiful homes, crappy looking trailers, fields being mowed and animals doing what animals do every day, eat grass and poop.  I prayed the prayer that I said I would never pray when I was seventeen years old,  yep I prayed for a close parking place, that I could get into without parallel parking.  At the age of seventeen I didn't know that parking Sequisha would be such an issue.  Heck, I didn't even know of Sequisha back then.  The Lord heard my prayer and right across the street from Malaprop's were open spaces, easy to park in and close by.  Thanks be to our God!  Malaprop's has to be one of my all time favorite indie bookstores.  I arrived with lots of quarters for the parking meter.  A local author had been at the store several weeks ago whose memoir I was very interested in and then I found more memoirs I had no clue about that needed to come home with me.  I spent a lot of time going through the bookshelves and looking at all the paper goods they sell.  Yes, I was in book nerd heaven!   Another store I have been stalking on FB is Write On, just several blocks over downhill which meant I drove because of the whole uphill return.  Once again God provided ample parking for Sequisha and me.  I wish I could have spent more time in the store but a street guy went in a few seconds before me.   Let's just say the inside of the store did not feel safe for me at that time and the owner kind of gave me the look like, I'm sorry but you should probably leave for your own safety.  From the street man's ranting, which the owner seemed well acquainted with, it was directed at women. And I did just that, got the heck out of there.  Asheville got some free time on a parking meter from me, but I was happy to be so generous with the city.

The next stop on the Monday tour was the Tobacco Warehouse.  No, I wasn't loading up for all my smoking needs, it is a huge, I mean a huge warehouse full of antiques and interesting architectural elements.  I only walked up and back down the center aisle.  It was like Round Top was located in one big place.  I was happy not to go away empty handed.  I found two Biltmore Dairy milk bottles for a good price.  You can find them online but the prices are just way too high for milk bottles.  I will be back for sure!  Since I was relatively close to the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a trip there was in order.  On the way I stopped to fill up Sequisha and also to look at my phone, the price on a house we really like has gone down $7,000.   Called Roy and left him a message and went on with the day's journey.  Love the Folk Art Center, such beautiful and unique treasures available for purchase.  So you know, I made my purchase and then went to the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center.  It's a really cool place and it has great bathrooms.  While talking to a park ranger, that is when I decided I would drive up to the Pisgah Inn for lunch.  It's a beautiful drive that involves tunnels.  Would you, could you with a funnel?  No Sam I Am, I don't like tunnels.  But I put my big girl panties on, figuratively of course, and womaned up to drive through 7 tunnels.  (Eleven total for the day) It was worth the adventure.  It was a particularly gorgeous it comes.... "I'm on the top of the world, looking down on creation and the only explanation I can find, is a drive up and down and tunnels to brave down, I'm sitting on top of the world."  Lunch with a spectacular view with so so food, awesome!  It was me, some biker chicks not wanting to go back to Asheville, a couple of women with oxygen tanks and vacationers.

I decided to keep on the Blue Ridge Parkway and exit on 276 to Waynesville.  I could have stayed on the BRP and exited right by a house we are seriously considering.   Let's just say I was ever so thankful we got it out of our minds that we wanted to live in the middle of the Pisgah Forest in a golf community because the road 276 is downright scary for a newbie and it should be for others as well, but what the heck, guess they are practicing their moonshine runs.  Once I got out of all the switchbacks, I wanted to stop and kiss the ground, level ground.  Google Girl took me a round about way into Waynesville but I have come to accept these adventures down new roads.  Found a couple more produce stands that way.  I came into Waynesville and since there was wide open parking in front of Mast General, I stopped in because I love that store.  Going at 4:30 in the afternoon on a weekday is the way to go.  Not crowded at all.  Stopped by the DQ in Canton for ice cream and I headed back to the cottage.

My plans for the evening were disrupted by the news of the phone call from my father.  I was a good kind of tired but it quickly went to fatigue as we pondered our options.  Roy was rather agitated about the whole thing and said something like you sure are taking this response was so godly...."well, I can't very well get upset up here.  I am alone and don't want to call 911 if my heart goes wacky on me."  Then I mentioned the verses I had read that morning.  Ah yes, godly came through at the end.    Roy went for a trek ride and I vegged on the couch.  We talked a little later in the evening and we both had come to the same conclusion to let the boxes go, let them Salvation Army.  The boxes are still part of his ploy and his way of manipulating control to have something that you might want or need from him.  Really, I have pictures, don't want my baby clothes and all the other stuff that who knows what it is.  It would be so disruptive of the restorative work God has done in me and I have closure, these boxes would just rip all that apart.

I am so thankful for friends who were willing to go over to crazy land and pick up the boxes.  Thank you Peggy and Kathleen.  Belinda's idea of no habla ingles' was perfect and made me laugh.  She could have given my father fits for sure.

So this morning I have peace like a river, a peace that passes all understanding, and a peace that is guarding my heart, both spiritually and physically.  My dining companions, the cows, are sitting on the ground which is an indication of rain.  That's fine and welcomed, although I understand all this rain will make the leaves this fall not as spectacular.  Now I am going to get up out of this chair before I have to watch the nimble cows get off the ground.

Monday, August 18, 2014

No Such Thing As Living in the Past

@DrHenryCloud: There's no such thing as living in the past. There is only creating the past in the present. Create something new

Wednesday afternoon on the drive toward Asheville we received a call from the police, this time it was both the constable and the police who called.  After a bit of a respite from accusations by my father, they have started again.  He claimed we had unscrewed the windows and came inside the house and chloroformed him in order to steal his wallet and his money.   I am noticing that his story has taken a different bent, away from the official stock and bank story since the facts proved him wrong and now is on a personal level, his possessions in the house.  There isn't an official inquiry for that...he thinks they should take him at his word...except, we aren't even in the vicinity. Thankfully, we are in North Caroline again when this has happened.  I talked to one officer and told the same true story that I have told other officers and officials just like him, I have not seen nor spoken to my father since March 27, 2012.  Each time when the truth is so clearly evident, people dealing with him are so baffled because he is so convincing until they partner his story against the truth.  With his repeated phone calls to authorities he keeps himself on their radar.  Not the thing he wants and is so afraid that we are doing to him when the truth is obviously we aren't going over there.  

I truly believe he cannot fathom that we don't need his money or stock or possessions and that is a part of his anxiety and paranoia.  That is the treasure of his heart and his value that he uses to love or whatever he calls his definition of love.  It is sad that he has turned into the person that he has despised all his life, his mother.  She played people off of each other all the time.  She played favorites.  The world revolved around her and she stopped people from enjoying activities because if she didn't want to do it, no one got to do it.  She simply kept everyone off kilter.  She made promises she would not and could not keep.  Most of the time any gift or kindness had a hook to it and she wasn't afraid to pull that hook any time to her benefit.  Her illnesses and aches trumped anyone near or far.   There is the picture of my father who has taken all these things and added his own mean mark and anger to them.  

Thus, @DrHenryCloud: There's no such thing as living in the past. There is only creating the past in the present. Create something new   This is a good word from Dr Cloud.  This has been my desire  to break the chain and not live in the present past.  When these kind of things happened before with my father it used to take weeks to overcome the hurt and begin to move on.  As time goes by, the time of hurt grows to be less and less.  So Wednesday when the phone call came and after the conversation, it was mere minutes of 'how could he?'   In fact I think Roy stayed miffed longer than I did which surprised me.  

Roy has often said don't let people and the past define who you are today and he is not a professional counselor but a lawyer and CPA.  We have encouraged one another in our journey together to believe God who makes all things new...His mercies and compassion are new every morning.  There were those days that we had to say to ourselves it is morning somewhere in the world when we had failed in our own mornings and dashed outside of His new mercies or totally ignored them.   

These days I am all about creating something new  The Psalms are filled with the words sing unto The Lord a new song.  A new song, not the old tired song of nobody knows the trouble I've seen or why me or they done me wrong....create something!  Create a clean heart in me and renew in me a right, now.  Faith is looking forward, fear and bondage comes from always looking back.   Self absorbtion comes from looking within too much and too long.  

I wrote the above several weeks ago and held onto it.  Roy called me this evening and my father had left a message.  Again, he sounds normal, has a normal cadence to his conversation and then he gets spiteful.   Doug had told me several weeks ago that my father was putting together some boxes of pictures and such for me.  My father has sold his house and blessedly will be moving into assisted living.  So on this phone message he goes into this I am at his house all the time sitting in his living room and I should have taken the boxes already.  If I don't come get them he is having Salvation Army pick them up.  Poor Roy, he is having to deal with this and will have to find a courier or a mover to pick up the boxes and have them delivered to us at home.  So, he is talking to Doug right now getting any particulars he needs to know.  You see, I do want the pictures and who knows what else will be in those boxes.  I can only imagine....or maybe he has defaced the pictures, who knows.  Tonight, after a wonderful day, coming home tired and then hearing this stuff has wearied me just a bit.  This morning for my quiet time I read Psalm 27 verse 10, even if my father and mother abandon me, The Lord will hold me close.  Then David asks God to not let him fall into his enemies hands and he closes with this very well loved and quoted verse, I would have despaired unless I believed I would see the goodness of The Lord in the land of the living.  Wait patiently for The Lord.  

Psalm 120- I look up to the mountains does my help come from there?  My help comes from The Lord who made heaven and earth.  

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday in the Country

It is 4:30 in the afternoon and I just got back to the cottage.  The day has been full and ever so much enjoyable.  I went to Newfound Baptist Church this morning.  The people friendly, the pastor/choir director preached a good sermon and he led the choir singing Shoutin' Time in Heaven...I love that song!  Music was well mixed and from the looks of it everyone was enjoying themselves worshipping the Lord.   It has a little old school feel but not in a bad way.  In fact, it just felt old school a bit because of high tech at First Baptist.  The pastor is teaching a series of Jesus in Genesis and we were in Genesis 14 today.  Since we studied Genesis this past year in CBS, I was excited to revisit good ol' Mel.  The sermon turned into a two parter, so I will go back next Sunday.  It has been a while since I've heard a pastor who really pastors and not a pastor who is more like the CEO.  In a small church setting, the CEO structure really doesn't work and I know in a big church you have to lean more toward CEO structure to keep the church on course.  I loved that he gave the baptism certificates out to those who had been baptized in the last few weeks, right before the sermon.  In fact he handled it really well a couple, who have been living together...were saved and baptized and the pastor added when they get married which is going to be soon, they can join the church.  They are doing a fund raiser, had a hot dog lunch after church and tonight a softball game between the senior adults and the youth trying to raise money for their new bus.  I should have gone to the  hot dog lunch.

After church I did another drive by of a house we are interested in.  On Friday I went to the wrong house.  Today I found it and love that the driveway is not steep but rolling.  Roy wanted me to check the timber line and if anything could possibly be built next to the house.  If another house was built it would be on the higher part of the land and not effect the view.  Of course this is based on my professional view...

My lunch was cheese/peanut butter crackers.  I drove around on back roads, stopped at the fruit stand and then headed over to the antique stores on Swannanoa Ave.  I picked up peaches and tomatoes and an apple turnover...also got a homemade peach slushy.  Wow!  And I just had the turnover and it was delicious!  The antique district is really fun and lots of interesting items.  Really great furniture and it took everything within me not to purchase a few things...big things....  I was prepared if I found the right one, to purchase a desk.  I only made it to two of the many shops.  It was getting rather warm in those warehouses and kind of crowded.  I am going to go back during the week when it is less crowded.  I was very encouraged that I didn't need to use Google Girl, GiGi, a whole lot today.  Some of the roads are becoming very familiar to me.

Hopefully the morning will not be too foggy because I'd like to go to downtown Asheville.  Today would have been the perfect day but you know...I went to church.  I am even thinking of going to Sunday School next week.

Not A Bad Way to Spend a Saturday

Since this is a laid back day, I made brunch.  Like one of our favorite lines from The Simpsons concerning brunch, "It isn't exactly breakfast and it isn't exactly lunch.  You don't get exactly what you want, but you get a good meal with a slice of cantaloupe at the end."  I hate to differ with The Simpsons but today I had exactly what I wanted....scrambled eggs, biscuits and cantaloupe.  OK, I burned the bottom of the biscuits not knowing the oven too well but when life gives you burnt bottoms, haha, you just slice off the burnt and have open faced biscuits.  They were quite good!  My friends the cows went on without me this morning but that's ok, they are dining in left field where I can't see them.

So I am so non tech but I had my first experience with Face Time this morning and I am even happier it was with Erin.  She and Nancy gave me a tour of Erin's new apartment at school.  It is so cute and if Erin ever misses her desk, she better not come around trying to find it with me....just could be at Dena's.  She asked about it the other day because she loves it too.  Of course I am not happy my first Face Time came with messy, need to wash hair, and jammies.  Oh, that was me, Erin looked beautiful!  Today became a baseball cap kind of day because I don't plan on going anywhere.

The laundry is happening and now I need to do some cleaning and vacuuming.  I also need to organize my books.  Funny, I have accumulated so many more books and I haven't even been to Malaprop's yet.  Note to self, find a home that has plenty of space for bookcases.  I'm in the midst of a book written in the 60's that is touted as the next To Kill a Mockingbird.  Ah, no but it is a good story.

I would say that my adventures and encounters around here have been pretty much minivan free.  More trucks, convertibles and SUVs.   That is until yesterday.  As I was exciting I 40 onto a main road, the minivan in the lane did not extend the courtesy that most drivers extend by moving over to the left lane.  In fact, they sped up so I did what I do best, sped up more and cut in front of them...then I slowed down to normal minivan speed.  They began the whole I'm getting in front of you kind of thing, which impressed me because most minivans are being driven like a bus and I also knew in a 1/4 of a mile I would be exciting.  Wouldn't you know it on the back of that minivan, besides all the stick figures, was a grocery store scooter.  My second arch nemesis and the third thing that made the trifecta?  The minivan had Texas plates.  Oh yes, that explains so much.   (no minivans were hurt in the telling of this story)

Last Sunday when Nancy, Erin and I went to Waynesville, GiGi, Google Girl, took us down a back road.  While it was beautiful and scenic, I wondered why she didn't choose taking the freeway?  Surely that would be much faster than a two lane road.   When I went back on Wednesday once again GiGi directed me to that back road but this time I slowed down, a decision not too popular with the natives of the area, and really took it all in.  For Sale signs dotted the landscape along the side of the road and that is when I concluded that maybe I should check the area out on my iPad.  And so I have spent the rest of the weekday afternoons exploring that area.  I think the experience is also significant in that I think this time away, in the cool is just like my off the freeway experience.  Even the other night while I drove around waiting for my pizza I pulled into a gathering of homes.  On Friday I found myself right back in that neighborhood checking out homes for sale in the area.  Really, how they say they have a mountain view is just beyond understanding.  It is  good to slow down and take it in.  God certainly has a wonderful sense of using these opportunities to remind me that distractions are just exactly that.  Right now I am keeping my eye on a big is kind of distracting.  Yet, I do not want to be bitten by a spider that sat down beside her.  Oh, this is on the back porch, not in the house.  I keep moving a chair for it to sense the vibrations and stay in one place.  I am telling myself that it works or maybe I should just go get some hairspray, my be all end all bug killer when I can't find the real deal.  But I am not flexible enough to make a fast getaway if that thing came close to me.    I need wasp spray that shoot over 12 feet.   I think it really doesn't want to be on the porch, it came up under the screen and it sits looking through the screen at the web filled with newly caught prey on the outside.

The day is wrapping up to being restorative.  And not only restorative but productive.  Laundry and vacuuming...I have a couple more chores to do but they may carry over to Sunday.   I am almost finished with my 1960 something book.  It's a good story but the author is dragging it out too much.

Tomorrow I am going to church.  It's a bigger type of church and the signs look like it will be good, they have a website and they know who Beth Moore is.  Not partaking in Sunday School...Roy laughed and said, nothing has changed from what you usually do but oh my friends there is a difference.  We go to brunch at home, here I will get to sleep later before going 8 minutes to church.

After church I am heading back to look at a home one more time before giving the MLS number to Brian.  I think we might have 3-4 houses to see.  I am kind of hoping one in particular works out....but we will see.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Be Bery Bery Quiet, I'm House Hunting

This morning the message on my phone informed me I hadn't backed up to the cloud in over two weeks.   Never seen that message but maybe its because I haven't been using WiFi on my phone.  So hopefully now as it is in it safe passcode locked postion it will back up to the cloud.  Funny, several years ago if we told anyone we were backing up to the cloud, they would think we were a bit crazy.

I am writing to you this morning from the den.  The fog has burned off early today but that might be flawed judgement because I slept in today.  It felt like the Saturday morning kind of thing to do in the mountains.  I think Saturdays will be my hardest days up here...really no day is hard when it is cool and beautiful, but it is difficult because it is Saturday.  During the week at home Roy has limited time in the evenings to get everything he needs to do, done but the weekends are where we get to spend time together.   Knowing that in the back of my mind is probably why this day will be hardest.  We talked for a long time on the phone last night.  That is always welcomed, ok except when I am following directions from GiGi, that's what I call the voice of Google Maps, and need to make a critical turn in the next few minutes.  Then I call him back.

Yesterday was a full afternoon of driving by houses on the market and deciding whether they are worth going to see with Brian.  I nixed about three houses from the list.  There should be a definition of mountain view up here, that's all I'm saying.  One house is way up in the mountains, thus the beautiful view, but it is the only house for several the list.  The ones that remain on the list I am really pleased with their outside appearance, ease of driveway and level entrance to the home.  All these homes need is a great interior and in Toddlers and Tiaras lingo, those homes will be the complete and total package.   One home I drove by is with a grouping of several houses, close yet distant enough.  Since addresses are difficult here to find on the houses, I didn't drive far enough to see the house we are interested in.  The first home on the road had a For Sale sign in it and it kind of looked like the home I was driving by but the driveway was killer.  It gave me the shivers imagining driving down or backing down that driveway, making one little mistake and crashing down into the crevice about backing up the cloud and into glory....but once I returned to the cottage and looked at Zillow and Google Earth I discovered that home is $500,000...oh Nellie, and not the correct one.  I'm also happy that the driveway on the correct house does not look as steep as the other house.  There about ten homes surrounded by tomato fields.  There was a big truck parked on the side of the road filled to almost overflowing of tomatoes.  In that moment I totally could see myself like Julie Andrews in the money shot from Sound of Music, twirling and smiling and singing, 'the fields are alive with the fragrance  of tomatoes...ahahahahah......

The second house I went by has a few homes around it and has corn fields to the side of it.  It has a quaint and charming look surrounded by trees covering the front porch.  I also drove back over to the 209 area of rolling fields and long distant mountain views.  That is where one house is still in contention on our list but we had missed another home near by.  It might be visit worthy.  I also drove by a home we liked so much, as much as you can like a home from the Internet, very cute, great view...bad location.  Clyde is rather Clyde-ish.  Difficult to get to house and the road going there is trailer house row....This home has been off the list but I just wanted to make sure we had made a wise decision.  We did.  But the house is much cuter in person...  This is the third house we have looked at where someone has built and won't get the monetary value out of the home.

The location of these homes are perfect.  Not too far from Waynesville, not too far from Asheville and not too far from Weaverville.  I 40 is very accessible without having to go through Asheville and their growing traffic.  The area is still farm-centric, with that long ago feel of churches with dinner on the grounds and homecomings.  I like that feel but don't think we would want to step back into the early 20th century to go to church.  Most churches here have cemeteries off to the side but no websites to check out the church.

There is still more I want to write but I will end this post right here.  Kind to you and your attention span, but more so for me to go get another cup of coffee.  Who knows, with my ADD, it might not be until this afternoon when I realize I totally hadn't finished my post.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Whistle While You Wait.....

This is one of my favorite pictures that Roy has taken at the Biltmore.  Truthfully, the mountains in silhouette have been persevered by many photographers and artists, but it becomes much more special when someone you love takes it for you.   Since I am artistically challenged I could give you a  an artistic rendition of this morning...gray with muted greens and blacks.  I barely can see my breakfast companions this morning, but I can hear them eating.  I will miss this time when I get home.  Listening to Buddy eat her cat food isn't quite the same.

The first time I came up this way with Dena, she read Psalm 104 out loud as we drove through the mountains and it has become a tradition with us when we come up here.  So this morning I read Psalm 104 to begin the day.  Smoke on the mountain.  Totally opposite of God's smoke on the mountains is the one long plume of smoke in the mountains.  I always thought it meant that North Carolina had a new pope but alas it is the smoke from a chimney at the paper mill in Canton...I always saw the one plume in the mornings at the Inn.

On a totally different subject, why don't the concordances in the back of Bibles ever have the word I am looking for?  And you know it is one of those words that totally make the verse but you want to reference the address of the verse and the concordances don't help one bit.   Bible studies can be that way too especially if you are going through a book in the Bible.  The verses you and many others look forward to studying as well,  get a light touch.

Bill, one of my landlords for the month, stopped by yesterday.  He brought the DVD Heaven is Real and thought I might enjoy seeing it.  I read the book right after my mom passed away.  I am saving it for this weekend to watch.  His wife had knee replacement surgery on Wednesday and possibly will get to come home today.  He gave me some good advice about one of the homes I wanted to look at next week.  I keep forgetting that up here with a water well you don't want anything nearby to contaminate the water.

I knew I had been hearing the chirp of a baby mockingbird and I got to see him yesterday out in the yard and among the trees.  From my observations at home with mockingbirds at our feeder, mockingbird parents love with tough love.

I am thinking of a conversation I had with a friend.  We talked about all kinds of interesting, at least to us, things that are going on in our lives and also a bit about what we hope will happen in our lives. Right now my immediate surface hope is to find a home here in the area.  While we wait and pray about finding the right place for livability for me, a beautiful view and a place that is comfortable when friends come to visit I try to be patient with the whole process.  Of course there are those deeper things that I have to trust God with that are truly waiting kind of things.   It is planting a seed and leaving it alone while "much good happens in the space where nothing is happening."  Christa Wells, singer/songwriter.   Along in that planting time, there should also be giving done in the midst of a wait.   It keeps our eyes off us for a moment and keeps us from being so self absorbed.   And just like waiting, giving is an open hand, not clenched fists and letting the seeds drop into the ground.   I learned a long time ago when you give a gift, that's it.  You did your part and even though you might not like what someone plans to do with your gift, it is no longer yours to give direction or opinion on usuage.  The gift is out of your possession and it belongs to someone else.   Years ago I gave someone a beautiful leather journal and my thoughts were just that, to be used for journaling but the person told me they were going to use it for work, to keep tab on their appointments and sales calls...oh yes, I wanted to say, but that's not my intention for it...but you see, once I handed them the gift, I have no claim to it whatsoever.   Years and years ago my father gave us some money only because he had given some money to my brother.   A one time experience for us but I digress...what he wanted us to do with the money and what we did with the money caused a few disagreements.   We had law school debt and wanted to get rid of it, so we took most of the money, invested it and when we sold the stock, we had a major portion of the debt paid down.   That to me is truly a good thing, better than using it for shopping or fun or a vacation.   While we had the stock, my father hinted that he would like a personal accounting for the gift of money he had given us....he didn't get one.  I reminded him it was his gift to us....yep, that went over really well.    It played a major decision in selling the stock.   Oh yes, back to waiting...give to others while you wait.  It doesn't have to be money...if you are in a position and you need money, give what you have to give, time, talent....and be much more happy and healthy while you wait.  I like what Emily P Freeman says in her book a million little ways..."let the seeds drop into the ground, let them burrow down deep and do their secret work in the dark.  Sacred shaping happens in the waiting."  I would add to this sacred shaping happens in the giving while you're waiting.

I waited for the fog to clear and it is a beautiful sun-filled day.  I must hit the roads with my list of houses.  I will be trapsing on many of the back roads of WNC.  I think it is going to be a good day.

Thursday-Foggy and Cool

This particular Thursday is the foggiest morning so far.  I'm glad I decided last night not to go into Asheville early but to do the literary trail that is Marshall to Mars Hill to Weaverville.  O. Henry was from NC and only wrote two stories about his homeland.  A little literary trivia for your day.

Each morning the drum line gets better and better in their morning practice.  The cows are eating close by and the road hums with cars and trucks on their way to....wherever.  I am happy not to be driving in this misty gray fog and over in the eastern sky the sun is trying to break through.  I have a feeling the sun is going to win this one.

The sun won and it was a beautiful, cool mountain air day.  I got a little bit later of a start which was fine because I was doing some real estate research, then I got distracted by a book that has my attention and then it is hard to pull away from the back porch and go on about the day.  I left around noon and did a drive by of several houses out in this area.  The last one has a Weaverville address but with all the winding and twisting roads and the feeling of nothing is very close by when I came upon the street the house is on...let's just say I punted at that point because the gravel road was so steep  I decided to get on to the nerd portion of my day.   I went on to Mars Hill and Marshall.  At the beginning of our search those two were in the running but just like my attention span, looking for a home has been all over the grid.  I started wanting something in Burnsville and Bakersville but I knew I didn't want a home in the south Asheville/Arden area.  Thank you I have enough traffic out in Rancho De Five, don't need that kind of traffic here.  I stopped at the visitor center for Madison County and had a great conversation with the chamber of commerce lady.   Then I stopped in at the Mars Hill College bookstore and bought a sweatshirt.  For a brief moment I felt like I had stepped back in time because the charges were being handled in the old fashioned way and the orders were being hand written.  Wow, it was reminding me of college days, way back when but they soon told me that someone had loaded a new program on the computer and it brought the whole thing down.  Thus the old fashioned way.  I paid cash, but she still had to write out what I bought.  I also got their last box of Hello Kitty Jellybeans.  They must have some kind of tie with Hello Kitty because several of the t-shirts had that likeness on them.  I drove around a little more and then headed back toward Weaverville.  I had called my orthopedic office this morning to see if they could call in my prescriptions that needed to be refilled and then I could pick them up at a CVS here.  The nurse called me back and said it had been taken care of.  She told me to take some Advil for the swelling.  So far it is helping.  Then I drove out to downtown Weaverville and shopped at a few stores.  While I still had time I went to the Vance Birthplace.  Beautiful, but of course I didn't go in the visitor center but I think he was a governor of North Carolina at some point.

It was feeling like a pizza kind of night, so I ordered gas station pizza and it was good.  I got all veggie this time.  When I went to get it, the guy told me they had gotten busy and he needed another fifteen minutes to bake it.  So, I drove around some of the back roads and marveled once again at the beauty of my Father's World.  I saw geese on the side of the road, majestic horses and even a few longhorns mixed in with the other cattle.  I don't think these views could ever get old.  The thought came to me while I was out and about today, as much as I love staying at The Inn on the Biltmore Estate, I have loved this time so far even more.   OK my toast at breakfast can't hold a candle to the buffet breakfast but you get my drift.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Postlude to Wednesday

The evening is growing into night.  The cows are beginning to go back to the barn and the little goats are bleating ever so pitifully because their owners just came home and they run to the fence to welcome them home.  Probably it is more like the goats are looking for some apple treats but I'd like to think there is a bit of kindness in their hearts.  It has been a full day and I believe I will sleep well tonight.  I slept well last night once I assuaged my fears with God's Word.  Last Wednesday Vivian, owns the cottage, said to me you are as safe as you are in your daddy's arms.  Uh, well...that really wasn't too comforting considering my father, so I chose to believe she said your mother's arms.  There....yes, that did it.  One goat in particular has such a mournful cry, it is painful to listen to because it almost sounds human.

The evening has now transformed into the firefly and cricket portion of the program.  We had such wonderful weather, please do not shoot me, but the high was 75 today and this morning I needed a sweatshirt as I sat out on the back porch reading my Bible and eating breakfast.  With all the clouds of late I have not been able to see the stars but I know at some point I will get to experience seeing the multitude of God's handiwork.

This morning I gathered my Literary Trail book and a smaller book to read at lunch.  I began the trail which deposited me back to Waynesville.  Today was part nerdiness and part fact finding.   I found the grocery stores, nail salon, and dry cleaners.  Also on the top of the list was to visit the local bookstores, well at least two of them.  The Blue Ridge Bookstore is well stocked and had lots of regional authors to choose from.  Fred Chappell is there on the 24th and I am tempted to go back for his readings.  I have several of his books through the LSU Voices of the South series.  I picked up a few books, didn't stay for coffee although the fragrance was divine.  The next bookstore was the Wall Street Store...not that Wall Street.  It is a used bookstore with a friendly hippy who owns it and is quite the knowledgeable one for southern authors.   We chatted a bit about authors and it was so enjoyable.  Then I made a trip over to Haywood Ave and the little niche of shops that are fun to go through.  Antiques, girly fun shop with all kinds of interesting things, a soap and lotion specialty shop, an old time pharmacy and my favorite, the gun and glock store.   I didn't go to gun and glock.  I  did a quick drive through Maggie Valley and headed back in toward Asheville.  I hadn't eaten lunch so  you guessed it....The Moose Cafe.  Then I made a quick trip to Target.  Along the way on the back roads to Waynesville, I decided to get a point and shoot camera to take extra pictures.  My phone has way too many as it is.  The man there at the Target was so helpful and knowledgeable.   And then I began the rather traffic free jaunt back to the cottage.

On the Interstate this morning, the scene along the side of the road was straight out of Cool Hand Luke.   Prisoners were cleaning up litter and cutting back weeds and kudzu.  The guards watched over them with rather scary looking rifles.  I took the back way to Waynesville, this being my second time driving on the scenic road and the thought came to me as the For Sale signs scattered here and there  became numerous, maybe I should see if Brian will go out with me to some of these houses.  When I came in this evening, the first thing I did was hit Zillow and  There are a few worth looking at in our price range and for two of the homes I am suspending my rule of no crawl spaces.  The views and rolling countryside are just so beautiful.  Surely there is a house like the one we like with a much better view, so that is my goal for next week.  I am trying to rest my knee because it is so painful when I move it to the side.  Lots of stairs wouldn't be my choice right now.

Roy and Buddy are bonding.  Both seem to miss me quite a bit.  Truthfully, I miss them too but then I get out and about...and wrapped up in all the cool temps and beautiful sights, that I don't start missing them till I come back to the cottage.  I have been texting and talking to Roy quite a bit as I have found out various interesting facts.  Today, Diana told me about the weather and who gets their roads cleared first.  We also discussed where we have been looking and although she understands the practical of the one house, she was encouraging me to get that knee replacement and live close to the Iron Duff region off of route 209.  I also found out that there are too many bike rallies in Maggie Valley.  Granted it is retired lawyers and accountants not biker gangs but still I don't think our little Treks would hold up to a motorcycle.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

My First Day

The evening breeze is lovely this time of night when the sun slowly sets over the mountains and the clouds gather round to cover our little valley.  It is beautiful and so relaxing.  I did as I had planned, took the day as a day of rest and recouping.  When the sun came out this afternoon, it was difficult to hold onto my plan.  I knew there was a reason I didn't really clean up today.  The day has been filled with books and some writing.  I'm not here on a writing retreat or anything, but one cannot help but be inspired.  I kind of had a surprise this morning when I heard a voice coming from behind the trees, "hello, hello....I'm from State Farm doing some work for Bill."  I'll go all 60 on you and tell you he was such a nice young man.  We visited a bit before he began his first round of inspection around the outside of the house and when he came around on the second time, I asked him some questions about the area.  He is a native of this area and now lives in Asheville but wish he didn't because it is getting too crowded.  I did ask about the area we are looking at and he said nothing but good things even making sure we weren't buying in a particular area because of some water issues.  I have got to remember that most likely wherever we buy, the possibility of having well water is rather high.   This is all a part of my due diligence work this week.  I have tomorrow scheduled out for some look-sees around the area.

Nancy called this afternoon to let me know they made it home and in record time.  We had such a blast laughing and eating and visiting.  For my dessert this evening I had some sliced peaches fresh from South Carolina.  Oh my....they are delicious!  Roy bought a huge bag so that I could share them with Nancy and Erin.  The wife of the couple that own the cottage told me on the phone the other day that in the summer in NC in this area, you can eat fresh 95% of the time and she is correct.  I finished up the last of the strawberries at lunch when I ate my sandwich.  The thought of calling in a pizza crossed my mind, but I might do that later this week.

I started reading Voices From North Carolina Mountains, Appalachian Oral Histories, this afternoon. It is a delightful book, with great stories and much to ponder since electricity came to rural America.  It totally changed the way of life because before then people lived by the natural rhythms of life, up early, work, and go to sleep when it got dark.  The winter was for rest and repair, yet there was quite a few things that needed attending to during the cold winters up in the mountains.

I am waiting on Roy to call and once we have talked I believe goodnight will be soon coming for me.  I am an hour ahead time wise.