Waiting on Spring

Last year we were complaining … and worried … about drought. In the earliest days of Spring it was so dry that most mornings came without dew on the grass. Crops around here greatly suffered and many farmers reported a loss.

This year it’s rain. And more rain. And … well, there’s no lack of dew.

“Shoulda been a little more clear when I prayed for no drought this year,” a friend sighed.

Many of us don’t even have all of our vegetables planted yet which is a bit worrisome for these parts. It’s well into June but oh … so wet!

Rain though it may … nearly every day … there’s something pretty much everyone … even the curmudgeons in my circles are on the same page about for once …. we’re drained by the rain … but … there is a consolation.

Isn’t there always if we’ll just give it a moment?


The rain keeps falling … pouring …. Bucket loads.

But the flowers won’t be stopped. Thank God.

For me, Spring flowers are on par with a National holiday. After all, we wait all year for their brief appearance My husband and I may be a little goofy, but we anticipate and celebrate each bloom as if it’s having its own little birthday.

And this is just the beginning of what’s starting to bloom in our yard. All a little miraculous to us as when we moved here five summers ago there was nothing colorful in our yard except some tulips and a rogue hollyhock.

Life gives you rain … nature gives you flowers … or some saying like that. 😁

All photos are property of Sausmus Photography.

Sometimes You Just Need to See a Bird Taking a Bath

Someone in town mentioned that they haven’t seen any Robins for a very long time.

I think they’re all at my house.

There’s a pair that have taken over the rain puddles on this tarp, and then there’s a mama Robin who built her nest under the eave of our front porch.

And to think I worried that the lack of any established trees were keeping birds away from our place.

The hummingbirds are a little slow in showing up tho … probably the extra cool weather … I’m purposefully calling the weather extra .. so these Robin-antics are very welcome.

There’s a lot in the world to worry about these days. Much to give reason to stop and pray.

And then … there’s a Robin bathing on the tarp.

I love my country life.

Waiting on Spring

Spring has been flirtatious this year. Snow in early May. Only a single day that has edged to the 70 degree mark.

Now it’s a wet and cool Memorial Day weekend with my vegetable garden half planted.

About the only thing I’ve found this gloomy weather good for is a walk through the local cemetery… made me more reflective than normal, I think.

Lives willingly given to nail down the freedoms we enjoy.

Other lives gone just too soon … some by uncontrollable circumstances. Some by stupid choices.

Lives well worn … well lived.

Others that made us cringe.

Lives that started a legacy that is now our small town, still hanging on.

Lives that taught us to laugh … or hope … or to be reverent and merciful.

Lives that made us feel loved … tears well up because we miss them beyond words.

I walked away wondering what phrase or memory will someday sum up my days on the planet.

Seconds later I’m thinking about whether we’ll see weather in the 80’s before August. And will we complain when it does?

And … am I brave enough to grill our Memorial Day meal in the drizzle.

Ahhh … my thoughts are as fickle as the forecast.

Below are sweet reminders that nature won’t wait on inclement weather. Maybe I shouldn’t either.

All photos property of Sausmus Photography and cannot be used without permission.

Woes of March – Thinking About Mom and the Most Remarkable Women I Could Ever Want to be Like

March and I aren’t on the best terms. I’ve kinda had it with how the month teases about Spring yet tastes like Winter. How it stirs hope, but historically has kicked my family in the gut.

March and I aren’t on the best terms. I’ve kinda had it with how the month teases about Spring yet tastes like Winter. How it stirs hope, but historically has kicked my family in the gut.

This soured relationship started six years ago when March threw a duster of a curve ball with My Guy’s medical emergency and flirtation with death. Fast forward to 2020 … I had just posted on FB that we had hit the 5 year mark from that family crisis … reflecting on the remarkable healing and recovery that My Guy had been graced with.

Within hours of that post a whole new March Crisis unfolded. Mom fell and broke her hip on the 8th and then, passed from this world on the 20th … the first day of Spring. Her attendants at the hospice house remarked more than once how she had lingered so long, but Mom always hated Winter. I think holding out until the calendar clearly had the season of gloom in her review mirror was her way of saying, “It’s all good. Don’t get swallowed up with sorrow because I’m about to begin a whole new life in Christ.”

On top of it all was … of course … COVID. I found myself in such an eerie world those first days of Mom’s fall and transfer to hospice care. I spent much of my time with her at that facility in the city where every day more businesses closed … rules about where you could and couldn’t go changed by the minute … strangers more strange than ever … everyone cautious … suspicious even.

It was a lonely time made lonelier.

I remember walking through one of more desirable and historic neighborhoods of the downtown area to a popular grocery with an in-store deli. It was strange walking down the streets … people deliberately moving to the opposite sidewalk or making an abrupt detour down a side path. Masks weren’t part of the scene yet, but there were no nods and definitely no eye contact. Few smiles … even those coated in caution.

Photo by Laura James on Pexels.com

The store bustled as people stocked up … uncertain what to expect. But even here …an obvious neighborhood hangout … warmed by the smells of homemade leek soup and generous slices of sausage and mushroom pizza … there was not rudeness exactly … but a feeling of distance … of people retreating to themselves … every stranger a possible harbinger of disease … maybe even death.

It was a time where bonds with other humans were tenuous … especially with strangers … everyone afraid of sickness and dying … but for my mom death was already eminent.

I look back … 365+ days later … and I reflect further. I suppose there are lessons to drum up … wisdom to expound upon … both from the loss of my last parent … and from a world radically shifted in the matter of weeks. Lessons for sure, but at the moment only a few simple things stand out to me.

First, it didn’t occur to me until today that March is also Women’s History month.

As I’ve written about and reflected on Mom’s life in depth the last year, I’ve contemplated her and the other women like her, who have thoroughly shaped my thinking and my soul.

None of them are likely to end up in the women’s history books or celebrated in headlines during History Month … none of them have the power of today’s women politicians and celebrities (I don’t want to get start down a rabbit hole … but little bugs the snot out of me more … this is one of Mom’s sayings … than front page headlines that tout what celebrities are saying about major issues … Why?😞 If you want a truly thoughtful response, ask my grandma.)

Sorry … back to my point.

Photo by Tabitha Mort on Pexels.com

The journey of this year has brought me back to the remarkable strength of the rural women around whom I was raised … woman who hauled butt on farm tractors and semi-trucks pulling trailers … who helped bring in the harvest while still fixing meals for hired crews and washing combine grime out of their Wranglers … who sorted out spuds caked in dirt, helping to ensure that the best ones would make it to the middle man and on to the grocery store.

Women who rose with dawn to squeeze milk out of the udders of grumpy cows … who fed their families for a whole year from gardens that they had planted, weeded, harvested, and preserved with their own blistered hands.

Women who filled the bellies of the hoards gathered at town picnics and weddings and funerals and anniversaries and big birthdays and … well … and for gathering that would be better with food.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Women who didn’t worry about who was “bringing home the bacon” because they knew that their fella might bring it home, but he sure couldn’t cook it up like she could.

Women who might gossip about a neighbor but would have that same neighbor’s back in a heartbeat. “They might be a piece of work,” was said of town trouble-makers, “but they’re OUR piece of work.”

Women who ran the local “five and dime”, built houses alongside the guys, played softball, worked at the bank, could throw a bowling ball with precision, chugged a beer with the best of them, liked her wine too, and enjoyed being the star of the local 4th of July production.

Women who enjoyed the guilty pleasures of hot-buttered rums, soap operas, and Harlequin romances. (If you were born after 1980, insert Starbucks coffee, Fire Fly Lane on Netflix, and Hallmark movies.) … who might let a swear word (or 30) fly, but loved her hymns and knew how to ask forgiveness.

Women who kept the books on the farm or for her husband’s mechanic shop while stretching budgets thinner than one-ply toilet paper when the price of wheat fell to nightmarishly small numbers.

Women who didn’t worry a flip about the color or a person’s skin … anyone was welcome at her table … you just better offer to help with the dishes.

Women who would eventually and reluctantly learn the ways of smart phones, Facebook pages, and social media … or not … but didn’t need them anyway in order to hunt down their kids in a millisecond if they caught wind of said kids sassing a teacher or bullying another kid or if the kid was skipping out on chores.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Women who have never owned a little black dress, but made a pair of snug Levi’s and oversized plaid shirt look sexy.

Women who looked in the mirror and didn’t always like the size of her body … but others looked at her and saw nothing but the size of her heart … a heart we all loved.

Women who fought off raccoons and coyotes from preying on pets … and could take down a derelict with a stare for daring to come too close to one of her own. Who drove school busses full of sugar-jacked kids and yet managed to deliver them safely home every single day … even when mountain high drifts erased the view of the road and made for a treacherous ride.

Women who didn’t care if you were her flesh and blood … if you needed a roof over your head and a meal in your stomach … especially if you were a confused kid … you were gonna find it … and maybe a hug or two as well … at her house. She’d do anything for you except stay in a room with a spider.

Not every one of these things described my mom … but most of them do. The point being that her heart beat with a drive to make life better for others, even when she felt unworthy herself. It’s the heart in all of these beautiful women I’ve known … rusty and rustic … cut from frayed county cloth … women who are maybe not destined for history books but who leave a spicy legacy of beauty and grit.

I don’t think my role models stand up to the definition of a modern woman … not the 2021 versions I see on newspaper pages and TV shows of late … or the political versions out there …

But I’ll take them … my role models, that is … and I’ll celebrate Women’s Month and mourn my Mom with them. Put me in a crisis and let me choose my tribe. First pick is my Mom … one of the spiciest of them all. Then fill the rest of the spots with country-fried women as described above. Courageous. Stubborn. Kind. Ornery. Hardworking. I seriously think if you want women to run the nations, you need to come where I live and glean from the best. Stuff WILL get done.

The other profound thought I’ve had about Mom this year is how much she would have liked our puppy.

There are a lot of things I miss about Mom but I really wish I could watch her face as we tell stories about our pup pouting in the crate while on timeout for impersonating a shark. Or about her persistent attempts to get the cat to play chase. I picture smuggling the dog into Mom’s room for just a quick pet … a chance to let Tillie lick her hand while Mom’s eyes light up from the love of a sweet, innocent creature.

Yes …

It has been a year, alright.

A hard one of missing Mom and of watching these other beautiful women who are made of the same stuff she was … watching them struggle with aloneness … with being shut away from all they love most in attempts to give them a few more days on earth … of watching them wither under a sense of usefulness.

Oh March … there you go, making me all melancholy again …

Hurry up April.

Taken this morning … Spring and Winter still playing tug-o-war.

Thank you for reading “Small Stuff”.  This is the second of two blogs sites that I write.  You can find more on my thought&faith blog at rashellbud.wordpress.com. Wishing you a beautiful day full of the Small Stuff that transforms life into BIG STUFF.

A note to my “silent” readers … thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to read my work. I’ve learned that many of you are shy about commenting or hitting the like button, but I want you to know that I appreciate your visits and invite you into the conversations whenever you are ready.

Wishing you peace in all things … Shelly

Stop and Smell the Bacon

Raising a Puppy in a Pandemic World

Upon our decision to get a puppy, I vowed to myself (in a loud, lecturing voice heard only inside my own head) to NOT to make all of my blog posts about the dog. There’s more to our small town life and these serious times than having a dog … except at the moment, our whole life IS about the dog.

“You know, this is going to be like having a child in the house again … we have to get up in the night with her … discipline her … deal with a house that smells like a barn … worse than a barn,” I tried one more plea with My Guy. “And we’re older … and grumpier when we don’t get sleep.”

He’s wanted a dog so badly though. Then of course, there’s the fact that Tillie is just so darn cute.

This is not a resistible face. Photo credit: My Guy

My reluctance let up inch by inch and before I knew it, I was online, signing us up for Chewy.com (this is not an affiliate link although I should look into that) and ordered colossal quantities of puppy treats, cat calming sprays, and jugs of odor combatting materials.

I guess this means I’m in.

New vocabulary and staples in our home for 2020: social distancing, flatten the curve, Zoom calls, Rona, face masks, hand sanitizer … and apparently … toilet paper.

One of the holdouts that presented the biggest hurdle for me is all the dog smells. It’s enough to battle the smells of the litter box (there’s probably nothing nastier), but one of my least favorite places (smell wise) is a pet store. Dog smells … dog food smells … ugh. The worst of it all is a wet dog smells. Double ugh!

Too cute to be smelly. If only! At least I’ll have good reason to insist on new throw rugs when all this training business is over.

Magically, since Tillie joined our ranks the house has not smelled as “doggy” as I thought it would … although one day I went to work smelling like a wet dog since I had to “coax” her inside during a rainstorm and I was in a hurry to get to work. We have our “favorite” puppy boo boo cleaners (all natural).

I’ve begun to notice that everything around me started to smell pretty good. Not just our house with it’s citrus-y pet products, but work … the coffee shop … the grocery store. The world just smelled good!

I stopped to consider this yesterday. Good smells make me happy … what was it that I was smelling so much?!


Everywhere I went in the outside world this week, people seemed to be eating bacon. I smelled it everywhere. And it made me happy. Who needs to stop and smell the roses when you can stop and smell the bacon!

But … my reason caught up with my “smeller” … this isn’t making sense. There’s no reason … and no way … that so many people could be eating bacon in so many environments.

And then …

I … very sheepishly … figured it out.

My face masks.

The environment didn’t smell like bacon … my facemarks do.

Because …

I put them in my pockets …

with …

bacon flavored dog treats!

What a ninny.

Photo credit goes to My Guy

New vocabulary and staples in our house for 2021: Aha, leave it, Good girl, Yes!, Ouch!, leave it (yes … I know “leave it” has been listed 2x), carpet stain/odor remover, dog toys, and bacon flavored treats.

So … that is how puppy training in a pandemic world is going. My pockets have been taken over with all the necessities of survival … face masks, bacon-flavored dog treats, and poop bags. My pockets are prepared … my brain … not so much.

To deflect from my silly conclusion , here’s a quick update on how the other cat is. (I gave a Sophie update in a recent post.)

Simba has been the pretty much ridiculous about the new roommate. To make his feeling fully known, he hissed at the dog, glared at me, and huffed upstairs where he stays during the days … sneaking down at night when the thing is in her crate. To be fully clear that he thinks life is upside down in our home, he moved into the bathtub one evening. His look says it all, “Really. This has gone on long enough, don’t you think?”

A bit dramatic … especially given that Tillie ignores him most of the time and hasn’t given chase once. Not yet, anyway. Also, Tillie is … for a quick moment … smaller than Simba.

And that … for now … wraps up my non-puppy post. 😁 Hope you are enjoying the week and can stop and smell the bacon (or whatever makes you happiest) along the way!

Thank you for reading “Small Stuff”.  This is the second of two blogs sites that I write.  You can find more on my thought&faith blog at rashellbud.wordpress.com. Wishing you a beautiful day full of the Small Stuff that transforms life into BIG STUFF.

A note to my “silent” readers … thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to read my work. I’ve learned that many of you are shy about commenting or hitting the like button, but I want you to know that I appreciate your visits and invite you into the conversations whenever you are ready.

Wishing you peace in all things … Shelly

Holy Bat Squirrel

(Heading Photo is a Pexels free Photo and not my own)

It’s squirrel escapades at our house

We were wondering why our cats have been meeting us at the door recently seeming emotionally needy. (This was pre-puppy, so Tillie wasn’t the problem at that point.)

Pacing, yowling, rubbing against us … we thought maybe this was a renewed tactic for extra treats. But as soon as treats were scarfed down it started all over again. So I’d clean the litter box, check the water dish, make sure the bottom wasn’t visible in the food dish (a major cause of cat discomfort in our house).


They were still edgy and needy.

Then, I figured it out.

I was on the phone with a friend one day, careful to stay stationary because there are only one or two spots where the cell signal around here will stay strong enough for anything over a 30 second call. Afraid to even turn my head and cause another dropped call, I caught a bit of movement near the window where the cats hang out. I ignored it … but the shadow repeated … three or four times at least.

After the call, I crept over. Both cats were in place, one on the cat “tree” and the other in his special window seat. There were some birds on the feeder, but it didn’t seem like they were big enough for the huge shadow I thought I had seen. I was about to walk away when there it was …

A squirrel. Mr. Bushytail came tearing up the driveway, jumped onto the side of our house, raced up the siding and leapt onto the bird feeder.

That’s a big boy! I think he got more than he bargained for tho’ because he set himself into motion.

HaHa! He’s hanging on for dear life. After swinging back and for a moment he popped off and ran away. His buddy tho, was a little more clever. This guy climbed up the screen door (placed for decoration … not meant to be a squirrel ladder … I may have to move it) and carefully reached and stretched to scoop seeds out with his paw.

It’s hard to tell from the pictures, but the smarter squirrel is a little smaller. Shows how the greed of the other guy mighta got the best of him. Either way these are both big fellows. Usually I enjoy watching them come into the yard and feast away, but up close and personal like this, I’m reminded that they are part of the rodent family. A little less endearing and this close.

It’s interesting how squirrels have resolutely moved into our town in the last two years. (I have a friend who captures squirrels where he lives and relocates them because of the damage they do in his urban neighborhood. Think I know where he may be dropping them off. No … he’s good, he takes them to wooded areas, deplete of people.)

Seriously tho’, other than an occasional chipmunk that high-jacked a ride on a logging truck through town, squirrels were uncommon until recently. I noticed two when we first moved here … a gray squirrel and a red one. Now I’m seeing about a half dozen red ones. Makes me feel like I’m in a city rather that a rural community. Every city I lived in came with squirrels it seemed.

In fact my first experience with squirrels came when I started college in a large city. On my second day in the hustle of cars, people, and businesses, I treated myself to a wonderful cinnamon roll at a neighborhood bakery and then went to a bench on the edge of the campus to eat it. Suddenly I became aware of a squirrel on the back of the bench. It stared at me for a moment. I sat intrigued … I’d rarely been this close to a wild creature before. Then, without warning it leapt from its perch right onto lap, ran up my arm and grabbed the piece of roll that was in my hand.

This must have been the person before me which would explain the greediness of the fella I met. Photo by Kristu00f3f Balogh on Pexels.com

I certainly had NOT been offering my yummy treat to the squirrel (I had NO intention of sharing it with ANYONE) so was startled at its boldness. It grabbed its treasure and ran off … leaving me apprehensive that I might get affronted by another bushy-tailed rodent. Thankfully I didn’t. And thankfully it wasn’t as big as the guy swinging on my feeder. “

“Our” squirrels are fun to watch, but obviously getting too bold. Pretty sure that having Tillie in residence will cool their bravado a bit.

And speaking of Tillie, a friend asked if I’d end my posts with an update or picture of her. Might not always do that, but I definitely have some cuteness to share today. Here’s Tillie learning the world of stairs. She’s not interested in what’s on the top floor but could race up and down them all day. You can see that she’s a little winded in the middle shot.

Have a great weekend … enjoy whatever escapades … squirrel or otherwise that come your way.

Thank you for reading “Small Stuff”.  This is the second of two blogs sites that I write.  You can find more on my thought&faith blog at rashellbud.wordpress.com. Wishing you a beautiful day full of the Small Stuff that transforms life into BIG STUFF.

A note to my “silent” readers … thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to read my work. I’ve learned that many of you are shy about commenting or hitting the like button, but I want you to know that I appreciate your visits and invite you into the conversations whenever you are ready.

Wishing you peace in all things … Shelly

Small Town Dog Owners – 5 Observations

There a few things that quickly come to mind now that we have ventured back into life with a puppy in our little town.

1 – Don’t dare bring home a new dog and not immediately introduce it to all of the neighbors and shop owners in town. They don’t have dog teats in their pockets and behind the counter for nothing. (I’m still working on smoothing things over at the Coffee Shop)

2 – Dogs are not pets here. Neither are they simply members of a family. They are an extension of the whole community. (I’ve sometimes wondered if they get included in the census.) Farm dogs … town dogs … big beasties … little yappers … everyone knows whose dog belongs to whom, their names, their favorite type of treat, their birthweight, their barking decibel .. . okay … I exaggerate … but I do think many of us know more about each other’s pets than possibly about each other’s kids.

3 – Photos are a must. If you have a cell phone, you’d better have a picture of your pet especially if you use the word “puppy”. Even dog haters seem interested in puppies. Puppies are immune to the loathing created by grown-up barkers, garbage hounds, growlers, whiners, cat-chasers, poop-in-the-neighbor’s-yard leavers.

4 – People in our community don’t feel compelled to give you advice about your pet unless you ask. Well, usually. I was surprised at a restaurant (not in my town) how quickly the waiter jumped into advice-mode, grilling us with questions when we mentioned that we were considering a puppy. “Do you have a fence?” “How big of a dog?” “Are you home during the day?” “You know they’re a lot of work, right?” The person didn’t even know us or our past experience with dogs yet seemed compelled to dive into what was wrong or right with breeds we were considering and with our living conditions.

We only mentioned that we were thinking about a puppy, yet out poured the interrogation.

“He just loves dogs, Honey,” My Guy said later when I aired my irritation. “I don’t think he meant it personal. He was excited for us.”

Still … it seemed over the top.

It’s been a little of the same on social media too … people jumping in with their advice and loaded opinions about dogs once they learned we have a puppy. Thankfully, it doesn’t seem to happen overly much in our circle or in our rural town where dogs are a staple of farm and small town life. The dog-loving souls here assume that if you’re getting a dog you know what you’re doing or will ask for help if you need it. And if you don’t, there’s always our local code enforcement officer who will clue you in upon a couple of complaints. (Wink wink)

5 – Yes, it’s certainly a “more the merrier” feel around here. Until … 1:00 in the morning on a hot summer’s when windows are wide open, an invitation to cooler air. That’s when we all become aware of just how many pooches are in residence. It takes about a day for the disgruntlement to wear off as folks air out their frustrations at the coffee shop or in front of the post office the next morning …

“Did you hear that 101 Dalmations mess last night? Gawd, every dog in the county must have been yacking their heads off .”

“Who didn’t hear it, except my wife who turned off her hearing aids. What a racket … the neighbor said he heard coyotes first tho’. That’ll get everyone started. Coyotes have been moving in closer and closer … people are losing cats, someone said.”

“That so? Well, I guess all those mutts are just doing their job. Gee whiz, tho’. Between the heat and the mutts … how does a body sleep?!”

I guess we don’t sleep on those hot summer nights … but at least we have faithful companions to wag their tails at us the next morning and remind us of how cute they are. How worth it … right?

So far, Tillie isn’t much of a barker except when playing.
Bonus observation … a Pandemic is both a good and rotten time to get a new pet.

Good … because the extra companionship in a world of social distancing and isolation is nice. Life feels a little more normal with a playful puppy. Puppies aren’t aware the half the world has seemed to lose its mind in one fashion or another. They just play, poop, and make life a little more fun.

Rotten … because I’m now more confused than ever about what’s in my pockets. Face mask. Hand sanitizer. Glasses. (Face mask on … glasses off and visa versa.)

And NOW, doggie doo-doo bags and dog treats. Life wasn’t complicated enough trying to maneuver all of the COVID rules … now I have to maneuver puppy protocols too.

I sometimes tuck some chocolate covered almonds in my pockets (for me) … but after almost chowing down on a dog biscuit instead, the human treats are not for pockets any more.

I may have to resort to a doggie back pack to carry all of Tillie’s goodies around. Guess there’s bigger problems to worry about in the world, so I’ll end up my complaining with some cuteness. Wishing my readers a bit of hope as we come upon one year of craziness. Hope you are well and that life is settling in good ways for you and yours.

And not to be forgotten … we still love our cats. Sophie is making sure of it, so I’ll let her have the last look.

Thank you for reading “Small Stuff”.  This is the second of two blogs sites that I write.  You can find more on my thought&faith blog at rashellbud.wordpress.com. Wishing you a beautiful day full of the Small Stuff that transforms life into BIG STUFF.

A note to my “silent” readers … thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to read my work. I’ve learned that many of you are shy about commenting or hitting the like button, but I want you to know that I appreciate your visits and invite you into the conversations whenever you are ready.

Wishing you peace in all things … Shelly

Profound Makeover 101 – We Can Go Back and Fix Anything

A kitchen makeover (if you can call simply painting cabinets a “makeover”) under the guidance of a long time, special friend brings with it profound moments.

Our new mantra, for instance …

“Don’t worry. Just do it … we can go back and fix anything.”

“… a little sandpaper … some more paint … we’ll cover up any boo boos.”

I appreciated this cheerleading from H as I slapped blue-grey-green paint onto otherwise beautiful (albeit old and a bit battered) wood cabinets. Have to admit, I had second thoughts for the smallest of a moment about preserving the natural look of the wood. But a “well-if-that’s-what-you-want-look” that really meant “don’t-you-dare-look” from H kept me on course.

I shook off the doubts, picked up the sandpaper, and went back to work. We cranked up Casey Casem’s top 40’s countdown of the 70’s and 80’s (I♥️Radio app). and went to work. The music took us back in time while my cupboards got with the times.

Glad I stuck with the course as I love the results.

Ignore the green towel on the counter. Ugh! It spoils the picture a bit but I’m too lazy to take another one since at this precise moment, it would mean having to do the dishes first.

Mostly, I’m pretty bold and have no problems taking risks.

A little too often though, I’ve spent a life time fighting through nerves that keep me awake at night, wishing I could have done things better or differently. I can be especially fretful when it come to anything that pushes me beyond my skill level and out of the comfort zone. Finding ways to improve a 110 year-old-house on a teeny tiny budget and with little no-how definitely pushes all the “fret-about-this”, perfectionist buttons.

Thankfully, there’s H. “Just try it,” she urged regarding painting my cupboards … her immediate inclination the very moment she set eyes on them. “These will look so good painted. You’ll love it.”

It was only after we started that I found out that she’d never actually painted kitchen cabinets before. Other, smaller, pieces of furniture, yes. And lots of rooms. I’ve sat in some of those rooms mid-project when our kids were young and watched her put her mad-skills (she’d tell you to interpret “mad” however you want) to use and create a world of picket fences and bright flowers for her daughters to dream and play in.

So I had no doubt that if she didn’t know what she’s doing, she’d figure it out … or find a sledge hammer and give us a reason to call in the pros. But again, I didn’t worry, because H is one of those friend’s who balances me with her willingness to try anything at least once, mixed with a dose of curiosity. (This is a total side track, but it’s curious to me that curiosity is spelled the way it is.)

I say “almost-finished” because we’re taking a look at appliances now. The yellow-tinted fridge may have to go one of these days. Also, I have a makeshift island that needs an update now. One project always seems to create that ripple effect, doesn’t. Also, I’m finding a few of those boos boos mentioned earlier, so I think it’s going to be a while before the sandpaper and can of paint are fully tucked away.

Makeover Lessons 101 – Take a risk, we can go back and fix anything.

I sincerely hope this is true, because barely has the paint dried on the cabinets but I’ve been pushed into a new risk taking venture.

Tilly is an Aussie

Meet Tilly (although, we’re also toying with the idea of Tully for a name, which I like better … but that’s before I remembered that Tully is one of the main character’s in Firefly Lane … Hannah Krista novel … Netflix Series. As much as my heart goes out to Tully of the series, not sure we should name our dog after an extremely co-dependent, self-destructive person. But … I really love the name. We’ll see.)

Back to risk taking.

I did not want another dog. My Guy did. So after some compromising, here’s Tilly/Tully. I’m sure she’ll make great blogging fodder, as she’s already made life quite entertaining (and tiring) in the last 48 hours.

Entertaining for us. Not so much for the cats.

Simba’s reaction to a barking fur ball. He disappeared to the second floor only to sneak down to his food bowl at night.
Sophie took over our bed. She’s the Queen and her Diva attitude is in full force now that we’ve dared to bring a dog into her kingdom.

Not sure I’m up to training another dog (we’ve had several over the years) but she sure is sweet. After all, you don’t get something good without a little risk. Sandpaper and paint might not work for puppy booboos., but with some patience and consistency, we can go back and fix anything. Right? And of course, there is all the blogging fodder that she brings into the picture!

You weigh in. Tilly or Tully?

Have a wonderful week … and keep your fingers crossed that we will too … at least when it comes to getting some sleep!

Thank you for reading “Small Stuff”.  This is the second of two blogs sites that I write.  You can find more on my thought&faith blog at rashellbud.wordpress.com. Wishing you a beautiful day full of the Small Stuff that transforms life into BIG STUFF.

A note to my “silent” readers … thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to read my work. I’ve learned that many of you are shy about commenting or hitting the like button, but I want you to know that I appreciate your visits and invite you into the conversations whenever you are ready.

Wishing you peace in all things … Shelly

Winter and a Helping Hand – Whether We Want It Or Not

Winter is no surprise in Palouse Country … we expect four seasons around here. It’s what makes the soil so fertile.

But winter teases us … messes with our emotions and this year has been a flirt more than ever. Snow caught us by surprise before Halloween, but then kept its cool, playing us … making us think it was about done. There’s been plenty of snow, but just an inch or two. Then comes February.

Snow in February makes us a little nervous. That’s the fault of the February of 2019.

We had just moved here, and like everyone else had just begun to breath a sigh of relief that winter might be doable our first year. When we first came here, we didn’t know that My Guy’s job would be an hour away. We found ourselves divided. We wanted snow … after several years near the coast if we were going to have a wet winter, we preferred that it would be be white rather than gray and drab. But we also didn’t want My Guy stuck in a snow drift, miles away from anyone alongside of a country road.

Well … the snow came that year. Three weeks nonstop … the snow piles from the plows grew so ginormous that they didn’t fully melt until late in April.

One thing stood out remarkable to me. People were extremely quick and generous in helping each other … even strangers.

There’s a community FB page and neighbors quickly answered the questions of those new to the area. Is this much snow normal? Is school cancelled? What do people do with pre-school kids on late start days when those classes get cancelled? Will garbage service come? How are road conditions going North today? South? Where’s the best place to get the newly acquired dents out of our car?

But one thing is rarely asked … Can someone help plow us out?

It’s somewhat amusing to me … just about anything with wheels seems to instantly grow a snow plow when the white stuff piles up. Regular snow plows, snow blowers, road graders, lawn mowers, four wheeled tractors, giant field tractors, pick up trucks, ATVs … anything but maybe motorcycles.

I could hear husband’s everywhere saying to their wives … See honey, I told you we needed to invest in that plow.

I suppose it could be chalked up to the lure of having one more cool tool on hand that accounts for so many snow plows and so many helpers, but I think it’s more explained by the nature of things around here. The nature to help. A generous nature.

I don’t mean to romanticize rural living or rural people. We have plenty of flaws, but I think it’s safe and right to say that people in our area are kind and helpful.

Makes me think of something I observed last March, a few weeks after the pandemic and lockdowns set in. I was at my job (I manage the local library) when a couple strolled by. (Just to note, the library wasn’t open to the public, but offered curbside service at this time. Also, I came in to work on reorganizing things and to tackle some deep cleaning.)

This couple glanced through shop windows and tried door handles, apparently looking to see if any of our businesses … especially the coffee shop … were open. As I was in and out of Library, gathering books out of the dropbox and collecting our mail from the Post Office, I noticed that they had stopped to talk to one of our locals, a retired farmer.

I only heard snatches, but enough to gather that they lived in Spokane, and feeling restricted by lockdowns, had headed south to see if anything was open … if anything was normal.

In the Library to put away mail.

Out again to sweep the sidewalk.

Loud voices filled the air. The man from Spokane was shouting at the farmer. “You’re all just a bunch of small-minded hicks. All you people around here do is watch Fox News and hang around other white people. You have no understanding of the real world.” (Note: the visitor himself was white.) He stomped up the sidewalk and to his wife who had nervously moved herself away from her yelling husband.

I don’t know what led up to this outburst but I did find it amusing that the guy had come to our community to see if somehow we weren’t locked down like the rest of the world (all of our businesses were closed and following guidelines) and yet all he saw was a bunch of backwards, narrow-minded people.

I’ve heard these same assumptions repeatedly by people passing through … people who have never spent more than a minute … well, maybe three … in little towns like mine.

How does it feel to live around a bunch of racists. The insinuations come in many forms … as do the accusations that no one knows how to think for themselves or has more than a high school degree, if even that.

One time, a visitor to the library even said to me, “Wow! I can tell that you are educated.” Great surprise filled his voice. (Yes. I have a college degree … as do a great many people in our town and county. In fact, our county houses the second largest university in the state.)

I won’t get into a debate about politics or how all city people or all rural people can be lumped into one category … because they can’t and they shouldn’t.

But one thing I know for sure … and that I’ve told people a few times … if you come around here and you need something … if you get stuck in a snowdrift … have a flat tire … are in an accident … run out of gas … need money for food … even if you’re not a good human … if you do drugs … or get in trouble with the law … but if you have a basic human need (as long as you’re not hurting kids, elderly people or another human) … you WILL be helped.

No matter the color of your skin, or the tattoos, or the nose rings (we have those too, after all). No matter your education. No matter the campaign stickers on the bumper of your car. No matter your judgments (or misjudgments) of those who live here.

You will BE helped.

There might be some gossip. There might be different opinions. There might be a few cuss words. But …

You will be HELPED.

I’ve seen it again … and again … and again.

That … and four wonderful seasons … especially the snow … are just part of why I love this rural life of which we live.

And … as a final thought. My heart is with the people of Texas. It’s one thing to get an unexpected snow storm, but to mix it with crazy low temperatures that cripples the system … that is truly scary. No matter how much finger pointing people want to do about what’s taken place with the power grid shutting down … one thing has rung true for Texans as what we are experiencing here … people help each other in these situations. I’ve read many touching stories and sure more will come to light in days ahead. Let’s all hope that winter is about ready to wrap it up! Hang in their Texas!

Thank you for reading “Small Stuff”.  This is the second of two blogs sites that I keep.  You can find more on my thought&faith blog at rashellbud.wordpress.com. Wishing you a beautiful day full of the Small Stuff that transforms life into BIG STUFF.

A note to my “silent” readers … thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to read my work. I’ve learned that many of you are shy about commenting or hitting the like button, but I want you to know that I appreciate your visits and invite you into the conversations whenever you are ready.

Wishing you peace in all things … Shelly