Outdoors, Indoors, and Doors That Aren't Yet Open

Hello Cottage Friends,

As of yesterday, I've been here in Colorado three weeks. I'm sure all of you are as ready as I am to be done with this shelter in place. Sure it's nice to be with family, but it would be a whole lot nicer if we could get out and enjoy the outdoors. Easter Sunday a snow storm rolled in and it's been cold ever since. I think today it reached 50. Oh, this cold is going to take some getting used to again. I did like the warmer winter in Texas. When I left I was wearing sandals and a short sleeved shirt. Not now. Nope. We're not in Texas anymore, Toto.

This was taken on Thursday, when we were visited by another snow storm. (sigh)

Okay, we got that out of the way. Now we can rejoice over the nice weather we enjoyed before the snow, and look forward to the coming week when it should warm up to the 60's. The snow is almost melted today. 

The week before Easter I spent a lot of time clearing the yard and flower beds of leaves and debris.

Temperatures were in the 70's, and we had lots of sunshine. My son was off work on Good Friday, so we got a lot done that day, and then on Saturday the whole family joined us for a work day. The big project for that day was clearing the slope below their patio of Virginia Creeper. This is how it looks now that we've finished ripping out tons of that stuff. I'm sorry I didn't take any "before" photos.(As you can see, my son is a serious griller.) 

Don't get me wrong, Virginia Creeper is a beautiful trailing plant, especially in the autumn.

Photo by Mick Stephenson mixpix 16:18, 19 March 2007 (UTC) - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1808428
But it's not something you want to plant around a patio railing, a deck or a porch, unless you don't mind the damage that it does to the wood. No, it's better to plant Virginia Creeper where it can have its own way. Because that plant is prolific. We worked a good part of the afternoon digging it up. Actually, we were surprised we got as much out as we did. One of the roots was so long that I held it up and my son took a photo. I called it my "Big Catch".

(Clearly I need to employ some upper arm toning exercises.)

The backyard is large and holds a lot of promise. We've got some big plans for it, and even when I move out and into my own place, I've promised to help implement our vision. It'll be fun, and I will certainly take plenty of photos and take you along on the journey. Planting time is still a month away, so patience is required.

The tulips had started to bloom before the cold front came in, so we covered them up with boxes and plastic containers. Most of them survived, I think.

I wish I could take better photos with my iphone. Does anyone have any suggestions? Maybe a certain camera app that you're familiar with that would improve the quality? I may have to bite the bullet and get myself a regular camera. I used to enjoy photography, but my camera died and I never replaced it. Now I'm stuck with photos I don't much care for.

But I digress.

During this past week when we were stuck inside the kids and I worked on getting the game shelves and the entertainment center cleaned and organized. I told them if they could finish the job without arguing about who was doing the most work, I'd bake brownies for them. They must have wanted them pretty badly, because they did a good job of controlling their squabbling.

One of the girls helped me with the brownies. We used this recipe from Love From The Oven: Easy Brownies Made with Cocoa Powder. We left out the optional walnuts, and chocolate chips. They were plenty chocolatey without the addition of chips. These flew out of the pan! Very moist and fudgey, and I would definitely use this recipe again.

Well, I think I've pretty much covered everything new.  I'm starting to check out job openings in the area. I will have to find work to be able to stay in Colorado. I'm not worried. Instead I trust in the Lord. This is a poem I came across this week that sums up how I feel about my current situation. . .

(From Streams In The Desert devotional)

Is there some problem in your life to solve,
Some passage seeming full of mystery?
God knows, who brings the hidden things to light.
He keeps the key.

Is there some door closed by the Father's hand
Which widely opened you had hoped to see?
Trust God and wait--for when He shuts the door
He keeps the key.

Is there some earnest prayer unanswered yet,
Or answered NOT as you had thought 'twould be?
God will make clear His purpose by-and-by.
He keeps the key.

Have patience with your God, your patient God,
All wise, all knowing, no long tarrier He,
And of the door of all thy future life
He keeps the key.

Unfailing comfort, sweet and blessed rest,
To know of EVERY door He keeps the key.
That He at last when just HE sees 'tis best,
Will give it THEE.

Yes, He holds the key!



  1. Dearest Nancy, Good morning!

    I think what we are all doing to get through the various moments of unease during this pandemic is to keep busy. You surely have your garden gloved hands full with that Virginia creeper! It always feels good to be outside and start to dig. We have had too cool of weather for us to even start cleaning up winter from our gardens but by next weekend, we just may start. I trust you are well and staying positive; there really is no other way to be in any circumstance!

    Blessings to you as your path continues to direct you toward God's love and mercy.

  2. Nancy you crack me up with your big catch. My arms need that same toning lol! Glad you got outside and were able to clear out so much of the yard from winter. Let's hope all that snow is gone now for the year and we can really have Spring everywhere. It is going to be a nice week here in Illinois so I am grateful to see that sunshine. Have a wonderful week. xoxo

  3. Hi Nancy,
    I could use some toning too. LOL!
    How fun to be able to help create the new plans for the garden. That is so much fun. I am creating another garden this spring as well. It helps to be able to get outside during this strange time. Our state will be closing for the month of May as well. I am not surprised. As more things are canceled, we have decided not to have a graduation party for our senior in high school son Atticus. It sure has been a strange ending to his senior year. He is taking things well, he is a positive fella, I am thankful for that.
    Love, Carla

  4. Why do our upper arms go like that? I did workouts at home, then attended gyms for all of my adult life and then all of a sudden my arms went flabby, almost overnight :-( I planted a Virginia Creeper a few years ago, it had lots of room to roam, and oh boy did it roam, I think it covered my neighbours fence as well ! It's stunning but I have given it a severe trim now. Sorry I can't help with the photos Nancy, I have a lovely Canon bridge camera with a zoom, but I use my phone camera most of the time.

  5. Nice for you to have gardening work to keep you occupied. I wish I liked to garden but most of my hobbies are sitting these days. I used to love to hike but now that my husband has passed I don't hike any more. He had great direction sense, I have none. I got lost on a one mile iland that was 3 blocks wide. LOL. I wouldn't be able to handle winter in Colorado. A beautiful place but to cold. I will pray yoou find a job you like that pays well. Keep well and God Bless my friend. Debbie

  6. Oh, sweet friend! This poem brought back so many memories to me. My dear Mom LOVED Streams in the Desert. I have her weathered copy of it, which used to belong to my Papaw (her father) before her. I treasure it dearly. It looks like you are surely getting a LOT done while in lockdown. It feels so good to be so productive and surely helps one get their mind off things, doestn' it? God is faithful to make things bearable for us. I am praying for you and excited to see what God will do in your future! I know He has great things ahead for you!!

  7. Boy you have been working hard! Hard work is so good for soul - I say that and believe that it's true. When I'm upset or distressed, etc., I just start working, either in the house or outside. It really helps! I've been doing lots of yard cleanup and it is very satisfying. As for cameras, I have no smart phone, so have to rely on a "real" camera! My favorites are very small and fit in my pocket. I had a Kodak Easy Share C653 for years and years.. it took the BEST pictures! Was only a 3X zoom and 6.1 mega pixels, but it was my first digital and I thought I had died and gone to Heaven! I still have it, but it does take batteries and that is expensive. The switch quit working to take the picture, so I could only use the timer. Next came my Canon Power Shot SX260 HS which is 20X zoom and 12.1 mega pixels. I have had it for years and use it now. It takes great "auto" shots and I do some manuel, but haven't yet found a setting for good indoor pictures. I love it as is small and fits in a shirt or jeans pocket. I take it everywhere with me and love it! My other fave that my sister gave me is a Sony Cyber Shot 10.1 mega pixels with 10X zoom. For some reason, it takes even BETTER outdoor/scenery photos than my Canon.. they are crisp and sharp and I love it for scenery. Both the Canon and Sony have a rechargeable battery which is so great. These are all older models so I'm sure you can find newer ones.. but I'm sold on Canon for the most part. Any small pocket camera will probably be great. I love it's 20X zoom. the little Kodak took awesome outdoor scenery photos also, and the BEST closeups of any of them!

    I know most Smart phones of today have more megal pixels than most cameras and I wish sometimes that I did have a good Smart phone/camera.. but it's just not in our budget.

    I love the poem you posted - so true - and we must wait and be patient for Him to hand us that key! I've seen that door open for me many times in the past.. and sometimes when I'm not even expecting it!
    Hugs.. Marilyn

  8. You sound so content and happier then you have been in the past. Please take this as a good complaint! Garden work is the best therapy. And you can see the results.
    Good for you friend. Prayers...

  9. Sometimes hard work in the garden is just what we need in stressful times. How sweet to help your son with all that garden work.

  10. We are certainly living through some strange times. I can't believe you're still getting snow. It is pretty cool here as well, for this time of year. Stay safe and warm!

  11. I'm sorry about the Easter storm... we had such beautiful weather here on Easter. It has been a strange year, with lots of late snow everywhere. I'm glad you got that Virginia creeper out with lots of help, wow, what a beautiful troublemaker! I enjoyed the poem you shared. How often that poem rings true. God's plan most of the time is to keep us in the dark about our future, and that is where we learn to trust. Perhaps we wouldn't know anything about trust, if we knew it all! So that is my answer to these kinds of dilemmas, He wants us to trust, and this is the only way how. And somehow in the end, it will be well. Praying for you, that the peace of the Lord encompasses all of you, and gives you comfort while you wait for the next step/direction to take. Many blessings to you!

  12. Looks like you are doing great! Work outside in the garden is good for the soul and body. Stay well!!

  13. Dearest Nancy so good to read this post of yours. I subscribed here to get notifications via email, as I've missed out. You do sound happy and I am so glad for that for you. ~ Virginia Creeper is a real pain down here as it really 'creeps' everywhere. You've done a great job clearing your patch out. Hope you will be getting some really nice weather soon. Love, hugs and prayers ~ FlowerLady

  14. Nancy, I love your big catch! I would love to be out in the garden, but it's cold here. It actually snowed here on Saturday, which is a rarity for May. It did make me smile though...snow, falling into the open pool! Strange times for sure. Hugs!

  15. I'm catching up - you know I've been SO busy! It sounds like you haven't had idle time with all of the projects you're doing. We're doing the same here. My sweetheart is doing hard things - like digging out and removing a huge tree stump from a tree that was removed from the front yard. I'm cleaning and sorting and organizing and tossing things inside. I'm so glad you're with your family. I'd work without squabbling for one or two of those brownies!


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