Living Small is beautiful ~ in its own way

A Mantell

Pondering: small as a lifestyle…

In my widowhood, after I had moved to northeast coastal Florida with Sophie the Wonder Dog and my mischievous cats, I rented a small, two-bedroom house while I searched for a permanent place.

A Green Tree Xmas 12.20

Then I found a two bedroom condo I’m extremely fond of where I’m truly blessed and happy. It’s small and cozy. My living room has a nonworking fireplace. When I put up my two Christmas trees, it was remarked that it looked like a doll house. I enjoy my doll house. My faux green tree has all the traditional ornaments I brought down with me from Brooklyn (NYC).  That’s my 14 year-old cat Scooter under the tree. Scooter had a stroke right before Christmas and walks with his hind quarters swaying, but he’s doing fine, living his life.

Bookcase Wht Tree Xmas FL 12.20

It’s my firm belief that every Florida home must have either a white, pink, or blue Christmas tree. That’s simply part of Florida culture, in my opinion and it’s so fun. I chose a small white tree, and it has all of my pet and animal ornaments on it.

Yes, I ‘went small’ after my husband passed, and I came to Florida. I moved my furniture south by truck because I knew my budget would not allow for me to buy all new furniture.

She watches over the activities of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness. ~ Proverbs 31:27, New American Standard Bible [NASB]

wodd tiny house

Since I relocating to Florida, I’ve become fascinated with videos, pictures, and stories about people who have chosen to leave their apartments and/or big houses behind and move into tiny houses. They’re kind of a new pioneer breed, and they are interesting. I enjoy looking at their tiny homes. This eclectic wooden planked tiny house is so cheerful and fitting to its forest environment. Instead of a foundation, it’s on wheels. So cute.

A tiny house inter

I’m not talking about a tiny vacation home, but of people who have chosen to live their lives full-time in a tiny house. It’s a new way of thinking as well as living. I imagine, they would first have to change their mind-set from living large to living small. That was something I did quickly. Where do I want to live? Florida. How do I want to live? In a space that requires a lot less maintenance than my house in Brooklyn. That had a lot to do with the fact that I’m a senior citizen. This was the main reason I chose to live in a condo, where the ‘association’ maintains the outside of the buildings and does the landscaping. In terms of a tiny house, it would also take a lot less energy and effort to maintain than a regular sized house. ~ Here is the interior of a rustic yet modern tiny house.

 

A blue tiny house

 

I’m not advocating for tiny house living, not even for small or scaled down living. Each person has their own needs. Each season of life has its own needs. And I’m not even sure why tiny houses fascinate me, but they do.

ribbon blue

Harmful Intent 400 P Private Detective Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels escapes Brooklyn (NYC) and her cheating husband. She finds herself in a small town in Texas suspected of murder where she is living in a small room above a small diner. HARMFUL INTENT.

wodd tiny house

 

Dream a Little Christmas Dream ~ celebrate

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My late husband Joseph and I picked this up in Key Largo and It’s hung on the tree since.

I start to dream just a tad more during the Christmas holiday season. For me it starts the day after Thanksgiving. To me, that day has never been Black Friday. It’s always been more of a Christmas Fantasy Friday. Although I love all the lights and tinsel (especially the lights), I don’t want to get caught up in it. I have to always remember the One who is the divine dream giver. He has a purpose and a plan for me and for you.

 

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My daughter Vicky’s Christmas cookie to go.

So, while I’m firmly aware of Who is the author of my dreams, I find myself leafing through pages of ladies magazines, looking for holiday food and Christmas decorating ideas. Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Journal is terrific for gathering ideas. I also surf the web for delish Christmas recipes. I started on my own low cal/carb style of eating (not a diet) and lost a substantial amount of weight over the last five years. And I’ve kept it off. So, I will indulge (somewhat) in holiday desserts and other high cal treats, but won’t overdo it. It takes some intentionality, but that’s my new buzz word: intentionality! That’s why I’m so thrilled at how easy it is to find truly healthy Christmas recipes that look and taste marvelous.

I also love Christmas decorating shows on the various cable networks. I love to watch instructions on how to make Christmas crafts. Love the old classical and the new innovative ways to deck the halls. I’m afraid I’ve become an HGTV and a DIY Network addict. I’ll have to go to 12-Step meetings in January. “Hello, my name is Nike, and I’m addicted to home improvement cable channels.”

It seems this year there is much less of a war against Christmas. Oh, there are still Scrooges and Grinches out there, and they take great pleasure at bringing all Christmas celebrants down a notch or two. Don’t let them. Pity them and pray for them. And then get on with Christmas cheer. Celebrate ground retaken.

I’m happy to revel in the Christmas spirit, you see because over two thousand years ago in the city of Bethlehem an angel burst forth with great joy announcing the Good News, “Peace on earth. Good will toward men.” [Luke 2:14] Jesus was born. He has decked the halls of my heart ever since the day I first invited Him in.

 

Jake and Me by Boo Riley ~ a spotlight

Children’s Books, Growing Up, Boys and Men

Me and Jake

I met Boo Riley (as David Arp) when he joined the American Christian Fiction Writers [ACFW] critique group I head. It seems as if that was six years ago, or so. Boo Riley is his Children’s Fiction/youth pen-name. I loved this novel and I love Boo Riley’s unique voice.

 

Question The Author:  Why did you write this novel?

Boo:  I met Anthony Turner on a drilling rig twelve years ago. Over the course of a few weeks as we became acquainted, I heard hints that caused me to wonder about his childhood. I finally asked and the truth shocked me. Forced labor, starvation, and physical and mental abuse … all at the hands of his father.

I wrote his story as it happened and couldn’t find a buyer. I rewrote it in a present-past present/past format that started with his wedding, long after he escaped. No takers. Then I thought about fiction with a hint at the abuse and redemption. Lots of redemption.  ME AND JAKE.

ME AND JAKE in a nutshell…

TY told his twin brother, Cameron, he felt like something would happen to change their lives. Little did he know how prophetic the statement would be and how soon it would come to pass. What seems like a series of coincidences are anything but, and what’s more amazing, Ty’s coon dog, Jake, might not be a dog at all.

Dave Arp 2011

 

Author Bio:

Boo (a/k/a David) was born in Arizona and raised in Texas where he began a career in the oil and gas drilling industry soon after graduating high school. Since then, he’s traveled the world to places like Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Malaysia, India, China, Mauritius, and Namibia.

He discovered his love for writing while working for Saudi Aramco, drilling wells throughout Saudi Arabia. He even learned to speak decent, albeit Texas accent-laced, Arabic.

Today, David splits his life evenly between home in Colorado with his wife of 30 years, Karen, and a deep-water drilling rig on the Gulf of Mexico.

Purchase ME AND JAKE on Amazon

Boo Riley/David Arp’s Blog

Boo Riley/David Arp on Facebook

 

COURTING DANGER ~ cover reveal

CD Cover

I’m SUPER excited to be bringing a crime wave to Florida…in fiction, of course. My beloved Florida. Here is the cover of COURTING DANGER!!!

A Katerina “Kat” Andruko/Dimitri Garmonin Novel             ~~~ Book One

COURTING DANGER in a nut shell…

~~Taut and compelling.g detective story, with a national security twist. Dry humor. Sweet, romance. Uplifting~~

Newly installed Pelican Beach, Florida detective Katerina “Kat” Andruko fears the prime suspect will get off in the murder of a teen with the help of the department’s forensics psychologist, a man she’s just started to trust.

This case has national security implications that gives former US Army Ranger, Dr. Dimitri Garmonin a chance to work with the FBI. The case could give him the chance to obtain the funds needed to expand his small Behavior Analysis Unit. He’s unmoved by the chic FBI agent sent to assist but is intrigued by Kat with whom he shares a Slavic heritage.

Kat and her partner detain two wrong suspects, giving the department negative press. The predator turns his anger on Kat, targeting her. Can Dimitri use his profiler skills to catch this killer before he hurts the woman he’s growing to love?

Purchase COURTING DANGER on Amazon

 

American Exceptionalism ~ a unique idea

Live Your DreamAmerica isn’t just a country with borders, it’s an idea. Not just a democratic republic and a political construct, but a philosophical ideal. America was born for the rights of the individual. In 1776 that was unheard of. In 2018, throughout most of the world that idea is verboten and the individuals who dare to think they should be freed are persecuted, even killed.

And I will walk at liberty, for I seek Your precepts. ~ Psalm 119:45 [New American Standard Bible, NASB]

America is on the forefront of individualism. Americans believe in the individual pursuit of happiness. We walk in that concept. And that idea actually has biblical roots. That life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are rights given by God. Furthermore, that no government has the right to take these rights away.

Culturally, Americans step out with boldness and reach for their dreams, they reach to find their purpose in life. In America, we ask young people what they would love doing in life. We ask them to imagine that and reach for it. That doesn’t happen in most countries on the globe, not even in 2018.

Traditionally, in Europe middle class and working class young people went into the profession their parents held. A baker’s son most always became a baker. Traditionally, the upper classes in Europe were college educated.

car, couple

As more and more young Europeans would pursue college careers they found it difficult to find a higher level job that utilized the degrees they’d earned. American middle class and working class college grads would hop into their second-hand car and boldly drive across the country to get the job they wanted. This is an example of American individualism we in the states often have taken for granted [but is not intended to minimize the difficulty American college grads have finding jobs]. In Europe, even today, working class youth tend to stay in the town or county in which their parents/family has lived for generations.

Beauty 2011-2
Beauty, my senior kittie and the biggest “mouth” of them all.

When I retired, I did my research, and found my place to live in my golden years. I drove by myself from Brooklyn to stay with friends in Jacksonville. I had every space in my SUV packed with large plastic bins which I put into storage. I made that trip (with the SUV stuffed) one more time. My husband and I rented a tiny place, but he passed away and I made the final trip down myself…with the SUB cargo space stuffed and the back seat with one small dog and three unhappy cats in carriers.

I am not unique. American retirees have moved in droves from the northern states to the warmer, southern states. In 2018 that trend is changing just a bit, many bold retirees are moving to Colorado, Idaho, South Dakota, Iowa, Virginia, Wyoming. Still, Florida remains numero uno and Arizona is high on the list. My point is that Americans get up and go at any age. That is part of the spirit of Americanism.

food truck

Local start-up companies are part of the spirit of American individualism. That’s not a put down of large box stores. In fact, I’m married to Walmart. Many retirees are. But my heart leaps for joy when I see an adventurous food truck with a new twist on finger-food. I eat at chain restaurants, like so many. But, I love the local hole-in-the-wall places. Love to talk to the woman who owns Bill’s Diner on the west side of Jacksonville. One day when her waitress had an emergency, she waited tables and cooked in the back. I’m addicted to Sonny’s BBQ. Can’t beat the home style cookin’ at Grammy’s. Clearing tables and working your way up to standing over a stove doesn’t require a pedigree. If you can cook, you’ll rise to chef. This to me is the real American dream…ordinary people just doing it.

Speaking of Americans getting up and doing it…what about all those ordinary folks who are renovating old, dilapidated houses with character and good bones, and then flipping them. They’re hauling refuse out of those old houses and knocking down walls. That is so exciting. The energy there is so American and it restores the history of neighborhoods as beautiful houses are restored.

There are so many possibilities for Americans. Just get out and do it!

 

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Joseph D. Chillemi ~ honoring my husband on the first year of his passing

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Joseph on New Year’s Eve several years ago.

I’m aware of several widows’ groups in my area, one of them for Christian widows. For some reason, I’ve avoided them. As it turns out, I’ve attracted to myself a small group of Christian women friends: some widowed, some divorced, and one is even married. So, I’m far from alone.

As the anniversary of Joseph’s death approached, I became super aware of conversations about the first year “date” of the passing of a husband. It seems, at this point in time, there’s a great deal of counsels to avoid the word “anniversary.” They’re calling it “marking” the death of a spouse. Popular culture is saying widows should not celebrate the death of their husbands, though, I’m sure there are some who for their own very personal reasons do just that. So, it certainly isn’t one-size fits all. For me, I look to the Bible on how to handle this monumental date.

 

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Christmas season at Houston’s Steak House (now closed) in the Roosevelt Field Mall, Long Island. I have no idea what I was reading. I’m a notorious planner, so it could’ve been a notice about a Christmas event. He probably said something like, “Get your nose out of that paper, woman, and give me a kiss.”

 

 

So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. ~ Ephesians 5:33 [New Living Translation]

 

 

 

As a Christian wife, I honor the life of my husband, the years he had on earth, the people he touched and the positive impact he had as a husband, father, son, friend, co-worker, social worker. Christian wives celebrate the passing of a spouse who has gone on to be with the Lord, I know in my heart, Joseph is joyful beyond what I could ever imagine.

 

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On my birthday at Clemente’s Maryland Crab House in Brooklyn. I’m sure I was 39 — again.

 

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Joseph on his birthday with Beauty. She’s 11 now and still lives with me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Joseph and Victoria in St. Augustine, FL. The sun worshippers. LOL

 

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Joseph and Alyssa (L) and Delayne (R) in Boca Raton, FL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. ~ 2 Corinthians 3:17 {New American Standard Bible]

 

 

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Boca Raton