Saturday, August 12, 2023

Journaling This Week and a Book Report

a peaceful scene
from our hotel lobby in Charleston, South Carolina
Summer 2023

Rest. Refresh. Redeem. Recover. Restore. These words describe a work the Lord has been doing inside of me this summer. This post will address some of that at the end but first here is a written and photo summary of the past week's activities. 

The extreme climate many of us have experienced this summer, along with distressing national and world news headlines have not been at all calming. 

On a very personal note for me, losing my well-received blog, Sweet Tea and Sandals last week, was unsettling. Many of you, after hearing the news of my blog's demise, sent comments via email, text messages, and Facebook. Thank you for that. 

Yes, "Sweet Tea and Sandals" was a very sweet, homey title that helped me as I transitioned from the title of "The Brown Bungalow" when relocating in 2017 from Colorado to Florida. I love sweet tea (the distinct way southerners prepare it), and I have more sandals in my closet than closed-toe shoes. 

When I knew I could not get back what was lost, I tried to create a new one with a similar title, but with so very many blogs out there, I had to submit many url addresses before I hit on one not already taken. To reduce confusion, I prefer for my url and the blog title to be the same, although that is not a requirement.

Also involved with the loss of that blog is the absence of a graphic arts program I used for some 20 years to create my own blog headers. In the creation of this new blog I have felt like one arm was tied behind my back in efforts to put my own creative stamp on its design. I am figuring out things as time goes by.

a header I designed for when
I lived much closer to the ocean

And to respond to several of you who strongly feel the former blog is still retrievable, perhaps, but not without more computer expertise than I have, and probably money invested, not to mention time I'd rather devote to just writing. 

In my opinion, Blogger is extremely generous to provide this publishing platform absolutely free, so when I mess up (and it was clearly my mistake) or have other complaints, I need to be thankful for what I've got and just move on.

As I said in my first post on this blog, letting go of those things we can't change, and accepting reality can lead to peace. I was reminded of that again, just today, when folding this dish towel:

God speaks through folding laundry!

Our week has not been terribly busy as we kept with usual routines. In spite of daily heat indexes (how it feels on the skin) of 100 to 114 degrees (wheweeee!!!), we have been able to ride our bicycles shortly after doing the breakfast dishes. The heat and sticky humidity hit us as soon as we enter the garage to roll our bikes onto the driveway. But as soon as we begin pedaling down the street, the early morning air moving over our skin feels pretty good!

decor atop a chest of drawers
in our master bedroom

We wear shorts, sturdy shoes, and bright shirts and/or reflective vests in addition to bike helmets and sunglasses. Although crime is extremely low in our +55 community, a lot of old folks seem to have forgot what a stop sign means, so we are very careful at all intersections, counting on our clothing choices to help with our defensive pedaling. 
Internet photo

I also believe that riding our bicycles together increases our visibility. We are usually within just a few feet of each other with me in front, or side-by-side to increase our presence in the eyes of others. Gary often teases me that he's in my rear view mirror, and indeed, he is! (Is he my guardian angel???)
We had a power outage a few days ago, blessedly only for about 35 minutes. That was probably heat related. We attended a large political rally in our community ballroom. We are glad we went but I marvel at the liberties some people take when given a microphone... (sigh)

kitchen transformed to sewing room

I set up my sewing machine and the ironing board to create a fabric cover for the Bible I am taking to church these days. For a pattern I referenced a cover I sewed about twenty years ago, which has served me very well.

old cover on the left;
new cover on the right

If you are of my generation, you may have used brown paper grocery sacks to cover your school text books. I lay my Bible out on double-thick fabric, much as when using a paper sack, and go from there to make a sturdy cover. Using pins to hold it together, my sewing machine stitches it all in place. I like to add a pocket on the front for my pens and a strap snapped in place to hold it all closed when the Bible is in my tote bag with my purse. The  button is just for decoration.

front porch "reading room"

When the outside heat has been bearable, I have taken one of the books I'm reading outside, along with my collection of colored pencils and a big jug of water for necessary hydration.

A couple of weeks ago I completed reading an extremely helpful book. I've not tucked it into the shelves yet because I keep referring to its most helpful pages to reaffirm the most significant points. Over the course of twelve chapters, this book has validated things I already knew but more than that, it threw light on some scripture I have, until now, been applying incorrectly. 

Per my usual habit, helpful sentences and phrases have been hi-lited and underlined. Scribbled notes have been added to the margins sometimes with stars and arrows and other indications to draw the eye quickly to messages most applicable to me.

The most helpful thing this book has done for me is to make alterations to some beliefs that have held me captive in a harsh mindset with no hope of relief. My misunderstandings have been addressed -- and what a relief to realize I'm not the only one who has suffered similar opinions.

Put another way, in this life not all problems, circumstances, and arguments get solved. As Jesus Christ said, "In this world you will have trouble." (John 16:33) This book gave examples of godly people in both the Old and New Testaments who could not reach a place of agreement and how they dealt with it.

Sometimes we have to just accept there will be no resolution and then determine what we need to do to cope with peace and civility. 

The book is about boundaries. I'll let its pages explain what that is about. But one thing I realized is that while I must have boundaries for my own sanity and self-preservation, I must also respect the boundaries others have set up, even if I disagree. 

This sums it all up. I close with a prayer for your grace and peace.


  1. I saw on FB that you responded to my post this morning. Life is a shipwreck. Sing in the lifeboat!! Yep. I am still sorry you lost your blog and all the archives. We have been connected since that Brown Bungalow!! I remember when you moved to Florida and how I hoped we would meet in person... and we did!! Have a blessed Sunday! Love & hugs!

  2. I am glad you are working through the frustrations of losing your long loved blog and beginning fresh and anew. Sometimes God takes us through these changes in more areas of our lives than we realized...I guess when He wants us to start fresh, He means it! You are handling this with much grace. I got busy and downloaded a bunch of my posts to a flash drive last week after your calamity. I have more to go and will work on it a little at a time as there are things in my blog that I do not want to lose. So I thank you for the warning! The book you are reading sounds very interesting. I may have to check it out (literally). I love your new Bible cover! Very neat. I also love the old one, especially the little teapot button on it. I hope you don't throw that away! LOL. I am glad you and Gary are able to still get out and ride your bikes early in the mornings. That is a great way to start the day. We did manage to take a walk this morning before it got too hot, and I know we both needed it. I am truly looking forward to FALL!!! I enjoyed this post, and I pray for you to have grace and peace as well.

  3. I love the book cover you made and it's a good time to do sewing projects! It's SO hot to get outside. I hope you have a beautiful Sunday. I don't see the comment I wrote on your last post so I hope I'm not going into spam! lol Hugs, Diane

  4. I love your Bible cover. Both of them are cute as can be. Sometimes all we can do is let go and move forward. The blog title was cute, but the content is what people come for. As for relationships, both sides have to be willing to work together. I have found sometimes you just have to do the right thing yourself and pray for the other party to work things out in their time. We can really only control ourselves and even that is with the help of the Lord.

  5. Barbara, I have seen that book a few places and always put it back. I am going to pick it up and buy it the next time I see it. Glad that you and Gary are able to get out and ride before it gets to warm out there. Have a blessed day and week!

  6. I'm sorry you lost your graphic arts program too. That header you did, when close to the ocean is so pretty!
    I like your bike decorations, perfect for you and Gary!
    That book sounds very interesting. You make a good point about respecting others boundaries.

  7. Grace and peace to you, too. That's a nice Bible cover pattern. I won't be trying to copy it, though. Pretty much thumbs when it comes to sewing anything. We are in a heat advisory right now and the only thing I'm doing outside is watering very early in the morning. Outdoor activities have been cancelled till after Thursday. So thankful our VBS was last week! Have a good week.

  8. I've read a few of Lysa's books and my bible study did one of her bible studies. All very good so I am sure the book you are reading is a keeper.

  9. I love the Bible cover. I'd kind of like a new one, mine has my monogram on the cover and it zips which I do like.


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