Friday, February 05, 2016

Words That Helped Me Find My Way

"Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances."   ...Proverbs 25:11


******


Speaking of our words (my last post), here's an earlier post which illustrates how, 3 decades later, kind words still influence me and the rooms in which I live.



   (The library was half this size the summer I first visited it.)


 I recall the librarian from the tiny town where my family moved before my senior year of high school. Mrs. Baker was a classmate's mom and she used to show me his baby photos, much to Ben's horror. heh. 

Anyway, Mrs. Baker was a hoot to speak with and years afterward, I saw her at a community function where she, sitting beside her friend, told me, "Ben said you'd gotten married and are living over on Cedar Street. I told him, "I'm sure Debra decorated her house to look just like Springtime."

Then she turned to her friend, "Debra has a sunny disposition and I can just picture her rooms reflecting sunshine."

Now, actually, my house had lots of dark earth colors (this was 1979, after all) and I'd not felt satisfied with them. And you know? Ben's mom's words made me want Springtime rooms. Suddenly I knew surrounding myself with bright, golden colors was the answer. They would make me feel happier. 

I returned home that day and rearranged my living room. No, really. I replaced some dark items with colorful ones from inside my cupboards and I made plans. I asked myself, "How can I bring more color into our home?", then scribbled some notes.

Yes, all that from kind, uplifting words. Words clearly and fondly remembered all these 37 years later.

Never, ever dismiss the importance of speaking positive, encouraging words. In today's world, they're more vital than perhaps they've ever been before.







******



"Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body."   ...Proverbs 16:24



******


Speaking of Springtime, this gardening article has me absolutely antsy to get back out to my gardens!


******

Yesterday while playfully perusing local real estate online (my guilty pleasure), I came upon this 'flip house' quite like ours. What a great job they did on the living room/kitchen:



... as well as the bathroom:



*************



Don't forget! Valentine's Day is coming. Soon.


******

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Oh, The Responsibility!



Courtesy:  a respectful, or considerate act or expression. Favor, help, or generosity.


******


So while spending a couple weeks on the red couch recuperating from Horrible Nightmare Flu, this thought has haunted me:

I think Common Courtesy is dying.

I, personally, like to blame the Internet. (And ok--this, also.) I mean, via our computers we're in contact with tons of people! Folks we first met in-person as a child or when just married or as a young parent. And relatives, ones always known and those discovered through searches. Add to that the people we see Sundays at church, but also chat with at Facebook during the week, along with our other social media and email pals. And the bloggers, teachers and encouragers online who we've met.

And what I've noticed? In our busyness, sometimes we forget these crowds of people are real. Flesh-and-blood-with-feelings like we, ourselves, are. They count and it matters to God that--and how-- we interact with them.

Sometimes they have bad days. Become discouraged. Sick. Lonely, forgotten. They have money woes. Worry about their kids.




Their pets die. So do their dearly-loved friends and relatives.




Or they pour themselves into what God's called them to do. They work hard for something, and feel tempted, at times, to quit. They wonder about what really matters in Life.


Probably we each know hundreds of such folks. But what worries me? We forget that God asks us to love those He gives us. And common courtesy is just a first tiny step toward showing love:

"What you did, meant much to me. Changed me. Thank-you."
"I'm so sorry you lost someone you loved."
"I'll pray for you and your family."
"How can I help? What do you need? Can I bring you something?"
"Happy birthday to a special friend!" "Happy anniversary to you both!"
"Are you feeling better today? I've been thinking about you."
"Do you need someone to listen?"
"You did a great job with  ________. Congratulations!"
"Don't give up! Your persistence blesses me."


Oh, we might think these things, but common courtesy speaks them aloud. Or else it doesn't count.

I think the saying, "Actions speak louder than words," has too often shut us down. 

Our words do matter. Speaking words is an action of caring. But if we're not even taking the basic common courtesy step? Not starting there, then moving forward toward God-inspired love? Heaven help us. We're still babies.

Yikes.







Good intentions are not enough. They've never put an onion in the soup yet.





******


"...but the tongue of the wise brings healing."   ...Proverbs 12:18


"Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits." ...Proverbs 18:21


“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."...John 15:12


******


Free Kindle Books:


Doesn't She Look Natural?

Astonished


******


"Be ye kind one to another."

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Thumbing My Nose At Average



Ooooo.... perhaps you always have Springtime in February, but we in Buffalo usually do not. Forty and fifty degrees lately! And yesterday, feeling better, I got outside in the sun and, with my long-handled squeegee, washed two picture windows. And felt like singing, though it would have set me off to coughing.

But oh, what a day out there and also while reading The Moffat Museum at my gleaming glass-top table inside.

I've felt more contented than usual lately, too contented to write anything, really, (uh-oh!) so here you go with one of my very favorite re-runs.


******


"... I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)." ... John 10:10



Years ago, our then-church held a Sunday picnic in the park once each month of summer, beginning in May.

I remember the first picnic. Families shared tables, so as we walked along to secure a place to share, I stopped at the table of some friends: I was enchanted! They'd covered the scarred, old table with a pretty sky-blue cloth and in the center sat a glass canning jar filled with water and purple, pink and white flowers. "Oh! How pretty!," I told my friends. "What a lovely setting."

And actually, I was mesmerized. Truly inspired. I'd been on many picnics, but never had I thought to bring a pretty cloth and a vase of flowers.

On the next picnic, I carried one of the white linen tablecloths Tom had found on the curb, a white vase, flowers and something different--my favorite dishes, instead of just plain ol' paper plates. Always, I've enjoyed being creative and a little different--it's fun. And this time people stopped and commented that our table looked like a picture from a decorating magazine, like a setting for a backyard party.

The following month, the creative table ideas had spread like a good disease. Other families brought their nice things from home to share with their friends at their own picnic tables. I loved it. Our church picnics began to resemble genteel, Victorian parties. Well, kind-of-- in our own imaginations, at least. And I even scattered a few small Victorian-times photos (more curb finds) upon our table, also, for added decor and conversation starters.

But that's when I began hearing murmurs from some of the women. They stood in little groups near our table and smiling, said to each other,

"You start something like that and then everyone expects you to keep it up."

"Yeah, or top it," another woman said.

"Right. I'll just be bringing the usual paper plates and cups. Count on it..."

And then a bit later one woman (who never liked me much) stood in the food line very near our table and asked, "So, Debra... Does the food taste better on your real china dishes?"

The people around us got quiet. Heads jerked my way, eyes stared. I sat down my stainless steel fork, smiled my most beguiling smile and then looked up at the woman and said, "Why yes, Tricia! I believe it does."

Women giggled. Tricia looked a little confused, started to say something, then moved along the line.

Oh, I want to enjoy my life! To create and dream good things with the gifts God has given me and inspire others, never becoming so jaded, so bored, so average-seeking that I walk, with sad eyes, only the easy paths. 

Jesus died to give me more than that and may I always search for the 'more,' even at something like a simple church picnic. Even during a normal day at home alone-- for it all matters. 

Every moment, yes, even during these Last Days.





***


What a distressing contrast there is between the radiant intelligence of the child and the feeble mentality of the average adult.


Happy Groundhog Day to you--and remember--Valentine's Day is coming soon! Are you prepared to delight a few friends?



********


Free Kindle books:


Dying to Read

Forever My Home