Category Archives: Rissa’s Entries


How quickly things change. As of this morning, our housing plans have fallen quite, quite through. It is three days before we were to be out of our house and into the apartment, and now we haven’t an apartment to be into.

We had perhaps ten minutes of panic apiece, and then. . .Peace. Maybe even a little joy. Our Father’s got the situation under control–in fact, He’s orchestrating it. Who on earth knows where we’re going, but at least we know it’s going to be because He sent us.

I talked to our property management, and it looks like as long as nobody wants to rent our house between today and the end of the month (for a lease starting September,) we’ll be able to stay in the Little White House through September if need be, so that gives us at least a little bit of a safety net.  But I have no idea where we’re going to go. I started to search for apartments and houses-for-rent today, and it seems as if everything in our price range has evaporated right off the market.

And yet still–Peace. Excitement, even. Can’t wait to see what He does!



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Our time here is drawing to a close. This weekend, Abby, Bex and I are moving to an apartment ten minutes from the Little White House, and Grace will continue to live with us off and on until her own housing situation works out.

It’s a little sad. These first months have passed away like golden dreams and I don’t want them to be over yet. There’s a great deal about Our Little White House to mourn the loss of. . .

Starry skies viewed from our own back-lawn–Panama–our big, airy windows–our dorky yellow stove–the porch: it deserves a paragraph all its own, for the sunny afternoons spent reading on it, and the chilly nights spent thinking–the creak of the porch swing–privacy–a little plot of land of our own to tend green and growing things–the neighbors we’ve grown to know and the regular passerbys we recognize and make stories about–being walking distance to the grocery store, post office, library, and two different used bookstores among other things–being walking distance to parks–the cute, old-section of town–wood floors–our charming 1910-vintage house–the creepy, dusty shed–the white-picket fence–the chorus of crickets–and the train whistles! Oh, the train whistles!–springtime lilacs–our mailman, Patrick, with the safari-hat–a pristine lawn of snow in the winter–tramping downtown on snowy mornings before the snow has melted off the sidewalks. . .

Oh, there is much to miss, and dreams to be left behind us. I’m not sure what the fate of this blog shall be now that we are leaving the Little White House. . .but no doubt the adventures shall continue wherever we find ourselves.

To the new tenants of the Little White House: “Tread softly because you tread on our  dreams.”

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The Little Brown with White Trim House?

Fear not! It shall not come to pass! When the owners came by to see their property, they talked seriously of painting our little white house brown with white trim, but the house was painted last week, and white (with slate blue) it stayed!

In other news, a gross carnage came to pass in our gardens, connected with this house-painting.  I went out into the yard after the deed was done, and discovered that Grandpa’s hostas had been trampled. And, in some instances, painted snowy white. My poor darlings’ stalks are broken, and their leaves torn. I up-ended an entire pitcher of water over each of them (I’m finding it impossible to water anything too much in Colorado–the sun and heat seems to scorch everything,) but I think there shall be no return to glory this season.

I don’t know what to do if we move. I suppose the hostas shall have to be left behind–we’re looking mainly at apartments, and you can’t really make a hosta into a houseplant. To have to live in a place without springtime lilacs, too, rather breaks one’s heart. But we shall do what must be done.

I have to confess, the Little White House gardens aren’t doing so well. They seem to invite calamity. The other week, or kind, generous lawn-mower mowed right over the top of the green beans and reduced them to bloody three inch stumps. And the peas seem not to appreciate the heat, because though they were producing proper pods to begin with, they become more mutantly by the day. The hydrangeas are doing middling at best; I think the one in front died. And those vicious sweet peas which I tore and dug out of the side garden have come back and taken over once more. It seems like they’re the only thing that will grow properly–but no matter how I thin them, they turn into a jungle anyhow.

But at least we’re still the Girls of the Little White House. Because Brown House totally doesn’t have the same ring.

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Change and Hope

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.
Jeremiah 29:11

The girls of the Little White House could perhaps use your prayers.  It’s hard to know where to begin in explaining all of the changes and opportunities that have come knocking over the past couple months…I think our silence was inspired in part by the fact that we received some valuable reproof–that we were portraying our lives here as almost unrealistically idyllic and lacking in real content in such a way as to cause envy and stumbling in our readers. (Looking back, though, I think we’d all have to agree that our “honeymoon” months were rather unmitigatedly idyllic, to be fair.)

Now, though, what’s going on in our lives is often so nebulous and intangible that it’s hard to put into concrete words. However, I shall try.

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Lilac Corner

IMG_1218Big, bushy bouquets of lilacs are overtaking the Little White House. We’ve filled vases and pitchers. . .It has been warm enough for the first time to sleep with the windows open, and the scent of lilacs ruffles through the moonlit rooms on cool, fresh breezes, and colors our dreams.

The pea plants, in other news, are flourishing, and I crafted a trellis the other day by screwing hooks into the overhang of our shed’s roof, and stringing twine down in a triangular fashion to a metal rod laid on the ground along my row of peas. It was uncharacteristically handy of me, and I’m proud.

There are mysterious shapes looming on the horizons of the girls of the Little White House. . .


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May Days

I am reporting from our white wicker porch swing to the tune of its creaking chains and the first songs of the crickets’ spring soiree. The nights are still cool, and I’m wrapped up in a green woolen blanket, the sky is bluely darkening and turning translucent, the lamplight spilling across the street is tingeing the spring-green leaves with gold, and it smells like night.

A few moments ago, Bex popped out onto the porch with three tubes of toothpaste inquiring which I claimed, for they were organizing the bathroom “instead of going out to party;” and awhile before that, a little old man in a green cap strolled by on the sidewalk. We tossed hullos across the yard, and after he passed, he looked back once more over his shoulder. I was still smiling faintly after him, and he smiled, too, though sheepish at being caught. I’ve never seen him before–which is odd, because we’ve been here long enough to recognize so many of the people who stroll and bicycle by, and he had the slow, careless air of a regular.

I love the way the tall pine tree across the street stands up darkly against the evening sky. It reminds me of a lone pine standing up in the middle of a Minnesotan cornfield I once knew, a black sentinel against a rose-red sunset on the distant horizon.

The days are passing quietly enough here. Yesterday, though, a basket of petunias from Grace’s parents, that had been hanging quietly and well-behavedly from a porch-hook ever since its arrival two weeks ago, suddenly and inexplicably fell twice in one afternoon; and the second time, the pot cracked.

I’ve taken to living out in the garden. . .I’ll spare the lengthy enumeration of my plantings, though, for rumor has it that it’s already contained in an entry Bex is working on for this journal… But I will say that my grandmother sent me a box good old Minnesotan dirt in the mail, and next to our shed I’ve put the descendant-root shoots of a snowball bush that once lived on my great-grandfather’s farm. And three of my grandpa’s hostas have been transplanted into our side garden. I can remember, as a little girl, watching him carefully dig up and split hosta plants before bedding them back down; the way he firmed the soil around them and sculpted a well around each plant came back to me, and I found my small, white hands doing what his stocky, tanned and weathered ones once did.

There was some catalyst in the past five minutes that cleared the ceiling of the sky, and even from our porch, bathed as it is in pinkish-yellow light from the streetlamp, I can see stars twinkling.

Reader, you’re here. Across the porch, our rocker is gently rocking, and I think it must be you.


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Icicles and Dvorak

A small blizzard buried the girls of the Little White House on Thursday.

This is just a note to say that the sun is shining brilliantly today, and we are an island in a sea of white, and I am listening to Dvorak (loudly) as Abby clinks silverware and rustles papers in the next room, and icicles are falling off our roof with a pristine, metallic slash and clatter much like I imagine the guillotines of the French Revolution must have sounded.


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