Our Tiny Italian {Dream} House

We had long dreamed of owning our own home, which with our lack of regular income seemed like The Impossible Dream. But in planning our move to Abruzzo nearly 10 years ago, we learned that property values in these inland villages of the south are unbelievably low.

So low, in fact, that we were sure Mario’s coworker had to be exaggerating. Houses for only €20,000-35,000 — impossible!! But it turned out she was right! And we hadn’t looked at many when the realtor showed us this little place. And what can I say? Continue reading

When Thieves Strike {And the Value of Stuff}

We’ve had thieves strike. Twice. The first time real thieves, but the second were sort of fake thieves. As many of you know, we have a summer home. And in our absence thieves got in, taking our bedroom mirror and a small step ladder.

Odd thieves, seeing how they didn’t mess anything up and the house showed no signs of breaking and entering. They must have gotten hold of a key somehow. So not only do we now have those items to replace. But we also had to pay for having the locks changed. What a hassle!  Continue reading

Kill That Pigeon

I wanted that pigeon dead; it’s sad but true. Now don’t get me wrong, I love birds. I’d like a house full of them, and barnyard too. (Not that I have a barn!) But I did not like that pigeon! “Kill that pigeon, I said!”

The outside walls of our old house, like the one pictured below, are full of nooks and crannies. Perfect nesting spots for birds. And I usually think: “Oh how lovely, baby birds to watch!”  Continue reading

9 Ways to Beat the Rainy Day Blues

This was our scenery the past week. Dark, gray, gloomy, foggy. And drippy everywhere we looked. Only my husband, camera in hand, can seem to take such gloomy days and turn them into beauty! I can’t say that I share his talent or his optimism. I’m sun-loving by nature and these gloomy days tend to get me down.

It wasn’t a week that started out well in the first place, owing to my own stupidity. Even though for an old granny, I’m usually pretty good with technology I managed to lose a lot of photos and even ruin my external hard drive. And then continued to kick myself for it over and over again…  Continue reading

The Wise Woman with a Stone

If you could leave but one thing behind you what would it be? Wealth and property? Family heirlooms? For me those don’t even enter the running. Not only because I have few such things to leave. But because I hope, above all, to leave a lasting legacy.

I may not be remembered for any mighty deeds or great wisdom. But I hope to be remembered as one who, while not perfect, owned up to her mistakes and failings and tried to overcome them. One who put others first and loved them more than money, things, or success. And who gave what she had.  Continue reading

A Lesson From the Birds

With his tiny feet resting lightly on the snow’s surface, he reminded me of the Father’s loving care. I love birds, and felt so bad for that brave little guy. Pecking at the plants growing in the roof eaves, the only things not buried by snow.

“Don’t worry, I care for the birds,” a gentle whisper came. And that took my mind back to my morning Bible reading. Don’t worry the Lord said. Because just as he feeds the birds and dresses the flowers in their bright colors, he will also care for us.  Continue reading

God Hears Even Before we Call

Struggling to live on next-to-nothing, our year in a central Italian village was tough. Especially because of the people’s closed and suspicious attitudes toward us. Not that we escaped unnoticed, though! The drug addicts we helped visited often, which is only right. The needy should be able to turn to us.

We had no problem with it, but the neighbors? Either they just didn’t like us, or it bothered them to have the ‘outcasts’ of society around. Either way, they ordered the landlord: “Throw them out, or we’ll call the police”. But since he only cared about the rent money, we stayed. And our door remained, as it always will be, open to all in need.  Continue reading