Sunday, September 17, 2017

When Debra Went All Rebel Without a Cause

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."   Romans 12:2


After I told you about this book--

-- some of you ordered it and said you loved it. I, also, am enjoying Vivian's art while slowly perusing these pages and it'll make a perfect snuggle-on-the-couch-on-Winter-afternoons book.

But. This book contains just the tiniest mention of God (in a quote, actually) and, well, much of it feels (to me), uh, er, trivial. The words leave me feeling so thirsty for the deeper things of Life and God.

Which sounds like a negative spin, but isn't, for it makes me want more of God--and that's good.

Well, just a few pages in, I began an online search for similar books (full of art), but ones by crazy-about-God authors. And well, so far, no go. (And boy, have I searched!) 

Seriously, what I really want is a Susan-Branch-ish type of book, but with God and Jesus all over the pages. Guess I'm asking way too much.


This all reminded me of the 35-year-old Debra who fancied herself a real rebel/soldier for God when she chose to never visit another Christian Book Store. Why? Because of Christian authors/singers who totally ripped-off secular authors/singers. For years I'd seen it -- a terrific idea/style for a book or album would explode on the secular market, then weeks later, bam! A nearly identical book/cd appeared on Christian Book Store shelves, but with a 'God-spin' tacked on.

The young, everything-is-black-and-white me eventually freaked-out. I told Tom, "Christians are plugged into God and should have the most creative ideas! It should be the opposite--the world should be ripping us off. How can these people even sleep at night having stolen others' ideas? Since when is stealing, but under a Christian label, ok?"

I lost all patience. And didn't shop at anything resembling a Christian bookstore for decades.

Tsk, tsk, tsk.

Where I viewed myself as a warrior for Truth, Jesus probably saw, most likely said--- 

"Debra, Debra... You are worried and upset about many things. But few things are needed--or indeed, only one."

Oh, so true. How vital to know that One person and to crave His viewpoint and His love toward others. To fight for what truly matters, but only after He's nudged me to do so.

To keep a sense of humor and to recall that, seriously, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." And ha! Now all these years later I'm searching for a Christian version of a Susan Branch book. My, how tables are spinning. My, how I have a clearer understanding of different purposes.

Does God still want me to take a stand in some areas? Of course. But now, may my heart remain pliable enough to follow Jesus and not my emotions.

"But we have the mind of Christ."   1 Corinthians 2:16

If I more often sound angry rather than grateful, something is probably wrong.


This latest book search of mine led me to this book which--though not full of art--is full of the things of God --

I've felt convicted lately to more often have company, so this is perfect. Take a peek inside the book here, perhaps save a few pennies on it here.


Oh, and yesterday while searching for a decent PG-13 suspense movie On Demand (a search oh-me-of-little-faith believed would, again, end fruitlessly), I actually found one! Tom and I both really enjoyed the film, 2:22.

When will I remember to always expect good things? Hmm?

Anyway, this film had almost no 'language', hardly any violence and we simply fast-forwarded the obligatory bedroom scene. 😉 

Part Groundhog Day, part Hitchcock, part Twilight Zone. Check out the trailer here.


Thursday, September 14, 2017

When The New Season Isn't What You'd Thought

"To everything there is a season ... For I have given rest to the weary and joy to the sorrowing."   ...  Ecclesiastes 3:1, Jeremiah 31:25


Well, my summer was rather a bust. All that humidity, heat and tiny annoyances (I'll spare you), so much so, that some days I'd play the Name What You're Grateful For Game--and lose.

Oh dear.

Thankfully, September's felt glorious and yet? There's still the mowing, raking, weed-eating and hedge-trimming as well as yet one more Get Your House In Order season which must be God's idea because I'd prefer to lay on the red couch. Well sometimes, but then, lolling can become dull when overdone.

Anyway, this summer I floundered a bit, felt like somewhere out there was a new dream/vision/task/calling me--but I never found it. Mostly I felt curled inside one huge question mark, and not for the first time--I've experienced this before. You know, feeling like God has a new plan for me, but why's it invisible?

So I just kept plugging away at my certainties. All the daily obediences: homey chores, yard work, writing assignments and words of encouragement. In the past, faithfulness has often led me, poof! Up the hill to a new road, new opportunities and new lessons galore.

Yet that didn't happen this time. All obedience led me right back home.

But it was at home, at Facebook, where I got an answer. I read, "Not every season is a learning season." Wow! I'd actually forgotten that not every month should feel like a spiritual college course. Imagine.

God does give respite months. Times to slow our spinning heads and to recharge lest we burn out like that light bulb hanging over my basement washing machine. Times to simply meditate upon what we've learned and what we may have forgotten--and times to prepare emotionally for what's ahead.

So. Perhaps my 'new season feeling' was actually a resting season calling to me ("Debra, rest why don't you?"). A season to release the pressure to minister and just bask in the goodness of God already-known. Those seasons? Vital ones, yet loud voices of others in their ministry seasons (or Bible verses about slothfulness), can lead us to guilt rather than God-appointed rest.


So what remains is that I--we--obey God in our rest just as earnestly as we do our ministry to others. Obedience when He asks us to step back into silence, for a time, is still obedience, after all.

I think I missed it this summer, the calling to rest. Though ok, humidity led me to rest, but not always peacefully. Next time may I be--may I live--more aware. 

And now during this House In Order season? May I receive much grace and do with peace what should be done.

“Relax, Recharge and Reflect. Sometimes it’s OK to do nothing.” 
― Izey Victoria Odiase

 When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise."  ... 2 Corinthians 10:12


Some of you (I'm thinking) would love the quirky movie, This Beautiful Fantastic. Tom and I plan to watch it this weekend (Netflix disc). Check out the trailer here.


And here's a free kindle book I'm currently enjoying. (I'm only on chapter 2 so if it falls apart into a sleazy, disaster book, please don't become mad at me. Just move on.)  😃


Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden {and} overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]   ... Matthew 11:28


Monday, September 11, 2017

So There I Was Last Friday ------

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."   ... Philippians 4:13


So. After eleven months, ol' Debra finally drove the annoying, complicated new car. But only because she had to. 😉

See, on Friday Tom had another colonoscopy (poor guy) and at that place, the prison wardens nurses watch us designated drivers. Trust me, the world will end before a patient drives himself home.

Anyway, a nurse led me back to Tom in recovery and after he stopped sounding so loopy-headed (and I quit laughing at him), we got him dressed. The nurse led me outside to the spot where I was to pick up Tom, then I hurried to the car so she'd not see me trying to figure out how to run it.

Eegads. My outstretched foot was about a yard from the gas pedal (via Tom's pre-setting for exiting) so I had to push the seat way up. Then when the car started (I remembered to step on the brake), the steering wheel zoomed out to my stomach. Ooof! Then I looked down at the gear shift diagram which said you have to move it to the right, then down. Seriously? I'd not seen that since I failed at learning to drive a stick shift (in the 70's with my new husband as the teacher so what else would you expect?).

Of course,Tom's long list of Things to Remember hadn't included this. I tried to find a button on the handle like our Toyota had, but gave up and moved it to the right, then down and, eventually, drove to where the nurse waited with Tom. 

He got in and I took off. At one point he said I needed to close the four window vents by using buttons on the door. "You've got to be kidding," I said. "Take my eyes and hands off the wheel? Ha! Dream on."

Fortunately, the drive home was only around 3 miles. Tom kept talking about how we'll have to customize the Setting Number 2 Button just for me so I can actually breathe while driving (remember the steering wheel in my stomach?). Right. Can hardly wait.  😉

(But seriously, at least now I know I can drive the ol' complicated thing if I must.)

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” 
― Winston S. Churchill


And the winner of The Best Book Debra Read This Summer Award? (Drum roll ..............) ----

What an adventurous life Jeannette's grandmother had! You can read about this book here. I could barely put it down.

Which reminds me--on Labor Day, Tom and I went and saw The Glass Castle (which was taken from another of Jeannette Wall's books). We both super-enjoyed it, yet I can't fully recommend it to you due to the sometimes harsh language. 

Other than that, though, it was an old-fashioned type of film like we all used to go see in our younger years, one which haunts you a few days. 

In a good way. (Well, mostly. Some parts made me truly grateful for the life I've had.)


Oh and wonderful news! Remember the coffee shop near us which I never did step into during its one business year? Well, looks like a new coffee shop will be opening there soon! Whew. Thank-you, God, for second chances.