F Simple and Serene Living: November 2015 09 10
Monday, November 30, 2015


We all need a place of serenity. A place where we can go and find calm in the moment. That place can be anywhere. 

For me, my place of serenity is the greenhouses where I spent many wonderful days as a child. It is a place that I can enter and feel a sense of calm wash over me. 

It is a place where the smell of clean earth mixes with the aroma of growing flowers.

It is a place where the very old mixes seamlessly with the new.

It is a place where my grandchild can feel right at home playing where her grandmother and great grandmother played before her. 

It's a place where everything old seems new again.

My youngest daughter calls it her happy place. I call it memories of home.

Where is your place of serenity?

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Saturday, November 28, 2015


It's the most wonderful time of the year, and that means it's time for a sale at I'm So Vintage on Etsy.

I'm So Vintage

Hope to see you there. 

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Monday, November 23, 2015


My family has rolled into town from Georgia this week, so I am taking some blogging time off to spend with them. 

Yesterday we met up with a surprise while out shopping. It was so fun to see the girl's reactions. 

I don't want to miss a minute of this special time.

Hope everyone is enjoying this Thanksgiving week.

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Thursday, November 19, 2015


On Tuesday I wrote about A Time For Helping. You can see that here

Then one of my Facebook friends asked the question, "How do we overcome evil?" My answer was one word. LOVE. 

Maybe that is a simplistic response, but I believe that the perpetrators of evil want to instill evil in the rest of us. They want us to hate the way they hate, they want us to kill the way they kill. But, when we respond with love, we defeat their purposes. 

That is not to say that we should not hold evil people accountable, but that we should not sink to their level. Think how different things would be if everyone in the world chose one person they don't like and instead looked at that person with love. 

Love and forgiveness go a long way in healing our lives. They take away the power that others have over us. Antoine Leiris lost his beloved wife Helene in the Bataclan theatre in Paris, and I thought if this man, who lost so much, can react this way why can't the rest of us. You can see what he has to say here.

I came across this ad today, which brought tears to my eyes and made me think of all the lonely people who need love in their lives. It is so often the children who lead us in showing pure, sweet love. 

Helping? Loving? They both seem simple to me.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015


I always think of this time of year as a time of helping. A time of showing love. A time for giving.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I have been reflecting on the things I am thankful for, and even though it is a stressful time for me, I know that I have so much more than so many people in the word. 

My heart goes out to the refugees as they flee from oppression and hate and are met with more hate in the places that they are fleeing to. 

church country old autumn sunlight

I think of two middle east refugees, who more than 2000 years ago fled from oppression and I wonder how their story might have been different if they were not given shelter in a lowly stable. 

There are of course people who want us to turn on each other. Who want us to hate each other. Who want us to cast those who are different aside. Who want us to go about our daily lives in fear. 

fall autumn leaves changing colorful red

We must not be indifferent to their threats, but we cannot allow them to take away who we are. I believe we are a country of compassion. We are a country rich in a tradition of helping those who have been oppressed. 

old church country kentucky

We are so fortunate to worship where or how we choose. Whether it is in a country church, a city mosque, a neighborhood synagogue, or in the quiet of a forest. We are also free to not worship if that is what we choose.

As I look around me and think of the season of giving that is upon us, I will look for ways I can help people. It may be as little as giving up my seat on the shuttle bus yesterday to someone who needed to sit more than I did. It may be adding a healthy food to a food drive barrel. It may be as small as a smile, because we never know when a smile may be just what someone needs. 

There are so many things, both little and large, we can do to help others.

Yes, we are coming up to a season of giving, a time for helping, but shouldn't that season extend throughout the year. A time for helping is now. A time for helping is always. 
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Friday, November 13, 2015


Yesterday as I made my way to an auction in a neighboring town, I noticed how barren and bleak the landscape was becoming. While many of our city trees are still holding on to their leaves, November's winds are stripping the trees in the country of their autumn finery. 

I feel like they are doing a striptease and I want to yell "cover up, cover up."

It felt good to get out for a drive through the countryside. This church has always been a favorite of mine and I love stopping to photograph it. I have photos from every season.

It's a perfect example of our November days. One barren tree, one tree dressed in red leaves, and knockout roses still blooming in front of the church. Ahhh November, you are a fickle month. Teasing us with sunny skies, while cool winds whip around the corners of the buildings. 

I couldn't resist stopping to chat with this lovely girl. Such a beautiful face and sweet disposition.

The sun was casting prisms of light everywhere, but I knew that the shadows of the night were quickly approaching.

The days are so short now, and I feel like I have to hurry in before I am caught out in the dark

It always reminds me of the first verse from a favorite old hymn, which I hum to myself when I close the curtains at night

Now the day is over,
night is drawing nigh;
shadows of the evening
steal across the sky.
                                 Sabine Baring-Gould

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015


I have been having a crisis of faith in myself. I find myself berating myself for everything I perceive that I have been doing wrong, and as I have allowed this negative talk to go on, I find my faith in myself spiraling downward. 

The negative speak we hear from others can definitely affect our self confidence, but when we internalize these words and then turn around and speak to ourselves with the same or worse words, it can be devastating. 

So how should we be speaking to ourselves?

I was the hand me down child in my family and have been spoken to in that manner into my adult life. I allowed that to seep into my soul and it is how I learned to speak to myself. It became my belief system and the way I have spoken to myself has become a self fulfilling prophecy. 

This morning as I sat in my bed listening to the early morning sounds around me I realized that I wouldn't  speak to someone I love the way I have been speaking to myself, and shouldn't I love myself first.

We all have failures and hopefully we learn from those failures. So today and from now on I vow to brush myself off and to treat myself more gently. I vow to speak to myself the way I would speak to someone I love. Instead of berating myself, I will give myself encouragement. I will start fresh.

I will speak to myself with love. 

Speak to yourself with love too, and see how it can change your life. 

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P.S. You can find more of the Women Speak series here. It's a place to talk about the things that affect us, as women.
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Monday, November 9, 2015


Well, never mind. I couldn't resist, but I have finally found a new fad I can really get behind. (I know that we are heading into the colder months, but in my opinion it is never too early to start thinking ahead to spring.) 

I am pretty sick of hearing about man caves, so I say move over man caves, bring on the she sheds. 

Can you say SWOON? If I had this "shed" I might never enter the house again.

How cute is this? It makes me want to throw on some gardening gloves and start potting plants right this minute. (It is definitely helping me to ignore today's cold rainy weather)

I have always been a firm believer that I was meant to have an English country garden. My family should never have left "Old Blighty". They failed to look into the future and ask me my opinion.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to take your sewing outside into a dedicated shed just for that purpose. It might put me back in the mood.

I would love to have a backyard greenhouse (if I had a backyard) and if it was also a she shed getaway, that would be even better.

So what do you think? Is it ever too early to start thinking about spring. Do you get those seed catalogs out early. Would you love to have a she shed as much as I would?

Photo Credits:
1) House to Home
2) Wooden House
3) Lushome
4) Ciao Newport Beach
5) Lighter Side of Real Estate

P.S. Thank you so much to everyone who left comments on my Friday post. Mom and I both appreciated the stories you shared and your sweet words of encouragement. 

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Friday, November 6, 2015


As many of you know I have a lot going on in my life right now. I have chosen not to share most of it out of respect for the privacy of my family, but thought I would talk about one thing today.

We recently found out that my mom has two aortic aneurysms. One is abdominal and one is descending thoracic. My mom has never had high blood pressure or hardening of the arteries, but her mother had an aortic aneurysm so there is a genetic predisposition. It is probably something I will have to talk to my doctor about.

My mom's thoracic aneurysm is large and would normally be taken care of with surgery. However, she is 91 years old and although she is in really good health otherwise, major surgery at her age is extremely risky. So yesterday, she and I sat down and talked to a surgeon. We knew we had some decisions to make. 

It was a half full or half empty kind of discussion and it was difficult. Mom is still very much enjoying life. She is sharp as a tack, still drives, plays bridge often during a month, and loves to dress up and look pretty. I recently reorganized her closets for the colder months and noted that she has 39 pairs of pants. (I'm not sure Macy's has that many different pairs)

I asked the doctor what he would advise if it was his mom. He said he would advise her to just keep on living. To keep doing the things she loves. He said my mom probably had several good years left and that although he would do the surgery if she wanted he believed that it would be very risky. He advised her to stop getting scans, which would just worry her and to try and put it out of her mind.

So, after asking questions and discussing it, that is what we decided to do. No matter how old we are, or how old our parents are, we don't want to lose them. We want to do something to help them, but sometimes all we can do is be supportive and offer love. 

None of us get out of this life alive, and as my mom said she has had a very long life. I hope the doctor is right and she has a few good years left. We are choosing to see the glass as half full.

You can find more information on aortic aneurysms here.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015


Okay, this is not a DIY post. At least not in the sense that you think of DIY.

This is about wrinkles. No, not wrinkles in my clothes. I gave up ironing several years ago and have not looked back. 

This is about those other wrinkles. The ones that you get up one morning, look in the mirror, and say where in the heck did those come from. 

I always loved this photo because you couldn't see my freckles
I remember being a little girl and hating all of my freckles. Freckled face, freckled arms, freckled legs. As is the way of kids, I was teased and wanted to just get rid of those darn freckles. 

My best friend came up with what we thought was a great idea. SANDPAPER!!! If sandpaper could take rough patches off of wood, it was bound to be able to get rid of my freckles. I was rummaging around in my father's workshop when he caught me and asked what I was doing. I proudly shared my idea with him. That put an end to that. 

I was stuck with those freckles, but I'm thinking of revisiting the sandpaper idea for my wrinkles. I mean after all, if sandpaper can smooth out an old rough piece of wood, think what it could do for wrinkles. It could revolutionize the market for wrinkle removers. For just pennies those wrinkles would be gone. 

The other day I had this conversation with my mom.
Mom: You have such pretty skin, Laura. What do you use on it?
Me: Sandpaper
Mom: Hmmm!!!

I was sure she was going to say "pass the sandpaper". She may be onto me. 
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Monday, November 2, 2015


Do you remember this song? 

The universe sends us little signs or messages everyday, but much of the time we don't pay attention to what they may really mean. 

Yesterday I stumped my toe three times on the same thing as I was rushing around trying to get something done. OUCH!!! It just made me mad at myself, but I kept on rushing. Then I dropped something heavy on that same toe. It hurt so bad it brought tears to my eyes and I rushed to get an ice pack for the pain. As I set there nursing my poor bruised toe I had time to close my eyes and think about why this was happening. 

Maybe, just maybe , the universe was sending me a message that I needed to slow down and think about the path I was taking. Maybe I have not been paying enough attention to where I have been heading. 

Thursday I had my first colonoscopy. My doctor tricked me into getting it done by telling me there was a small correlation between a medication I am on and colon cancer. He should have said teeny correlation, but then I probably wouldn't have done it. As it happens they found what was described as a "diminutive polyp", which they would biopsy, but which he assured me was nothing to worry about. I will get the results of the biopsy in two weeks. In the meantime I have been rushing around like a crazy woman to try and keep from worrying. 

I never considered that I might have a polyp. I don't smoke or drink. I haven't eaten red meat in 18 years. I try to eat a healthy diet, but I have lived with a lot of stress for a long time and stress is a contributor to health problems. Another sign maybe that I need to rethink the path that I am on. 

There are so many signs. Getting stuck in traffic. Annoying people in line at the grocery. Stumping your toe. Unexpected bills showing up. Instead of grumbling when these things happen, maybe we need to take time to breathe and to think about what they are telling us. 

I plan to think about the small signs I have been receiving. I know that I can't control everything, so I need to work on changing what I can, helping where I can, and letting things I can't control go. I am going to think about my path and find more serenity.

Do you think about the signs that you get?

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P.S. There is more of the Rewriting Life series here.
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