Saturday, October 24, 2020

Two Minutes of Suspicion--Or--Ha! What a Test, Indeed.

"For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights."   ---Proverbs 3:12


So out on our front porch, I pulled a package addressed to me from our mailbox.

Obviously a paperback book and I thought, "Hmm. I'm only expecting hardcover copies of either Nancy Drew or Judy Bolton. Gah. Did the seller make a mistake? (Grrr.) Or wait. Could this be a gift from someone else? Perhaps something in memory of Sammy The Cat?"

(Do you ever do that? Examine a package instead of just riiip! Tearing it open?) 

Well, I stepped into the kitchen, grabbed the scissors, pulled the book out and oh. my. goodness. Forgive the blurriness, but look at the cover:




Gah. What the heck? 

Here were my thoughts: 

"Okay, who's the meanie who sent me this? 
Some online (former)friend who knows my address and is mad at me?
Some fraidy cat who's trying to tell me I need to lose weight? 
Some Critical Carrie in our neighborhood?"

But here's the cool part. I kept hearing, "Stay calm. Stay. Calm. And think instead of react."

So I quickly skimmed the book, saw it's someone's story about overcoming folks' name-calling, etc.. I thought, "Well, okay, but still. I'd rather choose my own such book in this case, thank-you."

All this took maybe two minutes. Then I checked the return address. (Yeah, yeah, I'm slow.)

Thrift Books. The label said Thrift Books and boy oh boy have I ordered lots of books from companies with that name! So I grabbed the packaging, the book, passed by ol' Tom at his desk then climbed the stairs to do some sleuthing. 

Aha! I'd received an email saying The Mystery At Lilac Inn had been delivered minutes ago and was I happy with my purchase?

Uh, no. Not all that happy. シ

But I laughed. Contacted the seller, told my sad story, snapped that photo and immediately they issued a refund. If they'd issued a long, personal apology I'd have been happier, but hey. Money back is the next best thing.

Today's Lesson?

Tests come to show us whether we've let God change us--or not.

If I'd received that book while in high school? Oh dear. My emotions woulda gone all, "Tilt! Tilt! Tilt!" over into, "WHICH HORRIBLE PERSON SENT THIS AND DOES THE WHOLE WORLD SEE ME THIS WAY?"

And oh how tragic if, at 61, I still acted as I did at 16. If I too often expected bad outcomes, not the best, due to undealt-with insecurities. Some older people still do, you know. 

But personally? I prefer a few uncomfortable moments of God's correction rather than whole decades of remaining an offended, cranky lady, upset with everyone... and always hurting.

Every godly change increases our peace and strengthens us for the future.

And if we cooperate? We're always prepared, always strong enough with God to face anything, even a wild year like 2020. Even with joy.

"But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come."   --- John 16:13


Speaking of Judy Bolton books.... 

Years past, I'd collected the earliest books, but I'm just now reading them--and ordering more. Lovely things! 

They whoosh me away to the 1940's and how contented lately have I been to race around with Judy and her friends solving mysteries which, according to the author, centered around actual happenings.

Unlike Nancy Drew, Judy ages and matures throughout the series, in fact, I'm nearing the book where she marries.

Treasures, this series of books.

Oh, and I'm enjoying the old Lloyd Nolan movies where he portrayed Detective Michael Shane. So far this one, below, is my favorite (Tom also liked this one)-- 


"For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." ... Matthew 6:14,15

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Where She Got Rid of 520 Things--Or--The Year of Letting Go

"And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life." ---Matthew 19:29


Well, I did it. 

Spent a year, 52 weeks, getting rid of 10 things weekly. Five hundred twenty+ items flung away to the wind! Or, er, to the Salvation Army bin down the street or the trash can outside my back door.

Though I should clarify: when those annoying covid-19 lockdowns hit, I had 9 weeks left to go. And I stopped flinging. But when the whole world goes crazy you're allowed to put some things on hold if it aids your sanity.

You are. Just ask Grace. 

Those first covid months? Intense! Seems always I sat here listening to pundits then repeating their warnings. None of it tired me either because it felt Grace-led and she provides all strength needed. Also, the pundits (and teachers) spoke truth and truth sets us free. And freedom? Not burdensome if not mishandled.

Oh, and I majorly restocked my food prepper shelves. Got up often at 2 a.m. to scribble shopping lists and make online food orders. 

Go following Grace and you can do anything God asks of you, even during dark, silent mornings while alone. Even with joy.

But late August it all began to wane. The intensity lessened, shifted, and it felt like Grace said, "This phase is completed. Let's move on." And that's when I returned to (and finished) the discard 10 things weekly project.

My aim? To enjoy every single task, to dread or resent nothing. Weekly I anticipated filling a bag of cast-offs and I even tacked on another 6 months when I felt Grace say, "Honey, it's time to stop avoiding the basement and garage."

Oh, how much we accumulate and not just within our hands, either! 

This year also, at Grace's nudging, I gave up HGTV. Already I'd avoided episodes with gay couples (you know how God feels when people try to improve upon His creation of marriage, right?). 

But then when House Hunters threw in a 'throuple', well, that was the end. No more. I voiced my thoughts, then walked away after 9 years of consistent viewing.

This was huge for me. Only a handful of things in Life do I love more than houses and decorating and I imagined an HGTV boycott to feel like deprivation, but it didn't. I've not missed it.

What else did I fling away this year?

True-crime shows.
A couple friends.
Daily online peeks at local real estate.
Netflix. (I told Netflix their Cuties film was the last straw and shame on them!)

But here's something I know to be true: 

When God asks you to release something and you do? You feel Grace standing beside you more closely than you ever did before. And nothing you give away compares to that.


Remember the old Monkees tv series? Did you know all episodes are available to watch on Youtube?

And yes, this show was very silly, but sometimes in a world-gone-serious, that just might be what we need for balance.

Speaking of the Monkees, I really enjoyed Jovaughn's reaction to I'm A Believer.


Prepper Hint:

Oh! And my sister asked if I could post a general prepper list so I referred her back to ones I listed in December of 2015. Hopefully most of the links still work--the list covers nearly everything to help prepare you for anything (scroll down).


"He leads me beside the still waters... He restores my soul."   ... from Psalm 23

"For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." ... Matthew 6:14,15

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Healing Places

"Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise."   ---Jeremiah 17:14


Healing places; you have some, right? Places where God speaks and soothes and heals your heart (and mind), especially from our Country's present chaos?

My front porch is my favorite healing place, but oh dear. Summer blazed for months then September blew-in all icy. Some days I lasted just 6 or 7 minutes and I don't like hurry-up anything, especially healing which always requires time.

Well, we had an extra patio table in the backyard so I carried it upstairs. Moved a bookshelf away from the window and sat the table there.

(In this tiny house almost never can I rearrange, a favorite thing, so this proved exciting. My first 'years' in Heaven? I'll rearrange furniture constantly to make up for this.) ツ

Anyway, now I have an all-weather healing place which nearly feels like sitting outside, especially if I slide down the top window glass.

But October's being gorgeous and often I'm back outside on the porch with Jesus, healing in the sun and swaying leaf shadows, especially since the passing of Sam The Cat.

Other healing places?

Our local cafe. For the first time since long ago March, Amy's returned to normal days and hours! I thanked her for this and now I sit staring out at the autumnal scene, bubbling over with gratitude.

Here at my computer. Seriously, those music reaction Youtube videos? No politics there, no good vs. evil, just delight while watching young folks visibly overwhelmed by music I loved in the 1970's. Just exclamations of what we all have in common. Oh, and Tessie, of course! Every single morning she inspires me.

Downstairs at the red couch. The Holy Spirit and I watch Youtube videos or movies or 1970's tv series and bask in a sweet normal.

Anyway, you get it. And perhaps my healing places sound silly, but wherever a person gets healed is important--and nothing to apologize for.

I hope you, also, have special healing places. Oh, not hiding-till-it-all-goes-away rooms, nope! But rather, places to pause, heal and recharge for service to others. 

The world needs you, us, you know: 

If it’s ever so small the part you take,
The world has need of you.
Be it big or little the effort you make,
The world has need of you.
If it’s only a thought you give by the way,
If it’s only love’s a word you pause to say,
It’s a part that nobody else can play,
The world has need of you.

By your smile you can change another’s life;
The world has need of you.
By a word you can bring peace out of strife,
The world has need of you.
Then life your head and never say die;
Count every blessing, stop every sigh.
Get busy… don’t let a chance slip by,
The world has need of you.

by Evelyn Whitell

.... and the world needs us to be healed. Made whole. God needs us to spread His love in the specific, creative ways He designed for us since Time's beginning--

-- for such a crazy time as this.

"Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who susta
ins me."   --- Psalm 54:4

Actively seeking healing is important, for when we just pile hurt upon hurt? Eventually it'll all topple over into a meltdown and then we'll need major help, much time away, time in which we could have aided others.


And as I shared at Facebook today:

How incredible to follow the Holy Spirit to the right place at the right time wearing the right shirt!

Kirstie Alley (yes, the actress) wrote this at Twitter:
"I was sitting in a tiny restaurant a few minutes ago. My friend died recently, another has cancer & I hit the wall tonight. I was just so sad & trying not to cry. So weak.Then I looked up & this girl had her back to me with this on her shirt. My sadness vanished. I got a miracle."

(It reads, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7)


Prepper hint:

When you bring home flour, rice, dried beans, corn meal, etc., freeze them first for 2 or 3 days so to kill any insects or their eggs.

My autumn daisies.


And oh! Look what sent us in memory of Sam The Cat--flowers! Seriously, they are a remarkable pet supply company.

(And while I'm at it, this table area is yet one more healing place, especially during sunny winter afternoons.)


Ooooo.... Wonderful old suspense movie alert! Mirage, with Gregory Peck. You can watch it free here at Youtube.

Highly recommended.


"For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." ... Matthew 6:14,15