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Category Archives: small town

The Call of the Country


SONY DSCI love where I live.  My neighbors are friendly, and I can walk all around town to take care of my errands.  The bank, library, post office, town office, Dollar General, dentist, park, and a couple of decent restaurants are all nearby.

Still, part of me is a country girl.  I’d love to be able to look up at the stars and not be distracted by street lights.  It would be nice to be out of earshot of the block parties thrown by the bar down the street.  I imagine it would be lovely to fall asleep at night without the serenade of a chorus of yappy dogs.

I think about having space to stretch out.  Land for a big garden.  Room for the dogs to play.

But change is hard, too.  I’m comfortable here.  Plus, moving would require a lot of money and a lot of work, and we don’t have much of either to spare these days.

So I try focus on now.  On keeping the home we have as nice as I can.  On putting money into the savings account each time I get paid.  And I block from my ears the call of the country.


A Goal in Mind

The husband and I have lived in the same home for a dozen years now.  We like it here.  The house is old and has character.  The neighborhood is nice, and we are in walking distance from the park, our bank, the Dollar General, several gas stations, the library, and a couple of decent restaurants.

Still, we have dreams of something else.

Dreams of living on some acreage, of having his business on our own property, of tending a large garden.  We’d like fruit trees, and maybe some chickens.  We can’t do any of that where we are now.

We’ve got our eye on some property just three miles from where we live now.  It’s a dump.  The house is falling down, and the two outbuildings on the site need to be demolished.  The grass is waist-high and littered with trash.  The trees are overgrown.

But it’s got potential.

The property reminds us of ourselves, and how we are kind of a mess sometimes.  But God sees the value in us and redeems us, not only from our sin, which is amazing enough, but from our ridiculous, sloppy selves.

This property can be redeemed.  Though it would take a lot of work, several Dumpsters, a serious chainsaw, and a Bush Hog to uncover it, we know there is beauty there.

We don’t know if it’s in God’s plan for us to have that land, but we’re praying about it and we’ve made a plan in the meantime.  Our consumer debt is gone, and we just refinanced our home for a lower rate and shorter term.  Now we have a goal to increase our emergency fund and then begin saving for some land, whether it be this property we like or another place God may show us.

And since Dave Ramsey says to put your goals on paper, we did that, too.

And because I like charts, I made one.


I’ll probably do a happy dance on the day I can completely color that second bar.

Until that time, we will continue to pray and dream.


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I feel like “etc.” in this sense gives carte blanche for “whatever else you are doing that we don’t like.”

(Photo taken in a small town, but not mine.)

A nice little run

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Friday after work, it was sunny and just a little bit cool, so it was a perfect afternoon for a run.  I was kind of tired — I’d been on my feet pretty much all day for the last several days — so I decided to go just two miles, with the option of making it three if I started to feel spunky.

I ran south, then east, then north, and stopped by the house of some new friends who have kittens!  I hadn’t met the kittens yet and wanted to, so I made a point to run by their house.  I stopped there for a bit, held and petted Junebug and Silverstein, chatted for a bit with the teenaged boys about having just finished school, and then took off again.

Farther north, then west, and I thought I’d stop by the community garden.  Everything is popping up!  Beans and squash and beets and lettuce — everything.  I pulled just a few weeds and bits of grass and left to complete my run.  (The spunk never kicked in, so I didn’t add the third mile.)

Around the curve and north down the street to the main road, then west again, across the river, and a few turns through the neighborhood to get me back home where my neighbor was mowing his grass and children were playing in the church playground a block away.  School’s out in my town, so in the minds of many residents, summer is truly here.

I still think of it as spring, but it’s a beautiful spring in a sweet small town.

Maybe Jesus gets thirsty…

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I was mowing the grass on Saturday, and I saw a guy walk from the church next to our house, past my yard toward downtown.  We smiled and said hi.

On his way back, he stopped me.  I turned off the mower, and the man said, “You look like you could use a break.”  He handed me a bottle of some sort of fruit punch.  “This is from Jesus, my best friend.”

“Well, thanks!” I said, taking the bottle.  “He’s my best friend, too.”

Then the man went on and on about some 88-year-old uncle he has who owns a tire store and it’s famous now because the uncle has tithed the income for all the years he’s owned the business.  I smiled and nodded, wished him a good day, and he left.

Then I took a look at the bottle.  It had been opened, and it was no longer full.

I guess Jesus needed some fruit punch?

Little Tiny Update

I don’t think I’m alone in being in a blogging slump.  Quite a few of the blogs I like have gone weeks with little or nothing new.  Fear not, friends.  I have not quite fallen off the face of the earth.  Here’s what’s happening.

The job is going okay.  In case you forgot, I’m a part-time aide at the local high school, and I work with students who did not pass their 10th grade English assessment.  I’m trying to give those students the skills they need to pass it when they take it again in December.  I have small classes and I really like most of my students.  They say silly things sometimes.  For instance, a girl told me recently that Dalmatians are going extinct.  (I’m pretty sure they’re not.)  A couple of others, on a multiple choice question, said that the main idea of The Fox and the Grapes fable is that “Foxes can’t jump very high.”

The garden is winding down… except for maybe the tomatoes.  Stephan still goes out every couple of days and brings home a whole bunch of tomatoes.  The cukes are done, though, as are the squashes.  I think we’ve dug all the potatoes, but there may still be some beets left.  We’ve started talking about next year.  We won’t do corn (takes up too much room) or turnips (they grow well, but we don’t really like to eat them.)  Stephan doesn’t want to do many (any?) squashes next year because they take up a lot of room, too (especially the winter squashes like acorn and pumpkins) but I like them, so I might have to fight for them.  I want to do fewer greens (maybe the same number of varieties, but less of each one) because I have been overwhelmed with greens this year.  Last year we had waaaaay too much lettuce, and this year, we’re drowning in collards and Swiss chard.  I’m sure part of that depends on the weather, too, though.

We’re getting ready to breed our rabbits.  We’ll probably do that this week.  One friend of ours asked how you breed rabbits — light some candles?  put on some mood music?  I replied, “You just put them in the same cage.”  I wanted to ask him, “Have you not heard the phrase ‘breed like rabbits’?”  But I didn’t.  Also, my niece asked, “Do you just put them in the same cage for a few days?”  I said, “You put them in the same cage for about fifteen minutes.”  According to the reading I’ve done, they should mate about three times in those fifteen minutes.  Busy little guys.  Anyway, the doe should kindle (give birth) about 30 days after mating, and the offspring should be market weight (5-6 pounds) about eight weeks later.  So we may have rabbit for Christmas dinner.

Stephan and I have both been running lately.  We go together about three times per week, and sometimes I go another day or two on my own.  On Labor Day, our nephew went running with us… or rather, at the same time as us.  He was at least twice as fast as I was, even if I had run the whole way.  (I stopped to walk with Stephan a bit, because he’s not up to his previous running regimen yet, and to rescue a turtle on the side of the road.)  I think our nephew thinks we’re old and slow.  Well, he’s right.  Besides that, he’s really fast.  In addition to a run, I played Spoons, Euchre, and ping pong, and generally hung out with family and ate really good food over Labor Day weekend.

Things I hope to do soon include re-starting our debt snowball, reading good books, writing more often, and working out more.

What about you?  What have you been doing lately?  What do you hope to do soon?

Community Garden: Photos of our plots

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Last Wednesday I showed you some close ups of individual plants, but now I wanted to show you how healthy the plots look overall.  (And these photos were before the rain we got last week.  Yay for rain!)

This is plot 9, which has beets, lettuce, collards, pumpkins, kale, and Swiss chard, among other things.

Stephan surveys plot 13, which has potatoes, onions, turnips, cucumbers, and more.


Plot D has corn, tomatoes, peppers, summer squash, and broccoli.