Monday, June 12, 2017

Royalty in the Making: Monarchs and Me

Marcia Moston

A quick, simple stop at the nursery for a couple of knock out rose bushes turned into a month’s worth of worry and wonder.

I was all ready to check out when the attendant, Maxine, held up a pot with a solitary plant. “In two weeks this will be a monarch butterfly.” I stared at the acorn-shaped chrysalis suspended by a tiny strand from the underside of a leaf.

Like any other school child, at some point in my elementary education, I had learned about the four stages of a butterfly, but although I had dutifully memorized diagrams in my textbook, I had never witnessed this transformation. Maxine examined another plant, found a tiny larva on the underside of a leaf, held it up for me to see and smiled.

There’s a time for learning facts, and there’s a time for experiencing wonder. I was ready for wonder.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Calling on the Carpenter of Nazareth for Help with House-Selling Stress

According to a survey in the Daily Mail, selling a house is one of most stressful experiences people go through, topping death and divorce. 

Although I’d much rather lose a house than lose my husband, having sold five houses during the lifetime of our marriage, I can see why people think that way.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Bob’s Barn: When life hands you a carport—but you really wanted a workshop

Nat with shed stuff
Marcia Moston

I used to say the property we bought was “on the tracks”—the lake homes to the right of us were mostly a mix of new and nice, some to the left were tin and tacky. But after living here for the past six months, I’ve had to repent of my uppity attitude toward people who live in homes that are registered with the motor vehicle department. I still don’t appreciate those whose yards are full of trash; there’s a difference between slovenly and resourceful, but I’ve come to see that some of that yard stuff I looked upon as trash is actually someone’s creative vision just waiting to take form.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

How to dismantle a mobile home—DIY Rule 1b:Beware the time-lapsed video

Marcia Moston

After we spent several thousand more than anticipated in clearing our newly purchased land, we discovered the old mobile home on it wasn’t so mobile after all. The person who wanted it for his own fixer-upper project abandoned the idea because he couldn’t get the permits to haul it down the road. So there we were with this big old doublewide parked right where we wanted to build. The man we hired to find the septic system offered to take it down. “$5,000,” he said. “You pick up the Dumpster fees.”

Ka-ching. Again. And we hadn’t even started to build. That’s the way it is, isn’t it? There’s always a high price to pay to get rid of the old before you can begin the new.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Downsizing: Letting go of all that Precious Stuff

Marcia Moston

The thing about my childhood home was that even though it was small—with every closet and cupboard packed—to a child there was a potential for the discovery of unexpected treasures.  

I remember the pantry, long and deep, with a wall of upper cabinets and huge heavy bottom drawers I could hardly joggle back into place. Nevertheless, I loved to explore and organize the shelves. I marveled over the ruby-colored dessert cups that caught shafts of light and the stacks of Grandma’s green embossed dishes crammed alongside rougher items like waffle irons, hammers and a gun or two lodged up against the water heater in the far corner.

Why did no one care that these treasures were relegated to such an ignominious fate? Hidden away. Unused. Unappreciated.

I think it was the discovery of my sister’s coconut that shed some light on the matter for me.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

A Year of Nest Building

My intention when I walked into Pier 1 that day was to pick up the chairs I’d ordered. It was the picture of the bird with a beak full of miscellany that stopped me. I turned to my ever-agreeable Bob. “Building a nest. That sums up my life this past year. I’ve got to have it.”

This was before I remembered birds build nests mainly to raise their babies. They live (roost) elsewhere. Clearly not my situation. My nest is post–birdlings. It’s an empty-nester’s nest, one that this time around I expect to live in until I die.

 Nevertheless, I bought the picture and hung it on the naked wall of my newly erected house.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The fixer-upper saga continues: The things we leave behind

I was hoping to find what the Bible refers to as “hidden treasures of darkness.” The property we bought included a run-down mobile home and a metal shed. Both very dark and both packed, I say packed (some boxes since 1999) with the left-behinds of what was once a family. Or maybe it was several families—siblings who used the place to store the mementos of a former life.

Monday, February 15, 2016

The fixer-upper saga: Seems you can’t just haul a trailer away

“I’m not mean,” he says. “We just think differently.”
“Nope. You’re mean.” I hold my ground, but after thirty-something years’ of marriage he can tell I don’t mean it. We had long ago concluded we thought differently about, well, just about everything.

This current discussion concerns a problem about a piece of property we’re supposed to close on in a few days. Seems that even though decrepit mobile homes in SC are as abundant as roadside boiled peanut stands, the situations concerning the removal and disposal of them are so complicated my attorney suggested we discuss our options off the record.

Friday, February 12, 2016

When the fixer-upper is beyond fixing

If dreams are any indication of what is occupying your subconscious, it wasn’t boding well for the situation my husband and I just gotten ourselves into. Zombies were chasing someone right up to my house—(the one we just bought in in real life.) I wasn’t particularly afraid of them but was holding the door open, hoping the person would make it in time.

Unfortunately I will never know because the scene switched to the basement of the dream place where we discovered a room that had been a gift shop. It was still full of stuff but someone told me that underneath the place were wind tunnels whose constant screeching drove people crazy. And I still wasn’t worried (?!)

Now the setup for this dream isn’t that far-fetched because the person whose real-time property we bought had just walked away. Family was concerned and came to get him. Left his beer can on the end table, bills piled high. Rusty Coleman stove on the kitchen counter and pictures on the wall. Said he didn’t want a thing.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Fixated on a fixer-upper or—When that penchant for fixer-uppers gets you in a real fix

You know how amazed you get when you see the beauty some people, (like Chip and Joanna Gaines on Fixer-Upper) can make out of a wreck of a house? Just knock out this wall here and put in a stainless steel kitchen there. And ta-da! A new house is born right before your eyes.

It’s easy if you have the ability (and the money) to “see” the vision. I can see the end result when I have something to work with—we knocked out walls in confident abandon in my present home
—but I have no, absolutely none, conceptual ability to transpose a
flat scale drawing of a layout into an actual 3-dimensional space. And I can’t sleep or think on anything else until I get it.

So for the past three days I have been walking around my house measuring spaces, measuring couches and desks and doorways in an attempt to imagine what they would look like in a new little house that doesn’t yet exist. My left eye is bloodshot, my brains are beat and I’ve used up a whole pad of graph paper trying to “see” the house that will replace the one we bought after we tear it down.

Yep. That’s it above. I was afraid when our kids saw what we just purchased, they’d be putting us in a home all right but it wouldn’t be the one on the hill.

Monday, January 18, 2016

When God knows you need a pick-me-up

You know how you can’t sleep when you are in the midst of a big decision?

That’s how I was last Wednesday. Even with the help of a little melatonin, I tossed and turned and poked my husband (who wasn’t worrying at all). Finally I got up, put on the gas logs and knelt on the floor to talk to the Lord. Poured out all my concerns, spelled out all the details that posed problems and waited. Waited for him to say something. Waited for some remembrance of the perfect Bible passage that fit my situation and assured me all was well.

You know how God is notably quiet sometimes and the only passages you can recall are about walking by faith?

After a while, reluctantly, I shut off the logs and went to bed, believing “by faith” God heard my concerns, but wishing he had given a little acknowledgment. A few hours later I rushed to get to a writer’s group in the next town. If it hadn’t been for book review I was scheduled to present, I would have skipped going altogether.

Minutes before the meeting began, I slid into my seat and heaved a sigh that I’d made it in time. Alycia, the president of the group, who knew nothing about what I’ve been up to, leaned over and handed me some gift cards for coffee. We don’t have much relationship outside of the critique group so I was totally confused as to why.

“The Lord told me, ‘Marcia needs a little pick-me-up,’” she said. And then this, “He also said to tell you he is aware of the details.”

You know how when God seems to take the long way around and you wonder why?

That’s because his ways are perfect. If he had assured me directly that night, I might have been satisfied or I might have doubted whether or not I’d really heard from him. By giving the message to someone else to deliver, he left no room for me to doubt, he encouraged someone else that her act of obedience confirmed she had heard the Lord, and he gave the both of us a chance to share the testimony with others.

I hope this encourages you that God cares even if he doesn’t seem to be listening. You have no idea whom he may have intercede for you or how he’s working out the perfect plan. And for those whom he chooses as messengers—may you have the courage to go for it.

In the joy of the Lord,