My Writing Shed

In the spring of 2015, the idea came to me that I should build a shed in which I could somewhat hide away, close enough to my house that my kids could find me if needed, yet far enough away that I wouldn’t have to hear them bickering.

For a few months, I observed my acre of land, watching where the sun and shadows landed, imagining what view I would have through windows.

I measured out some potential sites with rope, and asked the opinion of my husband and some of my kids. The feelings were not unanimous so I kept searching.

Finally, I decided upon a spot.

Me enjoying morning coffee on the site where my shed would be built

Here I sat at my chosen building site amidst cement pier blocks from the local building supplies store and the 3×7 timbers we purchased from a friend who milled them himself. We live in an area where forestry is what fuels the economy. Trees are life and there is no shortage of them.

I had it in my mind that we could build this shed over the course of a weekend. Haha! How naive I was. Maybe my carpenter dad and an assistant could perform such a miracle, but this was my first building project.

I grew up with carpenter’s tools all around, and used them in varying capacities, but at the age of 48, I bought my first very own tool: a square.I wrote my initials on it in Sharpie.

A cool thing about this building project was that it was funded by the money my dad left me. It wasn’t a fortune, but it covered the costs. I kept every receipt, intending to add them up someday, but as of the time of this writing, I still haven’t done so. I am not sure I want to. My guess is that it totals around $10,000. I could be way off.

Family and friends helped us get that first wall up.

It would take a lot of words to tell the story on constructing my shed, and someday I might write those details, but for the sake of brevity, I will show you some photos of how it looks.

This was before the bed and curtains went in, and there was different furnishing.

In keeping with the fine tradition of my carpenter father, the details remain unfinished. We still need to do the trim around the windows and where the floor meets the wall. The writing desk is very old. The chair, too. A local craftsman built the bookshelf.

The shed in a winter sunrise

The bed, not shown, is below this window. When one lies on it, they look out the French doors at the natural beauty of the yard and nature beyond.

There is a single bed we bought from a friend in the neighbourhood for $20. The walls are tongue and groove knotty pine. The floor is laminate.

The pictures on the wall my parents bought when I was a child. They bring me back to those years, right on down to that day in the early 1970s when we picked them up from a store on Commercial Drive in East Vancouver, around the corner from our home. My sister and I split them up when our dad died.

The windows were chosen from the “boneyard” at the local building supply shop. Those are windows customers ordered but decided not to buy, so we got them at a discounted price.

There is electricity, with a cable buried between the shed and our main house. We hired a guy my husband knows who is an electrician to do that part. We dug the trench by hand using pickaxes and shovels in our rocky ground.

The trench for electrical cable

A view in summer

A view in winter

The shed is 8’x12′. The lowest wall is 8′ high, and it slopes up to 12′. We hope to someday put a bunk in the high end, with a little hexagonal window, but for now it is sufficient for a peaceful hideaway. Everyone who has slept there raves about the peacefulness and beauty.

There is very little dust or dirt in this shed. I keep it that way and it is not difficult, due to the low traffic and absence of mess-making activities or substances. It is heated in winter by an electric free-standing oil-filled heater. The walls and floors have the highest R-value of Roxul insulation we could get locally.

I had never heard there was such a thing as a “tiny house” until after we built this shed. Now I know of that phenomenon and wonder if we might someday add on a little bathroom and plumbing. But as it stands, I am content with it, and I am grateful.

At Calvary

As I carried a cup of tea from the kitchen to my digital piano, gentle rays of sunset landed on my hymnal, beckoning me to take this photo. It seems to me that such moments are a fleeting taste of heaven, where the undying light of our Lord Jesus will illuminate all as we sing His praises so lovingly.

I began to play “At Calvary”, a hymn I have always rendered in a slow, gentle manner, but which until tonight had not worked through my fingertips in years. As I read the words I’d sung so many times, really read them, by the second verse I stopped playing, overcome by emotion. I took a sip of tea and read on, but couldn’t swallow for tears.

“It’s about me,” I thought. “Oh, how this song is about me. How did I not see this before?”

I thought about the hour I first believed, back in 1987, reliving my conversion from doomed sinner to saved saint. I finally swallowed my tea and thanked the Lord out loud. 

1. Years I spent in vanity and pride,
Caring not my Lord was crucified,
Knowing not it was for me He died on Calvary.

Refrain:

Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty at Calvary.

2. By God’s Word at last my sin I learned;
Then I trembled at the law I’d spurned,
Till my guilty soul imploring turned to Calvary.

Refrain

3. Now I’ve given to Jesus everything,
Now I gladly own Him as my King,
Now my raptured soul can only sing of Calvary!

Refrain

4. Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan!
Oh, the grace that brought it down to man!
Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary!

Refrain

God Of Wonders

Video

The first time I heard this song was on a warm summer’s evening here in our little cowboy town in BC, in a huge tent, played on acoustic guitar by a guy named Cam who was visiting from another city.  Others too, cracked out their guitars and jammed.  Anyone who knew the words sang along beautifully and with heart.

That was the church fellowship that I used to feel was like family.

Most of those people eventually turned their backs on me when I left the abusive ex, because of their misconceptions and misguided ideas, but God never will.  He knows the whole story.

Gratitude is not always easy

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Today I am grateful for:

1.  The colourful hat I have on my head.  It was left here by my third daughter, who had borrowed it from my first daughter.  My first daughter is in long-term rehab and I miss her.  Wearing her hat warms my head and my heart with thoughts of her.

2.  Tears that are flowing from my eyes while I write, to help wash out a smidgen of the pain I have been enduring of late.

3.  Having heard from a friend with whom I had once thought I had lost touch forever, but from whom I now occasionally hear, and he even subscribed to my blog.  (Hola, Señor Heelez).

4.  The sip of Zevia ginger rootbeer that was just brought to me by my eight-year-old son.  He said, “Here’s some fresh Zevia that I just opened.  It’s fresh.”

5.  The smell of lentils and barley cooking in the kitchen, to which I am about to add carrots, onions, garlic, celery, and chopped ham.

And an extra mention of gratitutde to the blogger at Inspirationenergy, who inadvertently prompted me to write this — Inspirationenergy’s Gratitude Page.

 

me and charlie3

For more gratitutdes, check out:  my Gratitudes category.

Today I’m grateful for… um… hmm… uh….

Today I’m grateful for… wait… just a sec… I’ll think of something…. man, this isn’t always easy.

1.  I do have a roof over my head.
2.  The snow is starting to melt here in my beautiful part of British Columbia.
3.  Black snow on the side of the highway, in all its ugly glory, means spring is on the way.
4.  My long camouflage skirt from the thrift store.
5.  I have edible food in my kitchen.

I really do have a lot more than my tired eyes are willing to see.  Thank You, Lord, for making a way.

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A couple hours from home, January 11, 2011. Our roads are melted a lot more now.

Today’s Gratitudes

  1. The sun is shining.
  2.  My two youngest kids are out at a children’s program with our behavior interventionist, where they are having fun, burning off energy, and I get a bit of quiet time to work.
  3. I have an excellent friend in Toronto with whom I have been having good conversation, and he is truly like a brother to me.  He’s one of the few in-person friends I have (he used to live in BC, and we have been to each other’s homes)  who has stuck with me through thick and thin.  Bro, if you’re reading this, you already know how grateful I am for you, but here you can see it again.  (And if anyone else is reading this, please don’t get the wrong impression.  This is truly a brother-sister kind of friendship and he also knows my husband.  I could write a whole blog entry on how much I thank God for this friend, and maybe I will someday.)
  4. The microwave oven we ordered to replace the one that blew up last week is waiting to be picked up at the Sears pickup store.
  5. My oldest daughter, who is in long-term rehab, is finally allowed to receive and write letters.  I am doing the Snoopy dance on the inside, even though I am still exhausted from adrenal burnout.

The Little Things

So tired, as always with this adrenal burnout, I had to go to the couch and crash this afternoon.

I fell asleep to the sound of my eighteen-year-old daughter folding towels and sheets on the floor nearby.

I woke up twenty minutes later to see neatly folded piles of clean laundry in baskets by the couch.

I nearly cried with gratefulness.

She seldom does such things.

As grateful as I am for the good little things in my life, so oppositely overwhelmed am I by the numerous bad little things.

Too many little bad things piled up together look like a big bad thing.

In the face of the mountain of bad things, the good things look so awesomely wonderful.

Although probably not what it is intended to mean, I suddenly think of Newton’s law of motion:  “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”