Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Grace. Use It Or Lose It.

"But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”   ... James 4:6


Every single day I peek into my town's houses.

Ok, calm down. I look via Realtor.com. 😊 I'm just an ol' house lover at heart. Can't help myself.

See the house at the top of this post? Yesterday I spied it. Sixty-three years old and it's being sold by the original owners(!) 

Tom and I attend estate sales at those and always know when a married couple lived there forever. How? The vintage furniture and knick knacks (especially those in the basement), the carpet, flooring, the bedroom paint colors--all obvious hints. 

We're like Original House Owners Detectives now.

Some kitchens make me gasp, "The poor woman! Imagine spending 6 decades in there." But oh, not this time. Call me nutso (you will), but I'd take this kitchen as it stands--

Ol' 'Vintage Is Better Debra' could have some major retro decorating fun in that kitchen.

And ok, I would replace this carpet in the living/dining room (50 year old carpet being, well, 50 year old carpet) --

But (hold onto something, ok?)--I'd replace it with the same shade of green.

No, really.

And some people would remove the wall to the entry area/room with the big coat closet, but not me--

Nope, I'd leave the wall and decorate that tiny area adorably.

Of course, there's the obligatory green bedroom--

But you simply must see this hiding in the basement--wildly, it's the second one I've seen this week(!) --

Oh my goodness. 

Can't you see the ladies with their hair in pastel perm curlers? Women wearing vintage aqua plastic covers, sitting beneath hair dryers, reading magazines or getting their nails done at the tiny table?

Man, oh man. Another room I'd not touch. No, I'd sneak down there often to escape this crazy world and probably play 'beauty parlor' like I used to as a little girl.

Ahh. Houses like that one are a major reason I love Western New York. Tons of folks here stay all their married lives in just one home. 

Now, could I have done that? No--Grace wasn't upon me that way, for I've craved more variety and housing adventures these nearly 40 years of married life.

But now, oh, move me into a house like that one and I'd play Retro Lady until I went all grey and pokey. I'd buy a few old style dresses, wear my aprons and curl my hair (down in that beauty parlor, but of course). My vintage radio music would waft 'round, retro magazines would lay, scattered, and not one iota would I care that we weren't updating the house for a future sale.

Nope, we'd just grow old together, Tom, the house and me. We'd play a 1950's through 1970's sort of Life Game and yes, probably slip happily into a Vintage Land of Senility.

But hey, there are worse places.

Anyway, stay tuned. That house costs more than we'd like to pay, but other very similar ones in a less expensive part of town often pop up.

But in the meantime? Gee, I need to receive more Grace and stop complaining about this meant-to-be-temporary house of mine. For hey, all houses on Earth are temporary (and I chew on that awhile).

May I remember to stop believing happiness comes by my trying so hard to get what I want.
No, may I, instead, receive Grace.
Grace's help and awesome creativity.
Her timing, stamina and imagination.

May I seek to receive from God rather than doing things on my own, without His strength, His 'ok'.

Receive and be joyful, at peace and contented on my way to the permanent home God's building for me just down the street from His.

" I worked hard, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me."   ... 1 Corinthians 15:10

(Oh, and I'm not just talkin' houses here--but you probably figured that out.)

Perhaps we didn't complete our goal because we tried doing it, ourselves. Alone.


A special thanks to my friend, Betty, who let me know that these plates, below--

... are called Ma and Pa plates. I have four in my kitchen now, but where are those three in the photo? I couldn't have sold them before we moved--or could I? Perhaps they're still packed away (nearly 7 years later) down in the basement. Sigh.

But I'm grateful to finally know what they're called. I can now look them up online and occasionally find them.

(These are a sandwich plate size, found for just .25 cents each at a yard sale)


Naomi shared this at Facebook and oh my, after nearly 40 years of married-life I still often feel this way. Guess I'd better ask for--and receive--more Grace!

(Anyone else?)   😁


Tuesday, August 07, 2018

What Makes You Feel Like (The Real) You?

"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him."   ... James 1:5


One night last month while upstairs hurrying to lecture Sammy The Cat (don't ask), I tripped over the edge of a box fan. 

Sigh. Turns out I bruised two toes and hurt the muscle in my right arm.

Anyway, I returned to my comforting little closet bed, sulked, and remembered how, at 7-years-old, I'd fall and think only, "I skinned my knee again. I hope it doesn't bleed and stain my pedal pushers."

Remember those?

Huh. You go tripping at 59 and it's totally different.

You feel 'jarred' all over. Shaken. 
As though you're an elephant and you tipped over. Crash!
Like it happened so fast, you weren't even present for the middle part.
And you consider taking a whole day (or two) off to recover.

Well, I did take the next day off. 

I tried to do only those things I could've in 1979. I left the Internet alone. Tied on an apron and unearthed vintage women's magazines plus a couple 1950's soda shoppe books. Switched on my retro music radio station, made hot chocolate, then later, watched an old Bogart film. I browsed the magazines on the front porch and gazing at the river, dreamed and imagined myself younger and back in my graceful I-was-a-gymnast days.

Long, long years ago, those.

Tom called and I asked him to bring home dinner. By day's end? I felt like I'd traveled on a healing vacation, back to a whole other happy decade.

How sweet that was.

Funny, but a couple days before, I'd read a headline stating more people than ever ask for personal days off from work. Boy oh boy, do I get that. If ol' Debra had a real job? I'd take every hour off allowed to me. 

With no guilt, either. You'll not find me putting on a (phony) brave, I-don't-need-nothin' face! Uh, no. 

The point of this post? I hope you know exactly what you need in order to heal from, heck, just living in this crazy-spinning, everybody's-freaking-out world of ours. 

What soothes your heart and calms your mind? It shocks me, but lots of women my same (advanced) age still don't know what they need. Instead, they --

muddle along,
complain and feel dauncey a lot,
insist they're fine,
strong as a proverbial horse, 
while stuffing hurts down deep, 
then secretly having panic attacks
or just a sad, half-lived, wishful Life.

If that's you, please ask yourself today, "What do I, personally, need in order to happily do the same ol' tasks day in, day out? What will keep me going? Do I need more of something? More of God or time alone or hours with friends or viewing my life differently or doing new things?"

"What will keep me out of ruts and self-pity? What will help me 'finish my course with joy'?"

We lie to ourselves sometimes and insist we need a huge thing, something impossible right now--but don't do that, ok?

Just know thyself, please. Become acquainted with those small things which add smiles to your journey. I'm thinking it's vital that we let God help us move forward, in healthy ways, first, before we can successfully help others.

"... let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us...so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God."   ...Hebrews 12:1, Acts 20:24

Yikes! After reading some comments here and at Facebook, I'd better add that my 'trip' happened 2 weeks ago and I'm fine now. Healed relatively fast, actually--it surprised me.

Lately Tom and I have spoken about our need to slow down--and how that will help us make fewer mistakes. But that's a whole other post--stay tuned.


Want to listen to my local retro radio station? Go here.


A peek at my Happy Place upstairs where I can go to feel restored and myself again---

We found that piece of glass on the curb Saturday while driving home from the latest Mission Impossible movie (which we much enjoyed).


Tom and I watched (On Demand) The Man Who Invented Christmas. We both (surprisingly) enjoyed it a lot. 


Thursday, August 02, 2018

For The Discourager Diegos

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. – Philippians 2:3-4


So. Usually scenes with Mike Heck (in The Middle) are favorites and throw in interaction with his daughter, Sue? Usually you'll see me wiping away tears (those sappy, sentimental writers--sheesh).

But ack! In one scene, Mike royally disappointed me. 

Frankie (his wife) had talked him into replacing their ancient, dilapidated bed and after frustrating days of putting the new one together, they sat upon it, leaned back on the bookshelf headboard and agreed. Soo uncomfortable.

That's when Mike goes all--

"You're always running around trying to change stuff. You do this all the time. (He mimics Frankie)--'I have to have a sanctuary. Stringing beads will change my life. A foreign exchange student is going to bring us all closer together.'

"You've got a millions plans, Frankie, to make things better, but they don't! Open your eyes--this is it. This is what we've got."

Come on, Mike.

Healthy-minded, normal folks try to make their lives better. Easier, smoother, more convenient. They just do. It's called improving the way you live.

It's not wrong--unless it consumes us. (Anything becomes wrong when we can think of nothing else.) But discovering ways to help us move forward, onward and upward? It's a Good Thing.

But not according to some people. Good grief.

I mean I adore documentaries, especially ones about inventors, but what do you always (always!) see in those? Their contemporaries/friends/others discouraged them from trying--

"What kind of a foolish idea is that?"
"It can't possibly work."
"Who even needs one of those?"
"Where will you get the money to produce it?"
"Why don't you just get a real job?"
"Everyone knows dreamers are useless fools."

Every single inventor in every documentary I've seen faced that junk. And what do most (not all, ok) inventions share in common? They're created to make Life easier for people.

But oh, the Discouragers. I've even got a handful on my Facebook page(!) Dear old friends, in fact, from the Old Days, and frankly? Man, they make me nuts.

People try to make our planet better? The Discouragers become, like, "Bah! Can't be done."  Or all, "It's fine the way it is."

Want to get rid of plastic? "Bah! What about this (plastic item) and that (plastic item) that people still use like crazy? How you gonna change that?"

And any new idea that comes along from across their political aisle? Good luck. "What a joke," they say.

"It doesn't do enough."
"It'll never work."  or, "We don't even need it."

People, people, people. Do you hear yourselves?

It's a trap. A sticky, gooey trap (which can feel erroneously soothing) that's hard to pull yourself out of if you've let yourself sink down, low.

But God can lift us up. He's the lifter of our heads, you know.

Anyway, remember this Bible verse?

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us..."  Hebrews 12:1

Some folks believe that those who've gone to Heaven can sometimes look down upon us when we've faithfully obeyed God with all our hearts.

And ok, that may or may not be true.

But if it is? Then when my loved ones in Heaven peek over that edge at me, may I resemble an Encourager Warrior Woman, fighting to make things better for those of us still down here.

And certainly not like a grouchy ol' Discourager Diego who only sits in front of his computer telling everyone, "Just give up, already. There's nothing new under the sun. Nothing will help us now."

Nope, instead may I march ahead with fellow doers, obeyers, doing the best we can to serve one another in love, to lift the spirits of the weak and to make this temporary life of ours better for us all.

Every single day.

"Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle...   Psalm 144:1

"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry..."   ... James 1:19


For my friends who are grandmothers (may this make you smile) ---



And speaking of plastic, here's what I shared at Facebook yesterday:

For the record, I admire people who try to make things better. Constantly criticizing and joking about folks who TRY, only discourages others and makes things worse.

Anyway, I found this photo and caption hilarious!